Top 10 spirit launches in March 2016

Mar 31, 2016by Amy Hopkins

Whether a 50-year-old Scotch, gluten-free vodka or slow-aged rum, there was something for everyone among the spirits launched in March 2016.

Also last month, Highland Park paid homage to its Viking heritage with a new eccentrically packaged whisky, while Lagavulin chose to mark its 200th anniversary with a surprisingly young Scotch. Meanwhile, Irish whiskey brand Jameson showed off its Sherry side and Polish vodka Zubrówka unveiled a line extension with a unique charcoal filtration process. Looking at those which were made available on the market, as well as those which were unveiled to be released at a later date, this is our round up of the top 10 spirit launches in March 2016. Click through the following pages to discover which brands made the cut.

Jameson Crested

Jameson-CrestedLeading Irish whiskey brand Jameson has continued its innovation streak with the launch of the no-age-statement Jameson Crested, made from a blend of pot still and grain whiskeys that have been matured in a “high proportion” of Sherry casks, in addition to Bourbon barrels. The launch celebrates the first time Jameson whiskey was bottled, sealed and labeled at its Bow Street Distillery in Dublin in 1963. Unlike other whiskeys in Jameson’s core range, Crested features a clear bottle and visible cork. For more information, click here

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01

Bruichladdich-Port-Charlotte-2007Scotch whisky brand Bruichladdich unveiled Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01, which will be available exclusively in global travel retail. Aged for eight years in French oak casks that formerly held eau-de-vie from the western Cognac region, the heavily peated Scotch whisky pays tribute to the Loch Indaal Distillery, which closed in 1929. The Port Charlotte range is produced at the Bruichladdich distillery on the Hebridean island of Islay, where tall, narrow-necked copper stills give characteristic “elegantly floral” top notes. For more information, click here

Stoli Gluten Free

Stoli-Gluten-FreeStolichnaya Vodka is tapping into growing demand for gluten-free food and drink in the US with the launch of a vodka that replaces the brand’s usual wheat base for buckwheat and corn. Stoli Gluten Free, made with 88% corn and 12% buckwheat, has been classified gluten-free by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The variant uses corn and buckwheat harvested from the Tambov region in Russia. It is distilled three times at Stolichnaya’s Talvis distillery and then filtered four times through quartz sand and birchwood charcoal, before being blended with spring water from Latvijas Balzams’ well in Riga, Latvia. For more information, click here

Glenfarclas 50 Years Old

Glenfarclas-50Expanding its Family Collector series, Glenfarclas has launched a 50-year-old single malt Scotch whisky. In keeping with the distillery’s signature style, the whisky has been matured in ex-oloroso Sherry casks, offering an “assertive spiciness” with additional notes of treacle toffee, chocolate ice cream, and Sherry-soaked raisins. Each release in the series represents a generation of the Grants of Glenfarclas. The 50YO expression pays homage to third generation family member, George Grant (1874-1949), who inherited the Speyside distillery alongside his brother John. For more information, click here

Zacapa Edicíon Negra

ZacapaLaunched in global travel retail, Zacapa Edicíon Negra is a slow-aged rum that has been matured in double charred, American oak casks. Said to provide a duty free shoppers with a “new drinking experience”, the expression offers an alternative Zacapa palate to the Guatemalan rum brand's Zacapa 23, with a “smoky intensity” and notes of caramelised fruits, plums, raisins chocolate and dried fruit. For more information, click here

Highland Park Ice Edition

Highland-Park-Ice-EditionFollowing the launch of its Norse-inspired Valhalla Collection, Highland Park has launched a new 17-year-old single malt Scotch whisky named Ice Edition. Inspired by Viking roots of the brand’s Orkney home, the edition has been aged in predominantly ex-Bourbon casks, offering notes of peat smoke, vanilla seeds and orris root on the palate. Highland Park Ice Edition communicates its inspiration with a mountain-shaped wooden case and accompanying booklet. For more information, click here

Zubrówka Black

ZubrowkaMarking a “new chapter” in the history of Polish vodka brand Zubrówka, Zubrówka Black is filtered through charcoal from Białowieża oak. The expression is also created using water from springs in the Polish Białowieża Forest and wheat from exclusively Polish farms. It is also thought to be the first vodka to feature a bottle made of black transparent glass, which Zubrówka claims emphasises the luxuriousness of the liquid inside. For more information, click here

Lagavulin 8 Year Old

Lagavulin-8In celebration of its 200th anniversary, Islay distillery Lagavulin released one of the younger whiskies in its range – an eight-year-old aged exclusively in refill American oak casks. The whisky, described as “magnificently full”, was created in honour of whisky scribe Alfred Barnard from the 19th century, who sampled an eight-year-old Lagavulin during a visit to Islay and described it as “exceptionally fine” and “held in high repute”. For more information, click here


SmithworksIn partnership with country music artist Blake Shelton, Pernod Ricard has launched a new “local pride” brand, Smithworks Vodka, made from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma corn, and water from Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas. Pernod Ricard USA says the brand’s name and tractor signifier symbolise the “hardworking values” of the production team, and the “local pride, simplicity and hard work” values of America’s heartland. Distilled three times and charcoal filtered, Smithworks is finished and bottled in Fort Smith. For more information, click here

Laphroaig Lore

Laphroaig-LoreRounding off our list of exciting spirits launched last month is Laphroaig Lore, said to be the Beam Suntory-owned brand’s “richest single malt whisky to date”. Inspired by traditions passed down through Laphroaig’s 200-year history, Lore is a no-age-statement whisky aged in a number of casks, including first-fill Bourbon barrels. On the nose, the expression is said to be “rich and smoky with seaside minerals and a hint of ash and bitter chocolate drops”, followed by “vanilla with oily unroasted chestnuts and a hint of fudge with a malty sweetness”. For more information, click here