Top 10 spirit launches in September 2016

by Amy Hopkins

Provocative whiskies, heritage-driven rums and liqueurs inspired by the turn of the season comprise our latest pick of top spirit launches.

In the rum category, Angostura celebrated a landmark moment in Trindad’s rum-making history and Captain Morgan increased its flavoured portfolio. Meanwhile, in liqueurs, Baileys and the team behind Pinkster gin showcased the tastes of autumn. September was also an exciting month for Scotch whisky, with the release of a special edition Ardbeg, own label variants from renowned retailer Milroys of Soho, and new Compass Box expressions that celebrate all age components in single malt whisky. 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 September 2016. Click through the following pages to discover which brands made the cut.

Milroys of Soho own label whiskies

milroysLast month, London’s oldest whisky shop – Milroys of Soho – released four exclusive whiskies under its own label. The range includes three single cask editions – Ardmore 2008, Glentauchers 2007 and Blair Athol 1988 – as well as an eight-year-old exclusive Milroys blend, which is crafted from a blend of Scotch specially chosen by the Milroys team.

Angostura 1787

angosturaAngostura 1787 is super-premium rum made from a selection of liquid aged for 15 years in charred oak barrels. It was created to commemorate the establishment of the first sugar mill in Trinidad, at the famous Lapeyrouse sugar plantation, in 1787. The 40% abv expression is said to carry a scent of banana, dried fruit and oak with top notes of apples.

Ardbeg Twenty One

ardbegExclusively available to members of the Ardbeg Committee, Ardeg Twenty One is a 21-year-old single malt that marks one of the “most turbulent times” in the distillery’s life. Ardbeg ceased production and closed twice throughout its history – in 1981 and 1996. As such, Ardbeg claims its latest expression is significant since uses liquid distilled in the mid-90s, the time of its final closure.

Whitley Neill Blood Orange Vodka

whitley-neillWhitley Neill Gin has made its first foray into the vodka category with the launch of a Sicilian-inspired blood orange variant. Developed to expand the brand’s reach within premium on- and off-trade outlets, Whitley Neill Blood Orange Vodka combines “zesty Sicilian orange aromas” with “earthy spices” to create a “smooth” liquid that can be enjoyed neat or as a base for cocktails.

Three Year Old Deluxe and Spice Tree Extravaganza

compassThree Year Old Deluxe and Spice Tree Extravaganza are the latest additions to the range of Scotch whisky bottler Compass Box. Three Year Old Deluxe is composed of 0.4% three year-old malt whisky produced near the village of Brora, 90.3% malt whisky of a “different but considerably older” age from the same distillery, and 9.3% peaty malt whisky from the Isle of Skye. Spice Tree Extravaganza is a reinterpretation of former banned bottling The Spice Tree, made with “older components” and a “significant portion” of Sherry-cask matured aged malt whisky. The Spice Tree was discontinued 10 years ago due to its use of “avant-garde” cask maturation that was deemed “untraditional”. Compass Box will apply a “loophole” in Scotch whisky regulations to both whiskies in aid of its Transparency Campaign. While the bottler was accused of breaching Scotch whisky regulations for including individual age components on its labels, Compass Box said it will provide information about its blends when approached by “interested consumers”.

Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle Gin

sipsmithLondon-based distiller Sipsmith has launched a Lemon Drizzle Gin as part of it new subscription service – the Sipsmith Sipping Society. The gin, which will also launch through retailer Marks & Spencer, is described as having a “biscuity sweetness on the nose, reminiscent of the golden crisp top of a lemon drizzle cake, followed by a fresh, zesty, warming zing and a beautiful liquorice-laced finish".

Baileys Pumpkin Spice

baileysDiageo-owned cream liqueur brand Baileys has continued its flavour innovation with the launch of a Pumpkin Spice variant in time for the start of autumn. The “indulgent” new liqueur is said to offer flavours of sweet cinnamon, baking spices, maple, brown sugar, and baked pie crust with hints of vanilla and coffee.

Captain Morgan Jack-O'Blast

jack-o-blastAnother brand to capitalise on autumnal drinks trends and Halloween celebrations is Captain Morgan, which launched Captain Morgan Jack-O’Blast last month. Expanding the group’s presence in the shot market and following the launch of Captain Morgan Cannonblast, the new expression is a blend of Caribbean rum, fresh pumpkin, cinnamon and other autumnal spices.


qbLast month, the team behind Pinkster gin unveiled the first line extension in the brand’s portfolio – a liqueur called QB. Made with Suffolk quince and wild bullace foraged from hedgerows in East Anglia, the liqueur will be produced seasonally and in limited batches due to the short supply of local bullace – a variety of plum.

Royal Salute 32 Year Old Union of the Crowns

royal-saluteRoyal Salute 32 Year Old Union of the Crowns is a blend of single malt and grain whiskies aged for a minimum of 32 years that marks the creation of the British Monarchy in 1603. It features more than six Scotch whiskies, including Longmorn, Glen Keith, Tormore and Braeval as well as long-since closed distilleries Lochside and Caperdonich.