Top 10 spirits launches in June 2023

by Georgie Collins

With the start of a new season comes a new range of seasonally appropriate spirits, from a collection of ready-to-pour sundowners to a gin that takes you back in time to summer 2022.

June was a busy month for spirits producers, as while one Scotch distillery unveiled its latest annual expression, another released one of its oldest bottlings to date. Meanwhile, one celebrity demonstrated she is the ultimate hostess by launching a range of canned cocktails she won't be able to enjoy herself, and a British producer decided to take things into her own hands and create a spirit designed for her favourite serve. For our take on the best new releases to hit shelves in June, keep scrolling.

Fettercairn 18YO annual release

Fettercairn 18yo Last month, Whyte & Mackay-owned Fettercairn revealed the 2023 release of its 18-year-old limited edition single malt. Having launched the first edition of Fettercairn 18 Years Old in 2022, which marked a ‘new dawn in progressive whisky making’ for the brand, the 2023 expression is said to be both innovative in style and substance, and celebrates ‘what makes Fettercairn different’. The whisky offers aromas of sugared almonds, baking spices, and a tropical sweetness of passionfruit and guava, while to taste, exotic syruped fruits, patisserie sugars, brioche, and spices with soft hints of berry fruit can be detected.

No. 3 Gin's bottled Gimlet

Gimlet June launch Berry Bros & Rudd-owned No.3 Gin unveiled a bottled Gimlet to mark World Gin Day (10 June) last month, the third ready-to-serve cocktail to be released by the London Dry gin brand. Created in collaboration with London’s Artesian bar, located in The Langham Hotel, the pre-bottled cocktail is described as a ‘unique twist on the classic Gimlet recipe’, using a blend of No.3 London Dry Gin with bergamot, citrus, and floral notes to produce a ‘deliciously zesty and refreshing drink’. The bottle features unique microscopic art by Justin Zoll, and £1 (US$1.29) from the sale of each bottle will go to Hospitality Action, a charity that supports all who work, or have worked, within hospitality in the UK.

Suntory's anniversary whiskies

To mark its centenary this year, the House of Suntory released Hakushu 18 Years Old Peated Malt and an 18-year-old Yamazaki whisky aged in mizunara oak casks last month. “Yamazaki 18 Years Old Mizunara was blended for our 100-year anniversary and features a rich texture created from a long ageing process,” said fifth-generation chief blender Shinji Fukuyo. “This expresses the delicate and meticulous attention to detail that went into its craftsmanship.” Meanwhile, the new Hakushu 18 Years Old Peated Malt is comprised of malt whiskies all aged for a minimum of 18 years. The new expression is said to offer a ‘new angle to the world of peated whisky’. In addition to the two new whiskies, Suntory also created limited edition labels for its 12-year-old Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies to commemorate its 100th anniversary.

Cambridge Distillery's seasonal gin

'Tis the season for the latest release from Cambridge Distillery: Vintage 2022 Spring Summer. The seasonal expression has been crafted by master distiller William Lowe using a novo-dimensional distillation matrix. Temperature, timing, and pressure were among the nine variables used to tailor the treatment of each fresh botanical, and the result is a gin described as elegant on the palate with restrained fruit expression from flowering redcurrant, and supple citrus from lemon balm providing an ‘extended and graceful’ finish. Lowe commented: “The hottest temperatures we’ve ever seen here in Cambridge [in summer 2022] created unparalleled ripeness and richness to this seasonal expression, whilst retaining the elegant and vibrant lift for which our spring/summer releases have become so famous”.

De Kuyper RTD cocktails

There are now six new ready-to-serve (RTS) cocktails on the market thanks to Dutch liqueur brand De Kuyper. The six new RTS drinks form part of the brand’s strategy to ‘own the cocktail’, and the line-up includes: the Espresso Martini Cocktail (14.5% ABV), the Passionfruit Martini Cocktail (12% ABV), the Piña Colada Cocktail (14.5% ABV), the Strawberry Daiquiri Cocktail (14.5% ABV), the Cosmopolitan Cocktail (14.5% ABV), and the Clover Club Cocktail (12.5% ABV). Each serve in the new collection can be enjoyed in two ways: either shake the cocktails with ice to create a ‘bar-like experience’, or pour the chilled drink into a glass.

Frapin 30 Years Old

Frapin June launch There are 3,000 bottles available of the latest Cognac to come from Frapin: the 41.8% ABV, 30-year-old Millésime 1990, each priced at RRP £205 (US$261). With an ‘infinitely long’ finish, it is made using grapes from a 1990 harvest, on the brand’s 240-hectare Chez Pet vineyard. “This 30-year-old vintage is a truly exceptional Cognac. It is a result of a complex alchemy and embodies the Frapin style with its voluptuous aromatic richness and its infinitely long finish,” said cellarmaster Patrice Piveteau. The vintage Cognac has been aged for 30 years on the brand’s estate in the humid cellars, and is the latest addition to the Millésime range, which was launched 24 years ago with a 1979 bottling.

Sphynx Tequila

Sphynx Tequila Pop a bottle of Sphynx Tequila down in the middle of the table and you’ve got yourself a conversation starter. This Tequila, created by British-Indian couple Sukhvinder and Imran Javeed is the result of a decade-long ‘journey’, which saw the pair immerse themselves in the heartland of Tequila production in Mexico. All the Tequilas in the Sphynx Tequila range, which is composed of blanco, añejo, añejo cristalino, and extra-aged añejo black oak expressions, are made with 100% Blue Weber agave and contain zero additives. Each bottle of Sphynx Tequila is presented in the brand’s custom decanter, which symbolises good fortune and abundance, and is described as a timeless piece of art.

Betty Booze

Betty Buzz June launch Despite being known for being a teetotaller, actress Blake Lively moved into the world of hard alcohol last month with the launch of Betty Booze – a trio of RTD alcoholic canned cocktails, all of which clock in at 4.5% ABV and are crafted with sparkling water, real juice, and premium spirits. Announcing the launch of Betty Booze on her Instagram page, Lively wrote: @bettybooze [is] for those who want the alcohol… Because that’s what hosts do. We make something for everyone. And not usually ourselves.” The new line includes: Sparkling Bourbon with Apple Ginger Sour Cherry; Sparkling Tequila with Lemonade; and Sparkling Tequila with Lime Shiso.

Benriach 40 Years Old

Benriach June launch Brown-Forman-owned Speyside distillery Benriach released two 40-year-old single malts last month: The Forty and the travel retail-exclusive Forty Octave Cask Matured. Created using ‘rare’ peated casks, The Forty (43.5% ABV) is said to be one of the oldest peated malts to be released from a Speyside distillery, and is available as an ongoing release in specialist retailers in select global markets, priced at RRP £3,200 (US$4,084). Meanwhile The Forty Octave Cask Matured was matured in small octave casks, which are an eighth of the size of a regular cask, meaning only 135 bottles of the expression are available in select international airports, priced at RRP £3,800 (US$4,850).

Neurita Tequila

Neurita June launch You can’t have a Margarita without a Tequila, and so Lucy Smith, founder of Neurita, wanted to create a spirit that “captured the essence of what a Margarita is all about.” As such, she launched two expressions, Citrus and Rosa Neurita Tequila, which have been crafted with high-quality blue agave, and are the perfect base for both a classic and spicy Margarita. The new expressions are available to purchase directly from the brand’s website, Master of Malt, Threshers, and Amazon for RRP £29.99 (US$37.39).

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