Top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2021: 40-31

by Melita Kiely

The second part of our top 50 game-changing spirits countdown features Campari's no-ABV apéritifs, a foamy RTD cocktail and a massive bottle of gin.

Last year, pioneering brands created a variety of inventive products. Some defied categorisation entirely; others worked within the boundaries of spirits such as whisky, but played with cask finishes and production methods; still others experimented with packaging formats. This instalment of our top 50 most innovative launches list features everything from non-alcoholic 'spirits', to ready-to-drink cocktails, to sonically aged whiskeys. Keep reading for our picks numbered 40-31. For more innovative spirits, check out the first instalment in our series (launches 50-41).

40. Kavalan Triple Sherry

Taiwanese producer Kavalan bottled a whisky aged in a combination of oloroso, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel casks. After the whisky is fully matured in each cask, it is rested in marrying vats through a three-stage process. Kavalan Triple Sherry sits at 40% ABV.


39. Haig Club Mediterranean Orange

Continuing its quest to make whisky ‘accessible’, Diageo released a new orange‐flavoured spirit drink to attract non‐whisky drinkers: Haig Club Mediterranean Orange. Bottled at 35% ABV, the spirit has been designed to tap into aperitivo occasions.


38. Jawbox Giant's Edition

In July last year, Irish gin brand Jawbox created a 32‐litre bottle of gin – thought to be the largest in the world. Containing an estimated 46 standard bottles of gin, the bottle is a bigger edition of the brand’s Export Strength gin, which has a strength of 47% ABV.


37. Blackened x Willet

American whiskey Blackened, co‐founded by heavy metal band Metallica, released a Kentucky straight rye expression that was sonic-aged and finished in Madeira wine casks. Created by Blackened master distiller and blender Rob Dietrich and Drew Kulsveen, master distiller of Kentucky’s Willett Distillery, it was the first bottling in the brand’s Masters of Whiskey Series.


36. The Drinks Drop – Bag-in-Box Cocktails

Drinks delivery service The Drinks Drop partnered with leading bars in London and Manchester, including Trailer Happiness, Hawksmoor and Crazy Pedro’s, to launch three‐litre bag‐in‐box cocktails. Each box provides 20 serves.


35. Loch Lomond Spearhead

Spearhead-Single-Grain-whisky

Scotch distiller Loch Lomond released a new single grain whisky last year that is said to be ‘one of a kind’ in the category. Spearhead (43% ABV) was aged in ex‐Bourbon barrels before being finished in a mix of fire‐ and infrared‐toasted virgin American oak barrels.


34. The Notes Collection

Campari tapped into the non‐alcoholic sector with the launch of The Notes Collection, a range of three alcohol‐free apéritifs. The trio includes: The Bitter Note, The Vibrant Note and The Hidden Note.


33. Carajillo 43

Zamora Company marked the 75th anniversary of its Licor 43 brand with the launch of a coffee‐flavoured RTD – Carajillo 43. Bottled at 10% ABV, Carajillo 43 combines Licor 43 with Mexican Arabica coffee.


32. Benriach Malting Season

Benriach-Malting-Season-whisky

When Benriach released Malting Season last August, it was the first bottling made entirely from barley malted on the Speyside distillery’s floor maltings in 100 years. With a bottling strength of 48.7% ABV, the whisky is double‐cask‐matured in Bourbon and virgin oak barrels.


31. Roe & Co Japanese Sugi

Roe & Co Sugi

Diageo took an unusual wood approach with Roe & Co Japanese Sugi (46% ABV). Japanese sugi wood was used for maturation due to its porous nature. The team also extended the length of the bungs, and added five of these to each cask.