Top 10 Spirit Launches

by Amy Hopkins

new spirit launchesWhile Glenmorangie unveiled what it claims is the ”world’s first” crowd-managed whisky, The Glenlivet launched its rare and exclusive collection of 50-year-old whiskies, while The Balvenie revealed its own bottlings aged for half a century.

The gin category also saw some exciting launches in September, as Greenall’s released its first new bottlings in 250 years, while the new Cotswolds Distillery selected a London dry style as its inaugural product.

Meanwhile, a Freddy Mercury-inspired bottling and pineapple infusion released by rap star P Diddy contributed caused a stir in the vodka segment, while a €10,000 Martell Cognac marked a historic occasion.

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 roundup of the top 10 spirit launches in September 2014.

After 18 months of input from fans across the globe, Glenmorangie unveiled what it claims is the world’s first crowd-managed whisky, Taghta.

The limited edition – of which only 12,000 have been made globally available – has been created through Glenmorangie’s Cask Masters programme, where fans from more than 30 countries helped influence every stage of bringing the new single malt to market: from the whisky itself, to its name, packaging design and photography.

Glenmorangie Taghta, meaning “the chosen one” in Gaelic, is described as having a flavour of salt, caramelised oranges and lemons, olives, oak, chocolate and dates.

greenalls flavored gin

In September, Greenall’s revealed its first new gin variants in 250 years – Greenall’s Sloe Gin and Greenall’s Wild Berry.

Distilled by G&J Distillers, Greenall’s Sloe Gin and Greenall’s Wild Berry have been described as “the biggest innovation” in the brand’s history, which dates back to 1761 when the company first started making gin.

While G&J added British sloe berries to Greenall’s eight botanicals to create a “warming drink perfect for autumn and winter drinking”, Greenall’s Wild Berry is a combination of English blackberries combined with raspberries that are infused in Greenall’s Gin.

Martell Premier Voyage

To mark its 300th birthday, Cognac house Martell, owned by Pernod Ricard, released a limited edition €10,000 blend of of 18 eaux-de-vie.

Using eaux-de-vie sourced from winegrowing families whose ancestors supplied Martell in 1735-1742, cellar master Benoît Fil further matured the blend in barrels crafted from a 300-year-old tree.

Just 300 Sèvres crystal decanters have been produced of Martell Premier Voyage, each accompanied by a minimalist steel artwork by French artist Bernar Venet.

The Glenlivet Winchester Collection

Last month, The Glenlivet became the first Scotch whisky brand to release an exclusive collection of rare 50-year-old whiskies, titled The Glenlivet Winchester Collection.

The inaugural release in the range will be The Glenlivet Winchester Collection Vintage 1964, of which there will be just 100 bottles available globally at an RRP of £18,000, which will be followed by a 1966 vintage at a later date.

The total number of single malts to be released as part of the collection is yet to be confirmed.

The Glenlivet also launched the second bottling of its “cult classic” Nadurra Scotch whisky – a single malt aged in virgin American oak casks.

Killer Queen Vodka

It was revealed in September that iconic rock band queen had paid homage to their late front man Freddie Mercury by releasing their own brand of vodka, called Killer Queen.

Named after the band’s 1974 hit single of the same name, the vodka, produced by Stolichnaya Vodka-owner SPI group, has been distilled seven times and bottled at 40%.

Queen guitarist Brian May said: “Freddie loved vodka and used to carry a dry ice cooler full of vodka with him on tour.

“Killer Queen Vodka is the perfect tribute and using Killer Queen as the brand name was the perfect choice for us – we know Freddie would have approved.”

ciroc pineapple

After suggestive glimpses on P Diddy’s Instagram account, the rap star officially unveiled the fifth flavoured edition in his Ciroc vodka range – Ciroc Pineapple.

Launched in partnership with Diageo, Ciroc Pineapple is described as delivering a “rich pineapple flavour with a touch of vanilla and a tropical finish”.

The Balvenie 50 Year Old

William Grant & Sons launched two 50-year-old bottlings for The Balvenie last month, which have been created from whisky distilled on the same day in May 1963, and laid in two similar European oak hogsheads.

Costing £26,000, each expression is bottled at cask strength and are non-chill-filtered, though malt master David Stewart claimed the two expressions from cask 4567 and 4570 are remarkably different.

Just 131 bottles of cask 4567 and 128 bottles of cask 4570 are available.

Cotswolds London Dry Gin

The UK’s new Cotswolds Distillery launched its inaugural product – a London dry gin – ahead of its single malt English malt whisky and rye in 2017.

The gin is created by infusing pure wheat spirit with juniper, coriander and angelica root for 24 hours after which time a mix of the other botanicals, including grapefruit, black pepper lavender and bay leaf., is added to distilled with Cotswolds water.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

In celebration of the birthday of its founder, George Garvin Brown, Old Forested Bourbon released its annual birthday Bourbon for 2014.

This edition, which mark the 13th annual birthday Bourbon release, is vintage dated and is described as having a “creamy vanilla character” with flavours of cinnamon, maple and citrus.

Garvin Brown founded Brown-Forman and Old Forester Bourbon more than 140 years ago, in 1870.

The Ardmore Legacy

The Ardmore distillery replaced its core expression Ardmore Traditional Cask with the no-age-statement single malt The Ardmore Legacy last month.

It is described as offering creamy vanilla spice, smoky charcoal and sweet honey on the palate with a dry, tangy finish.

The Speyside whisky is said to be “ideal for whisky drinkers looking for something new and is also the perfect introduction for any whisky drinkers beginning their journey into peated malts.”