May sees some really interesting offering on the spirits market. We love experimentation, so we’d encourage you to test out some Japanese Gin, imbibe in some limited edition Tasmanian Brandy or get a better understanding for the terror of Mexico with a variety of differently flavoured Mezcal. Or maybe just throw caution to the wind and drink Scotch finished in Cognac casks or Cognac finished in Bourbon casks – its all out there to try …
The Japanese have conquered whisky and now they’re taking on the world of gin with Suntory’s latest premium gin offering named Roku. The name means ‘six’ in English and refers to the six distinctly Japanese botanicals which make up the spirit alongside eight traditional gin botanicals. True to the Japanese way of doing things, the process of making Roku is equally meticulous. The spirit is made in Osaka using sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, sencha tea, gyokuro tea and sansho pepper to produce a spicy note. These botanicals are harvested only during their peak flavour season. The drink is finished off beautifully in a hexagonal bottle and label made of traditional Japanese washi paper. Roku isn’t available in Australia yet but you can find it online.
Available from mybottleshop.com.au for AUD$79,99
Sullivans Cove XO Brandy
Created as a partnership between Sullivans Cove and wines from Tasmania’s Huon Valley region, with a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay, the XO single cask Brandy has a wonderful complexity. Distilled using the same techniques that the distillery uses to create its award-winning single-malt whiskies and are then aged in either French or American Oak barrels.If you are not traditionally a Brandy drinker, you will find that XO strikes a chord with single malt drinkers due to its intense depth, rich complexity and balanced elegance. Only a small number of barrels were produced about ten years ago and no brandy has been made since. Once these are sold out, they are gone forever.
Available from sullivancove.com for AUD$280
Glenlivet Captain’s Reserve Single Malt
Said to push the boundaries of modern Scotch, the soon to be released Captain’s Reserve has a certain ‘raisin-rich’ intensity as it has been finished in ex-Cognac casks. With additional citrus notes and a creamy smoothness, the Scotch was named after Captain William Smith Grant, great-grandson of George Smith, Glenlivet’s founder. The French-Scottish hybrid pays homage to his service in France during World War I, before he returned to Scotland to work for the whisky brand. Alan Winchester, The Glenlivet master distiller, said: “By introducing the Cognac casks into our maturation process, we have been able to bring a real richness to the smooth and fruity style of The Glenlivet, which we’re confident single malt Scotch enthusiasts will enjoy.”
Available from mastersofmalt.com for around £45-48
Martell Blue Swift
An innovative eau-de-vie from Martell, which is made by finishing their acclaimed VSOP Cognac in Kentucky bourbon barrels. This finishing process adds rich aromatic tones to Martell’s delicate, pure Cognac, layering the characteristic candied fruit and plum notes with the subtle sweetness of vanilla and toasted oak. This eau-de-vie (which cannot be called Cognac as the latter must only be aged in French oak) celebrates the brand’s historic ties with the US, with Martell being the first Cognac house to ship its barrels to America from 1783. The design of the bottle “unites old world and new” with the cylinder of its bottle reminiscent of the shape of Bourbon casks, and the ‘cut-glass’ detail on its base evoking crystal decanters.
Available from whiskeyexchange.com for £43.95
Derrumbes’ aim is simple: to take drinkers on a journey through Mexico’s diverse range of agaves, terroirs and production techniques drop by drop. There are four Derrumbes Mezcal’s now available in Australia and each presents a completely different flavour profile, depending on the region. The Oaxaca combines citrus and fruity agave notes with light smoke and subtle minerality. The San Luis Potosí is sweet and complex with cooked agave, chalky notes and peppery spice. The Durango is a fruity mezcal with notes of citrus, tropical fruit along with light smokiness and a hint of minerality. The Zacatecas is a bit more of a traditional Mezcal with earthiness, gentle smoke, roasted agave and peppery spice.
Available through Vanguard Luxury Brands.