A Whiskey, a Rum & a Gin walk into your home bar.
It may sound like the beginning of a joke but it’s looking like 2019 is starting off with three very serious spirits.
And by serious, we mean perfect for cocktail consumption. Sure you could drink any or all, on their own, by yourself, during late night Gollum moments, but we challenge you to incorporate them into your favourite cocktail with friends.
So whether a new Japanese Whisky is what your bar has been lacking or maybe a Whiskey producer’s Gin or a Coconut Rum conceived by a bartender, we can’t help but think that these three bottles are the spirits of good omen for this year.
Rum Diary Cocos Nucifera
The name Cocos Nucifera is the Latin for coconut, and this new expression is the second release from the Rum Diary Spiced’s Experimental Kitchen series.
As you might guess from the name the focus of this Rum is most definitely Coconut. Beyond that, the expression takes inspiration from the equatorial homeland of spiced rum, with te use of a unique blend of tropical botanicals.
The Rum has been born through a collaboration between the brand and Perth bartender Elise Goodwin. Goodwin was last year crowned the winner of the Rum Diary Spiced ‘Of All Things Tiki, Land & Sea’ cocktail competition.
As part of her win, Goodwin received the opportunity to work with the brand in their Experimental Kitchen on her own small-batch spiced rum.
“I wanted to create something different and fun – and I love Coconuts,” said Goodwin. So together, she and the brand set out to create an authentic, dry, white coconut spiced rum.
They used activated charcoal to remove the colour from their aged rum, blended three different coconut macerations with cacao nibs and Australian native wattleseed to compliment and lift the coconut profile.
The final product is a wonderful toasted coconut rum like no other.
Acclaimed Taiwanese Whisky maker Kavalan has made its first foray into the Gin market, with the first in a range of Gins inspired by the “island’s subtropical riches”.
Featuring a blend of six botanicals (including Kumquat Peel, dried Red Guava, and dried Star Fruit alongside the traditional Juniper, Aniseed and Coriander), the new Gin is described as “refreshing and elegant” on the nose and “rich, pleasingly sweet, and long and full in body.”
Double charcoal-filtered and triple distilled in traditional copper stills, Kavalan Gin is also made from the same malted barley spirit as the award-winning Kavalan whisky.
Kavalan master blender Ian Chang says the new series of gins will celebrate experimentation and are inspired by the flavours of Taiwan.
“After more than 10 years of making whisky, I wanted to try my hand at Gin and contribute to the global Gin Renaissance,” says Chang. “I’m very excited about crafting a unique series to showcase Kavalan distillery and Yilan and extend a warm welcome to gin drinkers.”
The release of Kavalan Gin builds on the momentum gained by the distillery in 2018 when it was named the 4th highest trending (in terms of requests by bar customers) and the 5th best selling world whisky in Drinks International’s 2019 Annual Bar Report.
Suntory Toki Whisky
The House of Suntory is launching Suntory Whisky Toki in Australia next month.
A blend of carefully selected Whiskies from the House of Suntory’s globally acclaimed Hakushu Distillery, Yamazaki Distillery, and Chita Distillery, it has been crafted by House of Suntory’s fourth Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo.
Fukuyo took a fresh approach with Suntory Whisky Toki, selecting the singular Hakushu American white oak cask malt whisky — with its unique freshness, mellowness and spectacular green apple notes — as one of the blend’s two pillars.
To complement that selection, Fukuyo chose Chita heavy-type grain whisky as the blend’s second pillar, adding a clean taste with notes of sweetness and vanilla.
By pairing these seemingly dissimilar but deeply accordant whiskies, Fukuyo’s insight overturned the old relationship between malt and grain to create a blend Suntory describes as “both groundbreaking and timeless”.
“Traditionally in Suntory blends, grain whiskies have played merely a supporting role, acting as a broth or dashi to accentuate key malts,” the distiller notes.
“But the unrivalled sophistication and wide range of grain whiskies produced at Suntory’s Chita distillery led Shinji Fukuyo to rethink that role. He saw these whiskies, with their exquisite balance of complexity, subtlety and refinement, not as a scaffold for the heroic malt to ascend but as true heroes in their own right.”