The latest launch from the group is a non-chill-filtered blend of malt and grain whiskies that have been aged for more than three years in Bourbon casks.
Irish whiskey has seen a resurgence over the last few years as more and more cracking expressions are released, and the distilleries are booming with many looking top open over the next few years. One that has caught my eye lately though is new to the market for 2015, The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil.
The name is inspired by the Liberties area of Dublin – a part of the city known as simply as ‘Hell’ during the 18th century. Legend has it that an oak-carved devil once stood watch over the entrance to the Liberties but disappeared after some time and according to legendary tales, the carving was made into whiskey barrels “its dark power subsuming and infusing the maturing spirit”.
Developed by First Ireland Spirits, who are behind another recent release in The Dubliner, The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil is a double-distilled malt and grain whiskey, which it is then aged in bourbon casks for an undisclosed length of time.
But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil – 46%
Soft notes of oak, with underlining hints of dark stone fruits such as blackberry and cherry on the nose. The palate enjoys soft caramel, Christmas cake with sultana and raisins. A rich, warm honey develops for a lingering finish.
An interesting dram from the Irish, and one that would work perfectly as we draw closer to the winter evenings. Grab a bottle and see how the night takes you. Just don’t slip into the abyss . . . . .
American vodka is not as overly common as some may think. It’s still the European countries that dominate the UK market, but the likes of Skyy do pop up every-now-and-again. The same can be said for Hangar One, a brand that see’s its heritage coming from Alameda, California.
St. George Spirits was founded as America’s first eau de vie distillery in 1982 by Jörg Rupf, a gentleman who had grown up in Germany’s Black Forest to a family of distillers. He went into law and became, at the time, Germany’s youngest judge. On a visit to the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1970’s, he decided to stay and distill local fruit to produce eau de vie. In August 2001, Rupf met with fellow artisan distiller Ansley Coale, president of Craft Distillers and a collaborator in Germain-Robin brandy, to discuss producing flavored vodkas using a method similar to the production of eau de vie.
Hangar One Vodka was founded back in 2001, with Rupf overseeing production and Coale handling design and marketing. Operations were initially based in Rupf’s St. George’s distillery in Hangar 1, a 2,000 square-foot World War II-era hangar at the old Alameda Naval Air Station, before expansion saw it move to a 60,000 square-foot hangar in Alameda, California, in 2004. In April 2010, Hangar One was acquired by Proximo Spirits, who continued to produce the vodka in Alameda through St. George until the Summer of 2014. It is now produced in the building next to St George’s distillery which it shares with Faction Brewery, and is headed up by Master Distiller Caley Shoemaker.
So what about the vodka itself?
Hangar One prides itself as a small batch vodka made from a blend of pot-distilled Viognier grapes and column still-distilled Midwestern American wheat. The flavored varieties are created by infusing the vodka base with fresh fruit, and then distilling the vodka within a pot still which takes about four weeks per batch from start to finish.
So how does the mix of grape and wheat fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Hangar One Straight – 40%
Light, perfumed aromas of the Viognier grapes scented along a base of the American wheat on the nose. Scented upon the palate too, with the grapes dominating initially, and the creamy wheat base comes through to offer a ripe, stringent and lively spiced finish. Long.
Hangar One Mandarin Blossom – 40%
Ripe mandarin and satsuma upon the nose, with soft hints of rose petal coming through. Bold, thin yet light on the palate, with a soft warmth of the orange, mandarin and subtle honey notes. Fresh on the finish, with a rich kick to develop a long experience.
Hangar One ‘Buddha’s Hand’ Citron – 40%
The ancient relative of the modern lemon, Buddha’s Hand Citron offers a lower acidity. Very ripe, sharp citrus upon the nose, with sherbet following closely. Soft on the palate, with small bursts of dry lemon, apricot and earthy notes such as basil. Lingering at the finish.
Hangar One have many a serve to suggest, but maybe try one or two of these –
Cranberry Citrus, by Jillianastasia
60 ml Hangar One Straight Vodka
120 ml Ginger ale
60 ml Cranberry juice
60 ml Orange juice
60 ml Pineapple juice
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice, and pour into glass. Garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary. Serves 2.
Apple Hinny, by Jason Cousins
50 ml Hangar One Straight Vodka
30 ml Fresh green apple juice
15 ml Lime juice
Apple fan garnish
Combine the ingredients within an ice filled highball glass, stir, garnish and serve.
“Over 200 years ago across the Kingdom of Prussia, the Two Sicilies and the Austrian Empire, a drink was cherished and imbibed by the wealthy and titled elite at their celebrations and grand balls. The drink had a unique flavour and colour and was completely natural. It’s ingredients were sourced from exotic locations and included the coveted Attar of Rose from the East that gave it its unique nose and taste. The drink remained a firm favourite all the way through to the roaring 1920s, but disappeared with the Second World War and the rise of Communism.
Following the fall of Communism and the reopening of Eastern Europe, curators began to unravel the fascinating history of this exclusive drink. After years of work by dedicated artisans the long lost recipe was reborn and Lanique was relaunched.”
I’m feeling quite grand, rather regal after reading this! And with the look of the brand, the stirring violet red, it can intrigue even the most butch of personnel. But the story doesn’t end there. The latest chapter of how we see the brand today involves the purchase by a Jersey entrepreneur named Lawrence Huggler. With him re-packaging and making this spirit a worldwide brand, he now aims for iconic status.
But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Lanique – 39%
Ripe rose and raspberry on the nose, with soft hints of lime coming through. Thick texture upon the palate, with sweet pastilles of rose present, ripe raspberry and cherry flavours, plus subtle rind of orange as it hits a lingering fresh finish.
Signature serve? Why the Laniquetini of course!
60 ml Lanique
30 ml Gin
Shake over ice and serve into a chilled Martini glass.
A very different liqueur, with elegance yet richness that can work well for a variety of cocktails and serves. One to look ahead for the spring perhaps, or if you’re generally intrigued, make up a Laniqutini today.
Giffard is a name that you may be familiar with if you’ve ever scanned the products of your favourite bar. A brand of liqueurs and syrups, Giffard have had a main-stay presence for over 100 years, and are still to this day consistently evolving their expressions to fit with the modern times. But how did such a company come about?
1885, the year that a gentleman named Emile Giffard was named as a dispensing pharmacist in Angers (Val de Loire) in France. His mind didn’t stop there though, as he undertook research on the digestive and refreshing properties of mint, and came up with a refined white mint liqueur. His test market happened to be the Grand Hotel’s customers, in order to relieve them from heat, and immediate success ensued. With this, Emile changed his pharmacy into a distillery and called his liqueur Menthe Pastille, referring to the mint sweets which were very famous at that time.
Four generations later, and here we are into the 21st Century, and still Giffard is under the Giffard family name.
Of course, the range of expressions have expanded, using fruits and plants that are bought in priority (for example, 100 % of the blackcurrant berries come from the Pays de Loire) either local to Giffard or further afield depending on the variety chosen.
A great example is the mint harvest every year. Edith Giffard enters the fields on the first day of harvest, with herself and Courivaud Olivier overseeing the crop and deciding when it is exactly the right moment to harvest. The Mitcham Peppermint plant that goes into Menthe Pastille production, and has been since Emile created the first run, needs to be harvested just before it flowers, meaning that the mint has reached its maturity and that the quality of its essential oil is at its maximum.
But how do we get from fruit and plants to liqueurs?
To extract the flavours and aromas from the fruits chosen, they are macerated into alcohol from 48 hours to 3 months depending on the necessary time to obtain that perfect blend between fruit and alcohol. After blending, it is filtered, quality controlled and then bottled.
An expression I’d like to draw attention to though is the new Giffard Egg White. Created for those egg white based cocktails such as Sours, this is a syrup that mixes egg white with sugar cane. Released in 2015, it shows Giffard and their innovative ideas to combat many a bartenders nightmare of running low on eggs for a round of Amaretto Sours. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Giffard Egg White – 0%
A clean nose, with soft hints of the sweet sugar and fresh egg notes. A thin texture, light egg white rounded off with natural sweetness. Doesn’t stick too much and offers a cleaner finish than expected.
As expected, it works great in some of these –
30 ml Giffard Egg White
20 ml Fresh lemon juice
60 ml Pisco
Put a single ice-cube and all the ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously until you don’t hear the ice-cube on the shaker walls. Pour into a coupette.
20 ml Giffard Egg White
30 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
60 ml Amaretto
Put a single ice-cube and all the ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously until you don’t hear the ice-cube on the shaker walls. Pour into a coupette.
Of course, as mentioned above, Giffard create numerous fruit flavoured liqueurs and syrups, including a range of 15 Crèmes de fruits and classic flavours such as blue curaçao, triple sec or apricot, as well as specific ones such as rhubarb, violet or pineapple. These will be added as and when experienced, but in the meantime, take a great way to create some classic cocktails at home with the Egg White variation and impress your friends and family with a round of Sours!
While some well-established Japanese distilleries have already warned worldwide whisky enthusiasts they were starting to run low on stocks, Monde Shuzo Distillery, in partnership with the European distributor Les Whiskies du monde, has officially launched a brand new expression : Fujikai, a 10-year-old single malt produced at the foot of the world-famous Mount Fuji.
Limited to 8088 bottles, this expression is matured in ex bourbon barrels for 10 years, and pays tribute to its home-country with references to Mount Fuji and the former prefecture of Yamanashi, once named Kai. Monde Shuzo themselves remain established within the Ji-Whisky scene, which itself refers to thee local craft distilling scene in Japan and is often used to describe micro-distilleries that are family owned and use traditional methods. It’s surprising then that this expression has made it across to the UK, as most of these spirit-producing facilities often save their expressions for the local market only.
The Monde Shuzo Distillery itself was founded back in 1952 and located in Fuefuki. They are also celebrated as a wine operator with a production capacity of 20,000 bottles of wine per day. Whisky production is therefore part of a wider diversification strategy developed by the establishment.
So how does this rather limited edition expression from Japan fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Fujikai 10yr – 43%
Ripe oak notes upon the nose, with stoned fruits, such as cherries and plums, bringing a deep, dry nose. Light walnut on the palate, with hints of seasoned wood, soft vanilla and pear. A slight salt nip on the end, with subtle smoke and spices to the lingering finish.
A great dram from Japan here, and really shows the craft that the Japanese whisky industry are famed for. If you enjoy exploring whisky and have that intrigue to give Japanese styles a go, this is worth the wait. One for the cabinet, impress your friends, and one for the winter evenings for sure!
With the super-premium vodka category in a current growth of 250%, family run distributor, Cellar Trends, and Beluga Vodka will be working together in a bid to build the brand within the UK. From 1st October, the company will take over all sales, distribution and marketing.
Vodka and caviar is a traditional Russian combination. Beluga fish itself is the symbol of luxury and prosperity. A species of the sturgeon family, beluga lives in deep crystal clear waters and represents purity of nature. Unlike any other vodka, Beluga Vodka undergoes an additional process of “resting” which helps to smoothen the vodka, improving the taste to give a soft, clean and well-balanced spirit. The portfolio is made up of four products including Beluga Vodka, Beluga Transatlantic Racing, Beluga Allure and Beluga Gold Line.
Part of the Synergy Group, Beluga Vodka was first distilled in 2002 and now takes its position as the flagship brand within the portfolio. Both the heritage of the brand and the unrivalled taste have seen Beluga Vodka establish itself as a symbol of luxury and success. Currently retailed through Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason’s and via a variety of on trade establishments, Cellar Trends will aim to capitalise upon this strong foundation. Beluga is delicious neat, with food or for bringing velvety softness to cocktails. Above all, it is best consumed with caviar.
Beluga Noble is the best-selling super-premium vodka in Russia, famed for its smooth and subtle taste.
Director of Sales and Marketing, Terry Barker, says, “Cellar Trends is proud to be appointed for this exciting and iconic range of super-premium vodkas, which is the brand leader of this category in Russia. As one of the leaders within this category, we believe that Beluga Vodka has a great future with us within the UK market.
2015 has been a busy year for us, with many new additions to our portfolio. This is a strategic move into the vodka category for Cellar Trends that will put us in good stead for our continued growth plans. We look forward to helping the brand achieve its potential in the UK.”
DISARONNO, the world’s favourite Italian liqueur, will be back this holiday season with a unique new look designed by Roberto Cavalli. The luxury brand has dressed the iconic bottle in the bold, vibrant and colourful style, for which it is famous throughout the world.
The DISARONNO wears Cavalli design draws inspiration from the Roberto Cavalli SS 2015 Pre Collection. Influenced by the enchanting undersea world and the most exotic safari locations, the bottle will be draped in a new graphic animal print making DISARONNO the perfect gift for fashion lovers this winter.
Augusto Reina, CEO of ILLVA Saronno, declared: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Roberto Cavalli for our third Disaronno limited edition. To include Cavalli in the list of our collaborations is a real honour and a truly special moment in the history of our brand.”
“We are excited to join ILLVA Saronno in this initiative. Two of the most well-known brands of the Made in Italy getting together is always worth celebrating”, said Renato Semerari, CEO of Roberto Cavalli.
The DISARONNO ICON project is in its 3rd iteration this year, after the past partnerships with Italian fashion brands Moschino and Versace. The ICON project will continue its longtime support of the charity ‘Fashion 4 Development,’ sponsored by the United Nations. DISARONNO will once again donate part of the proceeds to the development of this unique project in Africa. The exclusive limited edition will be available from the beginning of October in all major stores across the UK. The suggested retail price is £15 for the 500ml bottle.
To toast this delightful collaboration Disaronno US Director of Brand Ambassadors, Paul Sevigny, and Disaronno UK Brand Ambassador, Rod Eslamieh, have joined forces to craft the Disaronno WEARS Cavalli Sour, a unique twist on the famed Disaronno Sour. The duo have applied the most popular trends in mixology to develop this signature sip, blending the sweet flavour of DISARONNO with sharp lemon juice, sugar syrup, topped off with prosecco and a few dashes of angostura bitters.
The ‘DISARONNOwearsCavalli Sour’ cocktail, created for the occasion blends the sweet flavour of DISARONNO, with sharp lemon juice, sugar syrup, topped off with prosecco and a few dashes of angostura bitters – full recipe below.
Members of Manchester’s corporate and food and drink scene got in the festive spirit on Wednesday evening at the Pot Kettle Black Christmas Event. In addition to showcasing the space for holiday parties and private events, owners Mark Flanagan and Jon Wilkin (St Helens RFC) launched #PKBelieve, a campaign in support of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. As guests arrived to the Barton Arcade venue, they were offered a variety of festive cocktails created by international bar consultant, Jamie Jones. After spending time at Alder Hey as a child, Jamie jumped at the opportunity to design a menu for the event. Guests were also able to indulge in a selection of fine wine graciously donated by Rodney Demson Wines.
“I hold a very special place in my heart for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to be a part of #PKBelieve as it is a chance to give something back to the people who took such good care of me as a child.’’
– Jamie Jones
Founded in 1914, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is now the largest in Europe. Specialising in Oncology and Muscular Dystrophy as well as spinal, heart and brain conditions, the hospital cares for over 270,000 children, young people and their families. #PKBelieve, will officially commence on October 5th and run throughout the holiday season. Residents of Greater Manchester will be able to drop off gifts at several venues across the city centre which will go directly to the children at Alder Hey.
“It can’t be easy spending Christmas in the hospital… Jon and I see the struggles these kids have to overcome year after year and we feel privileged to be able to work with Alder Hey to help put smiles on their faces.”
– Mark Flanagan
Following a few words from guest of honour, Richard Mathias (Joint Chairman, Alder Hey Charity), about his personal involvement and experience with the hospital, Jon and Mark presented raffle prizes supplied by local businesses (JIM BAG, El Capo, Beef & Pudding, Tariff & Dale, Cane & Grain, Barber Barber, Beauty & Bubbles and Deliveroo), some who have also offered up their venues as gift drop points for the campaign.
“We are delighted that the PKB team have chosen to support Alder Hey. Jon Wilkin and Mark Flanagan have long been supporters of our charity. The money raised will go towards lifesaving equipment for the children we treat. We are extremely grateful to the staff and customers of PKB for their wonderful support. The gift drive will also provide presents for those children who will be in hospital over Christmas, and this makes such a difference to their happiness.”
– Richard Mathias
Drambuie presents The Brass & Crimson – an immersive pop-up experience in the heart of London Cocktail Week action. The Brass & Crimson is set in the basement bar of ‘SMITHS’, Spitalfields from 7th- 9th October 2015.
Adopted and loved by the New York scene in the 60’s, Drambuie has a long-standing association with bar culture, music and mixology.Inspired by this, for London Cocktail Week Drambuie will both celebrate the culture that made it an icon, whilst looking forwards with an immersive fusion of live music and classic drinks including the Rusty Nail™, a slow sipping favourite of the legendary Rat Pack.
The Brass & Crimson will play host to two Drambuie Unwritten Sessions, which will feature an incredible line up of talent including iconic artists playing smoky and unexpected sounds.
Drambuie’s Unwritten Sessions at The Brass & Crimson will be a chance to chat to music legends and watch them create unique collaborations and improvisations. The week will culminate in a jaw-dropping ticketed show on Friday evening by a super-cool, much-loved act that takes their influence from the jazz world and brings it bang up to date with some soulful vocals and big beats. Watch this space for more details…
Swing by The Brass & Crimson for a classic Rusty Nail™, book to take part in our ‘From New York to London via Scotland’ masterclasses or drop down each evening and soak up the smoky sounds and after-hours ambience.
Dev Johnson, of New York’s legendary Employees Only bar and Freddy May, Global Drambuie Brand Ambassador, will co-host the ‘From New York to London via Scotland’ masterclasses.
During these intimate sessions, Dev will give his unique insight into the New York bar scene, offering tips on the best, little known bartender, haunts to visit in New York, providing an insider commentary on the local scene. Guests will also learn how to make the classic Rusty Nail™, plus two of the latest new cocktails being sipped in the bars and backrooms of NYC.
Masterclass Timings: · Wednesday 7 October – 6.30pm-7.30pm · Thursday 08 October – 6pm–7pm · Friday 09 October – 6.30pm-7.30pm
The Drambuie presents The Brass & Crimson pop up will be open from Wednesday 7th October to Friday 9th October in the basement bar of SMITHS, Spitalfields.
Cognac Frapin has released the latest in its award-winning ‘Multimillésime” series; the sixth of the ‘Treasures of Chateau Fontpinot‘ limited edition blends. Patrice Piveteau, Frapin’s cellar master, has skilfully combined the characters of the exceptional1986, 1988 and 1991 vintages of these Grande Champagne premier crus to produce Multimillésime No. 6. The collection began in 2008 and has been lauded by connoisseurs and specialists throughout the world. As before, just 1,270 bottles have been produced, a tribute to the ancient lineage of this Grande Champagne Cognac estate, which has been tended by the same family since that year in the 13th century.
TheCognac Frapin Multimillésime No. 6 opens with finesse and subtlety to reveal remarkable strength and a lingering finish. The 1986 vintage has fruity notes (grapefruit and fig) as well as floral notes that give long-lasting aromas. The woody rancio notes of the 1988 vintage give it structure, while the 1991 vintage has provided the finesse and delicacy, with its aromatic accents of candied fruit, orange, apricot, honey and spices.
In the glass, it displays a rather bright colour with yellow-orange glints. On the nose, the finesse and liveliness of the Multimillésime No. 6 are expressed through exotic fruit flavours, such as apricot and fig, which are then revealed. In the mouth, these aromas are combined with notes of vanilla and liquorice as well as rancio Charentais.
Today, Cognac Frapin has 240 hectares of vines and is one of the most beautiful estates in Grande Champagne Cognac. The estate provides access to a product of infinite richness, skilfully blended according to the traditional cultivation techniques and savoir-faire of Cognac Frapin, in particular double distillation on lees. The eau-de-vie is matured slowly and carefully in oak barrels to allow it to express its full personality.
Production is strictly limited, with just 1,270 individually numbered 70cl bottles (40.7 % volume) being produced (the UK receiving a small allocation). Packed in the distinctive, classic bottle – based on an ancient cognac flagon – with a neck hemmed with cord and presented in a wooden gift box, it is expected to retail for around £210. It is being distributed in the UK exclusively by Louis LatourAgencies. (Tel: +44 (0)20 7409 7276 )