Premium And Small Batch Spirit Round Up for Spring 2023
Don’t you just love this time of year, to finally see the sun after what seems like an age. Along with it, comes new growth, colour, and of course more smiles all around! What’s more, we can start to enjoy some delicious new spirits in the open. Welcome to our Spring 2023 round up, it’s a good one!
8 Track Spiced Rum 37.5% ABV
Possibly the most vibrant rum on the outside, as well as inside, that I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. Welcome to 8 Track Spiced Rum, the ideal livener to a party, which is getting a lot of attention right now, and for good reason!
8 Track comes from my fave place in the UK, Cornwall, and was the brainchild of two Rumpreneurs, Matt & Jem, who saw the opportunity to align the spirit with music venues and festivals – a match made in heaven!
This is a Guyanese rum distilled from native sugar cane molasses before being blended with rum from Barbados and spiced with Seville oranges, vanilla, cloves, ginger and cinnamon.
Personally, I like this straight up, unfussy, but could imagine it would work very well in a Rum Moscow Mule. It’s a laid back, easy to drink, and beautifully sweet. In terms of flavour, likened to a live band, there’s a lot going on in here, but it’s perfectly in time and tune. You’ll pick up some fiery spice and tangy orange… I just wanna dance with somebody!
Where’s the party at!!!
Master of Malt £31.95
Oxford Rye Dry Gin 43% ABV
The Oxford Artisan Distillery was launched in 2017 and produces a range of spirits, including gin, absinthe, vodka and whisky. The distillery manages hundreds of acres of farmland, implementing their progressive farming methods, creating an of organic spirit from ancient heritage grains that ends up in their spirits. It’s a great story.
Their Rye Dry Gin contains 12 botanicals including juniper, coriander seeds, lemon peel, orange peel, nutmeg, cubeb, and meadowsweet.
On the nose, fresh coriander, orange peel, aromatic cardamon, pine, and juniper.
On the palate, this is silky smooth and offers up flavours of toasted seeds, citrus, grassiness and gentle spice.
The finish is long and smooth, delicious with a light Fever Tree tonic, garnished with a slice of fresh apple. Yum!
Master of Malt £39.44
St Ermin’s London Dry Gin 40% ABV
Launched by the four-star deluxe St Ermin’s hotel in London’s St James’ Park, this is a small batch gin using home-grown botanicals handpicked from the hotel’s kitchen roof garden and a touch of honey from its resident Buckfast bees.
The gin, a London Dry infused with mint, lemon verbena, lavender, blue basil and geraniums, is made by the award-winning Hawkridge Distillers. This has a delightful sweetness, likely from the honey, it’s also incredibly creamy, smooth.
I’m loving the blend of botanicals in this, with the heady citrus being the clear breakthrough flavour for me. Don’t complicate this, serve it up with a premium tonic, a slice of grapefruit or sprig of rosemary and plenty of ice.
Oh, and the hive shaped bottle is a thing of beauty!
Shop St Ermins £75
Oxford Rye Whisky 40% ABV
This is the second Rye whisky I’ve had the pleasure of tasting from The Oxford Artisan Distillery. On first sip, this is quite different to your average whisky, in a very good way. The spirit itself is classed as a pure rye spirit and not a rye whiskey because it is less than three years old.
Oxford Rye Whiskyis distilled from 20% malted rye and 80% unmalted rye in bespoke pot stills, and is then aged in American oak for two months.
On the nose, sweet fruits, marmalade, caramel and toffee, with a pinch of vanilla.
On the palate, fresh, fruity and creamy notes of chai spiced milk chocolate, roasted coffee bean and freshly baked bread.
To finish, long and slightly spicy.
This is so tasty in an Old Fashioned, but also when combined with a simple dash of water.
Master of Malt £40
Waterford Irish Single Malt Micro Cuvée 50% ABV
Founded in 2015, the Waterford Distillery in the South of Ireland has been making waves with its delicious range of Irish whiskies, thanks to a range of barley varieties used in distillation. Waterford double distil, rather than triple distil, which is said to retain more of the character.
This is the result of blending together 25 individually distilled single farm origin whiskies, each covering a wide spectrum of natural flavours defined by Ireland’s soils and micro climates. The liquid is then aged for four years and five months in a combination of first-fill American oak, virgin American oak, French oak, and sweet wine casks, then bottled at 50% ABV without chill filtration or artificial coloring.
The results are pretty special, and whilst there is a definite youth to the The Cuvée character, there’s still heals of complexity to lose yourself in.
On the nose, sweet Apricot, sultanas, maple syrup on pancakes, candied apples, sage and thyme, mince pie, digestive biscuits and butter, warm hay, dried flowers.
On the palate, white pepper, spicy, grapefruit, sweet and sour, chilly flakes, dryness, orange zest, coco, slightly malt vinegar & salt, chocolate.
To finish, an intense spice meets oak, with floral honeyed sweetness and that delightful cereal note.
I’ve yet to be unimpressed by what Waterford deliver. Heaps of imagination and the daring to be different.
Ellers Farm Distillery Y Gin 40% ABV
Here we have a carbon neutral gin from the impressive Ellers Farm Distillery in North Yorkshire. For a very reasonable price of £25, you can get yourself a fantastic little gin with lots of flavour.
You’ve a host of botanicals making their mark here, including juniper, cardamom, and liquorice, as well as a more local ingredient – Yorkshire rhubarb.
On the nose, I get lots of zesty rhubarb, and it’s delicious.
On the palate, there’s that zest in full, here comes the rhubarb and earthy liquorice.
I really like this spirit. The distillery has dared to be different, and it’s really worked for them. Keep an eye on these guys as they’re launching some awesome spirits.
Ellers Farm Shop £25
The Reid Single Malt Vodka 44%
I’ve known about the Cardrona distillery in New Zealand for a few months now, namely for their delicious single malt whisky. This, however, is their rather special Single Malt Vodka, which took gold at the World’s Best 50 International Awards in New York, and for good reason.
Presented in an iconic Italian, water droplet shaped glass bottle, this is a really delicate spirit offering, made from pure local water alongside high-quality malted barley.
On the nose, there’s a distinctive aroma of sweet, pear drops, along with toffee, caramel, butterscotch.
On the palate, this is really dry, smooth and creamy, with an undercurrent of lemon, malt, and that sweet butternut.
The finish is long, and sweet.
Whilst this isn’t a vodka you’d be wanting to waste in a cocktail, adding a dash of lemon juice and tonic creates a sublime drink, which seems to accentuate the delicious fruity notes from The Reid. Delicious.
Master Of Malt £55
Amarula Gin 43% ABV
All the way from sunny South Africa, Amarula Gin is the latest spirit to join the Amarula family, best known for its cream liqueur, which is delicious with Crème De Menth by the way (a Springbock shot!).
Like it’s delicious sibling, Amarula Gin is also made from Marula Fruit, and is still the only one in the World to have done so. This gives it a distinctive, exotic taste that you are going to love. One thing to note here, Amarula Gin received a Gold Award from the highly regarded Spirits Business Gin Masters in July 2022.
The process for making it is an interesting one, with each fruit being hand-picked, washed, destined, pulped and then cooled. It is then distilled into marula fruit spirit. The premium botanicals – juniper berries, orange peel and blossom, and Ghanaian grains of paradise are steeped for 24 hours in this complex, yet delicate spirit and gently distilled in a pot still.
The result is a perfect balance of gentle juniper notes and subtle orange blossom. The exotic flavours of the marula fruit gives it a unique twist.
To preserve those flavours, it is best served over ice with Indian tonic and a slice of fresh grapefruit. Lekker!!
Master of Malt £26
No.3 London Dry Gin (The Whisky Exchange £30)
No.3 is the only gin to have been awarded World’s Best four times. That tells you something!
Created by Berry Bros & Rudd, Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, this is an excellently poised gin.
Expect warming cardamom, hints of grapefruit peel and crisp, uplifting juniper for a classic, yet modern twist, London Dry. Aesthetically stunning, it’s an essential addition to any drinks cabinet.
Another corker of a gin for cocktail making. No.3 is meticulously distilled in a 100-year-old, brick-encased, copper pot still. For me, it represents the perfect balance of juniper, citrus and spice.
It’s smooth, suave and very sophisticated. The bottle is pretty good to look at too!
Master of Malt £35
Bone Idyll Aged Rum 45% ABV
Is it Mike Tyson on the front of the bottle or just my eyes, I just can’t decide. Anyway, if you can pull yourself away from the beautiful design on the bottle and pop the lid, you’ll enter a world of Caribbean charm. The rum is a blend of dark Guyana rum and lighter tones from Barbados and Dominican Republic.
On the palate, dark burnt sugar and wafts of butterscotch pave the way for fresh notes of banana and melon, the pepper lifts the flavour, without bringing obvious heat, whilst zingy hints of lime bring things all together.
An absolute belter of a rum that just feels right at home in the booze cabinet, not to mention the fact it adds a new level of cool to it!
This is my new go-to rum!
Master of Malt £35
Bone Idyll Botanical Rum 45% ABV
Just like the Aged Rum, the bottle’s artwork is masterful, eye catching, and a real conversation piece to be honest. Give the designer a raise!
This also uses the same base blend of rums from Guyana, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic as the Aged Rum.
The fun really gets started when you pour your first drink. This has vibrancy at it’s core, with banana and lime leaf, along with Scotch Bonnet pepper, which adds a delicate hit of fire. Expect burnt sugar, butterscotch, fresh banana, lime and of course, heat.
There’s a lot going on here, but the results are outstanding – a fresh, sweet, and iconic rum, that you’ll not want to miss.
Master of Malt £35
15 Year Old Speyburn Single Malt 46% ABV
We’ve had the pleasure of featuring Speyburn’s 10-year-old some time ago and was hugely impressed by it, certainly from a cost perspective too. We now turn to Speyside’s characterful 15-year-old single malt, which is matured in American and Spanish oak barrels.
This is a pokey, yet delightful and uncomplicated dram, which will grow on you.
On the nose, an immediate hit of dark cocoa, followed by sweet fruit, pineapple and bananas in particular. There is also malt with sourdough.
On the palate, without water this can be quite overpowering, and a little sharp. But with water, this comes alive with lashings of syrup, custard and banana bread.
To finish, this doesn’t necessarily have lots of staying power, but it does leave a lovely notes of ginger, lemon, apricots and apple.
This is a lovely, uncomplicated whisky, which I’d quite happily keep as a staple go-to this Spring.
Master Of Malt £54
Hoxton Banana Rum 40% ABV
Oh boy, Hoxton have done a good job with this one! This banana rum is the perfect blend of spiciness of rum and the exotic fruitiness of banana. The mixture is infused for five weeks, in order for the two flavours to become one!
The aroma is fragrant with banana, and a hint of toffee… think banoffee pie if it was a spirit. On the palate – Banana! Oh so much Banana – with a spicy kick. The aftertaste has a lingering cinnamon flavour. Bold, brash, and banana’ry – but incredibly tasty!
This Caribbean inspired rum is perfect for both sipping, or making fruity cocktails. An essential for wowing guests at your summer parties! For rum lovers and those looking for that tropical taste!
Master of Malt £43.45
Hoxton Coconut and Grapefruit Gin 40% ABV
Hoxton Gin, is a lighter tasting gin with a very interesting flavour. The flavour profile is far more floral & citrus rather than the traditional herbal or juniper flavour. First your taste buds are hit with the flavour of coconut, which is then immediately followed by the refreshing taste of grapefruit and the lingering flavour of ginger. Tropical notes are delivered throughout the drinking experience.
Unlike the classic gins, there is very little juniper on the nose. Instead, it’s reminiscent of coconut rums (but don’t worry it doesn’t taste like rum!). It’s a wonderfully unconventional play on the traditional gin, making it an absolute joy to sample.
Works perfectly in a range of cocktails – but for best results add to soda and ice, and let the notes shine through! We’ll be whipping this one out all summer!
Master of Malt £32.95
Sobieski Vodka 40% ABV
Made from 100% pure Polish Dankowski Rye grain, Sobieski Vodka is a premium vodka at a very sensible price point, making it absolutely ideal for cocktails, especially an Espresso Martini!
On the nose; sweet and sour rye, hinting at a well defined distillation process.
On the palate, there’s a heap of flavours here; lemon, vanilla and pepper spice. There’s a nice cool balance here that makes this pleasant straight out the freezer.
To finish; this is dry (without being overly so), and sweet.
Coming back to the price, this really is the icing on the cake – there are far less tasty vodkas on the market for twice the price. Fantastic product.
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