Premium and Small Batch Spirit Round up Summer 2024

Happy Summer 24 everyone. Is it me, or does it feel like we’ve waited for years for any sunshine and a break from the showers?!

In our inaugural Summer premium and small batch spirit round up, we’ve got some absolute belters for you to add to the shopping list.

Have the best summer.

Chopin Potato Vodka 40% ABV

Made in Poland, Chopin Potato Vodka distinguishes itself with its unique, light, potato-based, earthy character and incredibly smooth texture. In fact, this is quite possibly one of the smoothest vodkas we’ve had the pleasure of trying… ever!

An interesting fact – I read that it takes almost 10lbs of potatoes to make just one bottle!

As a shot, this is flavourless with only a slight burn on the way down, with a very faint bitterness. If you’re using in a mixer, you’ll hardly notice it even there, it’s that clean.

Nose: Subtle, clean.

Taste: Clean with a slight sweetness with faint mash potato, black pepper and Brazil nuts.

Finish: Clean black pepper with faint creamy, nutty, mash potato.

To sum up then, this is a great staple, love the frosted glass bottle too. It’s not cheap, but rivals some of the super premium vodkas for sure.

The Whisky Exchange £38

Masons Pink Grapefruit and Cucumber Gin 42% ABV

I do a very happy dance when a bottle of Masons arrives on the doorstep. Not only have the rather talented husband and wife team behind this fabulous collection of gins got an appetite for experimenting with delicious new flavours, but the branding is sublime. Masons to me is the Heston of the Gin world – not afraid to rewrite the rule books.

We’ve tried a number of their flavours over the past 2 years, with not even a hint of a disappointing experience. In short, these guys know how to create tasty gins, and this  Pink Grapefruit & Cucumber Gin is no exception.

Nose: Burst of citrus (the grapefruit), with a juniper / cucumber combo following up the rear. 

Taste: A citrus burst of lemon meets pink grapefruit, followed by an ultra-smooth and refreshing

Finish: Cooling, subtle cucumber.

This has “summertime” written all over it people. Get garden party ready with a bottle of this incredible liquid.

We teamed with a premium Indian tonic and garnished with both a cucumber and slice of pink grapefruit. 

Amazon – £30

SMWS Height Of Scottish Summer Whisky 52.9%

Hailing from Benrinnes Distillery (Aberlour), this delightful 16 year old features under SMWS Sweet, Fruity & Mellow category, and for good reason.

Nose: Hints of sweetness, with undertones of toffee, caramel, molasses, and toasted almonds, mingle with the aroma of rum-soaked raisins, reminiscent of their time drying on a seasoned oak whisky barrel stave.

Taste: The classic flavours of cherries, vanilla, and spices are delicately balanced, offering a light and elegant profile reminiscent of a meticulously aged orange wine.

Finish: Sweet, long and VERY satisfying.

Considering the age, this is a very well priced dram and a fantastic addition to any collection.

If you’re a purveyor of the best Scotch whiskies in the world, then you need to join this tremendous club and get unique access to some very special drams. (https://smws.com/)

SMWS £97

Masons Fruits Of The Tropics Gin 38% ABV

If like the rest of us, you feel like you need a little sunshine in your life, look no further than Masons Fruits of the Tropics Gin. This new gin is bursting with fresh, juicy tropical flavours that will transport you to a beach paradise with every sip.

You’re lounging on a hammock, gentle breeze swaying the palm trees, and a cool, refreshing drink in your hand. That’s the vibe Masons Fruits of the Tropics Gin brings.

Nose: Wave of ripe banana and mellow citrus.

Taste: Tropical fruits including mango, pineapple, passionfruit – all balanced with a hint of juniper.

Finish: Tropical fruit salad. WOW!

This gin is practically begging to be turned into a summer cocktail. Masons recommends a simple G&T with plenty of ice and premium Indian tonic water. For a garnish – frozen pineapple, or fresh mango for a drier taste. But really, the possibilities are endless – get creative and invent your own tropical masterpiece.

This is a delicious and refreshing gin that’s sure to brighten your day. So grab a bottle, whip up a tropical cocktail, and close your eyes – paradise awaits!

Masons £34

Axia Extra Dry Mastiha 40% ABV

Axia Mastiha, pronounced mas-ti-ka is a Greek liquor infused with mastic resin from Chios island, a gem known mainly to those of Greek descent. It’s also new one on us, and plugged as an ideal alternative to gin and vodka.

Traditionally sweet and served chilled post-meal, this is a novel dry rendition, crafted for Miami’s Axia Spirit, and is igniting interest among mixologists, paving the way for a fresh Mastiha category.

I can guarantee you’ve not tried something like this before.

Nose: A semi-dry aroma of fresh-cut grass, mint, anise, and menthol, coupled with floral tones like rose petal and dried bergamot. Underpinned by subtle spices, it offers a hint of citrus zest, reminiscent of orange, mandarin, and lemon.

Taste: A touch of candied sweetness and a marmalade-like flavor blend with nuances of clove, pepper, pine resin, and herbal undertones. There is an earthiness here.

Finish: Lingering pine and herbaceous notes and a subtle bitter touch.

Axia Mastiha shines both neat or over ice, as well as in cocktails. Explore its versatility with tonic water, a dash of orange bitters, or mixed with herbal liqueurs or herb-infused syrups. It’s a delightful addition to a mojito, offering endless possibilities for creative concoctions.

The Whisky Exchange £35

Camus Intensley Aromatic Cognac 40% ABV

Unveiling opulent, fruity aromas, Camus VS Intense Aromatic stands as an award-winning Cognac. Initially distilled with lees and subsequently matured in premium French oak barrels, it boasts a rich profile.

Bursting with a high concentration of esters, its palate delights with vibrant summer fruit notes and delicate spice undertones. This meticulously crafted VS reflects the essence of the Charente region, where it originates, embodying the culmination of special distillation techniques aimed at accentuating the eaux-de-vie’s natural aromas.

Nose: rich and fruity aromas with oak.

Taste: Intense flavours of summer fruits and subtle spices.

Finish: Lingering fruity sweetness.

A Cognac that is not only exquisitely balanced but also deeply satisfying, leaving a lasting impression with every sip. A new favourite for me, and fantastic value for money.

This is a fantastic follow up to their XO Borderies, equally on a par.

Spiritly £46

Caorunn Gin 41.8% ABV

Caorunn is crafted in Balmenach distillery in Speyside, a Scottish region renowned for its remarkable assortment of Whiskies. Caorunn contains 11 key botanicals including angelica, coriander seed, cassia and five unique Highland botanicals foraged in the wild including dandelion leaf, bog myrtle, heather, blush apple and rowan berries – whose Gaelic name is Caorunn!

Nose: Juniper led with a hit of citrus.

Taste: Mild earthy notes, but these make way for a more lemon sherbet flavour with waves of juniper.

Finish: Clean, long and refreshing.

A solid foundation for a G&T, however, we would suggest experimenting with alternative garnishes, like crisp green apple, fresh blueberries or cranberries. Keep the tonic on the small side, as this is a gin that sings, and needs little support. However, to appreciate the true flavours, notes and expressive bouquet – drop this in a glass with a large chunk of ice. Phenomenal for the price.

Master of Malt £29

Mermaid Gin (42% ABV) 

We just can’t get enough of Mermaid gin… whether it’s mermaid magic at work, the piece of art that is the bottle, or perhaps the delicious seafaring flavours, this has a special place in our heart and drinks cabinet. If you want the ‘perfect’ G & T, then we don’t think you’ll be too far from the mark with this liquefied treasure. Smooth, deep and rounded with a long finish… what else could you possibly ask for?!

There’s 10 botanicals at work here including rock samphire, elderflower, organic citrus zest, orris root, angelica root, liquorish root, juniper, grains of paradise and boadicea hops and English coriander.

Nose: Salty sea breeze, juniper and earthy root.

Taste: Surprisingly more peppery at first. Coriander, Grains of paradise and black peppercorn ease into a mid-palate that becomes surprisingly bright with a hoppy greenness.

Finish: Early peppery notes, but this time with a tinge of leafy green and liquorice.

Team with juniper berries and a little Fever Tree Indian tonic for the best results. But don’t rely on our bias, the internet is buzzing with 5 star reviews too!

£35 Master Of Malt

Virtuous Ginger Vodka 40% ABV

Virtuous Ginger Vodka is a solid choice for lovers of spicy ginger flavours, as well as cocktail crafters. I’m partial to a flavoured vodka, and so grateful we found this.

The flavour is bold and fresh, making it a great base for creative mixed drinks. However, if you’re looking for a neutral vodka for sipping neat, this might not be your best bet.

This vodka certainly delivers on the ginger front. It packs a punch of fresh ginger flavour that lingers pleasantly on the palate. It’s not overpowering, just right. For those who love ginger and want a vodka that reflects that, Virtuous Ginger hits the spot.

For me, this vodka really shines in a cocktail. The ginger adds a unique kick to classic concoctions like Moscow Mules and Spicy Margaritas. It can also be a delightful base for more adventurous creations, like a ginger take on a Dark and Stormy. However, if you prefer your vodka straight or on the rocks, the ginger might be a bit too prominent for everyday sipping.

Personally, I love a different take on vodka and I may have just found the tonic!

Master Of Malt £30

Rock Rose Summer Edition Gin 41.5% ABV

This summer edition of Rock Rose Gin offers a delightful twist on the better known original. While the base gin uses the same botanicals, the addition of hand-foraged seasonal ingredients creates a lighter and more floral taste. Hints of meadowsweet, elderflower, and lemon balm come through beautifully, making it a perfect summer sip.

The gin maintains the same beautiful signature ceramic bottle, but with a fresh summer design. It’s a bottle you’ll want to keep and reuse long after you’ve enjoyed the gin (ideal for wildflowers). Speaking of eco-friendly practices, the distillery offers refill pouches for the gin, which not only saves you money but also minimizes waste.

Overall, Rock Rose Gin Summer Edition is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a refreshing and flavourful gin to enjoy this summer. The taste is light, floral, and perfect for sipping on a warm evening. The added bonus of beautiful packaging and eco-friendly pouches makes it an even more attractive option.

Nose: Citrus led with lots of fresh lemon.

Taste: Savoury, herbal notes start to come through from the lemon thyme.

Finish: Light herbal notes to finish with soft citrus elements coming through.

Master of Malt £34

Cotswolds Wildflower Gin 41.7% ABV

The Cotswolds Distillery’s No. 1 Wildflower Gin isn’t just another gin; it’s a delightful celebration of summer in a bottle. Here’s why it deserves a spot on your bar.

This gin takes an unconventional approach, using foraged wild botanicals alongside classic juniper. The result? A vibrant red liquid with notes of lavender, chamomile, and honeysuckle, and a very refreshing and unique twist on the traditional gin experience.

The floral notes offer a subtle sweetness that is perfectly balanced with the juniper’s dry character. It’s a gin that is complex enough to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, yet smooth and inviting enough for even casual gin drinkers.

With its light, floral profile, No. 1 Wildflower Gin is perfect for summer sipping. It’s ideal for crafting refreshing gin and tonics with a twist, or for using as a base in creative summer cocktails. Imagine a delightful gin and elderflower spritz or a stunningly floral French 75 – the possibilities are endless – you can have a lot of experimental fun with this.

If you’ve not yet discovered Cotsworld Distillery, then please do so, it’s an incredible day out, just make sure you’re not the designated driver!

Cotsworld Distillery £37

Spice Drop British Spiced Rum 40% ABV

Forget everything you thought you knew about spiced rum. Dropworks Spice Drop Rum rips up the rulebook, crafting a unique and delightful flavour profile entirely from the fermentation and distillation process, with no added spices.

The first sip reveals a surprising depth of flavour. Notes of spiced apple pie, complete with ripe red apples, honeycomb, and a touch of ginger, emerge naturally. There’s not a hint of artificial spice here – all very natural and definitely not a novelty act. It’s a fantastic sipping rum. The subtle sweetness on the finish makes it incredibly smooth and enjoyable. It’s complex enough to keep things interesting, yet approachable enough for casual rum drinkers.

This innovative approach has earned Dropworks Spice Drop Rum recognition. It’s won Gold for Value in the CLASS Bartenders Brand Awards and Silver in the Spirits Business Rum and Cachaca Masters. This isn’t just a quirky experiment; it’s an award-winning spirit.

For me, Dropworks Spice Drop Rum is a game-changer. It’s a delicious and innovative rum that will surprise and delight your taste buds. Whether you’re a seasoned rum aficionado or just starting your exploration, Spice Drop Rum is a must-try, at a great price.

Master of Malt £30

Neurita Picante with Tequila 35% ABV

Neurita Tequila Blanco Picante is a fiery twist on classic tequila, perfect for those who crave a kick in their margarita (or any other cocktail for that matter).

Infused with natural red chili pepper (Scotch Bonnet!), green chili pepper, and a touch of tangerine, Neurita Picante brings the heat without sacrificing flavour. The chili peppers add a delightful warmth that lingers pleasantly on the palate.

The balanced spice profile makes it a versatile spirit. It elevates classic cocktails like Spicy Margaritas and Palomas, taking them to a whole new level. However, its complexity also shines in more adventurous creations. Imagine a smoky mezcal cocktail with a hint of citrus and a surprising fiery finish – Picante opens a world of possibilities for creative mixologists.

This is a premium tequila, crafted from 100% agave sourced from Jalisco, Mexico. The natural fruit and chili pepper infusions complement the base spirit beautifully.

Neurita Tequila Blanco Picante is a must-have for any tequila lover who enjoys a bit of spice. It elevates classic cocktails, inspires creativity for adventurous mixologists, and delivers all this with the quality you expect from a premium tequila. Whether you’re a margarita enthusiast or simply looking to add a fiery twist to your cocktail repertoire, Neurita Picante is a welcome addition to your bar.

Drinks Supermarket £32

The Waterford Cuvee Koffi 50% ABV

Blending Irish single malt whiskeys from two dozen farms, aged in a mix of American and French oak, this bottle, priced at £60(ish) and delivers a unique tasting experience.

Cuvee Koffi’s vibrant box and label design give you a little clue as to what’s to expect from the liquid’s attractive amber-gold hue.

Nose: The aroma is rich and pure, offering enticing notes of bread, caramel, honey, peach, and heather.

Taste: Upon tasting, a delightful combination of honey and earthiness greets the palate, accompanied by subtle spice, caramel, baked bread, edible flowers, apricot pie, and vanilla.

Finish: The finish is sweet, with a gentle hint of spice lingering briefly yet harmoniously.

The marriage of matured whiskeys from single-origin expressions creates a precious blend that exceeds expectations. Well priced and something truly unique.

Master of Malt £61

Amaretto Adriatico Liqueur 28%ABV

Contrary to popular belief, many amarettos lack almonds. However, Adriatico Amaretto stands out as one of the few crafted solely from authentic Italian almonds and natural ingredients sourced from Puglia. Harvested from the sun-kissed landscapes of Italy, Adriatico utilises a rare variety of Apulian almonds known as “Filippo Cea,” roasted to perfection before undergoing maceration and distillation.

In fact, these delectable nuts undergo a meticulous process of roasting, maceration, and distillation, before being blended with cane sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, and sea salt sourced from the nearby Adriatic Sea, lending the liqueur its distinctive name.

This faint hint of salt adds exceptional depth to the flavour profile.

Nose: Toasted almond with marzipan and creamy almond butter.

Palate: Honeycombe toffee toasted lightly salted almonds with almond butter.

Finish: Honeycombe toffee finish.

What a corker! This is fantastic on its own or in a cocktail.

Master Of Malt £30

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