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Top 10 January drinks launches

Auchentoshan 1966

Matured in ex-Bourbon hogshead casks for over 44 years, this highly collectible whisky is one of the rarest expressions of any Lowland single malt. A mere 257 bottles of the Auchentoshan 1966 were laid down following triple distillation in February 1966 in Warehouse Number Three, where temperatures vary by just 12 degrees a year.

Encased in a hand-crafted, individually numbered, aluminium and oak outer case, Auchentoshan 1966 comes with a booklet charting its history. “This is a stunning example of the care, craft and investment we put into our whiskies, that means it can withstand the test of time. Auchentoshan 1966 has matured beautifully – it has aged with a complex character, but keeps its youthful vitality,” says Kirsteen Beeston, head of brands at Morrison Bowmore Distillers. RRP: £4,500


Gosset Celebris gift box

Champagne Gosset has introduced a new gift box for its prestiges cuvées, Celebris Extra Brut 1998 (pictured) and Celebris Extra Brut Rosé 2003. The new look, which the brand describes as “a worthy successor” to the previous design, is inspired by the concept of the little black dress.

Aiming for a strong on-shelf impact, the design is finished with a colour-coded ribbon produced by  manufacturer Sin Rejac woven into the front of the box. The interior, featuring a magnetic clasp, is also colour coded in either gold or pink to differentiate between the Extra Brut ’98 and Extra Brut Rosé 2003. RRP: £120 (Extra Brut 1998), £130 (Extra Brut Rosé 2003)


Cream gin

Online retailer Master of Malt has partnered with Fluid Movement, owners of the popular London cocktail bars The Worship Street Whistling Shop, Purl, and Dach & Sons, to produce a 40% abv gin made with cold-distilled cream. Cream gin was a staple of the gin palaces of the Victorian era, and at the time was a mixture of gin, cream and sugar stored in a barrel to soften the harshness of the spirit.

Modernising the production method, Master of Malt’s effort, which includes fresh cream, is macerated with a citrus-forward gin then cold distilled to produce a spirit with a “full mouthfeel and strong notes of dairy and vanilla” that forms the base of Worship Street Whistling Shop’s signature cocktail, the Black Cat’s Martini. RRP: £41.95


Grand Marnier “Paris”

Orange-flavoured brandy liqueur Grand Marnier has launched a limited-edition “Paris” bottle with an eye-catching design that pays homage to the City of Light. Featuring a midnight blue lacquered bottle overlaid with a gold frieze outline of a star-filled Parisian skyline, the Paris design is the 11th bespoke bottle from the brand.

The first limited edition Grand Marnier bottle design went on sale as far back as 1927. Created in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, Grand Marnier marries distilled bitter oranges, Cognac brandy and sugar in a distinct liqueur now sold in more than 150 countries around the world. RRP: £25.99.


Tercius Alvarinho 2011

Portuguese producer João Portugal Ramos has crafted an Alvarinho to be stocked exclusively by Marks & Spencer in response to consumer demand for lighter, fresher, lower-alcohol white wine styles. Made from 100% Alvarinho, Tercuis Alvarinho 2011 is a new Vinho Verde venture for João Portugal Ramos and displays the signature crisp, citrus style the region has become famed for.

“It’s very exciting for us to expand our range with our Alvarinho in M&S. It provides an ideal opportunity to alert consumers to the potential of Portuguese whites, which are constantly improving with modern winemaking techniques,” says Ramos. RRP: £9.99


GlenDronach Cask Strength

Aberdeenshire distillery GlenDronach has added a cask-strength expression to its line-up. Bottled in November, the first batch of the 54.8% abv, non-chill filtered whisky comprises 12,000 bottles.

GlenDronach Cask Strength boasts signature Sherry aromas of toffee, honey, sultanas and spice on both the nose and the palate, having been matured in a combination of oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks, the former imbuing the whisky with “citrus notes”, while the latter brings “rich, treacle notes”. The blend was personally selected by Billy Walker and designed to supplement the core range of 12, 15, 18 and 21 Year Old. RRP: £50.95


Dom Ruinart Rosé 1998

Champagne Ruinart has launched the latest vintage of its prestige cuvée, Dom Ruinart Rosé 1998, in the UK market. Only made in exceptional vintages, Dom Ruinart Rosé 1998 is a blend of 85% grand cru Chardonnay (66% of which is from the Côtes des Blancs), and 15% Pinot Noir vinified as red wine from Sillery and Verzenay.

“With almost 15 years of bottle age, Dom Ruinart Rosé 1998 displays superb maturity and focus, and is showing very nicely already, but I believe it has the potential to age further like its ancestors, the 1996, 1990 and 1986 vintages,” says Ruinart cellar master Frédéric Panaïotis. RRP: £230


Absolut Hibiskus

A blend of hibiscus and pomegranate with no added sugar, Absolut Hibiskus, described by Absolut as its “first floral-flavoured vodka”, is intended to appeal to bartenders seeking floral ingredients to make cocktails. “A new sophistication has emerged in bars regarding floral concoctions,” says Nodjame Fouad, global marketing director for The Absolut Company.

“People have begun to appreciate the possibilities flowers bring to the world of cocktails. Absolut Hibiskus’ combination of flavours is unique, taking cocktail culture in an unexpected direction,” Fouad adds. The new flavour goes on sale in the US on- and off-trade this month, with the UK launch planned for March.


Belvedere Red

Belvedere Vodka has marked the second year of its partnership with the Red AIDS campaign with a special edition bottle design now on sale in the UK. 50% of profits from the global sale of the brand go to the Global Fund, one of the world’s leading financiers of programmes to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Developed by Polish design firm Dekorglass, the new edition features a striking semi-transparent metallic bottle described by Belvedere president Charles Gibb as:“symbolic of our dedication to Red and a sign to our audience that we, collectively as a global community, can put an end to mother-to-child transmission of this disease”. RRP: £34.50


Chivas 18 by Pininfarina

Chivas Regal has partnered with Italian design company Pininfarina to produce a series of limited editions. The designs are meant to, “encapsulate the brand’s modern and luxurious character”.

The first design, a case housing a bottle of Chivas 18-year-old, is based on a water droplet and lends an illusion of movement which is characteristic of Pininfarina’s designs.

The second limited edition, also using the drop design, holds a bottle and two glasses. James Slack, Chivas Regal’s brand director, comments: “The Chivas 18 by Pininfarina Limited Editions are distinctive designs that will speak to our customers – modern gentlemen who seek style and substance in the brands they connect with. Pininfarina is an excellent fit with Chivas 18 and we are confident that these exclusive limited editions will continue our line of successes with previous Chivas 18 partnerships.”

The two cases will be available throughout global travel retail from January onwards priced at £90 and £360 respectively.


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