Liquid assets: March 2024

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The biggest alcoholic drink launches of March

Related tags Jack daniel's Whisky Rum Spirits Wine Cocktails

A new Jack Daniel's expression, the launch of a host of premium rums, and the revival of Port Ellen distillery make up this month's top drinks news.

Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye

Jack Daniel’s has unveiled its latest addition to its Bonded Series, a range of expressions that honours the distillery’s heritage of whiskey-making excellence. Its Bonded Rye is a Tennessee rye whiskey bottled at 50% abv and is the first rye whiskey from the Jack Daniel Distillery with the Bottled-in-Bond designation. The new whiskey has a grain bill of 70% rye, 18% corn, and 12% malted barley and is charcoal mellowed before aging in new, handmade American white oak barrels. The whiskey has notes of sweet dried fruit, followed by hints of toffee and caramel to provide a bold, complex, and balanced taste with a rye spice finish. As outlined by the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, a bonded whiskey must be distilled by a single distiller during a single season, matured in a government bonded warehouse for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof. As a bottled-in-bond whiskey, Bonded Rye is revered for its unparalleled quality, embodying strict production standards and a rich heritage that ensures each sip delivers exceptional taste and consistency. To celebrate the launch the brand is partnering with five bars nationwide offering exclusive cocktail serves created using the whiskey. The participating bars comprise Present Company in Liverpool, Blinker Bar in Manchester, Filthy XIII in Bristol, Panda & Sons in Edinburgh, and The Hawksmoor in London.



CAFÉ SOLO is the first in a range of premium UK-made cold brew coffee liqueurs to hit the drinks market. Made with espresso-strength coffee from specialty cold brew coffee makers SOLO Coffee - a blend of freshly ground, sustainably sourced Brazilian and Colombian beans - and premium British vodka, CAFÉ SOLO has an abv of 25% and is described as being ‘bold and rich’ with a dark fruit acidity, chocolate, and vanilla notes with a long and sweet after taste. The drinks has been designed to be mixed in cocktails, with suggest serves that include an Espresso Martini; |Irish Coffee; and a CAFÉ SOLO Negroni. “There continues to be phenomenal popularity for coffee-based cocktails, such as the Espresso Martini,” says brand manager Holly Harwood. “We recognised the need for a premium coffee liqueur when speaking to bartenders across the UK. Many simply felt that the coffee liqueurs on offer were far too sweet or were not exciting enough. CAFÉ SOLO Original is the perfect sipping liqueur or base for your favourite coffee cocktail.” CAFÉ SOLO will be followed by the launch of a selection of cask-finished coffee liqueurs in the future.

Cnoc Na Mòine whisky


Isle of Skye distillery Torabhaig has released the latest expression in its The Torabhaig Legacy Series. Meaning ‘hill of peat’ in Gaelic, Cnoc Na Mòine is a peated single malt and is the distillery’s first release that includes single malt matured in sherry casks. On the nose it is described as having ‘hints of orange peel and dying embers with a subdued peat smoke aroma’ with ‘pepper, balsamic acidity and gentle spice’ on the palate. “There is an intriguing complexity to peated whisky, an endless depth to explore,” says Neil MacLeod Mathieson, Torabhaig whisky maker. “There are many faces and moods to peat, so a balance has to be found between strength and refinement, between elegance and robustness. Each expression in the Legacy Series captures our progress towards this vision and is a liquid snapshot of our whisky journey here on the Isle of Skye.” The whisky is 46% abv has an price tag of £58.

Port Ellen Distillery

Diageo has reopened Islay’s Port Ellen Distillery with the aim for it to be ‘a trailblazing light for the future of whisky distillation’. One of the so-called ‘ghost’ distilleries that closed in Scotland more than 40 years ago, the rebirth of Port Ellen represents the final chapter in the £185m investment by Diageo, which has also seen the reopening of another famous ghost distillery Brora, as well as investment in the company’s Scotch whisky visitor experiences. The new distillery building features ultra-modern design with two pairs of copper stills. The first pair - The Phoenix Stills - are precise replicas of the original Port Ellen stills and will distil the classic smoky whisky for which the distiller was known. The second pair – The Experimental Stills – are linked to a Ten Part Spirit Safe, a piece of distilling equipment that allows whisky makers to draw multiple cuts from the heart of the run, leading to what Diageo says will be new levels of intricacy and complexity.

Rathfinny Mini Cuvée


In a claimed first, East Sussex sparkling wine producer Rathfinny has launched a 50cl bottle. Just 800 bottles of the 2020 Rathfinny Mini Cuvée are available, each individually numbered by hand. The blend is 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier. The wine is lemon in colour with hints of straw with a ripe nose of summer fruits, red apple, white flowers and candied lemon. A ‘soft and approachable’ palate shows sweet orange, flat nectarine, grapefruit and pumpkin spice leading to a ‘balanced’ honeysuckle and blossom honey finish. Established near Lewes in 2010 by Mark and Sarah Driver, Rathfinny now has B Corp status.

Ominira rum

The Equiano Rum Co will release the first expression from its Legacy Blends Series next month. Ominira will be the company’s first vintage rum and is an 11-year-old vintage distilled by Barbadian distillery Foursquare and Gray’s in Mauritius. It is matured in bourbon and cognac casks, and finished with a touch of sherry cask to add depth and richness to the liquid. Matured for a minimum of 11 tropical years, the Ominira blend has aromas of ripe banana, sweet molasses, vanilla, allspice and cedarwood on the nose, with notes of dark chocolate, sweet caramel and tropical fruits leading into a cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness on the palate. The name is a nod to Equiano the man, who was kidnapped and enslaved at 11 years of age. Its name, Ominira means Freedom in Yoruba, the West African language predominantly spoken in Equiano’s birthplace of Essaka. In further recognition of the freedom fighter who changed the world, the aged and rested blend of Gray’s and Foursquare rums have an abv of 52%, which reflects the age that Equiano lived to. Ominira will launch on 15 April priced at £180.

Leonardslee sparkling wines


The Streeter family is launching the first English sparkling wines from its West Sussex estate Leonardslee, which is home to 38 acres of vineyard. Three sparkling wines have been produced, all made by traditional method: a Blanc de Blancs (£60), Brut Reserve (£45), and Brut Rosé (£45). The Leonardslee vineyards were planted in 2017 with Chardonnay (60%), Pinot Noir (30%), Pinot Meunier (10%), alongside a trial planting of Pinotage, which was the first of its kind in the UK. The first wines will be ready for release in early May.

Krone Cap Classique

South African wine brand Krone Cap Classique has launched in the UK offering a four traditional method sparkling wines. Located on the 300-year-old Twee Jonge Gezellen estate, Krone Cap Classique works closely with cellarmaster Rudiger Gretschel, the winemaker responsible for bringing site-specific Cap Classique to South Africa, as well as head winemaker Stephan de Beer. Grapes are handpicked at night, a harvest tradition that preserves flavour and acidities. The grapes then undergo a cold fermentation, the method pioneered in South Africa by Krone, which maintains the natural acidity and purity of the fruit. The range includes the entry level Krone Borealis Brut and Krone Rosé Cuvée Brut and the more premium Kaaimansgat Site Specific Blanc de Blancs and Krone Amphora Blanc De Blancs.

Speciality Brands premium rums


Speciality Brands is bringing a range of six new premium rums to the UK market – four from Transcontinental Rum Line and two from Hampden Estate. The four Transcontinental expressions are inspired by the practice of ageing rum in both tropical and European climates and comprise Australia 2014 (48% abv, £57); Panama 2015 (43% abv, £57); Jamaica 2016 (57.8% abv, £73); and French West Indies VO (46% abv, £55). Distilled in Queensland, Australia 2014 is made from fermented molasses using only a pot still. Following a five-year ageing period in ex-bourbon barrels, it was then sent to France for further ageing in an ex-Cognac foudre. Panama is made from fermented molasses and is distilled in column stills and benefits from six years of ageing in tropical conditions near the Panama Canal. Jamaica 2016 is distilled in pot stills n the Lluidas Vale Distillery of Jamaica from fermented molasses and is aged for four years in tropical conditions at the distillery before undergoing an additional year of ageing in the mild European climate. The French West Indies VO is distilled in a traditional creole column from a sugar cane juice fermentation and was initially matured in the tropics before being shipped to Europe for additional ageing. The two new rums from Hampden Estate are: Hampden Pagos (52% abv, £79), the first bottling from the distillery to be aged exclusively in sherry casks; and Hampden Estate Great House Distillery Edition 2023 (57% abv, RRP: £115) which is the fifth release of the exclusive distillery edition and is produced to a recipe that changes yearly.

Cointreau SmartPour


Cointreau is launching its co-branded editions of ecoSPIRITS’ ecoTOTEs and SmartPour electronic dispense systems into The Alchemist bars. The partnership will see the system being rolled out across The Alchemist’s key London sites over the next few months, including St Martins Lane, Old Street, Aldgate, Canary Wharf, Battersea and Victoria, and will see the offering available in all 23 nationwide locations by December 2024. Circular economy company ecoSPIRITS has developed low carbon, low waste packaging system for spirits and wine, supplying more than 2,000 leading bars, restaurants, hotels, and retailers with its closed loop packaging systems. The reusable and sustainable ecoTOTEs helps to reduce single-use packaging waste, allowing the bars to minimise environmental footprints and eliminate an estimated 3,532kg of packaging waste over the next 12 months along with an 76.7% reduction in CO2 footprint, as well as 1,680 trees planted, according to the company. The Alchemist will have access to a range of different pouring solutions, which will be used across the company’s venues.

Glidin RTD


Caribbean inspired drinks brand, Wha Gwan is expanding its product range with the introduction of its latest limited-edition Glidin. Glidin is Wha Gwan’s first infused wine that combines its Melon Cherry Rum Tonic with sparkling Glera wine for what its maker says is a product unlike any other on the UK drinks market. The company has chosen a beer style bottle for the 8% abv drink to make it stand out from other wine-based drinks on the market and to give it strong appeal in the RTD sector. “UK manufacturing has limited resources for bottling in champagne/prosecco like bottles and with Brexit driving up the cost for importing and exporting, we decided to think outside of the box with the aim of making something special which is how we came about bottling Glidin in a bottle that is usually associated with beer,” says Wha Gwan founder David Mills.

Nespresso Brazil Organic

Nespresso Professional has launched a pure arabica coffee blend developed to complement its existing Origins Organic range. Brazil Organic joins flavours from Peru, Congo, and Colombia and is a blend of beans from the savannahs of the Cerrado Mineiro region, which gives the light hint of toasted grain and cereal, the hilltop plantations in Brazil’s southern Minas Gerais state, as well as São Paulo estates. This blend creates a smooth and mild coffee flavour, says Nespresso. All four professional Origins Organic coffees are sourced from carefully selected regions within their respective countries and are cultivated, harvested, and processed using methods endorsed by local farmers, according to the coffee company.

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