Liquid assets: May 2024

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The best alcoholic drinks launches for May

Related tags Whisky Wine Spirits Scotch whisky Alcoholic beverage Beer Rum Tequila

Swedish and Scottish whiskies and Sussex and Hampshire wines are among our top picks for this month's new drinks releases.

Bisol 1542

High-end Prosecco producer Bisol has made its lowest alcohol brut wine available in the UK to celebrate its 35th anniversary of exporting to the country. Bisol1542 I Gondolieri Prosecco Superiore has no added sugar and a creamy, mellow and fresh taste profile, with a herb and saline finish, evocative of the sea. “It’s an honour to launch Prosecco Superiore I Gondolieri in UK – the latest Bisol1542 creation is a wine that represents a tribute to the magical city of Venice, unique in the appellation not only for its reduced alcohol content and extreme delicacy, but also for being re- fermented using local grape must,” says brand ambassador Gianluca Bisol. Bisol – which is also behind the Jeio Prosecco brand - is in the midst of a nationwide tour to celebrate its UK anniversary, holding wine dinners at restaurants including Mele & Pere and Bocca di Lupo.  

Agitator Whisky


Sweden’s best-selling whisky brand Agitator Whisky is heading to UK shores for two of its expressions soon to become available over here. The whiskies are made using technological advances such as vacuum distillation, where low pressure in the stills lowers the boiling point, making for a gentler treatment of the raw materials. They are also matured in casks made from different kinds of wood, including chestnut, and barrels that have held anything from ice cider and orange wine to rum, mezcal and triple sec. First to launch in the UK is Agitator’s Single Malt, a blend of whiskies matured in bourbon, new American oak, sherry, and chestnut casks. The 43% abv whisky (£49.90) has salty and peaty notes and pairs well with apple cake and puddings. The second, Chestnut Cask whisky (50% abv, £55), is aged in chestnut casks which give a deeper colour and more tannins and astringency but also more complex flavours, says Agitator, and has notes of dried fruit, sweet raisin, and red berries complemented by light notes of honey and vanilla. Founded in 2015, Agitator is based in Arboga in southern Sweden, and sold its first bottle in 2021.

Equiano Rum Co.


Equiano Rum Co. has launched Ominira, its first vintage rum. The release also marks the debut of its Legacy Blends Series. A 52% blend of Gray’s and Foursquare rums, the spirit is matured for a minimum of 11 years. The blend has aromas of ripe banana, sweet molasses, vanilla, allspice and cedarwood on the nose, while the initial taste on the palate reveals luscious notes of dark chocolate, sweet caramel and tropical fruits, layered with a subtle hint of buttery oak. The mid-palate introduces spiciness with cinnamon and nutmeg adding ‘unique depth’, while a ‘long and satisfying’ finish incorporates light tannins, showcasing the ‘exceptional balance and smoothness of the rum’. 3,000 bottles are available priced at £180 retail. 

Black Gold XO Café


Independent drinks wholesaler LWC Drinks is promising to fill the gap left by the discontinuation of Patron XO Café in the UK with a new premium coffee tequila brand. Black Gold XO Café is a 34% abv drink that is said to have a similar flavour profile and the same luxury experience as Patron XO Café and is described as being ‘silky smooth, rich, and full-bodied, with a subtle hint of roasted coffee beans and a warm, lingering finish’. “You just have to look online to see that consumers are continuing to crave this flavour combination but are yet to have their needs fully met,” says Nic Ponticakis, spirits category manager at LWC Drinks. “With social media posts and petitions demanding ‘Bring back Café Patron’ we know that there remains a gap in the UK coffee tequila market that needs filling, and with Black Gold XO Café, we are confident that we have done it.”

Bolney Wine Estate 


West Sussex’s Bolney Wine Estate has released two new products: English Vines Rosé and the low-alcohol English Garden Spritz. The former was vinified in 2023 from 100% Pinot Noir and has notes of strawberry, watermelon and peach blossoms on the nose, and ‘perfectly balanced, gentle acid’ with a dry finish on the palate. Bolney’s English Garden Spritz, meanwhile, is billed as an exciting new lower-alcohol spritz (6% ABV) made with the producer’s 2022 Chardonnay-based Bianco Vermouth and a tonic recipe created in partnership with Folkington’s. Enhanced with grapefruit, chamomile flowers, nasturtium flowers, sorrel greens, and botanicals from the Bolney Estate kitchen garden, the English Garden Spritz boasts a ‘vibrant’ citrus flavour profile complemented by a gentle bitterness, appealing to ‘those who appreciate distinctive and refreshing libations’. 

Black Chalk 

Hampshire-based wine estate Black Chalk has released a new tier of premium sparkling wines. Both from the 2020 vintage, Paragon (a Blanc de Blancs) and Inversion (a Blanc de Noirs) ‘mark a significant moment’ for the small English wine producer. The new wines are billed as ‘minimal intervention’ with no malolactic fermentation taking place and no fining and ‘show the extraordinary potential and purity of Hampshire fruit’, specifically from Black Chalk’s Test Valley site. The wines will both retail at £65 and will be available to wine-focused restaurants, directly from Black Chalk. The UK will have the the bulk of the wine, with Japan the only international market to receive an allocation.

Lowland single malts

Scottish distillery Bladnoch has released a new single cask collection into its portfolio of Lowland single malt Scotch whiskies. Marking the final release in a five-year series, the Bladnoch 2024 Single Cask Collection features six single malt whiskies, to showcase some of the distillery’s finest casks. Varying in cask type and rarity, each of the whiskies has been bottled at cask strength and is non-chill filtered with natural colour. They are: Single Cask 2024/01, a single malt distilled in 2017 and matured in a sherry butt cask (57.6% abv); the Single Cask 2024/02 expression, distilled in 2007 and matured in a single bourbon barrel (52.6% abv); Single Cask 2024/03, a sweet and smoky peated whisky distilled in 2017 and matured in a canasta butt cask (58.3%); Single Cask 2024/04, distilled in 2008 and matured in a bourbon barrel (51.2%); Single Cask 2024/05, distilled in 2006 and matured in a sherry butt cask (49.9%);and Single Cask 2024/06, distilled in 2001 and matured in an amontillado sherry hogshead cask (50.1%).

Château d’Estoublon


Provence-based winery Château d’Estoublon has launched a white version of its popular Roseblood Rosé. Roseblood White is light in colour with green and golden hues and is described as lively with typical rolle aromas such as notes of confit lemon, ginger and a touch of exotic fruit. The palate is ‘generous and balanced’ by the freshness of high-altitude terroirs. It’s said to be perfect match with oysters, goat’s cheese and grilled prawns. Both the new white and the Roseblood Rosé - which was launched in the UK last year - are exclusively available to the on trade via Majestic Commercial.  

Brockmans Agave Cut

Brockmans Gin has expanded its range with Agave Cut, a blend of its flagship gin and an agave-based spirit. Infused with pink grapefruit, the ‘disruptive’ 41.2% ABV spirit drink is said to echo the brand’s ‘properly improper’ ethos. “Agave Cut is the most properly improper thing we have done to date, and we are very proud of what we have achieved,” says Brockman’s global marketing director Eric Sampers. “It is a fantastic liquid that combines two seemingly very different distilling cultures and traditions into something unique, sophisticated and absolutely delicious to drink.” 9,000 bottles of Agave Cut are available with each one sealed with a teal-coloured wax, individually numbered and sold for £46 retail.

Strathearn Single Malt 


Family-owned independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co has launched its first whisky – Strathearn Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The first release has been bottled from 32 specially selected casks; including ex-bourbon, virgin and ex-sherry oak, some of which were inherited when Douglas Laing acquired the Strathearn Distillery in 2019. To make the whisky the raw ingredients go through a significantly long fermentation time, lasting 144 hours, to allow for the creation of Strathearn’s fruity character. Bottled at 50% abv, the whisky is described as having a syrupy palate that coats the mouth in notes of honey, butter cream, dried apricots with a hint of spice and is priced at £85 a bottle. 

Compass Box Celestial

Compass Box has unveiled the final and most ambitious blend in its Extinct Blends Quartet. Celestial takes inspiration from highly sought-after bottlings from the 1950s and 1960s, known for their intricate peat profile and connections to an original ‘Whisky Baron’ and distilleries on Islay and Speyside. It combines malt whiskies from Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Glen Elgin, and Pulteney distilleries, and is characterised with a robust peat smoke flavour, ‘reminiscent of a beach bonfire’. Its global release is limited to 5,532 bottles.

Camden Town Lager Top


Camden Town Brewery has extended its range of fresh beers with a summery Lager Top that has been designed as lower-alcohol alternative to its bestselling Camden Hells. Brewed with pilsner, wheat and carapils malts, perle, and saphir hops and Bavarian lager yeast, the lemon lager also contains lemon puree and has an abv of 3.4%. Lager Top was originally launched as a limited-edition beer as part of Camden’s small batch innovation series, Arch 55

Shetland's first distillery to open

Shetland will get its first ever whisky distillery when it opens later this year. Lerwick Distillery is founded by friends Martin Watt, Caroline MacIntyre, and Calum Miller, who secured the site in 2022. Scottish law dictates that a spirit cannot legally be called a whisky until it has matured for at least three years and one day, and the distillery plans to bottle a ‘new make’ spirit to cover operational costs for the first few years. This product will be called Haad Still – a traditional Shetland phrase for ‘hold on’, encouraging people to wait for the whisky to mature.

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