Kol launches own range of mezcal
Santiago Lastra’s restaurant Kol has collaborated with spirit distributor El Destilado to create its own range of mezcals. The arrival of the four-strong range coincides with the high-reaching Marylebone Mexican launching an online shop which will offer said spirits alongside Kol’s house wines, which are produced by Slovakian winery Slobodne. According to the restaurant, its house mezcals are distinctive and terroir-driven, sourced directly from independent mezcaleros in the regions of Puebla and Oaxaca. The wines, which have been enjoyed by guests since the Seymour Street restaurant opened in October 2020, were created bespoke for the restaurant by the family-run, low-intervention winery. Kol Store delivers nationwide and orders can also be picked up from the restaurant.
New ‘gold standard’ 18 year-old Italian brandy
Italian brandy Vecchia Romagna is going up against its more famous French counterparts with a super-premium 18 year-old brandy. Riserva 18 is the fourth release of the brandy and is made from a blend of spirits aged for a minimum of 18 years in French oak barriques and large Slavonian oak casks. It is then refined in barrels that have previously been used to make the Italian red wine Amarone della Valpolicella. The brandy has a smooth flavour profile with yellow candied fruit blends and spicy notes of cinnamon, pimento and cloves on the palate, with complex notes of walnut leaf, newly dried tobacco leaf, coffee, with the Amarone della Valpolicella finish adding notes of wine, and a tannic touch. “The last 18 years have perfected this incredible blend of outstanding spirits, refined so uniquely by Amarone della Valpolicella barrels,” says master blender, Antonio Zattoni. “We have been honored to finish our brandy in wood of such renown, which has imparted its intense flavours so richly into the liquid. We believe this release sets a new gold standard for Vecchia Romagna and Italian brandy alike.” Riserva 18 has an abv of 43.8% and comes in a custom-designed presentation box with a price tag of £130.
Ca’ del Bosco launches Cuvée Prestige Edizione 43
Top Franciacorta producer Ca’ del Bosco has launched the forty third interpretation of its multi-vintage label. Made with Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero, Cuvée Prestige Edizione 43 is described as well balanced with vibrant freshness and complex notes. Located in the heart of Franciacorta, Ca’ del Bosco produces some of Italy’s most critically-acclaimed sparkling wines. Located in Lombardy to the east of Milan, Franciacorta is Italy’s most famous metodo classico wine and obtained DOCG status in 1995.
Chinese oolong kicks off Saicho’s Rare Tea Collection
Premium sparkling tea brand Saicho has launched its Rare Tea Collection, which it says offers tea connoisseurs the chance to try some of the world’s best teas. The first tea in the collection, Eight Immortals is a Chinese oolong tea that comes from Dan Cong tea trees in Guangdong province in China that can grow to heights of three metres making them far harder to harvest but yield high-quality leaves. The tea leaves are cold brewed for 24 hours to extract the aromatics and is then gently sparkled to enhance the natural aromatics of the tea. Designed to be served chilled in a champagne glass the tea has aromas of nectarine, ginger, sweet baking spices and confit peach with flavours of ginger, mango, tangerine and melon on the palate and a bitterness reminiscent of blood orange on the finish. Available in 750ml bottles, it is suggested to be served with soft cheeses or lightly spiced dishes.
Oranj gets juicy with new Christmas cocktails
Online bottle shop and natural wine subscription Oranj has developed a new collection of bottled cocktails for Christmas. The cocktail lineup features four cocktails that will make up a year-round core range - Oranj juice (mandarin marmalade, Aperol, gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters); smoked old fashioned (bourbon, smoked tea, bitters, lemon oil); pineapple & sage daiquiri (golden rum, lime, pineapple sugars, sage); and lemon martini (Reyka vodka, dry vermouth, lemon zest) as well as three seasonal specials - spiced rum punch (dark rum, falernum, lime, spiced sugars); blackcurrant margarita (tequila, mescal, cassis, ginger, lime); and warm spiced negroni (gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, cinnamon and star anise). The company also offers a monthly wine subscription in collaboration with a different sommelier, with restaurants including Noble Rot, Brat, The Clove Club, Rita's, Westerns Laundry, Akoko, Brunswick House, Brawn, and Sessions Arts Club so far being involved.
French ‘sunshine’ gin
Citadelle, the creator of France’s first ever ‘craft gin’, has launched a new expression. Citadelle Jardin d’Été has accents Charentais melon, whole lemons and yuzu and orange zest and is created using the same infusion technique as the original Citadelle gin, which was launched in 1996. To celebrate the brand’s 25th anniversary, founder Alexandre Gabriel has moved to a new distillery in France’s Cognac region. “The new distillery is dedicated to Citadelle and will give us more flexibility in terms of production. Instead of producing Citadelle only 6 months per year, when the Cognac distillation is over basically, we can now dedicate these nine very old copper pot stills for Citadelle all year long,” he says.
Jam on Toast whisky leads new flavour-led range
A six-strong range of single malt whiskies has been created with names and descriptions that its maker believes will enable drinkers to be able to decipher the often-arcane malt whisky terminology. The new expressions from the Wemyss Malt are named using the aromas and tastes of the whiskies to identify them – including Bananas and Cream; Clove Studded Oranges; Ultimate Apple Pie; and even Jam on Toast. In addition, each bottle label is colour coded to match the flavour category it falls under: sweet, spicy, smoky, rich, light and oily. Each cask has yielded only a few hundred bottles with whiskies aged between 16 and 30 years and with prices ranging from £88 to £300. “With this assortment of single casks… we truly have something to please all whisky fans,” says William Wemyss, founder and managing director at Wemyss Malts.
Hattingley Valley introduces two new still wines
Family-owned Hampshire winery Hattingley Valley has added two new premium still wines to its boutique STILL By Hattingley collection. STILL Pinot Noir 2020 is described as smooth and versatile red wine with aromas of cherry, raspberry, strawberry and pomegranate, accented with rich hints of toast and dark chocolate; while Reserve STILL Chardonnay 2020, which is made from grapes for Hattingley’s first reserve vintage still chardonnay has pronounced aromas of ripe orchard fruit that follow through to the palate, and a creamy oak texture perfectly balanced with its natural bright acidity, it says. Both are priced at £25.
Crystal Head Vodka celebrates Christmas with Martinis
Crystal Head Vodka has collaborated with some of the world’s best bars and restaurants to launch the 12 Martinis of Crystal Head. UK venue’s include Zuma, Chiltern Firehouse, One Aldwych and The Goring Hotel. Zuma head bartender Pawel Rolka has created a Rose Petal Martini made with lychee purée, lemon juice, rose and ginger syrup and a splash of Champagne. Created by actor Dan Aykroyd and designer John Alexander Crystal Head Vodka is billed as an ultra-premium spirit and - as the name suggests - comes in an eye-catching skull-shaped bottle.
Height Of Arrows gin
Produced by Holyrood Distillery, Height Of Arrows Gin is one for the purists being flavoured with juniper and juniper alone (although beeswax and salt are added to boast texture and flavour). The product is inspired by single malt whisky, drawing on the idea that the spirit’s myriad of flavours come from just malted barley, water and yeast . “Height of Arrows is gin stripped back to its core,” says a spokesperson. “The mouth feel evocative of a whisky experience is also achieved through, lending layers of texture and full bodied flavour to the gin.” Height Of Arrows Gin says its product shines in classic serves including The Martini, Gibson and the Negroni.
Celtic Whisky Distillery’s new windy blend
The Celtic Whisky Distillery, the best-known whisky maker in France, has unveiled its first new product in 20 years. Called Gwalarn, meaning the north west wind, the blended whisky uses Scottish malt and German rye and is said to combine the complexity of a Scotch whisky, the character of a German whisky and the peat of Kornog, Celtic Whisky Distillery’s single malt. Located in Brittany on the ‘sauvage’ peninsular the whiskies are said to benefit from the northerly Brittany winds, ocean climes and mild weather in their ageing process. The Celtic Whisky Distillery currently produces two single malts - Glann Ar Mor, meaning by the sea, and Kornog, meaning the west wind.