Happy New Year, peeps. Despite the current scenario, I’m pretty hopeful that we will be out of this current wave soon enough. I’m also hopeful because I see a new brand of thinking. There is no more a simple copy-paste attitude; there is a real search to find or create unique spirits that will cater to an ever-increasing knowledgeable and discerning Indian audience.
Rums are going to be the next new thing without a doubt. Flor de Caña is a 130-year-old distillery that we have immense respect for. This one is a distinguished and elegant Nicaraguan rum. Great as a mixing rum for all you cocktail enthusiasts, but also good to be sipped on its own. Aged in 180 litre white oak barrels (ex-bourbon) that are only used once before maturation, which gives the oak flavour more prominence. Notes of toasted coconut, vanilla, and figs. Honey and dark chocolate, with a long, smooth finish.
Produced in Colombia, this delicious Solera rum from Dictador is aged from about eight to 14 years, with an average age of 12 years. The rum is diluted to bottling strength with demineralised water, which is added in drops over a period of 28 days. Aged in American Oak ex-Bourbon barrels, then finished in Sherry Casks. Tasting notes of soft caramel, honey, dry seeds, lightly roasted coffee, medium oak aromas. Caramel, cocoa and honey, light coffee flavours.
The finish is light oakiness with the complexity of lingering flavours.
A step up from the Código 1530 Blanco, the Rosa spends a month resting in barrels that previously held Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The result is an earthy tequila with a light, though bright, hint of red fruit sweetness. The Rosa leads with a bright agave character and finishes with the soft floral notes of Cabernet Sauvignon. Floral with bright citrus notes on the nose with Agave, grape, hay on the palate. Calling all you tequila aficionados, you have not tasted anything like this before.
Mirabeau Dry Rose Gin
From the masters of Provence rosé wine, comes a gin. Inspired by the bounty of botanicals growing around Mirabeau’s wine estate near Saint Tropez, Mirabeau Rosé Gin features all kinds of fragrant ingredients, including juniper, orris, angelica, coriander, rose petals, bay, thyme, rosemary, and the peels and zest of Citron de Menton lemons. The base spirit was made with grapes as well. A light, drying, subtly herbaceous expression. Juniper led with layers of citrus
Pale pink in colour. Floral perfume of rose petals, lavender, and jasmine are used sparingly to bring a variety of floral tones.
Sabatini Gin exudes Tuscan style from all angles, with its selection of nine botanicals from Italy (including olive leaves, sage, fennel, orris, lemon verbena, juniper, coriander, thyme, and lavender). Lovely fresh herb and lemony notes, with hints of the Tuscan countryside. Full body but not heavy, with the juniper beautifully balanced by the balsamic wild fennel, the fresh lemon verbena, and thyme.
The finish is long and smooth, with all the botanicals combining to give a sophisticated lingering finish.
New and unique spirits by homegrown Indian brands:
Spice Trade Gin
This is a collaboration between Four Pillars Distillery in Australia and local superstar Strangers & Sons. A strong juniper base, on the nose, provides aromas of finger lime, chilli, cardamom, and turmeric. The spices of green Szechuan, long pepper and red chilli blended with lemon and anise myrtle add to the intensity and depth of the gin.
Doja Indo-Japanese Gin
DOJA is the result of native botanicals from Japan and India mixed together to create something new. A distillation of botanicals from India and Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture. A yuzu-dominant base gin with hints of cedar, sansho pepper, and hinoki in combination with traditional botanicals from India.
Greater Than No Sleep Gin
A combination of Greater Than gin and Sleepy Owl’s Cold Brew, resulting in a delicious coffee flavoured gin. Bringing together two of my favourite things — spirit and coffee. How can you go wrong?
Strangers and Sons Perry Road Peru
If there was an award for the most innovative launch in India, this one should receive it. Handpicked and peeled at their peak, ripe perus are slowly macerated for six hours, and then distilled for another 18 — till every drop is flush with freshness. A single-batch, limited edition cocktail that’s balanced in flavour and flamboyant in hue. Fresh, balanced, and luscious. This coupled with the peru masala from The Bombay Canteen is mind-bogglingly delicious. No wonder it has a cult-like following.