DRiNK’s monthly product round-up of new bottles in Asia. By Holly Graham.
Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky
The first whisky to be distilled in the UK’s Cotswolds, the distillery is committed to using only Cotswolds-grown barley and is one of the very few British whisky makers to use 100 percent floor-malted barley, which is unpeated. The distillery takes water from the local village supply and filters, softens and demineralises it before use. The barley is fermented for more than 90 hours, to help develop a fruitier flavour, then distilled in two Forsyths copper pot stills. Aged for just over three years in re-charred first-fill Kentucky ex-bourbon barrels and reconditioned American oak red wine casks, the whisky has no added colouring. On the nose, apricot first, then paired with vanilla and caramel. On the mouth, the charred oak really comes through, giving the whisky savoury notes balanced by fruitiness. There’s a creamy, nutty mouthfeel too, followed by a long finish. Best sipped neat. 46 per cent abv.
Available from: Singapore, La Maison Du Whisky Singapore (+65 6733 0059), Hong Kong, Artisan Spirits (+852 3105 8431).
Koval Dry Gin
Koval produces spirits in Chicago’s first distillery, originally established in the mid-1800s. Koval itself was founded in 2008 by Robert and Sonat Birnecker, who wanted to bring the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian family to the US, making organic spirits from scratch and controlling each stage from milling locally grown grain to distilling, barreling and bottling. Known for their whiskies, Koval also produce peach brandy, prune brandy, vodka, sunchoke spirit, barrelled gin and dry gin. Koval’s dry gin uses their white whiskey as a base and is distilled with grains of paradise, rose hip, juniper, angelica root and coriander. On the nose, grapefruit is the dominant citrus, chased with overripe banana and herbaceous notes of coriander and thyme. On the mouth, it’s a fruity sip with the overripe banana once again apparent, balanced with floral notes from lavender and a savoury finish of black pepper and coriander. Works well neat, but would make a complex, fruit-forward gin and tonic. 47 per cent abv.
Available from: Hong Kong, Artisan Spirits (+852 3105 8431)
Embargo Anejo Blanco Rum
Embargo is a new rum label from Jean Moueix and Alex Sirech. Moueix is part of the family that owns top-shelf Bordeaux wine Petrus (as well as negociant Duclot) while Sirech used to work for Bordeaux wine magnate Bernard Magrez and then Pernod Ricard. Together their new spirits company (Les Bienheureux) is also bottling Guatemalan rum and French whiskies. Even within the crazy, regulation-light world of rum, Embargo pushes the limits. The Anejo Blanco, for example, is a blend of five Caribbean rums – four light rums from Trinidad, Cuba and Guatemala, plus one from Martinique. Multi-nation rum blending is nothing new (think Plantation or Pyrat), but this one goes a stride further by marrying agricole and molasses spirits, bringing all the aromatic, fresh cane, ripe banana energy of agricole brilliantly into play with the brown sugar richness of molasses. The “anejo” and “blanco” used together mean the blend’s aged components have had (most of) the colour stripped out by charcoal filtering, but this delivers a smooth profile, with gentle oak still on the finish, and plenty of character to make a rocking Daiquiri or Mojito. 40 per cent abv.
Available from: Hong Kong, IWS (+852 6229 9239)