A savoury blended Scotch and a cacao Cognac feature in the third instalment of our most innovative spirits launches list.
There were also innovations for smaller categories, including a non-clouding absinthe and some zero-ABV cocktail bitters.
Keep scrolling to see the second part of our top 50 innovative spirits launches of 2023, counting down from 30 to 21.
30. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Elusive Umami
Johnnie Walker partnered with Michelin-starred chef Kei Kobayashi to release this umami-forward version of its Blue Label whisky. They drew the whisky from one in 25 casks, selected from the reserves at the height of their maturation to bring out the umami profile.
29. Pax 44
Portafortuna’s VS Cognac was matured in Limousin oak and rested in Port barrels, with raw, fermented, and solid cacao nibs added. The brand’s founder, Owen James, said: “The challenge of the drink was to introduce a Port influence into the powerful and dominant Cognac.”
28. Crafter’s Sensory Potions
Estonian distiller Liviko wanted to elevate cocktails with this range of gin sprays. The sprays are made with extracts of essential oils distilled from the botanicals used in the production of Crafter’s Gin, and come in three aromas: London Dry, Aromatic Flower and Wild Forest.
27. Coya 1615 Macerado
Peruvian restaurant Coya partnered with Pisco 1615 to develop a fresh take on South American spirit pisco. The world’s first bottled passion fruit pisco infusion is made with passion fruit pulp and has floral, fruity notes, ideal for creating cocktails without purées or sugary liqueurs.
26. Devil’s Botany London Absinthe
This ‘rebellious’ style of absinthe from the UK’s Devil’s Botany does not cloud when diluted with water, unlike the traditional green versions. It was created using the same strict regulations that define a London Dry gin, alongside green anise, fennel seed, peppermint and lemon balm.
Seedlip founder Ben Branson wanted the world to “drink better”, so he created Pollen Projects, the world’s first venture studio dedicated to non-alcoholic drinks and moderation. Seasn is the first product from the studio, a pair of zero-ABV cocktail bitters, Seasn Light and Seasn Dark, which the brand describes as ‘salt and pepper’ for drinks.
Siblings Alex and Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame) created a gin from leftover grapes from their family’s vineyard in France. The neat spirit is combined with Kimmeridgian rock and a pinch of rock salt to replicate the mineral and slightly saline flavour of Chablis grapes.
23. Method and Madness Garryana Oak
Method and Madness achieved a category first when it released an Irish whiskey finished in Quercus Garryana white oak casks. The oak is native to the Pacific Northwest, and is considered rare and distinctive, giving the whiskey a unique, complex and spicy profile.
22. Penrhos x Oddbox cucumber & apple gin
Fruit and vegetable subscription service Oddbox found an unlikely way to save its old cucumbers and apples when English producer Penrhos called to help it make a gin. Made using ‘wonky’ apples and cucumbers rescued by Oddbox, it comes in 100%-recycled aluminium bottles.
21. Alma Finca
Casa Lumbre sought to make Margaritas fully Mexican with its orange liqueur, designed to be used in the cocktail. To make the 40% ABV liqueur, the Mexican spirits producer took fruit and spices from the Yucatán Peninsula, macerating each ingredient separately for five days.