2018 will set many trends in the Cigar, Gin and Whisky worlds. So far, many exciting product launches and brand news have surprised us all.
Ardbeg and Laphroaig distilleries in Islay have announced plans to expand their facilities and production capacity. At Ardbeg, permission has been requested from the local council to build a new still house. The distillery intends to bring new washbacks and to add two spirit stills as well as two wash stills.
Tiny distillery Kilchoman also announced that it will double its production capacity this year. Laphroaig has kept it quiet but they hinted at a distillery expansion this year. Global demand for whisky keeps increasing.
On our shelves we have a superb malt whisky called 'Williamson'. This 'tea spooned' whisky was bottled at cask strength from a single sherry cask. We opened it and included it in our 'Islay, Peat and Smoke' tasting. It's been rather popular.
Another great Islay whisky we've received recently is the Laphroaig 8 year old by Gleann Mor spirits. This is a tamed beast. Although it was bottled at 59.6% it has a palate bursting with apples and toasted oak. Only 235 bottles were released.
Twin River Distillery in Banchory, Aberdeenshire announced in early February the launch of the world's strongest gin: Naked Gin Uncut Edition. The gin has a 77% ABV and it's recommended over ice with a twist of lemon. According to the head distiller: '... care must be taken when drinking this spirit and a small amount definitely goes a long way'. We agree with this statement, we tried it neat here at Jeffrey st. and we surely felt its warmth. You will see this gin on our shelves in a couple of weeks.
Not to be left behind, South African distillery Pienaar & Sons released 'Drought Edition Gin', a spirit with a whopping 80% ABV. The master distiller explained what motivated him to release such a powerful gin: 'It started to seem quite silly when we were trying everything we could to save water in the distillery, that we were diluting gin only to see most of our customers pour double G&Ts. It seemed so pointless'. For a country struggling with water shortages, we guess everyone is doing its bit to help.
Wine and Spirits Merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd (BBR) has re-released its London Dry Gin. This new recipe was inspired by a 1950's sample of BBR London Dry Gin found at St. James' street in London. The nose has 'violet creams and a soft chalkiness' while the palate is 'appealingly soft with a floral slant'. The gin was produced by Thames Distillers.
We have increased our range of Davidoff cigars. The Signature 2000 Corona has been added to our humidor. These cigars were released some 35 years ago and the flavour profile is still as smooth, woody and coffee-like as the original ones. Another cigar we added to our humidor was the Nicaragua Robusto. These sticks are richer and spicier in flavour. Expect nutty tones, dark chocolate hints and an earthy palate.