As Christmas and the New Year roll around, we’ve got the low down on the best luxury spirits to sip in 2022 from Aidy Smith, award-winning journalist and TV Presenter of Amazon Prime’s The Three Drinkers travel series.
Bowmore The Masters’ Selection 21-Year-Old
This limited-edition single malt is a unique collaboration between Bowmore and Aston Martin, paying homage to the skill, passion and precision of each fascinating craft. The Master’s Selection follows the combined passions of Bowmore’s Master Blender, Ron Welsh and Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman, to create a truly divine release within the Master’s Series. This 21-year-old dream is dripping with sweet walnuts, honey and maple syrup, backed by praline, grilled hazelnuts and leather. There's a distinct dark chocolate, vanilla bean and espresso on the palate with rich baked cherries, sticky plums and a charred coconut on the finish. A spectacular creation.
Hailing from one of Ireland’s most iconic distilleries is the newest addition to the Causeway Collection - a rare series showcasing the very best of what the country has to offer. This single malt has spent its life sitting within American oak first-fill rum casks since it was distilled. This has equated to an incredible rich and complex treat, bursting with summer fruits, apricot crumble, caramelised pineapple and honey oat biscuits.
As one of WhistlePig’s oldest expressions, the Estate Oak Rye is an emblem of true class. Spending its life within Vermont Estate Oak from their 500-acre farm, you get a true sense of the local terroir within every sip. The taste is unforgettable; a deep, rich caramel and burnt toffee apple with allspice, sticky marmalade and butterscotch. It’s a warm sticky toffee pudding in a glass with tobacco and an invitingly long toffee fudge finish.
A creation of Richard Paterson OBE, the man who put ‘cask finishing’ on the map. The 2021 Edition 30-Year-Old starts its life in American white oak ex-Bourbon casks before finding its way into incredibly rare 30 Year Old Tawny Port Pipes from Graham’s Port. Marmalade, treacle tart and tarte tatin jump out of the glass with stewed plums, baked almonds and frangipane on the palate. A lingering Madascasgan vanilla strikes the final chord in what i can only describe as one of the finest whiskies i’ve had this year.
This is an ultimate contender for those who love their rum from the Dominican Republic. Its box is inspired by an old captain’s reserve cigar box and holds a handmade crystal vessel containing the rum, complete with a customised crystal stopper. After being fermented, distilled and aged in American oak barrels for 25 years, the rum is ready to be sipped. A deep amber liquid emits notes of dried apricot, burnt toffee and toasted coconut flakes. Raisin, sherry and dried fruits shine through with a long caramel chocolate finish. It tastes so good, you’ll find it hard to put your glass down.
Created by Tito Cordero himself, this spectacular rum is the flagship of Diplomático and offers a stir of excitement each time a new allocation is released. The dark brown golden liquid offers a punch of rich sweetness due to its maturation in both bourbon barrels for twelve years, followed by an additional two years being finished in sweet Pedro Ximenez casks. The result is a refined dark meadow berry and stewed orchard fruit medley, coated in sticky caramel, brandy and warm tobacco spices.
This is the latest release of world-renowned Cognac house, Courvoisier. Taking its age statement to an even heightened level, the minimum ageing of eau de vie within each bottle sits at 14 years. A distinct gentle floral note alongside light truffle and stewed plums sits on the nose. The palate offers toasted hazelnuts and almonds with a chocolate cinnamon and coconut tart. Each minute this liquid sits within your glass it evolves, as if reading the various chapters of an enlightening and dramatic novel. A true experience.
The most iconic cognac in the world has launched something new and it couldn’t be better timed for Christmas. If you’ve ever been intrigued to taste the stunning liquid within a Louis XIII decanter, now is your chance. Each bottle of The Drop contains 5 individual 10ml bottles (or just 1) in creatively designed vessels named Loud, Glow, Bold, Smooth and Bright, each with their own colour design. Once consumed, it doubles up as a key fashion accessory with various shoulder strap colours to match whatever outfit you’ve planned for the day.
This vessel of beauty was created as a tribute to the Founder of Grand Marnier (Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle). Within it, a blend of 82% VSOP Cognac and 18% bitter, aromatic bigarade orange liqueur intertwines. The result? Candied orange, vanilla and a zesty citrus caramel with rich oak and an incredibly smooth and rich palate. Honestly, this would make a super luxury Sidecar or even an Old Fashioned if you want to go off piste a little. Exceptional liquid from the finest orange liquor purveyors in the world.
There’s luxury tequila and there’s luxury tequila. This ‘Ultra-Aged’ Añejo is one of the latest expressions to be released by Maestro DOBEL, known as their ‘50 Cristalino’. 100% Blue Weber agave is grown and sourced from single family-owned estates before being aged in American and Eastern European oak casks for a minimum of three years.While your eyes may appear to deceive you, a final filtration process removes any colour from the liquid. A creamy fig, pineapple and pumpkin await on the palate with a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Smooth, silky and the perfect option for a sipping tequila.
Not only is this one of the most beautiful vessels you’ll ever see, it’s also some of the finest tequila you’ll sip. Each bottle is entirely unique and handcrafted by over 100 artists and artisans in Jalisco. The agave itself comes from some of the highest points in Los Altos (the equivalent of the highlands) in a little town known as Jesus Maria. The altitude of this area is also said to give their agave a unique flavour profile to this reposado which is masterfully aged for 8 m months in American whiskey barrels. The result? An undeniable texture of tonka bean, vanilla, candied orange peel and cinnamon cloves. Seductive, elegant and comforting all at the same time.
I’ll start by saying that Crystal Head creates some of the best martinis you’ll ever sip in your life. The latest in their series of limited edition releases celebrates renowned American artist John Alexander. This exceptional piece is draped in the oil canvas painting ‘Dancing on the Water Lilies of Life’ to express the spirit inside. Locally produced Canadian corn and Newfoundland water are filtered 7 times, 3 of which go through Herkimer diamonds to ensure as pure flavours as possible. The result is a beautifully silky vodka with a kiss of citrus, vanilla and creamy white pepper.
Angel’s Envy Bottle Your Own Single Barrel Experience
One of the most exciting developments in Louisville over the past few years has been the most exciting thing in Kentucky’s Louisville right now is the Angel’s Envy distillery which only opened its doors in 2016. The craft liquid quickly became a hit worldwide, making some of the most sought-after bourbon to hit the shelves. Thankfully, if you’re able to get a booking you won;’t have to wait to sip this golden elixir. Their emblem experience? A one-of-a-kind encounter that allows you to fill, cork and label your very own bottle of limited edition Angel’s Envy Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels. Not only that, but you get a bespoke box as well. Super exclusive with limited allocation, book well ahead.
Experience one of the most breathtaking gin distilleries on the planet with an interactive cocktail session in the ‘Blue Room’. Bombay Sapphire has long graced our glasses as a fantastic gin and their state of the art distillery offers a range of bespoke activations. My personal favourite gives you a guided tour before an assortment of cocktails wet your palate as you learn to create an assortment of cocktails with snacks. You even walk away with your own hand-bottled martini.
If you’re stopping by the Scottish Highlands anytime soon, this immersive experience will allow you to taste some of the oldest expressions belonging to one of Scotland's most embraced distilleries. Five of their most legendary whiskies are on offer, including the renowned 40 year old. You’ll be transported to the world of whisky via tales and stories from a senior guide before being gifted your very own bespoke Glencairn tasting glass to take home.
Dublin is home to many incredible places, one of which is the legendary Teeling distillery. Their most luxurious experience offers you a private tour of the award-winning distillery before being whisked off to a bespoke tasting of distillery exclusive drams. From there, you’ll even fill your own bottle as a memento to remember the occasion. If Irish whiskey is your thing, this is a no-brainer.