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Best new spirits to try

In every issue of Decanter magazine we recommend great new spirits to buy and taste. Julie Sheppard selects the latest launches that deserve a place in your home drinks cabinet.

There are plenty of spirits brands that have a long heritage and have been a staple in bars for decades. You will probably have your favourite gin, whisky, rum or vodka. But if you want to try something new, this pick of the latest launches will give you some drinking inspiration…

Great new spirits to try

Discarded Grape Skin Vodka

Three bottles of spirits on front of a window

Turning trash into treasure is a full-time job for the distilling team at Discarded Spirits, who find clever ways to transform waste ingredients into quality spirits. The latest addition to the range is Discarded Grape Skin Vodka. It’s distilled from grape pomace (the skins, stems and seeds left over from winemaking) and then blended with alcohol that’s been extracted from dealcoholised Chardonnay wine. The result is a smooth vodka, with fresh notes of green apple and creamy hints of pear and lychee, that works beautifully in a Vodka Martini. It joins Discarded Cascara Vermouth, a sweet style infused with cascara, the discarded fruit of the coffee berry (Alc 21%) and Discarded Banana Peel Rum, made with banana peel extract (Alc 37.5%). The whole Discarded range comes in fully recyclable packaging. Alcohol  40%

Luxardo Maraschino Perla Dry Riserva Bicentenario

Bottle of Maraschino on a wooden bar with a barspoon

The iconic Italian liqueur producer Luxardo is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. Founded in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo, the company’s signature Marasca cherry liqueur, Maraschino Originale, has been made to the same recipe ever since and is a staple in classic cocktails such as the Aviation. In honour of its anniversary, the company has launched two new products. Luxardo Maraschino Perla Dry Riserva Bicentenario is a limited-edition, luxury maraschino made with a marasca cherry distillate base that’s over 50 years old. Super smooth and silky, it delivers intense cherry aromas, with complex notes of chocolate, almonds, herbs and spice that linger on the exceptionally long finish. It’s one to sip and savour… Meanwhile Luxardo Antico (16.5%) is a vermouth-style bitter cherry aperitivo. Fruity and herbal, you can enjoy it neat over ice or pair with tonic or Prosecco for a long aperitif. Alc 40% 

Silent Pool Green Man Woodland Gin

A bottle of gin superimposed on a woodland scene

The new Green Man Woodland Gin is the first spirit packaged in a paperboard bottle. Created by Silent Pool Distillers and Frugalpac, who released the world’s first paperboard wine bottle last year, the innovative gin was launched on World Earth Day. The fully recyclable bottle is five times lighter than its glass counterparts, uses 77% less plastic than plastic bottles and has a carbon footprint six times lower than glass or PET plastic bottles. The paperboard outer layer is made from 94% recycled paper, while an inner plastic pouch is also fully recyclable and separates easily from the outer bottle once empty. The gin itself is distilled with 25 woodland botanicals, including hawthorne, rowan, birch, and pine. A classic London Dry style with plenty of juniper character and spice, it makes a surprisingly delicate G&T: with plenty of leafy freshness and earthy notes on the finish. Alc 42% 

Starward Left-Field Single Malt

A bottle of whisky with a highball glass of whisky and tonic and a small bowl of orange slices

Australia may not be the first country that leaps to mind when you think of whisky production, but Starward Distillery in Melbourne is aiming to change perceptions. Recently launched in the UK, its Left-Field single malt is made from Australian barley and matured in a combination of fresh and charred French oak barrels previously used to make Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir in the Barossa and Yarra Valleys. It’s an approachable, light style, but still with plenty of complexity: tropical fruit, red berries, toffee and spice aromas lead to a rich and generous palate with estery notes, bright tropical and orchard fruit, figs and coconut from the oak. Mix with tonic water (30ml Left-Field and 100ml tonic) for a fresh and fruity serve, with delicious chocolate notes. Who said whisky was just for winter? Alc 40% 

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