Is your cellarette getting parched because moisture levels are running low? Revivify with the best new gin and rum.
Quench your thirst and curiosity this month as several distributors are introducing some exquisite expressions spanning gin and rum sourced from all corners of the globe to our shores. Not just any spirit, however, they have been extensively evaluated to ensure that they are top notch and worthy of a hallowed place in your expansive cabinet and meet your discerning palate.
Craft gin has been de rigueur spirit for the past number of years. The latest gin to join the renaissance comes from a country better known for its baijiu and bourgeoning wineries dotting Yunnan and Ningxia. Peddlers originates from the cosmopolitan Shanghai, a megacity with its own unique ties to the British empire. Gin and tonic is a British elixir and created to keep merchants in the pink of health. The first Chinese gin to win numerous international awards, Peddlers is a symphony of Chinese ingredients, including Sichuan pepper, lotus flower, Buddha’s hand, Chinese cassia and Xinjiang almond – apart from essential botanicals such as angelica and juniper berry, among others.
The classic expression is priced at RM328, while the Napa Valley Pinot Noir-seasoned French oak barrel-aged expression retails for RM440.
Hailing from a Latin American country better known for its Andean rugged beauty, legendary criminal Pablo Escobar and pop sensation Shakira, Dictador has zero ties with all three elements. Instead, the brand traces its genesis to a descendent of Severo “El Dictador” Arango y Ferro, a Spanish official who stepped foot in the coastal town of Cartagena in the 1700s.
Rum is a spirit typically associated with palm-fringed Caribbean islands. While Cartagena does open up to the Caribbean Sea, the spirit is a marked departure from the making of many a rum. In lieu of molasses, Dictador gravitates towards fermented sugar cane honey, which is partially evaporated sugar cane juice. The logic behind this costlier method is the purer, smoother spirit. It is no surprise then Dictador refuses to make the cheapened version with added sugar because its rum is meant for ageing and sipping – akin to whisky and cognac. Unlike other rum makers, this distillery steadfastly honours its advertised age statement.
When the entry-level rum is 12 years old, you know you’re on to a gem. Matured in oak barrels, the Dictador 12 Year Old has multiple gold and silver medals under its belt. Complementing its maple syrup, tobacco and leather nose are a honey, dried fruits and cigar finish laced with oak spice.
Up the premium ladder is the Dictador 20 Year Old, as well as the highly rated XO Insolent and XO Perpetual. All three are exceedingly complex. The 20-year-old spends an extended period in ex-bourbon American oak barrels for a rich vanilla-forward finish, while the XO Insolent is an amalgamation of ex-bourbon barrels, ex-sherry butts and charred port casks for a multi-faceted sensorial finish. The XO Perpetual features a traditional family solera system to attain a rum intersecting smoky and sweet. The fact that it has only ever won gold medals at spirit competitions is a testament to its quality.
The 12-year-old is priced at RM252, while you can set the 20-year-old for RM341. Both XOs are priced identically at RM507. Enjoy a 15% discount from now till September 16 by using the one-time promo code “DICTADOR” upon check-out.
The rum maker happens to also craft gin from sugar cane and it is distilled for a mindboggling total of 5 times. The rum barrel-aged Ortodoxy for many years was only produced solely for the private consumption of Dario Parra, the brand’s former president. Having tasted this, this gin has the uncanny propensity to cut out the sugar in the mixer of your choice. If you gear towards a drier gin and tonic, I am convinced you are due a bottle of the Ortodoxy.
On the other hand, the Treasure offers more of a Colombian aspect thanks to the infusion of the limon mandarino – a native lemon-tangerine hybrid. A further uniqueness arises from the maturation process where the gin is aged in Dictador rum barrels for 35 weeks for a sip-worthy smooth finish.
The Ortodoxy is priced at RM216, while the Treasure retails for RM247. Enjoy a 15% discount from now till September 16 by using the one-time promo code “DICTADOR” upon checking out.
From a country with an unwavering vodka tradition – in addition to very sturdy vehicles and flat pack furniture – Hernö has won numerous awards for its gin. Among the most decorated and considered by many the world’s best craft gin, Hernö despite being a gin maker in an age of proliferating fancy craft gins harks back to the good old days of London dry with plenty of juniper berries. There is nothing overly abstruse or complex in what the distillery does; it only executes its craft to its finest possible.
Get the Dry Gin (RM271) for gin and tonic. For martini, you will be foolish not to consider the high ABV Navy Strength Gin (RM341). If you really, really like the intensified spice notes of juniper berries, try the Juniper Cask Gin (RM452) which is matured for 30 days in juniper wood casks. For sipping and no mixing? Settle for the Sipping Gin (RM600) aged in ex-Ardbeg Islay Scotch whisky barrels. Fruity variants such as the Blackcurrant (RM313) and Sloe Gin (RM310) are also offered.
All images by respective brands unless stated otherwise