Be it the base of a cocktail, a post-prandial drop or a twilight nightcap, few things say more about you than your choice of signature spirit. Here at Gentleman’s Journal, we have once again opened up the drinks cabinet and spent several heady, heavy nights determining the best bottles to buy this year.
Some of the bottles are brand new, others have been gracing bars for decades. But all share one thing in common: we can’t wait to uncork them and share them among friends with a splash of No. 1 Botanicals in there to mix things up.
So, with entries received from all across the world in the six categories of Vodka, Whisky, Rum, Tequila, Gin and Brandy, it’s time to raise a glass to our 2018 winners.
Gin: Winner, Roku Gin
Japanese gin. Who’d have thunk it? Botanicals include cherry blossom, sencha tea and yuzu peel — swirl with tonic and garnish with ginger.
Runner-up, Portobello Road Navy Strength Gin
It’s Portobello with a kick. Expect citrus, coriander, nutmeg and the signature liquorice all at a punchy 57%.
Vodka: Winner, Grey Goose
There’s a reason this is a world-leading ultra-premium vodka. Clean with a crisp yet smooth taste, there are super subtle notes of lemon and coconut.
Runner-up, Chase Vodka
Made using potatoes, this is a home-grown triumph. With notes of black pepper, it’s spicy on the palate, but smooth on the finish.
Rum: Winner, Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar
Double-distilled and matured in oak, it’s the second maturation in sherry casks that swung it. It’s rum to take your time over.
Runner-up, Don Papa Sherry Casks
Another rum aged in sherry, and another great one. Bold, spicy with a shockingly smooth finish. An utterly spirited spirit.
Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar
Brandy: Winner, Martell XO Cognac
Cinnamon. Ginger. Nutmeg. Raisins. Brioche… If it’s rich, spicy and nutty, this incredible Cognac has it. And the bottle wins an award all of its own.
Runner-up, Oude Molen XO Cape Brandy
The fruit is pared back, letting oaky woods, caramels and sweet spices come through. It’s a good kind of interesting.
Martell XO Cognac
Tequila: Winner, Enemigo 00 Extra Anejo Tequila
This tequila was aged in virgin American oak — and you can taste it in the delicate balance with the agave and demerara.
Runner-up, El Rayo No1 Plata Tequila
Balanced, smooth and floral, this peppy new London spirit is breaking the rules — it’s tequila as tequila’s meant to be…
Enemigo 00 Extra Anejo Tequila
Whisky: Winner, Royal Salute 21 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky
This extremely smooth Scotch, with notes of honey and spice, has an inimitable complexity, malty finish and striking bottle.
Runner-up, Glenfiddich Project XX
Refined and well-balanced, this whisky is unlike any other from the brand. Expect notes of fruit, port, sherry and bourbon.
Royal Salute 21 Years Old Blended Scotch
Now win a chance to go on a bar tour across London with Chase Distillery…