New cask-aged Shortcross Gin launched by Rademon Estate Distillery
The distillers of Shortcross Gin at Co Down's Rademon Estate have launched a limited edition cask-aged Shortcross Gin.
But it won't be easy to get hold of. Only 460 limited edition £40 bottles are being released for sale - 300 through JN Wines in Northern Ireland and the Republic and 160 bottles to be sold at Fortnum and Mason in London.
Barrel-aging white spirits has not been in fashion since the 18th and 19th centuries, but this year could see a resurgence as the East London Liquor Company has also announced four experimental bottlings for 2016.
The cask-aged Shortcross Gin was carefully rested in French oak casks from the Chateau de La Ligne in Bordeaux that had previously contained the Chateau Cuvee Prestige wine.
The casks were hand-picked by Head Distiller David Boyd-Armstrong with the help of the chateau owner, Terry Cross of Wine Geese fame.
Mr Boyd-Armstrong said: “As the distillery has grown and developed we have been experimenting with ageing spirits in a variety of different casks and I am delighted with the results of this Cask Aged Shortcross Gin."
He said the gin is 44% proof and "exhibits the key Shortcross characteristics" of being juniper-led with citrus and floral notes, but now adds an abundance of bright summer berries with notes of rose petals and vanilla, combined with lightly toasted oak and velvety tannins.
Gin lovers here can buy it from the JN Wine Store in Crossgar, online at JNWine.com and at off licences across Ireland which purchase stock directly from JN Wines.
Fortnum and Mason will feature it as the Spirit of the Month throughout February, where the trademark copper foil on the Shortcross Gin label has been replaced with Fortnum and Mason’s iconic duck egg blue.
The launch of the new Shortcross Gin follows news of the distillery laying down the first casks of a new Irish Malt Whiskey, the first bottles of which are expected to be released in summer 2018.
And there are plans to open a visitor centre at Rademon Estate, just outside Downpatrick, later in 2016.
Gin writer Olivier Ward of Gin Foundry has created a signature ‘White Negroni’ serve - pouring the cask-aged Shortcross with Belsazar White Vermouth and Suze (bitters) over ice, garnished with grapefruit peel.
He said: "The more delicate profile of dry vermouth, along with the bittersweet gentian notes of Suze, really augment this cask-aged Shortcross Gin’s individualities.
"Both the gin and the cocktail are respectful twists on what most people are accustomed to, while delivering equally unique and memorable flavours. Try it, you won’t be disappointed."