What’s New in August: Limited-Edition Sake and Historical Whisky
We’re guessing that more than ever it’s time for a drink. Fortunately there is plenty to imbibe if you’re searching for something new on the market, from limited edition sake to an entire whisky collection that is a literal taste of history. Take a look below at the newest and most interesting bottles being introduced by major drinks brands and independent brewers alike, and get your orders in soon.
Launching exclusively as the first single tank release by Sake Central in collaboration with microbrewery Kazuma Shuzo in Ishikawa prefecture, Noto 88 was originally planned for launch on August 8, 2020. Owing to Covid-19, sake samurai Elliot Faber reveals that the limited edition sake will be available at a special price of HK$288 (originally HK$388) and can be delivered to addresses in Hong Kong ahead of a special virtual release party and tasting that he will personally host over Zoom at 8:00pm on August 8.
Fewer than 400 bottles of Noto 88 have been produced, which will be the last of their kind; the second release in 2021 will be entirely different, says Faber.
The sake can be purchased from now until Saturday for HK$288 from sake-central.com or through Deliveroo for delivery or pick-up.
Prima & Ultima
There is something beautiful about finality, a concept perfectly encapsulated by Diageo’s special release, Prima & Ultima, that brings together the first and last bottling of rare single malts from esteemed distilleries such as Talisker, Mortlach, Lagavulin and The Singleton. Every single whisky in the collection is a taste of time suspended, with some drawn from individual casks and others from a mere handful.
Prim & Ultima is a project that will be ongoing, giving collectors the opportunity to build an impressive library of history’s finest whiskies that traverse an impressive timeline. The very first set is unique in that it has been curated by Dr Jim Beveridge OBE, Diageo’s master blender and one of only six individuals who have assumed the position of master blenders at Johnnie Walker in two centuries. It is the first time Beveridge has ever created a collection of single malt whiskies of this scale.
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Highlights include Cragganmore 1971, a 48-year-old bottling from the final cask made using coal-fired stills from the distillery, before they switched to oil-fired steam heating; connoisseurs will enjoy tasting the difference. Caol Ila 1984, on the other hand, was the first release of a new style of the time, and this bottling is made from a cask that was recovered a decade after it was sold.
Only 238 sets are being released for the first edition of Prima & Ultima, priced at £20,000; every set will come with eight single malt bottles and a limited edition book written by Beveridge focusing on the whiskies he sampled and selected. The very first set will be auctioned by Sotheby’s from 26 August to 2nd September 2020 in London, with proceeds going to Diageo’s charity partner, WaterAid.
When Richard Geoffroy left his post as the chef the cave of Dom Perignon of 28 years, many wondered what his next step would be. Ever the iconoclast, Geoffroy decided that his next great pursuit would be to challenge himself in the journey of sake making. Partnering with great minds such as Kengo Kuma, Marc Newson and Ryuichiro Masuda of family-owned sake brewery Masuda Shuzo, IWA Sake was born. Launched first in Japan, naturally, IWA Sake has a limited run in markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore, with many of the bottles already sold out upon launch in late June, and made available in restaurants such as I M Teppanyaki and Sushi Saito. Geoffroy reveals that each edition of IWA Sake will be as different as the last; his goal is to continuously refine and develop his blend to achieve what he calls IWA 5’s “singularity”, that is, of utmost balance and precision.
A brewery-hotel will open among rice paddies in Shiraiwa in Tateyama, Japan in January 2021, where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of sake at the source.
Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition
The Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition is the first of its kind, released by Julie Cavil, the champagne house's newest chef de cave. Cavil takes over from Eric Lebel, who created the 167ème Édition.
The latest release is the result of blending 198 wines from 11 different years (from 1996 to 2012), creating a unique but generous expression of champagne; champagne nerds will know that the blend consists of 52 per cent pinot noir, 35 per cent chardonnay, and 13 per cent meunier.
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Senior Dining Editor Wilson Fok tasted the 168ème Édition over an exclusive Zoom tasting with Olivier Krug himself, noting that the wine’s profile starts off with a generous blend of spices melding into the floral bouquet, followed by richer notes of buttery brioche as well as citrus and nougat.
Krug Grande Cuvée 168ème Édition is available from Watson’s Wine, Millesima and select retailers for approximately HK$1,800.