GSN Review: Sandeman Founders Reserve Port

An excellent cocktail need not be composed of the usual mix of spirits, liqueurs, syrups and citrus.  Many of the classics contain ingredients that most of today’s bartenders wouldn’t even recognize as mixable.  Take Port for example.  Sure, you’ll find some whiskies aged in ex-port barrels, but beyond that, you’ll usually find it relegated to the dessert section of your drinks menu.  Actually, it has been a great tool in creating some unique and unusual cocktails over the past century.  Some particular classics that you’ll want to investigate are the Chatham Hotel Special and the Coffee Cocktail.  Both use port to create a dark and fruity resonance that works wonders.

But, before we get there, what exactly is Port?  As the name implies, it originally comes from Portugal.  Authentic port comes from the Douro Valley in the north of Portugal.  In days gone by, it was transported by flat-bottomed boats to Vila Nova de Gaia, just across the river from Porto to be cellared. Interestingly enough, about 300 years ago, the prime minister of Portugal put into law the appellation declaring that it could only be made in a designated region to control the quality.  Rather than supporting this, a good number of winegrowers started a revolt known as the Revolta dos Borrachos.  Borracho is the Portugese word for drunk.  Hmmm…..  Regardless, port continues its success in part due to these early efforts to bring the product to a high standard.

Which brings me to my review.  The Sandeman company has been around since 1790 when it was founded by a Scotsman.  It has become so successful, that every minute an average of 21 bottles of Sandeman are sold.

Sandeman Founders Reserve Port (40 proof)
Visual: Deep, rich ruby red.
Nose: Red grape jam aroma with some wood.
Taste: A great blend of wine and wood aging.  Essence of blackberries, plums, cherry, apple and pear all come together in a quite rich and a wonderful palate of flavor.
Finish: It leaves a dry and fruity aftertaste.
Overall: A wonderful dessert on its own or with a mild cheese.  Really quite nice and an excellent port considering its low price point.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Sandeman

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