GSN Review: BOM BOM Fully Baked Hemp Milk Liqueur

It was inevitable.  We have hemp infused vodka, why not a hemp milk liqueur? BOM BOM Brands, recently introduced Fully Baked, a blend of chocolate chip cookie and brownie flavors with Caribbean rum and Hemp Milk.

Hemp Milk has increasingly become an alternative for vegans and non-vegans alike, as it’s produced from the seeds of the hemp plant. However, hemp milk does not contain the chemical THC, found in marijuana. The very first alcohol product made with Hemp Milk, Fully Baked boasts a 14.2% ABV, a figure just a bit higher than that of RumChata and Bailey’s Almande.

BOM BOM Brands was founded by husband/wife team Kevin Mowers and Eva Maria Janerus. While dating, Mowers wooed Janerus by deconstructing her favorite sweet treat, essentially “melting down” a Mounds bar and incorporating the flavors into a custom cocktail. She enjoyed it so much that she began asking him to make it for her and friends on a regular basis, eventually calling it “BOM BOM” which is slang for “My Sweetie” in Spain.

BOM BOM Fully Baked Hemp Milk Liqueur (14.2% abv)
Visual: Light beige.
Nose: It actually goes back and forth between brownie and chocolate chip cookie, with the latter being slightly more prominent.
Taste: Sweet, but not sugary. Viscous, cream liqueur mouthfeel. The flavor is subdued, but definitely leaning towards chocolate baked good.
Finish: Medium long with a pleasant cocoa finish.
Overall: A nice change of pace from the usual cream liqueurs which tend to be overly sweetened. A bonus is that this is truly dairy-free and gluten-free.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: BOM BOM Brands

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GSN Review: J.H. Cutter Whisky

In the mid- to late-1800s when A.P. Hotaling’s liquor warehouse was the talk of San Francisco, the most celebrated whiskey in his stock was known as J.H. Cutter, an American whiskey that commanded the premium price of the day – an estimated $5 per bottle. In 2018, San Francisco’s Hotaling & Co., the importer and distiller formerly known as Anchor Distilling Company, introduces a reincarnation of that original whiskey – J.H. Cutter Whisky (using the spirit’s spelling of the day).

This blend of American whiskies brings together 73% sourced bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers aged 4.5 years, 17% Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey aged a minimum of 3.25 years, and 10% Old Potrero Port Finish Rye Whiskey aged 4 years.

“A.P. Hotaling was the original man of whiskey in the western United States, and with this release of J.H. Cutter, we seek to pay homage to his impact on San Francisco’s whiskey heritage, and celebrate a once great brand,” says Hotaling & Co.’s President & CEO Dennis Carr.

J. H. Cutter Whisky (96 proof)
Visual: Golden-orange.
Nose: Rich, fulsome nose of rye counterbalanced with a softer, but present corn distillate melded by delightful oak aging. Sweet, dessert-like and mouth-watering.
Taste: Retro-styled whisky that hits all the marks. Some spice, some char, some vanilla, some wood.  Exceptionally balanced.
Finish: Medium long. Things tail off with a hint of maple.
Overall: A great whisky that is a welcome return to a traditional style.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Hotaling & Co.

GSN Review: Tipperary Boutique Distillery Whiskey

Situated in the beautiful setting of the Golden Vale in Ireland, Tipperary Boutique Distillery was founded in March 2016 by Jennifer Nickerson, Stuart Nickerson and Liam Ahearn.  Their own barley, grown on Ballindoney farm in County Tipperary is distilled and then cut with water from the outside Clonmel from which the Tipperary Boutique Distillery operates. The land at Ballindoney has been farmed by the Ahearns for over 200 years. The Farm lies on a plain of land sheltered by the Galtee, Knockmealdowns and Comeragh mountains, with fresh water flowing down to be collected and used to cut their whiskies.

Work on the distillery is planned to begin soon. However, in the meantime, they have searched Ireland for mature whiskies which reflect the style of the spirit that they will shortly make in Tipperary. They have specifically selected these casks to bottle and release as inaugural expressions – Knockmealdowns, Watershed and Rising.

Only six first-fill bourbon casks are chosen for each batch of Watershed, selected by Malt Master Stuart.

‘Knockmealdowns’ honours the Knockmealdown mountain range, which straddles the border between County Tipperary and Waterford and overlooks the Ahearn Farm. A particularly picturesque spot, the Knockmealdowns mountains are home to the ‘Vee’, a V-shaped turn on the road up Sugarloaf Hill. A number of stories relate to a stunningly beautiful lake close to the Vee called Bay Lough. Local legend tells that the lake is bottomless and the waters are haunted by an unfortunate woman called ‘Petticoat Loose’ who was banished there to empty the lake with a thimble.

‘The Rising’ takes its name from the 100 year anniversary of the Irish Rising in 1916; a significant uprising which would pave the way for Ireland’s eventual Independence some years later. GSN did not receive a sample of Rising for review.

Tipperary Watershed (94 proof)
Visual: Medium-light gold.
Nose: Malty, with a slight char to cut the sweet overtones. Some lemon citrus and black pepper.
Taste: Fresh, smooth and balanced with notes of caramel, butterscotch and lemon zest coming through after a few seconds. Fresh baked bread, cinnamon and clove close things out.
Finish: Medium long with a peppery ginger finish.
Overall: An Irish that will easily hold up under ice. Unusually piquant.
GSN Rating: A-

 

Tipperary Knockmealdowns 10-Year-Old (94 proof)
Visual: Medium gold.
Nose: Rich blend of malt and oak. Buttery, lively and very much in the style.
Taste: Much deeper in character than the Watershed, this one has been aged to perfection and achieved the kind of balance the gives it a lush and well-rounded character. Luscious, chewy and near perfect.
Finish: Long with softer tones of peach, lemon curd, and even young banana. Quite interesting.
Overall: This would be a great bottle to request from a genie if stuck on a desert island. On second thought, make it two bottles.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Tipperary Distillery

GSN Alert: June 10th – World Gin Day

world-gin-day-20141-lst136433In honor of World Gin Day, here is a list of the gins that Good Spirits News has reviewed over the years.  Hopefully you will pick up a bottle and make yourself a favorite gin cocktail.

 

 

GSN Review: Amaro Montenegro

Amaro Montenegro was created in 1885 from a secret recipe of 40 botanicals. These are collected from around the globe, preserved at a controlled temperature and humidity, and crushed only moments before they enter the extraction phase. Three different methods are used to extract the essence of each botanical: boiling, maceration, and distillation to create Amaro Montenegro’s signature blend. This process is overseen by Master Herbalist, Dr. Matteo Bonoli, who oversees every batch just as the brand’s founder, Stanislao Cobianchi, did back in 1885.

The name pays homage to the second queen of Italy, Princess Helen of Montenegro and was served during her marriage to Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III in 1896. Montenegro is produced in Bologna, Italy using the same process that was practiced more than 130 years ago.

Montenegro Amaro Italiano (23% abv)
Visual: Medium-light brown.
Nose: Very much in line with an amaro, full and dark with herbality. It awakens the senses and appetite.
Taste: Initially sweet with burnt caramel, this quickly fades into a dry bitterness that never overwhelms.  Akin to a more viscous sweet vermouth.
Finish: Long, with both the sweet and the bitter fading together.
Overall: Perfect for a an afternoon beverage on ice with an orange twist, this is also eminently mixable in cocktails. Really, a great amaro.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Amaro Montenegro

GSN Review: Hine Rare, Homage & Antique Cognac

The year is 1791. A young Englishman sets out from his native Dorset to learn the secrets of how cognac, his father’s favourite tipple, is produced. Thomas Hine is the sixth of twelve children and has just turned sixteen. His sense of timing is questionable though, given how inopportune a moment it is for an Englishman to find himself in France. Fleeing the French Revolution, he is imprisoned at the Château de Jarnac, where he remains sequestered for several months. His marriage to Françoise-Elisabeth, the daughter of his hosts, ensues. In 1817, Thomas Hine gives his name to this House, established on the banks of the Charente in 1763.

Since this dramatic arrival, six generations of the Hine family have succeeded one another at the head of Thomas Hine & Co. The tasting rooms at 16 Quai de l’Orangerie have seen it all, from the Great French Wine Blight to local conflicts, world wars, first bottlings, international incidents, economic booms and slumps, legendary river floods, connoisseur parties and exalted blends. Today, under the watchful eye of sixth-generation member Bernard Hine, a dedicated team of twenty people strive to preserve and act upon 254 years of spirited history.

Hine Rare VSOP is a blend of Grande and Petite Champagnes (60% is the former). This is what’s known as a Fine Champagne. The cognac is aged from between 6 and 12 years, with most being around 8 years old. It was first blended by the eponymous Thomas Hine.

Homage is a wonderful blend of Early Landed cognacs (a traditional method of maturing cognac – it is exported prior to maturation – thus the name – and is aged in cellars in the UK – Bristol to be precise) as well as very old c matured in the Hine’s Jarnac cellars. The blend was created on the 23rd October 2000 and selected on the 6th February 2008. It contains cognacs from 1984, 1986 and 1987.

A new addition to the Hine range, the classic Antique is now “Premier Cru”. Before it was a Fine Champagne (a blend of cognacs from both the Grande and Petite Champagne regions) now it is just produced using grapes from the Grande Champagne region – the top region for cognac. The new edition is a blend of over 40 different cognacs, aged for over a decade.

Hine Rare VSOP (80 proof)
Visual: Amber.
Nose: Sweet grape, oak, soft leather.
Taste: Rich, deep brandy flavor with a woody, semi-fruitcake flavor. Baking spices, currants, light vanilla bean, tannin at the very end.
Finish: Medium long, with more of the oak keeping on.
Overall: An elegant and smooth cognac that works as a sipper and in cocktails that call for a finer approach.
GSN Rating: A-

 

 

Hine Homage (80 proof)
Visual: Amber-Gold.
Nose: High notes of well-aged brandy. Slight grape and raisin notes.
Taste: Lots of sharp, almost piquant oak wood flavors punch through with the softer vanilla tones playing a distant second.
Finish: Long with a flavorful, dry and crisp finish.
Overall: An exceptional cognac which makes for a perfect after dinner dessert.
GSN Rating: A

 

Hine Antique XO (80 proof)
Visual: Darkening amber.
Nose: Seductively deep nose of dried cherry fruit, vanilla cream, and nut bread.
Taste: More broad in scope than the Rare and Homage, this has much more in the way of brown sugar, caramel and yet at the same time a spicy quality.
Finish: An elderly quality that seems very fruit forward. A slow sipper that will warm up to you after several tastes.
Overall: Quite smooth and in the mid-range of flavors. Very little in the way of high notes or brightness, this one is very laid back.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Hotaling & Co.

GSN Review: Cerasum Aperitivo

Washington D.C.-based distillery Don Ciccio & Figli continues to take its artisanal offerings national with the launch of Cerasum Aperitivo, a bitter-cherry liqueur.

The naturally tart spirit is available this Spring, in time for sipping in the sun with DC’s Cherry Trees in full bloom. Made with cherries from Michigan and local cherry blossoms, the Aperitivo brings US agriculture together in a way that resembles the past with a humble nod to the future.

Cerasum is based on a traditional Italian recipe from 1906, respecting the original product from the Don Ciccio & Figli distillery, which produced liqueurs on Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast for nearly a century. Today, this recipe is being resurrected stateside by fourth generation family owner Francesco Amodeo who opened the Washington, D.C. distillery in 2012.

Cerasum is a bitter aperitivo based on an infusion of three types of cherries from Michigan, sakura blossoms from Virginia and 10 selected roots and herbs including Juniper, Chamomile, Hibiscus, and resting at 23% ABV.

While the aperitivo category has grown significantly in recent years, there are only a few other cherry-based liqueurs available in the U.S, making this an exciting addition to an intriguing category. The natural tartness of the cherries rolls into a root style bitterness that creates a recognizable sensation, providing an applicable new style of liqueur. The medium-to-high bitterness level was designed with cocktail aficionados and fans of bitter aperitivi like the Negroni and Americano in mind.

Cerasum Aperitivo (23% abv)
Visual: Rusty malbec.
Nose: Dried herb and dark cherry. Slightly medicinal, but fresh and grassy as well.
Taste: At first, it is cherry sweet, but after a few seconds, a bitter, woody herb sachet enters the picture to tone things down. Slightly viscous mouthfeel.
Finish: Long with the cherry flavor playing tag with the root/herb blend.
Overall: There aren’t enough cherry flavored liqueurs, let alone aperitvos to play with in the cocktail world. This makes a very welcome addition to the game. Try this in tiki drinks, and slings to cut back on the sweetness.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Don Ciccio e Figli