Archive for the ‘Spirits & Liqueurs’ Category

prometheus-26-year-old-speyside-single-malt-scotch-whisky-4_1Prometheus 26 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a unique effort spearheaded by Bespoke Spirits and the Glasgow Distillery Co. The idea for Prometheus was born when Glasgow CEO Liam Hughes chanced upon a batch of whisky combining the smoky influence of peated barley with the zesty and floral notes typical of Speyside. Hughes decided to bottle the whisky but keep its origins a secret. We do know, however, that the amazing whisky is a reborn single malt, aged 26 years and finished in hand-crafted sherry casks (it’s rumored the whisky comes from Macallan… but you didn’t hear it from us!).

Prometheus 26 Year Old (94 proof)
Visual: Medium pale gold.
Nose: Cocoa powder, barley malt, green apple, red raspberry, ancient dried rose petals, new cut cedar.
Taste: Scrumptious.  Lovely self-assured entry with a lot of sherry to cross fade with the hearty ex-bourbon cask aging.  Fruity, floral and upbeat.  A fine whisky to sip with soft cheeses and apple slices. Yet, you probably won’t, since this retails for $950 a bottle.  A shame.
Finish: Very long with warming, sherry coloration still pursuing your taste buds.
Overall: A truly fine whisky that I would hate to see kept purely as an investment.  This level of quality deserves to be enjoyed.
GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Glasgow Distillery


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We here at the GSN offices are given the opportunity to taste a rare spirit every so often.  The Last Drop is one of those that most people will never get the chance to try.  So, with that being said, here is our review of this $4,000 whisky.

The youngest of the malts and grains was distilled in 1965, and many are far older. Indeed, several of the distilleries represented here have long since closed forever, making this a truly rare Scotch whisky – the like of which you may never taste again. Twenty-seven years ago, a small volume of the original blend was selected by the Chief Blender to be refilled into fresh ex-Bourbon American oak casks for further ageing. Since then, this small batch has been slowly maturing in one of the oldest traditional warehouses in the Highlands of Scotland.   Only 592 bottles exist. Each has been wax-dipped by hand, and presented in a signature Last Drop Distillers leather case. Each case includes a 50ml miniature as well as a leather-bound booklet that certifies your bottle and leaves room for personal tasting notes.

The Last Drop 48 Year Old (97.2 proof)
Visual: Sunny yellow.
Nose: High, crisp wood grain notes with a more subtle back palate of browned butter.
Taste: The entry point is quietly reserved, but this quickly leads into a more aggressive and heady mix of tanned leather, bittersweet chocolate, scorched vanilla bean, young banana and adzuki bean paste.  Really quite a smorgasbord of flavors.
Finish: Medium long, with more mid-range tones taking a slow fade.  Warm autumnal essences of slumbering forest.
Overall: A surprisingly variegated whisky that doesn’t necessarily feel like its overstayed its welcome in the barrel.  This is like a long-lost friend suddenly stopping by for a visit out of the blue.  Time to relax and catch up with one another.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Last Drop Distillers

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The GSN offices are proud to present a curated selection of gift items for discerning drinkers.  

There’s something for everyone’s holiday budget here!

Under $20

cc4ddd683e30b6056c048807e9e36787Looking to make your holiday season a little greener by giving earth-friendly gifts that are both practical and stylish? Bottles & Wood, a trend-setting eco-design company headquartered in San Diego, has a creative selection of sustainably chic gift ideas that are sure to be the talk of every holiday party. Using locally-sourced materials, Bottles & Wood’s handcrafted, repurposed jewelry, serveware and home décor make the perfect gift for everyone on your list during the holidays and all year round. “The holidays are all about giving and our team has been hard at work creating one-of-a-kind pieces that also give back,” said Bottles & Wood CEO Steve Cherry. “All of our products are made from reclaimed wood and glass and do more than just look fashionable and on trend; they keep discarded items such as wine and beer bottles out of landfills and give them a second life.”  (Prices range from $7.50 and up)

Segura Viudas Brut, an artisanal Cava from the renowned Ferrer family of Spain is the go-to wine for celebrating with friends and family. Known for its high quality at an affordable price ($10), Segura Viudas Brut makes celebrating the holidays easy as (pumpkin) pie. Plus, it’s hardly a celebration without some bubbly! Incredibly versatile with foods, Segura Viudas will impress your foodie friends at the table from the first course to dessert! Segura Viudas is your answer to a million types of dishes on the table it pairs with it ALL!

Maison Louis Jadot: Beaujolais-Villages 2013v (SRP $13.99) Pair your turkey or cheese course with Louis Jadot Beaujolais- Villages. It is made from the Gamay grape—crisp, fruit-forward, juicy wine that has expressive aromas and flavors of ripe, red berries, with nice weight in the mouth. This wine is best served slightly chilled and can be paired with a main course of turkey and mashed potatoes, or the cheese course.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is commemorating the holidays its own way – by celebrating the rebellious and making gifts you’ll be proud to give those who live life outside the lines. Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, for whom the rum was inspired, was an American tattoo legend with an unapologetic attitude- in other words, a total bad ass. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum wants commemorate his spirit for the holidays by providing the ultimate gift package for all the bad ass people in your life. The best part? No wrapping necessary. Each bottle of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum comes packed with a limited edition poster featuring an iconic Norman Collins pin-up. Pick one up at your local liquor retailer for ($15.99).

Embellished with festive gold text, The Chandon Limited Edition bottle ($20) is a perfect host gift and affordable way to send your “Bestie Wishes” this season.

Under $40

a82944d1b2f62030d506624978469109Gamay – Pinot Noir’s Lesser Known Sibling: Pinot Noir and Syrah tend to be the usual suspects when it comes to picking a wine to pair with multi-course holiday meals or holiday nibbles. This season, reach for something a little different, delicious and utterly versatile – Beaujolais Crus. Made from 100% Gamay, both Jean Ernst Descombes Morgon and Chateau Des Capitans Julienas from George Duboeuf are the perfect antidote to Pinot fatigue (both $20.99). Bright, luscious, and fruit-forward with lovely complexity, these delightfully drinkable wines are a match for everything from cheese and paté to rabbit and braised pork – and light enough to sip alone.

THE WINE BIBLE (Workman; October 2015), by “America’s Missionary of the Vine” (TIME) and James Beard Award winner Karen MacNeil. Whether you’re hosting a party, going to one and not sure what bottle to bring, or looking for the perfect gift for any wine lover in your life, THE WINE BIBLE is here to help! Filled with extensive tried and true food pairings, tips on how to choose great glassware at any price point, and fun explorations of topics such as why champagne has bubbles, the options are endless. Long thought of as the most compelling, entertaining, and comprehensive book on wine, MacNeil traveled the globe for the revision, tasting over 10,000 wines in 5 years. Transporting you from the cool, forbidding landscape of China’s Sichuan Province to the warm shores of the Sicilian Mediterranean, MacNeil delves into the history, food, wines and wineries of each region. ($24.95 paperback, $39.95 hardcover)

In his gorgeous new book, Tasting Wine and Cheese, maitre d ‘Fromage Adam Centamore teaches readers how to first taste wines and cheeses separately, helping everyone to understand the complex profiles of reds, whites, aged, and fresh. But wading through these waters is only half the battle. Tasting Wine and Cheese takes readers on a journey through pairings of cheeses with white, red, sparkling, and dessert wines. There is even a section to help readers pair condiments with their wine and cheese. Whether readers are looking to broaden their appreciation for gourmet combinations or simply looking for a menu to host a party, everyone will find everything they need in this comprehensive, must-have guide. ($24.99)

With the 2015 holiday season at our doorstep, wine lovers are turning to the Original Wine of the Month Club® for their holiday gift giving ideas—from gift baskets with a fine selection of delectable treats to gift-giving wine club memberships. Original Wine of the Month Club®’s unique, hand-picked selections of robust and flavorful wines are paired with savory gourmet snacks and sinfully sweet accoutrements to create the ultimate holiday gift-giving experience. With convenient online ordering, free shipping and gift-giving ideas starting at ($24.99), holiday shoppers are only a click or call away from the perfect gift for family members, friends and clients.

Maison Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse (SRP $27.99) Another option for appetizers or first course would be to pour an aromatic medium-bodied wine like Louis Jadot’s Pouilly-Fuisse and pair with salad and a classic French appetizer called cake salé, a crumbly cake flavored with ham and olives. The aromas and flavors of toasted nuts and citrus will balance the savory flavors of the dish.

Cruzan Single Barrel is one of Cruzan’s most awarded rums. The spirit is a well-rounded, mellow and full-bodied rum with a smooth finish whose distinctive taste is best enjoyed when sipped neat or on the rocks. At a price point of ($29.99) for a 750ml bottle, Cruzan Single Barrel makes for an affordable, yet premium option for the holidays. The term “single barrel” refers to the fact that after its initial aging, the rum is handpicked and blended before it is barreled for a second time in new American oak barrels and slowly aged again to perfection.

Campari®, the legendary one-of-a-kind red spirit, today announced the U.S. launch of limited edition art labels for 2015, featuring a sketch by Futurist artist Fortunato Depero reimagined with the use of contemporary colors.  The trio of limited edition labels reinterpret a sketch of a Campari pavilion designed by Depero in 1933 for an international exposition held in Milan. The three collectible labels arrive just in time for the holiday season and will grace 750 ml bottles at retail stores across the United States beginning in November. ($34.95)

Punch it Up! If you’re looking for something with a little more kick to serve your guests as they arrive, try handcrafted, grape-based Peruvian Pisco from Campo de Encanto Pisco ($39.99) made by a San Francisco bartender, a sommelier and an award-winning distiller. Pair it with the brand’s own Original Bank Exchange Pineapple Cordial ($14.99) and you’ve got a delicious Pisco Punch made with all natural ingredients that’s a breeze to mix up.

There’s no better way to ring in the season and the cold weather than with silky smooth Baker’s® Bourbon, an Ultra-Premium bourbon that is rich in history and flavor, great for sipping after a holiday dinner or at your next cocktail party, or as gifts for the bourbon aficionado in your life. Aged for seven years in new oak barrels with warm vanilla and caramel overtones and a sweet yet smooth finish, reminiscent of cognac, Baker’s is best enjoyed over ice or with a splash of water, and also pairs well with your favorite cigar. ($39.99)
Just in time for the holidays, Speyburn has released Arranta Casks, a distinctly spicy single malt scotch for the whisky lover on your gift list. Arranta—meaning “bold, daring and intrepid” in Gaelic—gets its exclusive, complex flavor profile from the use of first-fill America Oak ex-bourbon casks. The character of the hand-selected air-dried wood, imparts notes of toffee, coconut and spice on the whisky. With an SRP of ($40), this spirited gift is sure to impress any scotch connoisseur this season.

Party to go! A great alternative to brown spirits and the perfect hostess gift for the conscientious drinker in your life. The Spirit Works Tasting Experience Pack lets you sample the premium grain-to-glass spirits that put Northern-California based Spirit Works Distillery on the map as a craft distiller. Each gift pack includes a 200ml bottle each of Vodka, Gin, and Sloe Gin. ($40)

Under $60

The Homemade Gin Kit gives alcohol enthusiasts a safe and legal way to make gin at home in 36 hours — no bathtub needed! Gin Kits come with two 375-ml glass bottles, tins of “gin-gredients” (juniper berries and special botanical blend), custom stainless steel funnel and strainer, and instructions. Available in retail stores nationwide and internationally — including Williams-Sonoma and Barnes & Noble. ($49.95) Additional gin blends are available including Smoky, Spiced, Hooped Grapefruit and Barrel-Aged.

A quirky and stylish gift, the Clicquot En Route Limited Edition Mailbox ($50), cases a 750 ml bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and displays the winning design from Veuve Clicquot’s 2014 Re-Creation Competition.

The holidays will be here before we all know it, and to mark that festive time of year, San Francisco’s celebrated Anchor Distilling Company and Anchor Brewing have teamed up for the third time to release their Christmas Spirit, available November 30 until December 31, 2015. The Christmas Spirit is a merry result of distilling Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, a rich and dark-spiced ale from the previous year, into a smooth, winter-spiced, white spirit that’s ideal for mixing in holiday cocktails and punches. The secret recipe for Anchor Brewing’s Christmas Ale, available from mid-November to mid-January, changes annually, resulting in a uniquely distinctive Christmas Spirit, which is signified by the different hand-drawn tree on the label each year. ($54.99)

Champagne Taittinger Brut La Française (SRP $59.99) Splurge on the bubbly and welcome your guests with Champagne Taittinger Brut La Française. This beautiful pale gold and subtle wine pairs with oysters or foie gras, French staples during the holidays. The wine is delicate, with aromas of peach, white flowers, vanilla pod, and brioche on the nose and flavors of fresh fruit and honey on the palate, which will complement the hors d’oeurves.

Under $80

download (12)Few Spirits is a true grain-to-glass distillery in Evanston, Ill., just outside Chicago, distilling a wide variety of whiskey, gin and other spirits from grains grown within 100 miles of the distillery. Everything is fermented, distilled, aged and bottled in-house; no sourced anything here! Our main products are: Few American Gin, Few Standard Issue Gin, Few Barrel Gin, Few Bourbon Whiskey, Few Rye Whiskey, Few Single Malt Whisky,  and Few Anguish & Regret, our special twist on Chicago favorite malört. This spirit is an 80-proof infusion of a house-made ras al hanout Moroccan spice blend with an earthy, floral bitterness that’s great in a variety of cocktails. (It’s something like Chartreuse but without any sugar.) ($60 – $80)

Grain-to-glass craft spirits pioneer Spirit Works Distillery has been waiting patiently to announce the release of their highly anticipated first whiskeys. As of this month, visitors to their Sebastopol, CA tasting room will get a first sip of both their Straight Wheat Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey. Beginning December 1, these much-anticipated, grain-to-bass whiskies will be on store shelves and back bars throughout California and select states just in time for holiday imbibing. Spirit Works Straight Wheat Whiskey is made from 100% organic Red Winter Wheat that results in a rich, caramelized-sugar palate rounded out with delicate notes of sweet tea and toasted walnut, finishing with graham crackers and subtle smoke. The Straight Rye Whiskey is a true small-batch, high-rye whiskey. Rugged and robust, the rye rewards the discerning drinker with notes of bright baked apple, coffee and sweet golden honeycomb with a warm spice finish. Both whiskies are bottled at 45% ABV / 90 Proof and have a SRP of ($65).

If you’re a big fan of themed and collectible wines, look for clubs that offer special limited-edition themed wines each month with your subscription. A wine club like the recently introduced TCM Wine Club from Turner Classic Movies would be perfect for this wine club seeker. The club introduces movie-themed wines from classic TCM films each month in addition to wines from around the world. ($79.99)

Over $100

e6d80872ffe7f60c679d09fdd66e830eA Christmas idea to help the unemployeds who are willing to gain experience and professionalism in the field of traditional craftmanship in Piedmont region. The SoloPerGian grappa, produced by Distillerie Berta, takes its name by the namesake non-profit foundation born in 2015 and named after Gianfranco Berta, co-owner of the company, who passed away recently. The proceeds of the sale of each bottle, will be used to support the projects hold by the organization: among its main goals is the support of the craftsmen and the unemployeds who are willing to improve their abilities or learn a craft. This means that courses and scholarships will be supported in order to safeguard arts&crafts bond to the farming world as well as the local products, with the goal of contributing to the rural development of the Asti territory and preserve its traditional jobs. SoloPerGian is a blend of the three flagship grappas Tre Soli Tre (grappa di Nebbiolo), Roccanivo (Barbera) e Bric del Gaian (Moscato). This unique distillate is aged for 8 years in 1000 litres tonneau and then for 2 years in small barrels. ($125.00)

Basil Hayden’s®, a super-premium bourbon, and Quoddy®, the Maine-based footwear brand with a century-old family tradition of shoemaking, have come together to create 100 limited edition gift sets for the upcoming holiday season, perfect for bourbon fans who appreciate handcrafted, American-made finds. The Basil Hayden’s + Quoddy limited edition gift set brings to life what each brand is known for: American craftsmanship and style. Each gift set will feature four leather wrapped rocks glasses, artfully packaged in a hand stitched leather gift box. A pair of custom, made-to-order co-branded Basil Hayden’s + Quoddy shoes will accompany each gift set, giving bourbon fans the opportunity to don their “drinking shoes” as they sip Basil Hayden’s Bourbon. The co-branded gift sets will be exclusively available for purchase at the Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Holiday Shop beginning November 1, and will retail for ($399.98).

This year, Moët has released a limited edition artistic collaboration with world-renowned designer Marcelo Burlon.  The Moët & Chandon Nectar Rosé Marcelo Burlon bottles are exquisitely embellished with exotic tiger print and Burlon’s futuristic touch.  Available in Copper, Gold, and White. ($59.99, $179.99, $499.99)

For a lavish holiday party, the unique Dom Pérignon 3 Pack ($500) comes complete with a stylish ice bucket and 3 bottles of “The King of Champagne” to ensure that the bubbly is flowing all night.

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The Trinity Pack includes all three of Teeling Whiskey’s non-aged portfolio – ideal for whiskey lovers and those who aren’t sure which is their favourite tipple but would love to sample them all over the festive season. The gift set contains the Teeling Irish Whiskey Single Grain, Teeling Irish Whiskey Small Batch and the Teeling Whiskey Single Malt. Each is bottled at 46% abv and non-chill filtered.  The Single Grain is aged in ex-California Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.  The Small Batch is aged for over six months in ex-rum barrels.  The Single Malt is a blend of whiskies up to 23 years old that have been aged in a variety of wine casks including Sherry, Port, Madiera, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon.

You can read our previous review of Teeling Small Batch.

Teeling Single Grain (92 proof)
Visual: Mild gold.
Nose: Lush, intoxicating malt dominated by high, sweet, fruity notes.
Taste: A hearty smooth and toasty mid-range is bookended by spicy, high peccadilloes and low, woody solidarity.  Happily, the aging in cab Sauv barrels hasn’t changed the overall character of the whiskey, but just widened its spectrum.
Finish: Medium long, with an ultra dry, sherry-like finish.
Overall: An ethereal whiskey which grows on you with each sip.  Best buy a 750ml bottle, as the 50ml will just satisfy one person for one night.
GSN Rating: A-

Teeling Single Malt (92 proof)
Visual: Silvery-gold.
Nose: Rich, intense wine-laden malt.  You can swim in it. In a word, the quintessence of the Irish craft.
Taste: Quite sweet at first, but then it tempers down into a solid malt-driven, pot still charactered whiskey.  Despite the various barrel flavor infusions, the sheer age of the whiskies used keep things in check.  The wine notes serve to fame the overall friendly and upbeat malt distillate.
Finish: Medium long with the almost effervescent champagne notes coming through at the end.
Overall: Despite the unusual casks used, this is a very solid, recognizable Irish whiskey.  I’d definitely order a double of this with a side of branch water at any bar where it is available.  Just different enough to keep me guessing.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Teeling Whiskey

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Makar (Scots for poet) Glasgow Gin is produced in small batches in a copper pot still affectionately named Annie. A total of eight botanicals are used with juniper berries being the predominant character.

Makar Glasgow Gin (86 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Fresh, lively juniper with a healthy dose of coriander and citrus peel.  Mouth watering and quite traditional.
Taste: A bit rough with a dark, minerality which conflicts with the botanicals.  They seem lost in the heaviness of the distillate.
Finish: Dry.  A slight bitterness and graininess in the mouth feel.  More pepper in the back of the throat than any lasting impression of juniper.
Overall: Sadly, I was disappointed in this gin.  It seems a bit rough around the edges and more of a beginner’s craft spirit than one which hits the mark.
GSN Rating: B-

For more information go to: Glasgow Distillery

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Woodford Reserve is turning back the clock with the 2015 iteration of their famed Master’s Collection: 1838 Style White Corn. Conceptualized by respected industry veteran Master Distiller Chris Morris, this release celebrates both Woodford Reserve’s modern approach to bourbon, and the craftsmanship of its storied past.

Drawing from original production records, Morris developed and brought to life a recipe that might have been used by renowned Master Distiller James Christopher Crow and distillery owner Oscar Pepper during their visionary work in the mid-1800s. The 1838 Style White Corn release is both inspired by, and pays tribute to, the techniques developed by Pepper and Crow which have become some of the most well-known and commonly used throughout the industry today. The use of white corn instead of traditional yellow corn complements additional grains within the spirit, including the rye and malt, allowing those characteristics to create a sharper-tasting whiskey.

Woodford Reserve 1838 Style White Corn (90.4 proof)
Visual: Golden yellow-brown.
Nose: Hearty rye accented spice bomb.  Very direct, intense baked cornbread with cracked black pepper.
Taste: Surprisingly light and genteel.  A lot of flavor in a refined package.  The overall effect is one of tanned moccasin leather and rye toast.  This sums up what I think of when I want an Autumnal bourbon that stays away from the sweeter side of whiskey.
Finish: Medium long with a curious peppermint note that creeps in towards the end.  If this bourbon wasn’t in the $100 per bottle price range, I’d be highly tempted to use it in an authentic mint julep.
Overall: Yum.  Another winner from Woodford Reserve.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Woodford Reserve


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1010443xZaya Gran Reserva is a blend of several five times distilled rums that have been aged a minimum of 12 years in small oak barrels.

Zaya Gran Reserva Rum (80 proof)
Visual: Tea brown.
Nose: Vanilla laden, dark molasses tonality.  Smells like spiced rumbullion.
Taste: Not overly sweet, but rather tobacco-like.  Some tannins that cut out an underlying vanilla character.  Smooth, but with a good amount of body in the mouth feel.
Finish: Medium-short with a goodly dose of chewy molasses cookie.
Overall: An excellent rum in a Cuba Libre or as the base to a tiki-style concoction.  Even though this is not the specified rum for a Dark & Stormy, this works easily as well.  As a sipping rum, it seems a bit rustic.  But, if that’s what you’re looking for, this is the one for you.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Infinium Spirits

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