Wine and Booze
It might not seem like 9000 bottles is a small batch, but when considering global distribution, this product quickly becomes scarce. Continuing their celebrated Tun 1509 series, No 3 features 31 single malts married in a tun hailing from 31 different casks, including 12 sherry butts distilled between 1989 and 1992; 11 American oak hogsheads distilled in 1989; and eight refill American oak butts distilled in 1992 and 1993. The resulting flavor profile is Balvenie through and through—with that Speyside vanilla sweetness upfront but layers of spice below.
You don't need to know much about Port, a fortified wine, to enjoy what Croft has done with this 10-year-old tawny. Spice and oak flavors (vanilla and caramel) unite beneath the smooth red fruit-driven blended wine base. This is a delight to drink straight, but Port has also been factoring into cocktails recently—and for good reason.
As we've noted before, the phrase "single pot still" in Irish Whisky is akin to the respect warranted by single malt in scotch. Redbreast's latest, the Lustau Edition, sees this well-crafted spirit aged in Bodegas Lustau ex-Sherry barrels. The traditional Irish whisky creaminess meets with spice that lingers well after each sip. At 92 proof, this spirit is rather potent but without any loss of nuance.
Most often liqueurs are low proof, lifeless or overly sweet. None of that is true with the second product from Ancho Reyes: Verde. At 40% ABV, it packs a punch and fresh hand-picked poblano peppers lend a true zing. This is spicy, but other earthy fruits and veggies factor in, making for a well-rounded yet dynamic sipper that can punch of plenty of cocktails—especially agave spirit-based ones.
In the year since its release, Plantation Rum's Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum has become a bartending staple for those whipping up clever mixed drinks. Queen Victoria pineapples are hand-peeled and infused into a dark rum from Trinidad. Those rinds, after masceration, are also added to the rum and distilled. The result is a sweet but dynamic sipping rum that can hold its own against other spirits and just about any mixer.
Thanks to finish in special casks formerly used for rum (after aging in an array of former bourbon and former Sherry casks), this latest expression from Irish whisky maker Tullamore DEW carries tropical fruit vibrance. There's substantial depth, with a chocolate core but spice and fruit continue to appear through the whisky's very long finish.
More than just refreshing package design by Philippe Starck, Louis Roederer's Brut Nature 2009 is an effervescent wonder. This dry Champagne with notes of peach and hazelnut within was crafted from grapes grown solely in Côteaux de Cumières. It's creamy, vibrant and sure to impress.
From 100% rye malt, this overproof whisky refines the essence of old-world distilling. SF's Anchor Distilling produces the spirit through antique copper pot stills and mimics the aging process of the 18th century. With flavors drawn from specially toasted barrels, Old Potrero delivers vanilla and molasses notes on the tongue with spice to the finish. There's a smokiness on the nose, but a delicate sweetness really defines the drink.
Hailing from Islay, known as a haven of peated scotch production, The Botanist Gin stands out from others in this botanical spirits category. While juniper forward, the flavor profile is complemented by 22 wild herbs and floral elements from Islay itself. This is a complex but easy-to-drink dry gin, making it an ideal counterpart to a G+T or other mixed drinks. And at 46% ABV, it's higher proof than you'd expect.
Long known as the Champagne that Parisians actually drink, Ruinart's most famous iteration may be the Blanc de Blancs but their Brut Rosé is just as refined. Drawn from Pinot Noir grapes, this bubbling delight contains hearty red berry flavors. For something so celebratory, there's a certain elegance here that's evident upon first sip.
New Amsterdam's recently released 100 Proof Vodka certainly makes the case for a five-time distillation. Incredibly smooth with a gentle mouthfeel, the multiple distillation (and triple filtration) process allows the spirit to taste great even at an overproof level. Between the reasonable price and the high alcohol volume, there's definitely a bang for your buck here.
Age is but a number, in most instances, Scotch not included. With The Macallan's latest age statement release, the exquisite 40 Years Old (at 45% ABV), the impact of sherry oak casts translates to ginger and cinnamon spiciness. Entirely unexpected from the brand, there's also a very delicate peatiness to this expression, due to the brand's production processes 40 years ago. Altogether, though, it's as smooth as one dreams. As there are only 500 bottles worldwide, with 70 in the US, it's best to email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with a point of sale for the 40 Years.
In the Penedes region of Spain, white wines have long been produced with a bright orange color. It's a result of the process and nothing more. With regard to Celler La Salada's delectable all-natural La Bufarrella Xarel-lo there's a crispness that yields to a dynamics series of flavors. It's bright and all too drinkable.
A meticulous Champagne expression held within an iconic bottle, Perrier-Jouët's 2007 Belle Epoque Brut can be defined by its floral profile. This is a full-bodied prestige cuvée also carrying a creaminess and a crispness akin to green fruits. And, of course, when purchased in gift box form it comes complete with two matching glasses.
Limited to just 563 bottles, Alta Belleza is tequila brand Casa Noble's debut product in their new collectible spirits range known as Colección del Fundador. One my ask why there's such a hefty price tag on this and the answer is simple: this is a single-barrel Extra Añejo tequila (no blending involved) that has been slow-aged in French white oak barrels and finished in very rare Tonnellerie Taransaud French Oak barrels from the To Kalon Vineyard—one of the most prestigious New World estates. All of the elements here are rare and considered.
As the Cognac category becomes further revitalized, it's important for anyone interested to commit to one both well-priced and well-made. With Remy Martin's 1738, warm spices and a light fruitiness balance each other out. This is a very smooth, even mellow, Cognac with lovely aromatics up front.