In the past few years, we've seen a proliferation of flavored whiskies—from cinnamon, to cherry, to honey—and these products vary widely in quality and appeal. The category is seen by many purists as a waste of good whiskey (or an attempt to doctor up bad whiskey for sale). But a recent release from Georgetown Trading Company is poised to shake up the category.
Some brands have reacted to the current state of of the market (lots of demand and low supply) by jettisoning age statements, introducing new, younger, products for sale, and generally trying to get as much booze out on the shelves as possible. Others have doubled down on quality. Case in point: Elijah Craig.
You may know cachaça as the base of the Caipirinha, that effortlessly thirst-quenching Brazilian answer to the gin and tonic. But the distilled sugar cane spirit, frequently lumped in with rum, is beginning to come into own. We're excited to share the most interesting bottles that have crossed our desk in a while.
Being the Master Distiller of a mega-brand of bourbon has its perks. Jimmy Russell, the steady hand behind Wild Turkey, not only has the distinct pleasure of working with his son, Eddie (Associate Master Distiller), but also has the chance to stake his territory on the bourbon landscape. His latest release, Russell's Reserve Small Batch Single Barrel, brings to the market one authoritative vision of what bourbon ought to be. And it's a vision we can get behind.
As a spirits reviewer, I'm constantly inundated by creation myths, marketing smoke-and-mirrors that make a bottle sound extra-enticing. The recently released Michter's Original Sour Mash Whiskey is supposedly the resurrection of a long defunct formulation of Sour Mash Whiskey from the original Michter's distillery in Schaefferstown, PA. Listing at a suggested $44 per 750mL bottle, this could easily become a go-to whiskey when you're on the bourbon-rye fence.
Irish whiskey is experiencing a bit of a renaissance these days. Though the category has often been overlooked by connoisseurs and critics alike, there's no better time to be a supporter. Just in time for St. Patrick's day, Powers John's Lane is coming stateside, and giving Red Breast 12 Cask Strength (which I've previously considered the best Irish whiskey available in the US) a run for its money.
Would you be surprised if I told you that Tanqueray was ahead of the curve of the new gin movement? In 1997, they released what was perhaps the most revolutionary gin to come out of a major English distillery to date. Malacca, based on a recipe by Charles Tanqueray from the grand old year 1839, was a revelation to many in the burgeoning cocktail scene. A softer, citrus-forward gin, uniquely suited for mixing in the new wave of drinks created by barmen across the country, Malacca instantly developed cult status. Unfortunately for its newfound following, Malacca was taken off shelves in 2001. It's back now, and I can't recommend this gin highly enough.
While many distilleries conduct their own test runs under wraps, Buffalo Trace has opened their doors and allowed us to peek behind the veil. This year's release features two pretty old bourbons, dubbed the #7 Heavy Char Barrel Bourbon, and the Hot Box Toasted Barrel Bourbon. We gave 'em both a try.
There's a shelf in every liquor store that gets less love than the others—you know the shelf I'm talking about. It's usually tucked away in the corner, gathering dust, filled with bottles with hard to pronounce names: the grab bag of foreign booze! Today we're going to demystify a few essential spirits that hail from Central and Eastern Europe.
Select barrels of Bulleit's flagship bourbon were set aside to age for a full 10 years in charred American white oak, and the result is headed to a shelf near you. We decided to try the new release side by side with its younger sibling.
Japan has the largest number of whisky distilleries after Scotland and the United States, but up until very recently, Suntory was the only brand of Japanese whisky available for sale in the US. Almost all Japanese whiskies are made in a Scotch-like style: here's our guide to what's available stateside and what these whiskies taste like.
It was the unique and the novel booze, the under-rated and the foreign, that truly made the year for me. Here are 6 of the year's standouts from where I'm sipping.
All whiskey is essentially distilled beer, but you wouldn't want to drink the majority of brews that end up in your whiskey bottle. The new Charbay R5 Hop-Flavored Whiskey is a bit of a different beast—the whiskey is distilled from Bear Republic's Racer 5 IPA.
Enter the new Kahlúa Midnight. It's a higher-octane version of Kahlúa—the familiar coffee liqueur gets blended with rum for extra punch.
The white whiskey wars continue! If you were excited by the pending release of the Jack Daniel's unaged Tennessee rye but put off by the steep asking price, then look no further. The latest release from Jim Beam, Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey, is positioning to steal JD's thunder and undercut their price point. And no, it's not just a spooky spirit—this whiskey has real potential to become a mainstay in bars and liquor cabinets across the country.
Apparently Jack Daniel's is interested in bringing a rye whiskey to market, so they've tinkered with a new mashbill for the first time since Prohibition. But the results coming off the still were so good that they decided to release a limited quantity of that juice straight to the public. It's a pretty gutsy move, and I'm not sure whether it's a response to the explosion in craft distilleries offering their white dogs to the public, or whether they want to build visibility for the eventual release of their aged rye. Either way, it's easily the best white whiskey I've tried in quite some time.
Single barrel whiskey is an increasingly visible (and exciting) trend in bottling from not only small batch distillers and newcomers looking to differentiate themselves, but also major established players with affordable top shelf options. Let's take a look at what exactly "single barrel" means, and why it makes sense to get your hot hands on a bottle, pronto.
Many great things only happened once a year. Halloween, my birthday, April Fool's Day, and many more I'm sure. In the bourbon world, the annual release of Parker's Heritage Collection rivals any of these as the leading cause for celebration and calendar-marking, with the possible exception of my birthday.
When it comes to the world of flavored vodka, I usually stick with the king: gin. However, every now and then there is a place on my bar for the other stuff (usually when a party looms). While many of the options range from the sickly sweet to the disgustingly bizarre, there are actually some pretty tasty and unique options out there if you know where to look.
I see Larceny as Heaven Hill Distilleries' direct challenge to Maker's—both products are wheated bourbons, where wheat is used instead of rye in the mashbill, resulting in a smoother, rounder flavor rather than the spice and fruitiness you get from rye. There's a pretty colorful story behind the name involving a treasury agent who snuck samples from the warehouse and years of creative historical revision, but I always believe that boozing trumps branding—it's what's in the bottle that counts. And this one's a winner.
Yes, you read that title right: the newest release out of the constantly innovative High West Distillery is a frankenwhiskey of the highest order, blending three of our favorite styles of the dark liquor into one frighteningly consumable bottle.
The American rum industry is making a comeback, with craft distillers in the forefront. And these three white rums are definitely worth lugging to the beach.
Tacos and margaritas on the fifth of May are no more Mexican than green beer in the middle of March is Irish. But if you're looking to put a shot of authenticity into your celebrations this Saturday, you should really consider making it mezcal day.
When it comes time to unwind, I usually reach for domestic drinks. Bourbon, American gins, and our amazing wealth of microbrewed beers are high on my list of go-to tipples. But every now and then I get adventurous, and yearn to explore an exotic destination. These 3 bottles offer a trip around the world—no passport required.
Relatively unknown in North America until about five years ago, elderflower liqueur has come a long way from its humble origins as a medicinal cordial. Today we're comparing the popular brand St-Germain to another version from Pür Spirits.
Novo Fogo is located on the edge of Brazil's coastal rainforest and produces two styles of seriously delicious organic cachaça. Their Silver is dangerously balanced and crisp and unlike any other cachaça I've ever tried.
Distilled from Eastern Washington-grown winter wheat and flavored with dried Washington apples, mint, juniper, and hops, this spirit is almost more of a genever than an American gin. It's very aromatic, with a nose perfumed with green apple, grapefruit, and malt and only a hint of the telltale juniper and botanicals.