Rated A-

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker, and the A- rating is used for very good to exceptional products. On a five-star scale, these products would score 4 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 90 to 93 points.

Review: ZU Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

By Christopher Null | January 21, 2011 |

No lie: The provenance of “Zubrowka” is confusing. Several bison grass vodkas are on the market, and they all call themselves Zubrowka, which is the generic Polish term for the spirit. If you go looking for a brand name, you’ll find it, usually buried or hidden behind the Zubrowka label. It’s the equivalent of Jack…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2010 Edition

By Christopher Null | January 18, 2011 |

Deschutes’ annual release of The Abyss (2008 release reviewed here) has been languishing in my cellar for months… but that’s not a bad thing: Abyss carries on it a “drink after” date, not a “drink before” one, suggesting that this is the rare beer that improves with age. With the 2010 edition, I did a…

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Review: Excellia Tequila, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | January 14, 2011 |

This new tequila brand comes from 100 percent blue agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco — and then comes a twist: All the tequilas are aged in Sauternes and 20-year-old Cognac casks, a big twist vs. the usual old Bourbon barrels in which most tequila is aged. The results are, in at least one…

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Review: 2009 Martin Codax Albarino Rias Baixas

By Christopher Null | January 12, 2011 |

Spain’s Albarino grape continues to make great strides as an alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. Martin Codax’s Rias Baixas Albarino is another great and classic example of what this grape can be: Bright yellow in color, with fresh herbs and light fruit notes on the nose. In the mouth it explodes with lemon, grapefruit, and a…

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Review: Benromach Origins, Batch #2 Port Pipes

By Christopher Null | January 11, 2011 |

Benromach isn’t a major name in Scotch whisky, but it’s doing some exciting things nonetheless. Its Origins series is designed to measure what happens to malt whisky not when you upend the entire production process but rather when you make relatively small changes. With its second experiment, Benromach has fully matured an 11 year old…

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Review: Don Elias Tequila Extra Anejo

By Christopher Null | January 8, 2011 |

It’s hard to find an extra anejo tequila that isn’t any good, and Don Elias proves that you can make a really solid one — even if you don’t charge an arm and a leg. At just $75 a bottle, Don Elias Extra Anejo is the least expensive Extra I’ve ever tried, and yet the…

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Review: Cockspur Fine Rum and Bajan Crafted Rum 12 Years Old

By Christopher Null | January 2, 2011 |

Cockspur isn’t a new name in the rum business, but corporate changes have led to Cockspur recently updating the way it sells its product in the U.S. Most notably, for the first time in decades, Cockspur’s U.S.-sold bottlings will be bottled in Barbados, where all the rum is made. Previously, Cockspur you purchased here was…

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Review: Beefeater Winter Edition London Dry Gin

By Christopher Null | December 29, 2010 |

Gin is traditionally associated with summer drinking — and in fact, Beefeater put out a “Summer Edition” gin earlier this year to take advantage of that notoriety. So what do you do when winter’s chill is felt? Put out a “Winter Edition” gin to try to prove the snowbirds wrong. Beefeater Winter Edition is likely…

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Review: Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum

By Christopher Null | December 28, 2010 |

Cruzan is the latest rum maker to jump into the spiced rum game. Its “9” is rare in that it actually indicates what spices — nine of them, natch — are used to flavor the rum. They are: allspice, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, clove, mace, and juniper berry. This, by the way, is not…

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Review: Diageo Classic Malts, 2010 Releases

By Christopher Null | December 27, 2010 |

Every year, Diageo, under its Classic Malts Selection endeavor, tracks down some rare whiskies from the distilleries it owns and presents them for sale, usually on very limited release (a few thousand bottles or less). This year, seven releases are being offered. We got the chance to review them all (plus a more commonly available…

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