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 represents the cream of the crop — excellent products with only minimal flaws. On a five-star scale, these products would score 4.5 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 94 to 97 points.

Review: The Balvenie Tun 1401, Batch 3

By Christopher Null | August 18, 2012 |

This special release of Balvenie is exclusive to the U.S., a vatting of ten “treasures” from Balvenie’s Warehouse 24. There are no detailed notes on how old each of these casks is — the youngest is from 1989 and the oldest is from 1967 — but seven come from traditional whisky casks and three from…

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Review: Smooth Ambler Yearling Bourbon

By Christopher Null | August 14, 2012 |

This West Virgina-based distillery produces a variety of spirits, including vodka, gin, and several whiskeys. Yearling is the company’s entry-level Bourbon, double-distilled from a wheated (no rye) mashbill and aged 2 1/2 years in small American oak casks. (At least, my sample was 2 1/2 years old; the overall age appears to vary over time…

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Review: 2009 Pina Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons

By Christopher Null | July 26, 2012 |

We’re longtime fans of Pina Napa Valley, which makes exclusively Cabernet from a variety of single-vineyard parcels throughout the Valley. The 2009 bottlings are hitting the market now, all showing much riper, more velvety character than when I sampled them from barrel in 2010. Here’s what your investment (not insignificant) will get you. 2009 Pina…

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Review: Bully Boy Distillers Vodka, White Rum, and White Whiskey

By Christopher Null | July 23, 2012 |

Boston’s first craft distiller, Bully Boy Distillers, was founded in 2010 by two brothers, Will and Dave Willis. Massachusetts natives, this deadly duo got into distilling thanks to the inspiration of their grandfather, who built an informal speakeasy on his farm, serving locally-produced hooch to friends and family. “Bully,” incidentally, is not meant to evoke…

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Review: Elijah Craig Single Barrel Bourbon 20 Years Old

By Christopher Null | July 21, 2012 |

Recently named American Whiskey of the Year by Whisky Advocate, this rarity from Heaven Hill’s Elijah Craig brand has some big expectations to live up to. Distilled and barreled in 1991, it’s been lingering for 20 years before being bottled for your drinking pleasure. As John Hansell notes in the blog post linked above, Heaven…

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Review: Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon 10 Years Old (2012)

By Christopher Null | July 14, 2012 |

Part of the Buffalo Trace empire, Eagle Rare is a 10 year old bourbon with plenty to recommend. This is the single barrel version of the whiskey, which is no longer regularly produced (as of 2019). A classically structured bourbon, it is sweet without being cloying, and there’s barely a trace of its corn heritage…

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Review: Upland Brewing Co. Gilgamesh

By Greg Bruce | June 29, 2012 |

Hailing from Bloomington, Indiana, Upland Brewing Co. is creating a stir among craft beer circles for its extensive souring program, which seeks to produce traditional lambics, gueuzes, and Flanders-style ales within the United States. This effort has notably spawned over eight different varieties of fruited lambics as well as the beer that is the subject…

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Review: 2010 Archery Summit Pinot Noir Premier Cuvee Wilamette Valley

By Christopher Null | June 10, 2012 |

A classic Oregon Pinot, with bright cherry fruit, a hint of fizziness when freshly poured, and the suggestion of damp earth on the nose as it opens up in the glass. As Pinot Noir goes, this is a truly lovely expression of the grape: Lush, fruity, with a dash of herbs and a crisp and…

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Review: Z Tequila

By Christopher Null | June 3, 2012 |

The brainchild of Pepe Zevada, a spirits industry veteran, Z Tequila is a fairly new brand of 100% agave tequilas based on Zevada’s own recipes. These tequilas use seven-to-nine year old agave plants and age the reposado and anejo in new Canadian oak barrels. We tasted each of the three expressions extensively. All are 80…

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Review: Wines of Batasiolo, 2012 Releases

By Christopher Null | May 14, 2012 |

Beni di Batasiolo is based in the heart of Italy’s Piedmont region, where it makes a variety of wines from the simple to the complex and massive. We tasted four, courtesy of our friends at U.S. import company Boisset. NV Batasiolo Moscato Rose Dolce – Pretty typical of the modern Moscato resurgence: Very sweet, low…

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