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: Rums of Rhum J.M (2012)

By Christopher Null | May 13, 2012 |

Along with Rhum Clement, Rhum J.M (a sister distillery) is one of the biggest names in Martinique’s rhum agricole industry. Distilled from sugar cane juice instead of molasses, agricole has a distinctly different character than most rums you’re probably familiar with. Intense with fuel-like flavors when they’re young, agricoles often develop into remarkably complex, world-class…

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Review: Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine and Peach Brandy

By Christopher Null | May 9, 2012 |

Built atop the underground distilling and bootlegging operation of the gangster Dutch Schultz (and on family land now owned by co-founder Alex Adams), Dutch’s Spirits is a new New York-based distillery that’s attacking the spirits industry with some unexpected products — no gin or whiskey here, be warned! We tasted Dutch’s two inaugural spirits. Thoughts…

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Review: Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac VSOP and XO Imperial

By Christopher Null | May 4, 2012 |

Montesquiou… man, that is a lot of vowels. It is also the producer of a lot of Armagnacs. Formerly part of the Pernod family, it’s now being imported by ImpEx, repackaged, and expanding into broader U.S. distribution. We tasted both the VSOP and XO bottlings. Both are 80 proof and made from eaux de vie…

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four vines naked chardonnay

Review: 2010 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

By Christopher Null | April 28, 2012 |

How can cult Zinfandel winery Four Vines be putting out a $12 Chardonnay? Because Four Vines sold its name (and some of its wine production) to Purple Wine Corp., which has dived right in to its new brand via its The Naked & The Willing winery in Graton, California. (Four Vines, by the way, is…

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pierre ferrand Dry Curacao

Review: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Method

By Christopher Null | April 27, 2012 |

Triple sec or curacao are an essential ingredient in so many cocktails, and stylistically they cover a wide range of focuses. But they all tend to have one thing in common (well, besides tasting like oranges): They’re generally quite sweet. And so it was that cocktial god David Wondrich teamed up with Cognac producer Pierre…

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Review: Red Brick Old Stock Ale and Wee Heavy Ale

By Greg Bruce | April 25, 2012 |

Brewing out of Atlanta, Georgia, Red Brick offers the Brick Mason series alongside its year-round core brands. This series focuses on higher abv beers with more unique ingredients (such as the smoked vanilla beans in Vanilla Gorilla). This week, I was able to get the chance to review two beers from this series. Red Brick Old…

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Review: 2009 Chamisal Vineyards Pinot Noirs

By Christopher Null | April 15, 2012 |

South of Paso Robles, north of Santa Maria, even further north of Santa Barbara, Edna Valley is a region near San Luis Obispo, where a handful of Pinot-focused wineries can be found. Here Chamisal, a smaller winery that’s part of the Crimson Wine Group (which owns Pine Ridge and Archery Summit, among others), produces a…

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Book Review: Drinkology Beer

By Christopher Null | April 8, 2012 |

As lackluster as I found the first Drinkology book to be, I didn’t have high expectations for this treatise on all things beer. Much to my surprise, it’s a thorough, engaging, and well-written book about the beer world, especially if (like me) beer is not you normal beverage of choice. There’s really no facet of…

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Review: Belvedere Intense Unfiltered 80 Vodka

By Christopher Null | April 4, 2012 |

Is “intense” something people normally want from their vodka? Made from single-estate Dankowskie Diamond rye in Poland, Belvedere distills this vodka four times then bottles it unfiltered for your happy consumption. (Note: There is also a Belvedere Intense that is filtered; but this version typically goes by the nickname of “Belvedere Unfiltered,” even though the…

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karlsson's gold 2008 single vintage vodka

Review: Karlsson’s Gold Gammel Svensk Rod 2008 Single Vintage, Single Potato Vodka

By Christopher Null | March 31, 2012 |

I say Celina, Solist, and Sankta Thora. What comes to mind? If you said Nordic maritime vessels, you are unfortunately incorrect. The answer: They are all white potato varieties grown in Sweden – and used in the production of Karlsson’s Gold vodka. I reviewed Karlsson’s Gold early in my Drinkhacking career, and found it a…

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