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: Inniskillin Ice Wines, 2008 Releases

By Christopher Null | November 26, 2008 |

Rarely have dessert wines vanished from Drinkhacker HQ so quickly as Inniskillin’s Ice Wines (or Icewines). Traditionally made icewine from Canada, these low-alcohol, high-sugar, high-addiction-level wines vanished in days. Icewine is a very sweet and flavorful wine made from grapes that are left on the vine until winter’s frost arrives, freezing the grapes only after…

Read More

Review: Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila 2008 Edition

By Christopher Null | November 25, 2008 |

One of the rarest and most expensive tequilas reasonably available on the market, this is Cuervo’s top of the line. It is produced once a year (each with a unique wooden box to contain it), blended from old tequilas that have been in oak for an average of three years and, in some cases, up…

Read More

Review: Oronoco Rum

By Christopher Null | November 24, 2008 |

This distinctively packaged rum comes from the mountains of Brazil, a land known mainly for cachaca, not rum. It’s a pity: Based on Oronoco’s showing, Brazil really ought to be making more of the stuff. This white rum is exceptionally smooth and creamy, offering an immediate vanilla nose. On the palate is offers a big…

Read More

Review: Crown Royal Cask No. 16 and XR “Red Label”

By Christopher Null | November 23, 2008 |

Two additional Crown Royal bottlings for your consideration. This classic  Canadian whisky continues to expand its portfolio upward and onward, with rarer and more expensive blends. (See also our review of Crown Royal Reserve.) Both of the below whiskies land at a perfectly accessible 80 proof. Crown Royal Cask No. 16 – This is a…

Read More

Review: Nine BenRiach Scotch Expressions (2008)

By Christopher Null | November 21, 2008 |

Nine tiny bottles representing the heart of BenRiach’s line of Scotches have been staring me down for weeks now. Finally I’ve embarked on the massive tasting effort to review each of them. Also known as “The BenRiach,” this Speyside outfit produces at least 18 regular bottlings, plus dozens of special, limited releases. The nine reviewed…

Read More

Review: Ron Zacapa 23 (2008)

By Christopher Null | November 17, 2008 |

What a gorgeous, lush rum this is. From the land of Guatemala comes Ron Zacapa’s old rum, aged at 8,000 feet above sea level (where the temperature averages 62 degrees) and blended from rums in the solera style. The rums in the blend range from a youthful 6 years to a hoary 23 years old…

Read More

Review: Rhum Clement Premiere Canne, Vieux Agricole VSOP, Cuvee Homere, and XO (2008)

By Christopher Null | November 12, 2008 |

The celebrated Rhum Clement hails from Martinique, where just about everything seems to have an extra letter in it. I managed to get a small sip of the company’s top-shelf Clement XO at the recent WhiskyFest San Francisco, and the company was kind enough to fill me in on the rest of the line which…

Read More

Review: Maui Platinum, Dark, and Braddah Kimo’s Da’ Bomb Extreme Rum

By Christopher Null | November 8, 2008 |

After my report on Sgt. Classick‘s Hawaiian-based rums, the good folks at Haleakala Distillers responded to remind us that Classick isn’t actually distilled on the island, and that its products are. In fact Haleakala is the only distillery on the island of Maui, and produces a selection of fine rums. None of these rums are…

Read More

Review: Ron Atlantico Private Cask Rum

By Christopher Null | October 31, 2008 |

Unless you live in Miami, good luck getting your mitts on Ron Atlantico. For now, this fine Dominican rum is sold only in South Florida, though fortunately the company is planning expansion. Where and how quickly… that’s the question. The origin of Ron Atlantico is interesting: It’s a bourbon-dark rum that’s belnded from a selection…

Read More

Review: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2008 Edition

By Christopher Null | October 20, 2008 |

Each year the distilling masters at Buffalo Trace release limited-release whiskeys that connoisseurs will want to seek out. This year’s five whiskeys, rarities that may not see store shelves come 2009, are all worth exploring in depth. Some notes on each of the five (all officially 2008 releases) follow. (They are pictured in the order…

Read More