Rated B-

Reviews of spirits, wine, and beer (and various errata like mixers and garnishes) comprise more than 80% of the content at Drinkhacker, and at the B- level we begin to shy away from recommending these products except in relatively uncommon circumstances or for certain types of drinkers. On a five-star scale, these products would score 2.5 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 79 to 82 points.

Tasting the Wines of Georgia (the Country), 2022 Releases

By Christopher Null | January 18, 2023 |

Today we delve in to a handful of wines from Georgia — the country, not the state — mostly comprising indigenous grape varieties you’ve never heard of. Two of the wines in the mix are amber wines, which is essentially the O.G. version of modern orange wine — made with white wine grapes, aged on…

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Review: Benriach Malting Season and Smoke Season 2022

By Christopher Null | January 16, 2023 |

In 2021 Benriach launched two new editions called Malting Season and Smoke Season, annual NAS special editions designed to showcase floor malting techniques and the use of peated malt, both of which are rare in Speyside. Now the second editions of each whisky are here, so let’s dive in. Benriach Malting Season 2022 – Another banger…

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Review: Hidden Barn Bourbon Series 2

By Christopher Null | December 25, 2022 |

To call Jackie Zykan‘s first release of Hidden Barn Bourbon a blunder would be a charitable understatement, as the whiskey — all seven barrels of it — proved underdeveloped and mostly uninteresting. The 4 to 5 year old whiskey, sourced from a Kentucky operation called Neeley Family Distillery in Kentucky, was “Made the Hard Way,”…

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Review: Rum & Cane XO Rums – Asia Pacific, British West Indies, and French Overseas

By Christopher Null | December 24, 2022 |

Rum & Cane is a new line of rums sourced from all over the world and imported by our friends at ImpEx. Three are ongoing vattings, while two single cask offerings are available. We look at the former trio here today, which are all vattings of two different distilleries (often undisclosed in name) from a…

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Review: Basil Hayden Red Wine Cask Finish

By Christopher Null | December 17, 2022 |

The march of Basil Hayden whiskey releases continues with yet another special expression, this one starting with standard Basil Hayden bourbon, then finishing it in California red wine casks. There’s no information on the finishing process (or much else) beyond that descriptor, so let’s simply dive in. The dissonance here is immediate. The nose is…

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Review: Malbecs of de Negoce, Fall 2022 Releases

By Rob Theakston | December 16, 2022 |

We receive comments on de Négoce at a steady clip (and feel free to keep them coming). While we aren’t here to play judge and jury over our readers’ uniformly dismal experiences — our original reviews were all based on media samples — I decided to take a spin myself and purchase a few bottles…

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A Guided Tour of Shochu from Honkaku Spirits

By Christopher Null | December 7, 2022 |

Christopher Pellegrini is my go-to expert on shochu. He’s lived in Japan for 20 years, has written a book about the spirit, and recently started a company, Honkaku Spirits, to export the stuff to the U.S. As Pellegrini noted during a recent, lively Zoom tasting from Japan, where we tasted 8 of his company’s products,…

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Review: Hallmark Christmas Wines, 2022 Releases

By Rob Theakston | December 6, 2022 |

It is the most wonderful time of the year for some, and the least wonderful for others: Hallmark Christmas movie season. This Countdown to Christmas in the Hallmark Cinematic Universe (HCU) features many new faces due to major defections to other networks. However, Hallmark still wears the crown, delivering gentle films featuring weird holiday miracles…

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Review: Diageo Scotch Whisky Special Releases 2022

By Christopher Null | December 2, 2022 |

Diageo’s Special Releases — its most prized Scotch whiskies in limited run formats — are here for 2022. And while you can try to ignore the insane messaging — with taglines like “the enchantress of the ruby solstice” — and the out-there bottle artwork, you certainly can’t ignore what’s in these bottles — all hitting…

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Review: Ancient Peaks 2020 Merlot and 2019 Oyster Ridge

By Christopher Null | November 14, 2022 |

Paso Robles-based Ancient Peaks recently dropped two new reds for wintertime sipping. Let’s give them a try as the temperature starts to dip. 2020 Ancient Peaks Merlot Santa Margarita Ranch – Surprisingly pruny for merlot, with notes of blackberry jam and well-steeped tea informing a dusky, licorice-fueled body. Far more extracted than expected for a…

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