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 the B rating is used for products that are good but which we don’t exactly love — and which we can provide with a qualified recommendation. On a five-star scale, these products would score 3 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 83 to 86 points.

Review: 2008 Lander-Jenkins Chardonnay “Spirit Hawk”

By Christopher Null | July 7, 2009 |

At 14 bucks a bottle, Lander-Jenkins’ “Spirit Hawk” Chardonnay (sourced from unspecified California vineyards) doesn’t exactly aim for the stars. Lightly oaked, it’s a simple wine, with fair apple character, some grapefruit, and a good slug of hammy meat in the body. The mouthfeel is fairly rich and creamy, and a touch of pineapple on…

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Review: 3 Williams & Humbert Sherries – Don Guido, Dos Cortados, and Jalifa

By Christopher Null | June 21, 2009 |

I’ve said before that I am not much of a sherry drinker, but seriously, Harvey’s Bristol Cream is about the only sherry that America knows: You even see it on the dessert wine list at some of the finest restaurants… despite the fact that you can nab a bottle for about 12 bucks. Following up…

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Review: LiV Vodka

By Christopher Null | June 17, 2009 |

Who knew they grew potatoes on Long Island? Who knew they made vodka out of them? Crazy, yet here we are, with LiV Vodka — aka Long Island Vodka, 80 proof, all potato-based, and bottled in French glass. The flavor is unique. While it lacks a discernible nose, it’s got a huge rush of flavor…

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Review: 2005 Dievole Chianti Classico Riserva Novecento

By Christopher Null | June 16, 2009 |

Quite a surprise from this Chianti Classico, super-priced at 50 bucks a bottle but rather staid in the glass. Dievole imbues this Tuscan wine with a dusty, chalky texture, and it’s extremely young on the palate. Decanting helps, bringing out flavors of roasted meat, red peppers, fig, and tobacco — but the finish is too…

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Review: The Glenrothes Select Reserve

By Christopher Null | June 5, 2009 |

In its distinctive hand-grenade bottle (with cardboard shell), a bottle of Glenrothes comes across like a liquid hand grenade. The Glenrothes Select Reserve is the entry-level variation on this whisky, an 80-proof concoction from Speyside with no age statement, a single malt vatted from Glenrothes whiskys of a variety of ages. (Since it’s all malted…

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Review: “B&B” Brandy & Benedictine

By Christopher Null | May 31, 2009 |

When I was a kid my dad had THE coolest bottle of booze on the planet. Actually it was two bottles, fused into a single decanter: Benedictine on one side, B&B (a blend of brandy and Benedictine) on the other, each with its own spout. Coolest thing on earth to look at, but not once…

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Revisiting Absinthe: Seven Bottlings Re-Sampled

By Christopher Null | May 25, 2009 |

Absinthe is the subject that keeps on keeping on — some of the forum battles over the intricacies of the subject here are legendary — and in honor of Vieux Carré‘s fine showing, I thought it would be personally instructive to revisit some of my most highly rated absinthes — and a few I didn’t…

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Review: Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum

By Christopher Null | May 20, 2009 |

What is dragon fruit? Known formally as the pitaya, this Asian fruit has red skin and has a flavor described by some as a blend of “kiwi and Concord grape.” Bacardi uses dragon fruit and strawberry to create this “Dragon Berry” infused rum (its eighth flavor), and extremely flavorful concoction. Any notion of rum is…

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Review: Celtic Crossing Liqueur

By Christopher Null | May 19, 2009 |

Ireland’s answer to Drambuie, this 60-proof liqueur is a blend of Irish whiskey, Cognac, and honey, intended primarily as a digestif. Quite sweet but not overwhelmingly so, Celtic Crossing has a strong iced tea character that reveals itself in an interesting way, especially when served on the rocks. It’s not exactly whiskey, but it’s whiskey-esque…

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Review: Grand Traverse True North Vodka

By Christopher Null | May 19, 2009 |

With its frosted glass bottle, inset with a drawing of a copse of trees, Grand Traverse Distillery aims for super-premium territory with this True North Vodka, and arguably succeeds. Distilled from rye and bottled at 80 proof in Michigan, USA, this is perhaps the most unusual non-flavored vodka I’ve ever encountered. The nose and body…

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