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 solid products that we don’t exactly love, but which we still heartily recommend. On a five-star scale, these products would score 3.5 stars. On the traditional 100-point scale popular with many wine and spirits graders, these products would merit scores of 87 to 89 points.

Review: Mata Hari Absinthe Bohemian

By Christopher Null | August 3, 2008 |

Mata Hari absinthe is an Austrian spirit, distilled (per the bottle) from the original Belle Epoque recipe from 1881. Of course, the actual Mata Hari would have been just 5 years old at the time the recipe was created, so we’ll assume the recipe came first, the name came later. Made with Grand Wormwood and…

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Review: Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur

By Christopher Null | August 2, 2008 |

Honey- and whiskey-based liqueuers are nothing new. Drambuie, of course, is the classic by which others are measured. There’s also another honey+Scotch spirit called Lochan Ora, and one from Macallan called Amber (which is actually flavored with maple syrup instead of honey). American Honey is the first American version of this spirit that I’ve seen:…

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Review: 4 Delamain Cognacs – Pale & Dry, Vesper, Tres Venerable, and Extra

By Christopher Null | July 27, 2008 |

The four Cognacs reviewed below represent $1,150 worth of booze (in 750ml bottle formats)… and compared to the latest entry in Delamain’s collection, that’s pretty much nothing. Delamain’s latest — Le Voyage — costs $7,000 a bottle, which includes a Baccarat decanter and leather “traveling box.” I haven’t tried Le Voyage (that’s on tap, I’m…

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Review: La Fée Absinthe Parisienne

By Christopher Null | July 18, 2008 |

This new kid on the U.S. market arrived on our shores only a month ago: La Fée Absinthe Parisienne was the first absinthe to be commercially produced (starting in 1998) since the country’s ban of the spirit in 1915. Absinthe purists will appreciate its grand wormwood base, but the bright green color (yep, that’s the…

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Review: Karlsson’s Gold Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 13, 2008 |

With its squat bottle reminiscent of those they sell iced tea in and an almost gaudy black-and-gold label (yeah, that’s a golden potato instead of an O), Karlsson’s Gold Vodka won’t be easily missed in a sea of etched-label, oversized bottles of the stuff. But Karlsson’s isn’t bottom-shelf swill. Created by Börje Karlsson, the “Father…

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Review: 2005 Robert Craig Affinity

By Christopher Null | July 8, 2008 |

Robert Craig has been making wine on Mount Veeder for 30 years. Exactly. This year, Craig celebrates its 30th anniversary as a creator of “mountain Cabernets.” In honor, here comes his 2005 Affinity, a Bordeaux-style blend from Howell Mountain, on the other side of the valley. Affinity is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 1%…

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Review: Tru Organic Vodka Lineup (2008)

By Christopher Null | July 7, 2008 |

Organic spirits continue to swing as a trend: Tru was the first USDA-certified organic brand of vodka in the U.S. Made by Modern Spirits (now known as Greenbar Distillery) in Monrovia, California, these high-end spirits don’t just pay lip service to social consciousness. The bottle uses 25% less glass, the label’s made from corn fiber…

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Review: Ciroc Vodka

By Christopher Null | July 5, 2008 |

Diddy knows what’s up. Ciroc (or more properly Cîroc) is a high-end vodka, one of the earlier grape-based vodkas, and now that Puff Daddy is behind it as a promoter, it’s probably sky’s-the-limit for the brand. This French vodka is not just made from grapes but from “snap frost” grapes, which (I guess) means the…

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Review: 2004 Owl Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon T. R. Passalacqua Vineyard

By Christopher Null | July 3, 2008 |

2004 California Cabernets are still trickling onto the market now, which is shaping up as a solid but not out-of-the-park year for the grape. When we last met Owl Ridge, we were reviewing its 2003 Brigden Vineyard Cab. This year we’re checking out the 2004 T. R. Passalacqua Vineyard. With just 600 cases made, this…

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Review: Lillet Blanc

By Christopher Null | June 30, 2008 |

Yes, even I have to fight the urge not to say it as “lillette” (hard T) instead of leelay, as it is in proper French. Lillet is an aromatic wine from the Bordeaux region in France; though not always marketed as such, Lillet is essentially a vermouth and can be substituted for dry vermouth in…

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