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: Bunnahabhain 18 Years Old

By Christopher Null | November 7, 2008 |

One of the most-fun-to-say spirits names in the business, Bunnahabhain is situated on the north end of Islay. This 18-year Scotch is a moderately smoky spirit, heavy on salty, seaweed-infused phenol and light on the sweets (a caramel note is there somewhere in the finish, but it’s just a hint, really). Flowery notes are more…

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Review: The Glenlivet 12, 15, 18, and 21 Years Old, Nadurra 16 Years Old, and XXV (2008)

By Christopher Null | November 3, 2008 |

After digging Glenlivet’s 25 year old Scotch, the company was kind enough to send samples of the rest of the “core” lineup — the bottles that are available worldwide, year-round, all the time — for comparison. This Speyside giant produces quite a range of whiskys. Some thoughts follow. Glenlivet 12 Years Old (2008) – Your…

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Review: Jett Vodka

By Christopher Null | November 2, 2008 |

It’s another vodka, so let’s cut to the sell. Jett is infused not with fruit but with the staples of energy drinks: Caffeine, guarana, and ginseng. (What, no taurine!?) Now on sale only in Los Angeles, Jett offers club kids a way to get their stimulants and depressants together without having to shell out an…

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Review: 2007 Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages

By Christopher Null | October 30, 2008 |

Even if you live in the heart of the heartland, chances are you’ve seen Louis Jadot’s wines at your local supermarket or liquor store. Jadot is to France as Mondavi is to California. The company produces an astonishing 250-plus different bottlings, so many that it includes a search function on its wine list on its…

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Review: Triple Eight Vodkas

By Christopher Null | October 28, 2008 |

I’d never seen it until recently, but Triple Eight vodka, with its distinctive three eight balls on the label, has been around since 2001. This vodka is an odd combination of organic corn from Holland (they grow corn in Holland!?) and water drawn from a well in Nantucket, where it is distilled. Mainly available on…

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Review: Square One Cucumber Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2008 |

Ever since declaring the Celery Cup my favorite cocktail at this year’s Slow Food Nation event, I’ve been itching to recreate it. But the lonely sample-size bottle of Square One Cucumber Vodka the company sent couldn’t motivate me to break open the shaker. The recipe’s convolutions also seemed overwhelming. So much easier just to break…

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Review: Ruskova Select Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 23, 2008 |

Here’s the sell: Authentic Russian vodka, distilled six times, ten bucks a bottle. Though I can’t find it near me for less than $11, Ruskova is an amazing deal. The company is trying to sell the spirit as a premium product at a bare-bones price, and it’s true. This is a very clean vodka that’s…

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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…

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Review: Drank “Anti-Energy” Drink

By Christopher Null | October 20, 2008 |

Leave it to folks in my home town of Houston to buck the trend and introduce the opposite of what everyone else is doing: Drank’s tagline is “slow your roll” and it’s an anti-energy drink. Instead of caffeine, guarana, and taurine, it’s loaded with Valerian Root (10mg), Rose Hips (10mg), and melatonin (1mg), all designed…

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Review: Oval Vodka

By Christopher Null | October 18, 2008 |

It takes guts to name your vodka after a shape. This 84-proof spirit hails from Austria, where it is distilled from wheat using a patented process that makes it, per the company, “the only structured vodka worldwide.” My understanding of this “structuring” system is limited, but Oval says it’s an entirely new way of making…

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