Review: Scotch Malt Whisky Society December 2012 Outturn

The SMWS has released its second outturn for December, including four bottlings of whisky — three single malts and a single grain whisky. Thoughts follow on what is an extremely varied batch of spirits. SMWS Cask 3.184 – 15 year old Bowmore from Islay – A well-balanced Bowmore, with sugar and spice in good balance…

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Review: Bepi Tosolini Saliza Amaretto

If amaretto isn’t the most under-appreciated liqueur in the world I don’t know what is. Creme de menthe, maybe? It isn’t every day that a new amaretto hits the market, but here comes Saliza, a traditional Italian amaretto made from alcohol-steeped almonds (not apricot pits, as many amarettos are), flavored with sugar and colored with…

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Review: Absolut Tune

Looking for something different for a sparkling wine this New Year’s than that bottle of Freixenet? Absolut Tune is not that wine. Immediately curious — it’s a blend of Absolut Vodka and Brancott Sauvignon Blanc wine from New Zealand, then fizzed up with carbonation — this is a bold experiment for both the vodka biz…

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Review: Mandarine Napoleon XO Grande Reserve

Mandarine Napoleon relaunched in early 2012, and now owner DeKuyper is out with a new expression — an ultra-luxe, limited-edition release that has been produced on and off for 100 years called Mandarine Napoleon XO. What’s the difference vs. the $30 standard bottling? Like the original Napoleon, it’s a blend of Cognac and distilled mandarin…

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Review: Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt 12 Years Old

Japanese whisky fans have long been anticipating the arrival of Nikka, a company which operates two separate distilleries in the north of Japan, one (Yoichi) in Hokkaido and one (Miyagikyo) in Sendai, northern Honshu. Thanks to Anchor Distilling, two of Nikka’s malts are making it to the U.S. We finally got to taste the first,…

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Tasting Report: The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2012

The 19th annual Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza, put on by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, recently rolled through town, and an evening here was just like seeing a bunch of old friends (some human, but mostly spirits). This year saw an outpouring of older stock you don’t usually get at these events, including…

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Review: Wemyss The Hive, Spice King, and Peat Chimney 12 Years Old

Wemyss Malts produces a variety of whiskys in Edinburgh, and while it does make some single malts, it is probably best known for its blends. Now the company has launched a line of new blends, three different expressions, each 12 years of age: The Hive, Spice King, and Peat Chimney. If some of that sounds…

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Review: Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Bourbon Round Seven

The Buffalo Trace “Single Oak Project” experiment continues! This month we look at the seventh round of these unique, single-barrel Bourbons as we work to figure out what characteristics, exactly, make for the very best Bourbon. Previous rounds can be found here: Round One (including all the basics of the approach to this series) Round…

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