Review: Speyburn 10 Years Old (2011)

Shop carefully and you can get a single malt whisky for 20 bucks: Though I’ve rarely seen it in bars, Speyburn is a staple of grocery stores around these parts, where it’s cheaper even than Johnnie Walker Red Label. Based in the Speyside region (of course — though the bottle claims a Highlands origin), this…

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Review: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2011 Edition

We’ve been writing about Buffalo Trace’s awe-inspiring Antique Collection for longer than I can remember, and each year it seems like these five Bourbons are better than the last time out. This year that streak seems to be taking a breather, with a mixed bag of very good and merely “OK” whiskeys. I’d still drink…

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Drinkhacker 2011 Wine Cheat Sheet / Vintage Chart

For five years we’ve been offering this fun little freebie: A chart that tells you which years are good, which are great, and which are lesser in the world of wine. Just print it out (it’s best if you have a color printer but works either way), fold it into threes, and stick into your…

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Review: 2006 Tenuta Rocca Barolo DOCG

Tenuta Rocca’s Barolo has one thing going for it that almost all other Barolos lack: Affordability. At just $35 a bottle (on deep discount), you’re getting top, DOCG-level quality at a price cheaper than most mid-grade California Cabs. Oh, how does it taste? Great. While initially restrained, a few minutes in the glass opens up…

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Review: Smirnoff Coconut Vodka

What’s that? You want more nutty vodka flavors? You got it! Here’s a coconut monster from Smirnoff, one of the big producers of flavored vodkas. Clear, unlike UV’s milky white oddity, Smirnoff again shows that when it comes to coconut, the natural companion is rum, not vodka. There’s something about these two that just doesn’t…

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Review: Johnnie Walker Double Black

Johnnie Walker, like the rest of the whisky industry, is betting on black. Twice. Formerly available only as a duty-free product, the company is (today) releasing as a limited edition a new blended Scotch called “Double Black,” a more heavily wooded and smoke-infused version of its classic Black Label — for my money, Walker’s best…

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Tasting the Wagner Family of Wine, 2011 Releases

Best known for producing Caymus — a Napa Cab which gained a massive following over the last 10 years, especially with its “Special Selection” bottling (tragically not reviewed here) — the Wagner family actually produces wine under a multitude of labels. We tried six, courtesy of a TastingPanel.com kit of minis sent our way.  Notes…

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Review: 2006 Kaesler Grenache “The Fave” Barossa Valley

One sip and this Aussie Grenache will just about knock you down. At 16 percent alcohol, it’s a bruiser amongst bruisers and a wine that isn’t likely to win any awards in a nuance contest. That said, it’s really full of flavor: Jammy, as you’d expect, but surprisingly lush with rich plum and cherry fruit,…

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