Review: Hardy Vanille Cognac & Vanilla

Flavored cognac is not exactly a big market, but let’s run with it (particularly since a reader requested coverage of this very spirit): A. Hardy blends authentic, French, 8-year old Hardy VSOP Cognac with natural vanilla (plus caramel color) to come up with, well, a vanilla-flavored Cognac. Bottled at 80 proof, if nothing else it…

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The Poor Stay Poor, the Rich Get Lit

Want to drink better? Stay in school. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that spending on booze is strongly correlated with education. Not, perhaps, because the more educated someone is (and, thus, the richer they are) drink more… but rather that they simply drink better.   Related Stories: TapInfluence Interviews Editor in Chief Christopher Null…

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“Batching” Bourbon with Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris

Recently I had the opportunity to make my own Bourbon. No, I didn’t distill it, age it, or bottle it. I did the hard part: Batching it. Woodford Reserve’s Master Distiller Chris Morris was in town to talk shop, and I had the good fortune to be able to attend an experiment that, for Morris,…

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Review: Sub Rosa Spirits Saffron Vodka and Tarragon Vodka

You can keep your citrus, your chocolate, your Asian pear flavored vodkas. Sub Rosa strikes out for more uncommon ground, with two flavored spirits: Saffron Vodka and Tarragon Vodka. Crafted in Oregon and available in limited distribution domestically, these are unique vodkas unlike anything else you’ve ever tried. All natural, high-end stuff, as Sub Rosa…

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Review: Brandon’s Vodka and Gin

Who is Brandon? Brandon is Phil Brandon, the founder of Rock Town Distillery, the first legal distillery in the state of Arkansas since Prohibition. Both are distilled from Arkansas red winter wheat and are bottled in hand-numbered bottles. Here’s how both — available regionally in limited markets — shake out. Brandon’s Vodka – Incredible nut…

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Review: Benromach Hermitage Finish

Wine barrel finishes are hardly unique, but Benromach’s latest, very limited release is the first time I’ve seen barrels used in the Hermitage region of France (via Rhone Valley regulars Guigal) used as a finishing wood. This whisky spends an undisclosed amount of time in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry oak before being transferred into Hermitage casks,…

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Tasting the Shiraz Wines of Australia’s Old Bridge Cellars, 2011 Releases

Old Bridge Cellars, “The Face of Australian Wine,” is a consortium of sorts spanning more than 20 wineries sprawling across the entire continent of Australia. The focus, of course, is Shiraz, and recently the company sent a range of its offerings — in TastingRoom.com sample bottles — to experience how Shiraz varies from the eastern…

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Book Review: Grands Crus Classes: The Great Wines of Bordeaux

This mammoth tome — nearly 400 pages and over six pounds in heft — is a tome in two parts. The two parts celebrate the companionship of food and wine: Each section offers information about a Grand Cru Bordeaux winery, its production, grape varietals, and a bit of history, plus copious, gorgeous photographs of that…

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