Review: Don Q Cristal and Anejo Rum

Don Q is an unsung hero in the rum world, producing both some extremely inexpensive spirits as well as some highly-regarded, well-aged rums. Based in Puerto Rico, you’ll find these 80 proof rums just about everywhere. Today we took a look at two of the less expensive, more widely-available offerings from the company. Don Q…

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Review: 2006 Ventisquero Vertice Apalta Vineyard

From Chile’s Apalta Valley comes Ventisquero’s Vertice, a very rich and extracted blend of Camenere (51%) and Syrah (49%). Amazing depth of wine here, with smoky notes at play with deep plum fruit, black pepper, and a touch of eastern spices. It’s just too bad the wine lacks structure, its creaminess washing away the acidity…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2010

Whiskyfest has come and gone, and I’d consider it one of the best installments of the celebration of whiskey to date. It was packed, to be sure, but the crowd rolled with the frequent bumped elbows, stepped-on toes, and spilled spirits, and everyone had a good time. Yes, there were some misses — like companies…

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Review: The Glenrothes 1994, 1998, and John Ramsay Legacy Edition

In the Scotch whisky world, The Glenrothes (correct pronunciation: glen-ROTH-ess) is unusual to the point of being unique. It doesn’t offer age statements on its products, but rather vintage dates them from the point of distillation. You can figure out the age by reading the fine print — the typical Glenrothes vintage-dated whisky is 10…

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Review: Amigo bf4e Tequila Reposado

You’re not crazy. Someone really did put “best friends forever” in the name of their tequila. That someone is Amigo, and the best friends in question are this bottle of tequila and you. But let’s put the name aside and see where we get. 100% agave, with no chemical additives, Amigo bf4e comes only in…

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Review: Karl Strauss Oktoberfest

San Diego’s Karl Strauss Brewing Company offers this brew for the traditional October celebration of all things beer. But Karl Strauss’s Oktoberfest is a bit of an oddity. The nose screams cocoa powder, with a malty, lightly hoppy character. That cocoa continues on the palate, but the body isn’t a good match. Watery and thin,…

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Review: Hope Family Winery Westside Red Troublemaker

Hope Family Winery, under its Westside Red label, is releasing this oddity, a Paso Robles-based blend of 53% Syrah, 37% Mourvedre, and 10% Grenache… from three different vintages: 2007, 2008, and 2009. The result is a wine so intensely earthy that I had first suspected it had a Pinot Noir influence. But its spicy Syrah…

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Review: Ardbeg Supernova SN2010

There are peaty Scotches, and there is Ardbeg Supernova. Ardbeg’s standard malt is, to this writer’s knowledge, the peatiest Scotch in regular production. Supernova takes that and ramps it up even further. Listen, they don’t exactly call it Supernova because it’s subtle. The original Supernova was released last year to massive acclaim, with a ridiculous…

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