Review: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2010 Edition

The old bourbon masters at Old Forester never get tired of celebrating their birthday, and each year for the last eight years they’ve release a “Birthday Bourbon” in honor of the September 2 birth of George Brown (the namesake of Brown-Forman). This edition of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon went into barrels in October 1997, making…

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Tasting Report: The Tasting Panel Double Gold Winners 2010

Of all the events I attend, The Tasting Panel Magazine’s get-together of its Double Gold Medal winners is the only one that mixes wine with spirits. Nowhere else do I expect to sample a Turkish rose next to peaty Scotch. Somehow it works, and while the selections here were all over the map, some standouts…

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Review: Vesica Vodka

Math time. .75 liters + 1 liter = what? 1.75 liters, that’s right. And here’s the gimmick with Vesica Vodka: Take the .75 liter bottle and the 1 liter bottle of the vodka and put them together and you get the 1.75 liter bottle — not just in volume, but in bottle shape, too. How…

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Review: 2006 Twomey Merlot Napa Valley

You heard it here first, people: Merlot is the “IT” wine of the decade. Yes, forget what you know from Sideways: If you want a quality California red wine at a reasonable price, your best bet is going to be the Merlot for the foreseeable future. Why is this? Because demand for Merlot has been…

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Review: The Balvenie PortWood 21 Years Old, Rum Cask 14 Years Old, and 40 Years Old (2010)

More new whiskies from Speyside’s The Balvenie are on the way in coming months, and we got a sneak preview of two of them (plus a taste of an old favorite). Thoughts (based on early bottlings) follow. The Balvenie PortWood 21 Years Old (2010) – One of the distillery’s finest expressions, finished with five months of…

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Review: Ketel One Oranje Vodka

Take Ketel One‘s standard wheat-based, pot-distilled vodka from Holland and add some orange distillate. You now have Ketel One Oranje, a clear spirit at 80 proof with the Cosmo croud distinctly in mind. Ketel One Oranje is old-school orange-flavored vodka, meaning it’s more bitter than sweet. Oranje is orange peel all the way, and it’s…

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Review: Wines of Deep Sea, 2010 Releases

Under its Deep Sea label, Conway Family Wines produces a passel of products. In our sampling, quality was all over the map, with a couple certainly worth a try. 2009 Deep Sea Sea Flower Dry Rose – Strawberries and perfume in this rose of Grenache (68%) and Syrah (38%), though the finish is a bit…

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Review: Magners Irish Cider

I’ll admit that I’m not a great connoisseur of cider (hence sticking this in the “beer” category), so take my comments with a grain of salt — or a few apple seeds, perhaps. Basically juice for grown-ups, cider is essentially fermented apple juice. Magners hails from Ireland and weighs in at an average 4.5% alcohol…

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