Review: Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Beer Chiller

I’m an avowed fan of the Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Chiller, which can take a bottle of white wine from cellar temp to ready-to-drink in under ten minutes, and as a result I had high hopes for Vacu Vin’s Rapid Ice Beer Chiller. The theory is simple: A cylinder of re-freezable ice packs envelops…

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Review: Gordon & MacPhail Benromach 10, Caol Ila Madeira 10, and Caol Ila Port 10

Our good friends at Gordon & MacPhail sent along these three new independently-bottled single malt whiskys for our consideration. Naturally we oblige them with our fair-minded coverage. Gordon & MacPhail Benromach 10 Years Old is a privately bottled whisky from a relatively quiet Speyside distillery. It’s clearly young, with a bit of bite on the…

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Review: Dulce Vida Tequila, Complete Lineup (2010)

Dulce Vida: “The sweet life?” The lush life is more like it. Tequila already gets a bad rap for turning ordinary citizens into raging drunks, and Dulce Vida has to go and pump it up to 100 proof just to make sure the job gets done. I’m sure their hearts were in the right place.…

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Review: The Balvenie Madeira Cask 17 Years Old

A few months ago I had the opportunity to try The Balvenie’s newest expression — a 17 year old single malt finished in Madeira casks — before its formal release. But that was a mere taste in the grand scheme of things. Lately I’ve been sampling it again to form a more fully fleshed-out opinion…

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Review: Laphroaig 18 Years Old

This year, Laphroaig bids farewell to its 15 year old Scotch and replaces it with one of slightly higher maturity (and perhaps a bit more coin): Laphroaig 18 Years Old. It’s quite an interesting malt from the Islay-based distiller, more mature and refined than the younger Laphroaig, which is invariably so heavy on the peat…

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Review: Van Gogh Wild Appel Vodka

There are a lot of ways to get apple character into a cocktail — Calvados, apple juice, even Apple Pucker, God help you — and now Van Gogh adds “wild” apple to its lineup of flavored vodkas. Truth be told this isn’t my favorite entry into the otherwise top-notch Van Gogh arsenal. The aroma and…

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Review: 2008 Dr. Peter Poontinger Riesling

When launched, the ad for this new German import will read, “A Great White Win Named Poontinger? Believe It.” And there is a picture of a Jackalope. Apparently Poontinger is a play on the German version of the mythical creature. Serious wine? No, not really. It’s a $10 wine designed for restaurants to sell by…

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Review: Bache-Gabrielsen XO Natur & Eleganse Cognac

From the maker of one of my most treasured spirits of the year comes Natur & Eleganse, a cognac aged at least 10 years in oak casks. What’s immediately surprising is how this spirit, deep amber in the bottle, is a pale gold when poured into a glass. The oddities don’t stop there, though. The…

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