Review: 4 Delamain Cognacs – Pale & Dry, Vesper, Tres Venerable, and Extra

The four Cognacs reviewed below represent $1,150 worth of booze (in 750ml bottle formats)… and compared to the latest entry in Delamain’s collection, that’s pretty much nothing. Delamain’s latest — Le Voyage — costs $7,000 a bottle, which includes a Baccarat decanter and leather “traveling box.” I haven’t tried Le Voyage (that’s on tap, I’m…

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Bar Review: Alembic, San Francisco

If Bourbon & Branch is SF’s “east side” kingpin, Alembic represents the west side. Nestled in the heart of the Haight-Ashbury, it’s another Mecca for drinking junkies looking for innovative cocktails using unusual, and in some cases, home-made, ingredients. The Alembic Bar is a dainty small place, mostly just counter service with only a few…

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Trip Report: Napa and Sonoma Valley, July 2008

Some families go on vacation to Disneyland. My family goes to the wine country. (Hey, don’t feel bad for the kids. There is a TON of stuff to do up there, from swimming to amusement parks to visiting the Jelly Belly factory… all of which we did this time up.) Spending five days tasting wine,…

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Review: Belvedere Vodka

Any vodka named after a lovable TV butler can’t be bad. Alas, Belvedere, a Polish vodka distilled from rye and one of the older guards of the super-premium vodka space, isn’t entirely the hit that its namesake (OK, not really) was. There’s strong vanilla on the nose of the 80-proof spirit, but the taste is…

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At Last, Someone Has Bottled the Flavor of Smog

Finishing up my last day of a long trip to the California wine country (full report to follow later this week), but this came across the wire today and it was too good not to post: “ABSOLUT Vodka Puts a Spotlight on Los Angeles with New Limited-Edition, City-Inspired Flavor” Absolut New Orleans debuted last year,…

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Review: La Fee Absinthe Parisienne

This new kid on the U.S. market arrived on our shores only a month ago: La Fée Absinthe Parisienne was the first absinthe to be commercially produced (starting in 1998) since the country’s ban of the spirit in 1915. Absinthe purists will appreciate its grand wormwood base, but the bright green color (yep, that’s the…

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Review: Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

The crazy paper-and-metal-holding-ring label system doesn’t make Basil Hayden’s taste any better, but it does at lease make for a nice conversation piece. The thing looks like it belongs in an Old West saloon, but Basil Hayden is a far cry from rotgut firewater. This is classy, easygoing bourbon, pure and simple. Basil Hayden’s is…

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Review: Sandeman Tawny Port 20 Years Old (2008)

I always seem to have a bottle of Port open and at the ready… but never get around to drinking it. Memo to self: Drink more Porto. Sandeman’s 20 Year Tawny is a nicely mellowed tawny, not too rich or sweet (which I know turns many Port drinkers off), but still bearing some nice complexity.…

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