Review: 2020 Essay Chenin Blanc

“Essay” is a play on words, as “S.A.” is the abbreviation for South Africa. Hey, this isn’t $200 humor, this is $9 humor. This Chenin Blanc adds in 14% Viognier and 12% Roussanne, giving the finished product a bold character that offers notes of peaches, apricots, and a silky layer of vanilla cream. Lemon and…

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Review: Mile High Spirits Fireside Single Barrel Bourbon and Summit Gin

Colorado is a crowded state for craft distilling, but Mile High Spirits in the heart of Denver is endeavoring to distinguish themselves by, and I’m quoting their website here, “not being obnoxious about it.” The Our Story section goes on at length with a well-reasoned manifesto bemoaning the elitism and expense of craft spirits today.…

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Review: Absinthia Blanche and Verte

Absinthia — formally known as Absinthia’s Bottled Spirits — is a woman-owned absinthe producer based in Oakland, California (though the product is produced in Fresno). What else could the owner, with a name like J. Absinthia Vermut, produce but an American take on the green fairy? Absinthia uses vintage Swiss recipes, natural ingredients, and no…

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Review: Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2021 Edition

The first big release of fall whiskey season — Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, which celebrates the birthday of founder George Garvin Brown on September 2 — has arrived. This year’s release is a batch of 119 barrels which were distilled on April 16,2009, making it a 12 year old expression. It’s bottled at 104 proof…

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Review: NV Cockburn’s Porto Branco

Summer is made for mixing up cocktails with white Port — just add tonic and an orange slice if you have it. Cockburn’s nonvintage Porto Branco offers an approachable, if innocuous, way to explore some of the charms of this unique wine — at a very reasonable price. It’s a classic example of the style,…

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Review: Amaro Alta Verde

Italian distillery Antica Erboristeria Cappelletti is best known for its eponymous aperitivo — but it makes a variety of bitter liqueurs, including this one. Amaro Alta Verde is a truly unusual amaro, pale green in color and flavored primarily with Assenzio, a variety of wormwood. “A complementary blend of alpine herbs, citrus and spice frame and…

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Review: Pallini Limoncello, Peachcello, and Raspicello (2021)

Exclusive to the Amalfi coast, Sfusato lemons are prized and in high demand for the intensity of their flavor and serves as the main ingredient in Pallini Limoncello, which we last reviewed in 2009. We recently sampled the flagship expression in Pallini’s range along with two additional flavors, right in time for the heatwave of…

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Review: Laphroaig 10 Years Old Sherry Oak Finish

The marriage of sherry and peat can prove to be a challenging equation to balance. Some distilleries manage to figure it out with elegance and style. Others have birthed mutations best forgotten, relegated to the island of misfit bottles. Thankfully this Laphroaig does not fall in the latter category, but sadly neither does it rise…

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