Review: McQueen and the Violet Fog Gin

First off: Mad points for a creative name. McQueen and the Violet Fog? Sounds like a killer lounge act — and in fact, the name comes from a poem by one Atticus, in reference to a (fictional) rock group. (Part of said poem is reprinted on the back of the bottle.) Second off: It’s made…

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Review: 2017 Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Vine Hill Flanc de Coteau Blocs

Sonoma-Cutrer is an unabashed chardonnay shop, but its latest pinot noir, from its Russian River Valley-based Vine Hill Vineyard, is a wine to seek out. Some details: Sonoma-Cutrer’s Vine Hill Vineyard provided the fruit for this release with grapes specifically selected from the highest elevation, hillside blocks. With more than a 400-ft. elevation change, each…

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Review: Rogue Canned Cocktails – Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz, Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda, and Ginger Lime Vodka Mule

Rogue, the Newport, Oregon-based brewer and distiller, has recently leaped into the canned cocktail game with these renditions of a trio of hard seltzers. All are made with Rogue’s own vodka or gin, natural botanicals, and sparkling water. We tried the full lineup. Thoughts follow. Each is 7.5% abv. Rogue Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz –…

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Review: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Glenury Royal

Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label Ghost and Rare edition was such a hit that it spawned two sequels. The second release featured the addition of whisky from the renowned Port Ellen in its blend, and now there’s a third and final release, which revolves around the long-shuttered Glenury Royal distillery, as well as some other treasures.…

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Review: 2016 Sosie Syrah Vivio Vineyard Bennett Valley

Five whopping barrels were produced of this Sonoma-born syrah from Sosie. The Vivio Vineyard is near the Petaluma Gap, making for a fairly cool, breezy, foggy climate in which this syrah is grown. Exuberant and fruity, the wine is an instant delight with notes of licorice candy, dark chocolate, blackberries, and violets. Deep and soulful,…

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Review: Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished

Ready for more Crown Royal? Here we go: A new member has joined the Crown Royal family – Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished. The fourth release in Crown Royal’s award-winning Noble Collection… the famed French oak used in Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is sourced from the renowned Vosges…

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Review: 2019 Tio Pepe Fino En Rama

It’s the 10th anniversary of “Tio Pepe En Rama,” the Jerez winery’s special edition Fino style sherry that is bottled unclarified and unfiltered. 67 casks were used to create this 2019 bottling, which is intended to be consumed as young as possible. As with the 2018, this sherry has all the trappings of a classic…

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Review: Mount Gay Master Blender Selection – Pot Still Rum

It’s tough keeping up with Mount Gay’s special releases, which have been bottled under labels including XO, Origin Series, Master Select, and more. The most recent series is known as The Master Blender Collection, and the expression reviewed here is technically release #2 in that lineup, following Mount Gay XO Rum – The Peat Smoke…

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