Review: Nanbu Bijin “Southern Beauty” Tokubetsu Junmai Sake

“Tokubetsu,” which translates to “special selection,” is a vague term much like “reserve” in the wine world. More often than not it refers to a sake with non-ginjo attributes but polished to a ginjo level. Confused? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Consider this: Fruity aromas such as honeydew melon define ginjo styles, yet these aromas…

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Review: Aultmore 21 Years Old (2019)

Speyside-based Aultmore came under Bacardi’s Dewars brand ownership in 1998, and like its sister brand Craigellachie, most of its production is pumped into Dewars blends. Here’s an outlier: A 21 year old single malt, a reprise of a release of the same age that dropped in 2014. Curious how things have changed in the last…

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Review: Craigellachie 33 Years Old

In the center of Speyside you’ll find the Craigellachie Distillery, which for years has been a primary contributor to Dewar’s blended whiskies. Lately, a few single malts bearing the Craigellachie name have been trickling onto the market and now we’re witnessing the oldest one in the modern era, a whopping 33 years of age. This travel retail…

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Review: Pyramid Yeah Baby! Cryo Hop IPA

We’re living in the future, folks. Pyramid’s latest IPA is made with “CRYO-Hops,” which is what, exactly? “CRYO-Hops are made from the concentrated lupulin of whole-leaf hops. By using liquid nitrogen to lower the temperature of the hops during processing, the resulting resins and aromatic oils provide a more intense hop experience.” So says Pyramid. It sounds…

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Review: Sugarlands Shine Cole Swindell’s Pre-Show Punch

Sometimes things surprise you. Here’s a flavored moonshine, endorsed by a celebrity, and when the bottle arrived I was surprised to see it was only 50 proof. This is moonshine? As the writer of songs like “Just a Sip,” “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” and “Beer in the Headlights,” country singer Cole Swindell clearly has more…

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Review: Iron Hill Brewery Kryptonite Double IPA

Wilmington, Delaware-based Iron Hill Brewery’s latest is a monster IPA featuring a so-called “Legion of Hops,” including Columbus, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo, Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra. Kryptonite is every bit the beast you might expect. The nose is funky, leathery, shroomy even, a brooding expression of bitter savoriness that doesn’t let up. The palate sees more…

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Review: 1220 Artisan Spirits Origin Gin

1220 Artisan Spirits grew out of St. Louis-based 4 Hands Brewing Co. in 2018, so it’s not even a year into operation. The distillery is focusing on vodka and gin, with this offering, Origin Gin, at the top of the permanent list. (A series of seasonal gin releases is planned going forward, along with whiskey,…

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Review: Tequila Partida Anejo (2019)

We’ve encountered Partida Tequila (partida being Spanish for departure) a number of times over the years, and recently the distillery asked us to take a fresh look at its anejo, the first time we’ve formally reviewed it since my naive look way back in 2007. For those unfamiliar, the Partida brand only dates back to 2001.…

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