Review: Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten (2017), Port Charlotte 10 Years Old (2017), Octomore 10 (2017), and Black Art 5.1

With Jim McEwan out and Adam Hannett in as master distiller, Bruichladdich hasn’t taken its foot off the gas even for a second. This summer the company hits the ground with three new ten year old whiskies — all revivals of earlier limited editions — plus a new release of Black Art, Hannett’s first stab at…

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Review: Wines of the Locations Series, 2017

Orin Swift veteran Dave Phinney is best known for domestic wines like The Prisoner, but he recently got a taste for the international with its Locations series, a unique set of wines that got their start back in 2008. (The wines are unaffiliated with Orin Swift.) In a recent tasting, winemaker Phinney outlined the inspiration…

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Review: Bushmills Red Bush Irish Whiskey

For its latest trick, Bushmills is taking things as old-school as they get. Bushmills Red Bush is a NAS variant of the classic Irish whiskey, one that is aged exclusively in first-fill, medium-charred, ex-bourbon casks. Bushmills Original (aka Original Bush) is aged in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks. If you’re familiar with Black…

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Review: 2015 Hahn SLH Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

New releases from Hahn and its upscale SLH line of wines, both made with grapes sourced from its estate in the Santa Lucia Highlands. 2015 Hahn SLH Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highands – A thinner wine, particularly on the barely-there nose, but the initially watery body eventually builds to offer some bolder notes of licorice, charred…

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A Visit to Napa Valley Distillery

Like many small distilleries, Napa Valley Distillery — the first distilling operation since Prohibition to open its doors in a town that’s synonymous with wine — has a two-pronged approach to making product. It distills some spirits on its own (vodka and brandy, mainly, distilled from sauvignon blanc grapes) using a couple of neat, small…

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Review: Virtue Cider The Mitten

This new release from Virtue Cider is, as always, a Michigan-born cider, made from a blend of last season’s pressed apples. The cider is “aged in Bourbon barrels for up to one year, then back sweetened with this year’s fresh pressed apple juice.” This is one of Virtue’s more interesting ciders, offering caramel and butterscotch notes…

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Drinking the Bottom Shelf Vol. 2: Canadian Whisky – Ellington, Black Velvet, LTD

Good whiskey can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. This review continues our project of considering bargain bottles by looking at three inexpensive Canadian whiskies. (Cheap-ass American whiskey coverage can be found here.) Canadian whiskies are usually blends, as all three of these are. Ellington Canadian Whisky Note that the whisky reviewed here…

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Review: Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye (2017)

In 2015, I reviewed Crown Royal Northern Rye. I thought it was OK. I graded it a B. Later that year Jim Murray named it his whisky of the year, and all hell broke loose. A $30 Canadian whisky is the best whisky of the year? Sales went through the roof. The price shot up.…

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