Review: Ron Diplomatico Seleccion de Familia

Ron Diplomatico‘s Seleccion de Familia is an interesting blend of five different types of distillate — two column still styles, a semi-continuous distillate, a Barbet column distillate, and finally pot still distillate. Complicating things further, it is aged in ex-bourbon barrels and blended with some ex-sherry-aged stock. Let’s give it a whirl! The dark brown…

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Review: A Trio of Merlot, Summer 2024 Releases

By now, complaining that the film Sideways damaged Merlot’s reputation and sales is as superfluous and exhaustive an exercise for wine scribes as the film’s actual declarations. This will be my first and final allusion to the topic when discussing this pleasant and inoffensive varietal. Today, we have three sturdy Merlots suitable to uncork for…

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How Spirits Competitions Really Work: IWSC’s U.S. Plan to Curb Bias, Create Revenue, and Wash 10,000 Glasses

Bronze. Double Gold. Double Platinum. In the world of spirits awards, it’s tough for consumers to make sense of the accolades on a bottle. It’s difficult enough to differentiate one medal from the next, let alone among different competitions. Whether competitions purposefully or incidentally seem like walled gardens is up for debate. Some organizations may…

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Review: Wines of Franciscan Estate, Summer 2024 Releases

Franciscan was founded in 1972 by Justin Meyers and Raymond Duncan, and was christened as such in tribute to the Franciscan Friars who brought viticulture to California. Since then, the brand has built a venerable reputation for consistency and quality without escalating costs. The label also produces a critically acclaimed Meritage Bordeaux-style red blend, but…

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Review: Westward Single Malts – Vienna Malt and Vintner’s Cuvee High Proof

Portland, Oregon’s Westward Whiskey has dropped its first two two club releases for 2024, single malt special editions that are, as always, available direct from the distillery to members of its Whiskey Club subscription program (though you might also check at the distillery should you drop in for a visit). We got bottles of both…

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Review: Pinhook Kentucky Bourbon Cask Strength 5 Years Old

Pinhook is a non-distilling producer of ryes and bourbons and has been on a steady clip of releases since 2014, albeit somewhat an uneven and quizzical one. After a run of limited releases, Pinhook only then began building a stable of core expressions. (Spoiler alert: Horse racing analogies abound, both in their marketing and from…

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Review: The Busker Small Batch Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

When we first reviewed The Busker Irish Whiskey line in 2021 we found their Single Pot Still variety our favorite of their four offerings. Three years later, we’re excited to try Busker’s newest release, which is a Small Batch version of that Single Pot Still. The whiskey does not have an age statement, but it…

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Book Review: How to Taste

Sometimes we eat and drink. Sometimes we taste. Many of us like to read the thoughts of those who taste and relay their experiences. Prior to purchasing a new spirit, it’s common to read the impressions given to us by others. Perhaps you run to Google to find a written review? Perhaps watching video reviews…

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