Review: Cragganmore Limited Edition 2016

It’s not Christmas yet, but that most anticipated time of the year has arrived: The release of Diageo’s Special Releases, rarities from Scotland-based distilleries (some long-closed) being trickled to our shores. This year’s batch includes 10 whiskies, all of which we have on hand for review and will cover one of each day for the…

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Review: Tovolo Sphere Clear Ice System

Nothing makes a better statement in a cocktail than using a single piece of ice to chill it. Up the ante by making that a sphere instead of a cube. Up it again by ensuring the ice is crystal clear, not cloudy. The secret of clear ice was figured out a long time ago: Water…

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Review: Crown Royal Vanilla

Crown Royal continues to experiment with flavored whiskies, its latest expression being a natural whisky fit: Vanilla. The product is described as “a blend of hand-selected Crown Royal whiskies infused with the rich flavor of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.” If you like vanilla and you like Canadian whisky, well, you’ll love Crown Royal Vanilla, which is…

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Review: 2013 Saved Red Wine

A blend of “Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Zinfandel, and small amounts of other red varietals,” this is a California bottling from parts otherwise unknown. The wine is initially dialed back, but some air and time in glass reveals a denser-than-expected fruit core that showcases blackberries, blueberries, and currants. There’s a lacing of vanilla and a touch of…

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Review: El Consuelo Tequila Reposado

El Consuelo is a new brand just launched this year. It is one of only a few USDA-certified organic tequilas, made with Highland agave and, curiously, is aged in Cognac barrels instead of the usual bourbon barrels. We received the reposado for review, which spends six months in wood before bottling. Heavy agave kicks off…

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Tasting Report: Wines of the Petaluma Gap, 2016

Draw a line eastward from Bodega Bay to Sonoma, and another one parallel to that about 10 miles to the south. Congratulations, you’ve just outlined, roughly, the Petaluma Gap, a much-discussed region of Sonoma County (plus a bit of Marin County) that is heralded particularly for its colder-climate pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. The “gap”…

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Review: Glenfiddich IPA Cask Finish

Even old guard Glenfiddich can’t stay away from the fun of experimental whiskymaking. In fact the distillery is launching a whole line of experimental spirits called the Experimental Series which revolve around unusual cask finishes. First out of the gate: an India Pale Ale cask finish. This isn’t a partnership with a major brewery. Rather,…

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Bar Review: The Oakwood, Vancouver B.C.

Vancouver’s Oakwood is a Canadian Bistro by name, featuring a decent-sized restaurant serving Canadian classics next to a roaring fire. But across the aisle is a bar that’s worthy of your time in its own right. We picked an auspicious time to visit, as Oakwood’s former bartender recently left and was just replaced by a…

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