Review: Virginia Distillery Co. Scholar’s Craft American Single Malt

Touting “Coffee Cask” aging on its label, Virginia Distillery Co.’s Scholar’s Craft American Single Malt Whisky immediately caught my attention. As lover of all things coffee, I was intrigued by the proposition of a 100% barley single malt aged in former bourbon casks and finished in coffee barrels. Virginia Distillery Co. is well known for…

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Review: 2021 WillaKenzie Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

WillaKenzie‘s pinot noirs have been absent from these pages for several years, but we are happily back into the mix with this 2021 vintage expression of its Willamette Valley pinot noir. The overwhelming earthiness of the 2017 bottling is fortunately absent here, letting elements of black cherry, cola, and some baking spices come into focus.…

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Blending and the Limit of Cask Finishes: An Interview with Redemption Master Blender Alan Kennedy

Alan Kennedy is a busy man these days. An experienced sommelier, chef, and bar manager, Kennedy is also a relatively new father in addition to spending much of his time on the road for spirits work. In June 2023, he was announced as Redemption’s new Master Blender, a crucial role for a brand originally built…

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Review: 2019 Rose Vine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

This past weekend (August 11, 2023) marked the official 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, a culture and lifestyle which has changed the course of American art, style and music numerous times. I personally count myself as a lifelong student and fan who has felt this impact and believe my life has been exponentially…

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Review: 2021 One Stone Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

Previously we brought you coverage of One Stone’s Central Coast Rose — the winery an offshoot of Ancient Peaks — and now we turn to heartier fare, a 2021 cabernet from the Paso Robles appellation. Bold without being aggressive, particularly on the tannin front, this is one of the more approachable and recommendable budget cabs…

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Review: Gran Centenario Anejo Tequila

We’ve reviewed a wide range of Gran Centenario tequilas over the years, including copious special editions, but the brand’s standard anejo has long eluded us. Today we remedy that with a look at its aged expression. (Length of time in barrel is not formally stated, but I’ve read 18 months online.) This is a perfectly…

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Review: Faccia Brutto Fernet Pianta

Among my hardnosed and surly bartender brethren, Fernet is king… and they have a brand. Before the botanical forearm-tattooed kneecappers come for me demanding loyalty, I promise this particular Fernet will content any Bitterhead. For the uninitiated, Fernets tend to feature a few distinct ingredients that distinguish them from their Amari cousins; chief among them…

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Review: Giffard Triple Sec

  Let’s take another dive into Giffard‘s spin on an essential cocktail ingredient: triple sec, in this case presented as a triple-distilled, clear expression of the classic orange liqueur. Giffard Triple Sec is fine but not overly unique, leaning more heavily on sweeteners than you’d expect considering the usual fare from the brand. Yes, the…

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