Review: D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin

The ornate and elaborate label on D. George Benham’s gin looks like it could be straight out of old Londontown, but the truth is it hails from Sonoma County, California. What’s a “Sonoma Dry Gin?” As Graton Distilling Co. owner Derek George Benham describes, it’s a cross between old school London Dry and fruitier New…

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Review: VDKA 6100 Vodka

Here’s the bullet points on VDKA 6100. It hails from New Zealand (the 6100 refers to the 6,100 miles from the U.S. (where the vodka was envisioned) to NZ, where it is made). It is triple distilled from a mash made not using potatoes, corn, or wheat but from whey — yes, whey, the by-product…

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Tasting the Beers of Devils Backbone: Five Apostles Saison, Pear Lager, Golden Stag, Black Rock Milk Stout, Catty Wompus, and Trail Angel Weiss

Lexington, Virginia-based Devils Backbone has been cranking out craft brews for years, and earlier this year the operation was acquired by Anheuser-Busch. The company says that the Bud connection won’t stifle its autonomy, and that it will keep releasing daring beers for years to come. That’s starting with the brewery’s new¬†Adventure Pack, which includes Five…

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Tasting Sicilian Grillo: 2014 Tasca and 2013 Firriato

Grillo is a Sicilian grape variety (thought to be a cross between moscato and catarratto) known best as one of the varietals used for the production of Marsala — but it can also be used to produce a lively table wine that echoes pinot grigio, but with a bolder and rounder body. Recently we sampled…

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Exploring Port Wine: Touring Porto and the Douro Valley

Port is unlike any other wine you’ve tasted, and as such it’s only fitting that the place the make it — Porto and the adjacent Douro Valley — is unlike any wine region you’ve visited, either. For those unfamiliar with Port wine, a brief primer is in order. All Port is made here in northern…

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Review: Mortlach Special Strength

The conventional wisdom holds that since the distillery’s relaunch, three Mortlach expressions are available — Rare Old, 18 Years Old, and 25 Years Old. Not quite. There is a fourth expression: Special Strength, which is available only at travel retail. (Where I bought this.) Special Strength is a surprisingly appropriate and non-obfuscating name for this…

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Review: Soltado Picante Tequila

Why would you take a perfectly good tequila and dope it up with a bunch of cinnamon and hot peppers? I can’t speak to the logic, although it’s hardly the first time anyone has tried to impregnate tequila with added flavoring agents. That said, flavored tequilas rarely have any serious pedigree. Not so with Soltado,…

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Review: Yellow Rose Straight Rye Whiskey

We last encountered Houston, Texas-based Yellow Rose Distillery in 2013. Today we pick up the thread with Yellow Rose’s straight rye, an Indiana-sourced product made from 95% rye grain (in keeping with a number of other MGP ryes on the market). Yellow Rose says this product was recently reformulated, but I don’t have any information…

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