Review: Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection – Infrared Light Wave Experiments

Never one to shy away from wacky experiments, Buffalo Trace’s latest bourbon has gone straight off the reservation. The trick this time? Exposing barrels to infrared light waves before giving them a light char. Eight barrels total were made, four irradiated for 15 minutes, four for 30 minutes. The full details are wonky and intricate.…

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Review: Frank Family Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay and 2013 Zinfandel

Frank Family’s spring releases are upon us. Thoughts on two new wines follow. 2014 Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay Carneros – A traditional chardonnay but a very well made one, loaded with fresh fruit up front, but tempered with brown butter, vanilla, and a touch of cloves. The body is bold, the finish lengthy, the overall wine…

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Review: Spirit of India Feni

There’s going to be a lot of education in this post, so hang in there. First: Do you know what cashew nuts look like before they are harvested? Neither did I, but they look like this. That’s the cashew sticking out of the bottom of a bright orange fruit. That fruit is called a cashew…

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Review: Rums of Rhum J.M. (2016)

When we last left Rhum J.M, Martinique’s celebrated rhum agricole brand, it was 2012. Since that time, J.M has done a little rebranding, relabeling, and in some cases renaming of its products. In honor of this, we’re giving Rhum J.M a fresh look — or at least, four of its more widely available products. Fresh…

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Tasting Report: Hardy Cognac (with Benedicte Hardy), 2016

I recently had the good fortune to taste Cognac with one of its grande dames, Benedicte Hardy, one of the proprietor’s of the Cognac Hardy house in France. Benedicte recently visited San Francisco and treated a number of media and trade professionals to a deep dive into Hardy’s “Anniversary Series” lineup at the city’s legendary…

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Review: Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky

Nikka’s Coffey Grain Whisky — named because of the Coffey still (a column still, not a pot still) that is used to produce it — has gained almost cult status since its 2013 arrival in the U.S. Now its big brother — a single malt made using the same still — is arriving on our…

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Review: 2014 Josh Cellars Chardonnay

This widely available wine carries an unspecific California appellation, but it drinks at a surprisingly much higher level than that would normally indicate. Pretty pear and apple notes are balanced by mild caramel and vanilla — but Josh Chardonnay stays well on this side of the “oaky-buttery” monstrosity that informs most California chardonnay. The finish…

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Review: Swift Single Malt Texas Whiskey

Swift is a new entry into the burgeoning Texas craft distilling industry, a region which is particularly enamored with malted barley rather then the more typically American corn and rye. The latest single malt to cross our path comes from Swift, a husband and wife team with a distinct and particular goal: To replicate Scotch…

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