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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Review: Stolichnaya Gluten Free Vodka

At the risk of angering my gluten-free readership even further, I’m about to review another gluten-free beverage that’s arriving in the form of Stoli Gluten Free. It’s becoming increasingly popular for manufacturers to claim that various liquor products are gluten free, but it’s commonly known that gluten does not survive the distillation process. By and…

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Drinking the Costa del Sol – A Trip from Barcelona, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal

Spend any amount of time in Spain and the subject of the Spanish paradox eventually comes up. As a nationality, the Spanish, it turns out, have one of the longest average lifespans in the world. According to the WHO, Japan is the longest-lived, with an average longevity of 83.7 years. Curiously, Spain is in 4th place worldwide, with…

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Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Toogie’s Invitation” 2016-03

  Booker’s special editions keep rolling out — this one the third limited edition to hit in 2016. Here’s some production information to chew on. This batch is named in honor of Marilyn “Toogie” Dick, a lifelong friend of founding distiller Booker Noe. Toogie was part of the “original roundtable,” gathering at Booker’s kitchen table with family and friends to help select some…

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Review: 2015 Love & Hope Rose

Here’s a fresh rose from Hope Family Wines production (hence the name) made from grenache, mourvedre, and syrah grapes grown in Paso Robles, California. Immediately a curious note takes hold — orange blossoms in lieu of the usual red berries, along with notes of Meyer lemon and some papaya character. The body could be more acidic and…

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