Review: 2021 Booker Wines Vertigo

A glance at the website of Paso Robles-based Booker Wines immediately reveals a commitment to minimalism. Like their bottle labels, the company’s story is conveyed using only the most essential of elements, aligning with the practice and philosophies of legendary Japanese designer Kenya Hara. This attention to detail and austere simplicity is what aesthetically sets…

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Review: The Irishman Single Malt Irish Whiskey 12 Years Old and 17 Years Old

The Irishman brand underwent some tweaking in 2022 with sexy new packaging and a few edits to the core lineup. What once was the entry-level Founder’s Reserve Blend is now dubbed The Harvest and a new rum-finished expression has joined Single Malt and Vintage Cask in the non-age stated portion of the portfolio. All that…

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Review: Hardin’s Creek The Kentucky Series: Frankfort

As promised, Round 2 of the new Hardin’s Creek line from Jim Beam is here. As a reminder, the trilogy of whiskeys are all identical 17 year old bourbons save for one detail: They were aged in different rickhouses in Kentucky, exposing the impact of Kentucky’s various microclimates. The first release, Clermont, showcased the impact…

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Book Review: How to Make Better Cocktails

A telltale sign of a solid cocktail recipe book for beginners is the percentage of effort and page count dedicated to discussing techniques, barware, garnishes, styling and other elements necessary to building a decent knowledge base, bar supply, and skill set. And to its credit, How to Make Better Cocktails spends nearly a quarter of…

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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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