Review: Port Ellen 32 Years Old Limited Edition 2015

And, for last: The unicorn, Port Ellen 32. After years of incrementing the age on the most-treasured release of the Diageo Special Releases — Port Ellen — the company has taken a step back. While 2014’s edition was a 35 year old distilled in 1978, this year’s is a 32 year old distilled in 1983,…

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Review: Lagavulin 12 Years Old Limited Edition 2015

A perennial part of the Diageo Special Releases, this is 15th time Lagavulin 12 has appeared in the collection. At this point you probably know what you’re getting with the Lag 12 — a slightly younger, higher-proof version of the classic Lagavulin 16. Hot and peaty, with sweet smoke and lots of iodine, it’s a mammoth…

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Review: The Cally 40 Years Old Single Grain Limited Edition 2015

Not every release in the 2015 Diageo Special Releases is a single malt — this one’s a single grain whisky. The Cally was made at the Caledonian Distillery in Edinburgh, which was shuttered in 1988. The nickname stuck around, though, and Diageo kept a few barrels on hand to see how well single grain whisky…

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Book Review: Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters and Amari

Mark Bitterman sure does like bitters, and if you want to learn how to make them, to craft cool cocktails with them, or even cook with them (bittered southern fried chicken, anyone?), this new book is for you. A true field guide in appearance — softbound with a rubberized cover — the book feels a…

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Review: Dailuaine 34 Years Old Limited Edition 2015

This is my first experience with Dailuaine, and it’s quite a unique one. A Speyside distillery that’s been running off and on since 1852, nearly all of Dailuaine’s production ends up in Johnnie Walker blends. A rarity in the Diageo Special Releases, this 34 year old bottling (aged fully in ex-American oak casks) is the oldest…

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Review: Wines of Rodney Strong, 2016 Releases

Three new affordable releases from Rodney Strong, all from the Sonoma County range. Let’s give them a spin. 2014 Rodney Strong Chardonnay Sonoma County – Bright and fruity, this is an apple- and pear-focused wine that laces modest (but not overwhelming) vanilla and caramel notes into an otherwise fruit-forward experience. Uncomplicated, but super friendly for…

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Review: Caol Ila Unpeated 17 Years Old Limited Edition 2015

Last year’s unpeated Caol Ila has been stretched from 15 to 17 years of age. Distilled in 1997, this second review in the 2015 Diageo Special Releases showcases the heart of Islay, sans the peat. The nose is quite salty and laden with iodine, slightly smoky — secondhand peat, perhaps. Hints of citrus waft up…

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Tasting the Pinot Gris Wines of Alsace, 2016

The region is best known for Pinot Blanc and Riesling, but Pinot Gris is a major varietal in the Alsace — so much so that the region’s reps sent us four selections from the area for us to cover. Let’s dive into four major Alsatian Pinot Gris wines to see how they stack up. 2011…

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