Review: Van Ryn’s Brandy 10, 12, 15, and 20 Years Old

I say brandy. You say… Stellenbosch, South Africa? The Van Ryn’s brand dates back to 1845, when it was founded in Cape Town. It’s been producing brandy from chenin blanc and colombar (same as colombard) grapes in its current facility since 1905. Today the company produces a surprisingly delicious line of four brandies, all bottled with an…

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Bar Review: Pagan Idol, San Francisco

For years, San Franciscans have had one primary spot for tiki drinks: Smuggler’s Cove. Now a new temple to rum and tropical fruit juices has opened: Pagan Idol. Pagan Idol is part of the Future Bars group, which owns Rickhouse, Bourbon & Branch, and other high-end bars. Pagan Idol fits right in, taking the tiki…

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Review: 2014 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Whiskey goes into wine barrels, that’s the way it’s always been. Wine into whiskey barrels? Not something that you see. Ever, I mean. Well, this Private Selection bottling from Robert Mondavi just does that, taking cabernet sauvignon and aging it not in new oak but in used Kentucky bourbon casks. Nutty idea, eh? Let’s see…

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Review: 2012 Cheval des Andes Mendoza

Sunday is World Malbec Day, so why not celebrate with one of the most refined expressions you’ll find — from its spiritual home in Argentina? Cheval des Andes is a joint venture between Chateau Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux and Terrazas de los Andes in Argentina. For 2012, the wine is 66% malbec, 26% cabernet sauvignon, and…

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Review: Popcorn Sutton Barrel Finished Moonshine

Popcorn Sutton fans take note: A limited edition, barrel-finished version of the company’s moonshine is now arriving. This expression ages Popcorn’s white whiskey in a new oak barrel with a #3 char. No length of aging is stated, but the company does note that it includes no caramel color or grain neutral spirit added. You…

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Review: Brora 37 Years Old Limited Edition 2015

Our final (final final) bottling in the Diageo Special Editions, this 37 year old Brora, from the northern Highlands of Scotland, is the oldest (of 14 releases) of Brora ever bottled in this series, following a series of 35 year old expressions. Distilled in 1977, it has been aged fully in refill American oak hogsheads.…

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Review: Pittyvaich 25 Years Old Limited Edition 2015

Why don’t you know anything about Pittyvaich? Because the Speyside distillery was built in 1975 and torn down in 1993. As Diageo notes, this Special Edition release, distilled in 1989, survived longer than the distillery itself did. Aged in refill American oak and first-fill ex-bourbon barrels, this is classic non-sherried Speyside from start to finish.…

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Review: Dalwhinnie 25 Years Old Limited Edition 2015

  When we covered the 2015 Diageo Special Releases, we were bummed to receive samples of only 6 of the 9 malts released this year. Then, out of the blue, the final three in the series showed up on the doorstep. At last, we are able to present our coverage of the late 2015 releases…

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