Review: Oak by Absolut

To quote Tom Cruise in Risky Business, sometimes you gotta say, What the fuck? How big is whiskey? So big that the vodka guys are trying to muscle in on the business. Oak by Absolut is Absolut vodka rested in oak barrels. Or, more accurately, it is “oak infused vodka, vodka, [and] vodka rested in barrels,” per the label.…

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Review: Cerveza Modelo Especial

Quick: What’s the best-selling imported beer in the U.S.? Too easy. What’s the #2 best-selling import? No, not Heineken. Not any more. Now it’s Modelo Especial. Celebrating its recent rise to the second from the top, Modelo sent out samples to see what all the fuss is about. I have to say, I don’t much…

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Review: Voli Vodka

Made in Cognac, France, this vodka is crafted from French wheat, 5x distilled, blended with local water, and endorsed by Pitbull. Voli (aka Voli Black) has a hyper-modern profile from start to finish. On the nose, it offers substantial sweetness, with caramel notes and a bit of citrus. The body is as sweet as you…

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Book Review: Spirit of Place – Scotland’s Great Whisky Distilleries

Scotland is a magical place, and descriptions and tasting notes really don’t do it justice. If you’re a whisky fan and can’t visit in person, the next best thing is here: Charles MacLean’s Spirit of Place, with photos by Lara Platman and Allan MacDonald. The book is a beautiful coffee table tome, with almost 300 pages…

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Review: Far North Spirits Syva Vodka and Gustaf Navy Strength Gin

Two more white spirits from Minnesota-based Far North Spirits, both sporting the company’s exotic Nordic naming scheme. Thoughts follow. Far North Spirits Syva Vodka – Distilled from rye. Immediately odd nose, with heavy, malty grain notes, some hospital notes, and a nutty, almond character that seems to come out of nowhere. On the palate, the…

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Review: The Traveler Beer Co. Seasonal Shandies

Three crafty shandies from Burlington, Vermont-based Traveler Beer Co., each using a wheat ale for a base and with a variety of fruity/sweet additives for spin. Each is fairly low alcohol and, of course, a bit different than your typical suds. Thoughts follow. The Traveler Beer Co. Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy – Slightly sweet, with…

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Review: Sandra Lee Cocktail Time Margarita – Key Lime and Strawberry

Sandra Lee is a celebrity chef (my wife knew who she was anyway) who’s branching out of cookbooks and into… margies! These ready-to-drink margarita cocktails are targeted at the higher shelf consumer, as they’re made with real fruit, cane sugar, and “premium blue agave tequila and triple sec liqueur”? I’m not entirely sure if that…

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Review: Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Century

Jack Daniel’s is making a second stab at Sinatra’s legendary love of JD with another ultra high-end bottling of its signature Tennessee Whiskey. If you thought Sinatra Select was ostentatious, wait’ll you get a load of Sinatra Century, which arrives at more than twice the price. Sinatra Century — bottled in honor of Frank’s 100th birthday…

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