Review: The Antiquary 21 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Made by Tomatin, Antiquary is “the rare old blend,” a hodgepodge of whiskies from all over Scotland (including a touch of Islay in it) that seems to want to out-walk Johnnie Walker. The 21 year old expression (gold label bottling; there are others) is a malty whisky that’s mellow with notes of fresh barley and…

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Review: Skyy Barcraft – White Sangria, Margarita Lime, and Watermelon Fresca

“It’s time to hack the cocktail!” Now that’s a slogan I can get behind. Unfortunately, Skyy Barcraft — essentially lower-proof flavored vodka designed to be mixed with your favorite mixer (soda, ginger, what-have-you) and consumed on the rocks — isn’t really hacking anything. Unless you consider water and those inimitable “natural flavors” to be a…

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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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