Review: Crispin “15 Men” Blended Hard Cider Rum Cask Aged

Crispin’s latest limited edition cider is made from Colfax apple wine, aged in dark rum casks, and finished with wildflower honey and “dark candi syrup” — a fancy type of caramel that’s usually used in beermaking. What does the name mean? It comes from Treasure Island, meant to evoke pirates and buried treasure — and rum,…

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Review: Pere Magloire Calvados VSOP

Produced from apple cider pressed in the small Pays d’Auge region of Normandy, this VSOP Calvados is double distilled and aged in oak barrels for at least four years. This is young Calvados, but well made and quite drinkable. Some aeration is recommended to coax out the fruitier notes and allow some of the earthier…

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Review: Old Limestone Mixing Water

If you’re a huge Scotch nerd, you’ve probably seen the ultimate in geek mixers: Water imported from different regions in Scotland that you’re supposed to add to whisky from that region – the ultimate complement for your high-end hooch. Now Kentucky’s getting in on the game, with Old Limestone Mixing Water, sourced straight from Bourbon…

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Review: Aberlour 10 Years Old

Aberlour’s 12, 16, and 18 year old expressions are commonly available in America, but surprisingly its entry-level bottling, Aberlour 10 Years Old, isn’t sold here. That’s a shame, because it’s a fine example of the Speyside distillery’s house style and comes at a very reasonable price (the appropriate US dollar conversion has been made below). “Double…

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Tasting with Ferrari-Carano, 2015 Releases

Ferrari-Carano is a winery with which I’m intimately familiar. It was one of the first “serious” wines I spent my own money on when I was first learning about oenology, and I’ve visited the winery on many occasions since. Today we’re looking at the winery’s current 2015 releases, including chardonnay, pinot noir, and the Tresor…

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Review: Usquaebach Reserve and 15 Years Old

As the back label of Usquaebach Reserve tells us, Robert Burns immortalized the name of Usquaebach in his poem “Tam O’Shanter,” when he wrote, “Wi usquabae we’ll face the de’il.” Usquaebach, pronounced OOS-keh-bah, is a brand of blended whiskies that are made in the Scottish Highlands. The highest end bottling of the three expressions of Usquaebach (sadly not…

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Review: 2012 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford

Freemark Abbey’s always-engaging Cabernets are here, representing the 2012 vintage. Some real standouts… without further ado. 2012 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 75.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16.6% Merlot, 3.3% Cabernet Franc, 2.6% Petit Verdot, and 2.0% Malbec. Dense and quite sweet, this is New World cabernet at its most iconic, all crushed red fruits,…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2015

It was another unforgettable year at 2015’s WhiskyFest, with some of whiskydom’s most cherished icons on tap for tasting, and plenty of old friends to mingle and catch up with. Of course, many of those old friends come in liquid form, and I had ample opportunity to revisit plenty of classic whiskies while spending time…

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