Review: McMenamins Phil Hazelnut Liqueur

Craft Frangelico? You better believe it. Our pals at the Northwest brewpub/restaurant/microdistillers McMenamins churn out a small amount of this hazelnut spirit, called Phil. (Filbert? Get it?) Phil is made from unaged wheat whiskey that’s infused with Oregon hazelnuts. Bottled at 60 proof, it’s considerably stronger than both Frangelico and Fratello, both of which are…

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Review: Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey 12 Years Old

It’s hard to fathom that some of the most anticipated whiskey releases in recent years are named after, well, colored spots. Yellow Spot originated in the late 1800s — there were a whole host of “Spot” whiskies made by the Mitchell family back in the day, including the beloved Green Spot, which were made at…

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Review: Wines of Frei Brothers, 2015 Releases

Three new wines from Sonoma’s Frei Brothers, which seemingly only has a “Reserve” label. Thoughts follow… 2013 Frei Brothers Chardonnay Russian River Valley Sonoma County – A big, slap-your-mama California Chardonnay, but one that’s not without some charm. The big vanilla is kept in check by some lemon and orange notes, with a pervasive apple cider character.…

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Review: Clynelish Select Reserve Limited Edition 2014

Our final whisky in the 2014 Diageo Special Releases is this no-age-statement offering from Clynelish, an active distillery in the far northern Highlands. The first Clynelish released by Diageo in this series, this whisky has been aged in “ex-bourbon, rejuvenated and refill American Oak, and ex-bodega and refill European oak.” All casks in the vatting…

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Recipe: St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails 2015

So once again St. Patrick’s Day seems to present us with an onslaught of recipes courtesy of brands, PR folks, bartenders, and loyal readers. No matter where in the world St. Patty’s is celebrated, it seems to bring out the best in every drinker, professional, and amateur. Sláinte de la Noche 1 ½ parts Hornitos…

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Review: Port Ellen 35 Years Old Limited Edition 2014

Our 10th review in the Diageo Special Releases series is this old Port Ellen, a classic, beloved, and regular part of this series. The Islay-based Port Ellen was closed in 1983, which makes this 1978-distilled product (now carefully allocated) unbearably rare. Aged in refill American and European oak, it’s bottled at 35 epic years of…

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Review: Sipp Sparkling Organics

What’s a Sipp? These new “eco beverages” are organic, sweetened with agave nectar, and designed to compete with those bad-for-you artificial sodas. Each 12 oz. bottle has about 100 calories. Four flavors are available. We tasted them all and present our notes for your consideration. Sipp Summer Pear – Flavorings include pear, green tea, and…

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Review: Lagavulin 12 Years Old Limited Edition 2014

A 12-year-old expression of Lagavulin is a perennial part of the Diageo Special Editions, and sure enough, this is the 13th Lagavulin 12 to be released in the series, again vatted from refill American Oak casks. As usual, it’s a classic expression of Lagavulin, light on its feet (and a gentle yellow in color), radiant with…

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