Review: Ezra Brooks Straight Bourbon

Let’s be clear: We’re drinking the bottom shelf with Ezra Brooks, a sub-$15 bourbon that got its start in the 1950s (not quite 1800 as the label would have you believe) and became part of what’s now the Missouri-based Luxco Corporation in 1993. In keeping with many ultra-cheap bespoke bourbons, Heaven Hill makes Ezra Brooks…

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Review: Russell Henry Dark Gin

About a year ago, the mad scientists at Craft Distillers took the last 100 cases’ worth of Russell Henry London Dry Gin they had and did a funny thing. Rather than bottle it and sell it, they put it in oak barrels (what type/provenance is unclear). After a year, the aged gin is bottled and branded…

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Review: Steel Reserve Alloy Series Margarita and Hard Pineapple

I won’t belabor the introduction of these two new flavored malt beverages from Steel Reserve with a lot of bloviating. So here we go … with Steel Reserve Margarita and Steel Reserve Hard Pineapple. Steel Reserve Alloy Series Margarita – Kryptonite green in color and, I have to presume, in flavor. Vaguely lime flavored, then blended…

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Review: 2013 Bridlewood Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon

This Gallo-owned winery focuses on very affordable bottlings primarily from central California vineyards. Thoughts on two wines from the newly-released 2013 vintage follow. 2013 Bridlewood Pinot Noir Monterey County – Rather dense, with some pruny notes on the nose. Quite fruit-forward, this pinot offers notes of intense jam, roasted meat, some root beer character, and…

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Review: Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection – French Oak Bourbons

In Bourbon country, American oak reigns. It’s long been tradition that America’s greatest whiskey is aged in American wood. Anything else and you’re lookin’ for trouble. In keeping with its long history of experimentation, Buffalo Trace kicked tradition out of the rickhouse for this latest round of its experimental whiskeys. As the names imply, these Bourbons…

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Review: Liber & Co. Real Grenadine

Remember Liber & Co.’s nifty Spiced Tonic syrup? Now the company’s back with another offering: a real grenadine. Grenadine is historically an intensely tart syrup made from pomegranates (making it deep red in color) and sugar. In recent years grenadine has turned into nothing more than red corn syrup, making it completely useless as a…

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Review: Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream Liqueur

Saint Brendan was a 5th century Irish apostle (later a saint, of course) who was best known for a seven-year-long fantastical voyage that has gone down as a bit of high Catholic mythology. No telling if he was into Irish cream, but I have my doubts. Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream (motto: “Simple by Design”) is another in…

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Review: Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye

Wild Turkey is expanding the Russell’s Reserve line this year with a Single Barrel Rye expression. There’s already a Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Rye (much more expensive these days than the $25 it cost in 2007), but as with the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon, this is a higher-end expression that plays some of…

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