Review: Stolen “Coffee & Cigarettes” Spiced Rum

The name alone gives one pause. Does one want to drink cigarettes? If they’re stolen, do they taste better? To clarify things a bit, look to the quotation marks. “Stolen” is the name of the brand. “Coffee & Cigarettes” is the flavor applied. Underneath, it’s spiced rum, making this the first flavored and spiced rum we’ve…

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Review: 2012 Flora Springs Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and 2011 Trilogy

More new releases from our friends at Napa Valley’s Flora Springs, including the 2011 vintage of its flagship wine, Trilogy, a Bordeaux style blend. 2012 Flora Springs Barrel Fermented Chardonnay – Initially quite oaky, this barrel-fermented Chardonnay opens up with notes of figs, peaches, vanilla, and creme brulee. Time in glass is the friend of this…

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Tasting in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley: Wines of Bella, Truett-Hurst, Preston, 2014 Releases

On the other side of Highway 101, Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley is a sleepy alternative to the bustle of Napa and even of Sonoma proper. Here, there’s little but narrow roads winding through vineyards. No Michelin-starred restaurants out here or even so much as a gas station. If you need a snack, there’s but one…

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Review: 2006 Charbay Still House Port and Distillers’ Port

California-based Charbay doesn’t just make some amazing spirits. It has also released this impressive collection of vintage ports, both made from 2006 vintage grapes and aged 7 years before bottling. Both are 20.9% abv and bottled in 375ml bottles. Thoughts follow. 2006 Charbay Still House Port – 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Zinfandel, 10% Syrah. That adds…

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Book Review: Bitter Brew

I really had no idea that the Busch family had gone through such a turbulent century, with the fortunes of Budweiser careening up and down. But then again, like most readers of this blog, I don’t give Budweiser a whole lot of thought, anyway. But with Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and…

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Review: Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Experimental IPA (2014)

This year’s Hop Henge from Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes continues the company’s long-running experiment in “IBU escalation,” landing at 99 IBUs this time around. It doesn’t taste all that bitter. Sure, it’s got a nice slug of hops courtesy of the Cascade, Centennial, Millennium, Chinook, and one experimental variety of hops in the mix, which give it…

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Review: Sugar Island Spiced Rum and Coconut Rum

Made from Caribbean cane sugar and bottled in California, Sugar Island is a new kid on the flavored and spiced rum block. (The company is not making an unflavored or aged variety.) Here’s how these new offerings measure up against the competition. Sugar Island Spiced Rum – Very strong and pungent on the nose. The…

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Review: Camus VSOP Elegance (2014) and VSOP Borderies Cognac

Here’s something you don’t see every day: A Borderies-grown Cognac… that’s also a youngish VSOP. Borderies, for those not in the know, is a small, very renowned grape-growing subregion of Cognac. Normally, Borderies bottlings are old XO expressions — which command even higher prices due to their regional pedigree. And while Camus does offer an…

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