Review: Penny Blue XO Mauritian Rum

Imported by Anchor Distilling from that remote African island of Mauritius (where a handful of rums are made), Penny Blue is a limited edition rum from the oldest distillery on the island, built in 1926. The sugarcane is sourced from a single estate, and the rum is then matured for about seven years in a…

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Review: Chicken Cock Flavored Whiskeys

Chicken Cock! I can’t do the origin story justice. Here it is in the distiller’s own words. Originally established in 1856 in Paris, Kentucky, Chicken Cock quickly became a significant 19th century Bourbon brand. Forced to move production to Canada during Prohibition, Chicken Cock was smuggled across the border in tin cans, where it rose…

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Tasting Red Sancerre Wines: La Croix du Roy and Jerome Gueneau, 2013 Releases

Sancerre is a lovely wine made in the Loire Valley, a crisp white made primarily from Sauvignon Blanc… except when it’s not. They also make red wine in Sancerre, from Pinot Noir grapes, in total comprising about 20% of the region’s production. Red Sancerre, or “Sancerre Rouge,” is virtually unheard-of in the U.S. due to…

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Review: 2011 Ventisquero Grey Carmenere

Tying a Chilean Carmenere into the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon is a bit of a stretch, but damn the torpedoes, we’re charging ahead anyway. Grey is a newish label from mega-producer Ventisquero, with a number of varietals under its belt. One of the latest is this Maipo Valley-originated Carmenere — Chile’s unofficial official grape —…

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Review: Cruzan Light Rum 5 Years Old, Dark Rum 5 Years Old, and Single Barrel Rum (2013)

Cruzan, based in St. Croix, is something of an underrated distillery in the world of rum. Now it’s moving ever so slightly upmarket, with the launch of three new premium rums, all part of the new Distiller’s Collection. All three of these rums start with the same base stock — a blend of rums from barrels…

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Review: Tatoosh Bourbon

Troy Turner opened Tatoosh Distillery in 2009 in Seattle, citing his bootlegger and moonshiner ancestors as inspiration. Now Turner is producing whiskey, based he says on a hundred-year-old recipe, using local ingredients. (No Indiana-made stock here!) The mashbill isn’t a shocker: 70% corn, 15% rye, and 15% malted barley. The mash is distilled in a…

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Review: Jim Beam Single Barrel Bourbon

It’s hard to believe Jim Beam doesn’t already have a single barrel offering under the Beam name, but I suppose the vast array of premium whiskeys the company makes (some of which are single barrel) — including Knob Creek, Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s, and more — have fit that bill rather well over the years. Now Beam is…

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Review: Cynar Liqueur (2013)

Don’t like bitter amari? Well, you’ll hate Cynar, which isn’t just bitter, it features a picture of an artichoke on its label. You like drinking artichokes, don’t you? We last reviewed Cynar in January 2011. This is a fresh look at the classic spirit. Meant to be consumed either with soda or straight but “always on ice,” Cynar…

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