March 26, 2014
Glenlivet 15, Banffshire, Scotland

Today’s post was enabled by Nip Swap, a blog on the bleeding edge of alcohol bartering and consumption. (It’s a thing that happens at my office where we buy nips and then trade them every so often. Pretty great.)

In St. Patrick’s Swap, I acquired a bottle of Glenlivet 15, French Oak Reserve, for a Grey Goose and a Bulleit Bourbon — some of you may say that was too steep a price, but I’m never gonna drink the Goose and I’ve had the Bulleit before, so whatever. 

In the spirit of the container, today’s review will be a short one.

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March 20, 2014
Double Rye!, High West, Park City, UT

Some weeks are fast, others are slow, and some are so mind-numbing and counter-productive that you can’t help but wonder why, just in general. Fortunately, there’s a spirit for all occasions: rye whiskey.

People are starting to really like rye again: before the craft spirits renaissance, rye wasn’t exactly a beloved spirit, but more considered swill that you only would mix in a less-than-tasty Manhattan (or so my dad, a former NYC barman, tells me). Not so anymore, though!

Today’s drink comes from the folks at High West Whiskey out in Park City, Utah. They don’t distill any of their whiskeys on the premises — they do make a peach vodka in-house, but all of the whiskey production is taken care of by an unnamed third party. Weird? A little, because High West’s branding doesn’t really tell you that. Does it matter? Nope, because this is one interesting rye.

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March 14, 2014
Chauffe-Cœur Calvados, VSOP, Pays d’Auge

Fridays are good days to learn new things about liquor, since you get time to test out your newfound knowledge during the whole weekend. So without further ado, I give you what just might be your favorite new spirit that you’ve never heard of: Calvados.  

Calvados is a brandy, similar in style to a Cognac or the more awesome Armagnac, though it’s made from apples — or distilled hard cider — as opposed to grapes. Native to France, almost all of the Calvados production in the country (and probably then in the world) comes out of Normandy, which also, not so coincidentally, produces most of France’s hard cider (very good).

It’s not super popular in the States, from what I can tell: most of my favorite liquor stores only carry a bottle or two, and it’s rare to see any place have a real selection. But we take what we can get, and today, that is a bottle from Chais Chauffe-Cœur, a distillery in the heart of Pays d’Auge. Drink up. 

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March 9, 2014
Go To IPA, Stone Brewing Co.

Woah, we’re back and bringing you a double-post this Sunday Evening! With the blogs re-launch, I will do my best to make my reviews more accessible, meaning I’ll try to stick to widely distributed 6-packs rather than one-off $20 bombers that you have little opportunity to obtain. I would like these posts to be (semi) useful. 

With that in mind, tonight I bring you the Go To Session IPA, Stone’s answer to Founder’s All Day. While in my mind the concept of a “Session IPA,” is nonsense, these hop forward, low ABV ales ( otherwise known as a pale, or a bitter), are starting to take over the craft market. 

The Go To is a brilliant move by Stone, described as a “vibrant, hop-bursted session IPA. The back of the bottle links you to stone’s website where they describe “hop-bursting” as a new technique in which they add a ton of hops late in the boil and during whirlpool to “coax out extreme flavors and aroma”. Note to Stone: This is not a new technique, almost every brewery adds late additions… but this beer is pretty awesome. 

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March 9, 2014
Delord Napoléon Bas-Armagnac

Sundays are for taking things down a notch, so today we’re drinking like old men and enjoying an Armagnac. For the uninitiated, Armagnac is a spirit distilled from wine and made in parts of France. It bears lots of similarities to its more popular cousin, Cognac, but often has a richer, rawer flavor and feel, partially due to its distillation in a column still as opposed to the standard Cognac pot-still method. 

Armagnac is produced in three geographic regions: Armagnac-Ténarèze, Haut Armagnac, and Bas-Armagnac. This bottle comes from Bas-Armagnac, which happens to be both the most popular (more or less) of the three and is considered to produce the best product. The spirit uses a system of age statements similar to Cognac, but shifted a bit younger — see an overview here — VS is about 2 years (sources vary), VSOP is at least 5 years, X.O. or Napoléon is at least 8 (but often older), &c. 

Today’s bottle spent 10 years aging in oak somewhere in Southwestern France just waiting for this blog post — it’d be rude to keep it waiting any longer. 

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March 3, 2014
Widow Jane Rye, Cacao Prieto, Brooklyn

It’s Monday; drink some whiskey. Tonight we’re drinking Widow Jane Rye, a new sensation from the Cacao Prieto Distillery in Brooklyn. This sucker has generated a lot of buzz in the past few months, and for good reason. It’s the first batch of rye the distillery has tried/released, and since it was somewhat experimental it was distilled and bottled in fairly small quantities. 

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February 28, 2014
Talisker Distillers Edition, Isle of Skye

Business hours are now over, which means whiskey, natch. Today’s bottle is a bit of a special occasion drink — Jeff decided to move to Japan, so we had a drinking send off that included, among other things, this (its name is Glamdring). More importantly, though — we enjoyed a bottle of Talisker Distillers Edition, and it was all kinds of delicious. 

Talisker is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye, the northernmost island in the Inner Hebrides and nearish neighbor to the noted whiskey-producing islands of Islay and Jura. Stylistically, Talisker bears a lot of similarities to Islay malts, though the connections vary across bottlings. Anyways — scotch.

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February 25, 2014
Aberlour 12, Banffshire, Scotland

Today’s dram comes from a distillery in the Speyside region of Scotland. Famous for bringing major Scotches like Glenlivet and Glenfiddich to the masses, Speyside is home to a number of smaller and really stellar distilleries, such as BenRiach, Benromach (next review), and the folks who make James Bond’s whiskey of choice.

Aberlour, founded in 1826, produces six different single malts with age statements, and one cask strength bottling with no age statement. Today we’re drinking the 12 year release, the distillery’s second youngest (they also make a 10) and the more or less definitive gateway to the distillery’s offerings. 

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February 18, 2014
Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney

The blog is back, for real this time. No room for fanfare, just whiskey. Today’s return offering is a blended scotch from Scotland (Fife, to be precise) that’s made from 16 different single malt varietals. According to the folks at Wemyss (“Weems”), Peat Chimney is particularly heavy on a 12 year Islay strain — hence the name. 

This is the only time you’d want to be something akin to a chimney sweep. Read on for scotch.

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July 18, 2013
Pruner’s Pride, Champlain Orchards, Shoreham, VT

The original plan for today was for Tim to bring you all a review of the much storied and impossible-to-find Heady Topper, but as he’s driving back up to Vermont for another weekend of skiing (and since, in his own words, he’s lazy), that review will have to wait until next week.

In lieu of Heady, today we’re drinking Pruner’s Pride, a hard cider from Champlain Orchards up in Shoreham, Vermont. It’s yet another example of the Green Mountain State’s awesome cider culture and of the complexities you can find in a drink that most people write off as grown up apple juice. Details on the sweet, nectary cider after the jump.

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