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This is the Calvados that made the Camut estate famous. Compared to other Calvados on the market at the time of its introduction it was round, supple and elegant. Connoisseurs sip it from a white wine glass while deriders called it Calvados des Femmes. This spirit shows incredible poise and balance -- one of France’s best spirits. John Rankin
This bottling shows warm, baked apple flavors with delicious layers of oak and honey. The finish lasts and lasts, and even at 25 years of age the apple fruit is still intact and quite succulent. There are older Calvados from the estate, but to me this is the apex of fruit and oak with neither side overwhelming the other. This is a true experience and a wonderfully rare treat. John Rankin
Looking for something new to try before or after your dinner? How about a Pommeau? Pommeau is the traditional blend of Calvados and unfermented apple cider that hardly ever makes its way out of Normandy. Very similar to Cognac’s Pineau des Charentes, Pommeau combines the fruity unfermented apple sugars spiked with a touch of aged brandy. In the fall it makes a wonderful apéritif, but for those afraid of sugary pre-dinner drinks, it would be delicious with cheese, and out-of-this-world with deserts featuring apples. Camut makes what is likely the best Calvados in the grand Cru “Pays d’Auge,” so it’s no surprise that their Pommeau is the best we have ever tasted. John Rankin
At 12 years old, this Calvados shows extremely youthful and vibrant apple, caramel, and sweet cream aromas. These marry well with perfectly integrated spice and oak notes that add depth and intrigue. This is an absolute treat and is a big step up in complexity from the Camut estate's wildy delicious 6-year Calvados. Perfect for fall sipping! Tim Gagnon
We have a wonderful customer who drinks a fair share of brandy and prefers the six year expression to the more exclusive bottlings --his preference is not unfounded. Camut 6 has delicious, green apple fruit with a hint of vanilla. A touch of oak smoke is there, but fruit is really the focus of this spirit. Six years may not sound like a long time, but trust us, it’s plenty. John Rankin
The 2000 Bacco fully exudes the traditional Château de Briat house style: decadent, yet complex and structured, with a focus on new oak. Again, from the diary of John Rankin: On the nose it is luscious with sweet caramel, the chewy soft kind, and orange zest rising from the glass. On the palate it is rich and silky – very drinkable – with a touch of spice and a sugary milk chocolate finish. With this flavor profile and the château’s affinity for new oak, this would be a fantastic crossover spirit for Bourbon lovers! Tim Gagnon
The Dupont estate has been producing Calvados, cider, and cheese since it was founded in 1890. Their orchards are planted to thirteen varieties in chalky, marl-heavy soils and no pesticides or herbicides are used at any time. Their Vieille Reserve is a blend of twice-distilled Calvados, of which the youngest is 5 years old. It is aged in 50% new French oak barrels which lends a softer, more decadent spirit than one might expect from products similar in age. Juicy green apple, sea salt, and caramel (the soft chewy kind) abound on the nose with a touch of walnuts and cinnamon. The palate is also quite round and luscious with more caramel backed by baked apple, vanilla, black pepper, and tart tatin that lead into a salty, mineral-laden finish. A delicious Calvados for a great price! Tim Gagnon
Our Chambers Street selection of Calvados was distilled in 2002 and was aged in a barrel that previously held cider and Pommeau (cider and Calvados blended together). From the diary of John Rankin: The barrel that we bought has candied apple and toffee cream flavors and is surprisingly juicy and fruit-forward, even with a fair amount of age and alcohol percentage. It shows the influence of Pommeau and cider more than barrel, along with richness and a long finish of exotic citrus and dark-toned flowers. Tim Gagnon
Montreuil is a collaboration between Calvados importer and guru Charles Neal and Patrice Giard – heir to the bucolic Giard estate in the hamlet of Montreuil. Cows (primarily used for their milk) provide the majority of the farm’s revenue, but the property has made quite a name for itself for their library of aged Calvados still in barrel that will be released under the Giard label. The Montreuil label represents barrels averaging 7 years old that provide rich, apple fruit with a touch of wood vanillin and toffee sweetness. A great value for sipping, but also not too dear to use as a stand-in for American applejack in classic cocktails like a Jack Rose:2 ounces apple brandy or calvados, ¾ ounce lime or lemon juice, and ¾ ounce grenadine; served up. John Rankin
This exquisitely clear apple brandy comes in one of the cutest printed packages in the store, but that shouldn’t be the only reason for you to buy it. The fact is that this is one of the most delicious ways to experience New York’s abundant apple crop’s flavors. The apples growing on Neversink’s organic farm were selected for their high acid and high tannic character (not great for eating, but essential to creating delicious ciders and spirits). The mash is then twice distilled which makes for a bright, delicate spirit that truly showcases the quality of the raw ingredients used. In Europe, brandies like this are enjoyed neat after dinner but current cocktail creators are experimenting with all sorts of uses: the most simple being a touch of sugar and a squeeze of citrus for an apple-infused take on a Sour. Tim Gagnon
Orchard Hill was started in 2005 by all-around spirits guru, Karl du Hoffman, in the Hudson Valley town of New Hampton, NY. They focus on two products here - cider and pommeau - and we were thrilled to be able to get our hands on the latter. Inspired by the famed Normandy elixir of calvados and non-alcoholic sweet cider, Karl wanted to make a product that was true to the apples of the Hudson Valley yet echoed centuries of pommeau production in France. Aptly named Ten66 after the Norman Invasion of England in the year 1066, this is a blend of 3-10 year-old apple brandy and cider of various vintages from 2005-2012 that have been aged in used French oak barrels from wineries on Long Island (that held Merlot or Chardonnay in their previous life). Apple butter, apple cobbler, caramel, toasted nutmeg, and baked cherry come to mind on the nose which hint at what is found on the palate. It is juicy with deeper notes of caramel and spice. This is delicious served slightly chilled as an aperitif but would be equally good with a cheese course after dinner! Tim Gagnon
Located in the heart of Cognac's premier cru "Grand Champagne," the Beau family has a long history of making exceptional artisan Cognacs. The Beaus use old wooden barrels and a majority of Ugni Blanc to facilitate a clear expression of terroir. This creates an absolutely lovely spirit that has been aged an average of thirty years, well over the requirements to label "Hors d'Age." The perfect after-dinner drink with a balance of dried fruit and very nice minerality. JR
This Armagnac shows a vibrant orange color with hints of caramel. Tastes mature, but even after 24 years in cask there is a grippy quality and some citrus-toned fruit. This is an excellent introduction to vintage Armagnac and a fabulous value. John Rankin
This is the best value traditional Armagnac that we have found. Pellehaut combines the traditional rich Ugni Blanc with some Folle Blanche for a delightful floral lift. JR
A consciously light cognac that is more than ideal for a mixed drink. Very limited oak contact allows the fresh floral and fruit aspects to shine through. The style and viscosity are far away from the robust XO and vintage cognacs, but very much worth having on hand for entertaining. JR
Todd Hardie began his career in beekeeping almost 50 years ago in Hardwick, Vermont, in the heart of the Northeast Kingdom. This part of the state is an agricultural hotbed focused on honey, milk, cheese, grains, and herbs with a strong focus on community and respect for the earth. With family distilling roots going back to the 1800s (John and William Hardie of Edinburgh started distilling whiskey in 1857, and the company still produces whiskey today), it’s no wonder that the current generation of Hardies began crafting artisanal spirits in this corner of the world. The Barr Hill Gin contains one notable ingredient that truly sets this spirit apart: raw honey. The raw honey is added just before bottling giving it a uniquely wild, floral nose that changes with each batch as the season dictates where the bees collect their pollen and propolis. It is a touch sweet and the juniper is well-integrated which makes this a unique crossover spirit for those unfamiliar with gin and a new frontier for those already initiated. Tim Gagnon
A recent arrival to the US market! Named for the rural area outside of London in where the distillery is located, Cotswolds Gin went into production in 2014. Nine botanicals undergo 18-hour maceration in a base distillate of wheat and these include juniper, coriander, bay, fresh citrus peel, and black pepper, among others. It is beautifully aromatic – juniper heavy, with cool overtones of balsam, mint, rosemary, cucumber, and lime – but maintains a classic, dry profile on the palate with added lift seemingly from the fresh citrus peel. Green herbs and black pepper creep in on the finish. Very balanced and long, this makes a killer Martini, and it is also un-chillfiltered so it clouds up when cold! Tim Gagnon
This bottle represents the Gin obsession of Brooklyn native Steven DeAngelo. His distillery is located in the once industrial, now artisanal, north-Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint. Here he uses a still with vacuum technology that allows distillation to occur at a lower temperature. This cooler process results in a gin with surprisingly fresh aromatics and a very bright green coriander note. These flavors are very well expressed in a gin and tonic, but also work well with other herbal spirits like Amaro. John Rankin
This is what I would call a new American classic. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but seemingly pays homage to some London Dry gins that we all know and love, while adding a little something extra. The base spirit is distilled from organic corn, and although all the ingredients aren’t listed, they include crushed juniper berries, lavender, fresh lemon, and orange peels with balancing botanicals of licorice root, angelica root, coriander, and cardamom. On the nose it opens incredibly bright with a citrusy, peppery kick. With time, aromas of blossom, celery, and anise come forward. The palate shows wonderful restraint and allows the roots to balance everything out with a warming cinnamon-like spice, a hint of citrus, and a long, woodsy finish. This would work in almost any gin-based cocktail imaginable (I’d prefer a Martini), and is also fantastic sipped neat. Tim Gagnon
Xoriguer gin hails from Mahon on the island of Menorca in Spain and one of only three gins (along with Plymouth Gin and London Dry Gin) to have a geographic designation. Gin has a rich history on Menorca dating back to British occupation during the 18th century and is still made with the same traditional methods. This gin is made in wood-fired pot stills from a base spirit of grape distillate (as opposed to the more common grain-based distillate) and is rested in American oak barrels before bottling. This process gives this spirit decidedly fruity and floral aromatics as well as a softer, citrusy palate. For lovers of gin and tonics, try this for your next experiment! Tim Gagnon
A fantastic new gin from our friends at Neversink Spirits in Port Chester, NY! Made from a base spirit of apples, wheat, corn, and barley that is distilled in-house; the ingredients include 11 different botanicals. These range from the traditional ingredients of juniper, orris root, and angelica root to provide a bitter, earthy backbone to elderflower, cinnamon, and three types of fresh citrus peel to give it uncompromising lift and freshness. On the nose it is heady and fruit-forward with a botanical persistence and underlying earthy tones. The palate is fuller-bodied and pleasantly viscous with juicy apple character backed by a citrus tang with minerals and a kick of juniper on the finish. This is perfect sipped neat, over ice, and as the basis for many gin cocktails. Tim Gagnon
And now for something completely different… Our friends at New York Distilling under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway are making some of New York’s most delicious gins. The Dorothy Parker, named for the legendarily sharp-tongued wit of New York’s Algonquin Round Table, boasts decidedly American style with un-traditional botanicals like hibiscus and cinnamon. Of course we are talking gin here, so there’s a nice dry juniper kick as well. I think that this makes for a very interesting twist on a gin and tonic. More adventurous home bartenders may want to use it to give the classic gin cocktails a new angle. John Rankin
The best Nocino ever, the Aggazzotti is rich, spicy, sweet and bitter, remarkably complex and delicious. Aged in glass demi-johns for 4 years, this walnut liqueur would be a perfect ending to your holiday dinner.
I am completely smitten with this Amaro. The primary ingredient is blood orange from Sicily with the bitter, herbal components taking somewhat of a backseat, and the result is a brighter, more feminine, style of Amaro that is complex and delicious. It is floral, fruit-forward, mineral, and long with red berry fruits and herbs building on the finish. This is simply a fantastic after dinner drink. Tim Gagnon
A Texas Wildflower Honey, Turbinado Sugar and Mission Fig Spirit
Pronounced 'Beer', this is a unique tonic with roots in the Languedoc region of south-west France. Local red wine is infused with 10 botanicals, most apparent of which is the bitter quinine bark. Fans of vintage advertising should seach for Byrrh posters and they will be rewarded with over 100 years of signage, including rich Art Nouveau images. The beverage itself should be enjoyed chilled, on its own or with soda water and a twist; it could also make a good addition to a Negroni or other classic coctails. JR
This is quite dry with lovely citrus notes to balance the bitterness. cb One of the best values in Amaro. Caffo has bright Calabrian citrus flavors and classic herbal bitter flavors. Fantastic on its own, but dangerously drinkable in seltzer. JR
Our favorite absinthe is now available in a traveler size! Delaware Phoenix is the passion-driven distillery owned and operated by Cheryl Lins. She started making the first traditional absinthes in New York in the town of Walton in a tiny pot still. The results are superb, and compare favorably with Europe's best. The "Meadow of Love" adds violet to the classic herbal cocktail, and has a drier profile than many other absinthes.
Delaware Phoenix is the passion-driven distillery owned and operated by Cheryl Lins. She started making the first traditional Absinthes in New York in the town of Walton on a tiny pot still. The results are superb, and compare favorably with Europe's best. The "Walton Waters" bottling is distilled with the classic herbs: Grand wormwood, Anise, Florence Fennel, Roman wormwood, Lemon balm, and Lemon Thyme. The spirits are high proof (136) and should be diluted with three to five parts ice cold water. JR
Perhaps the benchmark for dry french Vermouth. Both complex and subtle, with floral and herbal flavors derived from the 54 or so secret ingredients. The first Vermouth I reach for when making a Martini, and an excellent drink on ice. JR
Perhaps the benchmark for dry french Vermouth. Both complex and subtle, with floral and herbal flavors derived from the 54 or so secret ingredients. The first Vermouth I reach for when making a Martini, and an excellent drink on ice. JR
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Here we have a very amaro-esque bitter with a Teutonic twist. The botanical recipe skews toward rich and soothing, and to create the complex, spicy flavor gentian root, juniper, coriander, vanilla, angelica root, star anise, clove, violet root, lemon balm, cinnamon bark and orange peel are macerated for four weeks in a sugar and beet alcohol solution. Forest is the perfect stand-in for an amaro or brandy at the end of a meal. The complexity and slight sweetness also make it a fantastic ingredient in cocktails calling for red vermouth. John Rankin
This is a delicious, bracing, alpine-style aperitif from the heart of Berlin. In order to make this invigorating, herbal cocktail, Michelberger combines lemon peel, juniper, coriander, peppermint, lemon balm, cardamom, fennel, sage, anise seed, orris root, thyme and caraway seed in a solution of beet sugar spirit. This is double distilled in traditional pot stills, and then mellowed in earthenware pots before being bottled. Served ice-cold, this would be a great way to start a dinner or end a night. John Rankin
A longstanding tradition throughout the Alps is the annual production of a rich and aromatic walnut liqueur. Each summer the family picks fresh green walnuts from wild stands of the delicate “Weinsberg” variety near the village of Sankt Peter in der Au. These walnuts steep for months in Weinbrand (a grape brandy) and for the last month with a variety of spices and alpine botanicals. For three generations the Purkhart family has produced this all-natural walnut liqueur from the same family recipe, renowned for its balance and exceptionally smooth finish.
This newly imported electric green liqueur caught us all by surprise. It’s an herbal apéritif with bitter botanical and fresh mint flavors—think Chartreuse with an added pine-y kick—from the Franche-Comté, a region famous for absinthe production. Sapins’ distinctive evergreen quality comes from the addition of young fir buds to the other macerating components. The spirit is delicious as a digestive, but one could add it to seltzer and ice for a refreshing long drink. JR
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We’ll admit that we’re only familiar with fresh releases of Americano, so it comes as no surprise that this blew us away. All of the lovely herbaceous and bitter character of Americano have melded into a richly textured drink that is absolutely delicious served chilled on its own. If you’re a fan of Vergano, Cocchi or even Lillet, you should absolutely try this! John Rankin
Chinato – an aromatized and fortified wine usually based on Barolo – has created quite a stir around the store. We’ve always loved Cappellano’s, and tried a few others here and there, but an offer of many vintage Chinatos illuminated the fact that these spirits show quite well when cellared like their mother-wine Barolo. The intense, bitter, quinine bark flavors mellow and become a more harmonious part of the drink. Also, like world class dessert wines, the sugar becomes less “sweet” tasting and shows more rich-bodied character. Which brings us to Rovero’s delicious Barolo Chinato. For under $35 a bottle, I’d highly recommend stashing a couple of these away for a later after-dinner surprise. It may not be the Technicolor, herbal rollercoaster that Cappellano is, but it’s a very fine stand-in at an incredible price. John Rankin
Sommeliers Nicholas Finger and Fairlie McCollough started St. Agrestis in 2014 after a three month trip through Italy solidified their love for traditional, regional Amari. Everything is done in their warehouse in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY from the maceration of organic herbs, roots, and citrus in neutral base spirit to the short-term aging in whiskey barrels (sourced from the Van Brunt distillery in Brooklyn), and the addition of organic cane sugar followed by bottling and labeling. The sugar rounds out the classic bitter components of this Amaro making for an easy going yet complex and balanced digestif that begs to be consumed after dinner this Thanksgiving! Tim Gagnon
From its origins in the tropical hills and valleys of Jamaica, the allspice berry has for generations been prized for its exceptional tastes of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg and a pepper note that dazzles the palate. The allspice liqueur, known in classic cocktails as "Pimento Dram," brings together the fine pot-still rum and classic allspice berries of Jamaica. Enjoy St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in classic cocktails, Wassail and other punches, mulled wine, continental and island cuisine.
Looking for something sweet for after dinner? Look no further! Made from real Italian espresso according to the traditional recipe of the Varnelli family, this liqueur has decadent aromas of roasted espresso beans, vanilla, and sweet spice accompanied by tobacco, cocoa nibs, and wildflower honey. The palate is sumptuous, yet balanced, with persistent espresso character. Try it on its own, or add a splash to your coffee! Tim Gagnon
In Italy Varnelli is eponymous with this delicious Anise liqueur. Locally, Varnelli is splashed over espresso. The bottle says secco, but there is a touch of sweetness to the spirit that tempers the intensity of the anise flavor. This stuff makes your average Sambuca look like overly sugary candy water. There is a secret proprietary method for distilling the aniseed that remarkably preserves the anise’s medicinal quality and depth of flavor. The spirit is not bitter, but is still reported by the distillery to aid with digestion. JR
Punch is a lighthearted rum liqueur with a hint of mandarin orange and spices. Traditionally this should be served warm, undiluted, and garnished with citrus, but intrepid home bartenders could find lots of applications especially as a sweetening agent in cocktails or punches. Different and delicious! JR
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This is a great rum for cocktails and casual sipping. The Demerara molasses gives a bit of extra body to a very fairly priced bottle. I’d recommend using this for a delightful winter-time Daiquiri. The 5 years spent in Bourbon barrels gives a kiss of coconut and vanilla, but doesn’t leave the rum tasting tannic or overly oaky. John Rankin
If Neisson is Martinique’s refined, Cognac-esque rhum, then La Favorite is the wild, Bourbon-esque brother. The raw distillate comes from an ancient copper pot still—the last on the island to still use steam power (making them self-sufficient with a very low environmental impact). La Favorite’s un-aged rhums have a complex spectrum of tropical fruit flavors like green banana and lime, and after aging in Bourbon casks they gain layers of toast and vanillin with a lingering spicy finish. When The New York Times’ tasting panel reviewed Rhum Agricole, La Favorite’s Ambre took the top honors among very good competition. This is truly a world class product, and next to a lineup of industrial rums shows how vivid, complex, and delicious rum can be. John Rankin
This is really fantastic Rhum! Made in the Agricole style out of sugar cane and distilled in pot stills for increased complexity and fascinating earthy aromas. This is mostly three-old spirit that has been aged in Bourbon casks. The flavours are intense featuring dried plums and spices. JR
Neisson is one of Martinique’s most traditional distillers. The island’s unique, breezy climate and volcanic soils yield sugarcane unlike any other place. Also, on Martinique it is traditional to distill fresh raw sugar cane and not molasses (which is a byproduct of sugar production). Sugar cane rhums, or Rhum Agricole, have wild, grassy, and citrusy aromas and have a great complexity not often found in molasses-based products. Neisson ages its rums in French oak casks, unlike the Bourbon barrels used by almost everyone else, lending a flavor profile reminiscent of Cognac. Always interested in producing rhum unlike others, Niesson has started fermenting using a native yeast sourced in the cane fields instead of the industry standard commercial yeasts. I can’t recommend this enough for those who know rum well or are interested in an introduction to one of the world’s most delicious spirits. John Rankin
In the not too distant past, spiced rum was a spirit to avoid at all costs. Producers took an already sweet product (rum,) added artificial vanilla and citrus flavors, cinnamon, and then even more sugar to create a beverage made to appeal to the sweet tooth of an undergraduate student. We now have choices of spiced rum that are actually delicious and actually spicy. Wigle’s entry starts with a distillate of buckwheat honey – a tribute to the local grain known for its earthy, woodsy flavor. Next, a slew of ingredients are infused into spirit. Wigle uses vanilla bean, roasted orange peel, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon for a drink that is aromatically very complex, and downright spicy. This peppery kick makes the spirit an ideal partner for ginger beer, or a feisty member of a punch bowl. John Rankin
A wash of phenols and citrus fruits that ends in a smokey bite. After aeration or a bit of dillution, some sweet notes of anise and dark, woody cocoa. Behind all of this is the bracing roasted peat that has made this distiller famous. Non-chill filtered to maintain all of the whisky's nuances. In my opinion, one of the most complex 10-year bottlings, and a perfect introduction to smoky Islay malts. 46% ABV JR
For those who can't decide between the two! Get 10% off on one bottle each of Aultmore 2008 and Glen Moray 2009 while supplies last.
The Aultmore distillery in Keith has a long and somewhat complicated history, as many distilleries in Scotland do. It originally opened in 1895 powered by water wheel (which was quickly retired and replaced with a steam engine that was in use for 70+ years, save for maintenance, during which time the water wheel would be brought back into use) under the control of Alexander Edward, who was also the owner of the Benrinnes distillery. By 1899 it was under new ownership, went bankrupt in that year, and reopened again in 1904 only to close yet again during World War I due to barley shortages. By the late 1920s it was operating at full capacity. It changed hands multiple times, but aside from a brief closure due to expansion in the late 1960s, operation continues to this day. Though they do release an eponymous bottling in small quantities, the majority of the whisky is destined for blended malts. This is a shame, since it is among the most classic Speyside single malts I have tried.This Chambers Street Exclusive was aged in 600L sherry casks before being moved into sherry-refill octave casks for 9 months. Delicate, airy aromas of grapefruit zest and warm hazelnut are backed by more decadent notes of peach cobbler, fresh cut grass, and brown sugar. It has nice weight on the palate and is decidedly fruit-forward with underlying spice, honey, chocolate, and toffee notes. There is almost a nutty, briny note as well with a wisp of smoke that sneaks in on the finish. A very traditional dram, and one that you won’t see again. Chambers Street Malt #1: Aultmore Octave #Q1244. Distilled in 2008, bottled in 2016 aged 7 years-old at 104.4 proof after 9 months in octave cask. 81 bottles produced. Tim Gagnon
Glen Moray is a distillery in Elgin, on the banks of the River Lossie, about a thirty-minute drive northwest of the Aultmore distillery. Originally owned by Robert Thorne & Sons (the owners of Aberlour at the time) and called the West Brewery, it opened in 1895 before adding two stills and rebranding as a distillery in 1897. A fire at the Aberlour distillery in the early 1900s all but halted production at Glen Moray as they focused their attention to rehabilitating the destroyed facility. It closed in 1910, and lay dormant until the late 1920s when it was purchased by the owners of the Glenmorangie family, and has been distilling ever since. Our Chambers Street bottling shows the other side of Speyside with a fuller, sweeter profile. Think peanut brittle, caramel, granola, maple cream, and dried flower petals on the nose, with a decadent mouthfeel and flavors reminiscent of honey roasted walnuts, treacle, and brown spice. The finish picks up some of the piquant notes from the sherry octave that it was finished in, resulting in a slightly sweet, intoxicatingly long, and complex finish. Chambers Street Malt #2: Glen Moray Octave #Q1207. Distilled in 2009, bottled in 2016 aged 7 years-old at 111.2 proof after 9 months in octave cask. 98 bottles produced. Tim Gagnon
An excellent value in an older Scotch that retains it's youthful power and balance. Quite complex with a gamut of exotic fruit, nut, vanilla and sherry/oak aromas. Definitely worth a try.
Kilchoman is the first new distillery on the famed island of Islay for 124 years. The concept is a "farm distillery" that houses every aspect of the production, from growing the grain to bottling the barrels. The results are fantastic with soft peat and salty citrus flavors. This bottle is a vatting of three, four and five year old whiskies, with meticulous barrel selection giving the scotch a more mature profile than one may think. JR
From the peninsula of Campbeltown comes the historic Springbank. Campbeltown once was the thriving center of Scottish distillation, now Springbank is one of the few left. A truly artisanal operation that employs their own floor maltings. Springbank uses a light peating for a smoky island character. The malt is actually distilled two and a half times, so there is a lightness that, when combined with the rugged terrain, creates a complex scotch that is very unique. Most of the malt was raised in Bourbon barrels for a pure, dry expression. (46% ABV) JR
Tapatio Reposado is how aged tequila should be. The notes of spice and pepper coming from oak aging integrate wonderfully with the natural sweetness and tropical fruit quality of the Blue Weber agave. As you take more time with this tequila, it reveals hints of caramel, cacao, toasted coconut and floral perfume. A grassy undertone leads to a crisp and mineral finish. Great as a sipper, this finds a perfect home in cocktails,from Margaritas and Palomas to a Tequila Old-Fashioned. Oskar Kostecki
Not part of the agave family , Sotol, colloquially know as the desert spoon, is an evergreen shrub that grows in the northern parts of Mexico and southern United States. For centuries it has been distilled in the Sierra Madras Mountains of northern Chihuahua into a spirit similar to mezcal. When we first asked about it, our friend Justin Briggs described it so: " basically it's like bell peppers, grass, smoke, fresh garden after a thunderstorm and slate." And we still haven't found better terms for this uncategorizable spirit. Oskar Kostecki
One of the only mezcales that is farmed biodynamically, Fidencio Clasico comes from the heartland of agave distillation in Oaxaca, Santiago Matatlan. Maestro Mezcalero Enrique Jimenez allows his espadin agave to mature for at least 10 years (most is cut down at 7) before harvesting and fermenting using only natural ambient yeast. An assertive smokiness on the attack gives way to fruit, specifically melon, grapefruit, and under-ripe banana. The finish resolves with a minerality reminiscent of hot stones and salinity. A perfect cocktail option. Oskar Kostecki
This bottling for Nuestra Soledad is the only Espadin-based mezcal that Maestro Mezcalero Pedro Vazquez produces. Made using agave cultivated in the highlands of Miahuatlan, this mezcal is broad, herbaceous and rich on the palate. Salinity and minerality interplay with tropical fruit, ripe banana, melon rind, and cherry making this a very textured and complex expression of Espadin. Oskar Kostecki
Siete Leguas makes some of the greatest Tequila you’ve never heard of. This distillery specializes in rustic, spicy spirits with lots of wild agave character. Agave hearts or “Piñas” are cooked and then crushed by a traditional stone wheel "Tahona," which seems to extract a more mineral-infused Tequila than more current sterile methods do. All of the Siete Leguas lineup is fantastic, but I love the tangy Agave purity of the Blanco. A truly complex sipping tequila, or perfect for a Margarita with a real kick. JR
The Delaware Phoenix rye is a bold, spicy whiskey made in a rustic pre-Prohibition style. The mash bill is mostly organic rye grain with a touch of rye malt. The rye is painstakingly batch-distilled in Cheryl’s miniature copper pot still, and then rests in 10 and 25 gallon barrels for a short amount of time. The whiskey focuses on floral and high toned rye character with just a hint of vanilla from the barrels. (375ml, 100 proof) JR
Possibly the smoothest of all Bourbons. Maker's Mark is a "wheated" style bourbon, meaning that wheat is the dominate grain in the mash bill after corn. Wheat imparts sweeter and smoother flavors than the more rustic and spicy rye. Makers has a distinct Maraschino cherry liquor flavor that leaves a sweet toasty finish. Unique and utterly drinkable. JR
A fantastic deal on a four year old straight rye from the Jim Beam still. Overholt smacks of spicy rye, and is my personal favorite for making Manhattans. I recommend three parts rye to one part Dolin Rouge vermouth. JR
Warning: This Bourbon comes is a bottle shaped like a pot still. Some find this to be beautiful, while others feel that it is an eye-sore. No matter how you feel about the packaging the whisky inside is delicious. There is corn sweetness, but the finish has lots of drying rye. The oak is quite apparent, but in no way overwhelming. An overall supperior offering that has more class than most other whiskies at this price range. JR