Our Favorite Spirits From February 2017

These were our 20 favorite spirits that we reviewed in the month of February!
Feb 28, 2017
  • 20
    20 Darnley's View London Dry Gin
    85
    Bitter
    Added to their spirits lineup in 2010, this is the first gin released by the Weymss family, who are primarily known for their Scotch whiskies. This gin honors the legacy of Lord Darnley, who lived at Weymss Castle near Edinburgh, Scotland in the 16th century. Starting with a neutral gain spirit distilled four times, six botanicals - juniper, lemon peel, elderflower, coriander seed, angelica root and orris root - are then added before its final distillation. It is bottled at 40% ABV.
  • 19
    19 Distillery No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Gin
    86
    Sweet & Spicy
    Certified by the Orthodox Union, who oversaw the entire production process, Distillery No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Gin begins as a neutral spirit base (aka vodka) distilled from sugarcane. The secret blend of botanicals includes juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, cassia bark, angelica root, and coriander seeds. The distillery typically includes cardamom in their gin recipes but here they swapped it out for bay leaves sourced from Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley. It's bottled at 46% ABV.
  • 18
    18 Big Spring Spirits 7 Governors' Gin (Barrel Aged)
    88
    Woody & Sweet
    The Big Springs Distillery is a result of native central Pennsylvanians who took their education from Penn State to create a distillery in the neighboring town of Bellefonte. The Nittany Lions picked the location for its esteemed water source and proximity to the region’s celebrated grains. For this barrel-aged gin a mash bill of 100% corn was selected and a fairly robust ABV of 47.2% alcohol chosen.
  • 17
    17 Juniper Green Organic Gin (43%)
    88
    Juniper & Herbal
    This gin has one eye keenly on British tradition and another looking toward modern agricultural innovation. The spirit is based on a distillate of biodynamic rye passed through classic, artisanal, copper pot-stills. The botanical blend is a puritan blend of classic London Dry components including sustainable juniper, organic coriander seed, angelica root, and summer savory. The folks at Altitude Spirits in Colorado specialize in sourcing organic spirits from the world’s traditional crafters of iconic distillates. The adherence to a natural product doesn’t stop at the ingredients, as no colorization, sugar addition, or other modification post distillation. Note: This is bottled at 43% ABV in the US, but a 37.5% ABV version is sold in the EU.
  • 16
    16 Sarpa di Poli
    88
    Fruity
    Sarpa di Poli comes from the Poli family in northern Italy who have been distilling grappa for over 100 years. "Sarpa" in the Venetian dialect means "grape pomace" which is the foundation for grappa. This bottling is a blend of grappas made from the pomace or skins of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
  • 15
    15 Bache-Gabrielsen VSOP Natur & Eleganse
    90
    Woody & Fruity
    Bache-Gabrielsen is a revered cognac house started in 1905. The “Natur & Eleganse” line is supposed to be a break from their classical line signified with an non-traditional, short, squat bottle and a flavor profile that highlights “no-nonsense," “frank and fruity characters.” The four-plus year old brandy is all ugni blanc sourced from vines in mostly the Fins Bois, but also the Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne crus.
  • 14
    14 F. Meyer Mirabelle Eau-de-Vie
    90
    Fruity
    The F. Meyer distillery was founded in Howarth in the Alsace region of France in 1958, and produces a variety of eaux-de-vie. Mirabelle is made from small, sweet yellow plums from the Lorraine. It is double-distilled in copper pot-stills and then rested in steel tanks for two to five years before bottling.
  • 13
    13 Petty's Island Driftwood Dream Spiced Rum
    90
    Spicy & Sweet
    Driftwood Dream starts out as a pot-distilled white rum but then takes a left turn through aging in toasted applewood barrels. Vanilla, cinnamon, clove, ginger and other spices are added, and the spirit gets a dose of additional base molasses at the end.
  • 12
    12 The Devil's Own Gold Rum
    90
    Hogo
    The color is light straw deriving from the spirit's one year of aging in new, charred Missouri oak. As are all of the rums, this one is double-distilled in a stainless reflux still with optional double column capable of various configurations.
  • 11
    11 Tequila Ocho Extra Añejo "El Vergel" 2007
    90
    Sweet & Fruity
    Rancho El Vergel (“The Orchard”) is situated more than 6,500 feet above sea level and has the red, iron-rich soil that’s characteristic of the Highlands. Located near Arandas, El Vergel was thought to be unsuitable for growing agave by Carlos Camarena’s father, Felipe. Tequila Ocho was the first crop of agave ever grown on the rancho, which previously grew limes and peaches.
  • 10
    10 Longrow 18 Year
    90
    Smoky & Rich
    Longrow is a peated range of whiskies that has been distilled at Springbank since 1973. Sprinkbank boasts a long history and pride in still conducting 100% of their production on site. Double-distilled and aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry barrels. These bottles show that peated whiskies can be made outside of Islay. Bottled at 92 proof with no coloring.
  • 9
    9 Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Brandy Cask Finish
    91
    Rich & Fruity
    Launching November 2016 is the eleventh release in the limited edition Master's Collection from Woodford Reserve. Beginning with Woodford Reserve bourbon matured in standard new, charred American oak casks, the whiskey is then finished in casks of American brandy for 2 years. Without a stated age, this brandy cask-finished bourbon whiskey is bottled at 45.2% ABV.
  • 8
    8 Twenty Boat Cape Cod Amber Rum
    91
    Rich & Earthy
    Produced at the first legal distillery on Cape Cod since prohibition, Twenty Boat Cape Cod Amber is handcrafted at the site of Truro Vineyards. It consists of American organic sugarcane and is aged in chardonnay barrels. The name Twenty Boat refers to a 1930 event in which the twenty boats kept watch in Provincetown in an effort to capture a rum runner.
  • 7
    7 Tequila Ocho Añejo "Los Corrales" 2010
    91
    Herbal & Earthy
    Third generation Master Distiller Carlos Camarena produces Tequila Ocho using traditional artisan methods and agave from his family’s fields. At Rancho Los Corrales, temperatures range from highs of 80 F to lows of 48 F, resulting in agaves with very high sugar content. When the fully mature agaves were harvested, some of the piñas (hearts) weighed a remarkable 100 kg, more than triple the average size.
  • 6
    6 Cedar Ridge Dark Rum
    92
    Woody & Roast
    Cedar Ridge Distillery is based in Swisher, Iowa. They use a custom pot-still to make their rums. Their "Dark Rum" product is twice-distilled and aged for three or more years in once used bourbon barrels. It is bottled at 40% ABV.
  • 5
    5 Chateau de Montifaud Napoléon Fine Petite Champagne
    92
    Rich & Fruity
    Current sixth-generation family member, Laurent Vallet, runs Chateau de Montifaud, where there's a history of production on their property dating to at least 1837. They operate as a rare grower distiller, with 110 of their 120 hectares of grapes located in Petite Champagne, and the remaining located in Grande Champagne. The Napoléon expression is aged between 15 and 18 years.
  • 4
    4 Westland Winter 2016
    93
    Fruity & Sweet
    A special Winter release from Westland Distillery, this American single malt is a combination of nine casks: six first-fill ex-bourbon casks, one first-fill ex-Oloroso hogshead, one cask of Cooper's Reserve, and one first-fill ex-Westland. Westland Distillery uses locally-sourced and Washington-grown barley. Aged for a total of 34 months, the mash bill consists of 65% Washington Select Pale Malt, 14% Signature 5-Malt, and 21% Baird's Heavily-Peated Malt. Belgian Brewer's Yeast is added and fermented for 144 hours. Bottled at 50%, only 2,400 bottles were released.
  • 3
    3 Kavalan Amontillado Single Cask
    93
    Fruity & Vanilla
    This single cask whisky is part of a twin decanter set with Kavalan’s Manzanilla Single Cask whisky. Both decanters are twisted in such a way that they can be joined together to look like one decanter. The whisky is bottled at cask strength at 56.3%.
  • 2
    2 Tequila Lapis Platinum
    94
    Floral
    The 100% blue agave is roasted in stainless ovens and is distilled in stainless, pot stills. A distinctive, step-pyramid bottle distinguishes this line.
  • 1
    1 Azuñia Añejo Tequila
    94
    Spicy
    Azuñia Añejo is distilled from 100% blue weber agave grown in Jalisco, Mexico which are harvested 8 to 10 years after planting. The agave is roasted in clay hornos ovens for 36 hours before being distilled twice. This Añejo is aged for at least 12 months in American oak barrels before being bottled and distributed.