Our Favorite Spirits From February 2017

These were our 20 favorite spirits that we reviewed in the month of February!
Feb 28, 2017
  • 20
    Woody & Spicy
    This 20 year-old brandy was released annually on Apple Day in October with one barrel being bottled each year. 2015 marked the last year for the 20-year release. Cider is produced at the farm from September until Christmas while they reserve distilling for the month of April, before it gets too hot. The cider brandy (also known as apple brandy) is bottled at 42% ABV after aging in small oak barrels. This review was taken from the 2012 bottling. Note: This is sold in 500ml sized bottles.
  • 19
    Lock Keeper Gin is distilled by County Seat Spirits, a grain-to-class distillery in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The gin is flavored with organic juniper and other botanicals such as coriander, elderflower, and grains of paradise. The name for the gin alludes to the lock keepers on the Lehigh Canal.
  • 18
    Herbal & Juniper
    Hailing from the town of Bend in central Oregon, Oregon Spirit Distillers distills classic styled libations while taking advantage of the region’s winter wheat. The dry gin joins the ranks of Absinthe, Genever, and other yesteryear bar staples and includes this classic London-style botanical build with lots of juniper and coriander bottles at a healthy 92 proof.
  • 17
    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
    Floral & Sweet
    This strikingly ultramarine-colored gin is a homage to the native inhabitants of the United States' Pacific Northwest who perhaps were the first North Americans to infuse various herbs and botanicals into a spirituous concoction. The arresting azure color comes from a maceration of the Blue Centaurea flower native to Europe, but now grown in the northern U.S. and Canada. It is often used for its beautiful color in bouquets and often served on salad or other dishes. Besides the fluorescent-colored flower, the gin’s mash bill is fairly standard London-Dry-style and is distilled from 100% pure grain.
  • 15
    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.
  • 14
    Second sight is produced in northern Kentucky by two veterans of the Las Vegas show scene. They employ a 50-gallon copper still (surmounted by a "turban" to suggest seeing into the future), attached to a six-plate column. Molasses is the base of choice.
  • 13
    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.
  • 12
    Roast & Herbal
    From the French Caribbean island of Martinique, this rhum agricole was distilled from freshly pressed sugarcane juice from Rhum J.M's own fields in July of 2001. It was then aged in 200 liter barrels before being bottled in October 2011.
  • 11
    Herbal & Sweet
    Rancho El Puertecito is located about three miles west of Arandas in the heart of Los Altos. In his label notes, Master Distiller Carlos Camarena says, “Puertecito is complex and still gentle. The waves of flavor come along softly in harmony and don’t throw you in the ocean.” El Puertecito Reposado is unusual in that only 16 cases were made and it was never commercially released.
  • 10
    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.
  • 9
    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.
  • 8
    Marolo Grappa di Barolo is a grappa distilled from the pomace of Nebbiolo, a red wine grape variety grown in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. It is aged for at least 4 years in small oak barrels.
  • 7
    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.
  • 6
    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 up to 18 months in American oak barrels before being bottled and distributed. Additive free.
  • 5
    Full Bodied & Rich
    Until his death in 1968, Brown-Forman president George Garvin Brown II, selected cask-strength single barrels of this bourbon bottled for an exclusive contingent of bourbon aficionados - a very rare practice at this time. A small amount of these whiskeys have been sold back to Old Forester and released with labels bearing the names of the barrel owners as well as any known details about the whiskey (how old, where stored in which warehouse, etc.), many of which date back to the 1950s. NOTE: Collector's item: results will vary depending on the source. Best bet for purchasing is to go directly to the distillery or from a trusted collector.
  • 4
    Sweet & Spicy
    St. Petersburg Distillery was founded by brothers Steve iafrate and Dominic iafrate, Jr. (lowercase "i" not a typo) to celebrate their pride of the Sunshine State. This is the "Oak" half of the Oak and Palm line from the distillery, a rum made with spices from the Middle East and added caramel coloring.
  • 3
    Made from 100% Michigan-grown rye from Ann Arbor's Wing Farm, this is an unaged whiskey and is distilled and bottled in Detroit. It is bottled at 50.5% ABV.
  • 2
    Sweet & Rich
    A local brewery finishes some of their stout in used Pinckney Bend whiskey barrels. They return the favor by giving the barrels back to Pinckney who then finishes their American Rested Whiskey (80% corn, 15% barley, and 5% rye), in them. Note this bottling is only available at the distillery in 200 ml sized bottles.
  • 1
    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.