Virginia Gentleman Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky and Virginia, USATasted June 30, 2021It does have some of the butter and corn flavoring of bourbon along with a bite of ethanol, but it mostly tastes and feels like bourbon flavored water. Definitely not for neat drinking, and there are much better offerings for mixers at just a few dollars more.
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select
Tennessee — Tennessee, USATasted June 28, 2021I’m not a fan of Jack, but this I can sip. The woody and spicy elements and strong ethanol burn help cover up the sweet banana flavor that I find too overwhelming in Old No 7. The nose is actually the best part of this whiskey!
St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur
Fruit Liqueurs — California, USATasted June 27, 2021Like someone baked pears with brown sugar and cinnamon and put it in a bottle. Has a great mouthfeel (not too syrupy or cloying). I’ve just had it neat and with vanilla ice cream so far, but I am excited to experiment with it in cocktails this fall.
Jim Beam Black Label Extra-Aged
Bourbon — Kentucky , USATasted June 21, 2021I’m typically more of a Maker’s Mark or Woodford drinker, but this was on sale and I needed a sipping bourbon for a few nights in a cabin in West Virginia. Not bad overall. Has nice vanilla and caramel notes on the nose and palate and a bit of smokiness as well. A bit on the thin side, though.
Vita Divine Creme de Menthe
Herbal/Spice Liqueurs — USATasted June 10, 2021Made an adequate grasshopper, but tastes artificially sweet. I’ve had mint flavored candy with a better mint flavor, and 30 proof seems pretty weak. I’ll definitely upgrade to something nicer next time. I could only see getting this again if I needed a lot, like for a grasshopper pie.
Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
Unflavored Vodka — USATasted June 5, 2021About as neutral and characterless as they come. No reason to ever drink it neat. That being said, having no flavor is better than having a bad flavor, which other cheap vodkas have. When making giant batches of bloody mary’s for many people, this hits in the price point of being nicely affordable without ruining our scratch-made mix.
Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette
Floral Liqueurs — AustriaTasted June 4, 2021Mainly purchased so that I could try making Aviations and Blue Moons. I love the Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur, so I went with this Austrian alpine creme de violette. Neat, the liqueur packs plenty of violet flavor, but it’s a bit too sugary and syrupy. I’m still working out my preferred proportion of lemon juice to violet (most recipes call for too much lemon for my taste), but this adds a delightful floral character and can eliminate the need for a simple syrup. I probably won’t keep it always on stock, but very nice to have around.
Burnett's London Dry Gin
London Dry Gin — Kentucky, USATasted May 30, 2021While I appreciate how much juniper is in this bargain gin, there is way too much alcohol burn for me.
Unflavored Vodka — SwedenTasted May 30, 2021The pros: Not too sweet, not too ethanol-forward, and has a little earthiness to it. Could sip straight if needed. Not badly priced. The cons: Does not have much complexity and it’s defining characteristic is clean/smooth. For a few dollars more, I could get a Ketel One, which I love. Or Tito’s, which has more personality. This one I could see having handy for mixing or serving to friends, but that’s about it.
Flavored Rum — USATasted May 29, 2021Not for me. Has an artificial chemical taste that approximates pineapple. Would rather just use real pineapple juice and regular white rum.