Coffee Liqueurs — MexicoTasted May 22, 20225.21.22 Served: Chilled(indiluted), flute. Bottle open: <1 month Last intake: Kettle Corn Refractometer reading: 40 Brix (not actual due to ABV) Aroma: Café Vanilla Frappucino with heady cheap white rum notes, like the cotton-candy and burnt-sugar esque notes of Bacardi Blanca and Captain Morgan Blanco. But back to the frappucino notes, after 4 years of working at starbucks, I can't get the aroma of instant coffee (frap roast) emulsifier syrup, and vanilla syrup out of my head. Flavor: Vanilla Frappucino. Coffee and rum take the background, while vanilla and sugar take the forefrunt. Despite the relatively "cheap" aspects of the spirit, I still find Khalua to be quite enjoyable. I see why it works in an espresso martini, where it's dessert-like nature may help round out espresso's astringent bitterness. It is far from my go-to coffee liqueur, but as a decadent rum-based vanilla/coffee liqueur, it does its job properly, and the ingredients are all discernable on the nose.
Basil Hayden's Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted May 3, 20225.3.22 Served: Neat, Wine Glass Bottle Open: immediately Last intake: Scotch Aroma: Dill Pickle, Vanilla cupcake, old book, mustard. Flavor: White grape. White Cake.
The Singleton of Dufftown 12 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted May 3, 20225.3.22 Served: Neat, Wine Glass Bottle Open: <3 months Last intake: white wine. Aroma: Pound Cake. Flavor: Banana, Charcoal, Artichoke, Hearts of Palm.
Amaro Dell’ Etna
Amaro — ItalyTasted April 14, 20224.13.22 Served: Neat, Flute Bottle Open: Same Day Last intake: Dates, Cheddar Aroma: Earthy, spicy, cinnamon. Comparable to cynar, sfumato, zucca rabarbaro, and Fred Jerbis Amaro 16 Flavor: Baking spices. Finishes with dried fruit and truffle spiciness. Light body. Cardamom and cinnamon.
Wolf Point Distilling Florence Field Gin
Distilled Gin — Chicago, USATasted April 14, 2022Manufacturer's list of botanicals: Botanical Build: Juniper Berries, Lemongrass, Coriander, Grains of Paradise, Cardamom, Lemon Peel, Chamomile Flower, Orris Root, Hibiscus, Angelica Root. 4.12.22 Served: Neat, Flute Bottle Open: 6 months (mostly full) Last intake: Dates and cheddar. Aroma: Intoxicating florals and citrus. Lemon, pine, juniper, coriander, jasmine dragonfruit. Flavor: Bracing juniper with lingering gin bitterness. Medium bodied with some residual oils on the tongue. Thicker than bombay, thinner than tanqueray or ford's. Maintains some fruity/citrusy character, but the discernable notes are juniper and coriander. Delightful for sipping and tonics. Gets a little lost in complex cocktails in my experience.
Empress 1908 Gin
Distilled Gin — British Columbia, CanadaTasted April 13, 20224.13.22 Served: Neat, Flute. Bottle Open: >3 months Last intake: Lemon Water, shortbreads. Aroma: Really gotta get your nose in there to pick anything up. Of the listed botanicals, only coriander is discernable. There is a strange vanilla note that is rose adjacent. It might be the florals. Flavor: Full bodied. The flavor is uniquely more complex than the nose. Classic juniper and grapefruit, and has lingering florals and tea-like tannin. Strikes me as entirely too weak in character for mixing or sipping. I'll give it another go some other time, but for now, I'm writing it off as pleasant in character, but overly gentle. A colorful gimmick for vodka drinkers who want to feel fancy because they're drinking gin.
Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
Spiced Rum — US Virgin IslandsTasted April 12, 20224.12.22 Served: Neat, Rocks Bottle open:<3 months Last intake: Popcorn, Feta Aroma: Cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, sinckerdoodle. Flavor: Light sweentess. Light lingering bitterness. Lingering vanilla. Easy to drink but not pleasant.
Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
Amaro — Fruili, ItalyTasted April 11, 20224.11.22 Bottle Open: 5 Months Served: Neat, Flute Last intake: Water This follows a 10-day break from alcohol. Aroma: Dark chocolate, candied orange, fennel, hay, orange bell pepper. Flavor: Moderate sweetness. Moderate bitterness. Sweet/bitter balance is comparable to Cynar and Sfumato. Some alcohol burn. Bitterness lingers. Tastes of Orange peel and dark chocolate. Nuanced and pleasant, but nowhere near complex or enticing enough to justify the price. However, its balance makes it worth sipping on it's own, unlike montenegro. Of the few "light" style amari I've tried, this is the best. If running a bar program, it would be financially wise seek a worthy substitution for this in a paper plane, though so far, it is the only amaro that I've tried thus far that gives the right flavor. Good, but not worth $50.
Chareau Aloe Liqueur
Other Liqueurs — California, USATasted March 30, 2022Per the rep: Grape alcohol (I can't remember if wine or first run off a still) is steeped separately with each cucumber, lemon, mint, and melon, then redistilled to ~140° proof. Then cut with aloe juice and water. ^From memory, take with a grain of salt. 10% Brix according to rep. Reads as 18% on a refractometer, perhaps due to other organic compounds. 3.30.22 Bottle Open: Unknown (Rep visit) Served: Neat, Flute Aroma: Balanced cucumber and mint, with a hit of lemon peel. Flavor: Noticeable sweetness, needs chilling or a splash of club soda to enjoy any more than an ounce on its own. Cucumber and mint dominate up front, with a definitive melon aftertaste. Has a very cooling, refreshing effect. Stellar cocktail ingredient. I have a variant of the Naked and Famous called the Naked and Sunburnt, which uses equal parts mezcal, lime, Ancho Reyes, and Aperol, garnished with Aloe. I tried switching out the Aperol for this liqueur, and the results were stellar and refreshing. I'm calling it Spread Eagle, for the position one assumes on a hotel bed after wayyyyy too much sun exposure. Dan Carlson's Spread Eagle: 1oz Lime Juice 1oz Mezcal 1oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur 1oz Chareau Aloe Liqueur Garnish with Aloe or Lime Optional additions: 1/4oz simple syrup for extra sweetness and body, and/or a dash of jalapeño tincture for extra heat.
Kōloa Single Barrel Kaua’i Reserve 5 Year
Aged Rum — Kaua’i, Hawaii, USATasted March 30, 2022This product is Single Barrel and Barrel Strength, Varying in final proof from 110-124 (55%-62% ABV) END Koloa Tasting with distiller Bob Gunter (Tasted 8th and last) Per the Distiller: Made from sugarcane juice and distilled in twice. Once each in two different copper hybrid stills. Barrel #B-078, bottled at 59.98% ABV 3.23.22 Served: Neat, Flute Bottle Open: Same Day Last intake: Coconut Rum A: Heavy Oak. Much like Bourbon, but more gentle. F: Heavy Oak. Very gentle on the wood tannins and char due to the second-use nature of the barrel. Most of the character of the base distillate is lost, but not undully. It still tastes like rum, but this is the rum I would use to introduce a bourbon drinkeker to rum or vice versa.