Wild Turkey Bourbon 101
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedWow, I can see what the fuss is all about now! Very easy drinker, especially after it airs out for a few minutes. Rich vanilla on the nose invites you in for some banana bread oak flavors when you take a sip. It’s everything I love about Gentleman Jack but offers a greater depth of flavor. Top shelf, easily.
Beefeater London Dry Gin (47%)
London Dry Gin — EnglandTastedOof. I love me some gin, but I just can’t get into this one. Tried it straight, then chilled, then in a g&t...and I can’t bring myself to like it. When people tell me they hate gin, from now on I’ll know to ask them if it’s because of Beefeater. It just tastes like juniper soap. I’m sure many people like it and there is a use for it out there, but I can’t imagine myself ever drinking it again.
The Macallan 12 Year Sherry Oak Cask
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedFinally, a scotch that I can actually truly enjoy! I think the relative lack of peat smoke is what helps. Very good if you’re not a hardcore scotch fan.
Baileys Original Irish Cream
Dairy/Egg Liqueurs — IrelandTastedI think most of us have had Bailey’s, but if you haven’t had the pleasure, I highly suggest picking up a bottle eventually. It’s a very versatile liqueur that I’ve even enjoyed straight on occasion—I can’t say that for a lot of liqueurs I’ve had. It’s very sweet, so it definitely doesn’t hurt to balance it out with something else though. Cream, cocoa, herbs, and whiskey work together in harmony to bring on the good vibes.
Triple Sec/Curaçao — FranceTastedA syrupy-sweet liqueur to add to a myriad of things. A little goes a long way, which I appreciate. Cointreau has that classic triple sec orange peel taste but has almost like a bergamot quality to boot. From my point of view, there’s not much else to it. Good stuff.
Herbal/Spice Liqueurs — FranceTastedThere’s nothing quite like Chartreuse. Anise, dill, sassafras, rhubarb, and especially chamomile are what I can pick up on the nose. The aroma has a soothing, natural quality like petrichor. Very sweet taste, and instantly I can pick out lychee and elderflower as I sip. The majority of the sweetness fades pretty quickly, leaving me with a pleasant herbal, grassy bee-pollen finish that’s just like what I imagine some rolling green hills in France would taste like if they were made into a liqueur. This is certainly a warm-weather drink, whether mixed or straight. Drinking this in the dead of winter is making me miss being able to sip a Chartreuse & tonic in the backyard on a hot day. If you haven’t tried it, pick a bottle up and give it a whirl.
St. George Terroir Gin
Modern Gin — California, USATastedInitially, I wasn’t too wild about this gin. I work in a paint store and all I could think of with each sip was “this is straight-up turpentine.” However, after a bit, the shock of pine resin was over and I was able to explore the different botanicals hidden beneath the surface. Still very woody, but you get snippets of the volatile oils of sage and bay laurel—especially the sage as the rest of the botanicals fade. In college I had a field biology class where we took hikes around the California Bay Area and were able to sample the local flora like bay laurel, manzanita berry, huckleberry, and black sage. This gin takes me back to those hikes, but it’s still hard to get past the initial shock as the turpentine hits my tongue. I’m glad I’ve got a small bottle, as this won’t be my go-to gin. I’m glad I have tried something so far apart from the average, but it’s just kind of too much to handle at once.
Korbel Gold Reserve VSOP Brandy
American Brandy — California, USATastedThis is one of those drinks where you know it’s as cheap as it gets, you know there’s higher-quality stuff out there, but there’s something you just like about it. Korbel was my first brandy experience, and it’s what made me want to keep exploring brandies. Now that my eyes have opened to the wider world of eaux de vie, I still keep a bottle of Korbel around. Why? Maybe it’s nostalgia or gratitude, but it’s also just a pretty good brandy for the price. It’s well-balanced, a little tart like an unripe cherry, with plenty of oak and grape to round it out. Very pleasant oaky finish, like you’re sipping it straight from the cask. Minimal burn, very sippable, and hey—if you want to make a vieux carre but don’t want to waste your precious insanely-priced Louis XIII or what have you on such trifle, Korbel is a good choice as a “throwaway” brandy. It’s NOT for everyone, especially if you’ve already developed your brandy palate, but if you’re new to brandy, you don’t want to spend a ton on a bottle of the good stuff just to see if you you like it, and want to try something approachable, consider picking a bottle of this stuff up.
Diep 9 Old Genever
Genever — Flanders, BelgiumTastedThis is my first genever, and having nothing to compare it to may skew my initial rating, but wow! I’ve always thought of genever as the granddad to gin, and there’s certainly that botanical flavor dancing around the edges. What really takes the stage initially is the taste of cereal and oak. You get malt, grape, and spice, too. This is a very oily drink compared to my usual crisp London Drys, and it adds to the impression that I’m sipping some kind of whiskey/wine/beer hybrid. The unique character is fascinating to say the least, but is it GOOD? Again, no genever experience here, but I think it’s a great liquor to enjoy on a cold evening. Maybe confuse the tastebuds of your friends and family with it. The clay bottle it comes in is really gorgeous, and I imagine it’ll make a good vase or something of that sort once I polish off the last of this fascinating drink.