Liquor Reviews by degbert

Liquor Review Stats for degbert
  • Number of bottles reviewed: 140
  • First Review Submitted: 2015-03-18 11:13:17
  • Highest Rating: 5
  • Lowest Rating: 1
  • Average Rating: 3.6
  • Number of Votes: 59
  • Last Bottle Reviewed: Reillys Rock and Rye Ginger Liqueur (2015-03-18 11:13:17)
  • Name
    Category
    Rating
    Review
    Up Votes
    Down Votes
    Liqueur - Liquor Base
    3
    This is a rye and corn whiskey, sweetened and infused with ginger. The whiskey isn't the smoothest in the world -- no one is going to mistake this for Michter's -- but the ginger's nice; good and bright, with a touch of heat. It's not the most mature or complex drink in the world, but it's better than most flavored whiskey products and it passes the most important test of all: it tastes like real ginger. What the hell -- life's short.
    0
    0
    Liqueur - Schnapps
    4
    This is not your grandmother's -- or your college party's -- peppermint schnapps. Nowhere near as sweet, and with a green, floral herbal bitterness, this is a sipping schnapps that I really, really enjoyed. Far from being a shooter or mixer, I poured this over a couple of cubes in a snifter and sipped it. I didn't want to mix it; the subtleties of the other flavors would have gotten lost. It almost slides into gin territory; I may throw some in tonic next and see what happens.
    0
    0
    Gin - Genevere
    4
    I tried Aviation because my favorite cocktail is the Aviation. (That might be backwards.) I have to admit, I find it tasty, workable, and suitable for all sorts of gin uses; I make gin and tonics, martinis, or just drink it straight and very cold. I don't find it as far off the 'standard' gin template as some people do; yes, it's not Beefeater, but it's not an odd but delicious duck like Hendrick's either. It's just good gin, and the price point is pretty friendly. Plus, the bottle fits well on the shelf. That counts for more than you'd think.
    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Flavored
    1
    I don't normally disagree with the Irishman, but the Diageninjas must have gotten to him with the mind-control potions, because -- the stuff I tasted was some of the most vile, fake-apple-tasting stuff since my mom once bought us generic apple cereal instead of real Apple Jacks. Crown Apple exists firmly in the Jolly Rancher Zone; the flavor is fake as a politician's promise, the body is nonexistent, and the finish hangs around and reminds you why this was a bad idea in the first place. If you want something 'green apple' flavored (and no real green apple tastes like that), get Pucker. At least admit what you want is candy dissolved in alcohol.
    2
    0
    Eau-de-vie - Fruit
    5
    I have a definite bias against clear spirits. But DAMN...the nose is all flowers and stone fruit and just an amazing, subtle, perfumed spring wind. And on the tongue, it's smooth as polished marble, structured, elegant, and utterly delicious. Apricot perfection; I could drink this straight all damned day, except for the fact that afterwards I might not be able to perform large motor functions or speak intelligible language. It might be worth it.
    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Blended
    2
    This is just a weird puppy. The nose is redolent of incense -- it's like the whisky was infused with sandalwood and frankincense. For the price, it was thin and harsh on the front of the palate; it opened up afterwards, and was sweet and rich, but the nose and opening punch was way out of whack, especially when you consider the price tag. I can't recommend this one.
    0
    0
    Rum - Silver
    3
    Kind of an odd duck, in truth. Really attractive in the glass -- almost white, but with just a hint of color that reflects the cognac aging -- but I just didn't find enough rum on the tongue. When I drink rum, I want to know there was some sugar cane involved there at some point, and this was too much France and too little island for my tastes. I'm sure it would blend and mix well, but the personality was both muted and not what I want in a rum. Well made, but...just not what I want.
    0
    0
    Liqueur - Cream
    4
    Cream liqueurs can, regrettably, suck. This one does NOT suck; in fact, it's really, really good. The cream and bourbon balance nicely, the flavor is a sort of brown sugar cream that works well and is nicely balanced. You can taste the alcohol, but not too much so; it works straight, I think it would be great in coffee, and it acts as a lovely stage for the Prichards bourbon in it -- an underrated spirit in and of itself. Well done.
    0
    0
    Liqueur - Fruit
    4
    Much less sweet than regular Grand Marnier, and much more towards the bitter orange end of things, this is a bit of a departure from the standard high-end orange liqueur or the standard Grand Marnier. If regular GM is French nobility, this is a grizzled French nobleman forced to join the French Foreign Legion because of an unspecified impropriety. He still knows how to behave in polite society -- probably better than you do -- but he also has some, how do you say, rough edges, yes?
    1
    0
    Rum - Spiced
    4
    When I was a kid, I used to bake with my mom, and I was always disappointed that vanilla smelled so good but was not edible. This rum smells like really good vanilla -- but is edible! And good! Rich, sweet, and with a spicy complexity that puts me in mind of warm gingerbread. Captain Morgan continues to surprise me with their competency, and in this case also manages to heal a deep, deep childhood wound. I am complete, and am that much closer to Buddha nature.
    2
    0
    American Whiskey - Tennessee Whiskey
    3
    Yo, antiquecollector, well-known is not best. If it were, Budweiser would sell for twenty bucks a can. That said -- this is a classic. And like most classics, it's neither as good or as bad as some would have you believe. I have drank a lot of Jack in my time. I agree it's best served cold. I also believe in drinking it straight, or at most on the rocks; I don't mix my Jack. It's gritty, smoky, and it has some teeth to it; it's not mild-mannered whiskey, and it's not supposed to be. It also has some sweetness to it. I do agree it's a great cooking whiskey; it's the quintessential barbecue sauce whiskey. But there are just some days when I want Jack on ice. It's a whiskey archetype, a Jungian concept made manifest and filtered through charcoal, a reflection of the Tennessee hills and the American soul. Put on "Live From Folsom Prison" and get yourself some.
    0
    1
    Rum - Spiced
    4
    Spiced rum has really taken huge strides in the last few years. This is a great example; the sherry cask finishing takes the slightly sharp edge of Captain Morgan and softens it into a gentler, rounder flavor with elements of stone fruit and vanilla. This is a big ol' peach-blackberry cobbler of a spiced rum, and it's really good. Resist tossing it into a coke, and just pour some over ice -- then enjoy how it changes as it warms up and opens up. You'll thank me, or yourself. Or something, anyway.
    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4
    It's delicious bourbon. Don't get me wrong. But having dealt with the phone calls, and the demands, and the customers getting offended they can't order it by the case -- it's not all that, y'all. It is a very good to excellent product that has been elevated to liquor godhood by a powerful combination of word of mouth and hype, and there are other bourbons out there that deserve as much, if not more, critical response and kudos. I know I speak heresy here, and someone is going to burn a pot still on my lawn. But I stand by my opinion. It's just a very good bourbon, it is not the Elixir of the Bourbon Gods.
    3
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    2
    I am a big fan of regular Woodford. This, however, was just too much of a good thing. It was bitter, acrid, and almost phenolic and medicinal. Bourbon should be integrated and at least make a pretense of smoothness; this failed utterly in that, being a spiky jumble of mismatched flavors. All that keeps it from a one rating is that essentially it has the solid core of being Woodford -- but like the roe at the center of a sea urchin, there's a lot of sharp and spiny bits to get through first.
    1
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Flavored
    3
    Vanilla hides a multitude of sins. That said, this is pretty decent. It makes a good vanilla Coke-type product, it's drinkable straight, and it makes a killer bread pudding. (Of course, organic dark chocolate, farm eggs, and real cream could probably make anything taste good. But I digress.) Call it a guilty pleasure if you want -- I might -- but I have a bottle, and I like it.
    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4
    Garrison Brothers is, to me, a work in process. I had their first batch, and it was overextracted, hot, and, like the pitching of Nuke LaLoosh, 'all over the place'. Their latest whiskey is better integrated and better balanced. It's a very confection-like bourbon; I kept muttering 'German chocolate cake' to myself as I drank it, and indeed there was cocoa, caramel, coconut, and nut to its aroma and taste. It's still too expensive, but it's made amazing strides. I look forward to its future.
    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Rye
    3
    When I write liquor reviews, I tend to take notes and then write the reviews 24 hours later-ish and see what stuck in my head as notable. I had this last night. Nothing stuck in my head except "that was pretty good". For me, at least, rye should have a big personality. It should be the drag queen of whiskeys; big, spicy, distinctive, and wearing a wig. (All right, maybe not the wig.) Templeton failed to make much of an impression on me; I remember more about the animated rat than the whiskey. So three -- three and a half, really -- stars.
    2
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    5
    The nose was so floral and beautiful that I just wanted to breathe it in for a while. I did finally get around to drinking it, and...wow. Elegant. Balanced. Kind of a 'greatest hits' of Scotch whisky; not too extreme in any direction, but rather a perfect middle ground of all the good things Scotch has to offer. I wish I could afford it, but it was a magnificent experience.
    0
    0
    Rum - Aged
    5
    Lovely nose of vanilla, spice, and burnt sugar -- lighter somehow than a lot of darker sugar spirits, but still substantial enough to leave an impact. Graceful on the tongue, with vanilla and molasses. Dark rhum for big kids. Yeah, it's pricey, but you know what? It's frickin' amazing.
    0
    0
    Rum - Aged
    4
    This is what I drink at home, pretty regularly. Smooth with a touch of sweetness, but still with a bit of grit to grab on to your palate and remind you you're drinking rum. I have been known to mix it, but often I just throw it over ice with a squirt of lime.
    0
    0
    Rum - Aged
    5
    Holy gods. Now, I like dark rum, but this is something else again. Amazingly smooth and smoky on the palate; the nose is molasses and spice, but it turns dry on the tongue, with almost creamy mouthfeel. Just astonishing. I have nothing clever to say about this, which is notable in and of itself.
    0
    0
    Irish Whiskey - Blended
    4
    The name is apropos -- the nose is reminiscent of gingerbread. Sweet on the tongue as well; this is almost the hybrid of an Irish whiskey and a dark rum, and it works very well; there are molasses notes that harmonize nicely with the essential Irishness of it all. Long, warm, lovely finish. Insert your own joke about 'two gingers' here. :)
    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    3
    This is not subtle bourbon. It's big, rough, smoky, and above all young; I found it the whisky equivalent of a teenage boy, bullying nerds and hitting each other in the nards then posting the video on Youtube. It's not without a certain charm -- the maple notes are nice -- but like teenage boys, there's some hollowness at the center that will only fill with age and maturity. It might even be fun under the right circumstances, but mostly it's just...young
    1
    0
    Brandy - Fruit
    2
    Riding a moped at full speed. Kissing your sister. Eating fish sticks. Watching Jay Leno instead of Johnny Carson. Pale imitations of the real things, my friend -- that's what these things are. So it is with this overhyped colored vodka. You want apple spirits? Drink Laird's 100 Proof Apple Brandy (which needs added to this database, hint, hint).
    1
    0
    American Whiskey - Rye
    4
    Very dry and spicy nose. Sweet up front, but then dries out on the mid-palate; there's a lot of heat, both on the tongue and on the finish, and it leaves a lovely line of lava right down the esophagus. You could mix it if you'd like, but I'd rather just drink it straight, sit on the porch, and shoot at prairie dogs.
    0
    0
    Gin - Modern
    3
    It is actually pink. It's intensely spicy with peppery and juniper notes; it finishes dry with a huge bite. Not a gin for everyone, but pretty ballsy.
    1
    0
    International Whisky - Blended
    4

    Somewhat demure. A good blended whisky, with a fragrant, floral nose. Dried fruit on the tongue, and just a touch of something nutty -- cashews? The Limousin oak definitely does something.

    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Rye
    2

    Couldn't get into this. The nose was sweet enough, very eggnoggy, but the tongue was hot, harsh, and medicinal. The burn remained behind for a long time. Regular Pendleton's better.

    0
    0
    Irish Whiskey - Single Malt
    2

    The biggest disappointment of Austin's Whiskies on the World. Nose is reminiscent of diesel fuel, and on the palate it's smoky and bitter. Not at all what I expected, and I like regular Bushmill's. Don't waste your shekels.

    0
    0
    International Whisky - Single Malt
    3

    This wants to be an Islay scotch, and on the nose it manages it. But the iodine emulation (and how often have you heard THAT phrase?) falls apart on the tongue, leaving a whisky oddly reminiscent of cheap hard cheese.

    2
    0
    American Whiskey - Blended
    5

    Wow. Very surprised by this one; the distiller was at Whiskies of the World Austin, and he was quite social. This is six-year-old bourbon, aged on a very light infusion of apples and cinnamon. The nose is spice cookies, and the tongue is an amazing barely-sweet aromatic bourbon. Excellent product.

    1
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    3

    Candied nose -- lots of brown sugar. Malic on the tongue; not apple candy, but definitely apple crisp or cobbler. Finish was very very hot. It's all right, but there's better options in the price range.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    4

    Interesting. Still a huge nose of bandaid and iodine, but the medicine cabinet notes are smoother on the tongue; I got salinity and a certain smoky herbalness. Finish was a little tight.

    1
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    'Wheated bourbon'. Well, it is pretty smooth on the palate, though there's a touch of heat in the back of the mouth that makes it a little ragged. Flavor is good -- not much sweetness at all, and a decent amount of smokiness without feeling like one is licking a campfire. Pretty decent little bourbon, and somewhat old school.

    2
    0
    American Whiskey - Rye
    3

    Herein lies a deep philosophical question: if a manufacturer says something is something, how far can it drift from the 'typical' model before you question it? If this was labeled 'whisky', I'd give it four stars. But it's overly sweet and smoky for a rye, without much of the grain's typical spicy punch. Definitely off kilter somehow.

    0
    0
    Gin - Traditional Dry
    4

    This will wake up your perception of gin. (And slipping it into your elderly auntie's gin and tonic would be funny. But I digress.) Caraway, pepper, juniper, and other sharp flavors play very nicely with the rye base spirit. I want to make a Bloody Mary out of this, which I hereby christen a Bloody Agnes.

    0
    0
    Gin - Modern
    3

    Waiter, there's a sweat lodge in my gin. OK, not quite, but sage is one of the dominant elements in this gin, along with Douglas fir. Mentally, I was either being smudged for purification or drinking around the Christmas tree, and both of them were not quite where I expect to encounter gin.

    0
    0
    Gin - Modern
    4

    Smells for all the world like tea tree oil, which was kinda weird. On the tongue, though, it's ginger and herbal notes -- definitely has an Asian cast to it, and I like that. I think this would be best either straight or with citrus -- say, a Greyhound or Salty Dog.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Rye
    5

    Amazing. Sweet and smoky, like barbecue or molasses -- and then the rye spice kicks in, and left me breathless. (In a good way, let me clarify.) I couldn't tell it was 100 proof. Limited production, so if you see it grab it.

    0
    0
    Gin - Traditional Dry
    5

    This is so good I almost had convulsions. A bright resiny nose -- really aromatic -- leads to one of the richest and smoothest gins I've had in a long time with definite resin and floral notes. It's not a traditional dry gin, but oh Scathach is it good.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    3

    A lot of smoke on the nose, and a hefty burn on the palate. While the brown sugar smooths that out, it still comes off a little hot. When there are better cheap bourbons, it's tough to miss the mark, if even a little.

    0
    0
    Infused Vodka - Other
    2

    It does taste like generic Froot Loops. That said, it's one of the signs of the Apocalypse -- the Four Horsemen will be drinking Loopytinis. Run while you still can.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Tennessee Whiskey
    3

    If I could give this three and a half stars, I would; it was a nice sweet, crisp, friendly tipple. A little roughness and smoke on the finish knocks it down from four stars, but it's still good.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Rye
    4

    Rye whisky as pastry. Big cinnamon and brown sugar nose leads into a sweet, smoky, and spicy rye with big flavor. It's even a little honeyed on the texture. A little sweet to be absolutely varietally correct, but awfully good.

    0
    0
    Rum - Silver
    3

    The nose and the palate alike are sharp and herbal -- there's a lot of mint hiding in this rum. No sweetness at all, and rather prickly, but with an interesting finish. Their gin is better.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Cream
    4

    Good, and really different -- not at all a chocolate or coffee cream liqueur, this has notes of cinnamon, almond, and clove. Lovely stuff.

    1
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    3

    Ah, Ardbeg. Nose like a first aid kit, front of the mouth taste like you licked the back garden. On the finish, it's big, flaming, and sweet -- kind of like Miss Bunny if she was a Scotch whisky. If you like the dirty ones, this one's a four or five star.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Blended
    2

    When made properly, blended Scotch whisky should strike an effective balance between peat, fruit, smoke, sweetness, floral elements, and booze heat.

    When improperly made, it can taste like someone dumped an ashtray in your Scotch.

    1
    1
    Canadian Whisky - Blended
    3

    It's... odd. I expect more from Canadian whisky these days, so maybe I'm spoiled. There's a dissonance for me between the whisky, the maple, and the sweetness; this just isn't as well-integrated as I'd like. The bottle is also a pain in the butt to put on the shelf, and looks like high-end men's cologne. (Petty, i know, but I'm only human.)

    0
    0
    Gin - Traditional Dry
    4

    Starts out with a typical juniper and coriander bouquet, but then adds Texas rosemary and lavender. It does come off floral and sweet, but has some backbone behind it. Definite gin and tonic gin. Another good Texas gin at a great price point.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Rye
    4

    Every year, people call on this, come by, beg us, put their names on a waiting list -- you'd think this stuff was liquid gold or an elixir of youth. Get past the hype, and it's a good, dry, spicy, smoky rye whiskey; but interestingly enough, it's nowhere near as good as the hype. I doubt anything could be, really. So get it if you can, but otherwise, drink Jefferson's 10-Year or Michters or Bulleit. You aren't missing that much.

    1
    0
    Liqueur - Herb
    4

    I'd been interested in this since I read about it, and a friend made some available to taste. Nose is all root beer with the accompanying wintergreen and herbal notes, but it's drier than expected on the palate. Horehound and spice as well show up. It's interesting as a much more mature take on Jagermeister-type stuff, but I can't see how you'd mix it.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    4

    Much lighter nose than the 15-year, with more savory and herbal elements. It's still pretty sweet, but the sweetness is better balanced -- it has notes of milk chocolate, caramel, and fig. Still a Scotch with a sweet tooth.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    3

    Starts out on the nose with notes like an apple brown betty; cinnamon, brown sugar, and apples. Very sweet on the palate -- almost Irish Mist sweet, which is, for me, too sweet, with notes of pineapple and more brown sugar. I like sweet things, but straight Scotch should not come off like a dessert topping.

    0
    1
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    3

    I'm not crazy about this bourbon, to be honest. There's a lot of medicinal heat, and the nose is funky and herbal. It tastes like it's not quite aged long enough -- and for the price, I expect more, especially when there are better options.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    Nose is all fruit, but the palate is crisp and somewhat dry with smoke on the finish. This is basic bourbon, tasty straight, but not so expensive you'd mind mixing it.

    2
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Flavored
    3

    It suffers by comparison, frankly, with Spicebox. It's drier, and the spicing is more acrid and sharp -- if I hadn't had Spicebox before I had this, I might have given it four stars. As it is, it just doesn't cut it.

    0
    0
    Tequila - Anejo
    5

    Somewhere there is an alternate universe where the Aztecs not only fought off the Spanish conquistadors, they followed them home and took over. In that universe, right now, Moctezuma XXXI, Emperor of the Atlantic, is watching an ullamalitzli game from his luxury box and drinking Manhattans made with this and Bitter Truth Xocolatl Bitters. It's that good.

    1
    0
    Liqueur - Spices-Essences
    3

    It's not bad, but it suffers from comparison -- the other honey liquors are mostly better. The alcohol is too hot; the flavor's good, but it's not at all smooth. On the other hand, tonight I think I'm coming down with something, and the mixture of hot mint tea, lemon, sugar, and this stuff will either cure it or cure my caring about it. Good either way.

    1
    0
    Liqueur - Fruit
    4

    A good, basic orange liqueur. Enough bitterness to keep it from being too sweet; better in mixed drinks than straight. Paula's a nice lady, too.

    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Blended
    4

    Yet another chapter in the ongoing saga, "Why Do People Still Drink Crown Royal?" Rich, sweet, with a touch of a burn, this is Canadian with an attitude. Lovely stuff. So why, again, do people still drink Crown? I'm confused.

    0
    0
    Tequila - Anejo
    3

    Yet another high-end tequila. Brown sugar notes and vanilla on the nose -- it's decently smooth as well, but the quality doesn't match the price tag. Some marketing person got a raise on this one.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    I can hear the purists now: 'This isn't bourbon, it's finished in port barrels!' Well, you can definitely tell that from the nose; a lot of rich and winey notes. Very sweet and deep on the palate, with tobacco notes. Not as sweet as you'd think. Very nice riff on bourbon, especially if you like your whisk(e)ys with a touch of wine barrel.

    3
    0
    Exotics - Mezcal
    5

    I don't care for reposados. Really, I don't. But this was amazing -- sweet vanilla notes on the nose and a rich, herbal palate. This helped me get how a little bit of oak can change things greatly.

    0
    0
    Exotics - Mezcal
    5

    In the words of Moliere, "The best of all possible worlds". This blend of Wahaka's three varieties -- blended in the roaster, not in the cask -- is amazing. Smoke, fruit, and flowers on the nose, and velvet on the palate with a smoky punch and a long, earthen, finish.

    0
    0
    Exotics - Mezcal
    4

    Crazy nose -- at various times I smell stone fruit, talc, smoke, salinity, and violets. On the palate, it's a little abrupt, but then opens up into a long, floral, sweet finish.

    1
    0
    Exotics - Mezcal
    5

    Made from wild agave, and you can tell. A big, rich, round, nutty nose leads directly into fire, smoke, pepper, and savory notes -- I immediately thought of pepper bacon, and considered making a Bloody Maria with this. I then beat that concept to death, remembering the price. Worth every penny, though.

    0
    0
    Exotics - Mezcal
    4

    This is the entry level mezcal from Wahaka, and it's a great value. Malic and flinty on the nose, leading to smoke on the palate and a long sweet finish. It's a little hot, but not the normal funky foulness in cheaper mezcals. Great place to start.

    0
    0
    Infused Vodka - Other
    3

    Sweet, creamy, vanilla-y. Mouthfeel even comes off like a product with fat in it. Better living through chemistry, I guess -- I think I'd rather have real whipped cream on an Irish coffee, but that's me.

    0
    0
    Infused Vodka - Other
    3

    Smells like marshmallow frosting. Tastes like marshmallow cream. Some chemist somewhere deserves a big raise. Would I drink it again? No. But if I had a bar, would I stock it? Oh, hell, yes. It'll sell like hotcakes -- which makes me wonder why there's not a hotcake vodka. Maybe next week.

    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Blended
    3

    What does the 16 stand for? I think it means it's at least $16 too expensive. It's all right stuff, but really, spend the money on two bottles of good bourbon.

    1
    0
    Tequila - Anejo
    4

    One of the latest rash of anejo claro tequilas. Crystal clear and herbal/sweet on the nose, but shows smoke, chocolate, and vanilla sugar on the tongue. Really amazing; it tricks your palate. The only reason it doesn\\\'t get five stars is that I can\\\'t afford it. :)

    0
    0
    Scotch - Blended
    4

    Call me surprised. A JW that actually is worth the hype. Nose is all saline and smoke with a touch of maple; tastes the same, but is well balanced. A little hot, but water smooths it out and creates something not unlike maple-glazed ham.

    0
    0
    Infused Vodka - Fruit
    3

    Not much fruit to this at all, honestly; I would not have known it was pomegranate without the label. It tasted like Vaguely Fruit Vodka...which if the vodka is good, is at least bearable.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    3

    Ah, Lagavulin. This is not a scotch for the faint of heart. You get slammed with iodine, smoke, old wool, and the sea -- and that's just the nose. More sea on the tongue, with earth, mushrooms, and huge balls of peat. Not my favorite, but I can respect its sheer refusal to compromise. If you like peaty whisky, it's a four-star. If you actually enjoy eating peat, it's a five-star Scotch.

    1
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    4

    See, here's the thing with Oban -- it's a Scotch for all seasons. Light enough for Lowland groupies, enough rough edges for those who normally drink Laphroiag. It's a safe whisky, with a nice, fruity, praline glow. It's what you buy for someone who you know likes Scotch, but you have no clue what Scotch.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    4

    A very pale gold in the glass, this is nutty and malty with some herbal overtones. It's a little hot, but water cuts that nicely and turns the overtones to an almost pastry-like thing going on. I admit it, I prefer my scotches wimpy, and this one's a fine example of that.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Cream
    3

    Three and a half stars would have been closer. On one hand, the booze-to-cream balance is perfect and it smells great. On the other hand, there's just not enough caramel flavor there. What's there is good -- but I want more.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    Great nose -- apple, vanilla, brown sugar. Taste still comes off a little hot -- which is my complaint about Jim Beam -- but this is so rich and complex the heat doesn't kill it. Very well done.

    0
    0
    Exotics - Other
    3

    Light and sweet, this is a Texas whiskey for those who like Speyside Scotch. It's almost floral on the nose. I give it three instead of four stars for one reason only -- rumor has it that some of their whisky making has been outsourced in the early batches, so I don't know about consistency. But in summary, it says 'Texas whiskey', it's around thirty bucks, and it will sell like hotcakes.

    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Flavored
    5

    Spice and Canadian whiskey. I expected to hate it. I was WRONG. Amazing nose -- puts me in mind of cookie dough or French toast. Smooth, lightly sweet, and a dynamite bouquet of spice. As soon as it's time, I'm adding this to eggnog -- regularly. It's good with Coke, too. (Real sugar kind, of course.)

    1
    0
    Liqueur - Liquor Base
    4

    Anyone in the industry knows Southern Comfort is in a free-fall saleswise. This is their new attempt at relevancy, and honestly, it's pretty good. Nice burn, a little sweetness but not too much -- I see this as making a great margarita floater. It's also really good when mixed half-and-half with JD Honey in a shot.

    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Blended
    4

    Another higher-end expression of a low-end favorite that delivers a decent bang for your buck.

    0
    0
    Gin - Modern
    4

    In general, London Dry is my least favorite style of gin. 24, however, is the exception to the rule. The green tea and other botanicals are stately and harmonious here. It's like the gin equivalent of Elgar or Purcell; I want to head to my gentleman's club and spend an evening playing snooker and whist.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Nut
    4

    Yet another fine Amaretto that makes me wonder why anyone bothers with di Saronno. This one's on the less expensive side, so if you don't want to spring for the Luxardo, get this. Nice bitterness on the close combined with swetness up front.

    0
    0
    Flavored Rum - Fruit/Berry
    1

    Atrocious. Tastes like nasty fake grape koolaid, with the ever-present Bacardi funk-burn underneath. Easily the worst Bacardi flavor I've ever had. Let us hope this goes away.

    0
    0
    Infused Vodka - Other
    2

    Tastes more like cake batter than cake, and there's a very unpleasant metallic edge to it. The Cupcake vodkas wipe the floor with it.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Flavored
    2

    What do you get when you combine mediocre whiskey and generic blackberry Kool-Aid? I don't know, but it has a dog on the label.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Blended
    4

    If you want to know if you would like Islay Scotch whisky but don't want to spend the money on Laphroaig, start here. This is like the peaty equivalent of a gateway drug. You sip this, and before you know it you're hustling aluminum cans for Caol Ila 16-year-old. First hit's free.

    0
    0
    Infused Vodka - Other
    3

    I really want to give this a split rating. For someone who likes sweet flavored vodkas, this one is right on the money -- it tastes like whipped cream, dammit. The texture's even close. I won't drink it, but if you're a bartender, better put it in stock, because it sells and it is what it says it is.

    0
    0
    Infused Vodka - Herb
    4

    The only sweet tea vodka I've tasted that tasted like brewed tea instead of powdered. Their tea advisor is the gentleman who founded Sweet Leaf Tea, so that probably has something to do with it. Great mixed with carbonated lemonade.

    0
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Blended
    4

    My first reaction involved wondering if someday we were going to get a 10-year Reserve of Kentucky Deluxe. Then I actually tried it. The best Canadian whisky at the price point. Teach me to stop being so cynical.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    Given the price point, this is fricking amazing. Lean, dry, spicy, but with a richness on the close and just a bit of vanilla, this is an immediate add to my Bargain All-Stars.

    0
    0
    Rum - Spiced
    4

    How can I be cranky and curmudgeonly about spiced rums when they keep getting better? Smooth and sweet, with considerable spice on the finish. Should give the Captain a run for his booty.

    1
    0
    Infused Vodka - Other
    3

    Dammit, this makes me feel like I need a shower to admit this, but -- they nailed it. Smells like bittersweet chocolate, tastes like a devil's food cake; it's even got the bitterness on the finish. While I dislike the latest trend of dessert-flavored vodkas -- and really have little use for flavored vodka at all -- this one presents its chosen flavor perfectly. It'd make a hell of a White Russian.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Liquor Base
    4

    Smooth and sweet -- it tastes like actual honey, and has the JD Black smoke to back it up. Excellent straight, and it would mix well.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Fruit
    3

    Take Hpnotiq. Add more berry, and half the acid. Add a lurid purple color that makes it look like Jim Jones is your bartender. Serve to giggling twentysomethings who don't know better. Inoffensive.

    0
    0
    Rum - Silver
    2

    First off, a caveat; this rating is for the reformulated 10 Cane that's been out for about nine months. Originally, this rum had no molasses in it; they've wimped out and added molasses. I'd call the original a three-star.

    0
    0
    Rum - Silver
    4

    Great rum, good price. If you're a Bacardi drinker, try this -- better and cheaper, which are two of my magic words.

    0
    0
    Vodka - Wheat
    3

    Drinkable is the word for it; it's not any better than that. Maybe it's my imagination, but I can taste a remnant of the charcoal they used to filter it, and I don't like it.

    1
    0
    Gin - Modern
    2

    I understand that it has gotten some good reviews. I'm not sure why. I find it nasty, acrid, and unpleasantly hot. It takes all the bad qualities of its genre and kicks it up several notches of ick.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Nut
    3

    Mediocrity, thy name is diSaronno. When there are so many other good amaretti out there -- Luxardo and Lazzaroni come to mind -- why drink this? It doesn't even have Amaretto on the label any more. One girl who can make eating an icecube that prurient will not save this stuff.

    0
    0
    Gin - Modern
    5

    Delicious. But not a traditional gin at all; do not buy this for your Bombay martini drinking uncle. Instead, buy it for yourself. But my advice to my customers is always 'Try it first' at a bar or restaurant.

    1
    0
    Gin - Modern
    1

    This is sickeningly floral; it smells like a vase of dead flowers left out in the heat for a week or two. Add in something that smells like an orange Life-Saver gone horribly wrong and you have a gin whose best usage is serving to your enemies.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    I'm not sure what Wine Enthusiast was smoking before they drank this, but it couldn't have been helpful. This is a nice, lightish, smooth-as-silk whiskey.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Herb
    1

    Gods save us from trendy liqueur. Nasty mentholated licorice crap. Developed to keep hunters warm, and unless you are actually tracking a stag through the snow in the Alps, grow up and drink something better.

    3
    0
    Liqueur - Fruit
    4

    Triple sec for grownups. There's a touch of bitterness under the sweet orange, making for a great contrast. I have yet to have anything by Luxardo that was less than excellent.

    0
    0
    Gin - Modern
    5

    In the immortal words of Austin Powers, "Yeah, baby!" This uniquely Texas spin on gin has notes of chocolate, chile, juniper, and all sorts of other good stuff. Rich and full-bodied, but still clean on the finish. Amazing stuff.

    0
    0
    Gin - Modern
    5

    Almost perfect. Balanced, elegant, and mature without being severe, this is a great martini gin. (And martinis are ONLY made with gin, damnit.)

    1
    0
    Exotics - Absinthe
    4

    Crazy good; I had it at a trade show and it took my breath away. I just wish I could afford it. Louches beautifully, and has a balanced bouquet of herbs.

    0
    0
    Tequila - Reposado
    3

    Drinkable, but overpriced. It's also artificially colored, which is a great way to wake up in the morning feeling like a chihuahua crapped in your mouth.

    0
    0
    Tequila - Blanco
    1

    The label says "Jimmy Buffet could have chosen a better tequila". Guess what? You, too, can choose a better tequila. The only nice thing I can say about it is it's better than Landshark Beer.

    0
    0
    Tequila - Mixto
    1

    I have to give props to the Cuervo marketing department. They've managed to pass off an utterly crappy, artificially colored, 49% water swill as being cool. This is what being mentioned in a couple of popular songs will get you; people paying 100% agave money for mixto garbage.

    2
    0
    Scotch - Blended
    4

    For the price, a great blended scotch. Perfect for scotch and sodas or Blood and Sands.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Blended
    2

    For $200, I want more than this. Tastes like someone put out a cheap cigar in a glass of Johnnie Walker Red. Save that money and buy seven bottles of Famous Grouse 12yr Reserve instead.

    2
    0
    American Whiskey - Blended
    5

    Oh, yeah, baby. Produced by a proprietary process, this spirit is actual smoked whisky -- not smoked in the grain bill or with liquir smoke added to the whisky. As such, it's amazingly smooth, with a sweet, smoky finish that screams Manhattan.

    1
    0
    Liqueur - Nut
    5

    On first drink, I thought it was a Jagermeister clone. But as I tried it, it seemed to blossom and get better and better, resolving into a flavor with elements of small-batch root beer, mint, nuts, and fennel. Amazingly long and wonderful finish.

    0
    0
    Tequila - Blanco
    5

    As far as blanco tequilas go, this delivers the most bang for your buck. Smooth and very round in the mouth, it has clear peppery and minty notes without being harsh. Delightful stuff.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    3

    Disappointing. It's hot and overextracted -- while I understand that part of their marketing was to play up the speed of extraction in the Texas heat, it just comes off raisiny and dull. Too expensive as well -- I might buy it for $30, but not for $80.

    0
    0
    Vodka - Grain
    4

    Good vodka, but I find it a little soft. Best mixed rather than straight up; there's a little sweetness as well. Good price.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Blended
    5

    Even better than the Baby Blue, this cask-strength number packs a punch -- but it's delicious, and a wonderful mixer. (Try it in a Bloody Mary. No, I'm serious.)

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Cream
    3

    I really don't understand the fuss. I find Bailey's out of balance (too much whisky, too little cream) and boring. Carolan's is fine -- maybe better -- at half the price.

    0
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    5

    For an 18-year-old scotch, this is relatively inexpensive and a very good drink. One cube or straight up, this is a wonderful Scotch.

    0
    1
    Rum - Spiced
    4

    I'm not a big fan of spiced rum, but this one avoids the harsh, over-the-top, stale cinnamon note that some others have. In short, tasty and relatively inexpensive.

    0
    0
    Rum - Aged
    4

    Rich with a strong molasses note, but not at all sweet. This is the aged rum to drink if you still want your rum to remain dry.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    Best value in bourbon that I've found. Excellent product for a very reasonable price.

    0
    0
    Gin - Flavored
    4

    I'm not a huge fan of regular Tanqueray -- or of any London Dry gin, to be honest -- but the lime added to this does something different that makes it very enjoyable.

    1
    0
    Liqueur - Cream
    5

    Take 2 ounces of Coole Swan. Add an ounce of either Kahlua Hazelnut or Godiva Raspberry Chocolate Vodka. Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass. this is the Diabetic Coma, and it's one of my favorite drinks. Great stuff.

    2
    0
    Liqueur - Nut
    5

    This is the best amaretto I have ever had. Unlike some of its more-marketed cousins, there is still bitterness from the almonds within the sweetness. Recommended for every use.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Bourbon
    4

    Just a really good light bourbon for the price. Their upscale expressions are good as well.

    1
    0
    American Whiskey - Flavored
    3

    Not as offensive as I expected, which is a terrible thing to say, I know. I really don't like Seagrams' 7, but the flavored ones aren't bad; this has elements of maraschino cherry that go well with the sweetness. Drop some in Coke.

    1
    0
    Tequila - Blanco
    4

    This is a lovely, clean, crisp tequila; you really don't taste the extra proof, and it mixes so well.

    1
    0
    Scotch - Single Malt
    5

    This is my go-to scotch, my Tuesday night scotch, my Blood And Sand scotch. It's light and floral -- definitely not for the iodine and seaweed crowd -- but it's delicious and relatively inexpensive.

    0
    0
    Liqueur - Spices-Essences
    5

    I'm sure there are drinks not improved by St Germain. But after mixing it with everything from lime-infused gin to hoppy American-style IPAs, I have yet to find one.

    2
    0
    Canadian Whisky - Blended
    4

    I'm not a huge fan of the other expressions of Canadian Club, but I really like this one for the price. Not a fine-cigar and snifter sort of whiskey -- more a fill-your-flask-for-game-day or mix-with-Cola. Pretty damned nice for the price.

    0
    0
    Vodka - Potato
    5

    My house vodka, this has great smoothness and roundness on the palate due to the potato. Beats other potato vodkas hollow as well, and is the single best value I've ever found in vodka.

    0
    0
    Vodka - Grape
    4

    This is not vodka, it's eau-de-vie. That said, it's good, clean, and easy to mix; it has a definite spring-water character but doesn't dominate.

    0
    0
    Flavored Rum - Fruit/Berry
    4

    This isn't a rum -- technically, I think it's a brandied metheglin. All nitpicking aside, it's pretty darn tasty, good either straight up or in a cocktail. A margarita with a Rumble floater is wonderful.

    0
    0
    American Whiskey - Blended
    5

    Amazing. When I first tasted this two years ago, it was definitely corn-flavored, but as it has aged it's gotten sweeter, richer, and better. Definitely a great option for bourbon drinkers; it makes a killer old-fashioned.

    0
    0
    Vodka - Wheat
    4

    Slight sweetness on the palate; this screams for a martini, per their advertising. Might not be dry enough for vodka and tonic drinkers.

    0
    0