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Gabe’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by Gabe on December 15, 2014

GiftGuideCover_AmandaJeanBlackIf you’re not sure what to get someone as a gift this year, consider a good bottle of wine or spirits —‚ always in season. Anyone who drinks alcohol will certainly appreciate a well-chosen bottle to enjoy, be it alone or with friends (my hope is that it’s with you). Throughout the year, I’ve tasted a number of the best bottles in both the wine and spirit categories and compiled a list of my 24 favorites — any of which would make excellent gifts for a variety of budgets. A few of the bottles are particularly great values, while others are luxury beverages that will really impress the lucky person who receives them; no matter the price, every selection in this guide is delicious and well made. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Australia, Barbera, Blends, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne, Champagne, Chardonnay, Chile, Dry Creek Valley, Irish Whiskey, Italy, Napa Valley, Red Blends, Rosé, Rum, Single Malt Scotch, Syrah/Shiraz, Tempranillo, The Daily Meal, Whiskey, Wine | Leave a Comment »

Six Spirits for Fall Sipping or Mixing

Posted by Gabe on November 3, 2014

For me personally, when it comes to spirits I look for something I can sip neat. The purity of each style’s expression appeals to me. While I take the time and make the effort to mix cocktails when the mood, I’m far more likely to drink them neat or simply sip the on the rocks. By filling a bar with spirits I enjoy solo, I know that the cocktails I mix with them will have a delicious result–t’s a lot like the axiom about not cooking with wine you wouldn’t want to drink. After recently tasting through a bunch of spirits that came across my desk, here are my 6 current favorites that will keep you warm with the nip of fall in the air. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Rum, Single Malt Scotch, The Daily Meal, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

Six Impressive Expressions of Highlands Scotch

Posted by Gabe on October 28, 2014

 

Scotch has numerous varieties with many designations that set them apart. One, of course, is whether it’s a single-malt or a blended Scotch. Another, equally important factor is where the Scotch is from. There are significant regional influences that affect the quality and flavor of Scotch. So, much like with wine, a sense of place can be quite indicative and important. I recently tasted through a half dozen examples all from the Highlands of Scotland. Several things made this grouping of Scotches noteworthy. First off each expression is distinct in its own right. Secondly, they’re all well-made and incredibly delicious and enjoyable to drink. Tasting them side by side was a real window into the diversity of quality scotch coming from the Highlands. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the entire roundup…

Posted in Single Malt Scotch, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

Booker’s Bourbon: Intense, Concentrated, Masterpiece

Posted by Gabe on September 8, 2014

bookersWhiskey comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people are avowed bourbon drinkers, while others swear by Scotch. Personally I love them both, it just depends what I’m in the mood for, in a particular moment in time. Life is all about context after all. Comparing the similarities and distinctions between bourbon and Scotch is as inspiring to whiskey lovers as contrasting a Napa cabernet with a fine Bordeaux is to a wine lover. One of the things that make bourbon so appealing is the wide array of small batch offerings appearing on our shelves. There are distillers popping up all over the country making interesting examples of bourbon. Many of the large distillers also have a small batch program whose focus is on specific lots produced in limited quantities. I just tasted one that’s part of the Jim Beam family of whiskies and it left a strong impression on me. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Bourbon, The Daily Meal, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

The Balvenie Portwood 21: A Highly Desirable Scotch

Posted by Gabe on August 6, 2014

The Balvenie, a range of Single Malt Scotches from the Speyside region of Scotland, features a diverse portfolio. If you’re a Scotch lover they likely have something in their range to suit your palate. The commonality to me is the attention to detail that helps them to achieve the quality and consistency their name evokes. Among the things that set The Balvenie apart are the strict controls they retain over several aspects of the production process. Growing their own barley and employing their own staff of coopers to handle every cask are but two examples. I’ve been a fan of the Balvenie range for quite a while now, and the 12 Year Old DoubleWood is one I go to on a regular basis. Therefore it’s always interesting to taste the rare, more sought-after examples in their range. Amongst those the Balvenie Portwood 21 is a highly desirable Scotch produced in limited quantities. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Single Malt Scotch, The Daily Meal, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

Laphroaig Càirdeas Port Wood is an Impressive and Limited Single Malt

Posted by Gabe on July 29, 2014

LP_Cairdeas_WithTubeLaphroaig is one if the most recognizable names in Scotch. Not only that, they bring to mind something even more specific, Peaty Scotch. They are best known for Single Malt’s that feature a trademark smoke and peat in their flavor profiles. Quite recently they have launched a brand new expression: Laphroaig Càirdeas 2013. The name comes from the traditional Gaelic meaning for friendship.

The Laphroaig Càirdeas Port Wood Edition was finished in port barrels to add even more complexity. It is available nationwide but in limited quantities. Càirdeas Port Wood has a suggested retail price of $75.00. This Scotch has a gorgeous Rosé tinted hue that just shimmers beautifully when you pour it. The nose is impressively expressive with hints of dark chocolate, fruit and just a gentle wisp of green herb. Taking the first sip it’s impossible not to be immediately knocked by the depth and complexity of the palate. A cornucopia of light and dark flavors simply envelop your senses and get your brain working on figuring out all the different pleasing characteristics it’s enjoying. Bits of brown sugar emerge on the finish and provide a nice sweetness along with loads of spices that bring fruitcake to mind. These lead into a hint of char, dark chocolate and pepper spice. The length here is tremendous with all the elements reverberating persistently for a long and impressive amount of time.

There are more and more expressions of Scotch available to us every day. As such this is a great and prosperous time to be a Scotch drinker. Part of what keeps things really interesting are rare and limited releases such as The Laphroaig Càirdeas Port Wood edition. It’s not going to be on shelves forever, so grab a bottle if you’re lucky enough to find one.

Posted in Single Malt Scotch | Leave a Comment »

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old Single Malt Impresses

Posted by Gabe on July 10, 2014

glenfarclasGlenfarclas 25 Year Old Single Malt Highland Scotch, SRP $150.

Glenfarclas has been owned by a single family since 1865. This Speyside distillery is in fact one of a small handful in Scotland that remains family owned and run. They’re a fairly small company with just more than 30 people employed in their entire operation. Several of these employees have been with them for more than 25 years. They run a 24 hour operation which among other things manages 52,000 casks at varying states of maturity; these are all moved by hand. I recently tasted the Glenfarclas 25 Year Old Single Malt Highland Scotch. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Single Malt Scotch, The Daily Meal, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

Basil Hayden’s: An Easily Adaptable Bourbon

Posted by Gabe on July 4, 2014

My Latest Whisky Story for:

 

I tend to lump my Bourbons into two distinct categories: those I like to drink neat or on the rocks, and those I use in cocktails. Often the ones at the lower end of the price spectrum aren’t as palatable neat, whereas I’m often loathe to mix higher-end bourbons with anything. So when I sat down to taste Basil Hayden’s, I tried it both ways and really wondered where I’d land with it.

The recipe used to distill Basil Hayden’s dates back more than 200 years. It’s made from both rye and corn to create a Bourbon with a wider flavor profile, and to this day they still use… Read the rest over at The Daily Meal

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The Glenlivet 15: for the True Scotch Whisky Lover

Posted by Gabe on April 10, 2014

Glenlivet15Whisky comes in all shapes and sizes. Single malt Scotch, which is a particular discipline of whisky from Scotland, also has tons of variables. The first and most obvious is how long it was aged. Next you can start to look at what type of barrel it was aged in and ask if it was aged in more than one type. More and more Scotches are being “finished” in a second type of oak. Often these are barrels that once held sherry, Port, or some other sort of wine or spirit. Many though are aged in a single barrel type. The Glenlivet, which has a history dating to 1824, is one of the most widely available single malts across the U.S. Their portfolio offers a broad range of Scotches to whet the appetites of various palates and budgets. Here’s a look at one of their most popular, available, and value packed offerings. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Single Malt Scotch, The Daily Meal, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

Auchentoshan 18 Year is an Inspiring Scotch

Posted by Gabe on February 19, 2014

Auchentoshan is the closest distillery to the city of Glasgow. It was founded in 1823 and to this day uses the same time-honored methodology they always have. The standard range of Whisky’s includes four distinct releases. They augment that with some smaller production limited offerings as well. I have tasted each of the selections in their normal range and they maintain a connective tissue that binds them all together yet each has its own characteristics which set it apart. Here’s a look at their 18-year-old. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest.

Posted in Single Malt Scotch, Whiskey | Leave a Comment »

 
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