January 2016 - Best Buy Bar Competition

This month's Spirits feature is Best Buy Bar Competition
Best Buy Bar Competition Reviews
213620
Hofland
"Meesterbitter" Herbal Liqueur
Bright bronze color. Delicate, attractive, buttery aromas and flavors of sassafras, molasses spice cake, toasted citrus and mint, and cumin spiced nuts with a satiny, bright, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, medium-long bitter barks and roots, cola, pepper, and earth finish. A vibrant, stimulating, and well balanced herbal liqueur that would be a good introduction to the category.
94 points $16.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213511
Sassy Girl
Rum C.R.E.A.M
Creamy bone white color. Bright, attractive, creamy spicy aromas and flavors of key lime pie with graham cracker crust, light egg nog, coconut macaroon, and oatmeal cookie with a creamy, soft, sweet medium-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-long horchata and coconut flan finish. A delicious and delicately spicy cream liqueur.
94 points $16.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213445
George Ocean
White Rum
Brilliant clear color. Rich, fruity aromas and flavors of caramelized bananas, cane stalk, meringue, and faint fuel like minerals with a glycerous, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, long ripe plantain, pepper, vanilla milk, and banana leaf finish. A vivacious mixing rum with hints of potstill and fresh cane juice character.
92 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213430
Jonah’s Curse
Black Spiced Rum
Bright mahogany color. Bright, spicy, toasty aromas of vanilla cola, spice cake, mocha cream, and chocolate cherry with a satiny, lively, off-dry medium body and a smooth, delightful, medium-long sweet brown spices, toffee, and sassafras float finish. A very lively and well balanced spiced rum.
92 points $16.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213102
Kirkland Signature
Irish Cream Liqueur
Creamy tan color. Bright, creamy, spicy aromas and flavors of nougat, spiced nuts, and mocha gelato with a creamy, bright, moderately sweet medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length creme brulee, pecan pie a la mode, and milk chocolate finish. A delicious, vibrant, and well balanced cream liqueur.
92 points $16.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213629
Schönauer
"Apfel" Apple Liqueur
Bright slivery straw color. Delicate, pure, fruity aromas and flavors of spicy green apple cider and sauce and light molasses with an even, vibrant, fruity medium body and an even, appealing, breezy lemon spirtzed apple and honey finish. A delicious and pure apple spirit.
92 points $17.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213619
Lyna
Vodka
Bright clear color. Mild, creamy aromas and flavors of frosted cereal, pastry dough, sweet cream, and coconut husk with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length cream, powdered sugar, fig granola, and minerals finish. A very clean, well made, creamy vodka.
91 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213427
Fennelly’s
Cappuccino Cream Liqueur
Creamy tan color. Bold, nutty aromas and flavors of roasted pecans, chocolate espresso bean, and dark toasted fruitcake with a silky, soft, sweet medium body and a warming, intricate, medium-long tiramisu and mocha whipped cream finish. A very tasty tiramisu-like cream liqueur.
91 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213502
Petergoff
Pepper Vodka
Light gold color. Bright, peppery aromas and flavors of smoked peppercorns, pepper jelly on rye toast, and brown spices with an soft, dryish medium body and a peppery, delightful, medium-length roasted hot peppers and nougat finish. A lively and nicely layered pepper vodka that will be great in cocktails.
91 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213509
ZBIGNIEW
Spirytus
Clear color. Bold, peppery, hot aromas of pepper jelly and nougat with an body and a hot, appealing, long sugar, vanilla custard, and frosted cereal finish. Surprisingly well balanced on it’s own, diluted it is quite flavorful and attractive.
91 points $19.95 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212931
Tremols
Mamajuana
Electric crimson color. Bold, spicy, peppery exotic aromas of cracked pepper, toasted herbs and spices, powdered ginger and ginseng, and turmeric cedar and eucalyptus incense with a supple, crisp, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long double mint gum, root beer float, herbal hibiscus tea, and simple syrup finish. A fun and rather unique spiced rum that opens up a world of cocktail possibilities.
90 points $13 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213503
Petergoff
Wheat Vodka
Clear bright clear color. Mild, citrusy aromas and flavors of wet clay, cereal, and nougat with a soft, bright, dryish medium body and a warming, compelling, buoyant sweet cream, powdered sugar, and glycerin finish. A very clean and delicate vodka that will be very versatile.
90 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213501
Petergoff
Lemon Vodka
Bright clear color. Bright, citrusy, creamy aromas and flavors of lemon pudding cake with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a peppery, interesting, easy lemon gelatin and rice candy and peppery spice finish. A vivacious, nicely balanced and pure lemon vodka.
90 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213692
Kirkland Signature
Blended Scotch Whisky
Brilliant golden amber color. Bright, buttery, roasted aromas and flavors of chocolate roasted nuts, toasted pretzel roll, and toasted grain with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, engaging, medium-length mocha custard, nut skins, peppery and brown spices, and limestone finish. A layered, well balanced and versatile Scotch whisky.
90 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212944
Tremols
Mamajuana Fruit Liqueur
Brilliant neon amber orange color. Peppery, herbal aromas and flavors of cracked mixed peppercorns, dried Latin herbs, spiced dried fruits, and nopales with an oily, sweet body and a tingling, captivating, medium-length creamed honey, vanilla cream, and epazote finish. A very interesting, peppery herbal liqueur that will make creative cocktails.
89 points $13 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212937
Tremols
Ron Añejo 1960 Reserva Aniversario Rum
Dusty amber color. Mild, attractive aromas and flavors of toffee, tobacco, dried fruits, and sandalwood with a glycerous, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length vanilla cream, banana custard, roasted nuts, and delicate spices finish. A solid aged rum with nice drinkability; will appeal to whisky drinkers.
89 points $14.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213504
Zbyszek
Spiritus
Clear color. Hot, minerally vaporous aromas and flavors of hot peppers and clay with an sharp, dryish medium-to-full body and a searing, appealing, long powdered sugar, frosted cereal, licorice, and chalk finish. A bold and brash high proof spirit that cleans up nicely with water; use judiciously in punches or well diluted with water.
89 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213621
Strathbeag
"The Classic Peated Blend"
Brilliant gold color. Bright, spicy, buttery aromas and flavors of nut brittle, chocolate, dried fig, and peat with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an interesting, medium-length hint of iodine, nut oil, peppery spices, and moss finish. A rock solid blended whisky with nice nuances of flavor.
89 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212943
Tremols
Prince Edward Rum Cream
Creamy tan color. Delicate, nutty aromas and flavors of nut brittle, maple fudge, egg nog, and tres leche cake with a silky, soft, very sweet medium-full body and a smooth, stimulating, breezy banana cream pie, delicate spice, and brandied cherries finish. A fun and flavorful cream liqueur.
88 points $13.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212938
Tremols
Ron Añejo XO 1960 Reserva Aniversario Rum
Dark copper color. Bright, fruity, spicy aromas of banana and coconut cream pies, spicy fruit cake, cream puff pastry, and vanilla cola with a glycerous, soft, off-dry medium-to-full body and a tingling, compelling, medium-long mocha, Neapolitan ice cream, and delicate spice finish. A silky, sexy aged rum sipper.
88 points $14.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212934
Tremols
Ron El Toro Rum
Bright copper color. Bright, attractive aromas of chocolate espresso beans, roasted nuts, and polished wood with a glycerous, crisp, fruity sweet medium body and a peppery, medium-long coffee candy, creme brulee, pepper, and cedar saw dust finish. A sweet, mocha like rum for mixing.
88 points $14.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213457
Shellback
Silver Rum
Clear color. Lively, confected, creamy aromas and flavors of frosted vanilla cake, banana cream pie, coconut cream, and chocolate cereal with a supple, shy, dryish medium body and a warming, interesting, snappy roasted nuts, pepper, and minerals finish. A creamy, mellow rum for cocktails.
88 points $16 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213512
KU:L
"Fire" Cinnamon Whiskey
Brilliant amber color. Spicy, nutty aromas and flavors of cinnamon bark and oily roasted nuts with a vibrant, off-dry medium body and a peppery, compelling, medium-long hot cinnamon candy and honey finish. A solid, sweet, liqueur-like cinnamon whisky.
88 points $16.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213421
Platinum
Vodka
Brilliant clear color. Mild, clean, minerally aromas of porcelain and custard with a supple, bright, dry light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length macadamia brittle, cream, and chalk finish. A sturdy mixing vodka.
87 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213456
New Amsterdam
Mango Vodka
Brilliant clear color. Bright, tropical aromas and flavors of fruit punch, Italian lemon ice, and coconut oil with a supple, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, compelling, medium-length candied lemon peel and lemon concentrate, mango-papaya relish, smoked peppercorn, and chalk finish. A fun, tropical, lemony vodka.
87 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213630
Bella Mar
Ultra Premium Vodka
Brilliant clear color. Muted, citrusy, clean aromas of gravel and grain with a silky, soft, dryish medium body and a tingling, interesting, breezy sweet cream, cashew nougat, honeyed cucumber, and minerals finish. A smooth, silky vodka with pleasing warmth that will be very versatile.
87 points $17.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213680
Belle Chasse
Vodka
Bright pale clear color. Bright, hot aromas of frosted wheat, porcelain, and pink peppercorn with a soft, crisp, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, captivating, carefree mint cream, dried citrus, hint of anise, and limestone finish. A smooth and delicately nuanced vodka in the grey goose style.
87 points $18.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213500
Petergoff
Wheat Vodka
Clear color. Delicate, grassy, earthy creamy aromas of flour and powdered sugar with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, snappy dried citrus and pepper finish. A rock solid vodka for citrus cocktails.
87 points $19.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213518
Flirt
Vodka
Bright pale clear color. Delicate, grainy aromas and flavors of wet grain, lemon creme fraiche, raisin bread, and peppercorns with a supple, bright, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, appealing, breezy powdered sugar, gelatin candy, figs, and wet stones finish. A solid, all-purpose vodka.
86 points $10 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212932
Tremols
Ron Añejo 1960 Reserva Unica Rum
Bright dark amber color. Lively, nutty aromas and flavors of roasted pecans, chocolate covered banana, cedar, and cracked pepper with a silky, bright, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, compelling, medium-length baking spices, sweet chocolate custard, and sassafras finish. A pleasant, easy drinking aged rum.
86 points $13 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213428
Fennelly’s
Mint Chocolate Cream Liqueur
Creamy tan color. Rich, minty aromas and flavors of chocolate mint cookie with an oily, soft, sweet medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length mint whipped cream, nuts, and custard finish. A pleasant chocolate mint liqueur.
86 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212935
Tremols
Ron Ramon XO Rum
Golden amber color. Bright, attractive, confected aromas of butterscotch, coconut frosted cake, and praline with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, medium-long chocolate macaroons and cherries, delicate spices, vanilla custard, and polished cedar finish. A nice, sweet mixing rum.
86 points $14.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213520
Gold Ram
Blended Scotch Whisky
Brilliant gold color. Delicate, toasty, grainy aromas of warm cereal, bread crust, nougat, and toffee with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, captivating, breezy sweet cream and baking and peppery spies finish. A well rounded, mellow scotch whisky sipper.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212941
Tremols
Piña Colada Cream Liqueur
Creamy white color. Delicate, buttery, creamy confected funky aromas of coconut cream, dried pineapple, and cream cheese with a creamy, shy, sweet medium body and an even, interesting, breezy pineapple yogurt, overripe papaya, and coconut sorbet and oil finish. A soft, piña colada liqueur.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213442
George Ocean
Coffee Rum
Minutely hazy brown color. Rich, baked, earthy sweet aromas and flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and dark roasted nuts with a soft, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, stimulating, carefree latte and dried fruit finish. A mellow coffee flavored rum.
85 points $12.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213443
George Ocean
Spiced Rum
Brilliant golden amber color. Bright aromas of cinnamon horchata, vanilla buttercream cake, oily roasted nuts, and ginger snaps with a soft, off-dry light-to-medium body and a warming, waxy vanilla nut brittle, cherry cola, and pepper finish. A pleasant and easy spiced rum.
85 points $12.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213444
George Ocean
Gold Rum
Bright gold color. Delicate, attractive, buttery citrusy earthy aromas of toasted nut bread and caramel cookie with a lively, bone-dry medium body and a peppery, breezy burnt sugar, pepper, nutshell, and wax paper finish.
85 points $12.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212936
Tremols
Ron El Toro 1960 Aniversario Rum
Bright copper color. Lively, baked, nutty aromas of toffee, maple sugar, cedar, and pecan pie with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, appealing, medium-length iced coffee, roasted nuts, baking spices, and pepper finish. A rock solid, lighter style mixing or sipping rum.
85 points $14.50
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212022
Empire Spirits
Private Club Vodka
Brilliant clear color. Mild, minerally aromas of grain and stones with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, delightful, breezy sweet cream, nougat, and corn pudding finish. A nice creamy, warming vodka.
85 points $17.88
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213505
Klosowka
Wheat Vodka
Clear color. Faint, boozy, hot sweet toasty aromas of almond and rice milk on cereal, dried cherry, gum, and straw with a supple, bright, fruity light body and a warming, relaxed gelatin candy, powdered milk, and pepper finish. A nice vodka with a fruity hint.
85 points $19.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213441
George Ocean
Coconut Rum
Clear color. Bright, waxy aromas and flavors of coconut oil, coconut scented candle, and candy wrapper with an even, shy, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a seamless, cheery coconut lip balm and straw finish. A very mild coconut flavored rum.
84 points $12.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212930
Tremols
Gold Angel XO Whisky
Bright amber color. Roasted, grainy aromas and flavors of wet grain, roasted nuts, dark rye toast, and hot cocoa with a bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, breezy mocha cream, caramel, licorice, and delicate spice finish. A fun, flavorful mixing whisky.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213426
Fennelly’s
Irish Cream Liqueur
Creamy taupe color. Bright, fruity, creamy aromas of tres leche cake, almond buttercream, and fruit cake with a creamy, soft, sweet medium body and an even, brisk butterscotch pudding and nutskin finish. A pleasant, candied cream liqueur.
84 points $13.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213455
New Amsterdam
Orange Vodka
Brilliant clear color. Bright, fruity aromas of orange drink mix and rice candy and flat 7-up with a supple, bright, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, buoyant orange gelatin finish. A nice mellow orange flavored vodka for cocktails.
84 points $13.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213499
Petergoff
Cranberry Vodka
Brilliant light red color. Lively, fruity, medicinal aromas of cranberry chutney, cough syrup, and mixed peppercorns with a satiny, racy, off-dry medium-to-full body and a peppery, appealing, medium-length berry-peppery jelly, honey, and aspirin finish. A spicy, peppery cranberry vodka that has an almost amaro like quality that opens up interesting cocktail possibilities.
84 points $14.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213458
Shellback
Spiced Rum
Gold color. Bright, spicy aromas of toasted marshmallow and white chocolate cherry with a soft, dry-yet-fruity light body and a warming, brisk chocolate phosphate, vanilla cream, nutskin, and pepper finish. A simple and easy spiced rum.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213432
Ensign Red
Canadian Apple Whisky
Clear bright gold color. Bright, confected aromas and flavors of apple candy and caramel with a soft, moderately sweet light body and a tingling, brisk honey cream and bubblegum finish. A solid mellow, apple flavored liqueur.
84 points $16.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213519
6th Sense
London Dry Gin
Clear bright clear color. Delicate, citrusy aromas and flavors of lemon zest and meringue and pepper dust with a glycerous, crisp, dryish medium body and a tingling, amusing, medium-length lemon oil, lemon pepper and lemon thyme, and menthol finish. A very lemony and neutral, lemon vodka like gin.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212940
Tremols
Coco Fruit Liqueur
Clear color. Bright, tropical aromas of coconut husk and meat, vanilla candle, and wicker with a glycerous, bright, sweet body and a tingling, relaxed coconut-pineapple lozenge and marshmallow finish. A solid, sweet coconut liqueur for mixing.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213431
Ensign Red
Canadian Whisky
Golden amber color. Delicate, toasty aromas and flavors of roasted nuts and burnt sugar with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a peppery, relaxed vanilla nut fudge, peppery spices, and minerals finish. A mellow, peppery Canadian whiskey.
83 points $16.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213454
New Amsterdam
Pineapple Vodka
Clear color. Bright, tropical, confected aromas and flavors of pineapple slices in syrup with a velvety, bright, moderately sweet medium body and a hot, carefree piña colada lifesaver, rice candy and hint of soap finish. Solid pineapple flavor for mixing.
82 points $13.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212942
Tremols
Limón Fruit Liqueur
Clear color. Delicate, citrusy aromas of lemon-lime soda and lemon pepper with a satiny, bright, sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, brisk diet lemon sparkling and tonic waters and whipped cream finish. A mellow lemon-lime liqueur for mixing.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
212933
Tremols
Ron Blanco 1960 Reserva Especial Rum
Bright clear color. Odd, minerally aromas and flavors of scorched iron linen, spumoni ice milk, flint and lighter fluid, and vinyl with a supple, shy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, brisk nut and mineral oils, canned whip cream on a banana, chalk eraser, and powdered milk finish.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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