December 2016 - Brandy & New Release Spirits

This month's Spirits feature is Brandy & New Release Spirits
Brandy & New Release Spirits Reviews
217641
Xicala
Mezcal
Clear color. Tropical, complex aromas and flavors of grilled pineapple,peppers, and sweet potatoes, spiced chestnut honey, smoked peppercorns and herbs, and sweaty hard cheese rind with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, engaging, medium-long campfire embers, lit tobacco, volcanic rocks, and smoked venison jerky finish. A vibrant, flavorful mezcal.
94 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217644
Monteru
Rare Cask Finish "Sauternes" Brandy
Light gold color. Attractive, fruity, floral aromas and flavors of varnished wood, leather and tea leaves, caramelized roasted nuts and dried fruits, and geranium pear and melon with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, nuanced, medium-long rich spices, minerals, and creme brulee finish. A vibrantly delicious brandy with great flavor and texture.
94 points $57.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217786
B
100% Real Beet Distilled Spirit
Clear color. Savory, attractive aromas and flavors of roasted and pickled beets, hint of spiced fruits, roasted cauliflower, and galanga with a satiny, bright, dryish medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-long dusty root vegetables, powdered sugar, radish, and pepper finish. A very interesting and distinctive root vegetable like spirit for savory cocktails.
93 points $29.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217718
Long Road Distillers
Cherry Brandy
Clear color. Fruity aromas and flavors of bright spiced dried cherries, fruit gum, and cherry blossoms with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long sweet cream, powdered sugar, cherry pits, and straw finish. A very pure cherry brandy with a solid core of fruit and pleasing warmth.
93 points $34.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217773
Bainbridge
Heritage Oaked Organic Doug Fir Gin
Golden straw color. Spicy, interesting aromas and flavors of egg nog, spiced meringue and yams, and fig-fennel pastry with a silky, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, involved, long anise cookie, juniper, and lemon chutney finish. A delicious, spicy, flavor-packed barrel aged gin with lots of interesting cocktail possibilities.
93 points $38.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217645
Monteru
Rare Cask Finish "Sherry" Brandy
Light gold color. Attractive aromas and flavors of nougat, honeyed stone fruits and banana, white chocolate cookie, and lemon custard cake with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long apricot marmalade, sandalwood, baking spices, and sweet cream finish. A silky, satisfying brandy with a rich core of fruit.
93 points $57.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217646
Monteru
Rare Cask Finish "Triple Toast" Brandy
Brilliant amber color. Aromas and flavors of leather bound cedar cigar box, peach-mango chutney, cracked peppercorns, nutmeg, and allspice, and fruitcake with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, medium-long oak and tobacco, brown spices, honey cream, and minerals and earth finish. A robust, spicy, very oak-influenced brandy for contemplative sipping or cigars.
93 points $57.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216720
Lvov
Vodka
Brilliant clear color. Grainy, inviting aromas and flavors of bread crust, grain, and nutskin with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-long sweet cream, vanilla fondant, and chalk finish. A smooth and lively vodka well suited for martinis.
92 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216931
Battle Standard
142 Standard Strength Gin
Brilliant clear color. Spicy aromas and flavors of herb muffin, juniper, candied lemon peel and mincemeat, and mixed peppercorns with a lightly tannic, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, delightful, medium-long fresh citrus zests, coriander, and earl grey tea finish. A robust, spicy, lemony gin that will play nicely in gin cocktails.
92 points $29.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216730
Catoctin Creek
Watershed Gin
Clear color. Attractive, fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of fresh baked fruitcake, gingerbread, dried pear, and candied violets with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a licorice, brown spices, honeyed raisin rye-safflower toast, and floral honey finish. A rich, flavor packed gin for craft cocktails.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217205
Sarajishvili
XO Brandy
Dark copper color. Spicy, woody aromas and flavors of leather chair, dried fruits, chestnut honey, and pepper with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, engaging, medium-length conditioned leather, spiced raisins, cola, and mossy earth finish. A nice woody brandy that will play nice nicely in whiskey cocktails.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217613
De Moravia
Cream ShotPaq
Opaque bright white color. Creamy, spicy aromas and flavors of egg nog with nutmeg and white chocolate maple fudge with a creamy, bright, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a silky, delightful, medium-long fresh whipped cream and spumoni gelato finish. A delicious egg-nog-like cream liqueur with great fresh cream and spice flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217634
Kvint
3 Year Old Brandy
Medium amber color. Fruity, toasty aromas and flavors of salty roasted nuts, caramelized fruits, and leather with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, appealing, snappy mocha, spiced nuts, and sandalwood finish. A smooth and flavorful aged brandy that will be very versatile.
91 points $5.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217204
Sarajishvili
VS Brandy
Brilliant amber color. Savory, umami aromas and flavors of salty nuts and olives, conditioned leather, raisins in balsamic, and brown butter with a supple, bright, dryish medium-to-full body and a tingling, intriguing, medium-length oak, browns spices, cola float with mocha gelato, and mossy earth finish. A woody, spicy brandy for cigars or cocktails.
91 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216930
Battle Standard
142 Navy Strength Gin
Clear color. Spicy aromas and flavors of gingerbread, fruitcake, lemon marmalade, and anise cookie with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, compelling, medium-long piney juniper, chestnut honey, and minerals finish. A vibrant, spicy navy strength gin that will pop nicely in cocktails,
91 points $34.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216208
Cadée
Gin
Clear color. Citrusy, herbal aromas and flavors of lemon peel, juniper, caraway rye toast, and green tomato with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, captivating, medium-long citrus gelatin, powdered sugared dark berries, limestone, and peppery spices finish. A very tasty, highly mixable gin with pure citrus and herb flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217648
Wollersheim Distillery
1876 Press House Brandy
Medium gold color. Earthy aromas and flavors of leather, polished cedar, and dry raisin toast with a soft, crisp, dry light-to-medium body and a warming, compelling, medium-long dried citrus and herbs, straw and tobacco, and vanilla finish. A very interesting dry, rustic, and woody brandy reminiscent of an old Armagnac.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217699
Batista
Prata
Clear color. Grassy, creamy aromas and flavors of sugar cane stalk and leaves, plantain, flan, and minerals with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long gravel, wheatgrass, and pepper and vanilla finish. A solid, well made cachaça that will mix nicely.
90 points $34.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216932
Battle Standard 142
Barrel-Finished Gin
Pale straw color. Spicy aromas and flavors of licorice hard candy, spicy egg nog, spicy fruit cake, and potpourri with a round, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, distinctive, candied lemon peel and mint, peppered nuts, herbal honey, and dusty gravel finish. A very nice barrel-aged gin with a good balance between citrus, spicy, and oak tones.
90 points $36.09
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217778
Get Hot
Habanero Reposado Tequila
Straw yellow color. Aromas and flavors of nougat, pear flan, honey roasted jalapeno, and paprika with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity body and a peppery, buoyant cinnamon red hots candy, dried papaya and pineapple, milk and honey, and chili pepper finish. A pleasant, mildly warming flavored tequila.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217845
Emperador
Brandy
Medium amber color. Aromas and flavors of caramelized nuts, tiramisu, honey butter, and mocha with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an effortless, interesting, medium-length latte and tres leche cake, milk chocolate, delicate spices, and cola finish. A very tasty and inviting brandy that is sure to please.
89 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217808
E&J Distillers
XO Brandy
Dark amber color. Nutty, spicy aromas of praline, fruitcake, caramel, and brewer’s yeast and carnation with a silky, vibrant, fruity medium body and a warming, compelling, medium-length sassafras float, white toffee, orange spice cake, and peppercorns finish. A nice, smooth fruity brandy for fireside sipping or cocktails.
89 points $15.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217265
D. George Benham’s
Vodka
Clear color. Interesting aromas and flavors of pistachio gelato and nougat, frosted blueberry pastry, and vanilla caramel bonbon with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, subtle, long honeyed toast, lemon curd, spiced tropical fruits, and pink peppercorn finish. A vibrant, racy vodka with a nice range of subtle flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217539
Blue Angel
Ultra Premium Vodka
Bright clear color. Aromas and flavors of porcelain, frosted raisin bran, and dried citrus with a silky, soft, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length citrus gelatin, lemon pepper, turmeric tea with honey, and wet stones finish. A nice snappy, spicy vodka that will pop well in cocktails.
88 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217667
Mi Rancho
Silver Tequila
Clear color. Vegetal aromas of roasted yellow pepper and root vegetables, waxy honeycomb, nopales, and pepper bread with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, captivating, medium-length horchata, peppercorns, and roasted lime finish. A delicate, nicely arced tequila with lots of mixing possibilities.
88 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217711
Dayton
Gin
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of dusty grain sack, spiced nuts, lemon-carrot cake, and pickled herring with a soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, breezy juniper jelly, lemon whipped cream, and peppercorns finish. A mellow, creamy gin for sipping or elegant cocktails.
88 points $26.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216717
Stateside
Urbancraft Vodka
Clear color. Attractive aromas and flavors of chalk, frosted pastry, and grassy meadow with a silky, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a polished, appealing, medium-length wet stones, cream, and hint of nougat finish. A clean and balanced vodka for all applications.
88 points $27.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216209
Cadée
Intrigue Gin
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of anisette cookie, orange spice cake, and pine nuts with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, complex, long lemon chiffon, honeyed peppercorns, and baking spices finish. A very good, nouveau-style gin with nicely restrained juniper notes and amplified citrus.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217700
Batista
Ouro
Light gold color. Smoky aromas and flavors of tar, lit tobacco, and burnt sugar with a supple, soft, dryish medium body and a warming, intriguing, medium-length fuel, wet stones, and caramelized tropical fruits finish. A smoky, dusty cachaça for cigars and whisky cocktails.
88 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217681
Kirkland Signature
25 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Medium amber color. Aromas and flavors of butter roasted nuts, date bread toast, spiced dried fruits, and chocolate with a supple, soft, dryish medium body and a carefree flan, sweet cream, raisin bread pudding, and pepper finish. A pleasant, easy drinking Speyside single malt Scotch.
88 points $89.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217809
E&J Distillers
Peach Brandy
Bright golden amber color. Attractive aromas and flavors of peach cobbler and honeyed nuts with a glycerous, bright, moderately sweet medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long mocha nuts, caramel, peach seltzer, and minerals finish. A nicely flavored peach brandy that will mix nicely.
87 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217705
Vendome
XO French Brandy
Bright golden amber color. Fruity aromas and flavors of fruit cake, banana bread pudding, and buttery roasted nuts with a satiny, bright, fruity medium body and a seamless, medium-long creme brulee, chocolate nuts and cherries, cedar, and minerals finish. A solid, fruity brandy that will mix like dream.
87 points $14.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216868
Bodega de San Antonio
Sangria
Bright dark garnet color. Fruity, citrusy, spicy aromas and flavors of spiced orange, lime and berries, dried cherries, and floral honey with a lightly tannic, tangy, medium body and a smooth, relaxed nuts, hint of cedar, candied violet, and kiwi finish. A tasty sangria with a nice blend of wine, spice and fruit flavors.
87 points $15 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217621
Malibu Mary
Bloody Mary Mix
Tasted as a Bloody Mary cocktail. Opaque sedimentary ruby color. Aromas and flavors of baked tomato and potato, smoked peppercorn, horseradish, and herbal stuffing with celery with a thick, bright, saline medium body and a warming, medium-long Worcestershire sauce and chili pepper finish. A nice warming Bloody Mary.
87 points $15 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216563
High West
7000' Oat Flavored Vodka
Bright clear color. Aromas and flavors of oatmeal, muesli, hemp rope, and hint of paper mache with a silky, bright, dry light-to-medium body and a tingling, wet stones and grainy bread finish. A nice vodka for mixing.
87 points $29.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217622
Dry Line
Cape Cod Gin
Clear color. Interesting, spicy aromas and flavors of cherry cola, spicy panettone, lemon and orange marmalades on graham cracker, and alpine herb lozenge with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, carefree warm milk and honey and powdered sugar finish. An interesting, spicy, fruity, creamy gin with subdued juniper.
87 points $49.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217206
Sarajishvili
Extra Special Reserve
Clear dark amber color. Spicy, earthy aromas and flavors of spicy fruitcake, dark sautéed nuts, leather, and varnished wood with a tannic, lively, dry-yet-fruity body and a warming, delightful, medium-long walnut skin and shell, artisan cola and birch beer, maple nut fudge, and clay and lumber finish. A flavorful, woody brandy sipper; try with cigars.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217807
E&J Distillers
VSOP Brandy
Bright amber color. Attractive aromas and flavors of maple nut fudge, chocolate raisins, panettone, and butterscotch with a satiny, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, snappy tres leche cake, peppered nuts, sarsaparilla float, and peach ice cream finish. A tasty, easy drinking brandy for sipping or cocktails.
86 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217755
Spade & Bushel
10 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Light golden straw color. Yeasty, grainy aromas and flavors of soda raisin bread, fermenting apples and pears, spiced praline, and waxy honeycomb and clay with a silky, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a honeyed peach scone, creme brulee, and baking spices finish. A robust, Irish whiskey with solid flavors and snappy, peppery finish.
86 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217806
E&J Distillers
VS Brandy
Medium dark amber color. Yeasty aromas and flavors of soda bread dough, spiced plum-banana compote, grape gum, and wet tea leaves with a silky, soft, dry body and a tingling, quick chocolate prune and fine saw dust finish. A serviceable brandy for mixing.
85 points $9.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217570
Barking Irons
Applejack
Clear golden amber color. Funky, toasty aromas and flavors of caramelized peaches and apples, spiced almond praline, lilac and lily, and pastry with a lightly tannic, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, stimulating, medium-length spiced pecans and trail mix, pencil shavings, tobacco, and pepper finish. A warming apple brandy with a hefty dose of oak that gives a whiskey-like impression.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217492
Sol de Ibiza
Sangria
Dull ruby color. Spicy, fruity aromas and flavors of spiced cherries and berries, baked plum, and hint of rice cake with a lightly tannic, shy, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, quick clove and cinnamon, apple skin, and chalk finish. A pleasant, easy-drinking sangria; serve on the rocks.
84 points $14.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216210
Cadée
No4 Vodka
Clear color. Curious aromas and flavors of frosted pastry, flaxseed and cucumber skin, hot ironed hair, and hint of melted plastic with a silky, soft, dryish light-to-medium body and a dental rubber, granola in sweet cream, and minerals finish. A curious mixing vodka with some stray phenolics.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217810
E&J Distillers
Apple Brandy
Bright golden amber color. Confected aromas of apple candy, apple pie filling, and caramelized nuts with a lightly tannic, bright, sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, brisk watermelon jolly rancher, hint of spiced nuts, and pepper finish. A serviceable flavored brandy for cocktails.
83 points $12.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217368
Emperador
Light Brandy
Clear golden amber color. Yeasty aromas and flavors of raisin bread dough, nut skin and oil, and brown sugar with a silky, soft, fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, brisk caramel cream, honeyed dried fruits, touch of pepper and honeydew, and balsa finish. A nice fruity sweet brandy that will mix well.
83 points $15.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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