Spirited Reviews July 2015
Words by Simon Difford
The following are new products we've received and other products reviewed during July 2015. Products are listed according to the diffordsguide rating awarded to them. Please click on product names for tasting notes and further information.
diffordsguide rating 5+/5 [outstanding]
1769 Distillery Bourbon Barrel Aged No.1 Medium Pure Maple Syrup
Far more complex than unaged maple syrup with raison fruit, vanilla and caramel.
diffordsguide rating 5/5 [exceptional]
Ketel 1 Matuur Gerijpte Jenever
Dry oak, malty cereal, cinnamon and cracked black pepper spice characterise this very sippable 'mature' jenever.
Green Spot Château Léoville Barton single pot still Irish whiskey
Orchard fruit, light spice and vanilla with dry wine and light Christmassy spice.
Suze Orange Bitters
Pronounced orange zestiness with orange blossom. More bitter in style than many other orange bitters.
diffordsguide rating 4.5/5 [excellent]
Scapa Skiren Orkney single malt Scotch whisky
Beautifully balanced bready, fruity and salty with subtle spice and faint seaweed.
Caledonian Deuchars IPA
Citrusy hop led but delicately so with underlying toasty malt and faint floral notes.
Juniper and coriander dominate with zesty citrus and a pleasing creamy nuttiness.
The West Winds The Sabre Gin
Very citrusy with generous coriander seeds over a classic London dry piney juniper base, with lemon meringue pie, cardamom and cracked black pepper.
Suze Aromatic Bitters
Many will use these bitters in drinks that traditionally call for Angostura, this aromatic bitters from Suze has more pronounced gentian rooty bitterness.
Suze Red Aromatic Bitters
The colour and style of these red aromatic bitters cries out for use in a Sazerac. Indeed they work well, leaving a distinct long lingering bitter gentian finish so you may want to use more sparingly than say Peychard's.
Old Krupnik Liqueur
With its complex spice, this honey liqueur is best appreciated served neat, slightly warmed, preferably in a balloon glass.
diffordsguide rating 4/5 [recommended]
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA
Don't be put off by the mainstream branding, this is a good full-bodied IPA with complex bitter hop character but also overly heavy caramel sweetness.
Islay Ales Finlaggan Ale
Bittersweet and fruity with something of a dungy note (in a good way).
Santamania Vodka La Virgen Cerveza Pura
Distilled from beer with hops rather than the more usual neutral spirit, this vodka is characterful and robust with grainy character and white chocolate, aniseed and salty seaweed.
Santamania Premium London Dry Gin
A heavily spiced brawny gin with black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander and rosemary. Although a 'London dry gin' Santamanía is distinctly Mediterranean in style.
Krupnik Premium Vodka
Clean and characterful with muscular cracked black pepper spice. Faint charcoal and nutty notes.
Lazzaroni Amaretto liqueur
Sweeter than some other amarettos with caramel and chocolate.
Clean with grainy character and black pepper spice. Great value for money.
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Midway positioned on the ginger beer spice scale with citrus acidity balancing light sweetness.
diffordsguide rating 3.5/5 [commended]
Faversham Steam Brewery Whitstable Bay Blond Premium Lager
Brewed by Shepherd Neame this blond is stereotypically dumb, being presented in a clear bottle. However, while a tad on the bland side it is clean with flavours of crusty white baguette, lemon and mild piney bitterness.
Blind Pig Whiskey, Honey and Apple flavoured cider
Honey, green apple and citrus. Whiskey notes are subdued to say the least.
Wild Elderflower Spritz with perry and a dash of gin
Well-balanced with light elderflower and grape this pre-mixed single serve elderflower spritz is certainly a crowd pleaser. However it's a tad bland, restrained rather than 'wild'.
diffordsguide rating 3/5 [mediocre]
Blind Pig Rum and Poached Pear flavoured cider
Sweet and fruity with blackcurrant notes perhaps as pronounced as pear.
Blind Pig Bourbon and Blueberry flavoured cider
Fruity and lightly sweet with citric acidity. Blueberry boiled sweets (hard candy), green apple and maple syrup.