Spirited Reviews September 2015

Words by Simon Difford

The following are new products we've received and other products reviewed during September 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]

Disaronno Riserva liqueur
This relatively dry blend of amaretto and Scotch malt whisky is somewhat reminiscent of a Rusty Nail with clove, honey, vanilla, toasted almond, marzipan, dried fruit and whisky.

diffordsguide rating 5/5 [exceptional]

Aultmore 18 Year Old Speyside single malt Scotch whisky
Big, rich, fruity and malty. Pear, green apple, pear drops, and vanilla custard with salty notes.

Copperhead London Dry Gin
Distilled with a mere five botanicals this is a classically styled dry gin with distinctive cardamom notes.

Royal Brackla 12 Year Old Highland single malt Scotch whisky
Beautifully balanced and characterful. Honeyed sherry, vanilla, passionfruit and marmalade with faintly smoky oak.

Royal Brackla 21 Year Old
A big malt with rich sherry and dry oak tannins harmonised by waxy mouthfeel with herbal complexity.

diffordsguide rating 4.5/5 [excellent]

Guadagnata Rossa Doppio Malto
A full-bodied, heavy, bready ale balanced by freshening pine hop bitterness and mild black pepper spice.

Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition blended Irish whiskey
Irish whiskey and stout are often consumed alongside each other. They are a great match. So it's perhaps not surprising that finishing whiskey in stout seasoned casks produces a slightly sweet, wonderfully rounded whiskey with distinctive chocolaty notes.

Royal Salute The Eternal Reserve blended Scotch whisky
Starts rich and honeyed but ends dry and toasty with notes of coal dust and along the journey delivers zesty orange, liquorice and lavender but needs a splash of water to properly reveal itself.

Royal Brackla 16 Year Old Highland single malt Scotch whisky
Dry oaky tannins and sherry dominate with orange marmalade and dried apricot.

Gin Lane 1751 London Dry Royal Strength Gin
A classic London dry gin. Juniper forward with nuts, citrus and liquorice.

Giffard Egg White Sugar Syrup
When used in a sour cocktail the result is very comparable to that of fresh egg white and sugar syrup with the white head achieved by dry shaking impossible to differentiate in both looks and longevity. The flavour of the cocktail is also very similar although we found the drink produced using the Giffard Egg White syrup had noticeably thinner mouthfeel. Perfect for high volume bars or consumers who like whiskey or pisco sours.

Mister Katz's Rock & Rye
Rich and honeyed with layers of zesty citrus fruit over underlying spicy rye whisky with caramel, maple syrup, vanilla and apricot.

Chateaux Bordeneuve Blanche au Citron
We love proper unadulterated armagnac so we approached this unaged citrus infused contemporary 'armagnac' with trepidation. However, we love its citrus zestiness, sweet and spice balance and underlying bready notes.

Baron de Sigognac XO Platinum Armagnac
A zesty orange Jaffa Cake and floral honeysuckle blossom nose leads to big, full-bodied palate which fades with earthy dry oak, apricot marmalade and black pepper.

diffordsguide rating 4/5 [recommended]

Bacardi Carta Fuego
Fuego, means fire in Spanish. Carta Fuego is spicy rather than fiery with light honey sweetness, caramel and vanilla mellowing cinnamon, nutmeg and cracked black pepper. Consider adding hot pepper sauce if you want fire.

Thomas Dakin Gin
Very dry and intensely flavoured with assertive peppery spice and heat. Almost a spiced gin.

Arbikie Highland Estate Kirsty's Gin
Pronounced piney juniper with black pepper spice and refreshing cucumber.

The Wild Geese Irish Honey Liqueur
Honey, bubblegum, candyfloss, muscovado and vanilla. What's not to like? It's also sweet, lightly syrupy and while it is labelled honey, honey it is arguably not the lead flavour. Although we like this liqueur, we're not sure how Irish it actually is.

Absolut Peppar Vodka
Vegetal, Jalapeno chile pepper, black pepper and paprika with green olives. Vegetal Jalapeno character rather than straight peppery heat.

Krupnik Original Wisniowy liqueur
Spiced rich Morello cherry boiled sweets (hard candy) with floral rose notes. Some might say a tad too rich and cough medicine-like.

Viti Icelandic Aquavite
A grain to glass caraway forward aquavite with an underlying bready base, powerful spice and herbal complexity. Powerful enough for the Viking illustrated on the label.

Brooklyn American Ale
A very refreshing ale with zesty grapefruit and moderate
pine bitterness balancing caramel and bready malt with light floral notes.

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