Spirited Reviews October 2015

Words by Simon Difford

Spirited Reviews October 2015 image 1

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

Romate Regente Palo Cortado Sherry
Fino freshness meets nutty oloroso.

Bepi Tosolini Expre 'Al Caffè' Coffee Liqueur
Dry espresso with more burnt-bitterness and without the sweet chocolate notes of lesser 'easier' coffee liqueurs.

Sipsmith Raffles 1915 Gin
Juniper-led with zesty citrus - particularly lime, complex mixed spices and a rounding nuttiness.

Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin
Full-flavoured, superbly clean and well-integrated botanical complexity. Siegfried Rheinland is juniper led and dry, yet has a note of modernity with subtle floral notes throughout.

Domus Ruché Grappa DOCG
Oily mouthfeel with brown bread and roasted almond. This superb varietal grappa brilliantly conveys the subtle rose character of the rare Ruché grape.

Liquore Strega Giuseppe Alberti
A complex herbal liqueur with fresh breath minty menthol, génépi, vanilla, honey and pine.

City of London No.2 Christopher Wren Gin
Sir Christopher Michael Wren is one of England's most highly acclaimed architects while Tom Nichol is one of England's most experienced and highly acclaimed gin distillers. These two great names come together in a great gin, a classically styled London Dry distilled in the heart of the City of London with underlying liquorice sweetness and enlivening orange zestiness.

Clynelish Select Reserve
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

Port Ellen 32 year old Distilled 1983
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

Dailuaine 34 year old Distilled 1980
One of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

Caol Ila 17 year old Distilled 1997
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

Brora 37 year old Distilled 1977
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

diffordsguide rating 5/5 [exceptional]

Midwestern Dry Gin
Simple, superbly clean, well-structured, juniper led and very classically London dry in style. Even at its generous 46.1% strength peppery spice notes are mellow. Tom Nichol may have retied but he's still making great gin.

Reserve de Martell Chateau de Chanteloup Borderies Cognac
Dry, full-bodied nutty and fruity with pronounced hazelnut, stone fruit, drying cedarwood, cinnamon and nutmeg spice.

Tanqueray Bloomsbury London Dry Gin
The parting expression by Master Distiller Tom Nichol prior to his retirement, Piney, rooty and spicy, this is a big gin.

Pococello Limoncello Liqueur
A well-balanced limoncello with generous fresh sharp and zesty lemon oils.

The Cally 40 year old Distilled 1974
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

Pittyvaich 25 year old Distilled 1989
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

diffordsguide rating 4.5/5 [excellent]

Bepi Tosolini Saliza Amaretto Veneziano liqueur
Dry toasty and subtle zesty citrus notes help balance sweetness while adding a complexity not found in lesser amarettos.

Colonsay Brewery IPA
This Hebridean IPA is hop led but not overly so, with citrusy, piney and grassy hop flavours. It is hoppy but is far from being a hop monster.

Glenmorangie A Midwinter Night's Dram
Rich, honeyed and spicy. Spicy notes are assertive and warming yet this is an easy drinking malt that's well suited to the occasion suggested by its name.

Arbikie Highland Estate Potato Vodka
Full-flavoured and nutty with distinctive potato character and assertive cracked black pepper.

Saint James Cuvée 1765 Rhum Vieux Agricole
This agricole rum's long maturation has muted some of its fresh cane juice notes with elegant dry woody tannins and dried fruit dominating. Consequently it may appeal more to armagnac drinkers than those seeking a delicately sweet aged rum.

Old Dairy Summer Top Refreshing Ale
This light-bodied golden ale is perfectly suited to being enjoyed well-chilled on a hot summer's afternoon with pronounced floral notes along with grassy and citrusy flavours.

Luxardo Angioletto Hazelnut Liqueur
Nutty hazelnut and almond with buttery toasty biscuit.

Dalwhinnie 25 year old Distilled 1989
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

Lagavulin 12 year old
Part of Diageo's 2015 Special Releases

diffordsguide rating 4/5 [recommended]

The Colonsay Brewery 80/- Classic Scots Ale
Dark brown, almost black in appearance this 80/- Scots ale has burnt toast heavily roasted barley aromas and flavours with light chocolate, coffee and chicory notes.

Ron de Jeremy XO rum
Full-bodied and rich (perhaps a tad too rich to be just from the oak), yet dried by burnt notes of blackened fruitcake, molasses, espresso coffee and black pepper spice with passion fruit and desiccated coconut.

Scottish Leader Supreme blended Scotch whisky
Malty, toffee, buttery fudge and vanilla with light spice and faint smokiness.

Scottish Leader Signature blended Scotch whisky
Rich and honeyed with bonfire smoke, spice and chocolaty toffee.

Kinahan's Blended Irish Whiskey
Nutty, buttery vanilla fudge with praline, chocolate and light spice.

Curious Apple with Rubens
Light bodied, superbly clean, aromatic and dry cider.

Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirit
My love of alcohol may make me bias, obviously it would be so much better with some ethanol. However, Seedlip and tonic (with a lot less than I'd pour if gin) is surprisingly palatable and certainly preferable to the likes of alcohol free lager when the one holding the car keys.

diffordsguide rating 3.5/5 [commended]

Scottish Leader Original blended Scotch whisky
Malty, toffee, buttery fudge and vanilla with light spice and faint smokiness.

iSake Mini junmai sake
It's considered rude to pour your own sake but we guess pouring yourself a glass from this bite-sized bottle is excepted. The sake itself is dry with yeasty bready notes.

Colonsay Brewery Pig's Paradise Blond
A blond ale with crusty white baguette, caramel, honeysuckle and honey flavours with cleansing hop bitterness.

The Pogues Irish Whiskey
Young whiskey with buttery toasty oak, vanilla, bitter tannins and apple fruit.

Loopuyt 1772 Dry Gin
Juniper is comparatively subdued in this "New Western" styled gin which is led by zesty orange and grapefruit with potent cardamom, coriander and black pepper spice.

diffordsguide rating 3/5 [mediocre]

älska Nordic Berries Fruit Cider
This "berry bomb" of a 'cider' is slightly sweet and very fruity.

Old Mout Pomegranate & Strawberry Cider
Lightly sweet and very fruity with strong berry flavours. This 'cider' is sure to please many younger consumers but will equally offend some older cider enthusiasts.

Gibbet Oak Tenterden Cider
A natural, small family farm produced dry apple cider that is sadly somewhat bland.

Click here products reviewed in September 2015

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