Spirited Reviews November 2015

Words by Simon Difford

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

Richard Delisle Club Cigar XO Premier Grand Cru Grande Champagne Cognac
A rich fruity palate with chocolate, tobacco and elegant spice leads to a dry tobacco and chocolate finish with orange and cinnamon.

diffordsguide rating 5/5 [exceptional]

Bepi Tosolini Agricola Grappa Friulana
Peppery spice from the high alcohol strength perfectly balances sweet red berry-like grape notes.

Bepi Tosolini Grappa di Moscato
Attractive honeysuckle and parma violet floral notes with red grape fruitiness and cleansing black pepper spice.

Square Mile London Dry Gin No.5
A well-balanced, very classically styled, premium strength London dry gin with an attractive freshness and very mild peppery spice despite the high alc./vol..

Richard Delisle Collection Prestige XO Grande Champagne Cognac
Tropical fruit, particularly mango heavily influences the well-integrated nose and palate. The finish turns drier with blackened fruitcake and light spice.

diffordsguide rating 4.5/5 [excellent]

Bepi Tosolini Grappa Prosecco Vitigno Classico
Attractive white flower blossom aromas lead to an orchard fruit palate with almond pastry notes.

Bepi Tosolini Grappa di Merlot
Raspberry-like merlot notes shine in this single varietal grappa which has attractive raw pastry and faint green apple notes.

Antica Ricetta Amaro Tosolini Liquore d'Erbe
Full-bodied and just on the bitter side of bittersweet with warming spice and freshening zesty citrus.

Rémy Martin Napoléon 1738 Accord Royal Cognac
Rich, robust and spicy with almonds, cigar box, butterscotch, cinnamon, tobacco, fruitcake, dried fruit, toasted almond, chocolate and ginger cake.

ShortCross Gin
This Irish gin is well-balanced and integrated with distinctive nutty and floral notes over a traditional juniper-led dry gin base.

Poetic Licence Graceful Vodka
This vodka from Sunderland, England is superbly clean with an attractive soft mouthfeel and faint nutty and white bread flavours.

Old Pulteney 1989 (bottled 2015) Highland single malt Scotch whisky
The second peated whisky from Pulteney Distillery, this is lightly smoky with pear drops, cracked black pepper spice, dried apple, cinnamon, peach skin and liquorice.

Richard Delisle VS Cognac
A relatively dry, quality VS cognac with crème brûlée, ginger bread, prunes, tobacco leaf, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Richard Delisle VSOP Cognac
Burnt fruit cake with tobacco leaf toasted almond, honey and cinnamon spice.

The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask Speyside single malt whisky
A rich, medium-bodied malt with fruit, toffee fudge and coconut balancing nutmeg and cinnamon spiced dry oak.

Bán Poitín
Whisky drinkers could mistake this bready spirit for 'new make' but Bán Poitín is distilled with potato, malted barley and sugar beet rather than just malted barley, perhaps adding to its complexity and faint bitter sweetness. Its high alc./vol. is well disguised. This 2015 released Bán Poitín is a massive step up from the original 52.7% version produced in Cork which had wet dog-like aromas with flavours of dry cider and grassy rhum agricole.

diffordsguide rating 4/5 [recommended]

Piccini 1882 Vino Spumante
Piccini 1882 perhaps lacks some finesse and complexity but is a good dry sparkling wine that represents excellent value for money and is widely available in British supermarkets.

Cockney's Gin
Pronounced black pepper spice with pink grapefruit, lime and mandarin orange zest sit over a traditional base of juniper, coriander and angelica root.

Poetic License Northern Dry Gin
Originating in Sunderland this dry gin is certainly northern as far as England is concerned. It is also clean and well-made with fresh and almost sherbet character. Made distinctive due to lime zest, coriander and cardamom but over a classic juniper led base.

Kinahan's 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Fruity and nutty with red apple, mocha coffee, tobacco and good maltiness.

Port Dundas 12 Year Old single grain scotch whisky
This rare grain whisky from a dead distillery is dry and nutty with sandalwood, wood varnish, window putty and Madeira wine.

Port Dundas 18 Year Old single grain scotch whisky
This rare grain whisky is dry and nutty with Weetabix, oat cakes and vanilla.

Chilgrove Vodka
A clean and fairly neutral vodka with black peppery spice. Perhaps lacking a distinctive character.

diffordsguide rating 3.5/5 [commended]

Ojo de Agua Dry Gin
Distilled in Switzerland, this gin is designed to have an Argentinan character with Latin American botanicals including rosemary, which along with lavender dominates. Ojo de Agua has some interesting flavours but they are far too exuberant producing a "gin" that lacks harmony and subtlety.

diffordsguide rating 3/5 [mediocre]

Poetic License Old Tom Gin
Dry wood tannins from cask aging dominate this spicy old tom, masking subtle notes from botanicals such as rose. Perhaps too long in cask.

Click here products reviewed in October 2015

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