Spirited Reviews March 2016
Words by Simon Difford
The following are new products we've received and other products reviewed during March 2016. Products are listed according to the Difford’s Guide rating awarded to them. Please click on product names for tasting notes and further information.
Difford's Guide rating 5+/5 [outstanding]
Rutte Old Simon Genever
Delightfully soft and bready with nutty angelica root, pine needle freshness and underlying herbal complexity.
Rutte Celery Dry Gin
This superbly refreshing gin has a lemon meringue creamy freshness with generous piney juniper and luscious flat leaf parsley, coriander and celery.
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Dry, toasty and spicy with nuttiness, pencil shaving oak, rich maple, chargrilled sweetcorn and vanilla.
Bepi Tosolini Limoncello
Intense zesty lemon softened by well-balanced sherbet sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel.
Difford's Guide rating 5/5 [exceptional]
Rutte Dry Gin
A classically juniper forward styled dry gin with a wonderfully fresh character and underlying nuttiness.
The Arran 18 Year Old Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Well-balanced, full-bodied and generous with toasty malt and dry spicy oak balanced by a sweet creaminess with notes of dark chocolate, brioche, pear tart. With a splash of water delicate lavender and orange fondant creams are revealed.
Cruzeiro Do Sul Moscatel Barrel Aged Gin Sul
An exceptionally good and characterful example of an aged gin with pronounced fruitiness (dried pineapple, zest lemon and Fruit Salad chews), dry oak, cream-of-soda vanilla and black pepper spice.
Gin Sul Dry Gin
Pine needles, pungent lemon zestiness, floral notes and delicate aromatic rosemary characterise this superbly clean, Portuguese influenced dry gin from Hamburg, Germany.
Theakston Old Peculier
Full-bodied, dark and strong with a creamy mouthfeel. Old Peculier has a toasty malty character with notes of coffee, chocolate and caramel. It's a hearty meal of a beer.
Bernheim Original 7 Year Old Small Batch Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey
Toasty sweet maple, charcoal and vanilla. Rich corn notes are balanced by dry toasty woody spice (nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper).
John E. Fitzgerald Larceny Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Full-bodied, lightly spicy, toasty and characterful with a natural sweetness that makes this whiskey very quaffable, to the extent that its best enjoyed neat.
Elijah Craig Small Bach Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Full-bodied and characterful with toasty oak, crème anglaise, enlivening black pepper and cinnamon spice.
Difford's Guide rating 4.5/5 [excellent]
Cana Brava Reserva Añeja 7 Year Rum
Comparatively dry and faintly bitter with light honeyed sweetness and eucalyptus, crushed mint freshness.
Aviation American Gin
Traditionalists who like their gin to be predominantly juniper may be disappointed by the very subtle juniper notes in this "New Western" style gin. However, this gin is not trying to appeal to traditionalists, it is designed have its own distinctive style. As the name suggests it also works well in an Aviation.
Silent Pool Gin
Tree bark and rooty bitterness, piney juniper with kaffir lime influenced citrus zestiness, enlivening black pepper spice and distinctive lavender. For many, kaffir lime will over dominate, and the two dozen botanicals which flavour this gin perhaps lack integration. However, Silent Pool Gin is characterful and distinctive, offering flavours not found in more subdued gins. Fabulous packaging.
Rutte 100% Grain Vodka
Superbly clean with faint lemony citrus and bready character.
There's nothing neutral about this very characterful vodka with its pronounced toasty rye bread, creamy chocolate and roasted nut notes.
Caledonian Coast to Coast Pale Ale
Well-balanced, bready, floral, fruity and zesty with moderately bitter piney hops and light white pepper. A rounded and characterful American-style pale ale.
Evan Williams Extra Aged Black Label Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Buttery and leathery with brown sugar, delicately smoky charcoal and light enlivening spice. At 43% alc./vol., Evan Williams Black Label is a good value for money bourbon.
Rittenhouse Bottled-In-Bond Straight Rye Whisky
Something of a reference for how rye whiskey should be. Full-bodied and spicy with ginger, cherry, faint dark chocolate a floral touch of parma violet.
Matusalem Gran Reserva 23 Solera Dominican Republic Rum
A reassuringly dry sipping rum. Well integrated flavours of chocolate, vanilla, crème caramel and coffee, with cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper.
Matusalem Gran Reserva Solera 15 Dominican Republic Rum
Vanilla, butterscotch, creamy chocolate, butterscotch and coffee enlivened by cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper spice.
Difford's Guide rating 4/5 [recommended]
Edinburgh Beer Factory Paolozzi Lager
The "lager re-born" statement on the label is perhaps a tad overstated, but this beer is indeed tasty compared many a bland lager with an attractive bready maltiness and grassy hops. That label is also rather slick and helps this lager standout.
Absenteroux Vermouth a l'Absinthe
To be termed a 'vermouth' requires a product to contain some wormwood. As this vermouth's name suggests it contains generous quantities of Artemisia absinthium and so has pronounced bitterness.
Wonderfully raw and expressive rather than refined, with intense grassy and fruity esters.
Evan Williams 1783 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Woody, nutty and spicy with macaroon, vanilla fudge, maple and chicory.
Mellow Corn Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey
As the name suggests this whiskey not only has a very high percentage of corn in its mash bill, it also has a distinctly buttery chargrilled corn flavour with an enlivening black pepper and cinnamon spice.
Georgia Moon American Corn Whiskey
Bready cereal character with distinct sweetcorn flavours and light white pepper spice.
Heaven Hill Old Style (White Label) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
A value for money bourbon with good character. Leathery oak, zesty orange and overripe banana with cinnamon, black pepper spice and crème brûlée.
Matusalem Clasico Solera 10 Dominican Republic Rum
Lightly spicy - cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper, with milky chocolate, vanilla, crème caramel, crème brûlée, café latte and a touch of espresso.
BemBom Premium Cut Cachaça
Drier, than many other cachaças. BemBom has flavours of buttery oak, died grass, cinnamon, black pepper and overripe banana.
Difford's Guide rating 3.5/5 [commended]
Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve Kentucky Liqueur
Sweet cinnamon spiced liqueur with some bourbon character.
Evan Williams Honey
Perhaps more citrusy and orange curacao-like than "honey", Evan Williams Honey is sweet but not cloyingly so, with ginger, clove, cinnamon and black pepper spice.