Spirited Reviews October 2016

  • Spirited Reviews October 2016 image 1

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The following are new products we've received and other products reviewed during October 2016. Products are listed according to their Difford’s Guide rating.

Please click on product names for full tasting notes and further information.

Difford's Guide rating 5+/5 [outstanding]

Plantation Panama Single Cask 8 Year Old Red Pineau Finished Rum, Gerry's 5th Limited Edition
Light peppery spice, nutmeg and mild clove cut through and balances sweet buttery toffee, vanilla fudge, overripe banana and roasted pineapple.

Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Cognac
Richer and more intense than regular Martell Cordon Bleu with wonderful floral parma violet notes. Be sure to buy a bottle of 'Extra' when you come across it in duty free as it represents incredible value for such an outstanding cognac.

Cherry Rocher Liqueur
Fabulously intense fresh cherry with rich honeyed sweetness enlivened with mild black pepper spice.

Difford's Guide rating 5/5 [exceptional]

Penny Blue VSOP Mauritian Rum
Dry and woody, yet rich with enlivening spice. This is a true, honest and characterful rum for real rum drinkers.

Rhum Clément Canne Bleue NV Rhum Agricole
Powerful and wonderfully clean, this white agricole rum has a grassy aroma and flavour with very faint floral notes.

Chivas Ultis Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Although this is a vatted malt rather than Chivas Regal's more usual blends with grain whisky, Ultis is recognisably in Chivas Regal's house style with rich honeyed sweet maltiness and vanilla fudge. This is balanced by generous spice with a pleasing underlying fruitiness. Suitably regal packaging completes the offering and helps justify the £180 RRP launch price.

Camden Oktober Fest
A slightly fuller-bodied version of Camden's Hells, Oktober Fest is attractively nutty with mild grassy and floral hops.

Martell Cordon Bleu Intense Heat Cask Finish Limited Edition Cognac
More robust and nuttier than the regular Cordon Bleu bottling, Intense Heat will particularly appeal to cigar smokers as well as armagnac drinkers. For the avoidance of possible confusion, the "Intense Heat" name refers to the extra char a prolonged toasting period gives the casks this cognac is finished in, rather than implying it is especially spicy.

Difford's Guide rating 4.5/5 [excellent]

Longmorn 23 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Firstly you'll be struck by the very stylish packaging. A deep purple lacquered wooden gift box conceals an equally classy decanter-style bottle with an impressive machined turned stainless steel neck. The whisky inside is honeyed with vanilla fudge, ripe pear and milk chocolate, invigorated with cracked black pepper spice. This is a 4.5/5 going 5/5 whisky presented in 5+ packaging. Would make a fabulous gift.

Benromach Hermitage 2007 Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
A big robust malt with dry spicy oak, mild peat smoke, cinnamon and white pepper spice tamed and made more interesting by creamy milk chocolate, vinous fruit and vanilla.

Purity and Westons Pure Hopped Cider
A cider for IPA beer drinkers - dry and citrusy tart apple with faint notes of pear. Refreshingly different.

Texas Legation Batch No. 1, Texas Bourbon Whiskey
Berry Bros. & Rudd, describe this whiskey as being a "young, bold bourbon" - a very accurate summary. It may lack subtlety but its youthful woody exuberance is presented with appealing new leather, vanilla fudge and toasted pecan.

Jim Beam Double Oak Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Wow this bourbon is sweet. So sweet that it's hard to believe it has no added sugar, but we are reassured by the "straight bourbon" labelling. That sweetness makes this all too quaffable neat. Imagine blending this with a drier more 'serious' bourbon. Perhaps buy a bottle and experiment blending with a bottle or two of other bourbons yourself. I'd also suggest throwing in some rye.

Difford's Guide rating 4/5 [recommended]

1800 Coconut Tequila
Chocolaty caramel, chocolate sponge cake roasted agave notes combine well with desiccated coconut. Lightly sweetened and spicy.

Scapa Glansa 'The Orcadian' Peated Whisky Cask Finished Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Creamy, fruity and smoky with attractive ripe peach and bready malt.

English Drinks Company Cucumber Gin
A clean crisp juniper forward gin with pungent cucumber aroma. Cucumber sits well with the other botanicals on both the nose and palate but is less attractive in the long finish.

Island Records' Session IPA
Fruity - citrus and tropical, with assertive hop flavour and bitterness - perhaps a little too assertive for some.

Island Records Jamaica Porter
A powerful porter with intense flavours. Pleasing liquorice and vanilla.

FourPure Session IPA
A hop forward, session strength (4.2% alc./vol.) American style IPA. Fairly bitter with assertive resinous piney hops and pronounced orange and grapefruit zest.

Difford's Guide rating 3.5/5 [commended]

Rhum Clément Mahina Coco Liqueur
Rich, sweet desiccated coconut with faint grassy rum notes. This low alc./vol. liqueur is on the sweet side of being balanced but is superbly clean.

Odyssey Red Rhapsody
Sweet yeasty brown bread, caramel and nutty cider-like flavours.

Products reviewed in September 2016

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