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Sa mai bem un paharel/sa ne veselim nitel

Discussion in 'SEZATOARE' started by dromaderu, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Pyrat Rum XO Reserve -bravo-



    '' Pyrat Rum is owned by Patrón Spirits, a company created in 1989 by John Paul DeJoria, and Martin Crowley. The company does not own a distillery, rather they act as a third-party company sourcing what they believe to be the best stocks for their products and blending them according to their own formulas. There is always a bit of secrecy surrounding these private blends, but perhaps I can shed a little light on the production of Pyrat Rum XO Reserve.

    When the brand was created (about 1997), the rum was produced by the Anguilla Rums Company from those previously mention rums stocks which were sourced from various Caribbean distilleries. More recently however production has been moved to Guyana, South America. When I was in Guyana last April, I was given a tour of the Diamond Bottling Plant owned by Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL). During this tour, I was told that Pyrat Rum had just installed their own private bottling line within the Diamond plant. Pyrat XO Rum, I learned, is primarily a Demerara rum blended and bottled in Guyana from a blend of 2-year-old Demerara stocks and other stocks sourced from various Caribbean producers.


    I was able to witness the Pyrat Rum bottling line in operation during my tour of the Diamond plant while Pyrat Rum XO Reserve was being processed. I was told that a portion of the Pyrat blend is produced on Demerara Distillers’ High Ester Still, which is a functioning John Dore Still which is capable of producing intense flavours within the distillate. If you have sampled Pyrat Rum previously, you have probably noticed a very different flavour profile.

    As fortune would have it, about nine months later, I was given an opportunity to meet Burt Stewart, the VP of Sales for the Patron Spirits Company at Aligra Wine and Spirits here in Edmonton, Alberta. Mr. Stewart was in town to promote his new Vodka, Ultimat; but he was not averse to talking to me about rum. Of course, the rum I wanted to speak about was Patron’s very own Pyrat Rum. He confirmed the information given me in Guyana, and added that the oldest rum in the Pyrat Rum XO blend is 15 years old, and added that all of the XO rum is aged in a combination of American Oak and French Limousine oak casks. Of course, I asked Mr. Stewart about the unique flavour of the rum and whether he could confirm that the John Dore Still at Demerara Distillers was responsible, or whether the flavour was arrived at by other means.

    Mr Stewart was remarkably forthcoming, and said he would be happy to tell me the complete story of the Pyrat Rum’s unique flavour. There was a catch; unfortunately he would have to kill me afterwards. (The price of trade secrets is high.) I wisely declined his offer, and instead accepted a bottle of Pyrat Rum XO Reserve for the purposes of this review. (The bottle was provided through Select Wines and Spirits who are the local distributors of Patron Products.)


    In the Bottle 4.5/5

    I like the bottle which houses the Pyrat Rum. It is a handcrafted bottle apparently designed to be similar in style to the original rum decanters which were used hundreds of years ago by Sea Captains and Pirates. The short stubby bottle with its wide base looks like a rum bottle fit for the ocean traveler as bottles such as these are less likely to be tipped over on the Captain’s table while the ship is rocked by the rolling seas.

    The bottle also features an orange ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle and a pewter medallion featuring Hoti who is identified on the Pyrat Rum website as the Patron Saint of Bartenders and a symbol of the spirit of enlightenment. I guess I am a little perplexed by this symbology. Pirates and sea Captains, that works for me. But the Hoti symbol is rather confusing especially identified as the Patron Saint of Bartenders. The Pyrat XO bottle isn’t really a bartender friendly bottle. In my way of thinking, short stubby bottles such as these are more like ‘anti-bartender’ bottles. They take the space of two bottles on the bar shelf; and are rather cumbersome to grab off the shelf and pour quickly and efficiently. And that orange ribbon would be just plain annoying for the bartender. By the way, I understand the orange ribbon is probably a visual clue to the unusual orange flavour the rum possesses, but perhaps some orange colour in the topper would work better in the bar setting.

    But I am really just quibbling. The stout chubby bottle works for me (I am not a bartender), and the Hoti medallion and the annoying orange ribbon were easily disposed of.

    (Note: My bottle clearly states on the back label, “Product of Guyana”. As indicated above, this is primarily a Guyanese blend, although portions of the blend are sourced from other Caribbean producers.)


    In the Glass 8/10

    The Pyrat XO rum is as a yellowish orange amber colour which shows me a myriad of legs when I tilt and twirl my glass. The initial nose brings forward a candied orange/tangerine scent which immediately reminds me of Grand Marnier. The rum smells rather sweet and the nose has a light wine-like quality. Impressions of green grapes seem to be underneath which is probably why I am connecting this with Grand Marnier (which has a brandy base) rather than triple sec or orange Curacao. Further nosing of the rum brings reminders of lemons, butterscotch, and something spicy like cinnamon and cloves. The overall aroma is pleasing, although there is perhaps a light astringency that also enters those breezes above the glass.


    In the Mouth 51/60

    The rum follows an interesting path though my mouth as the first indication upon my palate is a brown sugary sweetness which quickly gives way to orange zest and impressions of tobacco. This is much more rum-like than the nose would indicate, although that unmistakable current of orange liqueur still permeates the experience. There is an underlying heaviness to the rum which is in part at least linked to the sweetness; but which also seems to be a function of the underlying Guyanese Rum. Flavours of cinnamon, apricots, and hints of lemon round out the taste profile which is unique, (and for me anyway), quite appealing. If orange liqueurs like triple sec or Grand Marnier are not to your liking, you may disagree strongly with my assessment.


    In the Throat 12.5/15

    The rum is not as smooth as I remember the old Anguilla based rum being. Flavours of orange zest are lightly sharp in the exit, and the 2-year-old Demerara rum which makes up part of the construction gives the throat and tonsils a bit of a whack as the rum goes down. However, these same qualities give the rum a zesty liveliness which is not unwelcome in a spirit which I would describe as lightly sweet. (I guess I am saying that I feel this bit of sharpness provides a counter-balance to the sweetness.)


    The Afterburn 8.5/10

    I like the Pyrat Rum XO Reserve more than the I liked the much older, much more expensive Pyrat Cask 1623 Rum. Although the XO Reserve is much younger, and brasher; it is also (in my opinion) much more rum-like despite the obvious orange/tangerine in the flavour profile. ''
     
  2. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Dupuy Extra Cognac -nu-ma-uit-


    O idee scump dar superb!!


    '' A sister cognac to the multi-award-winning Dupuy Hors d'Age, this Extra is a long-aged, impeccably-constructed cognac whose simple packaging belies the incredible sophistication and complexity of the bottles's contents.

    This hidden gem won 'Best in Class' at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) in 2009.

    Absolutely stunning! ''
     
  3. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Sipsmith Gin -bravo-



    '' The Sipsmith gin bottle is a rather spiffingly-presented, heavy-bottomed, round affair, with an elegant copper label depicting a stylized pot-still with a swan’s neck and head – reference to Prudence, the swan-necked copper-pot still that Sipsmith is distilled in.


    Prudence

    Prudence is the first still of its kind to be commissioned in London for 190 years and was hand-made by Germany’s oldest still-makers, Christian Carl. She lives in a small building in Hammersmith where she is lovingly tended by founders Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall, as well as Sipsmith’s master distiller, Jared Brown. The building is little bigger than a garage and was formerly the home of whisky and beer writer Michael Jackson and a micro-distillery supplying a local pub. The whole operation was only allowed to commence after a painful two-year quest to obtain the first new distiller’s license issued in 150 years.

    Sipsmith gin is a London dry gin but it doesn’t have any strange botanicals or unique selling points. Indeed its botanical list seems fairly run-of-the-mill.
    •Macedonian juniper berries
    •Bulgarian coriander seed
    •French angelica root
    •Spanish liquorice root
    •Italian orris root
    •Spanish ground almond
    •Chinese cassia bark
    •Madagascan cinnamon
    •Sevillian orange peel
    •Spanish lemon peel

    The only stand-out botanical is cinnamon, which given its similarity to cassia bark, seems to add little to the mix that isn’t already there – it seems like a very traditional gin recipe. Sipsmith touts the quality of its botanicals, but which gin brand doesn’t? The water however, is drawn from the source of the river Thames, the Lydwell Spring and it is rumoured that Sam sets off at 4am in order to collect water for a distillation run.


    The bottle top is sealed with green wax and unsealed with a black ribbon under the wax. The cork comes out with the satisfying faint squeak and a pop that all good whiskey bottles do.

    All of this detail is crowned with a batch number which can be used on the Sipsmith website to find out what was happening on the day of its creation: http://www.sipsmith.com/your-batch

    The whole experience pleased me greatly – it is the little details that make opening a bottle like this a pleasure, rather than a chore which one must dispense with before getting to the goods. However, presentation is worthless if the contents of the bottle do not measure up.


    Inhaling deeply from the bottle-top rewarded my nose with an incredibly clean scent of juniper and pine notes. The scent was clearly gin and it held what smelled like a fair payload of juniper. There was little to complicate it, no floral or spice notes, just clear, clean juniper. This first impression was only reinforced when I poured the Sipsmith into a clean glass.


    Sampled neat, Sipsmith gin rewards the mouth with more of the same; it is definitely a spirit, but there is only warmth, not harshness, in the mouth. The gin carries a medium-to-heavy juniper load, firmly placing it outside of the realms of the vodka-gin. It is super-smooth and while there are hints of citrus and spice, they are there very subtle and serve only to support the juniper, rather than distract from it.


    Adding a little water intensifies the experience again; more flavours are mobilised and some of the alcohol disappears into the background but, critically, the balance remains true with juniper being firmly to the fore.

    Well, so far so good; time to add the tonic water to see if the quality carries through to the main event.


    Initially, I used Schweppes; this is because I wanted to try it on a level playing field with the other gins I have tried of late. The bubbles from the tonic water liberated the same clean aroma from the gin as smelling it neat.

    Tasting the completed gin and tonic was certainly pleasing, it was smooth and very creamy – I hate terms like this as it reminds me of Jilly Goolden and her preposterous descriptions, but it really is creamy. The juniper is absolutely unrestrained by the tonic water but all of the astringency of the quinine and juniper disappear into a sweet creaminess. In fact, it needed the wedge of lime to add a little tartness to the drink, something that I have never experienced before – all too often the taste of lime just sits there wrestling for dominance with the flavours of the gin and tonic, but in this instance, it seemed to fill a lime-shaped hole in the taste, like it was waiting for it.


    Sipsmith gin makes a cracking G&T with the Schweppes but next up, I have to try it with Fever-Tree tonic water; this seems to be the god of tonic water and works superbly with a gin of strong character. Sipsmith gin should work very well. However, this will have to wait for another day as I have none at the moment – I need a shopping trip to gather more.


    Sipsmith gin and Fever-Tree tonic makes for an incredibly clean, crisp drink. It is the epitome of gin and tonic in my mind – it is clearly a juniper-based drink, with pine freshness and a biting astringency that doesn’t let you forget it is a G&T you are drinking. For the seeker of the traditional G&T with no frills or gimmicks, this is going to be a total winner. I like this a lot and have found myself a new favourite G&T. ''
     
  4. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Godet XO Fine Champagne Cognac -bravo-



    '' The house of Godet has been run by the family for 14 generations. It is a perfect example of a cognac house that deeply believes in the tradition of this spirit and its origins.

    A cognac of jasmin and violet notes, gives rise to power and complexity. Honey, prune and old leather are woven in the mouth. A cognac of freshness and subtlety, light rancio.


    The Godet XO Fine Champagne is a 25 to 35 years aged cognac, made from grapes from the Grande Champagne region.

    The appearance of the bottle, appeals to me, it looks great through its shape and metal ring!



    The tasting notes of Godet XO Fine Champagne are:


    The color: bright red-brown gold.

    The fragrance: full and soft, smells like an combination of Champagne Cognacs and a long matured Borderies by his flowery aromas of violets.

    The taste: slightly sharp flavor, yet very sophisticated and packed with flavors of leather, wood, a hot pepper, toasted bread, honey and some fruit. Funny thing is that Cognac taste like an Whisky in the first second.

    The after-taste: full and long in the mouth, after a few minutes, the taste of leather comes and stayes for a long time.

    The origin: Grande Champagne.

    The age: 25 to 35 years. Average of 30 years


    This Cognac has received in the past quite a number of awards for its quality:

    * Golden Medal of Selection Mondial-2002 Brussels
    * Golden Medal of Selection Mondial – Brussels 2000
    * Golden Medal of Selection Mondial – Brussels 1997
    * The International Wine and Spirit Comp Tion – Gold Winner 2000 ''
     
  5. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Bas Armagnac Chateau de Lacaze 1981 -nu-ma-uit-



    '' Nose: Thick and exotic with rich vanilla notes, lavender syrup, marzipan coated stewed apples.
    Sweet orange cordial and Jaffa Cake jelly.


    Palate: Slightly soapy initially with plenty of floral notes (lavender) but after this has subsided there is a smooth spice and rich dark chocolate
    and cherry note like eating a huge chunk of Black Forest gateaux.


    With its depth of floral flavour this can best be described as a gentle giant. ''
     
  6. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Martin Miller's Gin -ras2-



    '' Martin Miller’s is a gin that I have always been a little nervous of. Nobody ever has a bad thing to say about it and it is generally held in such high regard that either it is one of the best gins produced by mankind, or a load of old hype. It has been firmly at the top of my “to try” list for a long time, but I have never actually got around to buying it, always convincing myself that it was a safe-bet and opting for a different purchase instead.

    I think this nervousness has also been amplified by my thoughts on Plymouth Gin; so many people herald Plymouth as a tremendous gin but I found it a little dull. Maybe there is something I am missing, maybe there is a complexity of flavour that my taste-buds are blind to, maybe my curry-ravaged palette only responds well to the less subtle gins. Whatever the reason, I was afraid I would have to stand up, in front of the whole internet (well, the few that read this little corner of it, at least) and say that I think everyone’s favourite gin is over-rated.


    Well, an email in my inbox last week forced me to confront these fears head-on; the Reformed Spirits Company asked if I would like to try Martin Miller’s Gin. Who can turn down free gin?

    I was away on business when no less than three packages arrived; along with two bottles of gin (Martin Miller’s and Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength) there was a copy of the Martin Miller’s Brand Book. Entitled “Love, Obsession and Some Degree of Madness”, it is a glossy little hard-back book, crammed with information and colourful pictures.


    The book is scattered with images like this, often contrasting the traditional with the modern. I found this one to be inexplicably and amazingly pleasing.


    The book contains the story that led to Martin Miller creating his gin, and it’s almost a creation myth in the legendary sense. The scene is set with three friends in bar, unenthusiastically sipping sorry excuses for G&T. You can almost picture the drink; an inadequate amount of ice quickly melting, lime that has been cut for too long and its skin yellowing at the edges, Schweppes or (even worse) Britvic tonic water and so little gin, you can barely make out its presence under the aspartame. Martin then embarks on an enthused rant about making his own gin, with proper traditional methods, decent botanicals and (at great length) using Icelandic water. His enthusiasm is amplified by his friends’ almost torpid responses. It’s the beginning of a quest almost worthy of the sagas.


    Anyway, this is supposed to be about the gin, not the book. I will say this though: it is a great read, with not only the history and production ideologies of Martin Miller’s Gin, but information on the Eastern spice trade, Icelandic folklore, a modern history of gin, and nearly two dozen cocktail recipes contained within its slim binding. It is also packed with quotes from Martin Miller and a good helping of scorn – he doesn’t seem to be a man who suffers fools (gladly or otherwise).


    Martin Miller's Gin

    So, yes, the gin.

    Martin Miller’s Gin is distilled by the Langley Distillery near Birmingham, in a pot still called Angela. The distillation method, while very traditional, has an interesting twist, which necessitates looking at the botanical list a little earlier than the narrative flow would like; so without further ado, these are…
    •Juniper
    •Coriander
    •Orange peel
    •Lemon peel
    •Angelica root
    •Orris root
    •Liquorice root
    •Cassia
    •Cinnamon
    •Nutmeg

    There is another secret ingredient, which seems to be widely regarded as cucumber distillate, although there are many others citing all sorts of other botanicals.

    While Angela is a traditional pot still (some of the scorn mentioned above is reserved for carterhead stills and berry baskets), not all of the botanicals are distilled together. The citrus botanicals are distilled separately from the other ‘earthier’ botanicals to help preserve their freshness of flavour, and these two distillates are then blended to create the final flavour palette. This harkens to what Ian Hart, of Sacred Gin fame, was saying about different botanicals interfering with each other when distilled together, either blocking or absorbing each other’s flavours.


    Once combined, the gin is sent off to Iceland to be blended with water to reach bottling strength (which is 40% ABV).
    Yes, you read that right; the gin gets flown to Iceland for water-blending. Miller’s has a lot to say about Icelandic water – ordinary water is just not good enough. Icelandic water fell as snow during a time before we started polluting the planet and formed glaciers. The glacial melt-water filters through layers of volcanic rock before being blended with the still-strength gin. The literature claims this soft, pure, super-oxygenated water allows the botanicals to shine-through, unimpeded.

    A 3000 mile round trip to be blended before bottling – now that’s a unique selling point. Part of me wonders about the carbon footprint – does the carbon-neutral Icelandic water and electricity offset the footprint of the flight?


    Anyway, speaking of bottling, the bottle is a tall, elegant square affair, that is reminiscent of the (now previous) Plymouth design and Finsbury Platinum. It has a long, thin neck and is crowned with a solid plastic screw cap.


    The aroma from the bottle-top, and subsequently from the glass of neat gin, is gentle and fresh; a scent that carries soft juniper, citrus and a sweet spiciness. The smell of alcohol is a very faint undercurrent. The spirit forms very active legs on the side of the glass that seem restless.


    The neat gin follows through where the aroma left-off. The first thing that struck me was the sweet, creamy, silky mouth-feel. This then resolves into a wash of citrus flavours, finally trailing-off in a long, warm, spicy finish. The mouth keeps on tingling with citrus, long after the spice has faded. The juniper is soft and understated, being in balance with the other flavours, rather than dominating.


    Martin Miller’s is a very good sipping gin; in fact, the more I drink neat, the more I like it – it is still growing on me. I absolutely have to try this in a Martini.


    Mixing up a G&T, the fizz drives off clean, fresh citrus and spice aromas with just a hint of juniper – all-in-all, quite similar to the neat aroma.


    The tasting, however, is a bit of a revelation; juniper quietly underpins the whole experience and the tonic brings out more of the floral aspects of the gin, contains some of its spiciness and reins-in some of that sweetness. I often struggle to identify citrus in gin, often noticing it as a sensation rather than a flavour, but Martin Miller’s seems to have citrus in spades, and it is fresh – very fresh, reminding me of grapefruit more than lemon or orange. The finish somehow contrives to be both sweet and dry at the same time and while I am sure there is a hint of green freshness that my mind insists is cucumber, I think that’s my errant brain finding things that it’s looking for. The result is a very complex and fresh G&T which can be best described as rewarding.


    With this much citrus in evidence, I would have though that adding a wedge of lime to the G&T would have been a bit over the top, but it isn’t. It certainly doesn’t need it, but it does add something – it makes the G&T even fresher, more luscious and juicy, almost breezy in the mouth. It is so eminently drinkable, I have been practically inhaling these.




    Addendum

    I haven’t gone into a great deal of information on Martin Miller himself. He seems to have turned his hand to many things in life and I could probably write an entire post on him alone. Needless to say, The Man (as the website puts it) and the gin seems to be building together to form a brand; each strong brand has its own identity, but this is the first time I have seen a gin brand built around a man – it is almost like a personality cult. Now, “cult” is a loaded word, and I don’t use it in the negative sense but Martin Miller is to Martin Miller’s Gin, as “curiosity” is to Hendrick’s, or Africa is to Whitley Neill and there seems to be a “know him, know his gin” thing going on. ''
     
  7. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Hennessy XO -bravo- -bravo-



    '' Traditionally, I haven’t thought much about money when it comes to food and drink; or at least, not as much as I should given what’s left once the bills have been paid. My chief focus has always been whether the thing I’m consuming tastes good or not. The cost is very much a secondary concern.

    I couldn’t tell you how much I spent on my meal at The Waterside Inn – a restaurant generally considered to be ludicrously expensive – earlier this year. I couldn’t say how much I spent at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester – a place very much in the same price mould – either.
    The reason is that I simply don’t care. I had a great time at both, so however much they cost, it was clearly worth it.


    Nevertheless, in the last few months value for money is something I’ve been thinking about more often. The change in mindset, I’m sure, is almost entirely down to working my way through the Foods To Try Before You Die list.


    Tasting a £50 bottle of Dom Pérignon 2000, for example, I couldn’t get its value out of my head. It wasn’t so much “have I made a mistake spending this amount on a bottle of champagne?”, more “is this bottle worth the £100+ a lot of retailers are selling it at and is the price I got it for the bargain it appears?”.


    Money was a big thing again when I wrote my latest piece on potted shrimp. It was so good yet so cheap relative to almost everything else on my list, how could I not think about it? Am I wasting cash pursuing expensive items when there are simple things like shrimp that offer so much bang for my buck?


    But I’ve never thought so much about the cost of food or drink as I have with the bottle of Hennessy XO Cognac I bought a few months back. At £110, it was easily the most I’ve ever spent on a single bottle of alcohol outside a restaurant, and I wasn’t even a big brandy fan! From the moment I bought it, right up until the moment I poured my first glass, “what the hell were you thinking?” ran through my head.


    For anybody concerned about my health, those yellow spots are down to autocorrect lighting, not liver failure.

    This wasn’t a case of ‘taste first, ask money questions later’; the price was always at the forefront of my mind. The cognac couldn’t just be good, it had to be at least £110 good, or I was going to kick my arse down to the bank to shed tears over all the money I’d pissed up the wall.


    To be fair to Hennessy, they did a lot to put my mind at ease just with the appearance of the bottle. I’d read a lot of reviews online and been told it was a very special drink – the finest XO in its price range, according to consensus – but it wasn’t much of a looker. In photos it appeared plain and dull; a £20 slut instead of a £110 beauty.


    But I spent a good 15 minutes marvelling at its magnificence after pulling it from the box; holding it up to the light and admiring it from every angle. The pictures had done scant justice to how handsome the bottle is, with the glorious maple-syrup-coloured liquid inside. I could imagine it behind the bar of a stereotypical private gentleman’s club, where well-to-do toffs sit in cosy, red-leather armchairs, puffing cigars and discussing the politics of the day.


    It looked expensive enough to have cost £110. In fact, it could’ve pulled off £250. It was all very reassuring.



    But as I left it on the shelf and waited for that special occasion to come along where I’d give it a try – my birthday, as it happened – doubts started to creep back in. Sure, it looks good enough, but can it taste good enough? They say with wine once you go beyond £20, prices tend to move further and further away from the true value – is it the same with cognac? And what if I realise that I’m just not a big fan of brandy? Money down the drain, that’s what!


    I decided the time to bite the bullet was after a nice celebratory meal at The Lime Tree in Didsbury. I was in a good mood, I wanted a spirit to cap off the evening, the moment just seemed right. Following instructions read online, I poured a shot and a half into a brandy glass and cupped my hands around it, allowing my body heat to warm it gently for around seven or eight minutes. I held it up to look at the colour – the liquid amber perhaps even more beautiful in the glass than in the bottle – and then stuck my nose in to gather the aromas.



    I probably shoved my snout too close because all I got was burning alcohol at first, but eventually the bouquet came: heady, complex, brilliant. I’ve heard people say they’d buy Hennessy XO for the smell alone and I could see why. If I’d had the time, I could’ve spent as long sniffing it as I did staring at the bottle when I first took it out of the box.


    However, I couldn’t wait that long. It was time to taste it; time to find out whether all the build up was worth it. More importantly, it was time to find out whether all the money was worth it.


    It was. Oh dear god it was!


    Ambrosia, soma, nectar; any deity’s drink you can think of would be a suitable descriptive term for the glorious elixir that passed my lips. In my heart, I hadn’t really believed that any drink could justify this sort of price tag, but it did, unquestionably. It was a seminal moment; with one sip, I became a huge brandy fan and began to realise just how good beverages can be. I’ve imbibed some very nice stuff in my time, but this was a world apart. It’s by far and away the best drink I’ve ever tasted.


    Hennessy XO wasn’t on my list of Foods To Try Before You Die, but I feel like it should’ve been. The only cognac on there is the £1,350 Rémy Martin Louis XIII and even though it’s meant to be the very best, somehow I can’t see it living up to its price.


    To do so, it’d have to be 14 times better than the Hennessy XO. And I don’t for one second believe that’s possible.




    Aroma: The first wave, rich in dried fruit aromas such as prunes or dried figs overcomes you. The aromas evolve to more dense notes of chocolate & black pepper, mellowed by cinnamon, clove & cardamom spices.


    Taste: Very balanced on the palate, X.O confirms the aromas discovered by scent: dried fruit & chocolate. Elegant & robust, it reveals balance, roundness and harmony among aromas underlined by the strength of peppery notes & vegetable fragrances from the oak. A lovely long after taste is enrobed in velvet, conferring the last sweet notes of cinnamon & vanilla. ''
     
  8. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 -ras2-



    '' Ron Matusalem prides itself on being a Cuban style of rum with a history in Cuba they trace back to 1872 when two brothers, Benjamin and Eduardo Camp, together with a partner, Evaristo Álvarez opened a distillery in Santiago de Cuba. According to the Matusalem website, the rum they were producing began to win acclaim by the first quarter of the 20th century. The distillery apparently operated until the 1960’s when due to the Cuban Revolution the Álvarez family was exiled, and the rum they made disappeared from the landscape.

    The brand was resurrected by Claudio Álvarez Salazar, who is the great-grandson of Evaristo Álvarez. Of course, it was not possible given the political situation in Cuba for Claudio to produce or bottle the rum in Cuba. Apparently, it is produced (presumably by a third-party as Ron Matusalem does not own a distillery) and bottled in the Dominican Republic.


    Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 is not a fifteen year old rum as many people believe, rather it is aged according to what the company calls a solera aging process which is described on their website as follows:


    The Solera aging system is a cascading process where slightly younger rums are blended with slightly older rums. Stored in oak casks, the aged rum are stacked in different levels. The oldest distilled rum is housed on the lowest levels. Newer rums are put into the higher levels so that the youngest is on top. As the rum is pulled from the lowest Solera barrels for bottling, it is replaced with rum from the levels just above. This process is repeated with the remaining levels, though no more than one-third of each cask can be drawn off every three months. This marrying of old and new softens the fiery younger rum and provides it with a refined smoothness and flavor not found in ordinary rums. A 15-year Solera or a 10-year Solera is an average of the blended years. Our Matusalem rums are Solera blended and are a blend of aged rums that average a year’s designation.


    I originally reviewed the Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 in October of 2009, and it was one of the original reviews which I published when I opened this website. After almost four years, it was time to revisit the rum and publish a more thorough and rounded review.



    In the Bottle 4/5

    The Matusalem Rum arrives in a nice package complete with a protective cardboard box which adds a nice bit of ambiance to my rum shelf. The medium tall corked bottle is distinctive with a look that appeals to me especially as a rum bottle.

    I have a couple of quibbles with respect to the presentation which prevents a perfect score. The first is the statement on the bottle label which reads Formula Original de Cuba. This statement leads many people to believe that this is an authentic Cuban rum produced in Cuba. In fact, I have had many fruitless arguments with persons who point to that statement as proof of that particular point of view.

    The second quibble is the red symbol on the label proudly proclaiming Solera 15 Blender. Again many people confuse this statement as meaning the rum is a 15-year-old spirit with the youngest rum in the blend being 15 years. The truth is, that we do not know the age of the youngest rum in the blend. I have seen some websites which claim the youngest rum in the blend is as young as 7 years, and others that claim it is closer to 12. I dislike confusing information, and when I see it, it always makes me wonder what other marketing information provided might be confusing. A cynic might believe the confusion is perpetrated on purpose.


    In the Glass 8.5/10

    When I pour a bit of the rum into my glencairn glass, the first thing I notice is the medium yellow/amber colour of the spirit which carries light tones of orange and red. The colour is lighter than I would have expected, which pleases me as this is an indication that perhaps we have a spirit which has not been coloured by caramel. When I tilt my glass and give it a swirl, I see that the spirit has a medium body which produces thickened legs traveling at a leisurely pace down the inside of my glass.

    The initial aroma carries more oak than I remember from my past experiences with the Matusalem Gran Reserva 15. It is a sort of honeyed oak scent full of spice and vanilla. As the glass sits, the oak spices build in the air, and they are joined by scents of banana and orange peel. The empty glass (snooted after my sampling session was over) carries welcome notes of sweet butterscotch and baking spices (vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon).


    In the Mouth 52.5/60

    As the rum enters my mouth I taste some sweet butterscotch and vanilla out in front, which is followed very quickly by a spicy bite of oak which is disguised as banana peel and tobacco. I taste some almond and marzipan flavours which remind me of whisky and even that spicy bite of oak has a whisky-like element. I like the rum a lot, but I do find that despite the obviously strong oak, butterscotch and vanilla flavours, the rum is not really all that complex. It tastes fine as a sipper, but I found myself slightly disinterested after my first glass. There was not really enough in the way of subtle nuances to keep me interested.

    I wonder to myself as I sipped the rum whether it had changed significantly over the past few years. It seemed to be spicier now, with much more of an oak bite. I remember the flavour being much more mellow in the past, to the point that I used to consider it more of a mood based rum than a flavour based rum.


    In the Throat 13.5/15

    The finish carries a lot of that spicy oak which taps the tonsils in a good way, and as the spice fades from the palate, we are left with a lingering echo of vanilla.


    The Afterburn 8.5/10

    The Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva 15 seems to have changed a little over the past four years. It carries a spicier oak presence throughout the taste experience, and it is not the mellow mood rum which I remember it to be. I found the rum to be a nice sipper; although the truth be told, I have been nipping into my latest bottle more for cocktails than for sipping. ''
     
  9. dromaderu

    dromaderu Active Member

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    La atata bucurie vizuala, eu nu pot sa vin decat cu o solutie pentru a doua zi.
    Adi, in alta ordine de idei, de ce nu scrii un review propriu?

    Si mie-mi place romul, am luat chiar acum ceva timp una din sticlele recomandate de tine, Ron Zappa parca ,super , pacat ca sunt produse cam pricey .... -ras4-

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  10. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Yep, am avut o tentativa dar efectiv, ptr un review bun, va trebui sa dedici timp ptr research, timp pe care nu il prea am la dispozitie, probabil ca multi altii.

    Momentan contribui doar cu poza -nu-ma-uit- , cateodata cu un scurt comentariu si postez cate un review de la unii care fac asta, zic eu, intr-un mod mult mai profesional decat mine.

    Stiu, poate ar fi mai bine cum ai sugerat tu, dar timpul asta... -asa-asa-

    Vorbind de pretul sticlelor...cred ca majoritatea se situeaza undeva in jur de £30-£50, cu unele mici exceptii -nu-ma-uit- ...dar dupa cum stii si tu, cateodata alegem cu inima -ras2-


    Iar despre Zacapa, bun fara doar si poate, dar noul meu rom preferat, pana in £50, este Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva -bravo- -bravo-

    Incearca-l te rog...nu are cum sa nu te cucereasca -asa-asa-


    Inchei cu un Malbec de Argentina, Salentein Barrel Selection 2012 ... super

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  11. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Balvenie 14 yo Caribbean Cask -ras2-



    '' In the year that marks David Stewart’s 50th Anniversary at Balvenie, it’s only fitting that this illustrious legend of a malt master is toasted with an appropriate duo of drams.


    Well as it happens and thanks to the honed half century crafting skills of David, Balvenie have released two bottling's for this very occasion.

    Now if you have a spare £20,000 in the bank or the same amount in change down the back of the sofa you could treat yourself to a bottle of Balvenie Fifty.


    A single cask offering that was distilled in 1962, the same year that David joined the company. I’d love to provide tasting notes for this bottling but because of its price and availability of just 88 bottles, the words ‘no chance’ have never been more appropriate with regards to being able to sample it, unless of course you’re fortunate enough to be one of the upper echelons in the whisky world.


    However there is that second offering that we can all enjoy and toast David’s milestone with, in the form of the new Balvenie Caribbean Cask. I say new as it’s exactly that to the UK market but it has infact been doing the rounds in the US and travel retail over the last year, and to much great acclaim.


    As a passionate pioneer and forefather of the finish, it has to be said that the 14 Year Old Caribbean cask, which is finished in Caribbean rum casks, is the perfect testament to a great man’s work.


    The nose kicks off with an alluring and eclectic array of delights. Glugs of wood spice, black pepper infused honey, lime zest and slightly over toasted malted loaf lead the charge, but it’s not long before notes of freshly cut grass, pineapple, ortanique, pear and even a hint of camomile join the proceedings.


    Rum soaked sultanas make for the next set of nasal niceties, subtly exuding all the rich decadent demerara deliciousness of a good quality pre-teen aged golden rum. But it’s not long before something more fragrant fresh and white rum-esque comes through.


    Those rum notes don’t hang around for ever, infact if left unleashed in a glass for more than five minutes they begin to evolve into something more reminiscent of freshly varnished oak. Which I can assure you in this instance is a good thing.

    Sweet wondrous whiffs of warm toffee tablet and freshly made vanilla fudge then provide a fabulous and flouncing air of balance and depth, as does the emergence of puffed infusions of sweet damp musk, ground almonds, buttered asparagus and a frond of caramelised fennel.


    The palate kicks off with a harmoniously hugging slice of toasted malt loaf that’s been smeared with lime infused honey, followed by waves of garish but glorious wood and winter spice.

    Warm runny butterscotch sauce and a few generous grounds of black pepper make for the next set of delights, along with a big wedge of a tropical fruit custard tart and some smoked pears drizzled in corn syrup.


    Bountiful and competing bouts of oak and vanilla then provide some fabulous interplay, and it's not long before they drag more of those sultanas and a pan of semi dissolved demerara sugar into the equation.


    All in all this is one charismatically complex, beautifully balanced and fabulously finished drop of drammage. Its finish if anything is even more complex and concentrated, delivering something that is lush, lingering, spiced, dry and deeply delicious. ''
     
  12. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Botran Solera 1893 -asa-asa-



    '' Guatemala has a rich heritage within both the sugar cane and rum production industries. In the early 20th Century, the country was scattered with family owned, individually set up distilleries. Essentially, these were single estate family concerns that had their own land for the growing of sugar cane, stills to distil the fermented product and bottling facilities for the rum. As the spirit industry played a huge part in Guatemala’s economic growth, during the 1940’s the Guatemalan Government issued the Aging Act to force distillers to create reserves of aged spirits to guarantee the quality of their products. This sowed the seeds for the formation of the Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala.

    The Botran family, synonymous with sugar cane production in Guatemala, sowed the seeds of their rum production legacy high in the western Guatemalan city of Quetzaltenango, 2300 metres above sea level. This is where the five Spanish brothers, Venancio, Andres, Felipe, Jesus and Alejandro Botran, discovered that the climate there was ideal for the high altitude slow ageing of rum. This discovery led to the brothers forming the Industria Licorera Quezalteca in 1939.



    All of the sugar cane that is used in Botran Rums is picked from their family estate in Retalhuleu, in the south of Guatemala. This location is perfect for the growing of sugar cane due to its clay, volcanic soils that enjoy constant sunshine. These qualities allow the growth of sugar cane varieties that give the highest sugar content to give the best raw material and the ideal characteristics for the first process of producing Botran Rums. The cane is transported to the mill for the first press. During this process the juice extracted from the cane pressing is heated to remove water and impurities, thus creating the virgin sugar cane honey. The key base ingredient of all Botran rums as it allows the preservation of more of the sugars.

    The sugar cane honey is fermented with the use of a proprietary strain of yeast taken from pineapples, to allow the sugar to be turned into alcohol whilst retaining consistency of flavour and aroma for the rums. This fermentation process takes approximately 120 hours and helps develop the flavours and aromas that will be present in the rum. Each product is distilled individually to achieve a distinctive character unique to the intended end product. The process of distillation allows the extraction of alcohol from the fermented ‘wort’ within continuous stills containing copper components. Within these stills, the fermented product is heated using steam until the alcohol reaches evaporation point. The alcohol vapours are then passed through condensers where they are captured again.

    This end product, rum, is then aged in Quetzaltenango, 2300 metres above sea level in barrels that once contained American Whiskey (both new and re-charred), Sherry and Port. The American Whiskey barrels that are re-charred are done so to extract the flavours and aromas from the wood to provide a further depth of character for the rum. The rum is aged using the Solera System which I highlighted when talking about Ron Zacapa and the explanation of their specific system was given in that write-up. The system can vary from producer to producer and I will attempt to briefly describe the Botran system here.

    The rums are initially aged in new American Whiskey barrels. This aged rum is then placed into blending vats where it is blended with older lots of rum (mother rum) that has already undergone the full solera aging process. The contents of these vats are then aged in re-charred American Whiskey barrels. These are again transferred into blending vats with more of the mother rum. The contents of this stage of the process is divided into used Port and Sherry barrels for further aging. These barrels are then reviewed by the rum blenders and their flavour, aroma and colour are assessed. They are evaluated and enter their marrying phase where they are then considered to be the final blend and are aged for a further 12 months or until the Master Blender considers them ready for bottling.

    There you have it, the journey of the sugar cane from the family owned fields to the bottle.



    Tasting Notes


    Extremely Smooth. Botran Solera 1893 reveals a medium dark amber color due its aging in oak.

    On the nose: Botran Solera offers a delicate caramel aroma, coupled with golden raisin, a hint of dried apricot tart-fruit, and a slight oaken vanilla foundation, leaving traces of almond nutmeg aromas till the end. Perfectly smooth to sniff with moderate complexity and no offensive alcohol aromas.

    The initial taste is honeysuckle sweet and medium to full bodied, with no offensive alcohols to restrict your tongue as it awakens to the smooth expansion of flavors consistent with the aromas.

    Botran Solera 1893 has a body of medium viscosity, substantial but light, and altogether drinkable.

    The finish is just off-dry, very long with savory sweet flavor and the slightest spicy edge adding up to a lip smacking anticipation of another sip.



    Opinion

    Oooh, this Botran Is a very nice rum. Sure, its relatively easy to find a rum that sniffs this smooth and tastes this good, if you know where to look. What’s difficult is finding an equally exceptional rum that’s as easy on the wallet as Botron Solera 1893. I’ve happily collected (hoarded) all three bottle iterations and relish the rum inside all of them. ''
     
  13. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Hendrick's Gin -ras2-




    '' Creating a brand identity that stands out from the crowd in the increasingly competitive gin market is a trick that not every product manages to pull off. Not only do Henrick’s do it well, they’ve been doing it since many of today’s gins were mere twinkles in the eye of their distiller.

    Hendrick’s is distilled in batches of 450L using juniper, coriander seeds, angelica, camomile, yarrow, lemon peel, orange peel orris root, elderflower, caraway seeds and cubeb berries as its botanicals. Both a Bennett (pot) still and a Carter Head still are used in the process, the latter being unusual in that the botanicals are suspended so that the spirit vapour passes up through them, rather than the typical maceration of the botanicals in the neutral spirit. Rose and cucumber essence are then added afterwards at blending as these botanicals do not play nicely with the distillation process.


    Hendrick's bottleNose: Very light and fresh-smelling. Delicate juniper leads to a savoury and lime cordial-led aroma with an understated floral influence.


    Neat: Initially pleasingly smooth, but becoming spicier towards the finish. A lighter gin with a little more rose influence than on the nose, but the cucumber is still hidden away. Not what is expected given the marketing. More lime cordial and a good dash of cumin to give a little character which otherwise stays firmly in the easy-going realm


    Mixing: The excellent marketing which has helped drive the unquestionable success of this gin is particularly impressive since it makes a great deal about the cucumber and rose botanicals, neither of which feature particularly prominently either in neat tasting, or in the majority of cocktails. The cucumber in particular is content with its behind-the-scenes role, no doubt assisting with the smooth and fresh character overall. It is of course the signature garnish for a G+T, and an enjoyable one at that.

    A sweeter/more delicately flavoured tonic is of benefit here so as not to dominate the gin with the bitter quinine, but the effervescence certainly brings the floral character to the fore. Elsewhere, the lightness of this gin is generally a strength, making for a range of easy-drinkign cocktails such as an Aperol-based Negroni (Campari is a bit too much for Hendrick’s), or the sour and herbal Last Word. Both these cocktails contain ingredients which cover for the fact that hendrick’s lacks depth in the mid-palate; a fact that is revealed in cocktails such as the Martinez and even the Martini, which tastes a little drab.

    No doubt testament to much of this gins success however, is that this performance is perhaps exactly what is needed to win over traditional vodka-drinkers. In many respects it may therefore be considered a ‘gateway’ gin. Which is not to say it isn’t capable of bringing a smile to the face of even the biggest fan of bold flavours, the simple combination of gin, grenadine and egg white in the Froth Blower Cocktail for example, highlights the rose nicely and demonstrates the excellent balance of botanicals throughout the blend.


    Launched in the US in 2000 and the UK in 2003, the gin is a creation born from an inspirational visit to a rose garden for some cucumber sandwiches by David Stewart. His vision of a unique new gin was brought to fruition by Lesley and John Ross who worked with the Scotch Whisky Research Institute to perfect the dual distillation process that is used to create Hendrick’s Gin.

    The name Hendrick’s apparently came from Janet Roberts (Williams Grant’s granddaughter) who suggested the name of her gardener. -da-da-

    The distinct spirit that resides inside the wonderful apothecary style bottle comes from the marriage of blends from two different stills; the Bennet Still and the Carter Head Still.

    The botanicals used to make Hendrick’s are juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica, chamomile, yarrow, lemon peel, orange peel, orris root, elderflower, caraway seeds and cubeb berries. Essences of cucumber and rose are added after distillation.



    The ABV is 41.4% and this is another gin that is very easy to drink due to not being very heavy hitting in the alcohol stakes. Do be careful when drinking that you sip and not gulp.

    The Hendrick’s bottle is quite simply beautiful. It is a dark glass apothecary style with a cork stopper that gives a pleasant squeak and mild pop upon opening. The whole thing screams Victorian/Georgian quirkiness and certainly Hendrick’s play on this with their marketing which is heavily Victorian (penny farthings, waxed moustaches, Victorian outfits etc.).

    The aroma from the bottle is pleasant; slightly floral and with a light juniper.

    So how does it taste?

    Trying Hendrick’s neat treats you to a floral bouquet of flavours that reminds me of Turkish Delight. It is not heavy on either juniper or alcohol, and this is probably why it appeals to people who think they do not like gin (those of us who remember taking a crafty sip of our mother’s Gordon’s and Britvic at a party as a child and thinking we had drunk petrol or lighter fluid will enjoy the less heavy juniper of this gin).

    With mixers it is delicious. The essence of rose is fairly easy to detect, cucumber less so. I find adding cucumber to a glass adds to the drink, though I am also fond of lime with a Hendrick’s as the additional citrus gives it more depth.

    There is a slight spiciness to this gin that is warming and pleasing on the tongue. I am left wondering if the addition of some liquorice might also create a pleasant drink; I shall experiment and see where that takes this gin.

    Fever Tree tonic works very well with Hendrick’s and the Mediterranean Tonic is excellent as the inclusion of geranium works very well with the rose.

    Overall this gin is very fine indeed and it is unsurprising that it is often voted as one of the best gins in the world in various polls.


    Taste 8/10 – Put simply, a deliciously smooth gin that should appeal to most gin drinkers and especially to those new to gin. Some may not like the floral hit but as Hendrick’s themselves say, this gin is not for everyone. ''
     
  14. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Greenall's Gin -obosit-



    '' I usually try to go easy on the history section because this is available on every other cocktail review site and the product’s own personal website. But Greenall’s has a couple of very interesting notes in its history. 1761 was the first year that gin making was legal in England. Hence that’s the year Greenall’s incorporated. In 2005 the Distillery experienced massive fire, which despite the scale of the fire, only shut down production for six days. Nice work! And finally, they’ve only had seven master distillers in two and a half centuries. (sounds like an impressive nearly 40 years per master!) The current master distiller Joanne Moore is one of a small (but rapidly growing) number of women master distillers around the world.


    Tasting

    It has a pleasing, but mild aroma. Its not particularly strong or intense. Neat, this bears out as well. There’s a bit more nuance. Intimations of classic flavoring elements like coriander, orange/lemon, and cassia hover just below the radar on the palate, ever so subtle. The juniper is easy going and very accessible. Its mild, and while the other flavors do a good job of not overpowering the juniper, they suffer from the fact that as co-stars to a very soft-spoken lead that they can easily get lost.


    Greenall’s doesn’t have a lot of heat for a London dry. It has a rather smooth quality that hovers somewhere between refreshing and leaving one wanting. There’s a certain substantialness that’s lacking and leaving me wanting. Its a London Dry style to the core, and the ingredients leave me wondering where that long finish or distinct spice is. Its not there, and that may actually be an positive for someone who wants a London Dry without feeling overwhelmed by the dryness.



    Mixing with Greenall’s

    As I said, the flavors are subtle. If you want to taste the full range of Greenall’s, neat and dry martinis are the only place where I think it really shines. I found that even mixed in tonic the quinine was the dominant flavor. I had to really look for the juniper, and frankly nothing else stood out.

    It struggles when placed with bold flavors. It was hard to be tasted to in a Negroni, Aviation, Last Word or other similar cocktail. It was there, but very quiet.

    But perhaps this sounding too negative, because the smoothness and the subtlety can actually be a good thing, particularly with novice gin drinkers, or someone looking for more easy going cocktail. Its a perfectly acceptable gin for nearly anything you can throw at it. ''
     
  15. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Ron Prohibido -obosit-


    Nimic deosebit...


    '' “Rum So Good They Banned It!” Or So The Story Goes…

    The trouble with a tag line like “So good they banned it” is that if you don’t like it, you can’t help but wonder why it didn’t stay banned. The press information continues with “Traditionally aged in 12 year Solera for delicious aromas and a unique mellow, bitter-sweet taste”. That means I’m now put off by an age statement on a solera rum… Two negatives before I even get started… But, I guess the results of ageing in sweet raisin wine barrels is something I quite fancied trying – and I’m very happy I did.


    So let’s go over the rest of the pre-amble that was supplied and hopefully you’ll be intrigued too.


    Ron ProhibidoRon Prohibido – ‘The Forbidden Rum’ - is a unique premium Latino rum from Mexico. Made in a traditional 12 year solera with a unique combination of column still rums, Ron Prohibido was shipped to Spain in the 17th century in used sweet wine barrels where the distinctive sweet and bitter taste it acquired during the voyage was much appreciated…so much so that local producers in Spain persuaded King Felipe V to ban it. Now, over 300 years later, this delicious rum is available in the UK for the first time.


    James Rackham, Chairman of the UK importers Emporia Brands said “Ron Prohibido is a premium Latino Rum and as such is traditionally drunk straight to appreciate its unique wood and bittersweet tones. When we offered top bartenders in Edinburgh and Manchester the chance to taste and experiment with it, they persuaded us that Ron Prohibido offers a completely new and exciting taste profile for building cocktails. So we are expecting Ron Prohibido to be available soon in many top cocktail bars as well as leading wine and spirit specialist retailers and in the High Street. We are very pleased that Drink Finder, the leading wine & spirits wholesale and retail specialist has agreed to be our launch customer”



    Ron Prohibido Tasting notes:


    Appearance: Dark brown with hints of red.

    Aroma: Firstly, intense aromas of dried fruits, raisins and prunes, followed by tones of vanilla, walnut, butter, chocolate, and coffee.

    Taste: Raisins, prune, walnut wood, with hints of chocolate and coffee in a distinctly bitter-sweet combination.

    Finish: Long, silky, with a touch of caramel and a pleasant hint of bitterness on the finish.


    So… I pretty much concur with the tasting notes, although I was surprised by the thick mouth feel of Ron Prohibido. Using an indicative hydrometer based testing method, I’ve seen that there is a low amount of non-dissolved solids present – i.e. broadly speaking, not a lot of sugar added and so can feel happy about the raisin wine barrel claims. I guess I was expecting more of a Madeira wine taste, but the bitter component takes the taste of Ron Prohibido in a different direction to that of Madeira. It really is a pretty unique offering in the rum world.


    It’s easy to drink neat, in fact I’m not sure how it might be best used in a cocktail – an Old Fashioned perhaps? I disagree with the tasting notes in regards to the finish – medium at best rather than long. I don’t find it as multi-dimensional as claimed either, I guess I had high hopes and expectations, but feel a little flat in the post sipping afterglow. I will (however) concede that the more you sip, the more the flavours present themselves.


    Unique packaging makes it stand out – although I can’t say I’m particularly blown away by it – and in that I mean both the packaging and the rum contained within it. It’s interesting for sure, but that’s where it all ends.


    This rum is being launched at Imbibe Live show and perhaps I’ll get a chance to find out a little more – like what does the 12 year old statement mean in relation to the solera production. I’m not that fussed – I automatically ignore age statements on solera and it’s my recommendation that you do to. If the result of the maturation process results in something you enjoy – then that’s enough, trying to second guess the actual age of the rum in the bottle is a waste of time.



    As a final note, I might just say that I’m glad that it didn’t stay banned – the world of rum is richer for having it around. ''
     
  16. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Tiffon Cognac XO -bravo-


    Delicios -asa-asa-



    '' A very fine XO from a little-known house- Blended exclusively from the two top crus, Grande and Petite Champagne, this is outstanding value for money-


    With strong ties to the Scandinavian country of Norway, the history of Cognac Tiffon dates back to 1875. Tiffon is to this day a family run business, and is based at the beautiful family home, the Chateau de Triac, just 5 kms from the town of Jarnac. The Chateau itself has a battle-scarred and convoluted history, dating back to the 11th century, which includes being razed to the ground by fires and completely demolished during the Hundred Years’ War. Today, the family grows 40 hectares of Grande Champagne and Fins Bois vines, overseen by cellar master Richard Braastad, who comes from an old cognac producers’ family.



    History of Tiffon Cognac


    In 1875, La Maison Tiffon was founded in Jarnac by Mederic Tiffon. It was his granddaughter. Edith Rosseau, who created the link with the Braastad family in 1913, when she married Norwegian born, Sverre Braastad. Sverre, originally from Gjavik in Norway, had moved to France at the young age of 20, where he joined Cognac Bisquit as a sales representative. He left Bisquit after the Great War to resurrect his wife’s family business – hence the company Cognac Tiffon SA was born. In 1946, they purchased the Chateau de Triac, where Sverre happily lived out the rest of his impressive 100 years until he died in 1979. He retired from official duties in 1950 and was succeeded by his three sons, Erik, Christian and Jacques.


    Cognac Tiffon Today

    To this day, the Tiffon cognac estate remains in the capable hands of the Braastad family. Another of Sverre’s sons, Robert, along with his grandsons Richard, Jan and Antoine run the business, with Richard holding the responsibility of cellar master. With close on one and a half centuries of knowledge having been passed down through the generations, Cognac Tiffon still creates eaux-de-vie in the traditional manner, staying true to its roots. The complete production, from growing and tending the vines, to wine production, distillation, aging, blending and bottling, all takes place within the company. Today, Tiffon owns two distilleries – one at the family chateau and another in the Charantais town of Jarnac. Their produce is stored in eleven warehouses, where 12.000 oak barrels are stored to age the cognac. ''
     
  17. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Ron Abuelo 12 Years Old -asa-asa-



    '' Ron Abuelo Rum is produced by Varela Hermanos SA in Panama, Central America. This company has a history which dates back to 1908 when Don José Varela Blanco launched the first sugar mill in the then recently formed Republic of Panama. In 1935, the site began to distill sugar cane juice for the production of various kinds of spirits. Now today, the company produces an impressive array of products which includes over one million boxes of spirits and of course a strong variety of rums. The Ron Abuelo brand is just one brand from this wide assortment.

    According to the website, the Ron Abuelo 12 Year Old is produced from molasses and aged in white oak bourbon casks.



    In the Bottle 4/5


    The rum arrives in a tall dark brown ‘bar room’ style bottle which is sealed with a standard cork. This style of bottle is designed to easily fit upon the bartenders shelf, and (with no annoying plastic diffuser in the spout) this style of bottle is also easy to pour into my glass. I am happy to see no evidence of a metal screw caps anywhere, in fact my bottle is sealed with a nice solid cork. The label on the bottle is very simple, and lacks any frills. I would prefer a little ‘pop’ on the label with perhaps more colour and perhaps a little history of Ron Abuelo Rum on the back label to entice me to buy the rum. However, I admit there is also a certain charm in the simple approach.



    In the Glass 9/10


    I poured myself a nice glass of the Ron Abuelo 12 Year Old Rum and brought it up to my nose. My initial impression is of a dark caramelized brown sugar aroma accented by tobacco, leather, and orange peel. I gave the glass a cautious tilt and swirl. The spirit deposited a light sheen of oily rum onto the side of my glass, and I watched as droopy leglets formed. The droopy legs slid slowly down the side of the glass back into the mahogany rum.

    I allowed the glass to breathe and began to nose the rum one more time. The aroma has turned oaky and seems to have a bit of a cognac flair. Additional notes of marzipan, leather and baking spices have evolved as the rum seems to have gained both complexity and sweetness as it decanted.



    In the Mouth 50/60


    The rum enters the mouth with a surprising dryness that seems at odds with the promise of sweetness offered by the nose. A wave of oak spices and tannins serve to pucker the palate which gives the rum the initial impression of harshness. I taste molasses and baking spices, vanilla and orange peel, leather and tobacco, and a strong oaky current which has all of the hallmarks of well-aged brandy. As I sip some more, I cannot help but notice how fruity the rum is. Nanking cherries, blackberries, canned apricots and fresh peaches all seem to give me glimpses of themselves in the flavour profile.

    The rum is full of flavour, but it also seems out of balance. The leathery dryness of the rum which gives the impression of smokiness just doesn’t seem to fit in with the caramel, the rich fruitiness and the spices.



    In the Throat 12.5/15


    The dry oakiness seems to dominate the finish. I sense more left over flavours of oak spice, leather and tobacco than I do of caramel and baking spice. I also sense a very light burn in the throat which is only alleviated when I add an ice-cube to my glass.



    The Afterburn 8.5/10


    The Ron Abuelo 12 Year Old Rum is bold and full of flavour. It has the oakiness of a well aged brandy, and the fruitiness of a rich Cabernet Sauvignon wine. Everything about the rum screams at me that I should really like it.

    But, (and I hate it when I have to write ‘but’) the rum just never seems to find the proper fulcrum to balance the richness with the dryness. Adding an ice-cube definitely helps matters, but even then I never quite seem to be able to relax and enjoy myself fully with my glass. I am left with a rum that is so rich and flavourful that I do not want to mix cocktails with it, but one which demands too much of my attention to allow me to enjoy myself when I sip it straight or on the rocks. ''
     
  18. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Flor de Cana Centenario Gold 18 Years Old -bravo-



    '' Flor de Caña has a history of rum production which is dated to 1890 at the San Antonio Sugar Mill, in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. The company was founded by Francisco Alfredo Pellas and today, over 120 years later, the company is still headed by the fifth generation of the Pellas family.

    It has grown to be not only one of Central America’s leading brands of rum, it is also one of the most recognized rum brands in the world.

    According to the company website all of the Flor de Caña rum is produced with molasses from sugar cane harvested in fields adjacent to the distillery in Chichigalpa. It is distilled in a continuous column still process, and then laid down to age in small American white oak barrels in traditional aging warehouses built without air conditioning in an undisturbed environment.



    In the Bottle 4/5


    I will admit a little bias here, and state for the record that I am not a fan of screw caps. The worst screw caps are those pressed metal ones which are so thin and flimsy that they cannot be tightened for fear of stripping the thread, and which expand and contract at a greater rate than the glass bottle they are protecting. The better screw caps are the hard plastic ones which actually give a good seal comparable to a good cork. In the presentation of the Flor de Cana 18, we have a good quality plastic cap. As for the bottle, it is a squat shaped vessel which carries the same design and label as the 12-year-old. Although things are nice, I find that for a true 18-year-old rum, I can’t help but wish for a nicer presentation.



    In the Glass 9/10


    The rum is rich and dark with red highlights in the glass. A quick tilt of my glass shows an army of moderately thick legs crawling down the sides back into the rum. The immediate nose is full of oak and baking spices, some zesty orange peel, vanilla, and dry fruit. The spicy oak makes the nose seem lightly harsh, and as the rum breathes, I begin to sense glimmers of toasted hazelnut and pecans wafting into the air. The oak builds bringing even more spice into the breezes above the glass.

    The fully decanted glass is full of rich oak spice, dark brown sugars and dark caramel toffee. I seem to catch a hint of leathery smoke in the air as well. Nutmeg, allspice, and more hazelnut all seem mixed into the spicy caramel aroma.



    In the Mouth 51/60


    The 18 year old rum is surprisingly dry on my palate with a layer of cocoa under the dark caramel and spice. That leathery smoke I noticed on the nose is asserting itself, and I taste a strong oak presence. As I let the rum sit in my mouth, the oak becomes more dominant and to some degree begins to nibble away at the other rum and spice flavours rather than choosing to coexist. My instinct here is to suggest that the rum has spent too long in the oak barrel. The balance of flavours has tipped into the oak with the other flavours vainly trying to hold their own.



    In the Throat 12.5/15


    Like other Flor de Cana rums I have previously reviewed, this rum is very clean on the exit. I taste, a lot of walnut in the exit as well as dark caramel and oak spice. There is however, a certain oaky, leathery, smokey, dry bitterness that lingers, stealing polish from the finish.



    The Afterburn 8.5/10


    The Flor de Cana 7-year-old and 12-year-old are two of my very favourite rums. Perhaps this causes me to judge the FDC 18 Year Old rather critically, but I feel that we have a rum that perhaps sat in the oak barrel for too long. The resulting spirit has lost some elegance and balance along the way.
    Do not mistake me, this is a very good rum which I would never hesitate to serve on a special occasions, but unlike its younger siblings its score does not reach into the stratosphere. ''
     
  19. adicri

    adicri Active Member

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    Ron Zacapa XO -bravo- -bravo-



    '' Ron Zacapa Rums are made from sugar cane harvested in southern Guatemala, which is pressed into virgin sugar cane honey, a process unique to the Guatemalan style of rum production. This liquid is then fermented, distilled and taken to the mountains for aging, where the flavor of the rums is further refined through the premium aging process known as Sistema Solera.


    The Ron Zacapa Centenario XO is blended from these solera aged stocks which range in age from 6 years to 25 years. These stocks were aged in special cellars more than 7000 feet above sea level. The solera barrels are a mixture of reused American Bourbon, Sherry, Pedro Ximenez wines, and Cognac barrels. The combination of solera aging and the wide variety of reused barrels creates a highly complex rum with a rich aroma and flavour.


    I recently received a Ron Zacapa Tasting Kit in the mail which for me was the perfect excuse to revisit my previously published review for the Ron Zacapa XO (25 Year Solero) Rum. This review contains some very minor revisions from the original review intended solely for clarity. The scores have not changed, and neither has my perception of this great rum.



    In the Bottle (5/5)

    What can I say? The rum arrives in a beautiful crystal decanter, sealed with a quality cork topper. One of the most wonderful bottle displays I have seen. A brass coloured nameplate, and a touch of brass around the neck of the bottle completes an elegant design. The new display also comes in an attractive box display (not shown) which pleases me.



    In the Glass (9.5/10)

    Richness and luxury ooze from the nose of this sweet nectar. Scents of mild toffee and spice combined with a rich oak and vanilla aroma rise from the glass to the delight of my nostrils. There seems to be a light orange citrus weaving through the aroma. The spices I can identify by smell are vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg with just a hint of cloves. The toffee smells of deep dark brown sugar with the firm imprint of real dairy butter. The aroma has nice nutty accents tempering the oak and holding its harsher tannins at bay.

    I swirl the glass and a thick sticky oil coats the sides of the glass, and only after waiting until it is ready, does the thick film form nice long legs that trail down back into the rum.



    In the Mouth (57/60)

    This is soft and smooth in the mouth, a silky suave rum that coats the palate with a thick honey-like sweetness. There is so much going on here; we have dried currants and apricot brandy melted into toasted chestnuts and deep dark brown sugar. Oranges and marshmallows lie under soft cinnamon and nutmeg spices with just a whisper of allspice and cloves. This is striking in its complexity yet every flavour is acting in unison with no off notes or bitterness. The oak and vanilla hold everything together. This is the kind of nectar that until now I believed only existed in my imagination.



    In the Throat (14/15)

    The soft oil provides a tremendous finish for the rum. All of the flavour noted in the mouth, stays on the palate long after the rum is gone. An hour after sampling from my glen cairn glass I still taste and feel the delicious spice in the back of my mouth. This is smooth all the way down with the gentlest of burn in the throat.



    The Afterburn (9.5/10)

    My goodness, this was nice! A rum full of complexity with almost perfect balance and smoothness. A delicious, sweet rum that had my taste buds absolutely reeling with delight. The only flaw of serious note is that my newest sample of the rum will soon be gone. I am thoroughly impressed. ''
     
  20. dromaderu

    dromaderu Active Member

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    Are un gust de nu-ti trebuie deloc muraturi a doua zi.
    Un miros tare, ce-ti aminteste de primul sut luat in c.../dos de la baietii din cartier.
    O minunatie!
    However, drink responsibly!
     

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