Everything we taste - good, bad or indifferent - is posted here.
London, UNITED KINGDOM$74.99 Bottle
- ABV 47%
There's no doubt that alcohol strength plays an important role in flavour delivery. The most exciting taste experiences from spirits usually come from bottlings over 46% ABV. Unfortunately, tax laws in Australia mean that many mainstream spirits are marketed on price first, flavour second.
The temptation for producers to bottle at lower strengths is understandable. They know that their brand will fall into a different tax bracket, so they'll pay less, and ultimately appear more competitively priced to the consumer. The compromise is on flavour. So if you think you've tried Bombay, think again. This 47% bottling is the product everyone else is drinking around the world while we're sipping a second rate parody.
Other reviews... Clear. Grainy aromas of pepper bread, celery salt, floral talc, and faint frittata with a silky dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a tangy, warming citrus marmalade, peppery spice and grassy earth accented finish. Well integrated and stylish. 47% Alc./Vol.
International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal
RATING: 92 points (Exceptional) - www.tastings.comsize>
A spiced rum, based on the full-bodied, high-proof Caribbean rums the seafaring fraternity would have enjoyed centuries ago. Spices inlcude Madagascan vanilla and a good dose of orange peel, finished with a handful of cinnamon, cloves and just a hint of cardamom. The label bears an illustration of a Navy grog tub with the words: “The Queen, God Bless Her”. Like its sister spirit from the same company, "Bathtub Gin", the bottle is wrapped in crinkled brown paper, wound with twine and sealed with black wax. Enjoy it neat, or with ice and a squeeze of fresh lime. 42.6% Alc./Vol.
- ABV 42.6%
Reduced from $199.00
- ABV 43%
When Lagavulin decided to produce a secondary cask-finished version there were doubters who thought nothing could be a match for the pungent strength of whisky. Those sceptics were probably unfamiliar with Pedro-Ximenez. This distinctive 16 Year Old, distilled in 1999, exhibits all the classic Lagavulin sea-spray notes matched by the sweet accents of sun-dried grapes derived from PX cask wood.
Tasting note: [1998 vintage] Polished brass. Iodine, sea spray, kelp, lanolin and white pepper over sweeter scents of vanilla, cocoa and shortbread. Lighter bodied than the standard issue, but also more silky; mildly salty with peat infused raisin bread, honey, pepper and hints of liquorice bullets in the aftertaste. Superb balance. Ends kippery, dry, with the whisky almost taking back seat to the sherry. Like a mouthful of smoked-fruit'n'nut chocolate. Quite feminine by this distillery's standards, but one of the highlights of the DE range. Try it with aged cheeses. 43% Alc./Vol.
Bangalore, INDIA$230.00 Bottle
A virgin American oak cask selected by the Australian importer, Ian McKinlay, on his last visit to the distillery. The unpeated malt was distilled in April 2010 and bottled in December 2015. Tasting note: Eyecatching glossy mahogany colour shows considerable legs. This needs lots of air to blow off the opening varnishy notes. Five minutes finds a dramatic improvement, gaining definition with hints of candied orange peel, dates, cinnamon and thick malt. A densely packed, bittersweet attack. Mid palate surge adds a fabulous stone fruit rush: nectarine, apricot, white peach? Aftertaste is creamy, fruity, lingering with nectarine salient in the aftertaste. A summer fruit flavour extravaganza. 120 bottles available. 62.8% Alc./Vol.
- ABV 62.8%
- Cellar 6 - 8 years (2022-2024)
- ABV 14.2%
- Closure: Diam Cork
Bella’s Garden is a produced from a selection of Two Hands finest Shiraz barrels sourced across the Barossa Valley region. Maturation took place in French oak hogsheads and puncheons, with 17% new and the remainder in older oak for a period of 18 months.
A bold Barossa Shiraz with lashings of dark fruit that hits the palate with tremendous power and presence.
Super saturated midnight black colour with a very deep bright dark red black hue. Pronounced ripe black cherry, liquorice, blackberry and dark plum aromas ooze out of the glass with an undercurrent of vanillin oak and spicy pepper. Rich and densely concentrated the palate boasts a powerful amalgam of black fruits that cruise across the palate. Mouthfilling dark plum, liquorice and ripe blackberry flavours dominate over a backdrop of spicy vanillin oak and a hint of pepper. The overwhelming voluptuousness of the fruit held in check by a rigid wall of tannins that nonetheless come across as velvet like. Outstanding depth with a very long conclusion of liquorice, ripe black cherries, blackberries, vanillin cedar and spicy pepper.
Cellar 6-8 years.
- Cellar Drink Now (2017)
- ABV 13%
- Closure: Stelvin
This is a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc produced in a ripe fruit driven style that delivers great everyday drinking value. Brilliant water like colour with a faint greenish tinge on the edges. Pronounced passionfruit aromatics leap out of the glass with green apple, citrus and subtle herbaceous grassy characters also present. Zingy passionfruit, green apple and fresh lime flavours prevail over some herbaceous grassy characters on the crisp dry finish. Aftertaste of passionfruit, green apple, limes and herbaceous grassy characters.
- Cellar Drink Now (2016)
- ABV 14%
- Closure: Stelvin
Misha’s vineyard is located on a spectacular site in New Zealand on the edge of Lake Dunstan in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago. The sun drenched north-west facing terraces of the estate provide ideal conditions for producing world class Pinot Noir and aromatic whites like this one.
Brilliant pale straw colour with a slight greenish tinge around the outskirts and a watery hue. Intense aromatics of ripe pears, hints of lychee and honeysuckle are followed by some rose petal notes and traces of spice. Rich and luscious in texture the palate features mouthfilling flavours of ripe pears, musk and honeysuckle with trailing lychee and spice characters. Off dry finish with good freshness and a long ripe pear, musk, lychee, honeysuckle and spice aftertaste.
- Cellar Drink Now - 6 years (2016-2022)
- ABV 13.5%
- Closure: Stelvin
The 2015 Mermerus Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine, grown and made on the Bellarine Peninsula. Fruit was hand picked, open fermented, basket pressed and matured in French oak barriques for 12 months.
Deep dark red colour with a tinge of black around the edges and a dark red hue. Violet top notes meld into some spicy dark cherry characters with hints of anise, clove and spicy cedar ensuing. Light to medium weight with a superb power wave the palate is blessed with a generous supplely textured flavour profile of dark cherries and strawberries overlaid by some anise followed by subtlety toasted cedar and spice. Very polished, perfectly integrated tannins. Long finish of spicy dark cherries, strawberries, subtle anise infusions and meaty cedar.
Drink this very moreish Pinot over the next 5-6 years.
McLaren Vale, South Australia, AUSTRALIA$19.99 Bottle
- Cellar 5 - 6 years (2021-2022)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Stelvin
The Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz is sourced from Angus and Helen Tuck's vineyard located in the McLaren Vale subregion of Bakers Gully. Maturation took place in French oak of which 20% was new for a period of 18 months.
Layered with the regions hallmark rich purity of fruit this impressive McLaren Vale Shiraz is also underpinned by a solid structure.
Outstanding depth of colour displaying an impenetrable inky black core with a deep dark red black hue. Pronounced aromatics of liquorice, ripe blackberry and black cherry are followed by hints of dark chocolate, clove, vanillin oak and spice. Rich succulent fruit parades across the palate in opulent fashion delivering mouthfilling flavours of ripe blackberries, dark plum and liquorice alongside touches of black cherry with underlying smoky vanillin cedar and spice. The solidly built tannins provide the wine with a slightly chewy finish but take on a satin like appearance due to the overwhelming waves of powerful luscious fruit. Long conclusion of liquorice, ripe blackberries, subtle black cherries and spicy, lightly smoked vanillin cedar.
Cellar 5-6 years.
- Cellar Drink Now - 4 years (2016-2020)
- ABV 13.5%
- Closure: Stelvin
Sourced from vineyards located in the Mount Barker & Frankland regions the wine was matured in new and some older French oak for a period of 6 months. It also underwent malolactic fermentation for extra richness and regular lees stirring to enhance the mouthfeel.
A big flavoursome Chardonnay, Old School in terms of it’s rich textured fruit rather than heavy handed oak.
Brilliant pale straw colour with a distinctive greenish tinge around the edges and a watery hue. Lifted aromas of fresh ripe peaches and nectarines laced with dried honey are followed by citrusy nougat and faint cashew notes. The palate dishes up a big rich mouthful of flavour with luscious ripe peaches teaming up with apricots, honeycomb infusions, citrusy nougat and spice. Clean dry finish with a viscous creamy like textural feel. Long rich aftertaste of luscious peaches, ripe apricots, honeycomb infusions, citrusy nougat and spice.
Drink over the next 3-4 years.