So. Many. Samples.
We live in the best drinks world ever, and there are so many great drinks to try.
Here are some of the best disitlled spirits I have had in 2020.
Whiskeys and Whiskies
Highland Park Single Malt Whisky 25 Years (45.7% abv): Oh, my. This whisky was aged in sherry and bourbon barrels. It is really elegant, and the sherry note is lush. (Rating: Excellent) Read more at https://www.highlandparkwhisky.com/en-us/25-year-old.
Lost Lantern Vatted Malt Whiskey Edition 1 (47.5% abv): This is a terrific American vatted whiskey, which is an amalgamatic of American single malts. (Rating: Excellent) Read my review here and get a bottle ASAP!
Angel’s Envy Bourbon Whiskey (124.5 proof): What an amazing spirit. This whiskey combines the charms of bourbon and port to create a lucious beverage worth enjoying slowly and in smal sips. Add a few drops of water to help your palate fully take in the flavors. (Rating: Excellent) Read more at https://www.angelsenvy.com/.
AWA Whisky Fut de Vieille Prune D’Alsace (43% abv): As I mentioned in Whiskey: A Global History, whiskey is being made by many countries these days—it is not just an American, Irish, and Scottish product. This whisky was made in France, and is floral and woody. This product needs a bit more polish, but it is a promising start! (Rating: Good) Read more at http://www.distillerie-hepp.com/.
Thomson Whisky Manuka Wood Smoke (46% abv): This single malt was made from barley in a pot still in New Zealand. This whisky is intriguing—the smoke is very forward, and it shows a clove note. (Rating: Good). Read more at https://www.thomsonwhisky.com/productrange/.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Whisky (40% abv): Some of the more well-known Canadian whiskies have a signicant portion of neutral spirit in them. Not this one. It is 90% rye whiskey, and has much more flavor. I liked it, but Jim Murray was nuts to call it the best whisky of 2016. (Rating: Good) Read more at: https://www.crownroyal.com/canadian-whisky/crown-royal-northern-harvest-rye/.
Vodka and the Like
Tommyrotter Distillery Small Batch Vodka (40% abv): A smooth a feintly sweet vodka made at a distillery in Buffalo, New York. (Rating: Very good) Read more at https://www.tommyrotter.com/spirits/vodka.
Kannon Organic Vodka (40 abv): A once distilled wheat vodka from Sweden’s Gripsholm Distillery. It shows mild citrus and soil notes. (Rating: very good) Read more at https://www.kanonvodka.com/.
Kin White Whiskey (40 abv): This is an unaged, Oregon-made spirit. The mashbill is corn and rye, but one detect little of those grains. It is a clean spirit with a mild coconut or pear note. (Rating: Good) Read more at https://kinwhiskey.com/white-whiskey.
Art in the Age Snap (40% ABV): This is a lovely spirit made from molasses, ginger (snap!), vanilla, brown sugar, cloves, vanilla, and more. Alas, it was discontinued, but if you are lucky you might find folks willing to part with a bottle. (Rating: Very good) Read more at http://old.artintheage.com/our-spirits/snap/.
Grand Marnier Cherry Liqueur (40% abv): Cognac+orange+cherry—well, now. The cherry note is very forward, the orange flavor is way more modest, and then it closes with a baking spice note. This limited edition version of Grand Marnier is not easy to find but still is being sold. (Rating: Good)
Mount Gay XO Cask Strength Rum (63% abv): Whoa, this is a potent rum from Barbados! It was made from spirits 8 to 15 years old. Only 3,000 bottles were released. This rum shows oak (from aging in used Bourbon barrels), vanilla, and banana, and finishes dry in the mouth—because it is so boozy. Wow. (Rating: Excellent) This special edition can still be found selling at some retailers—but do not confuse Mount Gay’s standard XO for this cask strength version.
Pierre Ferrand Original Formula Grande Champagne Cognac (45% abv): I’ve long admired the Pierre Ferrand spirits. Years ago, I tasted thier Mathilde line of liqueurs, which are delightful. Ths cognac is nicely balance the fruit and barrel notes. (Rating: Very good). Read more at http://maisonferrand.com/en/content/pierre-ferrand-cognac/#tab-id-2.
Pierre Ferrand Triple Sec Dry Curacao (40% abv): Wow, what an orange liqueur! This is not a sugar bomb—it is very dry and clean. A delight straight up or mixed. (Rating: Very good.) Read more at: https://ferrandcognac.com/en/collection/dry-curacao.