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Review: Azunia Blanco Tequila

Azunia Blanco Tequila was first released as Azunia Platinum Tequila in 2010.  Jim Riley a former VP of PR and Events for Kettle One Vodka partnered with the family owned and operated Rancho Miravalle Estate to create Azunia Tequila.  Hall of Fame Basketball legend Bill Walton is also an equity partner.  In 2013 the brand redesigned their bottle.  Gone is the twist off cap in favor of a new more modern looking design that featured textured paper labels, wood caps and hand crafted glass bottles.  Some time between then and now the name was changed, the packaging was redesigned again, and Azunia Blanco Tequila is now made from 100% Organic blue agave grown for 8-10 years in the valleys of Jalisco on land owned and maintained by Sergio Zuniga and Family.  The agave is hand harvested and split in the field, then taken to the estate owned distillery.  The pinas are slow roasted for 36 hours in traditional clay hornos.  Once cooled the pinas are crushed in the pressing mills to extract the agave juice.  Yeast is produced naturally through a 5-7 day open air fermentation.  It is double distilled in small batches in a pot still.  Pristine water from a deep artesian well is blended to reduce to 80 proof.  A unique filtration follows before it is bottled and hand labeled.   Read more »


Review: Azunia Platinum Blanco Tequila

Azunia Platinum Blanco Tequila was introduced in 2010.  It has since been replaced by Azunia Blanco Tequila, a tequila now created with organic agave.  While Azunia Platinum Blanco Tequila is no longer produced, it may still be available in limited quantities.  My review of Azunia Blanco will be posted tomorrow.  I will highlight the differences between the two in tomorrows review.  Azunia Platinum Blanco Tequila is crafted by Master Distiller Salvador Rivera Cordona at the family owned and operated Rancho Miravalle Estate.  The agave is grown for 8-10 years in the small town of Amatitan.  The agave is slow roasted for 36 hours and allowed to cool before the cooked pinas are crushed in pressing mills to extract the agave juice.  After fermenting in the open air for 5-7 days it is double distilled in a pot still.    Read more »


Review: Vanjak Vodka

Vanjak Vodka is the culmination of one families vision to create a premium Colorado vodka on a par with International brands.  Vanjak gets its name from combining family members first names.  Those names are Van, Jory, Anna, and Kim.  It is made from corn and fresh spring water from Eldorado Canyon in Boulder Colorado.   Vanjac Vodka is small batch distilled six times at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.  A silver filtration process follows before bottling at 80 proof. Read more »


Review: Crown Royal Salted Caramel Whisky

Crown Royal Salted Caramel Whisky was just released.  The felt bag included is pumpkin orange.  It is a Limited Edition seasonal variety, and one of four flavored whiskies Crown currently produces.  The other flavors include Crown Royal Apple, Vanilla, and Maple.  They recently retired Crown Royal Honey.  Each flavor starts with the signature Crown Royal base that was first created in 1939 as a gift for the King and Queen of England when they became the first reigning Monarchs to visit Canada.  Pure water sourced from Lake Winnipeg naturally filtered through the limestone beneath and a grain blend of rye, corn, and barley are used to create Crown Royal.  Roughly 80% of the grain used is sourced from Manitoba and surrounding Provinces.  Twelve distillation columns produce the fifty whiskies that comprise the Crown Royal signature blend.  This is the result of 5 different recipes aged for varying periods of time in either new or re-use charred oak barrels.  Once the whiskies have been aged to the blenders satisfaction, they are meticulously blended.  Natural flavors are infused before bottling at 70 proof. Read more »


Review: Endless Summer Silver Rum

Endless Summer Silver Rum was released in Florida March 2017, and is now also available in South Carolina.  Additional distribution will follow.  It is part of Grain and Barrel Spirits Company, which also produces Dixie Vodka, and Chicken Cock Bourbon.  Endless Summer is named for the 1964 surf film Endless Summer, and the concept that if one had enough time and money it would be possible to follow the summer up and down the world making summer endless.  Their search for the perfect rum lead them to the birthplace of rum, Barbados.  Endless Summer is made in Barbados at a distillery located on the beach.  It is crafted with rum produced and blended from three different stills, and coral filtered water from a spring garden aquifer.  It is bottled at 80 proof with the Endless Summer films original movie poster as it label. Read more »


Review: McCleary White Chocolate Irish Cream Liqueur

McCleary White Chocolate Irish Cream Liqueur was just released.  It joins the previously reviewed McCleary Irish Cream Liqueur.  McCleary is a private label brand made by Robert A. Merry and Co. in Tipperary Ireland.  I picked up my bottle at Binny’s in Chicago.    The Merrys Distillery produces several other Irish Cream brands including O’Reillys, O’Donnells, Sheelin, and Fennellys.  They also create their own line of Merrys Irish Cream Liqueurs.  McClearys White Chocolate Irish Cream is made with a blend of Irish cream, aged whiskey, grain neutral alcohol, and natural flavors.   Read more »


Review: Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka

Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka was introduced in 2008.  It is made from American grown organic corn harvested from fertile soil, free of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals.  The Crop Vodka base is distilled in column stills so efficiently that no carbon treatment or charcoal filtering is required.  Organic cucumbers grown in the Midwest are infused with the vodka, before bottling at 70 proof.  Crop also makes an unflavored Artisanal Vodka, an organic Tomato, and Meyer Lemon flavored vodka.  At one time they also made a Spiced Pumpkin flavor. Read more »


Review: Platinum 7X Vodka

Platinum 7X Vodka was introduced in 1996.  It is made from high quality American corn at Buffalo Trace Distillery.  This is the same distillery that crafts Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Van Winkle, and Blanton’s Bourbon.  Wheatley, Rain, and Clix Vodka are also produced here.  Platinum 7X Vodka is distilled seven times.  The first four distillations are in a column still.  The final three are in a traditional pot still.  Pure limestone filtered water is blended to reduce to 80 proof. Read more »


Review: Gubba Silver Rum

Gubba Silver Rum was introduced in 2013 along with Gubba Gold Rum.  After visiting St Martin with his wife and tasting delicious Island crafted rum liqueur, I’m guessing Toppers Rhum, Gubba Rum owner Steven Gubb was inspired to create a new different tasting rum.  Gubba Rums are crafted using a technique that dates back to the 1800’s.  These artisanal organic and naturally infused rums are made from pure organic cane and the finest fruits, spices, and herbs.  Gubba Silver Rum is distilled at Dancing Pines Distillery in Loveland Colorado.  It is unfiltered and infused with organic coconut. Read more »


Review: San Matias Tahona Blanco Tequila

San Matias Tahona Blanco Tequila was launched December 2016.  It was created to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the San Matias de Jalisco Distillery.  This distillery also produces Corazon Tequila.  When Don Delfino Gonzalez started producing Casa San Matias Tequila in 1886 he used a large stone wheel, called a tahona to crush the cooked agave.  That same stone wheel is used to craft San Matias Tahona Blanco Tequila.  It is made from 100% agave grown for 7-10 years in the red volcanic soil fields of the Highlands.  The agave is slow baked in brick ovens for 48 hours and crushed by the same tahona stone used more than 100 years ago.  The agave juice is fermented for 72 hours in pine wooded tanks and then double distilled at low temperatures in a 300 liter copper pot still by Master Distiller Rocio Rodriquez.  Read more »