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Review: Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Old Rum

Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Old Rum is produced by 3 Badge Beverage Company, a family owned company that also makes Uncle Val’s Gin, Pasote Tequila, and Bozal Mezcal.  3 Badge is run by 4th generation vintner August Sebastiani out of an old fire station in Sonoma California.  This is the same fire station his grandfather helped build and also worked as a volunteer fireman.  The original and namesake Kirk and Sweeney was a wooden schooner best known for smuggling rum from the Caribbean to the Northeast during the early years of prohibition.  In 1924 it was seized off the coast of New York with a massive amount of rum aboard.  The Kirk and Sweeney  lineup includes a 12, 18, and 23 year old rum.  Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Old Rum is crafted from blackstrap molasses produced from sugarcane grown in grown in the Dominican Republic.  The rum is fermented, distilled and aged for 12 years in oak barrels at Bermudez Distillery in Santiago de los Caballeros DR.   Read more »


Review: Slane Irish Whiskey

Slane Irish Whiskey was released in 2017.  The Slane Distillery is housed within the 250 year old horse stables on the Slane Castle estate.  This small village is located on the north bank of the river Boyne.  A $50 million project launched in 2015 by Brown- Forman to construct their own distillery continues.  Currently both the malt and grain whiskey used to produce Slane Irish whiskey are sourced from an undisclosed distillery.  The whiskey is aged in virgin, and seasoned casks raised by hand at the Brown-Forman cooperages, and Oloroso sherry casks from Jerez Spain.  Brown-Forman produces Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve, so I have no doubt most of these seasoned first refill barrels once aged those fine whiskeys.      Read more »


Review: Zodiac Vodka

Zodiac Vodka was relaunched in 2014 with distribution initially limited to Texas.  Zodiac has since increased availability with an eye on National distribution.  Zodiac Vodka was originally introduced in 1999 so if the name sounds familiar you may have tried it years ago.  Zodiac is produced in Rigby Idaho in a true farm to bottle process by Distilled Resources.  This is the same distillery that produces Square One, Blue Ice, American Harvest, and 44 North Vodka.  Zodiac is made with certified Russet potatoes and pure water sourced from the Snake River aquifer.  After fermenting the potatoes, a 91 stage distillation in a four column still follows.  The vodka is filtered once through Canadian birch charcoal. Read more »


Review: Zaya Gran Reserva Rum

Zaya Gran Reserva Rum is produced in Trinadad, the southernmost island of the Caribbean, at Trinidad Distillers.  It is made from 12 different rare rums that are carefully selected and blended by the Zaya Master Distiller.  These rums are aged a minimum of 12 years.  Some are up to 18 years old.  Zaya is one of several spirits in the Infinium Spirits stable that also includes Templeton Rye, Crystal Head Vodka, Tequila Corralejo, and Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur. Read more »


Review: Concannon Irish Whiskey

Concannon Irish Whiskey was released in 2012.  It is a blended Irish whiskey made from soft pure spring water from the mountainside of Slieve na gCloc, and locally harvested spring malted barley.  The grain whiskey portion is made from corn.  Concannon Irish whiskey is distilled in small long necked copper pot stills.  The spirit is first aged for 4 years in bourbon barrels and later aged for four months in barrels previously used to age Concannon Petite Sirah wine.  Fourth generation Vintner John Concannon created Concannon Irish whiskey in collaboration with Cooley Distillers, as a special tribute to his great grandfather James Concannon.  James sailed from Ireland to America in 1865 when he was 18.  In 1874 James and his wife traveled from Maine and settled in the Livermore Valley of California where he founded Concannon Winery in 1883.  The bottle I am reviewing was distilled at the Cooley Distillery.  Since Beam acquired the distillery and renamed it Kilbeggan Distillery, they reduced the number of brands they produce Irish whiskey for.  This resulted in several brands death, since there were so few distilleries producing Irish Whiskey.  Concannan Irish Whiskey has survived but I don’t know the current source of their Irish whiskey. Read more »


Review: Two Hats Lime Light Beer

Two Hats Lime Light Beer joins Two Hats Pineapple Light Beer in the new MillerCoors beer lineup.  Two Hats Lime is by no means the first lime flavored beer on the market.  They follow Bud Light Lime, Labatt Blue Light Lime, Keystone Light Lime, Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus, and Miller Chill, a 100 calorie light beer with lime.  Why is it all the lime flavored beers are light calorie beers?  The 16 Oz. can I’m sampling this beer from describes Two Hats Lime as a Light Beer with a hint of Natural Lime flavor.  I don’t know if the two head adornments worn by the two women pictured on the can, a crown, and a hair ribbon, qualify as hats.  Maybe this is just the target market MIllerCoors is focused on with Two Hats. Read more »


Review: West Cork Bourbon Cask Blended Irish Whiskey

West Cork Bourbon Cask Blended Irish Whiskey is made from a blend of 75% Grain Irish Whiskey and 25% Malt Irish Whiskey that are both aged in first fill bourbon casks.  The West Cork Distillery was founded in 2003 by three close friends Denis McCarthy, Ger McCarthy, and John O’Connell in Union Hall West Cork Ireland.  The whiskey is triple distilled in copper pot stills.  The stills are only half filled in order to allow maximum copper-spirit interaction.  Most of the mashing fermentation and distillation equipment was handcrafted on site by the team at West Cork Distillers. Read more »


Review: Crispin Rose Hard Cider

Crispin Rose Hard Cider was recently introduced.  Founders Joe and Lesley Heron started making cider in Minnesota in 2004 after moving to the US from South Africa.  In 2010 they acquired Fox Barrel Cider and moved all production to the Colfax California.  In 2012 they were acquired by Miller-Coors.  Today the Heron’s craft Copper and Kings American Brandy.  Crispin Rose is the second of four Rose flavored ciders that have either been recently released or will be released shortly.  Why?  Rose wine sales grew 40% in 2017.  Crispin also sites a Nielsen study that showed Crispin Cider drinkers consumed four times as much wine as cider.  Crispin Rose is naturally fermented using raw unpasteurized juice of fresh pressed apples and pears through classic cold fermentation, and specially selected wine yeasts.  Rose is bottled at 5% ABV and sold in 6 packs of 12 oz. bottles.  Read more »


Review: Malibu Lime Rum

Malibu Lime Rum was just released.  This is not the first time Malibu has created a lime flavored rum.  A previous Malibu Lime was produced until 2003.  This is one of 15 rum varieties Malibu currently produces.  With lime being such a popular flavor to mix with rum, I’m a little surprised Malibu went 15 years without having a lime flavored rum.  But checking Bacardi Rums flavor lineup they don’t a lime flavored rum either.  The rum base for Malibu is made from molasses created from the finest sugar cane crops and pure water.  After fermenting with a proprietary yeast the spirit is distilled 3 times at the West Indies Distillery in Barbados.  The rum is barreled and shipped to Canada where lime liqueur is infused with the rum before bottling at 42 proof. Read more »


Review: Angry Orchard Rose Cider

Angry Orchard Rose Cider is one of six year round varieties in their Core Line of hard ciders.  The others include Crisp Apple, Green Apple, Easy Apple, Pear Cider, and Stone Dry.  American Orchard Rose is made from Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith apples grown on their 60 acre apple orchard in Walden New York, and Red Flushed apples sourced from France.  Cane sugar, sweet potato, radish, and hibiscus also appear on the bottles ingredient list.  The Crist family took ownership of the Walden orchard in the heart of the Hudson Valley in 1963 and have been leaders in the apple growing industry growing both culinary and bittersweet cider apples.  This is where the majority of the domestic apples used to craft Angry Orchard are sourced from. Read more »