March 29, 2006

Reviewing Booze Is More Than A Numbers Game

NumbersWe spend a lot of time reading what people say about booze, and one of the things that has always bugged us is the numerical ratings system used by many reviewers. Tasting liquor is an incredibly subjective experience, and one man's water of life is another's toilet water, as attested by the fist fights and shouting matches that often break out in our tasting sessions.

OK, the fist fights are just for fun, but you'll notice in our liquor reviews that we just try to tell you what it tastes and smells like to us, and give you an overall impression, rather than numerical scores that're only worth the pixels they're displayed on. And don't get us started about the flowery language we read in some of the reviews - we're guilty of getting purple with our prose sometimes, but not on the scale we see from some established reviewers. As far as we're concerned, we think about taste and quality as compared to the price, and give you our thoughts through that filter, along with some relative comparisons with other brands if we can.

It seems our good friend Kevin over at The Scotch Blog has similar feelings about ratings and reviewing in the whisky world, and he has let loose with both barrels with some interesting thoughts about reviews and reviewers.

Ask any renowned whisky maven (or drinking buddy) his or her favorite dram, and you are likely to be given (if you're lucky) a short list, along with a litany of exclusions and limitations, about how "favorites" depends on the time of day, time of year, food accompaniment, mood or present company. And all that is quite fair.

How then can the same person give, what to all intents and purposes is a score based on an apparently absolute scale? I believe they simply cannot.

As a result all ratings are relative - a whisky is scored relative to the mood you are in, the other whiskies you might be trying, where you are sitting as you try them, what you had for dinner, the time of day, the argument you had with your girlfriend the other day, if you know anyone at the distillery, what you perceive others think of the expression, etc.

That being said, I don't like ratings, don't agree with the concept, and hereby call for a general ban on the use of any rating system in the whisky industry (Yeah, right. I'll keep dreaming). In the meantime, I shall continue to take ratings (as should you) with a grain of salt - even from the most respected reviewer.

The Scotch Blog: Have Ratings/Tasting Notes Gone Too Far?

Keep reading to see Kevin deconstruct an actual review - it gets fairly heated, but we're pretty sure our eyebrows will grow back in time for Easter dinner. Very thought-provoking, and t's something to keep in mind before you run out to buy a bottle because some dude gave it a 7.4523958 out of 10. As for the weaselly language, we're hanging this over our computer so we'll see it the next time we swish some booze and try to remember how to spell "priapic" for our description of the bottle.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

March 12, 2006

Killepitsch Herbal Liqueur Review

Killepitsch
German Herbal Liqueur
84 Proof (42% ABV)
Buy it at Internet Wines and Spirits

Killepitsch LiqueurWe've said more than once on this site that Jagermeister is the liqueur of choice around the office. We love the dark color, badass reputaiton and grimace-inducing flavor, plus the fact that it gives us a completely different kind of buzz than any other booze is a selling point as well. We've never reviewed Jager on this site, mostly because once we start drinking it we don't stop, and it's tough to write a review while blacked out. We recently got our hands on a bottle of Killepitsch, a similar herbal liqueur made in Dusseldorf, Germany, that was touted as giving Jager a run for its money. We were skeptical, but we were ready to give it a try.

The Color:
The color was dark brown, almost black, with a reddish tint, and it left a syrupy coating on the glass.

The Nose:
The label says Killepitsch contains 90 fruits, berries and herbs, and we would say that sounds about right. When we smelled it, it was complex and strong, with a heavy tinge of anise, giving it a licorice smell. We also detected a lot of gentian, the stuff that gives Angostura bitters and Moxie soda their taste. A mixture of Moxie, bitters and Jager? We must've died and gone to drunk heaven.

The Taste:
Thick and syrupy, this stuff was sweet up front with a bitter, dry aftertaste. Licorice, anise, gentian, mint, root beer, Moxie - there were so many flavors, it was almost overwhelming, but the Jager comparison definitely fit. Overall, Killepitsch seemed sweeter and thicker than Jager, but both had the same aggressive, take no prisoners flavor, if that makes any sense. Someone who drinks Jager a lot will be able to tell the difference, but the typical drinker won't - and if you hate the nectar that is the 'Meister, you'll hate this stuff too.

The Recipes:
We liked it on the rocks, but it seemed like a pretty damned good substitute in a Jager Bomb, if you're in a pinch or just want to try something new.

The Verdict:
Definitely in the running to enter our regular rotation, this stuff was like a doppleganger of Jager (that's a little shout-out to all you D&D players in the house). We liked this one a lot, especially chilled or on the rocks. Plus, it's stronger than Jager (84 proof, as compared to 70), so the blackouts will come even more quickly!

The Site:Learn more about Killepitsch at OurNiche.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

March 11, 2006

Liquid Core/Liquid Charge Energy Drink Review

Liquid Core and Liquid Charge
Energy Drinks With Alcohol, containing Taurine, Guarana, Caffeine, & Ginseng
13.8 Proof (6.9% ABV)

Liquid ChargeWe got a box a couple days ago, containing two alcoholic energy drinks, called Liquid Charge and Liquid Core. The stuff is marketed to your typical extreme sports types, and we were a bit nervous before we tasted them, especially since we tried Tilt and hated it. Now, don't get us wrong - we like a good adrenaline rush as much as the next guy, whether it's running away from angry bouncers, stealing drinks from bikers, throwing darts at Karaoke singers.

Even so, we're not exactly the target market for most of the alcoholic energy drinks on the market, since we get our fill of extreme sports on Spike TV. With that in mind, we dove into our sample cans, chugged them down and crushed them against our foreheads - and when our headaches went away, we reviewed them for you.

The Color: EXTREMELY Bright and Bubbly
Liquid Charge - A pale, bright orange, like someone mixed Sunny D with ginger ale.

Liquid Core - Bright red, with a light pink head on top if you're enough of a sissy to pour it in a glass (like we did).

The Nose: EXTREME Fruit
Liquid Charge - Citrusy and crisp, with other tropical flavors in the mix as well.

Liquid Core - Berries all the way, but not too sweet...nice and tart.

The Taste: EXTREMELY Tasty
Liquid Charge - We could taste a variety of citrus flavors, including orange and maybe even mango. This was the sweeter of the two, and the vibe we got was sort of like Red Bull mixed with orange juice.

Liquid Core - When we first saw the pink froth on top of this one we were nervous, but it was tart and crisp, not too syrupy like other energy drinks we've had.

The Recipes: EXTREME Donkey Punch
Liquid Charge - We found a couple recipes, but the only one we tried was the Short Bus - a combination of Liquid Charge and vodka, served on the rocks. Good, good stuff.

Liquid Core - The recipe we tried with this one has the best name we've heard for a drink since Dumpster Juice - the Donkey Punch. To make one, just mix Liquid Core, Liquid Charge, vodka, gin, rum and triple sec, and serve it on the rocks. Yes, we know we didn't give any portion sizes here, but you don't need 'em - it's more EXTREME to mix them freehand...as you jump out of a plane...strapped to a snowboard. Anyway, we liked it.

The Verdict: EXTREME Buzz
All in all, Liquid Core was our favorite, since it was crisp and tasty, without being too sweet or syrupy, but we enjoyed both varieties. Plus, since they weigh in at 6.9% alcohol, you get a nice little buzz very quickly. Oh, and the effects of all the herbs and caffeine in there? The first night we tried it, one of our interns chugged an entire can at around 6:30, and he told us he was finally able to go to sleep around 2:00. Sounds like our experience on AGWA, and it makes this stuff a good choice when you're about to embark on anything extreme, whether it's wakeboarding, a bender-level drinking bout, or a Saved By The Bell marathon.

The Site: Check 'em out at LiquidCharge.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

February 26, 2006

Killepitsch Fruit Liqueur Arrives For Review

Killepitsch Fruit Liqueur GirlThe interns are all abuzz here at the Liquor Snob offices because of an interesting-looking fruit liqueur that arrived on our doorstep this weekend. It's called Killepitsch, and no, we hadn't heard of it either, but the nice folks who sent it along told us they thought we should give it a try since we like Jager so much. You'd think we would have learned our liqueur lesson after the amazing caffeine overload we got from drinking Agwa, but hey - we never said we were all that bright.

We don't know many facts about the stuff other than that it's made in Dusseldorf, Germany, but we were able to dig up a few things. One, it's a combination of 90 fruits, berries, herbs, and spices. Two, it's a whopping 84 proof, which is pretty heavy for a liqueur (Jagermeister comes in at 70 proof, for comparison's sake). Oh, yeah, and three - it's blood red. We're looking forward to staining our teeth with this stuff, and we'll get the review up ASAP.

Meanwhile, you can learn about Killepitsch at the distributor's site.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (7) | social bookmarking

February 8, 2006

Agwa de Bolivia Coca Leaf Liqueur Review

Agwa Coca Leaf Liqueur BottlesCoca Leaf Liqueur featuring Caffeine, Ginseng and Guarana
Imported from Holland
Alcohol Content: 30% (60 Proof)
Typical Price: Under $30 - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

We don't drink a lot of liqueurs. Well, that's a lie - we drink a lot of one liqueur in particular (a little drink we like to call Jagermeister...heard of it?). Agwa positions itself as another ass-kicking liqueur, the kind you bring on a bachelor party weekend and get all juiced up on. So of course, when we got our bottle of Agwa, one of our first questions was how it was going to measure up?

Find out after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "Agwa de Bolivia Coca Leaf Liqueur Review"

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

February 6, 2006

Liquor Bottle Case Mod is Tres Geeky

Liquor Bottle Case ModCalling all booze geeks! Now you can have your booze and process with it too by modding your liquor bottles into PC cases. Enterprising drunk Janos Martin teaches you how to turn a bottle of Ballantine's into a computer. And the fact that he documents the entire process for posterity is pretty danged noble.

Of course, he doesn't really outline the part that really interests us, the actual emptying of the bottle, but the case mod stuff is pretty cool too, we guess.

I already had a powerful computer setup so I wanted something more quiet, small and low power consumptioning to function as a basic home server. I love to tinker with hardware etc. so I wanted to make something quite unique for a case. I have seen many nice and creative cases before but none of them were made out of a bottle. In November I bought an industrial 3.5" SBC board (with Socket370). For the project I selected a 1.5 litre Ballantine's bottle for case. That was the proper size and shape for the task at hand.
See the full step-by-step account at Metku Mods Whisky PC.

via Slashdot - Creative use for empty whiskey bottles

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 20, 2006

Make Jager Bombs Go Now!

Quaffer Jager BombIt's no secret how much we love Jager Meister here at Liquor Snob - we're this close to getting a "Jager" tattoo on the inside of our lower lip with an arrow pointing into our mouth so we'll remember what to do when we're nine sheets to the wind. We usually drink it straight, and right out of the bottle, but one drink we've always been intrigued by is the Jager Bomb, a combination of the nectar and Red Bull. One part crazy liqueur plus two parts energy drink equals nine parts awesome, if you ask us.

In fact, we've decided the best way to spend this lazy Friday afternoon is to bomb our livers like Dresden. We're not interested in messing around with dropping the shots into the pint glass and all that fooferall though - we're going Quaffer all the way! Plus, what better way to remember Sidney Frank, the man who brought us Jager for so long, now that he's gone?

Check out the Jager Recipes we found over at The Sporting Life:

We here at The Sporting Life are no authority on whether or not Jagermeister really contains reindeer blood, but we aren’t about to research it and spoil the fun for everybody. This weekend, raise a toast to Rudolph with this classic, and a couple of newbies for good measure.

The Classic: Jager Bomb
1/2 can Red Bull energy drink (wings optional, but they might help keep you off the floor)
1 shot Jagermeister
Drop the shot in the Red Bull and gulp

Newbie #1: Jager Vacation
1 oz Jagermeister
2 oz Pineapple juice
2 oz Pina Colada mix
Shake with ice

Newbie #2: Jägermonster
1 shot Jager
Grenadine to taste (1 oz)
5 oz orange juice

via The Sporting Life: Make It A Jager Weekend. For more info and recipes, go right to the reindeer's mouth at JagerBomb.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 8, 2006

Agwa de Bolivia: A Kiss of Coca

Agwa LiqueurWe're not ones to turn our noses up at strangely-flavored liqueurs, especially if there's a hook. After all, we're all about getting to the bottom of the absinthe mystery, and we like Jagermeister so much, it's almost criminal. But even so, we're still a bit nervous about Agwa de Bolivia, for a couple reasons.

The first is that according to the folks at Slashfood, the stuff contains "herby, nutty flavours, (and) there are hints of prunes, clove and aniseed plus eucalyptus." The second is that it contains coca leaves, and while the word "coca" might make you think you'll have the Miami Vice squad kicking down your door, but you don't have to worry...while there are some in cocaine, the leaves aren't the primary ingredient.

On top of the caffeine in the coca, the drink also contains ginseng and guarana, so while you'll get a nice jolt on top of the booze buzz, you don't have to worry that you'll end up pulling a Marion Barry. Or if you do, Agwa probably won't be your gateway drug. Plus, if you mix Agwa with some lime, you'll apparently get an extra boost as well.

How do you drink it? Cocktails galore listed on the website. They also give specific instructions for the Bolivian Kiss Ritual. Which marketing wizard thought this up? You take a pinch of dried lime powder and put it in your mouth. Follow this with a shot of Agwa de Bolivia. The lime apparently changes the PH level of the mouth and activates the alkaloids of the Coca leaf to produce a powerful effect - an Oxygen Buzz which is handy in the hinterlands of the Andes but perhaps less desirable in a Basingstoke semi.
via Slashfood

Learn more and find out where to get a bottle at AgwaBuzz.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 5, 2006

Bottle Watch: Keeping An Eye Out For Fresh Booze

Gotham VodkaAre you an adventurous drinker who's always looking out for the newest, freshest product on your liquor store shelves? Ever wish there was a resource where you could learn about hot new hooch before you stagger into the store? We discovered a new booze blog called Bottle Watch yesterday, and that's exactly what they do...monitor new liquors that are coming on the market.

From Gotham Vodka to Cohiba Rum, they'll keep you posted on all sorts of new booze that's hitting a liquor store near you. They cover all types of booze, including beer, wine and spirits, and while they don't offer the drunken jibber jabber and half-cocked opinions we dish out, it's a great place to go if you want just the facts, ma'am. We think it'd be great if they offered some typical pricing information for the bottles they cover, but we can tell you from experience...the prices aren't always that easy to find. Update: OK, so they're actually including the pricing whenever they have it available...our bad.

Watch some bottles of your own at BottleWatch.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

December 30, 2005

The Liquor Snob New Year's Eve Bender

Liquor BottlesIt's finally here. We had fun on Thanksgiving, and we enjoyed our Christmas, but this is the day we've been waiting for. It's the holiday to end all holidays, and the best reason to stock your liquor cabinet...New Year's Eve. We'll be throwing a small gala this year, consisting of the interns (see, it's not all punishment to work here) and some friends and family. We're so excited, we had to post to tell you about our plans.

The Product: The most important part of any New Year's party is the booze. This year we've got assorted booze and cigars that were supplied by the fine folks at Tommy Guns Vodka. We've been looking forward to uncapping the bottles for months, and we finally have our chance to try Rumrunner's Rum, Speakeasy Scotch, Bathtub Gin, Hideaway Brandy, 4 Deuces Tequila, Bootleg Bourbon, Dixieland Vodka and Prohibition Whiskey, and we might even open up our second bottle of Tommy Guns vodka if we feel the behavior of our guests warrants it. As for the cigars, they're hand-rolled and Dominican, and we've tried a few, but we've had them waiting in a humidor for just this moment, and the moment has finally arrived.

We've also got a few bottles of liquor we haven't tried yet, so we'll be combining some reviewing into the party. You can expect to hear more about Hendrick's gin, Buffalo Trace bourbon, and two Vermont-made vodkas (Vermont White, which is apparently made from milk, and Green Mountain Sunshine, which isn't) in the new year. Also, since we're not big champagne drinkers, we got ourselves a nice, fat bottle of Jagermeister for the toast at midnight.

The Events: We'll be pretty much doing what you'd expect us to be doing. We'll be hanging out by the bar, mixing drinks at an uncanny rate. But around us, there will be beer pong and other drinking games, and possibly even some shotgunning.

We'll keep you posted of any wildness that springs forth from the party, and in case you're wondering, people will be sleeping here. If anyone plans to drive home, we'll be monitoring their drunkenness with our handy Alcohawk breathalyzers to help them make the right decision about getting behind the wheel.

Liquor Snob would like to thank our liquor and cigar sponsors as well...please go to TommyGunsVodka.com to find out where you can get your hands on the booze we mentioned above, and check out Al-Capone.com to find the great cigars.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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