August 22, 2006

Guest Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

Tanqueray Rangpur GinWe love guest reviews. And no, it's not just because we like it when someone does the work for us - if someone else tastes the liquor we don't get to, now do we? We just like hearing another voice on the site, and it makes the Interns happy to be able to edit stories that aren't full of misspellings, rants and curse words.

Anyway, today's guest review is by Kevin Erskine, the man among men who runs The Scotch Blog - he took a little time out of his busy Scotch drinking schedule to drink a little gin. Oh, the things we booze reviewers do for our readers. We've included the first paragraph below; read on for the rest of Kevin's thoughts this new Tanqueray gin.

Tanqueray Rangpur

This past Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited to the swank Washington, DC club Indeblue to attend the launch party for “Rangpur”, a new product from Tanqueray Gin.

Tasting strongly of limes, Rangpur is not, as you might first assume, a lime-flavored Gin. Rangpur starts out life like any traditional gin – a grain-based neutral spirit distilled in a “continuous still”.

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August 21, 2006

Dos Lunas Reposado Tequila Review

Dos Lunas Reposado
Super-Premium Tequila Imported from Mexico
Aged One Year in Oak Barrels
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: Around $54.99
Dos Lunas Website

Dos Lunas Reposado TequilaFor a lot of people, Tequila is a drink reserved solely for shots or mixed drinks, and quite often people don't think of it as a sipping drink. That's been changing a bit lately thanks to an influx of higher quality Tequilas rather than that stuff you used to drink in high school, whose name rhymed with Shmosay Shmairvo.

Dos Lunas is the latest we've encountered, and while we enjoyed the first bottle we tried (read our Dos Lunas Silver review) we were really looking forward to the Reposado. We tend to like liquor that has been set aside to mellow out a bit, and putting it in oak barrels always makes us think of our favorite drink, Bourbon. We uncorked our bottle of Dos Lunas Reposado last week with high hopes - read on for our thoughts on the taste and quality.

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August 15, 2006

Dos Lunas Silver Tequila Review

Dos Lunas Silver
Super-Premium Tequila Imported from Mexico
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: Around $49.99
Dos Lunas Website

Dos Lunas Silver TequilaWe've always been big "form follows function" proponents here at Liquor Snob, and that goes for everything, right down to our liquor bottles. We know the liquor market is competitive, and the often the first thing you need to do is make your bottle stand out enough for someone to pick it up and decide to buy it among the hundreds of other options. That's why we chuckle a little bit every time we look at our bottle of Dos Lunas, which kind of looks like someone accidentally filled a bottle of Vidal Sassoon (or maybe Suave) with booze.

Although, maybe they're on to something, because the bottle is distinctive enough that we're talking about it...which means we'll remember it. But is the tequila inside the bottle as memorable? We drank enough to find out, plus we compared it to Patron, one of our favorite premium tequilas - read on to find out how Dos Lunas measured up.

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July 28, 2006

Altius Vodka Review

Altius Vodka
Vodka Micro-Distilled from Grain Sugar in Colorado
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: About $30 for 750ml
Altius Website

Vodka TwistFor most people the great state of Colorado means one of two things - ski trips and John Denver. We've come to discover there are other high points in the state, and we're not talking about the Rocky Mountains. We got our hands on a bottle of Altius Vodka recently, an export from the Centennial State that aspires to distinguish itself from the vodka pack by using fresh Colorado spring water to try to capture the essence of the state's great outdoor heritage. If you've ever hiked in the Rock Mountains of CO you know what we mean...once you get up high enough the air smells cleaner, everything seems brighter and you get a little buzz of the lack of oxygen in your bloodstream.

But does Altius live up to its Rocky Mountain High aspirations? We believe it does so read on for our full tasting notes and decide for yourself.

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July 27, 2006

Fazenda Mae de Ouro Cachaca Review

Fazenda Mae de Ouro Cachaca
Sugar Cane Liquor Imported from Brazil
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: Around $25 for 1L

CaipirinhaEverybody's talking about mojitos these days, but for our money the caipirinha is the way to go. Maybe it's our anti-trendy inclinations, or maybe it's a backlash against those annoying-ass Bacardi ads. We're not sure what it is but when we want a sugar-based liquor mixed with limes, we reach for the cachaca instead of the rum.

Fazenda Mae de Ouro is the latest on our list of usual suspects. It's made in pot stills using a 400 year old process, it's filtered three times and laid down in white oak barrels for a couple years before it's bottled. Sounds more like the process for making a fine whiskey than whipping up the white lightning we'd been lead to believe was cachaca. But does all that extra time in the creation process make Mae de Ouro worth yours? Read on to find out.

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July 12, 2006

Lichido Liqueur Review

Lichido Liqueur
Vodka and Cognac with Lychee, Guava and White Peach flavor
36 Proof (18% ABV)
Typical Price: $22.99 for 750ml
Lichido Website

Lichido MartinisWe keep saying we don't like sweeter drinks, then we keep falling in love with peach-flavored vodkas and cucumber gin. Does it mean we're getting soft in our old age? Maybe - but it also means we're discovering some great drinks. So what does all this mean? It means we really dug the Lichido we reviewed this on to find out what a lychee-infused liqueur tastes like.

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July 10, 2006

Compass Box Peat Monster Scotch Review

Peat Monster by Compass Box
Vatted Malt Scotch Whisky
92 Proof (46% ABV)
Typical Price: In the neighborhood of $60 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Compass Box Website

Peat Monster!It's been a while since we were really and truly excited about Scotch. After all, we consider ourselves good old fashioned bourbon drinkers at heart. But after our experience with Asyla and Eleuthera, we've been chomping at the bit to get our lips around the newest Compass Box expression to arrive at our offices - Peat Monster.

With a name like that, we expect it to stomp through our tastebuds like Gojira (that's Japanese for Godzilla) through Tokyo. Will it live up to the high expectations set by its predecessors? Read on to find out.

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June 29, 2006

Compass Box Eleuthera Scotch Review

Eleuthera by Compass Box
Vatted Malt Scotch Whisky
92 Proof (46% ABV)
Typical Price: About $50 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Compass Box

Eleuthera by Compass BoxHow far would you go to get your hands on two 12 year olds and an 18 year old? Now hold on a second, we're not talking about anything that would earn you a room in the R. Kelly wing of your local prison - we're talking about Scotch here. Specifically, we're talking about Compass Box Eleuthera, a combination of three whiskies aged 12 and 18 years. It will come as no surprise that we like Compass Box Scotch, especially after the fondling we gave our bottle of Asyla. Read on to find out the difference between a blend and a "vatted malt," and see what we thought about this whisky in particular.

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June 28, 2006

Scorpion Silver Mezcal Review

Mezcal Blanco
Imported from Oaxaca, Mexico
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: Around $35 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

Scorpion Silver MezcalWe've been excited about Scorpion Mezcal since the first time we heard about it, way back in January. We finally got our hands on it, and we weren't going to mess up the review - we put on our sombreros, mixed up some sangrita and sat down with the bottle.

In fact, we were so intent on doing a good review, we turned to outside help to make sure we examined the issue from all sides. We called in Intern Nicole, a well-known tequila enthusiast (and by enthusiast, we mean she's known to get into the tequila and start offering to buy rounds for everyone in the bar, from the band to the bouncer. Now that's an enthusiast!). She, along with interns Conor and Kathleen, settled down with us to pull our way through the bottle and see what we thought. Of course, the big question is "did we eat the scorpion?" Read on to find out.

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June 15, 2006

Compass Box Asyla Scotch Review

Compass Box Asyla
Blended Grain and Malt Scotch Whisky
80 Proof (40% ABV)
Typical Price: About $40 for 750ml - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits
Compass Box Website

Asyla WhiskyThere are a lot of Scotch drinkers out there who scoff at blended scotches. We're not sure why - just like anything else, there are good blends and bad blends out there. We've tried our share of both, and our latest acquisition is called "Asyla" by Compass Box.

We were initially surprised by the packaging, which had a much hipper look to it than the stodginess you can expect from many scotches - in fact, it reminded us more of a wine label. Not that it matters that most scotch bottles look like they were designed to appeal to your grandpa, but it still caught us off guard. It's not the bottle, it's the contents, right? Well, we can say we know our way around a scotch bottle, and Asyla is probably the best blend we've ever tasted.

[Editor's Note: The following review is full of more drooling and fawning than we generally allow ourselves in our reviews - bear with us...we like the stuff.]

The Color: This is the lightest whisky we can recall seeing - it's a light amber that reminds us of gold and honey.

The Nose: It was a case of love at first whiff for us - the softness of vanilla, the sweetness of fruit, a waft of oak. The smell was light and rich at the same time, complex but not overpowering. We were salivating before we even got it in the glass.

The Taste: It's moments like this that make us happy to be liquor reviewers. Delicate and dry, Asyla was sweet without overdoing it. We detected vanilla and honey and fruit on our tongue when we sipped, and the finish was spicy and quick. We also realized we didn't grimace when we swallowed, which is kind of our habit when we drink scotch.

We took another sip and realized this was scotch we could drink in gulps if necessary, a purely drinkable and agreeably tasty spirit. Most people think scotch is something to put up on a pedestal, to overthink, to appreciate and covet - this particular scotch is one to drink and enjoy. Nothing wrong with that.

The Verdict:This is a great scotch for people who don't think they like scotch. It's not whisky with training wheels, because it can definitely be enjoyed by scotch lovers as well. It's competely accessible and enviably tasty, from sweet start to classy finish, we plan to keep a bottle of Asyla on the premises at all times. If you're going to introduce someone to scotch via Asyla, keep in mind this interesting note we found on their site, which we never thought of. Of course, that's why they're the experts...

And please, don’t try to get new people into whisky by giving them a glass of neat whisky. Let’s face it, 40% spirit HURTS the tongue! (And spirit that is more than 40% alcohol hurts even more!) Some of us grow accustomed to this "pain", but it can be tough going on the uninitiated. People accustomed to drinking just beer and wine don’t ever encounter pain when they drink their drinks because the alcohol levels of those drinks are below the pain threshold of the tongue. So offer whisky to these people cut with water-I recommend about half and half, whisky to water, to start them out. Good whiskies will maintain their core flavour characteristics at this strength, and it doesn’t hurt your mouth!
Just remember not to use your chlorinated tap water - get your hands on some filtered or bottled water to add to your drinks, which is a good idea for any drink you add water to.

Head on over to to learn more about our new favorite whisky, and find out where you can pick up a bottle for yourself.

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