Browse Tag



The MacPhail’s Selected Single Distilleries Collection (Highland Park) 8 Year Scotch (Orkney) – Boring, though slightly less so than its stablemates. A little sweetness, a little spice, a little of not enough that’s nice. Just barely worth the $25 I paid for it, though one of the better blended whiskys would have been just as good, and probably cheaper. (10/10)

Hospices by hospices

Hospices de Beaune 1993 Marc de Bourgogne (Burgundy) – As red-Burgundian as a marc can be, full of the lovely blended fruit and autumnal richness of a nicely-aged wine and a warmness that never tips over into burn. (8/10)

Sour grapes

Marian Farms California Style Pisco (California) – Orange bubblegum. In a pisco? Welcome to California! Sweet and soft; not bad, necessarily, but certainly not what any knowledgeable pisco drinker is looking for. (8/10)

The librarian

Marian Farms “Epirito de la Valda” Brandy “Private Reserve” (California) – Supple, with good acidity and a fun side. Lots of wood, though. A little more than it can handle. (8/10)

Isn’t it Peconic?

Peconic Bay Spirits “Signature” Grape Brandy “sono rinata” (New York) – Apparently merlot, and be warned that it’s a clearer, more grappa-like style than it is a deep, wood-aged style. Or rather, I wish someone had warned me. Because I don’t care for this at all. It tastes like corn, and the alcoholic bite is harsh and ungainly. (8/10)


Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year Bourbon (Kentucky) – As with the superior bottlings from this distillery, the wood-infused peach and caramel are more lively and less barrel-deadened than many other commercial bourbons. And while I don’t mean to suggest that this isn’t good – it is; in fact, it’s better than most – it doesn’t quite have the complexity of the longer-aged and more eccentric bottlings. This is carping, I know. (7/10)


Romano Levi Grappa (Piedmont) – A “little girl” label on this one. I think most would call this fruity, but I’m not sure that’s it…the “fruit” is somewhat impressionistic, or perhaps even abstract. Not cubist. It roils with tactile complexity, as much textural as aromatic, and despite the typically cauldronesque warmth of grappa, there’s so much to both the texture and the aromatics that the heat goes almost unnoticed. Until later, at least. Definitely on the richer, more luxuriant side of Levi grappas, yet what’s most surprising is that this isn’t expressed alongside concomitant gravity, but instead with delicious weightlessness. Succulent and, reviewed in summary, majestic. (5/10)

Nardini’s escape

Nardini “Bassano” Grappa (Veneto) – Dominated by its floral/fruity/nutty notes rather than its heat or gasaholic stridency, which is welcome and unfortunately not common enough with grappa. (5/10)