Browse Tag


Three-star general

Château du Tariquet Bas-Armagnac “Classique ***” (Southwest France) – This is the entry-level Armagnac. Raw wood, leafy, and creamy. Chocolate and caramel over pecans and hazelnuts. Lush and seductive, with a long finish. It lacks the more complex and subtle characteristics of better Armagnacs, and it’s a bit dessert-like in character, but it’s quite pleasant. (3/08)

You pays your money

[glass & bottle]Dupont Calvados du Pays d’Auge (Normandy) – Hints of pink pepper dust, liquid metal, and some sun-browned earth. Plus apples, naturally. Fairly simple, but very pleasant. (7/08)


Darroze 1974 Bas-Armagnac (Southwest France) – Warming alcoholic heat, but balanced and supple. Concentrated black raspberry with notes of walnut. And…is it? Yes, it is. A touch of cream (4/06).

Greenore red

Greenore “Single Grain” Irish Whiskey (Ireland) – Peat, herb, smoke, nut, and barrel, with a lot more complexity than I’m used to; I’ve never turned the same attention to Irish whiskey as I have to Scotch whisky, so this is a bit of a revelation. It’s incredibly smooth, but more “alive” than most that I’ve tasted. (5/08)

Away, away with rum, by gum

[bottle]JM 1997 Rhum “Vieux Millésimé” (Martinique) – Not just sugar and wood, but also smoky and marshy, with a great deal of complexity that very nearly overcomes the weight of the alcohol. No rum connoisseur I, but this is the best I’ve tasted. (5/08)

Bas Skaggs

Grouet 1964 Bas-Armagnac (Southwest France) – Incredibly rich with mixed nuts and well-aged stone fruit. Yet somehow, it retains a vivid youthfulness. Maybe the best way to describe it is strong-willed. Truly excellent. (4/06)


[label]Ramazzotti Amaro (Lombardy) – Probably my least favorite amaro thus far in my post-Sicilian explorations. Bitter, lightly sweet, but with nothing to add complexity or interest aside from the basic structure of the form. Eminently boring. (3/08)

The name of Darroze

Darroze 1985 Bas-Armagnac (Southwest France) – Almond cream and wood. Warming rather than hot, as a brandy should be. A bit on the simple side, however. (4/06)


[label]Van Winkle “Special Reserve” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 12 Years Old “Lot B” (Kentucky) – Stone fruit and sweet wood with some burn; this is more aggressive than many in its category, with an edge that I’m moved to call bitter. I like it, then I don’t, then I’m not sure. I suppose that’s a positive note. (2/08)

Miclo, boldhi

[stills]G. Miclo Gentiane Eau de Vie (Alsace) – Made from gentian root, a traditional element of bitters that also shows up in the now-cultish soft drink Moxie. It’s full of slate and a harsh metallic edge not unlike that of raw turmeric, with a sharpness that I don’t care for. (3/06)