Togouchi Japanese Blended Whisky & Thai Basil Whisky Smash

The days when Japanese whisky was still considered an insider tip are long gone. Rather, “Japanese whisky” has risen to become its own premium brand, so to speak, and “made in Japan” has become a firm sales guarantee. Well, also the Chugoku Jozo distillery near Hiroshima benefits from this, having already expanded its product range in the 1990s to include whisky besides their traditional focus on Shochu. However, not everything here is as it seems. Read More

Vestal Vodka and the P&P Cobbler

Yes, today it is actually once again about vodka. This might surprise some readers of my blog because whenever I did vodka reviews here in the past – despite some quite positive surprises in the taste profiles – my overall impression remained rather subdued. Of course: there are qualitative differences, but these are mostly so subtle that only those who highly concentrate and pay attention to even the most volatile nuances will find them. And here, of course, the critical question is allowed: who does that in “everyday life”? Exactly: almost nobody. Read More

Thompson Bros. Organic Highland Gin, Vermouth Del Professore & Olio e Lamponi

Gin and whisky are of course two very different animals. However, in the eyes of many whisky manufacturers, a real love affair seems to have developed when it comes to the classic juniper distillate. The reasons are certainly quite simple: Gin can be produced much faster than whisky and is a good guarantor of income – especially for young distilleries whose whiskies have to mature for some time before they can be sold under this name. Read More

Clairin Communal & Cup Haïtien

Whoever is doing some research about the production of rum will more or less immediately read about the Caribbean. Most likely, you will find a lot of information about the production of sugar cane, the historical roots of rum as a waste product, the distinction between molasses rum and rhum agricole made from sugar cane juice and so on. In recent times, the focus has increasingly been on special yeast strains, some of which have been used consistently for centuries to trigger the fermentation process of sugar cane juice or molasses. Another subject in many books about rum are various filtration techniques. Well, today it’s once again about Clairin from the island state of Haiti in addition to classic rum and rhum. Read More

G. Rozelieures Subtil Collection & Pear Group Member

Almost exactly one and a half years ago I’ve written a few articles about the G. Rozelieures Whiskys from the distillery Grallet Dupic located in the French village of Rozelieures in Lorraine. To be honest, I was quite positively surprised by the quality of these smoky continental whiskies at that time, since they didn’t have that certain resemblance to fruit eau de vies a lot of continental whiskys bring with them (which you don’t really want that much in a single malt whisky). And that was not only the case due to their peated character. Read More

Herr der Frösche Absinth & Choc Frog

It’s been quite a while since I specifically wrote about Absinthe in this blog. There is actually no special reason for this break, except maybe that Absinthe is more of a niche product and in cocktails it is rarely the main actor in a drink. Nevertheless, hardly anyone would dare not recognizing absinthe as what it is: one of the most traditional and elementary ingredients in any bar assortment. Read More

Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin & Yellow Schaf

If you are interested in cocktails and their history, it will not take long until you stumble upon stories about the American prohibition and other prohibition laws. However, hardly any other law has had such a significant influence on the spirits market and the way cocktails are mixed as the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America had. The law was in force between 1920 and 1933. On many bar menus around the globe there are even categories like Pre-Prohibition, Prohibiton and Post-Prohibition era cocktails. Each with their own focus and distinguishing features. Read More

Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky & Coffey Addict

Hardly any other ascent has been as meteoric as the rise of Japanese whisky in recent years. In 2014 it was the Yamazaki single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 that established the record of 97.5 out of 100 points in Jim Murray’s famous “Whisky Bible” and set off a veritable avalanche. The result was a significant rise in prices accompanied by an equally significant shortage of stocks (you don’t have to be an expert on economics to understand this relationship). The effects are still evident today. Read More

Berliner Brandstifter Berlin Vodka & The Flower Sour

Vodka has become an almost polarizing type of spirit. Before (and also during the very beginning) of nowadays cocktail renaissance, vodka was, so to speak, the “No. 1 mixing spirit” – which it still is in many establishments of the mass gastronomy or, for example, in large discotheques that emphasize sophistication and drinking culture a little less. However, in the meantime, something has happened to vodka: a development, which is attracting increasing attention. Read More

The Antigua Distillery – Heavy Traditional Rum & Heavy Rum Julep

The name Luca Gargano enjoys an incredible reputation in the world of rum and his word and expertise are not only in demand, but also for many it is a guarantee of quality and liquid joy. The mastermind and founder of the Italian bottler and importer Velier has played a decisive role in shaping the rum market with various single cask and vintage bottlings – especially in the upmarket and high-end segment. Therefore, it is no wonder there is even some advertising done with his name. Read More

Palms Arrak & Lapsang Souchong Ruby Punch

Arrack or Arrak (a uniform spelling does not really exist here unfortunately) is often named the oldest spirit of the world. To what extent this really corresponds to the truth is controversial. However, it is very well proven that it may be an aspirant for the title of the oldest spirit, considering the fact that already in the 2nd millennium B.C. Arrak was produced in India. Be that as it may, in the present Arrak is undoubtedly a beautiful enrichment of the range of spirits available. Read More

Île Four Sake and some cocktail ideas

First of all, I wish all readers a happy new year 2019! Moreover, I’m entering 2019 here on the blog in a Japanese way. Once again, I would like to deal with Japanese bottlings, which recently found their way to me and which are expanding the range of Japanese products available. These are several bottles bearing the name Île Four, which at first sounds little Japanese. Read More

Compagnie des Indes Caribbean 10 & Dominidad 15 – Caribbean Blend Old Fashioned

Independent bottlers enjoy a vast popularity among spirits lovers. Especially in the rum sector, many connoisseurs love the chance to get a rum into their glasses that – provided they trust the independent bottler and the product transparency – promises a more genuine (and unadulterated) experience than the official bottlings of some countries and brands would ever do. One of these quite popular bottlers comes from France: the Compagnie des Indes series. Read More

Windspiel Kraut & Knolle – Kraut, Knolle & Cola

It has been quite a while since I wrote about the Windspiel Gin from the German Eifel region. The special feature of the company behind this product, the Windspiel Manufaktur GmbH, is the potato base, which is also reflected in the taste profile and mildness of the distillate. And while the Windspiel Gin has always convinced me until the present day, I now want to take a closer look at a bottle that takes a slightly different path. Read More

Rutte Old Simon & Like Drinking from a Nutshell

With more than a decade of unbroken enthusiasm for gin, the ancestor of the British juniper distillate is increasingly coming to the fore. And this is no other than the genever from the Netherlands. When English soldiers came into contact with this spirit during the Eighty Years’ War, the basis for the later development of gin on the island was laid. However, the whole story has been told so often that I don’t want to go through it again today. Read More

Hepple Gin, Supasawa & the H. and H. Cocktail

The classic Martini Cocktail has never really had an easy time in Germany. Although it is also known as the “King of Cocktails” in the English-speaking world, where it is linked to countless anecdotes and where almost philosophical currents have developed around the question of how to prepare it the right way. In German-speaking countries, it still takes a backseat to what it should be. Read More

Plantation Single Cask Guatemala XO & Plantation Single Cask Panama 12 Years – Guatemala Julep & The Rubeus

Lately I have mentioned on varios occasions that South and Central American rums are often subject of debates. In my recent article about the Mexican Ron El Prohibido 15 I did criticize the practice of adding sugar or even so called “softeners” like glycerine to the rum (while not declaring it publicly). Against this background, external or independent bottlers are a very good way of approaching rum from these nations from a different angle. Read More

KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin & The Kyoto Gardener

In 2012, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan for the first and only time so far. Even back then, it was clear to me that the impressions I would gather on this trip would last as vivid memories for the rest of my life. Japan is a multi-facetted and fascinating country that also offers a level of cultural sophistication that is second to none. This is especially true when talking about the old imperial city of Kyoto, which is the breathtaking historical heart of the country with its temples, Buddhist schools, Shinto shrines, gardens and surrounding nature. Read More

Elephant Sloe Gin & Sloegroni

Whenever I’m moderating a gin tasting, I am faced with the difficult question of the right choice of gins. In the end, it all depends very much on what you want to achieve with the tasting: Should it be about the widest possible range of different gin styles and tastes? Should the focus perhaps be more on the subtleties of different London dry gins? Are you restricting yourself to the label “Dry Gin” and taking a middle course? Making the right decision is not always easy. Read More

El Ron Prohibido Gran Reserva 15 & Forbidden Pear

Today we are talking about something “forbidden”: The El Ron Prohibido. Of course, it is no longer forbidden, but it looks back on a story that explains the strange name. Originally, this molasses distillate was produced in Mexico and from there it was shipped via the Cuban capital Havana to Spain. Because the rum was so successful that Spanish spirits producers were affected, the Spanish king banned the rum without further ado. At least that’s what the marketing story tells us. Read More

The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey & The Auld Triangle

Ireland and whiskey obviously belong together. Although Ireland has one of the highest alcohol taxes in Europe, there’s hardly anything so closely associated with the island in the west of England, apart from Guinness, butter, the color green and the four-leafed clover. But the history of Irish whiskey is a very changeable one and among many whiskey connoisseurs the reputation of the Irish “water of life” is not as good as you might think. Read More

Conde de Cuba Rum

Cuban rum enjoys an excellent reputation. Not only in the USA, where in particular the Havana Club brand sums up the limited availability of rum from the socialist Caribbean island. Among the Spanish-speaking rum nations, Cuba is regarded as an exemplary, solid and classic producing country. Reliable and strict rum legislation therefore guarantees quality and explicitly prevents the addition of any artificial flavourings. And even if the addition of sugar is not explicitly excluded, it is not the rule. Read More

Dr. Sours Bitters

Among the many new releases in the bar segment, it is sometimes really not easy to keep track of things. Although I regularly read print magazines and other blogs, browse through forums and groups in the social networks, have conversations in bars and at trade fairs and so on ad nauseam, I also occasionally happen to make one or two discoveries. When and how I first came upon the product series to be reviewed here today, I unfortunately forgot. But I do remember that it really stood out. Read More

Ming River Sichuan Baijiu & “Crossing the Silk Road”

Today I have a tough row to hoe – in several respects. Because today I’m writing about a product that belongs to a category which I have not dealt with here until now, which is still relatively unknown in Europe and, on top of that, represents a real challenge to me. And the topic “Baijiu” is gigantic (while my first contact with Baijiu was gigantically bad). Read More