Category: Spirits Reviews

Gin Review: Caorunn Gin

Caorunn GinScottish GinGrade:(Highly Recommended)Price: $35 (750ml) Everybody knows Scotland makes great whiskey. The distillers of Caledonia have been crafting exquisite spirits for generations, becoming the envy of the distilling world. But now my ancestral homeland is starting to earn a reputation for quality gin as well. It makes sense. Making a good gin requires distilling … Read more

Whiskey Review: Hakushu 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Hakushu 12 Year Old Single MaltJapanese WhiskyGrade:(Superb)Price: $60 (750ml) Japanese whisky has been steadily growing in popularity in the United States, but I hadn't had the opportunity to try any until recently. After enjoying a glass of Hakushu 12 Year Old, it's clear to see why this whisky is winning so many fans. Similar in style … Read more

Whiskey Review: Stagg Jr. Bourbon

Stagg Jr.Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyGrade: (Highest Recommendation)Price: $50 (750ml) Buffalo Trace Distillery has long been one of the most aggressive whiskey outfits when it comes to experimenting with and producing new bourbons. Their latest is one that's already generating a great deal of interest: Stagg Jr. A younger version of the highly sought-after George T. Stagg … Read more

Taste Test: Spiced Rum

Spiced rum is a category of spirits that often gets no respect. And for good reason, too: it's usually pretty gross. But there are times when spiced rum can be useful. Mixing up a punch or grog, for example, or giving a little extra zing to a Rum and Coke. What should you do in … Read more

Gin Review: Aviation Gin

Aviation GinAmerican GinGrade:(Superb)Price: $28 (750ml) First launched in 2006 as one of the pioneers of the new trend in American gins, Aviation has been repackaged with a striking new look that classes up the bottle to match the contents. Aviation tastes like gin, but not the gin we're used to. It has the requisite juniper … Read more

Rum Review: Shellback Silver Rum

Shellback Caribbean Silver Rum Bajan Rum Grade: (Average) Price: $16 (750ml) Shellback Caribbean Rum, currently available in silver and spiced varieties, represents another bold move into the spirits world by E.&J. Gallo, the ubiquitous California winemakers. It’s produced in Barbados by the West Indies Rum Distillery, the company that also make the rum that goes into Cockspur and Malibu. … Read more

Whiskey Review: John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Bourbon

John J. Bowman Single BarrelVirginia Straight Bourbon WhiskeyGrade: (Above Average)Price: $50 (750ml) I've been a resident of the Old Dominion for the past ten years, so I have a particular interest in Virginia spirits. This is especially true when it comes to the products made by A. Smith Bowman, since I lived just a few … Read more

Thoughts on Grading Spirits

When I started Professor Cocktail it seemed natural to assign letter grades when reviewing spirits. It just makes sense: the professor gives grades. But as I've written a bunch of reviews over the past year, I've grown to question the usefulness of a grading scale for booze that mirrors the familiar classroom model. I've asked … Read more

Liqueur Review: Bols Pumpkin Smash

Bols Pumpkin SmashFruit LiqueurFinal Grade: FPrice: $12 (1L) If you're anything like me, the idea of a nice, spicy fall-like cocktail sounds delicious. And one of the most quintessentially fall flavors is pumpkin. A pumpkin cocktail sounds great, right? So around this time last year I headed for the liquor store in search of pumpkin … Read more

Taste Test: Bourbons from $25 to $50

We conducted the second round of our bourbon taste test last weekend. The whiskeys this time all had a suggested retail price of between $25 and $50. (Our first Bourbon Taste Test featured bourbons under $25.) As was the case last time, some of the samples were provided by the distilleries and some were from my … Read more