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Reviews of 'Other' Spirits: A bit of (forced) fun

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@RianC
RianC started a discussion

OK, my partner won't be drinking for a while now and we have a shelf full of spirits that, bar the nice Japanese gin I bought her, I won't be delving into that often (sssh!). I thought though it might be fun to, every now and then, sample one and do a little mini-review on a thread - for a giggle if nothing else - and thought others may want to do the same with their miscellaneous bottles!?

This is basically aimed at those weird and wonderful things that end up cluttering the bar/shelf: examples would be Malibu, cheap vodka or rum, naff liqueurs and so on.

Come on . . . you know you want to ;)

6 months ago

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Replies: page 1/2

@RianC
RianC replied

I'll set the ball rolling with a review of Cointreau.

Nose - Alcoholic oranges. Better than orange flavoured vodka but not far off. The orange note is quite pleasant though. Not too sweet, a bit like a Terry's chocolate orange, minus the choc.

Taste - Sweeter than the nose, quite a nice oily mouthfeel actually. It's oranges, quelle surprise, but with a bit of rind in there as well. Not that bad to be fair.

Finish - Short and vodkaish but it doesn't sting or burn at all. Orange syrup lingers a wee bit.

This was bought with Margaritas in mind, and it does make quite a nice one with some lime and Jimador Reposado tequila. Not quite a sipper though, well, if you like oranges you might, but better than I'd expected.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@RianC What would you score it?

I like the idea of reviewing other spirits, though would prefer a more formal platform (like an "other spirit" option in "add a review". I have some chinese grape spirit made by a frenchman that I would love to review.

6 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@Nozinan - Well, I can't compare it to malts but as something to sip on I'd say mid seventies.

Yeah a section for other spirits would be a good idea. This is only meant as a bit of fun but feel free to stick a that review here relaxed

6 months ago 0

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

I quite like the idea of being able to review other spirits, I know @talexander had started one of other spirits done by independent bottlers but if this one is open to anything it's quite nice.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander replied

@cricklewood Yes, I love this idea. I enjoy gin, cognac, Armagnac, other brandies. Less so vodka and liqueurs. If/when I think of it, I'll post on here!

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie replied

A friend has a home still (completely legal here in NZ) and uses it to produce neutral spirit to which he adds various commercial essences or flavourings to make approximations of various spirits. I've tried a few and they are.......rubbish. Anyway, I asked him for some raw spirit to make an infused gin. The stuff he gave me was 87% ABV and in this I steeped juniper berries, bay leaf, fennel. green cardamom pods, cinnamon, lemon peel, and black peppercorns for a couple of days. It was a pale yellow-green colour. I've now learned about a phenomenon called the ouzo effect. Basically, the high concentration of alcohol extracted LOTS of essential oils and flavours from the botanicals. This was held dissolved in the liquid until I diluted it. As water was added the high amount of essential oils were unable to stay dissolved and formed an emulsion of oil in water - turning the bottle a milky yellow colour. Not quite what I was expecting and not particularly appetising!

So, the tasting notes: Appearance: cloudy yellow with green tinges. Nose: resinous, pine needles, some spiciness. Ethanol sweetness and bite. Palate: a mouthful of pine needles, green herbs (rosemary, thyme), some sweetness on the back of the tongue and alcohol bite. Finish: pine resin, green vegetation, and bitterness. Not something to be sipped by itself - but with in a suitable mixer the resinous notes stand proud. I'm not too fussed with it but my mate wants me to make some more. I think I'll stick to my single malts thanks very much.

6 months ago 2Who liked this?

@fiddich1980
fiddich1980 replied

@Hewie The effect you describe when adding water, is very similar to the effect of adding water to Absinthe.

6 months ago 0

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@fiddich1980 Yeah I understand it's the same thing - not that I've ever tried absinthe myself. Anyone done it with ouzo?

6 months ago 0

@RianC
RianC replied

@Hewie - Yes. Raki does the same thing - I quite like it but I might have raised an eyebrow if gin did it! How long did you steep for? When we did home made gin(s) we found that less was more, if you know what I mean?

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@RianC yes I think you're right. I steeped the juniper for 48 hours, the other bits and pieces for the last 24 hours. I think using such high strength spirit extracted too much flavour.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Hewie Did you consider putting some of that spirit into oak?

6 months ago 0

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@Nozinan TBH it's probably not worth the effort. Apart from buying a used wine barrel I'm not sure what is available for use here (and that would be large scale experiment).

6 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Hewie Have you tried Amazon? They have 2 L oak casks. Throw in your sherry of choice for 6 months, empty, and throw in the spirit.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander replied

Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum 63% ABV

In 1825 John Wray established his rum company in Kingston, Jamaica, and also established the Shakespeare Tavern there (which was very successful). In 1860 he took his 22-year-old nephew Charles Ward into the business, and eventually made him a partner, naming the company J. Wray & Nephew. After Wray's retirement in 1864, Ward took over the business. After Ward's death, Lindo Bros. & Co. took over, also purchasing the Appleton Estate. J. Wray & Nephew is now owned by Campari Group.

This bottle was recently purchased through the Waddington's Spirits Auction ($33 vs. the $40 current retail price). It is freshly opened.

The colour is clear. On the nose it is a crash of industrial-strength alcohol, with some nice notes of Liquorice All-Sorts, Pledge furniture polish, plantain chips, Maltesers and vanilla. Pam gets banana leaves, but I can't take credit for that note because I don't know what banana leaves smell like. Hint of aloe. Far more complex than I was expecting - very enjoyable nose. 21

The palate is clearly white rum, with serious alcohol heat, menthol, milk chocolate, star anise and both green banana and green apple skins. Buttery mouthfeel. As a 63% ABV white spirit, this is obviously alcohol-dominant but again, its surprising complexity is apparent. 21

The short finish is not as rough as you would expect, with white pepper notes (and little else). 19.

I've had higher-strength overproof white rums before, which were just horrific - rough and painful - but this is surprisingly complex and not without delicacy. Though it's a bit rough around the edges here and there, this is more than drinkable. Although I'm more likely to use this as a mixer or in a cocktail (especially a hot toddy!), it is very sippable. Balance: 21. Total score: 82

5 months ago 3Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@talexander a friend gave me a bottle of Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum a couple of years ago. It is far more sip-able than is the typical unaged rum. While I like my current bottle of it, I also had a sample of it about 3 years ago which I didn't care for. My bottle of it, estimated by the guy who gave it to me to be bottled at around 1984, doesn't even have the ABV listed on the label.

5 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@talexander - Serge reviewed this recently and scored it highly, around 89 if memory serves. I’ll have to get a bottle once my better half can drink again as I bet it makes a damn fine mojito!

5 months ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@RianC 89 points for Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum? I cannot see that. I'd be near @talexander's scoring.

5 months ago 0

@RianC
RianC replied

@Victor - well that does seem high but he can be quite quirky at times. Still, even low 80s for such a spirit is very respectable.

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander replied

@RianC Correct, I just looked it up. I've cut and pasted Serge Valentin's review:

Wray & Nephew ‘White Overproof’ (63%, OB, Jamaica, +/-2017) Four stars and a half

LOL, overproof indeed. This is going to be some fight against the Bielle! Hope this baby won’t make my spectacles opaque… Colour: white. Nose: just what the doctor ordered, that is to say rotting bananas and lemons, diesel oil, brine, ink, coal tar, plastic, and metal polish. With water: perfect brine plus lemon juice mix. Mouth (neat): more on cane juice, traditional rum, liquorice, lemon juice, and more liquorice. But it’s hard to, cough, cough, sip it like that. Burns your throat, don’t have foie gras after this (yeah yeah, I know). With water: gets a tad rounder, sweeter, more sugary, but that’s some kind of decoy as the salty oils and the big lemons are soon to fight back. Finish: long, simple, perfect. Comments: splendid spirit at a fantastic price. Superb value for money, not to be found in whisky anymore (please insert crying violins and long sobs here…). I’m afraid I like it even more than both Hampden’s Rum Fire and Worthy Park’s Rum Bar, while wondering if this Wray & Nephew really stems from Appleton Estate? I agree, I should ask a proper rum expert…

SGP:464 - 89 points.

5 months ago 1Who liked this?

@fiddich1980
fiddich1980 replied

@bwmccoy My impressions of the Isle Of Harris Gin ABV 45%, infused with sugar kelp

I picked up a bottle: If there were a gin to buy purely on the looks of the bottle this is the one, designed by Stranger and Stranger.

Nose: Saline ocean breeze, floral, coriander, citrus lime evolving into grapefruit background of anise/citrus/lime, subtle hint of roasted seaweed

Palate: mild pepper spice, pine, juniper, grapefruit sweetness, briney with mild salt, warming spices, not over the top

Finish: orange pith, licorice, ripe grapefruit sweetness

Overall: a lovely balanced sipper on it's own, complemented by subtle nuances of flavour elements throughout. Where is the sugar kelp? It is in the back ground on the nose. It reminds me of a Japanese green tea which uses toasted rice and seaweed as it's main flavour elements. I have not yet gotten around to mixing it with tonic water. I suspect it would make a delicious G&T.

3 months ago 6Who liked this?

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@RianC
RianC replied

@fiddich1980 - Nice review! It sounds lovely and thanks for giving this thread a bump!

I've got some Roku Gin, a couple of rums, a Raki and a tequila that I could review here . . .

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@JasonHambrey
JasonHambrey replied

@RianC I absolutely love Roku gin. Very floral, very well balanced - it is one of the best gins I've had, and I've reviewed >100 gins. But, it's a matter of taste, of course. I'd be interested to see what you think.

@talexander @Victor I recently picked up a bottle of Wray & Nephew ($11/L at the Jamaican duty free - that's a deal!). I quite liked it, but not as much as the very smoky/briny Hampden's Rum-Fire or the earthy Worthy Park's Rum-Bar which both feature a lot of pot-still rum and are bottled at 63% and similarly priced in the Jamaican duty free (I was there last week). I rated it an 85, and would take it on par with a whisky I rate an 85. I actually rated Rum-Fire an 88 and Rum-Bar an 87, they are among the best unaged spirits I've tasted. But I have found my palate liking good younger distillates more in recent years (interestingly enough). There are lots of bad younger distillates.

My tasting notes for Wray & Nephew: A very rich nose: creamed corn, orange, lemon, grapefruit, fresh blueberry, light spice. Somewhat briny and oily. Pickled lemons, crinkly black olives, bananas, young bamboo shoots, and rich earthy notes. Very nice nose. The palate is thick, with baking spices and lots of fruit, pickled red peppers, truffle dried olives – the palate completely stands up to the full strength, but it takes water well too. The finish has molasses, light caramelized sugar, simmered collard greens, jack fruit, and light mixed chemical notes. Slightly sour. Very good! I’d only want one dram of this at a time, but I’d enjoy it.

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@JasonHambrey - I have should have some spare time over the next week or so, so will put a review on here - it is definitely floral in a unique way and has improved loads with air. I said recently on here that it's up there with The Botanist for the best gin I've had so far.

In fact,I'm going to stick my neck out and say that if you want the best gin(s), go to a whisky distillery smile

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander replied

@JasonHambrey Interesting, I've never successfully been able to add water to any spirit other than whisky. If it's not whisky, it just seems to dilute and destroy everything.

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@talexander try a drop or 2 of water in a 10-15 cc pour of Lemon Hart 151 in a small to medium snifter. I think you'll find it opens up.

3 months ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Nozinan, stop for a second, 10 - 15 ml, really?! Poor @talexander must be wondering if you've dropped a zero! wink

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge at 75.5%, and with the richness of flavour and aroma, 10-15 cc is all you need for hours of entertainment.

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

My first bottle has lasted 2 years now, and still about half full if I remember correctly.

Caution, do not use near open flame...

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

@casualtorture

People in the know say that aged dark rum is the next big thing.

3 months ago 0

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@casualtorture

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