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What other fine spirits do you enjoy?

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stakenblocken started a discussion

I've never much cared for Cognac or any brandies but I've gotten into Armagnac recently and it has changed my perception of brandy entirely. I will never buy Cognac ever again. Where Cognac is boring, Armagnac has intense flavor. I also bought my first bottle of mezcal. I'm not much of a tequila person and admittedly the tequilas I do like, such as Clase Azul reposado and Partida reposado, are very nontraditional. I bought a bottle of Del Maguey Santo Domingo single village mezcal and it is easily the most complex non-aged spirit I have ever tasted. It rivals the fruity and smokey complexity of a great Islay Scotch. I had no idea that mezcal could be so wonderful. I only wish I had the money to buy the one aged in an ex-Napa cab cask.

12 years ago

30 replies

@michaelschout

@stakenblocken I'm like you in the fact that I like trying different spirits besides the core basics. My taste preferences are vast so I will pretty much enjoy any quality fine spirit, vodka being the exception. I've really tried to become a connoisseur of vodka, purchasing bottles from basic Absolut to more premium Belvedere and Grey Goose, but with the exception of smoothness, they all seem way too similar to me. Lately I've been enjoying aperatifs and digestifs like Dubonnet, Lillet, bitters, Grand Marnier, etc..

12 years ago 0

@OCeallaigh
OCeallaigh replied

I like brandies quite a bit, Armagnac being my favourite, and while it's not really a spirit, I love port for after dinner. Aside from my whisky love, I love cocktails, and second to rye whisky, gin is my favourite ingredient. I have been known to drink Gin straight on occasion, but not often.

But everything has its place. If I were in Mexico, I'd drink Tequila. If I were in Russia or Poland, I would drink Vodka. Just like when I am in Germany and Austria, I drink more beer than I ever drank in the States. It's all a cultural experience as much as anything for me.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

Peatpete replied

I dont mind the occassional brandy, and now am curious to try this Armagnac that people are mentioning.

Good vodka is nice, especialy out of the freezer, and I am very partial to a Vodka Martini.

Gin and tonic is my staple drink in the summer months.

Tequila and Rum are both spitits that I over indulged in as a youth, and now find difficult to share a room with.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

@coenleeuwen
coenleeuwen replied

I like Oude Jenever, Hollands variant on Gin, aged from 3 to 5 years

12 years ago 0

@MFish85
MFish85 replied

I'm open to trying all kinds of different spirits. My go to is usually cognac or rum. I've been wanting to give armagnac a try for a while too.

12 years ago 0

@Abunadhman
Abunadhman replied

For many years we, in Australia, had perhaps the finest two Rums in the World. They were never sold to the general public but were allocated to board members and share holders and were one each from the two major Distillers, namely Bundaberg and Beenleigh and no expense was spared in their production with 8 yrs. and more in selected butts.

They were Directors Special and Inner Circle Rums. They had all the charm and finesse of a fine Malt and both were characterized by a molasses, bushfire smokiness that was exquisite!

Both fell by the wayside at more or less the same time (late 70's) and availability of suitable casks was generally given as an explanation for their demise.

Inner Circle was reinstated by an enthusiastic band of Rum devotees: They were well intentioned (and well heeled) and had been given the original yeasts which the stillman had kept in his 'fridge for best part of 20 years. The Rum they produced was as good as the Original Inner Circle but the were torpedoed as a company; their product was too good. The brand still exists but is distilled in large part in Fiji and is, now, a pale shadow of its' former glory.

The 'Old Timers' remember them well. I qualify! The black label at about 69%abv. was Inner Circle's masterpiece and there are many (Old) Aussies who still mourn it"s passing.

The short answer...I don't mind the odd well made Rum!

12 years ago 0

@Carl
Carl replied

I do love Bombay Sapphire Gin! I have tried many others, but it's still my favourite. Mostly I like it stirred with ice, then strained and drink straight up with a twist of lemon perhaps. I don't like it shaken with a lot of ice, or to drink it on the rocks, it just gets diluted too much. Great also with tonic, although with tonic I can drink any brand of gin. A very dear friend of mine, unfortunately long since gone, used to make the best martini. I never found out until I enjoyed many of his martinis that he actually used scotch instead of vermouth. Just a wee couple of drops. Next summer, I will try a Bombay Sapphire martini, using Laphroaig QC instead of Vermouth. I don't really enjoy Vermouth in a martini, so I just drink the gin straight up, but it will be interesting to try it with a few drops of Laphroaig. I also love a Campari on the rocks sometimes before dinner. Love the bitter taste, but without soda. After dinner, I prefer to have a Jameson whisky over a brandy or cognac. For some reason, I find the Jameson gives me the same effect as the brandy but just a lot smoother. The past few years, not really much into beers, although an occasion heavy Scottish ALE with a beautiful Guinness Steak Pie at a local pub does the trick! Cheers, Carl

12 years ago 0

@gtommundsen
gtommundsen replied

After i became interested in whisky and the different flavours there are in these golden bottles, i've come to enjoy severeal other spirits as well. If i can get a good grappe (not the homemeda you get in many taverns in Italy) its almost as good as an ok whisky. Genever or Norwegian Aquavit is also one thing too enjoy at the right occations. In beer i drink almost whatever there are, i can enjoy a bottle of Budweiser just before i open a bottle of trappist beer, or wheatbeer. as long as it tastes good. it's also great to enjoy a bottle of wine to good food. im not a great fan sweet spirit like rum or liquers, nor do i like cognac, i think it tastes too nutty everytime i taste it. Tequila comes on the table when im out with my football team, but i would not buy a bottle to have in my collection. Absinth is ok, but neither this will be in my general collection. have never tasted Sherry. but as a whisky fan i think i someday have too :)

12 years ago 0

@Matthieu
Matthieu replied

Calvados. I've also tried Armagnac and Cognac, but, like wine, it just doesn't call to me. I love the calvados' slight tartness, in addition to its apple sweetness and the toasted oak spiciness, which remind me of apple crumble. I only have a single bottle yet (the Boulard Grand Solage V.S.O.P.), but I will be buying more someday, once I have bought the other whiskies I wanted to try. I've tried a local product, Michel Jodoin's Calijo de Rougemont, but, despite its nice nose, it is very rough in the finish, and a poor sipper.

On a side note, I have been looking for a website similar to connosr, but for brandy. Is there anything like that on the web?

12 years ago 0

@JeffC
JeffC replied

I like European bitters and I have tried several, like Fernet, Chartreuse, Campari, Cynar, Amaro Nonino, Averna, etc. There is omething about the flavour of these but every now and then I get on a real kick with these and drink them exclusively for a few weeks in a row. A few are so amazingly strong that I can barely stomach them--Fernet. Currently I am working through a bottle of Cynar and find that a small glass, say 20 cl, before dinner is very nice.

12 years ago 0

@Carl
Carl replied

On my last post, I forgot to mention Campari. If you like that sort of bitter aperatif. It is one of my favourites, just over ice, with a twist of lemon or orange. I find it very satisfying. Lots of people drink it with soda. However, I am not a big fan of soda with any of my drinks. Especially whisky. It just ruins a good whisky IMO. Cheers, Carl

12 years ago 0

@rwbenjey
rwbenjey replied

Cognac and rum

12 years ago 0

@cpstecroix
cpstecroix replied

After spending the drinking days of my youth drowning in rum and rye, I decided to take the foot off the gas, as it were and stick to scotch and wine. Of course, that was recently derailed by the lovely bourbon reviews on this site and now I find myself absolutely in love with the two bourbons I've recently picked up.

I also occasionally buy a mid tier gin for mixing with grapefruit juice and soda....but only in the summer, and only when I don't want to get anything done...

12 years ago 0

@StevieC
StevieC replied

I thoroughly enjoy Armagnac and Cognac. The older expressions taste like liquid satin. So smooth and flavourful. I also like a good quality Grappa. Cognac can't hold up to Armagnac's robust flavour. Luckily, Armagnac has not nearly been advertised or overplayed in hip-hop songs, which is unfortunately the way Cognac has been marketed.

I've tried tequila, but I haven't developed an acquired taste for it. I personally think that it too is an overrated spirit fuelled by pop culture. Calvados I find a bit too rough, but I haven't had the opportunity to try a good X.O.

12 years ago 0

Seriously for all of you who haven't tried Armagnac you need to try it! It's miles ahead of Cognac. Admittedly not being a big brandy lover, I can't say that a lot of the cognac I've had is much better than cheap Spanish, French or Mexican brandy. The entry level stuff is all the same and the expensive XO Cognacs to me aren't all that great. They get very smooth but they just aren't complex enough for me and therefore aren't worth the prices that most of them cost. Armagnac is distilled once whereas Cognac is most often double distilled. For this reason Cognac can be a little bit smoother than Armagnac but it does not even come close to matching its intense flavor. However this is not to say that Armagnac is harsh. It's just a little bit stronger, and your reward is a tremendous increase in flavor. I have also seen many vintage Armagnacs, something which I have very rarely seen if at all in Cognacs. The entry level Armagnacs tend to be a little bit more expensive than the cheapest Cognacs but the very best Armagnacs cost nowhere near the ridiculous amounts of those stupid Remy Martin Louis XIII and Hennessy Richard cognacs which are incredibly overpriced.

I make cocktails a lot too. My favorite would be caipirihnas, which are basically mojitos without mint and they only use cachaca, a Brazilian style of rum made from fresh sugar cane juice. Since I've tried cachaca I never use regular rum anymore. Cachaca is just so much better, and it's not even that expensive. Where I live Ypioca silver cachaca costs about 14 dollars for a liter and it's better than most of the more expensive ones. Gin martinis, manhattans, different kinds of daiquiris and vodka collins are also some of my favorites.

12 years ago 0

@JeffC
JeffC replied

@Stakenblocken, what is a good, reasonably priced and widely avaiable intro Armagnac you can recommend? i want to try some based on your enthusiastic resonse, I know some others who have raved about it as well so it's time I gave it a try.

12 years ago 0

@Matthieu
Matthieu replied

@JeffC Everything I've read about Armagnac seems to point to Tariquet for a good value. I bought their VSOP, and it is a pleasant drink, but I can't compare it with any other yet. Their "Folle Blanche 6 years" is supposed to be an "outstanding value" according to Charles Neal's book on Armagnac.

The review website Quebec Whisky does have a small section on Armagnac here, in French only, but you can can understand the notes: quebecwhisky.com/others/ . Their favourites are the Domaine de Chiroulet 15 and the Tariquet VSOP, luckily two of the most affordable ones at the SAQ (Québec's liquor store).

12 years ago 0

Toastbongo replied

I'm a huge fan of gin and I completely agree with @stakenblocken that armagnac is 100x better than congnac.

On the rum debate - the finest rum out there is available at the princely sum of £1 for a 500ml bottle... If you happen to be in Mozambique... Seriously, if you want a dark rum that is pure vanilla heaven with some serious African fire in it, Tipo Tinto is the one to get!

12 years ago 0

@Rover
Rover replied

@Toastbongo , an XO Brandy which is as near to a good whisky as you can get...

12 years ago 0

@Mahlzahn
Mahlzahn replied

I haven't been too interested in other spirits yet, but just received a fine bottle of Rum (Matusalem Grand Reserva 15y). I'll try it later today...we'll see if Rum will be added to my list of nice spirits ;)

I also enjoy a Tequila Gold with orange and cinnamon with friends sometimes. Or a very smooth vodka after a big meal. Polish Siwucha would be my favorite here (around 10€ a bottle and smoothest I know). However, Vodka isn't really something I'd consider a fine spirit because it lacks aroma and complexity. Never tried brandy,cognac or armagnac but will do based on what I read here so far.

12 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

I am an omniboire (my own word). If it is interesting I like it: gins, rums, brandies, tequilas, absinthes, liqueurs, eaux de vie, yes, even vodkas.

12 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

...and Soju.

12 years ago 0

@NoElf
NoElf replied

I'll pretty much try anything. I like Calvados, Gin, Rum, Vodka, Shochu even... but I really only buy whisky/ey & now, albeit slowly, bourbon. Occasionally I'll grab one of the above, but there's still too many whiskys to try that I can't drag myself away from them!

12 years ago 0

Toastbongo replied

@Victor Soju is surprisingly good! I have also wondered - has anyone here tried Taiwanese whisky? I was on an EVA Airways flight and it was fairly heavily advertised.

12 years ago 0

@Donough
Donough replied

@Victor Try the Japaneese Shochu. I adore it.

12 years ago 0

@ssmith84
ssmith84 replied

Whisky is my number 1 and always has been, but I do like other spirits.

Gin is not something that is on my list as my 21st birthday ruined it for me. Hendrix gin is the only one that I can really drink without gagging now.

Far as vodka, I like vodka martinies made with Ardbeg, Laphroaig or Lagavulin instead of vermouth like Carl. Reyka is my favorite to use as it is extremely smooth and the first choice for my girlfriend. Kettle One is also good, but only the unflavoured spirit. By the way Reyka is ranked with the likes of Crystal Head and Grey Goose but in Chicagoland runs about $17, I really recommend it for the vodka drinkers.

For rum I like cheap bottomself Sailor Jerry. I'm not much for rum straight, but then again I'm not well versed either.

Tequilia is probably the only other spirit that I have a taste for something more fancy. Casadores is my standby and I usually have a bottle of Reposado and Anejo on the shelf for the right mood. Casa Noble is acutally the Tequilia that I prefer over any other. It rivals SMSW in complexity more so then any other spirit I'm experienced with and they take their production very seriously.

Armagnac is not something that I have any experience with but I'm interested now. I have never really liked Cognac or Brandy, but you all have me convinced that it is well worth getting into. A bottle of Marie Daffau Napoleon was given to me for my birthday, has anyone tried this Armagnac?

Finally Absynthe is actually becoming an interesting drink for me. While the American versions aren't supposed to be as good, I sampled some from the Czek Republic and France that a friend brought back a few years ago and was very impressed and currently searching for a good site to order quality Absynthe from.

12 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@ssmith84, get yourself some St. George Absinthe. (San Francisco) Sublime.

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

@JoeVelo
JoeVelo replied

I bought Ron Antiguo de Solera Santa Teresa 1796 and I'm eager to open it. The El Dorado 12 yo should be empty soon.

12 years ago 0

@EvaRees
EvaRees replied

Like @JeffC, I have a weakness for European bitters, in particular Italian Amaros. They run the flavor gamut between red vermouth and Fernet Branca. My longtime favorite is Averna Amaro Siciliano, and recently I've been very happy with Nardini Amaro Bassano. In addition to being delicious in small quantities before or after meals, they also mix quite nicely with American whiskeys in cocktails.

12 years ago 0

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@Abunadhman