Luxe Liquors: The Spirit of Giving – Part 2
Food & Spirits: When considering gift ideas this season and next, just go with the flow-with a tasty libation, that is. Indeed, a luxe liquor will never disappoint.
Should the spirit of giving inspire the giving of spirits, here’s a second round of palate pleasers that have my resounding recommendation:
Macallan Fine Oak 21 (www.ForScotchLovers.com)
The “ultimate gift” idea for the single malt whisky lover who has everything, Macallan Fine Oak 21 ($2,500) stands alone. With just twenty-one engraved bottles commissioned from Inner Light Crystal Studios, one of the leading glass design studios on the world, this gorgeous limited edition bottle is graced with an image of a soaring eagle inspired by words like strength, heritage, individuality, fortitude, wisdom, inspiration and integrity. Each individually numbered bottle is signed by the artists and is accompanied by a pair of CelticMalts Spirits Glasses as well as a certificate of authenticity also signed by the artists. The combination of this extraordinary engraving coupled with Macallan Fine Oak 21’s high-caliber whisky, creates an artistic combination to be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Tequila Don Julio Real (www.DonJulio.com)
Aged for three to five years in American white oak barrels, Don Julio Real ($350) is the most exclusive tequila in the Don Julio portfolio. The golden color, rich aromas and smooth flavors of this limited offering are fully enhanced through the decanter-shaped bottle adorned with agave leaves. Don Julio Real is an Extra Añejo, a new classification reserved for the most exclusive of tequilas aged for three or more years. The luxury tequila of choice in Mexico, Tequila Don Julio uses only the choicest, fully matured and ripened blue agave hand-selected from the rich, clay soils of the Los Altos region. For the ultimate tequila experience, sip Don Julio Real neat in a specialized tequila glass.
Crown Royal Cask 16 (www.CrownRoyal.com)
You can never go wrong when including a classic label as a holiday present, hostel gift or party favor. This holds particularly true for the new luxury, cognac inspired Crown Royal Cask 16 ($100.00) – the newest addition to the company’s renowned Canadian Whisky portfolio. Crown Royal Cask No. 16 combines the luxurious taste of cognac with the flavorful and lingering taste experience of Crown Royal to form an incredible new liquid. A unique blend of more than 50 distinct aged whiskies, this unique blend of Canadian whisky is finished in rare cognac casks from the renowned Limousin Forest in France. The combination of the oak/fruitiness of the cognac and the whisky grains create layers of flavor – butterscotch, then vanilla, with notes of dried raisin and spiciness built in. Here’s a tip: add a couple of ice cubes to bring out the fruit notes from the cognac.
Port Ellen and Brora Single Malt Whiskies (www.Malts.com)
Classic Malts Selection, the world’s finest collection of single malt whiskies representing all the major whisky flavor styles in Scotland, has unveiled a number of new expressions including Port Ellen – a 29-Year-Old Rare Edition – and Brora – a 25-Year-Old Rare Edition. Matured to perfection and available in limited quantities, these single malts are sure to satisfy the palates of whiskey connoisseurs, collectors and enthusiasts alike. The 29-Year-Old Expression Port Ellen is especially unique because it hails from what is called a “ghost distillery,” meaning the distillery has closed and there are limited quantities of its whisky still available. It offers a fascinating and bold character rounded off by lingering smoke. A total of 600 individually numbered bottles are available in the U.S. Brora, the 25-Year-Old expression also from a “ghost distillery,” is also a rarity – there are only 456 bottles available in the U.S. Classic Malts Selection has also introduced five other exquisite special releases. All seven range in price from $80 to $400.
Luce 2005 (www.LuceWines.com)
Combining the roundness and suppleness of Merlot with the structure and elegance of Sangiovese, French oak aged Luce 2005 ($79.95) is a velvety smooth, firm-structured wine that boasts a deep purplish-ruby red color and multi faceted palate supported by a massive suite of fine-grained, ripe tannins. Its almost endless finish crowns this impressive offering. The nose initially releases ripe dried plum and bright wild berry fruit, with blueberry and raspberry predominating, complemented by clean-edged notes of morello cherry, yielding gradually to more pungent essences, including impressions of eucalyptus and menthol, which shade into spicy black pepper, cinnamon, and smooth vanilla. Last to emerge are enticingly crisp nuances of mown hay, black liquorice, and pencil lead.
Maestro Dobel (www.MaestroDobel.com)
The world’s first declared Diamond-Clear Aged Tequila, Maestro Dobel ($74.99) is a gem. A result of a proprietary blending and filtration technique, Maestro Dobel is a careful blend of Reposado, Anejo and Extra-Anejo tequilas that have been gently filtered, giving the tequila an incredible “Diamond Clarity” and crispness. Maestro Dobel is a non-traditional tequila that has the complexity of an aged cognac and the crispness of a luxury vodka. Hand-crafted in small batches, the proprietary blend is aged in new, Balkan oak casks from Bulgaria. Like a diamond, Dobel can be judged by four “C’s.” Clarity for its “Diamond Clarity,” Complexity for the blending of multiple aged tequilas, Crispness derived from herbal and citrus aromas coupled with double distillation in pot stills, and Craftsmanship at the hands of Tequila Maestros – Marco Anguiano and Luis Yerenas – who created the special blend for Dobel. Each and every bottle of Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila is unique; filled, labeled by hand, and individually signed and numbered by the Tequila Maestro. With a base and cork forged from solid metal, the tailored Dobel bottle has an elegance unlike any other I’ve seen.
La Fée Absinthe Parisienne (www.LaFee.com)
With its striking green color, La Fée Absinthe Parisienne ($59.95) is sure to make the spirits bright. Distilled in Paris based on a 19th Century recipe, La Fée Absinthe Parisienne has an attractive fresh anise aroma with hints of fennel and apple fruit characters with a round textural mouth feel that is both smooth and refreshing. After a long-standing ban, Absinthe is now legal in the U.S.distilled at traditional strength of 68% alcohol by volume (136 proof). With its rich history, iconic eye logo and attractive bottle that comes complete with a wonderfully ornate spoon for the perfect serve, La Fée makes for some interesting holiday cocktails and presents a unique, conversational hostess gift.
Herradura Añejo (www.Herradura.com)
Aged for 25 months – 13 months longer than the industry standard to be called “Añejo” – Herradura Añejo ($49) is a premium Mexican tequila expression to be enjoyed like a fine Cognac or bourbon. Herradura is an all natural spirit that has earned BATF approval to use the terms “natural” and “estate bottled” on its U.S. labels. Indeed, all Herradura tequilas are barrel aged, 100 percent blue agave, bottled on the Herradura estate without additives such as caramel and cane sugar. The tequila is carefully crafted using traditional methods, such as cooking the agave in clay ovens and fermenting naturally with wild yeast, resulting in quality that’s apparent from the first sip to the lingering finish. From Herradura Añejo’s deep copper color to oaky, spicy taste, this is an ultra premium spirit to be savored.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Scotch(www.Laphroaig.com)
A spirited gift sure to appeal to the connoisseur’s discerning tastes, Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Scotch ( $45.99) has delighted palates for more than 200 years. Laphroaig has drawn on traditions once used in the 1800s to expand its award-winning portfolio of Scotch to feature Laphroaig Quarter Cask, a smoky Scotch with a gentle sweetness characterized by the pungent, earthy aroma of the blue Islay peat smoke. Inspired by the small casks used to make Scotch in the 19th century, Laphroaig Quarter Cask is a double-cask matured single malt whisky starting its life in standard American Oak barrels and ending in newly created quarter casks. Each quarter cask is approximately 17 gallons smaller than the American Oak barrels, allowing up to 30 percent more of the spirit to come in contact with the wood. It is this contact whereby the malt takes much of its individual character and style. The quarter casks allow the whisky to breathe the Islay air more deeply, resulting in a soft sweetness and velvety feel when first tasted. The finish is very long and alternates the smokiness of peat with the sweetness of wood. Affordably priced, Laphroaig Quarter Cask is a luxury spirit for those who appreciate the qualities of fine whiskey.
Domaine de Canton (www.DomainedeCanton.com)
Want to drink like an A-lister? Look no further than Domaine de Canton ($33.99) – the only super premium ginger liqueur on the market today reportedly enjoyed by the likes of Hollywood starlet Scarlet Johansen, Jamie Lynn Sigler and pop star, Lady Gaga. Recognized as “2008 Best in Show” at the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco, this trendy liqueur touts a classic taste, unique health benefits and a story that’s rich in history. Served in a unique, artfully designed bottle, there’s no wrapping paper required, and cocktail combinations like the Canton Royale, L’Oriental and the Ginger Sparkler add elegance to the traditional holiday spirits and will have your guests craving more. Hints of Tunisian ginseng, Provencal and orange blossom honey, and Tahitian vanilla bean help offset the holiday hangover with a little help from its star ingredient, hand cut baby ginger, which has been revered for centuries for its health and mystical properties. This versatile liquor can spice up a mojito, champagne or can be enjoyed on the rocks to enjoy its fresh, delicate and naturally sweet liqueur flavor.
Mixerz All Natural Cocktail Mixers (www.Mixerz.com)
Handcrafted in small batches using only fresh fruit juices and purees, pure cane sugar and no artificial ingredients, Mixerz All-Natural Cocktail Mixers ($9.99 on average) out of Napa Valley are an ideal gift for the cocktail connoisseur in your life. This line of cocktail mixers make it easier than ever to create today’s hottest cocktail creations, anywhere, anytime. Indeed, Mixologists can pour on the style by making the classic cocktail recipes or combining different Mixerz flavors for their own unique “bar chef inspired” creations! Available in attractive, easy to pour 750 ml glass bottles and 6 oz. mini bottles, available Mixerz flavors include Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Lemoncello, Pomegranate, Margarita, Mango, Bloody Mary & Sour Apple, with more on the horizon.
HINT Essence Water (www.DrinkHint.com)
Instead of the usual spritzer, juice or soda, substitute your mixer with HINT flavored water – there are fully delicious 13 flavors to choose from, including blackberry, hibiscus-vanilla and mango grapefruit, and pomegranate tangerine. Whether drinking straight up mixing in a cocktail, HINT is a perfect alternative for a healthy holiday drink that won’t sabotage your diet since its carb, calorie, sugar and sodium free. Here’s a ‘Hint of Mint!’ cocktail recipe perfect for the holidays: ice, 3 whole mint leaves, lime wedge, 2oz. of Vodka and 4oz. Peppermint HINT – sip and enjoy!
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s)
detailed above were provided at no cost and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions
expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any
way as per the disclosure policy on our “Legal” page***