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Colleen Graham

Speed Reviewing: Tequilas, Whiskies, Vodka, and RTDs

By August 28, 2013

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In my effort to wrap up August's review month, I am going to attempt to give you a quick overview and review of the last of the distilled spirits on my list. There's a variety here, with some on the premium and some on the budget-friendly end of the scale, so there's something for everyone. If you want to check out the previous reviews in this month's series, simply click here.

Tequila Tapatio Blanco 110 - I wrote briefly about Tequila Tapatio earlier this year, and now want to recommend the un-cut version, nicknamed B110, of this fantastic tequila. It is a 110 proof blanco tequila that is surprisingly smooth for its potency, rich in pure agave flavor, and the only overproof tequila I will consider drinking. It is being imported by the fine people at Charbay Distillery, so you know you can trust it and a liter is only $48. Visit their website.

Suerte Tequila - Here is another tequila that I think you should try. Suerte is one of those tequilas that does it the old school way: spring water, slow roasting in brick ovens, the iconic and laborious tahona wheel. It is a fantastic line of 100% Blue Weber Agave tequilas that includes the standards of blanco, reposado, and anejo. They are each very smooth and my favorite would be the reposado, which has a rich oak and herbal essence to it. It's great in a Margarita. The portfolio sells for $29.99, $34.99, and $54.99 respectively, which isn't bad for the quality, and was recently released to the New York market. Visit their website.

Jim Beam Jacob's Ghost White Whiskey - Released earlier this year and going with the white whiskey trend, this is one that you're actually going to enjoy, especially if you mix it, specifically (and oddly enough) in vodka cocktails and whiskey cocktails with light flavors like the Mint Julep. This bottling from Jim Beam is not moonshine or white dog, but made from the same mashbill as their White Label. It differs by spending just a year in barrels, then it is filtered to remove the color. What you get is semi-raw and semi-aged whiskey, which is a nice balance. Visit their website.

Angel's Envy Rye Whiskey - Angel's Envy is a fantastic bourbon, but if you haven't tried their rye whiskey, consider it a mission (if you can find it). Louisville Distilling Company and Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson have perfected this new rye with a recipe of 95% rye, 5% malted barley. It was aged for 6 years in American new charred oak, then finished for 18 months in Caribbean rum casks that started their life housing Cognac. The unique barrel lineage is evident in the rye, which is supposed to be a limited edition, but we can hope that the spicy and unique whiskey becomes a regular. Visit their website.

Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Flavored Whisky - Since we are coming up on the fall season when we like things all warm, toasty, and sweet, it may be a good time to bring up this delightful taste. If you are a fan of Black Velvet, Canadian whiskies, or even if you just like your spirits nice and sweet, this is a fun one to check out and it's not going to cost you much to give it a try. It sells for just around $13 a bottle and it is good for mixing into easy, cheap cocktails. Add it to a cup of coffee or in a cold and comforting cocktail like a Sneaky Pete. Also, if you like flavored whiskies, they one called Cinnamon Rush too.

American Harvest Organic Spirit - If you are looking for an organic vodka to try, this is a great option. Produced from organic winter wheat, distilled with Snake River water from Idaho, and all of the production done with the best of eco-conscious practices, this is a vodka you can feel good about. The taste is nice and smooth and it's one of the better organic vodkas available. At around $24/750ml bottle, it is not the cheapest around, but considering what goes into certified organic products, it's actually a good deal. Visit their website.

VnC Cocktails - A line of ready-to-drink cocktails that stands apart from many of the others available. They are made with natural ingredients, low calorie, and the brand was launched in New Zealand by Shane McKillen, a co-founder of the great 42 Below Vodka. They're surprisingly impressive and the taste is clean and natural with flavors that are balanced. Just released in the U.S., these are selling for around $13/750ml bottle and include eight flavors: Banana Daiquiri, Mango Daiquiri, Margarita, Pacific Mai Tai, Passionfruit Caiprioska, Pomegranate Cosmopolitan, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Vodka Mojito. Visit their website...

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