Today we're going to examine some of my favorite experiences and tastings of 2012. There is quite a lot to cover, so let's get started shall we?
10.) Cravo & Canela Cachaça - A rare find even in its native Brazil, this delicious cinnamon treat left me wanting more. So much so in fact that I am working dilligently with Spec's downtown to bring it here to Houston. We may have this one in stores soon folks.
9.) Boomsma Oude Genever - A spirit that punched me in the nose and soothed my pain away with its wonderfully smooth flavor, Boomsma deserves a spot in any spirits enthusiast's collection.
8.) Midnight Moon Apple Pie 'Shine - A neutral spirit (actually Midnight Moon grain spirit to be exact) mixed with apple juice and an infusion of cinnamon, one may be wary of its perceived next day headache. It is in actuality a very balanced liqueur that is not too sweet and not too tart.
7.) Corzo Añejo Tequila - The crown jewel of the Tequila Cazadores distillery, Corzo featured so many fine aromas and flavors, it made me a believer in the ultra-premium category of its type.
6.) Midleton Irish Whisky - A whiskey I was able to sample graciously thanks to Mike Raymond and Irish Distillers at the beginning of 2012, this product has remained my favorite Irish whiskey even today.
5.) Bulleit 95 Straight Rye Whiskey - This whiskey is proof that the old Seagram's distillery in Lawrenceburg, IN is still producing some of the very best American rye whiskey that money can buy. Look for a review of George Dickel Rye from the same distillery soon.
4.) My interviews with Mike Raymond and Steve Long of Reserve 101 - These are two people that remind me that no matter how much I learn about the world of distillation and spirits, I have so very much more to learn. Both are gurus on all things liquor and both will point you to a new cocktail or product that suits your taste. Please go out to Reserve 101 and meet, chat with, and support these guys. You owe it to yourself to do so.
3.) Buffalo Trace White Dog - A new make spirit that proves that some American producers just create their whiskey right, well before it ever touches the sugars of the white oak barrel. Simply sublime, nothing further needs to be said about it. Buy it.
2.) Old Forester 75th Anniversary Repeal Bourbon - This one was reviewed around mid-year but still lingers on my palate. I can remember vividly the intoxicating notes of butterscotch and caramel that define this product. It is definitely becoming difficult to find here in Houston, but if you see it, buy it without a second thought.
And my favorite pick of 2012 is....
1.) Yellow Rose Outlaw Texas Bourbon - Another product I was able to sample (and review live for the first time in my career) at Reserve 101, this product without a doubt stands as my favorite Bourbon, whiskey, or even spirit I tried this year. You may think to yourself, "yeah, he's only saying that because it is the first local Bourbon produced in the Houston area" and you would be wrong. Ok, maybe partially right. Regardless, this Bourbon sets itself apart from the rest of the pack by using a sweet corn mash rather than the traditional sour mash. Now other companies may also do this as well, but Yellow Rose's Bourbon is just so sweet, smooth, and delectable that I can say with certainty that nothing else I have ever tasted was similar to it. I realize the price of admission is high on this one, but any Houstonian looking for a new beverage and also looking to support a local company should pick a bottle up if they have the means. These guys at Yellow Rose do what they do with a unique and undeniably respectable passion. When I say that I hope with all sincerity that they succeed in this endeavor, I mean it. Absolute 5 out of 5, best in class, cream of the crop, insert overused clichéd phrase here.
And there you have it. 2013 has so very much more to come and I look forward to sharing with you all, my readership. Happy new year!