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94

Masterson’s Straight Rye, 45% Price: $70.00

Brand: Masterson's
Category: Rye Whiskey

A seamless fusion of rain-moistened earth, gunnysacks, and searing white pepper underpins the delicately bitter grain-like notes of fresh-baked rye bread. Lilacs and violets speak of rye grain, as do delicate cloves and tingling ginger, while dark stewed fruits attest to age. A mingling of hand-selected barrels of 10 year old all rye whisky, Masterson’s is redolent of vintage car leather and kiln-dried burley tobacco, with touches of dry herbs and spearmint. Sweet vanilla envelops early butterscotch.
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Davin de Kergommeaux

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93

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2003 Vintage (Barrel No. 1), 43.3% Price: $26.00

Brand: Evan Williams
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

Silky smooth. Lush honey notes married with bright orchard fruit and candied tropical fruit. Soft vanilla, mint, and cinnamon round out the palate. Seamless and perilously drinkable. Proof that a bourbon doesn’t have to be old, high in alcohol, or expensive to be good. Editor's Choice & Value Pick
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: John Hansell

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93

Michter’s (Barrel No. 1646) 20 year old, 57.1% Price: $450.00

Brand: Michter's
Category: Bourbon/Tennessee

A soothing bourbon, with maple syrup, blackberry preserve, polished leather, roasted nuts, marzipan, vanilla toffee, dusty dates, subtle tobacco, and a hint of pedro ximinez sherry. Soft, flavorful finish. The oak is kept in check, with layered sugars and fruit for balance. The price of admission is steep, but this whiskey is very satisfying.
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: John Hansell

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93

Millstone Sherry Cask 12 year old, 46% Price: $80.00

Brand: Millstone
Category: Dutch

Millstone is made by Zuidam, a Dutch spirits and liquor company that prides itself on never cutting corners and in using the very finest ingredients. There are hundreds of European distilleries making spirit, but few this good. Its malt and rye whiskies have always been special, but this is Premier League, a world class sherried 12 year old that matches many sherried Scotch whiskies flavor to flavor. That's a first for Europe. €60
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Dominic Roskrow

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93

Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 year old, 40% Price: $75.00

Brand: Gibson's
Category: Canadian

A quintessential Canadian whisky that holds fresh-cut lumber, hot white pepper, and creamy oak caramels in delicate balance. Long years in oak have delivered a range of complex flavors that evolve slowly in the glass and on the tongue. Sweet vanilla contrasts with dusty rye, while a drop of pickle juice slowly matures into poached pears with cloves. Dry grain ripens into fresh-baked biscuits before it all fades away in clean oak and citrus pith. C$75
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Davin de Kergommeaux

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92

Alberta Premium Dark Horse, 45% Price: $30.00

Brand: Alberta
Category: Canadian

For six decades, Alberta Premium has been one of Canada’s favorite economy-brand mixers. Floral, herbal, and fruity, with charcoal and wet slate, this new addition to the lineup is clearly meant for connoisseurs. While the original is made entirely from rye grain, Dark Horse beefs up the flavor and body with a dollop of corn whisky and a sherry finish, creating a vanilla-rich symphony of pepper, hot ginger, pickle juice, and crisp, clean oak. C$30
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Davin de Kergommeaux

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92

Big Peat Small Batch, 53.6% Price: $48.00

Brand: Big Peat
Category: Blended Malt Scotch whisky

The original Big Peat was a mix of smoky Islay malts and was already up there with the very best competition in the category, even though many of the others were bottled at cask strength. I scored it at 90. Now it’s back to play in the big boys' pool with a killer cask strength whisky of its own. This is to whisky what AC/DC is to heavy rock: old school, predictable, but great and exactly what fans want.
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Dominic Roskrow

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91

Old Pulteney 40 Year Old, 51.3% Price: $2,313.00

Brand: Old Pulteney
Category: Single Malt Scotch

The oldest bottling of Old Pulteney to date has been matured in American bourbon and Spanish sherry casks, and was personally bottled by distillery manager Malcolm Waring. The nose of this highly accomplished veteran is fragrant and waxy, with cooking apples, milk chocolate orange, Christmas spices, vanilla, and fudge. Initially, the substantial palate offers spicy fresh fruits, seasoned timber, then a hint of brine, with sultanas and plain chocolate. The finish is figgy, gingery, and sherried. £1,490
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Gavin Smith

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91

Wiser’s Legacy, 45% Price: $50.00

Brand: Wiser's
Category: Canadian

Winemakers have long known that toasted oak is very spicy. Today’s whisky makers are slowly catching on. Cinnamon hearts and hot peppermint add zing to a rich and creamy mouthfeel. Although the whisky is not overly sweet, it has a candied feel. Cloves and hot pepper round out the spices while vanilla and butterscotch lend smoothness as they keep earthy, flinty rye notes under control. Essences of cedar cigar box and black, withered figs contribute additional complexity. C$50
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Davin de Kergommeaux

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91

Highwood 25 year old Calgary Stampede Centennial, 40% Price: $52.00

Brand: Highwood
Category: Canadian

A few years ago, Alberta’s Highwood distillers purchased all the remaining stock from Potter’s whisky brokerage just over the Rocky Mountains in Kelowna. With it, Highwood skillfully created a sumptuous, limited-edition bottling that is as sweet, smooth, and creamy as French vanilla ice cream, and richer in fresh clean wood than a carpentry shop. Dried cloves and red cedar balance real maple syrup and butterscotch which, in turn, dissolve into sweet white grapefruit. (Alberta only) C$52
(Spring 2013) Reviewed by: Davin de Kergommeaux

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