Every Spring, my favorite liquor store – Union Square Wines & Spirits – conducts a tasting of a vast array of spirits. This is one of the tastings I look forward to each year because in some cases, it introduces me to spirits I’ve never heard of before, or, in other cases, spirits I’ve heard of but have never as yet had an opportunity to try. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some of the spirits I tasted which stood out to me this year.
If you’re a fan of the HBO TV show “Entourage” as I am, then you’re certainly familiar with Avion Tequila. They served a Blanco, Reposado and Anejo, all of which were 80 proof – and of course, from Jalisco, Mexico. According to the company representative, their tequila takes much longer to make than most others due to the fact that they use their own proprietary filtration process called “ultra slow filtration”. The unaged Blanco had a sharp bite on its finish. The Reposado is aged in oak barrels for anywhere from two to eight months and had a delightful smoothness to its taste. Their Anejo was aged two years in white oak barrels, formerly used to hold Jack Daniels whiskey – which is quite clear when you sample it as it’s got a particular smokiness to both its nose and taste.
Bache-Gabrielsen was not a Cognac I was familiar with, but I was immensely grateful for the introduction. They served us three offerings of 80 proof Cognac, including a V.S.O.P. and an X.O – each of which came from different regions and used different grapes. I started with what is called Three Kors, which had a fascinating background. The term Three Kors means Three Crosses; it is derived from a time when Norway had its prohibition period; at that time, spirits could only be sold by prescription in pharmacies – pharmacies, were identified by a sign which bore three crosses … hence the name. The V.S.O.P. had a bit of a spicier taste to it while the X.O. contained high acidity and had a considerably longer finish.
While I might characterize myself as something of a Scotch aficionado, I would never be so presumptuous as to say I am an expert by any means. And so it was that I was introduced to yet another spirit new to me – Michel Couvreur Scotch. Their 12 year aged Malt Scotch is 86 proof and possesses a distinctive sweet smell, with a gentle taste that’s not especially overwhelming. The company representative described it as “rounder and more sophisticated”. Additionally, they served something called a Pale Single-Single that was 90 proof. Unfamiliar with the term “single-single”, I learned that this referred to the fact that the scotch was single malt and aged in a single barrel. This one had a more familiar Scotch feel to it as it had more burn on the back of the tongue, contributing to a long finish.
Have you ever tried any of these spirits? If so, please post a comment and share your experience with us.