Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Whiskey, er Brandy, er Rum of the Year

I discussed some of my favorite whiskeys of 2016 in my review of the Year in Whiskey, but I realized I didn't do much of a wrap up of all of the other spirits I tried, so here it is, better late than never.

For the last two years, the best spirits I've tasted have been brandies. In 2016, I had some good whiskeys and some great brandies, but the very best stuff I tasted was rum.


The best current release spirit I had all year was, unfortunately, a European only release of 24 year old, cask strength Hampden rum under the Douglas Laing Kill Devil label. It was probably the best rum I ever tasted, and maybe one of the best spirits I ever tasted period. It has this marvelous funk that you get in those Jamiacan rums. While it wasn't quite in that league, the similar, 24 year old Hampden that K&L brought in under the Golden Devil label was also excellent with a lot of those same notes.

I also loved the 2004 Foursquare and the cask strength Clement that K&L brought in (which is still available).  My rum rule of thumb lately is buy anything from Hampden or Foursquare.


While my favorite 2016 spirits were rums, I drank plenty of good brandy, especially apple brandy. Highlights were the Pacory Reserve and Pacory 15 year old Calvados and the pricey but tasty Domaine Du Tertre Calvados. And I absolutely loved the Double Zero apple eau de vie from Cyril Zangs, one of the best unaged spirits ever.

Armagnac-wise, my favorite new release was a Europe only release, the fantastic Lous Pibous from L'Encantada, though I'm told we may see some of this in the US this year.  If you do, buy it! And K&L brought in two great Baraillons, the 1986 and the 1988 Folle Blanche.

All in all, it was another great year for brandy and a phenomenal year for rum.  Hopefully, more of that great rum will come to the US.


Florin said...

Florin said...

Looking ahead at 2017, Sku, if you need any suggestions about how to further spend any leftover capital with your audience, I'd say post a series on Pisco vs. Singani.

sku said...

Know any good Singanis?

Florin said...

I'll let you know once I taste the one I just bought. (I won't tell you which, for the sake of suspense, except that it has the number 63 in the name.)

Florin said...

Of course, for $200-$400 you can get a half-bottle of Rochelt Austrian schnapps. I'm curious if it's any good.

Agent SJ said...

I recently decided to up my rum game from mixing to something a little better. Variety is good so I brought home a bottle of Barbancourt 5 Star, 8 year old. Sipping is good.

Anonymous said...

DD has been going on about Singani 63 for awhile now.

Mike D said...

A while? lol. He can't go three months without trying to hawk that stuff on the blog.