Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Endings & Beginnigs

I finally got off my lazy busy butt and got my OWN REAL HOMEPAGE!
Any and all new spirited writings and reviews will be found here:


See you there! ^_^

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bowmore Islay Legend


Color: copper and gold deep in the middle with lighter hues of sun-kissed straw and hay along the side.

Nose: salty smoke, seaweed, and a hint of iodine. Wet sod. Honey baked grains. Band-Aids. Pervasive smoke.

Palate: medium light weight, full in the middle with a fast finish. Salty smoke holds everything together. Sweet and dry golden hay. Leather in the back. Iodine mixed in salt and smoke in the breath, lingering long and growing Band-Aid notes. Simple but good.

Finish: salty smoke with a hard bite of iodine and Band-Aids underneath. Fast.

I had less than stellar expectations for the single-malts from Bowmore of Islay (pronounced “eye-la”) on the eastern shore of Loch Indaal, expectations which I should know by now are just plain silly. The Islay Legend is Bowmore’s core single-malt of no age denomination which, for me, is a first. Age denomination aside, she had plenty of flavor and classic Islay character to satiate. Everyone’s palate is different so flavors will weigh differently on each tasters palate, such as mine, where lemon zest was non-existent. The perennial sea salt, iodine, smoke, and leather were clean-cut and at full attention.
I loved it.
And I shouldn’t be surprised. Bowmore has been around since 1779. To add a touch of perspective, Bowmore has been around as long as the now United States of America, minus three years of course. Now that is touchable tasteable history – a dram timeless. With a Standard range that includes a 12, 15, 18, and 25 year, Bowmore also boasts a Travel Retail line of 5 different malts and a USofA specific range that boasts a whopping 10 different malts. The Islay Legend which I savored above shares her home with both Scotland and America, a mutual relationship of dram drinking burgundianism I would gladly savor daily were I given the opportunity.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Macallan 18 year


Color: deep polished garnets and coppers. Brilliant sparkling clarity. Liquefied precious gems.

Nose: stewed plums, apricots, and cherries. Chocolate truffle powder along the sides. Caramel apples. Honeycomb. Dried apricots and peaches. Sweet spicy heat in the back – like the sweet hot crackling heat of a fireplace.

Palate: swirls oily and thick, leaving tears that linger forlornly and lovingly. Dry and thin along the sides, sticky and full in the middle from first sup to last. Caramel apples and plums and apricots and cherries. Port and deep rich red wine – dry and tannic. Leather and orange oils. Warmed spiced liquid honeycomb. Spicy heat well-worn red wine soaked oak.

Finish: dry, spiced, and warming. Long lingering tannins. Dried fruits. Plum and cherry stones.

I stayed away from the Macallan during the early days of my single-malt journey for no other non-reason then the silliness of supposed “corporate big label macro mediocrity”. I should have known better, and now I do. The Macallan hasn’t been around for as long as she has, since 1824 to be exact, for everything and for just one thing – damn good single-malt. Embracing innovation and celebrating tradition, Macallan understands not to mess with what isn’t broken and to take what time and nature has given we simple human beings and to make it better than what it was before, even if just an itsy bitsy bit.
Make no bones: The Macallan is damn good.
When it comes to the far more commonplace 12 year I actually prefer Glenfiddich, but tis the luxurious 18 year I can and will prefer any day, any time. A humble and humbling spirit, her embrace took me to the storied lands of Scotland. Dram in hand, a gentle breeze caresses as I take in the soul-wrenching beauty of vivid greens broken up by spunky flowers showing off their colors to anyone willing to take a moment to appreciate.
A sip.
A moment.
And with open eyes I return once more to the barley-free land of Florida. An incurable romantic, sadly I haven’t made my way to Scotland yet but when I do I’ll be sure to savor Macallan in her storied home, a moment’s perfection from first sip to last. 

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ledaig 15 year


Color: golden straw and banana skin. Gorgeous clarity.

Nose: musky. Dry mandarin and orange peel. Barnyard dust. Greenness of the aloe plant. Honeyed corn bread. Bales of hay in the back. Spiked honeycomb with a tickle of heat – primitive mead.

Body: medium-light with mild coating of glass which doesn’t last long. Oily and mouth-coating up front and dry in the in the back.

Palate: oily sticky decadence and not heavy at all. Orange oils and aloe oils. Heaviest in the middle, lightest up front and back. Honeycomb. Dusty dry finish – sawdust, barnyard dust, horse blanket, baled hay. Spiced stewed honeyed apples and peaches. Cornbread and honey. Yellow banana peel in the back. Cinnamon-sugar in the breath. Subtle sweet peaty smoke permeates and entices and soothes. Subtle and sophisticated.

Finish: long, smoky, and sweet with gentle oaky dryness.

As real as the bottle of Ledaig 15 year and the multiple drams she relinquished from her glassy confines, the distillery itself has proved ghostly illusive. Searching for any information on this once defunct and now operational distillery has been a pleasurable challenge. What I have been able to deduce is that Ledaig is still alive and well but goes by the name of Tobermory which is located on the Hebridean Island of Mull. Where it grows confusing is that Tobermory also has its own single-malt which goes by her new namesake. These two singular spirits are not to be confused with each other for each are truly a unique tasting experience.

While Tobermory and I remain strangers, Ledaig and I fast developed an intimate relationship. A truly fine spirit, she was sensual sophistication. The smoke was divinely delicate and her fruit tantalizingly sweet. I truly fell in love with this single-malt. Each sup left a thin sheen of sticky oaked honey divinity on my lips. Brilliant from nose to mouth, I’d gladly savor Ledaig 15 year on a very regular basis. Bottles may be hard to find, but the fruitful reward of one’s search is in the bottle and, of course, in your glass.


(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bushmills 16 year


Color: brilliant and deep coppers and oranges with gold aspirations.

Nose: caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Apricot, mandarin, and plums. Tickle of sweet sticky spicy heat in the back. Homemade cranberry sauce with just a touch of sugar for sweetness. Caramel flambé. Orange oils in the back. Floral esters whisper of rolling green fields covered in blossom and petal. Red licorice.

Body: swirls oily with thick tears that linger just long enough. Mouth-coating and sticky in the middle with a surprisingly short finish. Medium weight bordering on medium-light.

Palate: orange and cranberry. Rosewater and lavender. Salt water taffy and gooey melted toffee – Werthers original comes to mind. More orange is met with fresh grapes ala grape juices. Candied jellies. Chocolate is a shadow of a whisper in the back – liquid, malted, and truffled.

Finish: plums, kiwi, and rose. Lips are coated in silken sweet spicy heat that tickles just a bit. berries and jam.

Whisky or whiskey - a centuries old debate that isn’t looking to be settled anytime soon and really, who cares about stupid semantics when the whiskey is so damn good. For this round I shall utilize the “e” for tis not Scotland we are abiding by but Ireland and her own “water of life”, specifically the Bushmills distillery and their 16 year spirit. Aged in Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon casks, she is then aged further in Port Wine barrels for months before finally being judged suitable for bottling and subsequently my enjoyment.

As for your enjoyment, get your own damn bottle because you’re not laying one grubby paw on mine. From pour to nose to palate I was completely floored by how much I frickin’ loved this whiskey. Did my single-malts finally have a regular contender? The debate still goes on but for now I shall simply savor the beauty of her ruby and garnet hues, luxurious palate worthy of the most sophisticated gentry, and history better taught appreciatively in schools than bastardized in sleazy booze halls. OMG! Am I worthy? Why yes, I think I am.

If there is ever a rare millisecond when I doubt the endless beauteous bounty of this burgundian journey I have embarked on, it is unexpected gems such as the Bushmills 16 year that brings me right back to flavorvana, dash those milliseconds of doubt, and provoke the euphoria of sensorial stimulation for which I am a happy captive. A tip of the hat to the fine distillers who for centuries past and present continue to honor the fine art of Irish distillation, triple that is, and I’ll take mine neat with a smidge of water. 

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Edradour 10 year

Appearance: amber and copper and maple syrup. Golden glints along the edges.

Nose: dried grass and straw. Husked grains. Orange rind and tangelo zest. Cedar planks underneath. Caramelized apple skins with a touch of char along the edges. Banana peel and toasted coconut.

Body: swirls thick with a long lingering blanket. Sticky lips after each sup and swallow. Dry and parched in the middle.

Palate: just as the nose implied, yet bigger and bolder with some seriously pleasant heat in the back – like a flame kissing the back of my throat. Full bodied, sticky, and lightest along the edges. Essence of the harvest – husked grains yet to be separated, dried grass and straw ready to be baled. Red apple crisps. Bananas flambéed in caramel above an open flame. Lovely.

Finish: hot and fast like a vision of kilted times, then long and lingering. Wood and straw and grass all come together over an open flame without singing. Nondescript spicy heat.

While I have never been to Edradour myself personally, during my enjoyable tenure at Great Spirits of Vero Beach, FL I had the pleasure of soaking in the fascinating story of one couple’s visit to this itsy bitsy teensy weensy distillery in Pertshire, Scotland. Not just teensy weensy, Edradour is the last traditional farm distillery making it an honest marvel of tradition. Truly a family operation, so small is this distillery and so good is the will and humanity of Scotland that upon arriving, a minor introduction occurs before one is set off on their own to explore the beauteous surroundings: a harmonious marriage of man, nature, and a little bit of magic. Some might call it “God is good” and some might call it “Water of life”. Maybe tis a little of both…

As the smallest farm distillery in Scotland, Edradour is a treasure of not just Scotland but of all that once was good and can be good again ~ Home. Earth. Humility. Humanity. Joy. Vision. With each hand-selected oak cask set to age the hand-selected spirit, machines need not apply, from harvest to bottling, Edradour eventually fills twelve casks for a total of 600 gallons of hand-selected artisanal love. Within 10 years time, the whisky connoisseur is blessed with 600 delicious gallons of spirit ready for enjoyment.

Whose? Yours, mine, and the gents of Edradour herself.

There’s just something about holding a glass of Edradour 10 year up to one’s eyes to take in the grandeur of 150+ years of small batch beauty that soothes the soul and brings tears to one's eye. Traditions are both grand and humble, especially in a time fraught with the fast, the furious, and the forgettable. I’d like to think that somewhere along the time line I too can contribute something more than just a passing fancy, a vacant whim, a shallow boast upon this world with a little help from my Love and from friends. With the couple’s personal story resonating in my heart, each sip was better than the last and, even if for a moment temporary, it was I exploring the distillery grounds at my leisure. Fantasia though it was, I know without a doubt that someday it will be very real footsteps my Love and I leave in our own curious journey. But until then...

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Saturday, September 24, 2011



Appearance: copper with hints of blood orange and ruby.

Nose: honey and spiced orange heat tickles in the back much like a wintry flame crackling in the chill night air. Peaches and apricot. Honey on crunchy cornbread. Wild rye husks and seeds.

Body: swirls oily, thick, and sticky. Full and mouth-coating. Sticky lips. Dry in the back.

Palate: sweet up front, dry in the back, heat, and then lingering spice. Honey along the sides. Cornbread is a faint afterthought, mostly crust. Rye seeds in the middle, sweet and caramelized in honey apricots. Orange oils and zest.

Finish: grips middle of my chest and never really lets go, lingering and teasing with sweet spicy heat. Finish is dry with raw rye seeds and husks in the back. Somewhere a fireplace is crackling.
My first dip into the newly rediscovered world of Rye Whiskey, a brand new venture I thoroughly enjoyed and continue to enjoy. While (ri)1 isn’t brimming with depth and complexity, I found it more than satisfactory. Considering my overall curiosity when it comes to flavor generally speaking and spirits specifically speaking, my journey is far from over…if it will ever be over at all for as rewarding is the destination, so too is the journey itself. Since my virgin baptism (ri)1 style, I’ve sampled a few other Rye Whiskeys and it pleasures me greatly to know there are many more to sample. In fact, with the resurgence of interest in rye whiskey (and beer) and the ever expansive presence of small, artisanal, and local distillers, methinks this is a journey without end and I am quite alright with that.

But just what is it that makes Rye Whiskey so special? Well, it really is all about the namesake and that namesake is Rye. Whiskey is nothing new though always something special and as American is bourbon, so too is Rye. Our own oasis of austerity and character unapologetic, Rye’s flavor is dry and spiced, sweet and heat, fruity and husky. Rye is not an easy character to deal with; from mash to wort to distillation to barrel, Rye fights each and every step to maintain its robust individuality which we burgundians are more than happy to oblige.

Neither bourbon nor scotch nor Canadian whiskey nor moonshine, Rye is truly unique and truly delicious, in my not so humble and proud of it opinion. Hesitate not to ask your liquor store clerk, your bartender, or your local cocktail geek (for every cocktailarian is equally a spirit geek) for some Rye. Have a taste or three. Savor the horizons and never once stop being curious. The spice of life? Maybe not THE spice of life but definitely one of integrity and respect.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

El Dorado 15 year


Color: deep coppers and garnets. Rich, luxurious, and precious.

Nose: melted maple and molasses still warm to the touch. Freshly oiled leather. Melted brown sugars. Lemon essence. Bananas foster. Sliced Washington apples. Maple and molasses and brown sugar coat everything without overwhelming.

Body: pours dreamy, swirls oily and sticky, and lingers long after each swirl. Thick without being cloying. Decadent. Creamy and silky up front, sticky in the middle, dry along the side, and warm in the back.

Palate: maple and molasses aged to perfection coats the lips with each smacking sip. The breath is warm with brown sugar flambéed apples and bananas – foster anyone? Orange oils and leather. Gently mouth-coating.

Finish: warm spicy heat lingers in the chest. Leather. Bitter and dry and sweet all at once. One last hug of maple brown sugar melted but not burnt.

Amen, hallelujah, and peanut butter! When I tasted the 12 year and subsequently raved about it as it righteously deserved, everyone said that as good as the 12 year was…the 15 year was better. Considering they are all vaunted burgundians of fabulously diverse nature, I trusted their words of judgment absolutely. It took me longer than initially anticipated to crack into the 15 year rum from El Dorado but the unintentional wait just made it all that more divine.

And for those still in shock at the idea of a number attached to rum, this isn’t your cheap mass-produced craptastic rum mixers I am referring to. In fact, aged rum has an older richer history than the newer clear white distillate of today which barely resembles the spirituous cane of yesterday. Embroiled in a not so glorious past (criminals, detention camps, slave trade, piracy), the spirit itself is very much so glorious. El Dorado is especially unique because it is made from Demerara sugar. Located in the heart of Guyana, El Dorado offers a respectable range of ages along with some quality mixing rums. Do I personally like mixed rum drinks? Depends on the drink and the rum.

Speaking of mixing, though the age designation on this bottle stands at a proud 15, that doesn’t mean that she is all of only 15 years old, no younger nor older. Truth be told, the designation on aged spirits typically represents the youngest spirit of the overall blend (versus single batch bottles). The El Dorado 15 year has rums in her going so far as 25 years, maybe even older. That means that no rum younger than 15 is in her now glassed-in confines aching to break free and titillate the tastebuds as she did mine. If you don’t believe me, fine. Than allow me to take that bottle off your hands for someone who will appreciate it better – me.

Sharing can be rather overrated after all.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Redbreast 12 year


Color: copper – polished and new. Lighter along the edges with sun-baked straw and hay.

Nose: spiced and hot. Raw oats and rye seeds. Cut hay with hints of honey. Copper. Ghostly apple esters. Dry fall leaves. Green grape skins. Pears.

Body: oily, thin along the edges, with an intense punch of flavor in the middle and finish. Heavy and sticky in the middle; juicy sweet.

Palate: rich, hot, and intense. Red apples, green pears and green grapes. Kiwi. Spicy heat in the back – white hot embers. Lingering sweetness of fresh maple mulled and spiced. Honeycomb equally mulled and spiced. Delicate and sophisticated.

Finish: long sweet and sticky, then spicy sweet. Copper comes back to play in the finish, polished and sharp. Progresses from assertive to delicate.

Pot stills were once the preferred (and only) method of distilling the fine Irish spirit known as whiskey, but now the pot still exists as a relic in the shadows of history. But! Even if modern times have forgotten the still, I have not and neither have the fine folks of Irish Distillers (subsidiary of Pernod Ricard). The fact that a huge monolithic spirits giant as Pernod Ricard recognizes and respects the quality of Redbreast is almost enough to curb the cynicism of this artisanal-loving corporate-bashing advocate…almost. Thankfully the proof is in the whiskey and Redbreast was a sensorial delight the likes of which I will enjoy over and over again. In savoring her dram, I could smell the lush green rolling hills of Ireland while tasting of her past both glorious and stained in bloody tears restored by gritty hope and stubborn faith.

The 12 year is a common occurrence, but there also exists a mythical 15 year at 46% versus 40% for the 12 year. Mythical or not, it will be mine someway, somehow, someday. Even if just once… In the meantime, I think I shall have another.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Germain-Robin Fine Alambic Brandy ~ Lot 23

Photobucket   I have a confession to make: I know pretty much absolutely nothing about brandy, much less fine alembic brandy the likes of which Germain-Robin is reputed for. A multigenerational descendent of vaunted cognac distillers, Hubert took his priceless heritage to another level by distilling fine wines into brandy decadence using a restored ancient alembic still. Ranging in accessibility and price, no matter what your indulgence, all of the fine Germain-Robin brandies will indubitably titillate and please.
Wine isn’t my imbibement of choice but when distilled into Brandy/Solera/Armagnac/Arzente, my tastebuds’s curiosity is peeked. Am I being blatantly biased and ignorant of wine’s fine standing? Yes. But for now wine is of little personal professional interest which I shall rectify one of these days…just not today. This isn’t to say I haven’t had good wines both white and red (with a definite preference for red) but brandy isn’t wine, at least not anymore. Brandy is typically distilled from the lesser white grapes because, after all, the best grapes should be saved for the best wines. Or should they? Shouldn’t a better grape wine make a better brandy? I say yes and the proof is quite tastefully in the brandy, specifically the brandies of Germain-Robin which use only the finest Pinot Noir, Colombard, and Semillon grape wines.
The bottle I cracked into was from Lot 23. What is Lot 23? Not quite sure; I’ve tried email inquiries with Germain-Robin but with no response so far. But I shan’t give up for a greater knowledge of this fine imbibement can only improve upon my slow savorance of its bottled divinity one glass at a time. And so without further ado…

Color: clear brilliant polished deep oranges and rich golds. Copper glints along the edges.

Nose: sweet heat tickles with flambéed orange and mandarin. Cinnamon sticks and mulled cider. Plump golden raisins. Cardamom. Orange honeycomb. Crisp and bright – pierces the senses.

Body: oily – long lingering tears. Thick in the middle, sticky, then dry along the sides. Holds onto the back of throat.

Palate: rich, smooth, and soothing. Lips tingle with spice and heat which unfold into orange rind, cardamom, orange honeycomb, and flambéed marmalade. Werthers Original planted right smack dab in the middle. Plump golden raisins dipped in honey and orange peel all as one. Heat also tickles in the middle back of tongue.

Finish: fleshy apples and cinnamon sticks – spiced and mulled. Fresh oak. Long and heavy on top of the tongue.

I never quite understood why the hubbub over truly good brandy. Having observed a steady procession of average to mediocre brandies go from shelf to counter to someone’s plastic cup, a high opinion I did not have. After all, it wasn’t exactly being savored for its individual qualities of which it appeared to have little. But taking time and tender loving care into consideration, a good brandy (wherever it may come from) is as worthy of a crystal snifter or fine cocktail as countless other treasured distillates. Ginger ale need not apply here, thankyouverymuch. Instead I'll continue to savor my Germain-Robin neat which, having opened the mind’s eye to a fantasia of flavorful possibilities, has properly prepared me for all future brandy excursions. What next? Only time and my own trip from shelf to counter to glass shall tell.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)