A few of the samples that have been sent my way recently…
Remy Martin Louis XVIII — Despite what you may have heard about the glamorous and lucrative world of writing about cocktails, it’s not every night that I settle in with a snifter of Louis XIII. However thanks to the nice folks at Remy Martin, I was able to try this Cognac recently in celebration of Remy’s new Jeroboam bottle, which weighs in at three liters for €16.000.
Of course they didn’t send me the Jeroboam. I received their 50 ml bottle, which appears to retail for about $400. This is the most impressive mini bottle I have seen, arriving in a hard shell and modeled after the standard bottle, right down to the stopper to place in the neck after opening.
You’re probably not buying this for the bottle though, unless you’re trying to project the image of a very wealthy man with extraordinarily large hands. So how does it taste? Pretty amazing actually. Very light and taking on just enough vanilla from the oak. I could sip it all night. Obviously this is something you’d only buy if you have a fair amount of disposable income and you could buy much higher quantities of other very enjoyable booze with the same money. Whether it’s worth spending that much on any spirit is up to you, but it is very good.
Bulleit Rye — It’s a rye! From Bulleit! Bulleit is already known for its bourbon with a high rye content, so this is a natural extension for them. It’s 90 proof and 95% rye. It actually has a less assertive rye flavor than I expected, which will probably help it appeal to a larger market. I prefer it to their bourbon for sipping neat and it makes a nice Manhattan. Prices are all over the place on this one, but if you find it in the low $20s it’s worth picking up.
Blandy’s 10 Year Old Malmsey — Madeira is not a product I have much familiarity with, but the more I drink it the more I like it. This one is no exception. Being a Malmsey it’s on the sweeter side but nicely balanced by acidity and rich, raisiny flavors. It’s delicious. And one other plus: Unlike some other fortified wines, Madeira has been through enough oxidation, aging, and heating during its production to last for a long time after opening, so it’s an ideal wine to keep around and drink at leisure.