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Paris Christofides

Paris Christofides

Paris Christofides is a World traveler, a connoisseur of lifestyle and a perceiver of situations. He has the charisma of seeing through things but seeing things coming in the future as trends although often creating trends! He is an extremely creative person capable of putting things together in a unique manner and has a way to present simple things in a stunning way. He is highly communicative and a people’s person thus a good trainer. He is flexible and adaptable coming from being a gypsy and an aristocrat the same time. His trade is being a consultant on food/drink and music, design and atmosphere, organization and management, personality coaching and…concepts, concepts, concepts!

Website URL: http://www.parischristofides.com Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

‘It is all about your inner world, I want people to come, relax and find themselves,… to come to a balance with their inner world and bring out their best self. I want people to become one with nature and feel its energy, away from everyday life’s pressures, to experience other emotions, to discover themselves. I want people to come and make love, this place is all about love!’ 

 

 

In the beautiful countryside of Kent, just outside London, there is a discovery to be made, the Clements Cottage, hosting the Samsara Retreat and Yoga. It offers a magical journey to serenity, a place to unwind and nourish yourselves, relax, breathe, meditate and practice yoga or just be lazy and lose yourself in the surrounding nature. It is not like any other retreat, this one is uniquely special.  

 

 

 

The yoga is offered daily indoors at a traditional oast house or outdoors in the spectacular garden at sunrise and sunset. Dipu, the yoga master, delivers a person-centered holistic experience with authentic confidence.  

 

The retreat features a main, where people can stay in the romantic motive that Loraine and Dipu designed for a definite comfort and detailed luxury. We, as speakeasyhackers, alternatively stayed at the shepherd’s hut at the corner of the gardens overlooking a spectacular green field resembling one of the Braveheart or The Vikings battle fields! 

 

 

The views, the clean air and the moon emerging through the clouds at night kept us on the sofa outdoors and in silence enjoying the mesmerizing sounds of the leaves on the trees and becoming one with nature. The hut in a comfortable simplicity featured a log fire and a very luxurious raised bed, in line with the window and overlooking the fields and the sky when lying down. 

 

The retreat offers country breakfast and meals but certainly request for the special curries that Dipu prepares with a smile. The Samsara retreat and yoga is all about love, an experience that needs to be discovered! 

 

 

Samsara Retreat and Yoga 
Clements cottage 
West Peckham, Kent ME18 5jp 
UK 

 

 

The City of London has a rich gin history.  

 

During the Gin Craze in the 18th century there was a gin distillery or gin shop in every street in the City, all benefiting from the spices and citrus fruits coming in to the port of London. Following the Gin Act of 1751, the Gin Craze was effectively ended, with very few gin distilleries surviving, and for nearly 200 years there wasn’t a single gin distillery in the City. That is until the City of London Distillery opened in 2012.

 

 

Over these 200 years gin distilling techniques were improved, and gin became more refined with more subtle flavours.  Gin was big business and London Dry Gin became the most popular type of gin. Then came the next gin revolution with the advent of the small-batch micro-distilleries, bringing variety, interest and experimentation; new botanicals, new combinations, and best of all, new gins. It was my pleasure to tour the distillery earlier this year, sampling and even conjuring my own special blend during the visit. 

 

The City of London Distillery opened on 20th December 2012 inside Jonathan Clark’s cocktail bar in Bride Lane, within the City of London. The first gin, loyal to their roots, was a classic London Dry Gin, followed soon after by the celebration of the City of London – Square Mile gin. Since then they’ve added a very popular Sloe gin, the Christopher Wren and an Old Tom gin, and several flavoured gins to their range. 

 

 

It was my pleasure to tour the distillery earlier this year, sampling and even conjuring my own special blend during the visit. 

 

Often referred to as a hidden treasure, the bar at the City of London Distillery - called the COLD bar, is a retro, speakeasy-style cocktail bar that overlooks the striking copper stills of the distillery. The flickering candles and faint aroma of gin vapour that hangs in the air all add to the bar’s unique and cosy atmosphere, and it is THE perfect place to arrange a sampling of the company’s extensive range. 

 

 

Winners of the Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for the City of London Dry Gin, Old Tom and the Square Mile, the distillery also won a Gold Award for the Christopher Wren Gin, in the International Wine & Spirit competition. The City of London, Old Tom, Sloe Gin and Square Mile all won Silver Awards, and the Slow Gin was also given the Spirits Business Double Master Award. So they certainly are all gins well worth sampling! 

 

The first gin, Authentic Dry (41.3%), was launched in 2012, and was created by the Master Distiller Johnathon Clarke. It’s a classically balanced London Dry Gin, and was the gin to kick start COLD as a brand and cemented it as one of the key players at the heart of London’s gin revival. The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, and Grapefruit Peel, and the bottle stands strong as the flagship offering and offers great quality for its price. The nose is Classic London Dry, with a strong juniper upfront, and fresh lemon oil, with Juniper taking centre stage, bright citrus, followed by the other aromatics, and a subtle earthy spice to balancing the palate. It has a long and dry finish, with lingering citrus notes. 

 

The Christopher Wren (45.3%), is an awesome gin, but not for the faint hearted. Inspired by the architecture of famed London architect Christopher Wren this gin celebrates the buildings that make up the iconic skyline of London’s city centre. An excellent collaboration between Johnathon Clarke and the then Master Distillery of Tanqueray - Tom Nicholls, this gin again represents a very classic London Dry expression. This time focusing on just one citrus, dried orange peel, the profile is rounder and richer with the earthy spice and bitter sweet balance taking centre stage.  The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Liquorice Root, Angelica Root, and Orange Peel. It is soft and rounded on the nose with juniper still the leading note followed by bitter sweet candied orange. A subtle underlying floral note lightens the nose. The palate has the sweet notes of candied orange, and a touch of white pepper with a solid backbone of juniper. Seemingly a little sweeter and softer than the Authentic, this gin leaves a pleasant oily texture in the mouth. Its finish is long as the orange persists along with the Juniper. All in all a little earthier and woodier than the Authentic. One of my personal favourites. 

 

Launched in 2016 and named after the City Of London, the Square Mile (47.3%) gin is undeniably at home in classic gin-led cocktails. It shines in martinis, White Ladies, Gimlets and Collins. With a higher ABV of 47.3% it shines through against bold flavours and still delivers a solid punch. The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Orange Peel, lemon Peel, and Grapefruit Peel offering an immediate piney punch of juniper, laced with dry peppery notes on the nose. A subtle undertone of fresh peeled citrus lifts the character, and this is unmistakably a classic dry gin! The palate is bold and dry with the juniper remaining the star here, and hints of lemon and grapefruit lending a little zing. There is a subtle softness from the dried orange and the liquorice makes for a great progression of flavour. The higher ABV becomes more apparent on the finish, warming and peppery as it goes down, and leaving lots of pine and lemon on the finish. This is the perfect cocktail gin.

 

A classic British liqueur, Sloe Gin (28%) became popular when farmers would use blackthorn bushes to separate their fields and keep animals in, they found that soaking the normally bitter and tart berries from this tree in gin would overtime bring out the residual sweetness and plum like flavour of the berry. This simple and classic rendition, using the Authentic Dry as the space and soaking Sloe Berries for between 6-9 months to extract as much depth of flavour as possible has resulted in la crème de la crème of Sloe gins. Its botanicals are a simple combination of Authentic Dry Gin and Sloe berries, leading to a sweet and fruity nose, full of forest fruits and with little oak and nutty notes. The palate is dominated by rich stewed plums and black cherries, and a little marzipan delivers depth and character. It is sweet but not cloyingly so, as some juniper shines through the top notes, and the finish is sweet and full of rich dark fruit. Mouth-watering and moreish, I enjoyed this with a slice of lemon to cut the sweetness.

 

An older style of gin pre-dating London Dry, Old Tom was originally born as a response to poor-quality alcohol being produced in people’s own homes in London. Sugar and strongly spiced botanicals were added to make it more palatable and to hide the flavour of impurities in the spirit. Now it has been used to create a more boldly flavoured gin, (43.3%) using some extra spice that is then balanced by a small amount of sugar. This is still by no means a sweet gin, rather a balanced one to produce a more rounded end profile. The botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Cardamom, and Cassia Bark. It is best served with a good ginger ale and a cinnamon stick. There is a little alcohol on the nose, with definite notes of orange, however, sharp pine notes and aromatic baking spices make for a beautifully blended aroma. The palate is well balanced, with a subtle sweetness accompanying the orange and cassia notes, and the citrus leaning more toward bright lemon on the palate. The soft sweetness contused with rounded orange and spice notes makes for a marvellous finish. 

 

Developed for Craft Gin Club in a run of 30,000 bottles, then launched it at the end of 2018, the Six Bells Lemon (41.3%) takes its name from the classic nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements.’ Rather than a normal flavoured gin with full focus on one flavour followed by other botanicals, this is unmistakably a gin drinkers’ gin. Well-balanced, and highlighting the characteristics of the prominent botanical without overpowering the rest. Botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Grapefruit Peel, with aromatic lemon oil dominating the nose. Juniper is still present and adds a crispy dry undertone, with hints of camomile and honey. The palate is layers of lemon flavour over a classic dry gin base, as sherbet like lemon plays alongside more aromatic heavy lemon oils. At its core there is still juniper and a soft earthy note, so this is a perfect bright summer gin. The finish is much shorter than the previous gins, however, it is full of light fresh lemon notes, and leaves a nice refreshed feeling to the palate.  

 

Launched alongside the Six Bells, the Murcian Orange (41.3%) acts as a nice contrast in flavour profile. Where the Six Bells is bright, fresh and summery this is more spiced, with a rich rounded profile highlighting delicious bittersweet orange with some more robust aromatics. Perfect in Negronis - or anything else where you want a gin with a little extra spice and punch. Its botanicals are Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Cassia Bark, and Cardamom, so it is has a big orange and juniper nose, with menthol top notes and a cassia led spice. The palate is bold and warming, with bitter orange and juniper leading, although the menthol persists but is more subtle than on the nose. It has a full, rounded and silky smooth finish, and the orange leaves a subtle impression of sweetness while the pine and spice notes give a pleasant kick. 

 

The latest release in the City Of London range, released in February 2019, and only by chance available for my tasting was the fabulous Rhubarb & Rose (41.3%). It is unlike any other rhubarb gins on the market, and I have probably tasted them all! It uses plenty of fresh rhubarb and dried rose petals in both the pot and basket during distillation, so that the rhubarb lends a subtle vegetal bitterness that is balanced by the light floral top notes of the rose.  Botanicals include Juniper, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Liquorice Root, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Rhubarb, and of course the Rose petal. Its nose is dry vegetal rhubarb notes, with subtle sweet berry and pine, and the palate is a pleasant pithy lemon peel, mild but pleasant bitterness, subtle floral notes and big juniper character. Bittersweet, and softly vegetal and juniper led, the finish leaves you craving another sip.  Just wonderful. 

 

If you are in the City, tours of the distillery are available, and the bar COLD - on Bride Street is open to the public, HOWEVER, places are limited so booking is essential. 

 

 

 

Address: 22-24 Bride Ln, London EC4Y 8DT, United Kingdom
WWW: cityoflondondistillery.com
Reservations: opentable.co.uk
Phone: +44 20 7936 3636

 

Editor’s note – Stanna has a great deal of knowledge about the fine arts, cuisines, or an expert judge in matters of taste which makes her a connoisseur. She has written articles on food and beverage while she released a book titled  “Stop Whining and Star Wining” - A Wine drinker's Guide to Cypriot Wine. She travels for any excuse of a new experience in this field.

One of my favorites for parties and romantic dinners too!

 

INGREDIENTS :

2-3 Bay leaves

1 tsp cardamom seeds

1/2 tsp crushed garlic

3 Tbsp spoons corn oil

2 large diced tomatoes

30 fresh coriander leaves

2 medium onions finely chopped

 

Drys : 2  large Tbsp  Ginger powder, 2 Tbsp Garam massala powder, 3 Tbsp Turmeric, pinch of chilly or else, salt and pepper  

 

Wets : 3-4 cans coconut milk, little water, I pkt coconut paste, juice of one lime, I tale spoon yoghurt or sour cream

 

Mains : Banana thick slices and prawns

 

METHOD :

Heat the oil in a pan and add the bay leaves and cardamom, carefully toss in the garlic without burning. Add the onions to become soft, the tomatoes for a couple of minutes and then the coriander leaves. Add all the dry ingredients and stir continuously to cook so that they release their qualities without burning. Asians cook their spices to release the maximum qualities while Europeans boil them in sauces! Then add the coconut milk and stir to dilute, add the coconut paste and a little water to bring to a thick cream consistency. Bring up to simmering at low heat stirring not to burn the bottom of the pan. LOVE IT ! And then turn the heat off and add the yoghurt or sour cram and lime juice for that kick. Leave to cool in a container, stir occasionally and keep in store.

 

When to serve: Heat a little oil in a pan add prawns pieces to sautee on all sides. Discard excess liquids and add one or two spoonfuls of curry paste to dilute, add the banana slices and cook the curry for 3-4 minutes at low heat. If need to dilute add coconut milk, correct seasoning and when chicken is cooked add the banana last minute to soak in. Finally squeeze a few drops of lime juice ans soften it with a touch of cream or a spoon of yoghurt.

 

SERVED WITH : Basmati rice, toasted cumin seeds and plenty of fresh fresh coriander leaves.

 

 

More Gins? Bring it on!!

in Booze
on: 31 August 2019

From all corners of the world there are gins still appearing, adding to the Gin craze which is still going on! We thought that rum and its history was gonna take over, whisky and its grandeur at a point, now sherry and its elegance is having a go in some trendy drinking destinations but more and more segments of the markets are still exploring the new label and enjoying the new story attached to the label of gins. It is social conversation what everyone tried and all having an opinion and a description. Some they learned the marketing story as if it is the new designer who is using a new thread to saw his designs! Perhaps I am too scenical!

As if it is not enough all the marketing stories attached to a bottle, unique berries from the Norwegian dark forest, secret 47 botanicals, orange blossom from Morocco, wind from Alaska and dust from God knows where ! Some go for a myth and some touch on tradition years and years back when the King…… etc…etc 

Making bar menus I find myself in many dilemmas. Yes we need to have a selection and new suggestions, some very good products with not so good marketing and some not so good with good marketing, traditional or artisan bottles? How honest should one be to the producers and to the market too? There is so much out there!

A latest story came to me in a new bottle, yet another fancy one.

 

 

It goes like this-

‘A dozen Mediterranean herbs. Four years of testing. A secret recipe. The Mataora Mediterranean Dry Gin was developed in Greece and is a testament to the hundreds of years of expertise acquired by the Melissanidi Traditional Distillery. 

We want to take you on a journey throughout the Mediterranean to unlock its flavours and the breathtaking beauty of the entire region.

 

The Story

In 1945, during the turbulent period following WWII, the Mataora, a ship from New Zealand, took 2 monumental trips in the Mediterranean.

The first journey transported 173 Jewish children from Marseille to Haifa in August after being saved by the OSE (Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants). In December, the Mataroa was chartered by the French Institute in Athens in order to transfer a considerable amount of students (the majority being scholars of the French government) away from political prosecution. Many of them grew to be successful in their field such as the philosophers Cornelius Castoriadis and Kostas Axelos, the artist Nelly Andrikopoulou, the sculptor Costas Coulentianos, the writer Mimika Cranaki, the philologist Emmanuel Kriaras, and the architect Georges Kandilis.

In 2019, the Mataora is the source of inspiration to the Mataora Mediterranean Dry Gin. The silhouette of the boat evolved into a glass bottle and the cargo transformed into 12 precious ingredients from the versatile shores of the Mediterranean. This premium distillation symbolizes the strength of the human spirit, the dedication to perfection and the sense of timelessness associated with this corner of the world.

 

The Ingredients

Ingredients with powerful characteristics were carefully selected to create a kaleidoscope of Mediterranean tastes.

Chamomile(Cyprus), Juniper (Croatia), Angelroot and lavender (France), Coriander seeds (Tunisia), Orris root (Italy):

Bay leaves (Syria), Licorice (Turkey),Orange peel (Spain),Lemon peel (Egypt) and of course the exceptional Greek mastic, resin from the mastic tree on the island of Chios.

 

The Recipe

Four years of diligent testing reached crescendo with a final recipe of Mataora Mediterranean Dry Gin, which satisfies the most demanding by sustaining a delicate balance between the hues of flavours. The Mataora is pristine by itself, with some ice, or even in cocktails, adding a particular twist of flavour, exclusively offered by a premium gin’.

 

And the question comes what makes a gin Premium I wonder, its uniqueness or its quality or its price tag attached? I found Mataroa as a gin that is diversified due to its complexity of its botanicals, certainly very pleasant and carries all the elements of a Mediterranean artisan gin.

 

Tasting Notes

Appearance / Colour
Clear and pure

Smell / Nose
Herbal, citrus, smooth and creamy. Notes of mastic but lavender too

Taste / Palate
Flavors of mastic and citrus, chamomile and hints of coriander

Finish
Dry, light and pleasant finish without any burn to it.

 

 

Premium Selection

in Booze
on: 12 May 2019
Being a purist I maintain that drinking neat is best. And that's appropriate if your aim is evaluation and analysis.
Some of the best palettes attest that water is also your friend. Adding a touch can open up the spirit and guide the sensory receptors in your mouth and nose to the mysteries and flavours hiding behind the crafted spirit.. Here is a selection of premium spirits to enjoy with an ice cube or merely a touch of water. Should you be a master of taste, sip the spirit neat, with an in between sip of water and mix in your mouth for the flavors to tease your alerted tasting buds. You can ‘take out’ what's been put in. Trust your tongue.
Enjoy, celebrate life’s little moments and travel the world through taste, geography and history.
 
Paris Christofides
World enjoying traveler

 

 

1. Pusser’ Navy Rum 15 years  abv 40%

A blend of five rums from Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Barbados which are produced in mainly wooden pot stills. Luxuriously full bodied.  The taste delivers what the complex aroma promises, beginning with a burst of classic Demerera brown sugar, molasses and caramel.  Notes of leather, tobacco, dried sultanas, nutmeg, clove, cassia and soft oak follow.  The finish is exceptionally smooth, complex and lingering. 100% rum with no artificial substances and glutten free. It has claimed many spirit awards but most recent it earned the "Master" status from London-based Spirits Business in their Rum & Cachaca Masters 2019 competition.

 

 

2. Purity Vodka abv 40%

A quest to redefine vodka, clear as rainy water

‘Made by one of Europe’s biggest ‘blend rockstar’ Thomas Kuuttanen, this Vodka embodies the name that it goes by. Coming from Sweden the distillery location is a 13th century Ellinge castle. Thomas's team engineered a special copper-golden pot still just for making Vodka. They source the raw ingredients - winter wheat & barley - directly from the estate surroundings. Then they distill the liquid 34 times!

Smooth & loaded with character. Its oily texture is dominated by minerals and umami, backed up by delicate tones of white chocolate, vanilla and liquorice.

 

 

3. ELiah Graig Single Barell 18 yrs Bourbon  abv 45%

Elijah Craig (1800) is often referred to as the inventor of bourbon whiskey (!), although rather dubiously for this credit according to some. Today Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. is an American, private family-owned and operated distillery founded in 1935 and headquartered in  Kentucky and uses the same methods and traditions as in 200 years ago used by Elijah Graig using local corn milled and mixed with Kentucky spring water, rich in limestone, fermented and distilled.

The 18 years old Elijah Graig is a premium small batch straight bourbon and aged in one barrel. Rich, nutty, bursts of honey giving way to toasted wood. It collected many gold awards including Best Bourbon in San Fransisco world spirits competition.

 

4. Hibiki  Japanese Harmony Whisky abv 43 %

A well-balanced Japanese blended whisky from the Hibiki range. Hibiki Japanese Harmony is made with malt whiskies from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, as well as grain whisky from the Chita distillery. The whiskies are drawn from 5 different types of cask, including American white oak casks, Sherry casks and Mizunara oak casks. The blend itself was crafted by the Suntory Whisky blending team, led by Master Blender Shingo Torii.  Taste the melted butter and caramelised dates with a hint of fragrant sandalwood develops into warming, oak-y spice. Finishing tasting notes of brown sugar, citrus peels, grape and hints of black pepper. So, smooth!

 

5. Del Maguey Chichicapa Mescal abv 46%

Mezcal visionary, Ron Cooper introduced the world to previously unavailable 100% certified organic, artisanal Mezcal produced the original handcrafted way made by individual family palenqueros (producers) in old-style villages. The town of Chichicapa in Mexico is dry and tropical with agaves, mangoes, bananas and guanas.  It smells  fruity, it’s like a smoked cantaloupe, lime juice, cooked apple, pineapple, pears, wood smoke, pine needles, rock salt, marzipan first but it gets a little sweeter, limes and salted caramel. One friend said you can taste the old stone that crushed the agave!

 

 

6. Angostura  15 yrs 1787 Rum   abv 40%

Distilled at Angostura distillery, Trinidad and Tobago claiming a label of age 15 years in charred oak ex bourbon barrels but like in most cases in aged rum production one should take this with a pinch of salt! The name refers to the date that the first sugar mill was established at the Lapeyrouse Estate. Beautiful rich mahogany color with  a sweet banana, dried fruit, apple and oak smell. It has a medium body palate, with hints of prunes, oak , toffee and black pepper.

 

7. The GlenDronach Single Malt 14 Yrs Old Virgin Oak Finish   abv 46%

Interestingly, this GlenDronach single malt was matured in European oak before a finishing period spent in fresh virgin oak casks. The distillery is Aberdeenshire, in the Highland whisky district. Smell the cardamom, cloves and oak but taste the tropical flavors of banana, melon, coconut, cinnamon,caramel ending into spicy notes. Well thought out whisky which has enough traditional elements to make it recognizable, yet a twist of virgin oak to pep it up and give it some new directions.

 

8. Koval barreled gin   abv 47%

Produced by Koval distillery in Chicago, Koval barreled gin follows the same pattern of artisan production to organic grain to bottle mentality gin as its highly awarded Koval dry gin with the difference of resting it in Koval whisky barrels, eventually bottling a unique crisp spirit that should appeal to gin and whisky drinkers alike, if possible! It won the GOLD MEDAL 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition and GOLD MEDAL 2016 New York World Wine and Spirits Competition. There is no legal definition of the production of a gin aged in whisky barrels.  Is it a whisky or a gin? 

Crisp spirit, toasted coriander, rose hip, juniper, angelica root, notes on caramel, honey, vanilla, malt and evidences of wood spices. Perhaps long wood spices on the palate too! 

 

9. Aees Ambelis Comandaria   abv 15%

The wine has a long history, said to date back to the time of the ancient Greeks, where it was a popular drink at festivals. During the crusades, Commandaria was served at the 12th-century wedding of King Richard the Lionheart to Berengaria of Navarre, in the town of Limassol; it was during the wedding that King Richard pronounced Commandaria "the wine of kings and the king of wines". Commandaria itself is a drink that Cyprus is mighty proud of. The Aees Ambelis, artisan Cyprus winery’s Commandaria, is not dissimilar to a noticeable alcohol, extract-rich, almost creamy dessert wine. A naturally sweet wine, carefully crafted from sundried grapes of the indigenous Xynisteri variety with additional sweetness shaped by a strong coffee note as also by the aromas of red fruits. This particular commandaria received many gold awards in wine and spirit competitions.

 

10. Woodford Reserve rye Whiskey  abv 45.2 %

Bourbon or rye ? The corn mash used in bourbon makes for a sweet and full-bodied flavor, while the rye mash in rye whiskey creates spicy tones and a drier taste.  Distilled from a relatively low-rye mash of 53% rye, 33% corn, 14% malt; true to Woodford Reserve form, a mingling of whiskeys distilled at Woodford in Louisville. Nose of leather, cinnamon, rye snappiness, and hints of red raspberry. Hot and lean on the palate, spicy/sweet until rye’s bitter layering floats in, making for a dry finish as the oak comes on stronger.

 

11. Plantation Gran Anejo Guatemala & Belize rum  abv 42%

Plantation describe themselves as producing “an artisanal range of rums from the great terroirs of the tropics.”  This one from Guatemala & Belize is described on the bottle as “Grand Cru” / “Gran Añejo.” Not a fan of these kinds of descriptions as they do not really mean anything. “Grand Cru” is from the world of wine and “Gran Añejo” is used to describe Spanish rums or other spirits that often hide behind dubious Solera age-statements by using such terminology. But, in the case of Plantation, no deception is intended as there is no age statement nor implication that the rum is of a certain age. Matured in casks for 3 years in Guatemala, and finished in ex-cognac caks in France. Vanilla is very present with almond, marzipan and honey. Well balanced with cocoa, woody vanilla notes. Elegant finish.

 

 

12. Hine Rare fine champagne Cognac abv 40%

“Vines form the link between the earth and the heavens, replete with vagaries and caprices.” House of Hine

The Hine company is named for its proprietor Thomas Hine, an Englishman from Dorset,England. Following his arrest during the French Revolution, Thomas Hine married a young maiden, Françoise Elisabeth, whose father owned a cognac house in Jarnac in the cognac producing region . Hine took the company to new heights, and eventually renamed it Thomas Hine & C°. in 1817.

The Hine House  is one of the oldest houses in Jarnac and serves as the company's headquarters. In 1962, the house was granted a royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth II, as suppliers of cognac. Today it is still the only cognac house to hold this honour. Rare is a Fine Champagne Cognac, a blend of more than 25 Grande and Petite Champagne cognacs. Suave yet delicate and exceptional VSOP, adored for its caramel, jasmine, nutmeg and dried fruit flavor notes. Perhaps my favorite for its smoothness.

 

13. Laphroaig Single Malt 10yrs  abv 40%

This edition is for those that love big, smoky and briny Islay Scottish whiskies with a history back from the18th century.  Massively individual and utterly distinctive, Laphroaig unique flavour comes in part from it’s vicinity to the coast and the high moss content of its peat, which is processed in the distillery’s own floor maltings. The malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour. In a campaign that seems to break all the rules of advertising, Laphroaig is slapping terrible descriptions.’ It tastes like dead fish, iodine, a campfire and dirt! The taste is smoky with seaweed notes as it is produced in maritime climate. A slight vanilla and caramel note becomes apparent underneath all of the smoke and salt to balance out these huge flavors.  Laphroaig is the favourite of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and even bears his Royal Warrant.

 

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