Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Finish

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As soon as this beer hits your tongue, your brain defaults to Guinness. That’s kind of what it tastes like. And that’s kind of how it’s described, rich, Scottish Stout matured over Irish-Whiskey infused oak

Smooth through to the finish, it’s malty on the nose, with deep, dark chocolate and treacle on the palate. Given a little time, cappuccino starts to show through.

It’s a seasonal beer, so I’m glad I have some to get through the summer.

Wayne Gretzky No 99 Okanagan 2012 Cab Sauvignon Syrah

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Nose: Cherry, Blackcurrent, Cinnamon
Palate: Cassis, Blackberry and a nice dark chocolate
Length: Medium minus. Not a lot of acidity but just enough to make this a nice sipping wine.
Balance: Well Balanced with fruit forward flavor
Complexity: One of the most complex wines you will enjoy at this price point.

Let me start by explaining my comment about its complexity. Usually when we talk about complexity, we are looking at the tannins, the acidity, the aromas and how they work with the palate and the ability of a wine to pair with food. 

But we also have to consider the price point. Wayne Gretzky Okanagan Cab Sauvignon / Syrah is a blend that comes in under 20.00 in most markets. That’s a bargain for a wine of this caliber.

That’s why I gave this wine a nod towards complexity….it really delivers great quality and complexity at an approachable price.

Stephanie Stanley is the Canadian wine-maker for this iconic Canadian red wine. Here’s what she says about this labor of love:
“Our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah was hand harvested from the finest vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. The grapes were gently crushed and managed to promote smooth tannins, complexity and depth.
This medium to full-bodied blend exhibits flavours of cassis, blackberry, dark chocolate, ripe berries, cocoa and a hint of coffee linger on the smooth, long, finish.”

I don’t always believe in wine-scores, because they can’t always represent the quality of the wine for the price point.

In terms, however, of comparing Wayne Gretzky No 99 Cab Sauv Syrah 2012 against other wines in the under $20.00 price point, I give this wine 99 pts!

CAO Flathead 554 Camshaft Cigar. Go Full Throttle

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The 1st thing you notice about this cigar is the shape. It’s “flat-headed” which means it’s squared off at the top. You don’t need an special cutter, but I found that a punch works well with this unique style of cigar.

The CAO Flathead cigar starts with Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. The binder is Connecticut Habano-seed. Nicaraguan and Dominican make up the fillers.
Official tasting notes are spicy-sweet with earth, black pepper and cocoa. But I also got coconut and a really distinct Green Apple flavour.

Overall, I really enjoyed this cigar, which was thick and oily on the outside, with a smooth easy draw right through to the finish.
To look at it, one might expect bolder flavour, but it’s surprisingly mellow.
The CAO Camshaft is a cigar that’s made to be a refreshing smoke, any time of the day or night.

Pairing:
Flathead Camshaft 554 would go especially well paired with a nice espresso, especially if it’s done right with lots of crema.
Bourbon would also work, but would need to have the right sweetness level, so try Blantons.

CAO has made 4 Vitolas in the Flathead line: Camshaft 554, Piston 642, Carb 660 and Big Block 770.

Bourbon Basics

Bourbon is an alcoholic spirit considered to be the native Whisky to the United States of America. The majority of Bourbon is produced in the state of Kentucky, but it can be made anywhere in the U.S.

Bourbon starts when the producer decides on a Mash Bill.
Basically, a mash bill is the recipe that determines the type of grains used and in what proportion.
Bourbon, by law, must be made with at least 51% corn. The rest of the recipe can be any combination of grain. On average, however, corn makes up about 70% of the mash bill.

Typically wheat, barley and rye are the grains used in addition to corn for the purposes of making Bourbon. Each grain brings something different to the finished product. For example, rye can bring spice to the spirit while wheat can add sweetness.

Once a mash bill recipe has been created, Distillation takes place.
Bourbon cannot be initially distilled to more than 160 proof, which is the equivalent of 80%abv (alcohol by volume).

It then goes into the new oak barrel at no more than 125 proof (62.6%abv).
If the spirit is higher in alcohol than 125 proof, the distillate has to be reduced by adding water prior to going into a new oak, charred barrel.
While in barrel, the spirit rests, or “ages” for a period of no less than 2 years.
Bourbon, unlike other whisky, is All Natural, which means there cannot be any added flavors or color enhancements. For instance, Scotch or Canadian Whisky makers are permitted, should they choose, to add caramel coloring to deepen the hue of the finished product. For Bourbon, the only additive is water.

Bourbon, in a nutshell, can be characterized as having lots of vanilla aromas and caramel notes on the nose. On the palate, you’ll often find spice, orange, red berry and toffee or caramel profiles.

Broadbent Madeira Boal 1978

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I stumbled across this wine quite by accident a couple of weeks ago in a local liquor store. After sharing a bottle with friends, we purchased all that remained.
Why did we like it? 
Broadbent Madeira Boal 1978 is refreshing. Sure, it’s sweet, but it’s not cloying. To look at it, with its oxidized brown tinge, you expect it to be thick & syrup sweet . But it’s actually more medium in body with the sweetness balanced by perfect acidity. 
We paired it with everything we could find to fit flavor profiles – and snacking habits.
It worked with Dorito’s. It worked with Chicken Crepes. It worked with Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad. It worked with Cheesecake. 
It’s a really fun wine. Once you open it up, you just want to finish the bottle.
Where does it come from?
Madeira is an island off Portugal. Considered a resort area, its excellent climate attracts tourists all year round.
Madeira Island’s literal translation is “Island of Wood”, due to dense forests of laurisilva trees.
Which grapes are used?
To make this wine, the Boal white grape is fermented and styled to reach 19% abv.
What makes Broadbent Madeira Boal 1978 so special?
According to the rules, the 1st thing is 20 years in oak and the noble grape used has to be from a single year.
The thing to remember when you’re buying Madeira, is no matter what you’re paying, it’s going to be a great value, just on longevity alone. It’s indestructable! Open bottles can be left indefinitely, with no deterioration.
You’ll enjoy every return visit and will miss it when its gone.