F. Paul Pacult has published his Top 120 Spirits for 2013 and here’s how I fared with the list:
7. Parker’s Heritage Collection Master Distiller’s Blend of Mash bills Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (USA) 63.5% abv, $80.
I know of 4 batch releases of this sixth release from the Parker’s Heritage Collection, but this doesn’t match any of them. Perhaps this was a pre-release batch that he reviewed, after all he is a special guy in the world of spirits. My bottle is the most current release at a whopping 69.7% ABV and considered by many to be the best batch of the four.
32. Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (USA-2012) 66.2% abv, $70.
I have the 2011 edition of this limited annual release from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, but I’ve yet to open it.
56. Merlet Crème de Cassis de la Saintonge Boisée Liqueur (France) 20% abv, $25.
I have a bottle of this that a friend of mine picked up for me in Paris last year. It’s quite good!
60. William Larue Weller Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (USA) 61.7% abv, $70.
This is another one in my cabinet from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and I’m looking forward to opening it. It’s a wheated bourbon and I don’t have any experience with this type, so I need to open it soon.
67. El Tesoro de Don Felipe Añejo 100% Agave Tequila (Mexico) 40% abv, $59.
This is my favorite tequila and I’ve still got another bottle of it left from a clearance deal I happened upon over a year ago. I also have the blanco and reposado from El Tesoro and they’re quite good as well.
85. Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 Years Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Scotland) 55.3% abv, $60.
I’ve had a sample of this from a friend and it’s a bold Islay whisky. I prefer Ardbeg Ten, but this one suits the preferences of many. I spent too much time evaluating it at cask strength and my mouth was becoming numb by the time I had added enough water to bring it down to a realistic level. I plan on giving this one another try.
86. Dos Maderas 5 + 3 Years Old Superior Reserve Rum (Guyana/Barbados) 40% abv, $38.
I finished my bottle of this one last year and it was pretty good, if not bit too sweet. I like this much better than Dos Maderas PX (5+5), which is finished in Pedro Ximenes Oloroso Sherry casks, as that one is overly sweet for my taste.
87. Herradura Blanco 100% Agave Tequila (Mexico) 40% abv, $55.
Last year, I bought a sample pack of Herradura Blanco, Reposado and Anejo. I liked the Anejo the best.
92. Santa Teresa 1796 Ron Antiguo de Solera (Venezuela) 40% abv, $39.
My brother introduced me to this Jamaican rum. While it was good, I consider Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old Jamaican Rum to be better.
97. Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale 8 Year Old Rum (Haiti) 43% abv, $23.
I’m on my second bottle of this rhum agricole (i.e. cane juice rum) and it was a slow start for me with this one. At first, I was totally unimpressed and considered it a bit over-aged, but as time wore on I came to appreciate it more and more. It’s got a “reedy” flavor to it that takes a bit of getting used to. Now, I don’t think I would be without it and plan to try other rums of this style.
99. WhiskeyPig Straight Rye Whiskey Aged 10 Years (Canada) 50% abv; $70.
This one is 100% rye (most rye whiskeys are around 90-95%) and is bottled in Vermont. I found a bottle in Louisiana about a year ago, but now it’s readily available here in Texas. I’ve not opened my bottle yet, but my friends tell me that I’m in for a real treat when I do.
114. Balcones 1 Texas Single Malt Whisky Special Release (USA) 52.7% abv, $68.
This local distillery in Waco, TX has won many awards with their Texas Single Malt. Personally, I find it to be the best of the young or no age statement (NAS) malt whiskys that I’ve tasted. It’s bursting with flavor and has a nice dry finish.