About this Blog

Welcome to Po'Nutrition Fax! This blog is about alcohol - it has nothing to do with health or wellness, and the only relationship between this and Edgar Allen Poe is that he was an alcoholic.

I used to work in a liquor store and developed a taste for all different types of booze. As my collection grew, I felt the need to share my knowledge of, interest in, and experiences with my purchases - from the standards (e.g. whisk(e)y, gin) to the less-than-standard (e.g. kirschwasser, raki). You'll also find a lot on beer (another love of mine).

This is not about how much I can drink nor do I promote over-excess of alcohol. As with most blogs, there is some self-reflection included with most of the reviews. The point is to encourage everyone to reflect on what they drink.

Leave comments or ask questions! Also, "follow" me if you like what you read - I am not making money from this blog but if I see more interest in this and hear some feedback, it will encourage me to write more.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Tapatio Reposado Tequila

Yes, I'm finally writing about tequila.

Not by popular demand, as this blog is not very popular, but due to my own curiosity.

I've largely avoided tequilas as most of my tequila exposure has been to mixtos. Mixtos are tequilas but they are legally defined as a mix of at least 51% blue-agave based spirit and some grain alcohol. Therefore, these are usually the tequilas one orders when doing shots at a bar. The habit of using salt and chasing with a lime is to cover the less-than pleasant flavors of these mixtos. These less-than pleasant flavors are also usually due to the grain alcohol, the main cause of the less-than pleasant feeling after many of shots.

However, 100% blue agave tequilas are pleasant.

Agave is a succulent plant. Strip away its leaves and you have a pumpkin-sized core filled with a sweet juice.  Ferment this sweet juice and you've got the beginnings of a fine tequila. Mezcal, another Mexican spirit, is also made from an agave plant but tequila has to be made from blue agave plants.

Sound confusing? Well bourbon (for example) has to be aged in new white American Oak barrels. If I were making a whiskey and aged it in new Limousin oak (from France) it would not be a bourbon even though I aged it in a new oak barrel: different oaks. So similarly, mezcal and tequila are from different agaves. 

There are plenty more intricacies in the tequila world.  For example, like scotch there are highland and lowland tequilas which have different distillation methods.  However, I don't want to lead too far from my review of this tequila by getting caught up in these intricacies (which I'm still learning).

I bought this bottle because it was pretty cheap. Is that my only reason? No. I read a few reviews online and it received pretty high-praise. It seemed worth checking out - especially since I didn't have much 100%-agave tequila experience and have been more spend-thrifty these days. Plus the bottle is embossed reminding me of a fancy Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine.

I guess Tapatio was not available in the U.S. until recently but a had a "cult like" following. As I know little about tequila I cannot refute this claim (although makes for an interesting selling point, I suppose).

It has a pale straw color and has thin legs in the glass. The nose has aromas of pine, ash (not the tree), cola, honey, thyme, and pepper. Flavors of smoke and cedar are followed by plenty of herbs, minerals and floral notes too.

As I mentioned above, I haven't had much tequila experience so I cannot compare this one to any other 100% blue-agave tequilas I've had. Yet, this is quite enjoyable on its own. As a reposado, it would've only spent 6 months to a year in a barrel; I don't think there would be much influence on the spirit from the barrel (besides the smokiness), yet it does have plenty of interesting subtleties to it. Perhaps it's only interesting as it is a new experience for me? Nevertheless I am enjoying it beyond that novelty.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Kirk and Sweeney 12YR Rum

I've said it before: I'm not a fan of rum. It may have to do with the molasses-base of most rums: it reminds me of many bad (i.e vomit-inducing) rum experiences. Yet, sugar-cane juice based rums I find a bit more agreeable.

I finished a bottle of cachaҫa recently and the "freshness" of this sugar-cane rum made me consider shopping around for rum. I looked around a bit and I settled on Kirk and Sweeney 12YR, imported by 35 Maple Street from the Dominican Republic. As the Dominican Republic is not a French-speaking, half-of-an-island in the Caribbean I assumed it didn't use sugar cane as the basis of its rum - but I made an ASS(out of)U(and)ME. The text on the bottle claims it is "sugar cane" rum, and as sugar cane may have been brought to the island of Hispañola with Colón (Columbus) I had to believe that this is a sugar cane based rum.

Feeling confident it was distilled from sugar cane (and not from molasses) and since it was only $31 for a 12-year rum, it seemed like a really good buy.

The initial nosing of the glass was really nice - but it gave me some concerns. This rum is rich in notes of toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, port (raisin and chocolate) and... molasses! Perhaps it's the extended aging in charred-white oak barrels (i.e. bourbon barrels) that give this rum that burnt sugar (i.e. molasses) aroma. I chose to look beyond this and proceed on.

The flavors of toasted marshmallow and vanilla are initially prevalent but earthier notes of oak and black tea are most prominent on the finish. Hints of pineapple and lime give this rum that sugar-cane-based freshness that I like.

While I enjoyed this rum, it has an "annoying" sweetness to it. This annoyance is based on my own dislike of sweet booze. It's not that I don't like sweet, or that this rum violates my minimalist attitude towards alcohol but as this is a sugar based spirit aged in charred barrels (and charring caramelizes the saps in the wood) there is a bit too much sweetness for my tastes.

Yes there are some non-sweet aspects of this spirit but if you look at the list of aromas and flavors I list above, most scream out "sweet."

Nevertheless, for its price this was a great buy. While I may not buy another rum anytime soon, I can suggest that if you are a rum drinker you'd probably really like this.