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Two New See-throughs
Ukraine’s Khortytsa (Hor-Ti-Tsa) Vodka, although new to the US market, is well-known globally. It was named among the world’s best distilleries at the 2014 New York International Spirits Competition. Only 19 of the world’s leading distilleries were recognized with this honor.

The Khortytsa Distillery is located in the Ukrainian city of Zaporozhe near Khortytsa Island, a sacred place in Ukraine - considered to be the cradle and heart of Ukrainian national pride - and is one of the country’s seven wonders. Fro the purest water possible, the distillery uses a filter process containing schungite (a unique natural mineral), and is further enhanced with special birch and alder-tree charcoal and quartz sand sourced near the Ural Mountains.

Currently, there are four items within the Khortytsa line imported to the United States: Khortytsa Platinum, which is the most popular ($14.99 per 750mL.); Khortytsa Ice, specially formulated to be frozen with the bottle turning blue when chilled ($15.99 per 750 mL.); Khortytsa Honey Pepper, which adds a spicy zing to a variety of cocktails ($15.99 per 750mL.), and Khortytsa De Luxe a “super premium” vodka for connoisseurs, ($29.99 per 750 mL.).

 

LEAF Vodka is sourced from two unique American waters. These water sources give LEAF vodkas their signature tastes.

LEAF Vodka made from Alaskan glacial water has a pure, smooth taste with a hint of sweetness, while LEAF vodka made from Rocky Mountain mineral water offers richness and complexity, lending a warm and savory impression on the palate. Both expressions are distilled five times, are made with USDA Certified Orgainic non-GMO wheat, and are unflavored. The difference is in the water, which constructs two distinct tastes for different taste profiles.

To date, LEAF has won over 20 awards since 2014 including multiple Double Gold and Best in Show awards from a variety of organizations including the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the San Diego Spirits Festival, TheFiftyBest.com, the SIP International Consumer Tasting Awards, and the Ultimate Spirits Challenge among others.

$18.99 per 750 mL.

 

 

Codigo 1530 Tequilas
Anyone keeping abreast of celebrity news knows that tequila is a hot market. Just last June, actor George Clooney sold his tequila company for around $1 billion. A few years back, rock musician Sammy Hagar sold his stake in a tequila company for over $80 million.
Entrepreneurs Frederico Vaughan and Ron Snyder got the bug—or is it worm?—to start a tequila brand while they played a round of golf together at Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Vaughan’s favorite local distillery was located in Amatitan where a family had been producing tequila for five generations. “The secret of Codigo 1530 tequilas begins with the best blue agave in Mexico, the purest water in all of Mexico and yeast from a local bakery,” said Vaughan during an August visit to Chicago. “We then age the tequila in French Oak wine barrels out of Napa Valley.” The varieties of tequila that come from this process differ based upon the resting time and the charring of the barrels.

Blanco is an unrested tequila that’s clear and pure. Rosa has a pink tint from the aging in the wine barrels and is a delicious sipping tequila. Reposado is aged for six months and serves up a smooth, vanilla and caramel flavor to pair well with food.

Chicago area retailers who sell Codigo 1530 include:  Binny’s, HR Liquors, Town & Country Liquors, El Patron Liquors, JD Liquors and Pete’s Liquor Store.

For more information on the brand, visit: https://codigo1530.com

 

   

Boondocks American Whiskey
Crafted in close cooperation with Dave Scheurich, one of the world’s most respected master distillers and winner of the Whisky Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award, Boondocks American Whiskey Cask Strength 127 has an ultra-smooth finish, with distinctive aromas of rich caramel and vanilla. A robust and pleasantly aggressive palate is highlighted by fall spices and oak. This expression received a Gold Medal/91 points in the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition 2016 and Best of Category in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2016

2 Bottle Messenger Bag Gift Pack - (2) 750 ml bottles: 127 Proof American Whiskey & 95 Proof American Whiskey $49.95
 

2 Bottle Gift Box – 95 Proof American Whiskey and 90 Proof Port Finish Bourbon $99.99

 

Say “Cheers” to the Holidays with These Selections from Royal Wine
‘Tis the season to tote a special bottle of wine to those kind enough to host us to a holiday party. This year’s top picks from Royal Wine come in a wide range of prices, but all are special enough to impress. Let these suggestions take the guesswork out of gift-giving. And some might just entice you to treat yourself to some holiday cheer as well.

Bartenura Sparkling Moscato Rosé
Bartenura is the most popular Italian Moscato in the U.S. market and beyond. With its luxurious taste, appearance, and mouthfeel, the Sparkling Rosé is like upgrading from coach to first class. Slightly sweet, it’s a festive companion to cheese and dessert. And its “couture fashion” inspired gift bag is a feast for the eyes, too. $17.99

Teperberg Legacy Petite Sirah
The Legacy Petite Sirah showcases why Teperberg is a rising star among Israel’s wineries. Their flagship wine is not only delicious but also intriguing. Aged in French oak barrels, this deep red offers a soft flavor and rich texture with a complex balance of fruit and roasted oak. $69.99
 
Carmel Limited Edition
A powerful yet elegant Bordeaux-style wine, the Carmel Limited Edition represents the best of Israeli winemaking. Its distinct Mediterranean notes are bold and earthy, characterized by a rich, smooth, fruity taste. Carmel Winery was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, owner of the legendary Château Lafite-Rothschild, and the Limited Edition is a tribute to its origins. $69.99

 

 

LVOV Vodka “Say it with LVOV” Gift Box (1.75 liter)  - 
LVOV’s premium Polish vodka offers excellent value for the money. Crafted in the old tradition from potatoes (and thus gluten-free), it is distilled and filtered four times for a hint of mineral taste with a touch of sweetness and a slightly herbal aroma. This is a refined, mellow sip as part of your favorite cocktail or enjoyed its own. LVOV Vodka Gift Boxes are available in a choice of six “expressive” options that will definitely convey “Thank You.” $19.99 - $21.99

 

Craig's Red Wine 2014  

Craig's Red Wine 2014
Craig Hall, with his wife Kathryn, is the founder of Hall Wines, and this wine is one of his pet projects. It is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot from a number of Hall's growers throughout Napa Valley. It was aged in 60% new French oak for 22 months.

This big, bold Bordeaux-styled red blend has a nose of black fruits, black cherry, raspberry, earth, and a touch of smoke. It offers a palate of blackberry, cherry, plum, and chocolate. There is good acidity and plenty of tannins. If you like a tannin punch, drink now. If not, wait a year or two. Either way, let it breath for about an hour. The finish is long and concentrated. Comes packaged in an elegant gift box for the holidays. Price includes shipping. $60

Purchase online here.

 

Walt Clos Pepe Pinot Noir  

Walt 2015 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir
Walt's Clos Pepe vineyard is in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County. Winds from the Pacific deliver a temperate maritime climate, allowing for grapes to develop through a long, mild growing season. The sandy soils, born of ancient sea beds, obligate the vines to produce low-yield, high-quality fruit.

On the nose, this Pinot Noir exhibits very ripe red and black fruits, clove, and leather. The flavor is a complex balance of jammy cherries, berry fruit, and dried figs, with a hint of mushroom and earth. This is supported by abundant minerality and just enough acidity, oak, and tannins to provide balance and structure. The Clos Pepe has great depth, medium to full body, and a long finish. Comes packaged in an elegant gift box for the holidays. $75

Purchase online here.

 

Viader  

Viader 2014 “Liquid Cashmere” Proprietary Red Blend
If you need a gift for the wine lover on your list who has (almost) everything, this is the cult wine you're looking for. With just 1811 cases produced, and at the upper end of Napa prices, this is a rare find. The flagship wine from Viader, Liquid Cashmere put this unique mountainside winery on the map as one of the first in Napa to tackle and successfully showcase Cabernet Franc as a deserving companion with Cabernet Sauvignon.

This is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon provides the backbone, structure, character, and aging potential, while Cabernet Franc instills a balance and early approachability. The wine was aged for two years in 70% new French oak. It shows firm structure influenced by the rocky volcanic soils of the eastern slopes of Howell Mountain, and an elegant yet intensely rich profile. Big, hearty tannins wrap around flavors of succulent dark fruit, clove, and sage, with hints of floral notes.Cellar for up to 12 years. Handcrafted by the mother and son winemaking team of Delia and Alan Viader. $170

Purchase here.

 

 

Frisco  

Do Call It Frisco
As any resident of San Francisco will tell you, "Don't call it Frisco!" But we're talking spirits here, not the city, so I think we're OK. Plus, keep reading and a pun will become obvious.

Frísco founder Charlie O’Connell has an abiding love for Pisco, the spirit native to Chile and Peru. And now his goal of creating a sustainable, Pisco-inspired, American-made spirit has been realizied. Launched in May of 2017, Frísco has a clean, full-bodied, yet delicately smooth taste with floral overtones, suggestions of tropical fruit, and just a hint of sweetness..This brandy uses Muscat grapes from California which are distilled by Seven Stills of SF, a boutique San Francisco-based distillery. $35

Purchase online here.

 

Flaviar  

FLAVIAR: A Community of Spirits Lovers
After five years in the making and international growth, Flaviar is now launching a membership-only community for spirits enthusiasts, dedicated to providing education, discovery, and unparalleled access to the world of spirits. Flaviar seeks to aid every member in developing their own tastes as they curate a home bar that is more eclectic, more exotic, and, more personal than the world’s best speakeasy.

Designed for people discovering the world of fine spirits, Flaviar plays to their motto, “Tasting is Believing.” The membership community is about taste, exploration, and quality. All members receive:

  • Themed quarterly Tasting Boxes (shown at left)
  • Access to exclusive member-only private bottlings
  • Original content on fine spirits
  • Free shipping
  • Exclusive offers, such as live experiences and curated regional tasting events hosted by Flaviar, distillers, and brand ambassadors alike, in select markets across the country.

Through trial and discovery, members can learn more about their favorite products from a database of currently 22,206 products, build up their virtual (and physical) home bar, and share thoughts and feedback, helping spirits novices and experts alike find their favorite spirits – from global names to small, regional craft producers.

Annual fee of $210. For more information and to sign up, visit www.flaviar.com.

 

Laphroaig Scotch  

Laphroaig's Newest Expressions
Laphroaig (La-'froyg) literally means "the beautiful hollow by the broad bay." The secret to Laphroaig is that it benefits from the happy circumstances of where it is produced—next to ocean water and on land that gives Laphroaig a unique peaty taste. It is one of only a few distilleries that still uses traditional malting floors, and dries and infuses its own malt with the thick smoke from old peat-fired kilns.

Each year, Laphroaig Distillery Manager John Campbell crafts a limited edition malt to celebrate friendship (“Cairdeas” in Gaelic). For 2017, Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask offers a doubling of flavor, due to the maturation in two American oak barrels. The 2017 bottling of Cairdeas features different ages of Laphroaig matured for more than five years in first-fill bourbon casks, then laid to rest for a second time in smaller quarter casks. After six months of further maturation, the liquid from 177 of the casks was bottled at Cask Strength — no color added, no chilling, and a simple barrier filtration. The flavor features a sweet vanilla dryness that develops into a creamy, oily mouth-feel with bitter licorice root and a throat full of smoke. The finish is long, creamy, and (predictably) smoky. $80

Laphroaig Lore is rich and deep with smoke, peat, and seaside minerality. The flavor is the result of liquid being drawn from a selection of casks, including first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels, virgin European oak, first-fill Oloroso Sherry butts, first-fill and refill quarter casks, and refill ex-Laphroaig stock. The taste is richly peaty with a spicy chili bite. The finish is short and dry, but with an unexpected long, sweet aftertaste. $125

Laphroaig Select brings selections of Quarter Cask, PX Cask, Triple Wood, and 10 Year Old together to create a subtle blending of peat, oak, and sweetness. The spirit sees a final maturation in new American Oak casks. For the last six month of aging, Select rests in the highest, warmest reaches of the Laphroaig warehouse during the Scottish summer. On the palate this whisky is deep, complex, and smoky, with a bit of sweetness. The long finish features smoke and spice. $45

www.laphroaig.com

 

Boodles Mulberry  

Boodles Mulberry Gin Returns for Holiday Cheer
Premium gin producer Boodles has brought back last year’s hit holiday flavor. The delicate taste of mulberries is complemented by the classic Boodles British Gin botanicals of rosemary, nutmeg and sage to create Boodles Mulberry Gin. Along with its amazing flavor, the gin’s dark red color will make this gift a conversation piece at the dinner table.

Boodles Gin is sold in Chicago at Garfield’s Liquor Stores across Chicagoland as well as other retail establishments. 

On-line orders available through:  www.reservebar.com/boodles-mulberry

 

Wyoming Whiskey For Discerning Santas
Small batch whiskey, we have been told, is a welcome trend. The Mead family first came to Wyoming in 1890 as ranchers. While subsequent generations have endeavored in law, politics, and extreme skiing, Sam Mead is leading the fifth generation toward renown as a premier whiskey producer. Wyoming Whiskey products include four varieties. Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey is a traditional bourbon whiskey that is dark amber in color and smooth to the taste buds. Flavors that can be detected include brown baking spices, vanilla crème, caramel, and cinnamon.

Wyoming Whiskey can be found at local liquor retailers as well as via the company’s website:  www.wyomingwhiskey.com

 

 

Cuervo Reserva de la Familia
Reserva de la Familia is the world’s first extra-añejo tequila. It is hand selected from the Cuervo® family’s private collection. Each bottle is made using only blue agave harvested at its peak maturity after seven to twelve years of growing in the field, and aged in French and American oak barrels for a minimum of three years. Not for shots or margueritas, Reserva de la Familia is best served in a snifter, allowing for full appreciation of its flavors, aroma, and velvety finish. At about $130 per 750ml bottle, this is a rare treat for most of us, but worth it if you can swing it.

To learn more: www.reservadelafamilia.com/