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I’m not one of those folks who announces the Best of a Year before that year is done.  Just doesn’t seem right to me.

So, now that it’s 2014, I can announce the spirits that really tickled my fancy last year.  And because I like to share, I’m announcing them here!


The Most Versatile Booze of 2013: Aviation Gin

Aviation Gin, *the* American Gin from the great Northwest

Aviation Gin, *the* American Gin from the great Northwest

2013 was full of whiskeys and tequilas that I reviewed; but I did pay homage to Gin in both the booze that I reviewed and the cocktails that I made.  When I started this little venture in early 2013, I thought that Plymouth Gin was *it*.  But the moment I got my hands on Aviation Gin, I knew that I had a winner.

Smooth, delicately floral, but packed with juniper punch, Aviation Gin went into every Gin drink I made in 2013.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Best Bang for Your Buck of 2013: Four Roses “Yellow”

Four Roses Yellow - A Bourbon I can sip all day.

Four Roses Yellow – A Bourbon I can sip all day.

When I stumbled onto Four Roses as the required Bourbon for a drink I was duplicating, I went the pricey route and bought their Small Batch and Single Barrel.
It wasn’t until I was on vacation that I got my hands on Yellow label Four Roses… and I’m never going back!

Four Roses Yellow is so smooth, so approachable, so honest and clean that even folks who dislike Bourbon like Four Roses Yellow.  Even better reason to like it: it tastes like a $35 Bourbon, but you can usually get a bottle for $17 to $19. You can’t beat that!

Even these two stand-out boozes can’t keep up with the one I’ve picked as Booze of the Year:

Booze of the Year 2103: High West Rendezvous Rye

The Pinnacle of 2013: High West Rendezvous Rye

The Pinnacle of 2013: High West Rendezvous Rye

This declaration should come as no suprise to folks who’ve been paying attention to my blog for the past year.  High West Rendezvous Rye has the highest rating I’ve ever given any booze: a 98.  Claze Azul nor Jewel of Russia nor Don Julio 1942, not even Rock Hill Farms can claim a score that high.

Even more shocking is that Rendezvous Rye is a blended whiskey… and it’s a blend of whiskeys that High West doesn’t even make at their main distillery in Park City, Utah.  No, the crew over at High West Distillery knows what they’re doing so well that they can just take two differently aged rye whiskies, mix ’em together, and knock it out of the park.

You don’t have to take my word that this is the best damn whiskey on the planet; Robert Parker said of it:

This is a sweet, smoky, spicy, flamboyant whiskey that is full, rich and intense, but not the least bit harsh.

Malt Advocate Magazine gave it a 95 out of 100.

If you enjoy any kind of whisk(e)y at all, you owe it to yourself to find a bottle and taste this rye whiskey for yourself.

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And there you have it.  Those are my “Best of” Boozes for 2013.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store!