A treasure of fine and rare wines
0 items ()
The lighter side of Burgundy

The lighter side of Burgundy


Domaine Jean Jacques Confuron, Nuits St. Georges AC Les Fleurières 2013

We recently enjoyed the late summer sun on the beautiful terrace at Restaurant Lakes, Hilversum.

We ordered cote de boeuf and chose a Nuits St. Georges, usually a block buster, but Les Fleurières from Jean Jacques Confuron is just the opposite MORE ...

The wine opened up with friendly red fruits like raspberries. The Nuits Saint-Georges has had malolactic fermentation and a touch of new wood but still in harmony with the fruit. Due to the nice weather we had this Burgundy chilled a little to 16 degrees. With its medium pallet, fine tannins, crisp acidity, vibrant red fruit and rosehip, it was the perfect wine with our lunch.

BOW 7.5

Blog By FV


Early 19th Century

Early 19th Century


Leacock Madeira 1825

As you might know, we are huge fans of history. And with this bottle of Madeira we acquired a little taste of just that. MORE ...

With our annual dinner, this wine was brought in as a blind bottle. We always like to have a blind tasting where we all bring in a wine according to a specific theme. The theme of this dinner was 'no French, Spanish or Italian wines'. 

Besides this complete surprise, we had a fantastic white Portuguese wine from Douro, drank an amazing American wine from Amuse Bouche and there was also my personal favourite, the Australian Shiraz from Jim Barry. Though these three wines were probably more balanced than the Madeira, I think this madeira will be remembered.

We bought this wine from a impressive private cellar containing around 100 bottles of very old Madeira. The oldest was from 1795, but that one will be kept for another tastings. The 1825 was the second oldest.

As expected, the wine started a little sour with peel of green apples; tangy bouquet; a little medicinal. None of us was even aware in the slightest that this glass contained a Madeira, let alone a 1825... Except of course me, since I was the one who had entered this bottle. But even for me the wine was much better than expected.

After five minutes it opened up. And there it was, the fruit, the toffee and everything which makes a Madeira so beautiful. Though it was not the winner of the evening, it absolutely was a wine we'll all remember.

BOW 7.5.

(For the experience however: BOW 10)

Blog by PM


Old School Macallan

Old School Macallan


Tasting the Macallan 12 years Old 40% Sherry Oak Casks from Jerez ‘90’s bottle.

I love Macallan, the Rolls Royce of single malts. I especially appreciate the old stuff, as I’m a sucker for old school drams from back in the day MORE ...

– well before a multi-million dollar investment turned the place into a veritable Wonka-esque theme park with a visitor center offering a “unique glimpse” into the premises, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

Opening one of those antique bottles is a special moment, that makes my whisky lovers heart pound in my chest. It’s passion! So here’s my take on this lovely dram.


Yes, sherry baby…what a sherry bomb. Amontillado sherry, oranges (more like tangerines), plums, and apricot marmalade. I’m detecting some pear… my colleague Paul would suggest pear drops at this point, I know that for sure. I’m a sucker for those keynotes. Due to its aging there are some nice woody tones too, almost spicy. Yes, I said almost!


Nice, gentle and superb due to its creamy notes. Blackcurrants and forest fruit. Is there some chocolate… yet there is. Some pear in the background and oak notes!


Nice and gentle, with a lingeringly long finish that keeps its warmth and seems to go on forever. That apricot marmalade I mentioned earlier is now on the foreground.

Balance and complexity:

The nose and the taste are extremely well balanced. In terms of complexity, it’s the marmalade that makes the dram!


A lovely old school dram. They don’t make them like these anymore, sadly. I guess the late nineties really were an end of an era. The availability is getting rarer by the day. It was nice to re-taste this again.

90/100 points in my book. Well deserved!

Blog by NR


Soldera 1999 Time

Soldera 1999 Time


Soldera Casse Basse 1999

One of Italy’s most celebrated producers Soldera

Soldera is probably one of the biggest icons that Brunello di Montalcino has to offer and one of the finest wines you can find in Tuscany. MORE ...

Due to the very small production and the very devoted fans of Soldera it is one of the more difficult to find wines from Italy.

The main goal of Gianfranco Soldera of the Case Basse is to create an amazing wine through completely natural vine growing and winemaking processes. The vineyards were planted at Case Basse between 1972 and 1973.

In March 2013 Soldera made the headlines all around the world when a former employee broke into the cellar and opened the taps of the casks. Almost two third of 6 vintages (2007 – 2012) where destroyed.

We tasted the 1999 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva several times and it was always one of my favorites. The complex aromas of earth and herbs, with black cherry and dried fruit and tobacco. A lot of structure, bold tannins, licorice flavors, a long finish. This is really special, a great effort of Soldera and if you can find a bottle 1999 it’s worth the extra money.


Tasting note by FV

Battle of Giants

Battle of Giants


Prices of Coche Dury and Domaine Leroy are getting higher and higher by the day. But if you're lucky, you may still have some wines in your cellar for the “old” prices. MORE ...

Also, you need a group of good friends that are as crazy about wine as you are. Luckily we did. We tasted both Leroy and Coche Dury Corton Charlemagnes from the 2001 vintage. To summarize in one word: phenomenal!


Domaine Leroy Corton Charlemagne 2001: light yellow, a very clear wine. The bouquet contains chamomile, buttercup flowers, butter, some caramel. Complex and opens in about 2 minutes. A fat and creamy wine, perfectly balanced. What a joy !

Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2001: bright yellow with some golden edges. Very mineral bouquet, chalk, cereals. Getting better and better the first 10 minutes. Very elegant, still young, very powerful. A legend !


And the winner is …………. We should say both, but if we have to pick one, it will be the Coche Dury.

Leroy BOW 9+ Coche BOW 9.5.

Blog by PM


Petrus 1982

Petrus 1982


It is joke that is told many times and even today is still popular when drinking Petrus: in Las Vegas each year more Petrus 1982 is drunk than was ever produced. Of course fiction but there is one truth about it – always be careful assuming that a bottle Petrus 1982 is the real thing. MORE ...


Last week we shared a bottle which some wine afficionados. The bottle was bought in the mid 80’s en primeur and was stored in a private cellar since then. What provenance do you need more ? To start with the conclusion : Petrus 1982 is not the best Petrus of the 80’s, there are better 1982 wines within the same appelation. The wine is way overpriced. But anyway, some of our guests did not have the opportunity to taste one the most famous wines in one of the most stellar vintages. And the proof of the pudding is in the eating.


We didn’t decant the wine, the color was medium red. The bouquet started with some Reduktiv notes but opened in about a minute. Cheese, chocolate, burgundy.  Quite concentrated, some overripe fruitnotes. Sweet (honey, like Lafleur 1982) with surprisingly soft and present tannins. We enjoyed the wine with some more funny stories about wine experiences.


However, the wine is past its best drinking period. But still a very nice wine to drink. And of course an impressive experience and a picture for the wine-collection-books. BOW 8+.


Blog by PM

On a boat with a Fanti

On a boat with a Fanti


On a boat with a Tenuta Fanti – Brunello di Montalcino Vallochio 2011


Last weekend it was warm and sunny, so a perfect weekend to take a boat trip. To make the day even better we took a bottle of Tenuta Fanti with us. Tenuata Fanti is a wine house owned MORE ...

by the Fanti family since the beginning of the 19th century and I am slightly in love with it because of its great value for money.


This bottle is from the Castelnuovo dell'Abate subregion. This Sangiovese is aged 30 months in oak and 12 months in the bottle before it is released.


After opening the wine, the bouquet directly shows its very ripe fruit, mainly cherry and blackberry tones. However, there are also some hints of chocolate in the wine. The wine is very high in its alcohol but still a very approachable Brunello. A beautiful bottle to drink under the sun while at sea. BOW 8


The Daftmill history awakens...

The Daftmill history awakens...


Tasting the Daftmill 2006 summer release 46%.

Sometimes we open bottles that would otherwise have ended up as a museum piece in someone’s whisky collection, not to be opened for decades, or even worse, bought purely as an investment. MORE ...

In my opinion, whisky is made for drinking, so my advice is to please open your bottles! It’s like having a car or motorbike: not to ride it is not to enjoy it, and it ends up sitting in your garage. Just enjoy life as it comes!

Anyway, before we sample this lovey 12 year old whisky, let’s look at its history first. Because any great story starts with a bit of history.

Before going down the deep end of whisky geekdom, I just want to say that Daftmill has not made any concessions when they started out. No bringing on investors, no selling casks, and turning down all offers to partner up, et cetera. And it paid off: a good twelve years later, they impressed with two releases: the Inaugural release in 2005, and the 2006 Summer release we’ve opened here today. Only about a hundred casks are produced on a yearly basis, during the farms’ so-called off season. That’s two months in the Summer and two months in Winter. Very traditional, very old-school. I love this do-it-yourself approach!

Bottles from the first release are doing well over a thousand euros nowadays. Talk about a cash cow. That price went up in an instant! But do all those buyers, driving up the price, even know how it tastes? There aren’t many who know, and fewer even who seem to care. It’s all about making a huge profit. Serge Valentin does know, and he wrote some very nice things about it on WhiskyFun. Well done!

The same goes for us: we actually drink the stuff. Unfortunately, we do not own an Inaugural release. We do not even have Daftmill in stock, yet. We managed to get our hands on a Daftmill 2006 from the nice chaps at Berry Bros & Rudd, who struck an exclusive distribution deal with them. We wanted to enjoy a wee sip from this new distillery ourselves. Strictly speaking you could call this doing your homework, but it does feel a whole lot better.


The Daftmill history awakens

The Daftmill Distillery is located on the border of the Eastern Highland and the Lowlands, in Fife to be precise. Due to its light and fruity character, its makers classify it as a Lowlands whisky. This newcomer among the Scottish distilleries was established in 2005, and the first bottling which they named the Daftmill Inaugural Release saw the light 12 years later.

The distillery is established in the old mill of the former Daftmill farm, dating back to 1655. It was bought in 1984 by the Cuthbert brothers, two passionate farm-raised boys whose family had grown barley for six generations. The two brothers have always dreamt of having their own distillery, and finally managed to buy the Pitlair Estate, on which the farm was located. The name Daftmill refers to the Daft Burn, the burn (or stream) that powers the mill. Due to a gravity hill or optical illusion in the landscape, the stream seems to run uphill! So that’s how the burn -and the adjoining mill- earned the name Daft.


The barley used for distillation is grown at the Daftmill farmlands. There aren’t a lot of distilleries who still grow their own barley. You could probably count them on one hand. Even the water they use comes from their own spring!

Daftmill currently uses both bourbon and sherry casks. You could say that they are one of the youngest, smallest, and most self-sufficient distilleries to be found in Scotland nowadays, and you’d be right. A truly craft-oriented, farm style, Single Estate distillery if you like. No wonder they call it Daft!

Well, after a little background, let’s have a wee sip from this wee distillery from Fife, shall we?

Daftmill Summer release 2006 46%

Nose: Shortbread and Florida Key lime pie, are the first things that hit you, followed shortly after with bananas, vanilla, and apricots that evolve into greengages. An nose that is very challenging and keeps evolving into new savours.

Taste: “Millions of peaches, peaches for me. Millions of peaches, peaches for free”
Well it’s not really free, since the bottle turns out to be quite expensive. But this is very lovely! I totally love the taste of this dram. Again the shortbread, Key lime pie and greengages. A lot of lovely peaches in this dram though!


Finish: Green apples, bananas, Galia melons and apricots… It’s just one big tropical fruit surprise!

Balance and Complexity: Well-balanced in both nose and taste, and a tropical fruit bomb in the finish.

Comments: Fife has surely put itself back on the map with this dram! It’s different from other Lowlanders, though it does have similarities with a good yet fruity Rosebank in a very distinctive way. It makes me very happy to see that we weren’t being fobbed off with a bad whisky sold overpriced. This is worth every cent. High standards, high quality, no concessions, very artisanal which by all means makes it very likeable.

It is refreshing see nowadays, as many new distillers would sell anything from gin to newmake to 3-year-old whisky with poor quality and big marketing, just to make a quick bug. Thank God there’s the Cuthbert brothers who honor the drink as it rightly deserves. Please keep them coming! It’s proof that good artisanal whiskies are still being made today.


Blog by NR

The icons of two nations

The icons of two nations


Screaming Eagle 1999

One of the American icons both as an actual icon and a wine, is the Screaming Eagle. Almost 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, some Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this typical Bordeaux Blend shows great similarities with some vintages of Mouton Rothschild. It would only be fair to drink these two wines beside one another. MORE ...

To compare to the Screaming Eagle 1999, we chose a Mouton Rothschild 1986. A great vintage, receiving 100 points from Robert Parker but not yet developed to its full potential. This wine had to live up to the big American icon, which, although receiving 97 points by Robert Parker, was at its absolute best. A clash of Titans it was. We decided to give both wines a little time to breathe first, while we loosened our palates with a Dauvissat Chablis Le Forest 2008.

After having enjoyed the Chablis, and a discussion about soccer and the value of current pop music, we turned to the task at hand, the tasting of two legendary wines.


Mouton Rothschild 1986

Chateau Mouton Rothschild has always been one of the legendary chateaus of France. Though the Chateau was labelled a 2nd growth in the classification of 1855, it didn’t take long for wine lovers to recognize the sheer quality of the wines. It wasn’t until 1973 that Mouton Rothschild was (finally) included in the list of 1er Cru wines.

The vintage of 1986 was a very hard one. With an extremely hot and dry summer, the wines were in danger of reaching maturity very early. However, when the rains finally started falling in September, a beautiful harvest was reached. Though 1986 has not been a beneficial year for all wines, the year was very good for Pauillac and the Cabernet Sauvignon. Pauillac created some very concentrated wines with very good longevity, made from fully ripened grapes.


Being warned on several occasions that the Mouton 1986 still is pretty young, we decanted this wine for nearly two hours before trying it. Still it was a structured and balanced wine. A marvel laden with black fruits, some liquorice and the typical pencil shavings. The wine was still young and we stopped doubting the claims that this wine would still be amazing in the 22nd century.


BOW: 10


Screaming Eagle 1999

A fairly new and very small winery with vineyards in California, created in 1986. The Screaming Eagle released its first vintage in 1992 and was immediately rewarded 99 points by Robert Parker. Due to the high quality of the wines and the extremely limited number of cases, the Screaming Eagle has become a highly sought-after wine and is one of the most expensive wines in the world.

The vintage of 1999 in California was somewhat troublesome. A wet and chilly spring was followed by a somewhat disappointing summer. When the temperatures dropped even further in August, winemakers were afraid that the grapes would not reach the desired maturity. Luckily in September the vines were blessed with some sunshine that saved the crops and made for that last push towards maturity.

The Screaming Eagle was very velvety and extremely balanced. Rich aromas of Crème de Cassis, red fruits and some flowers in there as well. A mind-blowing wine and an extremely high quality! We were blown away by its structure, balance, subtle tannins and slight smokiness. An absolute marvel of a wine.


BOW: 9+


To conclude this battle: Mouton wins. However, it was an extremely close call. Both bottles were in top shape, but notably the Mouton will improve in the next 10-20 years. One of the differences is of course the terroir, which Mouton clearly had. However, the screaming Eagle was more velvety than expected. Though the Mouton is a miracle waiting to happen, we always find it extremely hard to keep a bottle closed. Surprised by the sheer quality of the Screaming Eagle and still blown away by the power of the Mouton, this was a more quiet tasting than average.


Blog by PM


Two strange birds

Two strange birds


Sine Qua Non - Dangerous Birds

We just received two wines form Sine Qua Non and one of our tasters proposed to put both wines next to each other. Naturally, we thought: Good idea! MORE ...

Sine Qua Non, meaning as much as ‘without which there is not’, is a relatively new winery, having released their first vintage in 1994. The main goal of Sine Qua Non is to produce honest and pure wines, reflecting the beauty of each vintage. They produce wines in the tradition of the Rhône, with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre as their main red grapes and Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier as the main white grapes.


That every vintage is unique can clearly be seen in the way Sine Qua Non releases their bottles. Each vintage has a unique (if not completely insane) name and label. Just to give you an idea of the names winemaker Krankl makes up for his range, some examples are:

Just for the love of it

Packing Rosy rose

The Thrill of Stamp Collecting

A Shot in the Dark

17th nail in my Cranium


Not only does Manfred Krankl show his creativity with inventing a new name for every vintage he releases, the striking artwork is also drawn by the winemaker himself. Though he has never professionally done anything with his talent for drawing, the little pieces of art on every individual label are almost as desired as the wine itself, becoming a big part of the beauty of Sine qua Non.


Anyway, I’m drifting off. We were here to discuss two amazing wines, the Dangerous Birds. In the Dangerous Birds series, both a Syrah and a Grenache were made, vintage 2007. Manfred Krankl managed to make two beautiful wines from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard. Both wines are not cepage wines, however very typical. Both wines are really amazing, though we had a very slight preference for the Syrah.

The Syrah started surprisingly elegant, with hints of red fruits, some coffee and even very slight hints of pistachios. A typical Syrah, which kept developing, gaining more ripeness over time. After about fifteen minutes in the glass, deeper notes of chocolate and cherry started to develop. The finish was long and smooth.


The Grenache started off as it should, immediately engulfing us in aromas of red fruits and some smokiness. An absolute stunner this one, and very steady. The wine was nicely balanced, though the red fruits slightly superseded some of the intense notes. It wasn’t until the finish when the chocolate and coffee gave the wine a firmer character.

The wines were at the same high level of quality, both extremely well-balanced and both showing the complexity of the vintage. The preference for the Syrah is strictly personal. From the five of us tasting the wines, three preferred the Syrah over the Grenache. The wines left us silent for a while and were the absolute ‘sine qua non’ of the evening.

BOW 8.5

Blog by PM

Mezcal for a change... A love potion

Mezcal for a change... A love potion


Pescador de Sueños 

Most of my work at Best of Whiskies has everything to do with whisky and rum, but sometimes I get to add other cool spirits to our ever-expanding stock list. Recently we have added some very high-quality, exceptional Mezcals. It’s very cool and funky stuff, but to be honest, I was sceptical at first. MORE ...

That being said, after the first sip I was astonished by the high standard of these drinks from Pescador de Sueños, distributed by Santa Sabia, a company that buys Mezcals from local distilleries.

These Mezcals from Pescador de Sueños are meant to be enjoyed the same way we like to sip our Scotch. When I was younger, I have had my taste of bad tequila and mezcal in clubs where I tried to impress the fairer sex with my dancing… I guess we all did. In my case however, it never worked out quite the way I planned.

This Pescador de Sueños however, is totally different from what I remember from those days. When visiting one of my distributors, I was truly surprised. We had a good long chat and I decided to include them in our range.

Before I dive into the tasting notes of the Pescador de Sueños’ selection of Mezcals, the Cuishe, Cuishito, and Tobalá, let’s get a little background information on them first.

These Mezcals are produced in the Santiago Matatlán area, pretty much Mexico’s own Speyside region. However, unlike Scotch, it is the age of the agave that defines the dram, and which adds complexity to the drink. The older the agave, the more sophisticated the drink. The agaves used are of different varietals, and Pescador de Sueños is known to make bold choices when it comes to rare agaves. Did you know that Mezcal can even show terroir?

Some of these plants are on the brink of extinction.  No worries, to my understanding they replant them for future generations and only use what they need.

As the story goes, the native inhabitants of Santiago Matatlán trek into the jungle in search of these older plants, and map them for future generations. You see, it’s also a cultural thing!

The production process in a nutshell:

To get to the heart of the plant, or piña, first the leaves are cut away. The leaves are bitter and cannot be used in the production. The piña is basically one big ball of carbohydrates that can weigh up to 60 kgs. The distiller cuts the piña in halves and cooks it in an earthen oven, or horno, for up to 48 hours. During the cooking process, the carbohydrates are converted into sugar. The cooking also adds new flavours due to caramelization of the piñas. The piñas will rest for two days to set, after which a juice named aguamiel is extracted.

After the cooking process the piñas are squashed to a mush prior to fermentation. Sometimes mules are employed to press and squash the agaves. A cutting edge technology by comparison, since using a hammer to smash the piñas into a pulp is still the preferred method. I love that touch!

A liquid is extracted from the pulp, which is combined with the aguamiel from earlier. The distiller sometimes adds sugar molasses or corn syrup at this stage. Now the process of fermentation can start. Pescador de Sueños uses only non-commercial natural yeasts that have originated in the proximity of the distillery. How cool is that? Because of these natural “wild” yeast strains this process can take up to 30 days! The longer the better!

After the fermentation, the juice is ready to be distilled. At Pescador de Sueños, this is as old school as it gets. Seriously, these Mezcals are distilled twice in stills made of clay! Or at least most of them. The use of copper stills binds molecules in the produced spirits, both good and bad, while the use of these clay stills gives more flavour to the products. The clay stills at Pescador de Sueños are as traditional and artisanal as the ones used by the native Nahuatl tribe to make a drink called “Men Ztac octli” hundreds of years ago. After the distillation the Mezcal is commonly matured on bourbon casks.

Well, I think that pretty much covers the production process. Let’s get on to tasting some of those Mezcals. No salt and lime needed, and no: there’s no worm in it, that’s only for the cheap stuff. Like I said, this is the funky sophisticated drink!

Let’s start with the one called Cuishe, named after a type of agave from the Maguey family, which grows in the Santiago Matatlán area. It is the garden-variety agave used for Mezcal. Organically crushed (hello Mr. Donkey, do you like your job?) and cooked in an earthen oven (horno), the resulting Mezcal is double distilled in a copper pot still and has aged for 12 years.

Nose: A little spiritous in flavour, but in a good way, almost like a newly made Scotch. Earthy tones, potatoes and shitake mushrooms. Reminds me of Irish moss (sphagnum) on a wet forest floor. Under the influence of some oxygen it’s shifting towards almonds/macadamia and green asparagus, sparrowgrass-like.

Taste: Little green herbal notes, some lime zest and creamy yoghurt tones. It does again have that green asparagus, sparrowgrass-like taste!

Finish: Easy and smooth medium long finish, fairly earthly, with nut savours of almonds and wood tones.

Balance and complexity: This Mezcal is well balanced. Both the nose and the taste have similar savours. Man, I love the asparagus in there. 

Comments: A very smooth, easy going, entry level Mezcal, still very funky and in no way anything like a commercial type of Mezcal. Very likeable!


Let’s move on to the Cuishito, named after a different varietal of Maguey agave from Santiago Matatlán. A little more funky, this one, and aged for 13 years. Once again, organically crushed by mule and cooked in an earthen oven (horno), fermented in a Sabina wooden tub and also double distilled in a copper pot still.

Nose: Pine needles and holly it is. Some star anise, laurel, and pear drops; maybe more of a peach-like sweetness. Raisins, sandalwood and cedar tones. Maybe even a hint of coconut confectionery? Very likeable.

Taste: Charred eggplant, vegetal-like. Dry white wine, like an oaky chardonnay. Seedcake flavours and some sandalwood again, very pleasant.

Finish: Long and dry, more like oaky turning to laurel

Balance and complexity: Again, very well-balanced and complex tones. As a Dutchman I’m a sucker for a laurel/anise tones.

Comments: Initially it needs some oxygen to open up, but what a dram! It keeps evolving to new tones. Totally different from the Cuishe, still a very pleasant dram… more of a winter Mezcal, if there is such a thing.


Finally, let’s taste the Tobalá. This is also an agave from the Maguey family, the Agave Potatorum to be precise. Hailing from the same Santiago Matatlán area, this one is a wee bit more funky, as it is one of the rarer varietals of agave. This Mezcal has aged for 14 years. Organically crushed by hand with a wooden hammer, so I guess Mr. Mule gets a day off when they produce this type of Mezcal. This one is also cooked in the horno, fermented in a Sabina wood tub, and double distilled in a yes, a clay pot still!

A very artisanal and old-school Mezcal. 

Nose: I found my thrill on Blueberry… no, wait: Strawberry Hill. Really, there’s strawberry cheesecake in here. Cherries and barley. It does have some meat tones… or maybe more like old leather. Lemon zest is definitely there. Some charcoal /peat in the background. And there is that yoghurt note again. Some liquorice and chocolate, very nice.

Taste: Very dry, lemon zestiness, cherries and chocolates (After Eight maybe?), burned rock sugar (peat) evolving in a more laurel and liquorice tone.

Finish: Very long and dry finish, which is always good with some liquorice.

Balance and complexity:  Very well balanced to my honest opinion. It has a more smooth character, although still high in alcohol, you just would not tell.

Comments: Holy Tombola, I mean Tobalá for a change! What a lovely nose this dram has. Now, this is something that makes me very happy. I don’t mind to sit down on a hot summer night and a enjoy a dram or 2 from this baby.


There’s another product from Pescador de Sueños, named Pechuga. That is a type of Mezcal where they hang plucked chickens over the clay stills to cook. The cooking juices from the chicken drip into the distillate for extra flavour. After the distillation, the people throw a big community dinner where the “steamed” chicken is sold to the highest bidder. The proceeds of this auction are put toward public maintenance, for instance the church. The chickens are then eaten at a big feast, of course with some Pechuga to wash it down. With this approach, everybody wins!

I have completely fallen in love with these products. I can personally recommend to try them. They will not disappoint you in any way. It’s always nice to try something different for a change. A lot is said about Mezcal; there’s even an urban legend that it is a love potion. I guess it kind of is, because I fell in love with the product.


Blog by NR


100 point Champagne

100 point Champagne


Roederer Cristal 2008

The last couple of weeks have been extremely hot, with temperatures reaching nearly 40°C by the end of this week. In our experience, the best wine to drink when the sun is out is a sparkling one. This Friday we simply had to choose which bottle of champagne should be uncorked. MORE ...


Ever since we received the Louis Roederer Cristal 2008 in our warehouse - about a month ago - we have been curious about this 100 points champagne.  Not only did it receive 100 points from James Suckling, this champagne was also rated with a stunning 97+ points by Parker. These high scores come as no surprise, since this is a remarkable Roederer in many ways.


The 2008 vintage was bottled in 2009 and aged for a period of 8.5 years on the second lees. This is longer than any Cristal champagne has ever aged before. In total the 2008 has aged nearly 10 years before being released.


Not only the process is remarkable, the wine itself was beautiful too, and radiated the excellence Cristal is known for. 


When opening the bottle we were immediately welcomed by a pleasant aroma of citrus fruits, white fruits and some chalkiness. Though aged for ten years already, the champagne was still young, but this was expressed by a very pleasant acidity. I’m not even sure if this is a bad thing. Though there was still enormous potential, the acidity made for a beautiful balanced bouquet.


Parker describes the Cristal 2008 as:

“This is a great vin de terroir, a dense and elegant Super-Cristal that goes straight and precise as a laser beam over the palate but also has texture in the form of sensually fleshy fruit.”

After the first taste of this wine, we immediately understood what he meant with this “laser beam precision”, what a lively taste and what clear notes of citrus and minerals. A wonderfully balanced champagne with hints of the aforementioned citrus, but also notes of white fruit, some herbs and a subtle tone of vanilla.


What a beautiful and complex Cristal! Give it a couple of years to develop even further and this might even become a Cristal that can live up to compete with the legendary 2002.

BOW 9+

Blog by PB

Tasting one of the

Tasting one of the "Fab Four"


Haut Brion 1995

Chateau Haut Brion is one of the oldest vineyards in the Bordeaux area still known under its original name. It is one of only four Chateaus to receive a Premier Grand Cru classification in 1855, and the only one not in the Gironde area. MORE ...


1995 is a difficult vintage. When it was released, all critics were very positive about the wines. However, in many wines of this vintage the hard tannins never softened, so a lot of wines turned out to be a disappointment.


For the Haut Brion this is definitely not the case, even though the wine is still quite young. After opening the wine, the nose was very closed with notes of mushroom. It took at least 45 minutes before the immense bouquet of red fruit began to emerge. The wine has tones of chocolate, spices and the very well-known Haut Brion terroir all beautifully mixed together. In the end the wine has a very intense long finish.


The Haut Brion 1995 is very beautiful but also quite young. It is best to be a few years more patient with this wine. However, when you want to drink the Haut Brion now, make sure to open it at least an hour before.

BOW 9+


Blog By BM


Table wine to Cult status

Table wine to Cult status


Best of Super Tuscans?

the 90s, wines like Ornellaia, Sassicaia, and Masseto were classified as Vino da Tavola: the lowest classification there is. But every wine aficionado immediately recognizes the sheer beauty and class of these wines. MORE ...

As you might suspect, these wines have undergone a severe status boost over the past decades. Some have even become cult wines, like Masseto. In 2002, the price for a Masseto 1998 was around 80 Euros, while nowadays it’s extremely hard to obtain this bottle for under 600 (!) Euros.


Today these wines are no longer classified as mere Vino da Tavola, but as IGT (Indicazione Geografica Typica) and are well-known to wine lovers as “Super Tuscans”. I have heard of –and attended– many (blind) tastings with a line-up of Super Tuscans. Wine preference is a personal matter, but in many cases Sassicaia was the surprise. That is, under one condition: that the Sassicaia was at least 10-15 years old. Sassicaia needs that time to show its best. When drunk young, it can be “hard” and closed. James Suckling even experimented with this “hardness” once, by tasting a Sassicaia at different stages of oxidation. In his findings the Sassicaia was at its best between 1 and 2 months after opening.


We drank a Sassicaia 2009, still in its infancy but it showed it all. Enormous concentration and power, but in a very silky way… this might also be due to the 15 % Cabernet Franc. The complex bouquet of fruit (blueberry), spices and terroir resembles a left bank Bordeaux (Graves). What a joy, this 2009. And the most important conclusion is the fact that Sassicaia is still affordable (in comparison to e.g. Masseto), which makes it excellent value for money. 



Blog by PM


The best Cheval Blanc in two decades!

The best Cheval Blanc in two decades!


Chateau Cheval Blanc 1985

The Cheval Blanc 1985 has always been a true beauty, although it was also very closed in the past decades. We have tasted the wine several times and each time we noticed that it was still improving. Therefore it is a wine that we like to open every once in a while. MORE ...

A few months ago, we had a vertical tasting of Cheval Blanc and this vintage was one of the highlights. So, when we had a dinner last week we brought this wine with us to enjoy it again.


1985 had quite a rough start with very cold temperatures; January of that year even recorded the coldest temperatures since 1956 (the year that many vines in Bordeaux were destroyed by the frost). The following months were quite average, but it was a perfect September that saved the wines in Bordeaux. The quality of Merlot was excellent, so the best wines can be found in Pomerol. The vineyards in Saint Emillion did not so well that year, except for one: Chateau Cheval Blanc. 


After opening the bottle, you will find the very fine Cabernet Franc tones, full of herbs, chocolate, leather, and plums. The wine is medium bodied, elegant and very well balanced. The finish is very intense.


We can now truly say that this wine has been the best release of Cheval Blanc in the 70s and 80s. After all these years the wine has finally come out of the stage where it can be considered as young. However, you can definitely still drink this Cheval Blanc for at least the next ten years.


Blog by BM

Time Capsule

Time Capsule


A time capsule, that is how you could describe this legendary bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1870 (recorked in 1980).

In 1870, while the Franco-Prussian war was raging in the North of France, there was another battle going on – in the vineyards! MORE ...

The vine louse phylloxera had destroyed vines all over Europe, and this is probably the last wine made at Chateau Lafite Rothschild that we can call “pre-phylloxera”. In those days the vineyards were not as we know them today. Vines were spread over the fields and grew on the ground. This wine was made by hand and the hand of mother nature.

What will it be like after 148 years?!


We chose the beautiful location of restaurant De Nederlanden situated on the river Vecht to create the right ambiance.


We were very excited, wondering if the bottle would be okay and what could we expect! The cork was crumbling so it took some time to open the bottle, which we hadn’t expected because of the recorking at the Chateau in 1980


Slowly we poured the wine and yes, everything seemed to be okay. The colour was terracotta brown with orange hues, and the first impression on the nose was of boiled vegetables with hints of mint which quickly changed to rose hip. We gave the wine time to open up. We tasted several fruits like prunes, dried apricots and wild strawberries while it was building up tannins. One moment it had earthy tones like mushrooms and fallen autumn leaves, but then there were hints of after eights and also herbs like laurel and thyme. This continued for over two hours! Later it even became a Burgundy style with cedar and orange marmalade, with a long slow finish we will never forget.

In one word – phenomenal. BOW10+


Blog by FV

Dessert deserves Sauternes

Dessert deserves Sauternes


Exceptional Dessert

Every course in a great dinner deserves an equally great wine, and dessert is no exception. Especially when the whole team goes out for dinner! Last week, we had a table at the Michelin star restaurant “Tante Koosje” in the charming town of Loenen aan de Vecht. MORE ...

The chef, Roland Veldhuijzen, enticed our palates with dish after dish, and each time the level was raised even higher with the right wine. Then came dessert, and what better way to enhance the experience than with a Sauternes? When the Chateau Rieussec 2006 was brought out, our eyes were treated to a golden yellow. The sweet bouquet of fleshy, fruity notes was already competing with the tanginess of the cheese selection placed in front of us.

For the Sauternes, 2006 was a challenging year. Although the temperatures were a favourable transition from hot to cool, there was some bad rot and a very narrow window for harvest, weather-wise. The grapes were soaked in sunlight in July, and treated a cooler breeze in August, but the harvest was troubled by heavy rains, resulting in a smaller yield.

The concentration of sugars from the sunny periods was excellently preserved in the taste, and a very pleasant mild acidity was retained as well. The finish was lush, creamy, and long; a perfect companion to both cheese and sweet desserts.

BOW: 7.5


Blog by KO

The Vega at dinner

The Vega at dinner


On a beautiful evening in the heart of Amsterdam we had a winemakers’ dinner in Restaurant Bougainville, with Don Pablo Alvarez from Vega Sicilia. He has expanded his family of wine companies. MORE ...

He founded Alion, a modern-style Ribera a few miles down the road from Vega Sicilia, Pintia, in what had been the little-known Toro region about 60 miles to the west; Macán, a joint venture with Benjamin de Rothschild in Rioja, Spain’s premier wine region; and 25 years ago he bought the neglected Tokaj winery and started the Oremus Winery.


After a short introduction from him we started the evening with some amuses paired with a magnum Oremus Mandolas 2015: a gentle, dry wine from the Furmint grape. The theme of the evening was not just Wine & Food, but more of a pleasant moment to talk and enjoy the Good Things of life.


The highlights of the evening were the Vega Sicillia Unico 2005 and the Reserva Especiale 91-94-99.


Vega Sicillia Unico 2005

The Unico was young, full-bodied, with a nose of blackcurrant and blueberries, in the taste there were herbs, herbs, and herbs, wood, nuts and forest fruit. Overall a very complex wine with nice young tannins, which will soften beautifully in the years to come.  BOW 9


Vega Sicillia Reserva Especiale 91-94-99

This combination was the winner of the evening, especially with a dish created with original Japanese Wagyu, by Chef Tim Golsteijn. A lovely brown colour with hints of orange, a bouquet of cherries, Burgundy-style medium heavy and ripe soft tannins, which were just as soft as the meat. A fantastic combination. BOW 8.5


Blog by FV

A little taste of history - Cos d'Estournel 1955

A little taste of history - Cos d'Estournel 1955


Cos d’Estournel 1955

When we purchase wines from private collections, we always make sure the provenance is impeccable. To ensure this two things are of the utmost importance. First of all, we need to be sure that the wines have been stored in a climate controlled environment… MORE ...

Another part that should be tested – and quite thoroughly in my opinion – is the quality of the wines by occasionally opening a bottle. This is far from the worst part of the job, but an absolute necessity.

In preforming these “obligations” we get the chance to drink some very special wines. Last week this was a Cos d’Estournel 1955 from the Nicolas cellar, which was proof once more of the high quality wines coming out of there.

The Vintage

1955 was a beautiful vintage for the Bordeaux. Both the left and the right bank had favourable conditions, a hot and dry summer with some rains in the end to help reach the precise level of ripeness. Though the 1955 doesn’t have the legendary status of either the 1959 or 1961, it is still an amazing vintage with stunning wines. Due to the hot summer, the vintage can offer wines that are still good to drink.

The Wine

Though a little rusty due to the 63 years of maturing, the wine still contained a nice deep ruby colour. The nose was remarkably fresh still, exhibiting a wonderful palate of black fruits, some phenolic notes in there as well, and a feeling as if walking through the forest after a rainy day. After some time of breathing more blackcurrants and cassis. The mouth doesn’t fall behind on the nose at all. I’ve always been a great fan of aged Bordeaux wines and also the Cos 1955 offered the deep, slightly sweet tones of blueberry jam. Besides the fruitiness we found a lot of earthy notes, as well as a nice acidity from cranberries. Also the finish was surprisingly fresh, though not as firm and lingering as you might expect.

Though this wine was well past its prime, still the Cos d’Estournel displayed the power of the vintage. An absolute treat for the enthusiasts of aged Bordeaux wines. BOW: 8.5


Blog by PB


Full Grange

Full Grange


One of the first “new” Granges


Penfolds Grange has always been one of my favourite wines. Especially the wines before 1995. The alcohol percentage increased from that year on, which changed the character of the wine slightly – to my opinion, that is. The older Grange wines could sometimes easily be mistaken for a European Shira. MORE ...

This 1996 has an alcohol percentage of over 14 % and this makes the wine “warmer” than previous vintages. Despite the new style, this 1996 still has the features you expect from a Grange. A really big wine, concentrated with peppers, spices, lots of fruit, smoke, meat. Aside from this explosion, the wine is still very nicely balanced.

The Grange 1996 was very enjoyable and it was a beautiful finishing wine of an evening with among others Cheval Blanc 1985 and Haut Brion 1995. BOW 8+


Blog by PM


Tasting the Port Ellen 37 years Old Goren’s whisky

Tasting the Port Ellen 37 years Old Goren’s whisky


Goren’s Whisky is an independent bottler from the state of Israel, founded by a familiar name in the whisky industry,  Tomer Goren. Tomer is well-known as head distiller for the Milk & Honey Distillery in Tel-Aviv MORE ...

Having learned the tricks of the trade at distilleries in Scotland, not only is he head distiller of the Milk and Honey distillery, he also organizes the Whisky Live Tel-Aviv whisky show. He is truly passionate about whisky, and above all, a likeable and humble guy. I’ve met him a few years ago at the Feis Ile Festival in Scotland, and we’ve built a great friendship since. We look each other up every now and then and it’s always a pleasure.

Tomer is a guy who loves his drinks. Not only is he the head distiller for Milk & Honey, he also makes a great gin, and brews his own beer, HaDictator. I got to taste a few, and I love his experimental take. Very enjoyable. If you ever spot them, be sure to give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.

After this bit of introduction, just one thing I have to make clear: I’m not going to rate Tomer higher just because we’re friends. To be honest, I don’t make exceptions at all. A dram is a dram, and I strictly base my ratings on nosing and tasting.

That being said, let’s move on to tasting this baby! This Port Ellen was originally released for the Whisky Live Tel-Aviv whisky show earlier this year. So this dram should be great! First appearance is a deep golden color.


Lightly peated, not overwhelming at all. Some herbs like laurel. Butterscotch and creaminess. Somewhat like drink yoghurt like (in a very good way). It does have those wood tones, but not too much. Maybe more like walnuts. Some ripe yellow fruit and pear drops.


Is there an oomph factor? Yes, there is! We, the Dutch, love our licorice and this baby has some. Again the laurel and shortbread. Again that slightly peated character, fairly enjoyable. Maybe a little briny tone? Yes, brine it is.


To me, Port Ellen is always greatness in its finish. This has a long licorice finish with brininess. Fairly enjoyable.

Balance and Complexity:

Well balanced and I love the complex tones of this Port Ellen a lot. Like I said, I love licorice. This is definitely my kind of dram.


I tasted quite a few Port Ellens in my time. And actually I like this one a lot better than the distillery edition. That’s not only pricewise. This dram has way more complexity. It reminded me of an old school Van Wees Ultimate Port Ellen bottling due to its funkiness… yet this Port Ellen is way older.

I enjoyed this dram very much. You don’t get to taste a 37 years old Port Ellen every day of the week…. This one makes me wish I could!



Blog by NR


Mouton Rothschild blanc – Aile d’Argent

Mouton Rothschild blanc – Aile d’Argent


We just received a nice parcel of white Bordeaux. My eye fell on the 4 cases of Aile D’Argent, the white wine from Chateau Mouton Rothschild. MORE ...

It’s not a wine you see often or that comes to mind when thinking “what shall we drink today?”, and that is somehow odd. With most vintages, this wine is a real treat as well as a surprise!

For a white Pauillac it is a remarkable effort and the price quality is very good. The 2012 shows mid yellow colour with some light green elements. Its bouquet is concentrated with vanilla, fat, peaches (cooked), some mint, and tropical fruit. The wine was surprisingly well balanced, and surely gave the full Best of Wines team a satisfactory smile.

The Aile d'Argent most definitely is a wine to keep in mind when wondering "what to drink today".

BOW 7.5


Blog by PM

Coche Dury battles Arnaud Ente

Coche Dury battles Arnaud Ente


Aligote is the second white grape of Burgundy with an AOC, 2015 is a stellar vintage in France and Arnaud Ente and Coche Dury two of the most prestigious domaines in Burgundy. So why not try both wines next to each other? MORE ...

And to be honest: nobody in our tasting panel was sure which wine would win this “contest”. Both wines have gained a certain prestige over the past couple of years as well as a certain appreciation from me and my colleagues.

The Coche Dury, established in 1920, is known for the Meursault and is currently greatly sought after by wine lovers. The wines are unfiltered and are aged for nearly two years on barriques prior to bottling, which makes for rich, deep and very aromatic wines.

Arnaud Ente is a relatively young domaine, established in Meursault in 1992, but already a known high-quality white Burgundy. Arnaud Ente learned all there is to know at Coche, which makes this match even more exciting!

So without further ado, let the battle commence!

The Arnaud Ente, made from 70 year old vines, had a sweet approach. It showed hints of vanilla, honey, apricot and butter. A Full bodied wine, juicy, nice bouquet.

The Coche was more pure, crispy and balanced. It showed the fresness of Aligote more than the Arnaud Ente. You may even confuse it with Chardonnay.

We really enjoyed both wines, both with surprisingly high quality and both showing the beauty of the 2015 vintage.

And then came the votes and the match is undetermined. From the four of us, two clearly preferred the Arnaud Ente, while the other two (amongst them myself) wanted a second glass of the Coche Dury... A matter of taste I guess.

All we need now is a tie breaker!

Both wines were rated on average BOW 7. If you have the chance to taste, don’t hesitate!


Blog by PM

Blanton’s glazed BBQ spareribs

Blanton’s glazed BBQ spareribs


Summer has started and that means one thing: BBQ time! We at the Best of Whiskies headquarters love to smoke and char those meats on the BBQ grill. For this blog we going to give out the recipe for those good ol’ fashioned bourbon glazed spareribs. MORE ...

For good ribs you need to make the perfect sauce, so let’s get started to make that good ol’ BBQ sauce. First take a shot of the bourbon to relax and get comfortable.


  • Blanton’s Bourbon whiskey or any other bourbon would work. About 4 spoons or more…if you like!
  • 4 racks of premium quality spareribs.
  • 3 cloves of garlic. Pressed and ready to use.
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil to sauté onions, no worries. We’ll cover that later.
  • 200 grams of fine chopped and diced shallot onions or any other sweet onion (yellow onion is a good replacement).
  • 200ML of regular tap water (please do not use it in your whiskey).
  • 3 teaspoons of tabasco or any of your funky pepper sauces.
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Some people use HP sauce instead…we don’t. Why did I mention it anyways?
  • About 60ml of honey or maple syrup, I prefer honey.
  • 350ML of ketchup (any brand is good).
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard.
  • 240ml of brown sugar, i personally use caster sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed black pepper for that oomph factor.
  • A very finely chopped chili pepper or use that Carolina reaper in case you like it hot!
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.. okay you do not need the salt from the dead seas or pink salt from the Himalaya’s touched by the Dalai Lama, but please do use high quality sea salt.
  • Half a teaspoon of cumin.

Got it? Let’s started prepping.

Ever heard of the French “sauté” ? Well the shallot onions need to be sautéed… tu comprends. It means those unions need to be glazed brown in a frying pan in olive oil. Do not turn on the stove too hot. When you let olive oil get too hot, it’ll release the evil spirits.

When sautéing the shallot onions brown at the very end, when they’re caramelized, add the garlic and glaze it as well. When everything is brown, transfer the onions and the garlic into a sauce pan and add the tabasco, apple cider vinegar, Worcester, honey, water, ketchup, mustard and bourbon in to a pan. Basically all the “wet” ingredients.

Whisk a few times with some good stirs on a low heat and then add the cumin, salt, pepper, chopped chili pepper, caster sugar (the “dry” ingredients) and slimmer on a low temperature for about a good 20 minutes. Believe me it’s not rocket science and you do not need to be Heston Blumenthal to do this. Anyone can do it.

It’s important to stir and taste while cooking the sauce in the sauce pan. Not hot enough…just spice it up. Not enough bourbon? Just add more or take another shot in case you are thirsty.

After 20 minutes your sauce is ready. Take it off the stove to cool down.

Use the sauce to rub the ribs and cover these with foil in the fridge overnight so the meat gets to absorb the sauce. Don’t use all of it, ‘cause you’ll need some more to glaze them when they’re on the BBQ, and for when your ribs are charred and ready to eat as seasoning.

Now the trick is to slow grill the ribs. Just like with distilling, it takes time. The longer the better. I put in the hours and glaze to the point of caramelization of the ribs during the grill on the BBQ.

Enjoy your meal, bon appétit.

When you make these ribs be sure to post them on our Facebook, we’ll love that!


Blog by NR


Caroni 20 years old for the Duchess

Caroni 20 years old for the Duchess


We are excited to inform you about a brand new, wonderful release in the world of rum, selected for whisky lovers. MORE ...

After the astounding successes of the Belize 10 Years old and the Guadeloupe 19 Years old, early this year The Duchess will launch another extraordinary single cask. Introducing: Trinidad, the duchess' latest release!

About The Duchess:

The duchess is a specialist independent bottler. All products for The Duchess are carefully selected whiskies and rums that cater to a discerning audience, under supervision of the whisky specialist.

About the Trinidad:

The Trinidad is a beautiful twenty year old Caroni Single Cask rum, bottled at its cask strength of 64.6%, from the absolete but fabled Caroni Distillery in Trinidad. Caroni rums are distinguished from other rum varieties due to their high quality and exclusive availability. This rum is a dream for whisky and rum lovers alike!

once again the artwork on the label is done by none other than painter Hans Dilesse, who gained renown for his work on Karuizawa, Hanyu and Dornoch Castle labels.

Prognosis for 2018:

The coming year bodes well for The Duchess, with many beautiful bottles to hit the market. At the time of writing, we can already announce a second Caroni Single Cask rum to be released this year, which will of course be adorned by Hans Dillesse's work. We will keep you up to date on this new release and any further developments.

For real Nerds only - Springbank 21

For real Nerds only - Springbank 21


Every now and then a whisky gets hyped on the well-known internet forums and whisky related Facebook pages. The prices thrive with the so called investors. Bottles like these do not get opened often and that’s a bloody shame! MORE ...

So I guess I’ll have to tell you all about it and let you know what I think of this new addition to the WhiskyNerds roster. Here at the Best Of Whiskies headquarter we do open the expensive bottles such as this fine and rare gem. But before I’ll share my tasting notes I’d like to tell you a little background information about these WhiskyNerds.

The WhiskyNerds are independent bottlers from Holland who have released a handful of whiskies so far. They’re not eager to bottle everything that they can get their hands on. The wait it out until the moment comes and they obtain an exceptional cask who fits their philosophy. Or as they claim in their own words:

“So, bottlings under the Whisky Nerds label may very well be a rare event. But when the whisky reaches your glass, you can rest assured only the highest standards were met to ensure the whisky is of the highest quality. Food for thought… and discussion!”

Most WhiskyNerds members such as Bram van Glabbeek and Floris Kooistra have earned their stripes in the international whisky societies, and yes the group consists of more members Than those to blokes. The other members are by no means less important to the WhiskyNerds. Most of their team staff members are seen at international whisky festivals, such as their annual trips to Cambeltown and Feis Ile collecting the fine and rare whisky gems and offering these for a dram price.  Being the former chairman and a treasurer position at the Usquebaugh Society, the Dutch Independent Whisky Society has been foreground work but as they decided to follow their true passion, they gave up those positions and start bottling their own top notch whiskies.

I have tasted every single release so far, and I can honestly say that all of them score up to 90+ points in my personal tasting notes notebook. I do have to admit that when they released three consecutive Inchmurrins it did make my eyebrows frown, but knowing them I just knew it couldn’t be anything but supreme. And boy it was a pleasant surprise… Inchmurrin, who would have ever thought that this would be such a pleasant surprise? Okay, I admit I have tasted some nice Inchmurrins back in the day, but I lost track of it due to many dislikes from recent Inchmurrin releases.

The WhiskyNerds on the other hand delivered the expectations, scoring in the 90+ points with multiple reviewers and bloggers of leverage. My take on their releases is that it’s extremely good and you can pretty much buy it blind (preferably from us of course).

When this new Springbank addition was released I knew it had to be exceptional greatness. I admit I fell in love with Springbank back in the days when I first got into whisky as a hobby. Or as to use an quote by Bruce Lee:

“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable”.

And that, my dear readers, is my passion for Springbank summed up in just one quote by the master himself.

Was this Springbank release a deep-burning unquenchable one? Let’s see for yourselves in my tasting notes:


First whiff emerges tones of pine needles and zest. Lime, grapefruit, tangerines….Springbank usually has some zesty acidity or coconut flavors. This one is rather cleaner…no flaws or whatsoever. A technical Springbank, if there’s every been one, you might say. When it has had some time in the glass and has had some oxygen it evolves to a little shortbread note. Very pleased indeed.


Again zesty, pine needles and yes, the dirtiness (in a good way) that Springbank is well known for comes back. Oh, I love this for sure.. this is my kind of dram. Oil it is..wow wow wow…a big wow factor! The taste definably lingers into a more metal like tone. As a kid I used to play at junk yards in the hood. This reminds me of the old rusty cars I have been playing in. Astonishing isn’t.


The finish is medium long with again the nicer zesty tones of lemon and Pinetree needles. It has a more green touch to it.


So very well balanced and the overwhelming complexity is just pure awesomeness in a glass. I’d be the first one to admit that I have a fling for the more funky and dirty Springbanks, but this is definitely my kind of dram.


This is for me a one of a kind style of Springbank. You don’t see them like very much around. It ain’t no cheap dram but it’s worth every penny for sure. This dram is 93/100 points in my book. I can recommend this to every Springbank lover out there. 


93 /100 points

Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best of Whiskies.com


Autumn is the time for Port!

Autumn is the time for Port!


In Autum it’s time for Vintage Port! You can buy at this moment beautiful aged Ports for less than 100 euro, maybe not the famous Quintas or best vintages but still great pleasures. MORE ...

We opened the Offely Vintage 1983 on a Sunday afternoon, the color is still dark with many red tones, full-bodied, medium sweet, fleshy and fruity. Complex with herbs, coffee notes, plums and black cherries, very concentrated, with a sweet long finish. This is a lovely elderly lady!



Petrus - always top of the bill?

Petrus - always top of the bill?


Everybody has its preferences. And every winelover knows the rule – you better drink a good wine from a top vintage than one of the extraordinary wines from an average vintage.

  MORE ...

Bordeaux 1999 can be regarded as a classic vintage, a synonym for a good but not excellent vintage. We have drunk almost all Petrus vintages and there are of course some disappointments (1977, 1984) but on the whole, Petrus always surprises at least. In most cases it overperforms : a very high percentge of wine lovers have a Petrus in their top 5-10 ever.

We didn’t expect too much of the Petrus 1999. We drunk this fine Pomerol besides an Ausone 2005. Summary? The Petrus was our favorite (but also because the Ausone will improve in about 5 years). Deep purple/red colored, massive red cherries, peppers, tabacco, some coffee (with milk). Burgundy texture, but so intense. Of course not as good as 1998 or 2000, but for such a vintage an incredible effort. We were astonished by the concentration, elegancy and balance. At it’s best now and will keep this level for at least another 10 years. BOW 9.5.

Blog by Peter

What about rum? A pirate’s life for me

What about rum? A pirate’s life for me


Recently we started bottling rum for The Duchess, an independent bottle trademark brand releasing whiskies and rums for Bestofwhiskies.com. Last weekend while I was working at the Whisky and Rum by the Sea Festival in the city of IJmuiden, I had an interesting encounter with a group of customers at the show. MORE ...

They were intrigued by the awesome label of the Duchess Guadeloupe Bellevue 19 Years Old, painted by artist Hans Dillesse. However, they were reluctant to try. “We are scotch drinkers,” they said. So I convinced them to let go of the hesitations they had about rum, and give it a try. I told them it can be just as complex and enjoyable as a good dram of single malt scotch whisky.

Rum is not necessarily sweet. Yes, some producers do add sugar (I won’t mention any names–you know who you are!) and many people have a so-called “Pavlov reaction” when it comes to rums. Often, when thinking about rum, people actually think of the better known Bacardi bulk rums. Not all Scotch whiskies are like Johnny Walker Red Label right?

The point is this: after enjoying our awesome Duchess Guadeloupe Bellevue rum this group of scotch single malt lovers were astonished. They really enjoyed it and even came back later for a second dram. Yes, this is a huge gain for the up-and-coming “rum nation”.

Fair enough, it’s not the same thing, but there are similarities between rum and whisky. For one thing, they are both distilled and often released at cask strength. More and more single cask releases see the light in international specialty shops.

Does rum have its equivalent of a Port Ellen or Karuizawa?

First of all, it’s not the same thing as stated before, production wise that is. However, rum has it’s good ol’ boys from back in the day that have been closed down, but are still attracting attention from collectors, and even from “investors”.

Some have a very large fanbase like Caroni. Caroni was closed in 2002 and this is the one rum that everybody longs for. It does have that “cult status”, and - like scotch - has its own closed down patriarchs in the industry.

Recently when scouting the Internet I noticed that most of the cheaper editions have been sold and the prices have increased tremendously. If you do happen to find a nice Caroni, do buy it, it’s worth the drink. It’s totally funkiness!

I can personally also recommend:

  • Bellevue
  • Foursquare
  • Uitvlugt
  • Hampden

A pirate’s life for me…

Okay, that’s just a joke. Pirates are marauding and extremely violent and there’s absolutely nothing raw and violent about these well-balanced rums we have in our stocks. The only pirate association there is with rum is its reputation for being the pirates’ drink. Nowadays, it’s more of a sophisticated pirates’ drink for sure. So for all the scotch lovers: try and see for yourselves. You might be astonished like I was with my first single cask rum!

Nils van Rijn

Whisky and sometimes rum specialist for bestofwhiskies.com


Ausone 2005 at Samhoudplaces Amsterdam

Ausone 2005 at Samhoudplaces Amsterdam


Maitre-sommelier Janine Kinderman carefully decanted the Ausone 2005 at the 2 star restaurant Samhoudplaces in Amsterdam. Robert Parker called it the perfect wine of the vintage, so we are very curious. MORE ...


The deep color purple with hints of ruby, the nose is full of earth, stones, black fruits, herbs  which are slowly released in the glass. This rich full-bodied wine is totally in balance, earth flavours with soft tannins, expressions of wood; WOW! it all comes together. 

We sit back to enjoy this great wine with a spectacular venison dish created by Chef Moshik while watching the world go by in Amsterdam.

This rare wine will developed beautifully over the coming decades and it would be great to drink again after 2025. BOW: 10



Arrival of Arnoux Lachaux vintage 2015

Arrival of Arnoux Lachaux vintage 2015


Last week, we received this very exciting shipment full of goodness from domaine Arnoux-Lachaux in Vosne-Romanée. MORE ...

Having been in charge of the prestigious vineyard for a relatively short time, Charles Lachaux, heir to both the Lachaux and the Arnoux legacies, has some big shoes to fill, and we are delighted to see that over the years, he has done nothing short of exceeding the expectations. Gratiously accepting the guidance from his father Pascal Lachaux and his father-in-law Robert Arnoux, Charles has further driven up the quality of these excellent wines from Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-Saint-Georges, finest in Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits district.

Wines that particularly stood out for us in this shipment were:

Romanée Saint Vivant 2015: The wine that gave the village half its name always holds a promise, and again, did not disappoint. In the nose there is dark red fruit, with spiciness from cinnamon to sweetness from rose petals. On the palate we find even more fruit, and the complexity of this wine promises to slowly reveal its secrets. Expect more greatness after 10 to 20 years.

Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots 2015: This top of the hill gives you the top of the bill. A nose filled with sweet and sour red fruit, tart pomegranate, and a little spicy cinnamon. A juicy palate that lingers but feels fresh. Not yet at its best, but already promise of lively freshness to come.

Latriciere Chambertin 2015 : This plot is on the cooler hillside, which translates in a more elegant, smoother palate. Nose: subtle minerals from the terroir with a strong presence of the familiar red fruits. A very long and full finish.

Clos de Vougeot 15 : Clos de Vougeot from any great house is a category in itself. But in this case, even more so. There’s wood (oak), earth, but a floral lightness at the same time. Will only increase in 20 years.

We can’t wait to see how these wines evolve over the years, and we are proud to add them to our stock.

All the vintages received:

  • Vosne Romanee 2015
  • Vosne Romanee 1er cru Les Chaumes 2015
  • Vosne Romanee 1er cru Les Suchots 2015
  • Chambolle Musigny 2015
  • Nuits Saint Georges Les Poisets 2015
  • Nuits Saint Georges 1er cur les Proces 2015
  • Clos de Vougeot grand cru 2015
  • Latricieres Chambertin grand cru 2015
  • Romanee Saint Vivant grand cru 2015
  • Romanee Saint Vivant grand cru 2010

Find them all here : https://bestofwines.com/wine?q=arnoux




Dinner with a Harlan 1992

Dinner with a Harlan 1992


Last Thursday we went out for dinner at The Royal Mandarin, one of our favourite Asian restaurants near the Best of Wines store. MORE ...

Besides their magnificent non-traditional style of Asian cuisine and their incredibly high service, they also have a lovely selection of wines.


This time we went for a bottle of Harlan Estate 1992, the second commercial vintage to come out of William Harlan’s legendary estate. Before he founded his own estate in Oakville, California, he fell in love with Bordeaux wines, visiting many great estates in France and clearly taking a cue from them. The 1992 is two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, completed with a Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend, in typical Bordeaux fashion.


This bottle is 25 years old now, and still very impressive. The wine revealed tones of blackberries and chocolate. Probably due to the ageing, there are tones of cedar. The wine beautifully retained its concentration over all these years, and the tannins are almost silky. An elegant wine with an incredibly long finish. This wine shows that a 25 year old bottle from Harlan Estate can still live up to its legendary status. One of the best wines Napa Valley has to offer 9.5/10

Blog by Bas


Just arrived, Comte de Vogue 2015!

Just arrived, Comte de Vogue 2015!


Today we have received the wines of Comte Georges de Vogue 2015 from Chambolle Musigny.

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue is truly one of the great domaines in Burgundy, with a history dating back more than 500 years. MORE ...

It’s impressive that the domaine has managed to stay within the family through so much time. They own the major share (about 80%) of grand cru Musigny. This, of course, enables them to select the best and oldest vines for their grand cru bottling (de-classifying younger vines to premier cru). Like all great domaines, they recognize the responsibility that comes with the ownership of such precious vineyard land. They are not only caretakers for future generations, they must be standard-bearers of excellence. 

The 2015 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Grand Crus offer luxury at its most refined and delicious. In 2015 they even made a Musigny Blanc which is very very rare. All the wines are very limited so if you want to purchase some of those beauties go to our list of Comte de Vogue to see our latest offers.


Blog by Frank

Sassicaia for cooking

Sassicaia for cooking


That is - during cooking. Half bottle of the underestimated 2010. This will make enthusiasts of Sassicaia’s trademark elegance very happy. Like me. The wine shows extreme purity, from the first smell to the last sip. Black fruit, oriental spices, some sweetness. Chewy. Very balanced. And surprising for a Sassicaia, no decanting needed. It explodes in the glass and justs slightly improves in time. Excellent for drinking now. BOW 8+.

Tasting Brora Legends

Tasting Brora Legends


This week, Diageo shocked the world with the news that both Brora and Port Ellen distilleries would be up and running again in 2020, after a multi-million financial injection in this ‘project’, refurbishing the stills and upgrading the distilleries. A visitors center? We have to keep in mind though, that even under the same name, the whisky probably won’t be the same. So the old stuff will increase in price, while the new stuff… we’ll just have to wait and see. MORE ...

Back in the day these distilleries were closed for a reason. It just wasn’t that good. After a long maturation the rawness and defects were polished away and these whiskies became suburb drams. Most of them became unaffordable for most people and some of them became legendary, like the 1977 Rare Malts edition (also released by Diageo). These whiskies were also released consecutively for the Diageo Special releases series. I love these specials, some releases score high in the 90s rates in international reviews.

Last month Diageo released its specials for this year at their special releases event in Amsterdam and I was granted the opportunity to taste the Brora 2017 and the 2016 version back to back.

Are you wondering what my take is on these babies?

Brora 2016 Special Release 37 years old 50.4%

Nose: Peated tones this is Brora!  I love the maritime notes in the nose, silty tones and lots oysters. I love oysters. This reminds me of the oysters I eat annually at the Feis Ile festival at the Lagavulin stand….this pure love in a dram!

Mouth: Oomph…wow! This has the oyster fest dancing around in the mouthfeel mixed with some liquorish and silty tones. I love this…this is what we Brora fans long for,  for sure.

Finish: Dry and very lingering and little sweet oyster finish!

Balance: This is a very well balanced dram for sure and in complexity it hauls in a big score. Those oysters are just top notch and this makes this dram so much interesting. Those Brora’s from the seventies are just suburb!

Rating 94/100

After this delicious dram let’s see what the 2017 release brings us.

Brora 2017 Special Release 34 Years Old 51.9%

Nose: Lightly peated and almost creamy tones. It has some fruity flavors like apricot and bananas mixed with some butterscotch.

Mouth: I’m missing the ‘oomph’ factor here. It’s a little peated accompanied by some barley notes. The fruit notes mentioned earlier are there, but just not as much as in the nose. It’s more the typical  bourbon style bananas.

Finish: A long licorice finish, maybe more like laurel?

Ballance: The balance is not as expected but the finish is very complex.

Rating 92/100

Conclusion: The 2016 was so much more Brora than this year’s release. Okay, it has a minor age difference, but the overall style is different. I have been tasting them back to back and I can only conclude that the overall quality was so much better in the 2016 special release. I loved the oysters, the maritime notes, the raw and robustness… the peated notes and everything that Brora stands for is in there. This is a winner by far, no doubt about it. Not that the 2017 is a bad whisky, not at all. The 2017 is just not the Brora profile that brings tears to my eyes from longing for more. It was more a lightly peated version of a good Clynelish!

Personally, I would prefer the older Broras from the seventies over any dram from the decade after that. The seventies decade was overall very good for the Brora distillery. The style is very different, unlike anything you have tasted before. I have tasted quite a few drams of the 70’s in my days and all of them reveal their supremacy in its make. The prices for these rare gems will increase majorly the next few years, no doubt about that. If you have the chance to purchase one, you should!  And if I may speak on Diageo’s behalf; let’s give Diageo a fair chance to show us their new releases from these legendary distilleries. After all it’s just a question of whether you like it or not. Let the drams speak for themselves and not the media biases. I’m no Uri Geller or fortune teller here, but I would prefer affordable drams for the masses over unaffordable releases for the happy few.

Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best of Whiskies.


Greenock Creek - Shiraz Apricot Block 2001

Greenock Creek - Shiraz Apricot Block 2001


Last Friday we were treated to a fantastic dinner experience in the newly opened private dining room at Restaurant Vlaar. Restaurant owner Arlo donned the chef’s hat for the evening and showed us a gastronomical live cooking show. MORE ...

Paired with the magnificent food we had some very special wines lined up, starting out with the Apricot Block Shiraz 2001 from Greenock Creek. With the 99 point Robert Parker awarded it with in 2004 it heightened our expectations of this bottle.

Greenock Creek is a relatively small Australian producer, with an output between the 3000 and 3500 cases every year. All their grapes are grown at their own grounds as a genuine estate winery. The owners of Greenock Creek manage to keep the bar high in almost every vintage which makes it a highly sought wine.

This cult wine for Australian wine lovers from Barossa Valley is the example of a high-class Shiraz. On the nose, it showed a lovely bouquet of blackberry and spicy tones. The taste of the wine is full of dark fruit, and because of the age the wine showed chocolate tones. A very well-balanced wine with the tannins and the alcohol well integrated. The long finish makes the wine almost perfect. Blog by Bas BOW 9,5/10

Indian Summer with Pape Clement 1989

Indian Summer with Pape Clement 1989


To conclude the summer of 2017 a beautiful wine with a beautiful sunset. One of the classics, the Chateau Pape Clement 1989. This wine always knows exactly how to capture the moment perfectly. MORE ...

After opening you could already smell the exquisit quality of the wine. A dark leathery scent with lots of earth and herbal tones as well. It needs a minute to breathe, but when it has the wine also develops sensual black fruits and hints of dates in the nose as well.

The mouthfeel is what you can expect from this astonishing Bordeaux. Smoky flavours combined with dried and black fruits. This all is completed with the long, lingering finish. It can undoubtedly compete with the lesser vintages of the best Bordeaux wines. 

A brilliant Grand Cru, in our opinion the best Pessac-Leognac wines. This glass was perfect with the beautiful sunset, but also everything you can expect from this legend. 

Blog by Frank

Tasting Ninot et Fils Meursault

Tasting Ninot et Fils Meursault


Every once in a while we try something completely different from our diet of red Bordeaux or red Burgundy wines. In this case we opened a bottle of Meursault les Narveaux from the vinter Christian Ninot sold at only €29,- (ex VAT). MORE ...

From the moment the cork was out, the full bouquet of the wine filled the room. Hints of mango, vanilla, orange peel and pineapple made the nosing a real pleasure. The wine shows a great balance between hints of vanilla and the freshness of both lemon and orange.

In the mouth the wine keeps a honeyed texture and subtle hints of hazelnut start to develop. The wine remains suprisingly fresh, due to the notes of pineapple and again the citrus. The finish is long and smokey, but not too intense. 

The accessible character makes this wine extremely suitable for a somewhat more luxurious afternoon drink. An absolutely stunning Meursault from Ninot. Undoubtedly the wine I will serve on my next birthday. 

Blog by Paul

Tasting the Glendronach Grandeur 25 years Old batch 8

Tasting the Glendronach Grandeur 25 years Old batch 8


Every once in a while we receive a sample from one of our partners in the world of Whisky. Through a partner at De Monnik, we received a sample of the Glendronach Grandeur. We at Best of Whiskies are generally appreciative of Billy Walker’s work for Glendronach. His passion marks this grandeur series. Let’s see how this dram evolves in our glasses. MORE ...

Color: Amber Gold/Mahony

Nose: Lovely complex sherry tones of dried fruit like raisins and Libyan fresh dates from the Keshbah market lingering into peardrops. Developing into a more almond chocolate tone combined with some chamomile herbs.

Mouth: Very neat mouthfeel with again raisins, dried forest fruit and sherry tones developing into chocolate tones. I smell fresh coffee tones. Our coworker Kris used to be a barista, his coffee in the morning is superb and so are the coffee tones in this magical dram. The tones develop into nut flavors like the almonds mentioned earlier and some zestiness..dried oranges?

Finish: A developing long finish witch citrus fruit tones and more forest fruits like dried cranberries.

Balance and complexity: I love the balance between the nose and mouthfeel. The dram has a very interesting complexity such as fresh coffee and dried dates.

Comments: A lovely sherry bomb that shows pure developing greatness. Guess that’s exactly why they called it Grandeur. Billy Walker at his prime for sure. 92/100 points in my book.


Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best Of Whiskies.


Long awaited vintage has arrived

Long awaited vintage has arrived


This morning the long expected wines from AF Gros arrived at our warehouse! For some time now we have been hearing reports that the legendary vintage 2015 is expected to even exceed the quality of the 2003! MORE ...

This morning the shipment of A.F. Gros 2015, our own import wine, arrived at our warehouse. All of us have been looking forward to this with anticipation, because we have heard nothing but good about the Bourgogne vintage 2015.

A.F. Gros was founded in 1988 and is now widely spread throughout the Cote d'Or. The trademark of their wines is the delicacy and subtleness their wines seem to naturally possess. The 2015 vintage has been extremely good, especially in Vosne Romanée. The Bourgogne experienced a very mild spring without any frost or hailstorms and especially the summer has been an almost perfect combination of a hot and sunny July, with the right amount of rain in August. Though the yield was relatively low this year (about 20% below average) the wines that are produced are absolutely stunning. Full of fruits, the right amount of acidity.

We are most certainly going to drink one of these bottles this week! Keep an eye on this blog to discover our tasting notes.


Blog by Paul


Rightful King of the Bordeaux

Rightful King of the Bordeaux


One of our clients had some older wines in his cellar and came to us for an inspection of a Chateau Petrus 1983. We inmediately noticed that the colour was a little off and upon closer inspection saw that a part of the cork was floating inside the bottle. Our client offered us to drink the wine with him, to see if it was still drinkable and we were quite surprised when we opened this fully oxidated wine! MORE ...

In the nose there were chemicals like glue and nail polish. we gave up all hope that this wine was drinkable, but tried it anyway. Again the chemicals prodominated and most of us stood up to deposit our glasses in the sink. And that was the exact moment the wine showed its power.

Despite the fact that the wine had been totally oxidated, the Chateau Petrus still maintained his full-bodied and strong character. It had become sweet, with hints of cranberry jam and even some simularities with the Chateau d'Yquem in the finish. The Petrus was absolutely not what it should have been. The suppleness of the Merlot had totally worn of, but we experienced the power of the Chateau Petrus: even when it's bad, it's amazing. 

After having decided to decant the wine, the Chateau Petrus developed even further. The smell of chemicals faded and the slight simularity with the Chateau d'Yquem grew even stronger. It became a sweet, but powerful wine that showed us once and for all what high quality is all about.

Vintage whisky cocktails for the summer

Vintage whisky cocktails for the summer


A bit of cocktail history


Cocktails have seen an increase in popularity these last few years. We see more and more quality cocktailbars and bartenders. MORE ...

The thing is, cocktails are usually regarded as these fruity, umbrella-bearing longdrink-style drinks. These cocktails are friendly, approachable, sweet and relatively low in alcohol.


Luckily (for me, in any case), we’re seeing a shift in this perception. People are looking for quality, flavour, stories and a real experience. This means you’ll be looking at old-fashioned (pun intended) or classic cocktails. Many of these classic cocktails are gin- or whisky based. American Bartenders brought many great cocktails and talent to Europe during the Prohibition era. This means the first half of the 20th century was a golden age for cocktails. After the war though, cocktails were forgotten and (d)evolved to sweet, fruit-forward drinks. Vodka became massively popular, but as you probably know; Vodka doesn’t necessarily have what we call ‘flavour’. Don’t get me wrong, there are great, smooth vodkas out there, but these vodkas are just not what we are looking for in vintage cocktails.


Your home bar


In this post we’ll be revisiting some great whisky-based vintage cocktails. Great thing about these cocktails is that you won’t need a full stocked home bar and that you can make many ingredients yourself.


Make sure you have at least these tools at home:

  • Shaker (boston shaker will do, make sure it is large)
  • Strainer (Hawthorne or Julep)
  • Martini glass or Coupe glass


Many classic cocktails call for the same ingredients, so you’ll be well of buying the following things:

  • Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Bitters
  • Rye Whiskey (Millstone Rye or Few Rye are good choices, but remember: higher proof is always better)
  • Peated Scotch (go for something heavily peated like Ledaig 10 yo of The Peat Monster by Compass Box)
  • Blended Scotch (Black Bottle will do. But you can use any other quality blend)
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Dry Vermouth

And finally, some syrups and garnishes:

  • Simple syrup: 1:1 sugar and water. Throw them together and heat slowly till all sugar is dissolved.
  • Ginger syrup: 1 big ginger-root (chopped to bits) to 500 ml of water and 500 ml sugar. Heat, dissolve, strain.
  • Honey syrup: 1:1 honey and water. Heat and dissolve.


Of course you can buy all these syrups ready-made. Try Monin for the biggest range. For garnish, sure, you can go crazy. But many classic cocktails call for lemon zest or orange zest.


Vintage whisky cocktails


Allright, on to the real deal. Cocktails. I’ll be giving you 4 classic-style whisky cocktails to start off with.


The Manhattan

It just doesn’t get any more classic than this. Invented somewhere in the early 20th century in New York. There is quite a bit of dispute as to who really invented it. Some say it was invented in the Manhattan club, others claim it was invented by a bartender called Black. Whatever the history, it is the king of Vermouth cocktails, followed by the world famous Martini and the Scotch based Rob Roy.


How to make the Manhattan:

6 cl of quality Rye or Bourbon whiskey

3 cl of quality Sweet Vermouth

3 dashes of aromatic (angostura) bitters


Chill your glass with ice. In a mixing glass, add all the ingredients over ice. Stir until really cool and slightly diluted. Discard ice from cocktail glass and strain the manhattan into the glass. Garnish with an orange peel or some real maraschino cherries.

A Rob Roy basically uses the same ingredients, only you replace the Rye whiskey with a scotch. Use a slightly smokey scotch for a real men’s cocktail.


If you have orange bitters, you can use those instead of standard bitters. Make sure to garnish with something other than orange though.


Rusty Nail

One of the easiest cocktails you can make and a favorite among the infamous ‘Rat Pack’ in the 60’s. You just can’t go wrong with this heart-warming cocktail. Again, a cocktail that found it’s origins somewhere in Manhattan and found it’s way into cocktail hall of fame after being endorsed by the Drambuie Liqueur company.


How to make the Rusty Nail:

4,5 cl of Blended Scotch

2,5 cl of Whisky liqueur


Add both ingredients into a highball or tumbler over crushed ice. Stir well and garnish with a lemon peel. Easy as that! Classic rusty nails call for Drambuie, but you can also use a little fresher liqueur like Atholl Brose.


You can also make a smokey nail. Replace your blended scotch with something peaty like an Ardbeg of Benromach Peat Smoke.


The Blinker

Another boozy cocktail named after these things horses wear other head to keep their eyes on the road. You do the math…


How to make the Blinker:

6 cl of Rye whiskey

3 cl of grapefruit juice (press it yourself)

2 teaspoons of raspberry syrup of Grenadine


Add all ingredients over ice to a shaker. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.



One of my favorites. Especially when the cold season is upon us again. A little more effort goes in this drink, but it is well worth it. This recipe calls for honey/ginger syrup. You can either mix the two syrups separately or you can make it by heating up equal parts of honey and water with some ginger slices until spicy/weet.


How to make the Penicillin:

6 cl of blended Scotch

1 cl of Peated scotch

2 cl of lemon juice

2 cl of honey/ginger syrup


To make the Penicillin, combine all ingredients (except for the peated Scotch) in a shaker, shake well and strain into a cooled Tumbler or highball glass, float your peated Scotch over the top. Use the pack of a spoon to gently pour the peated whisky over the top of your drink. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.

There you have it! A few pretty decent whisk(e)y cocktails. Try all of these together with your friends. Experiment, get it right, tweak and make it your own. But whatever you do, make sure to use quality ingredients!



Werner Bos


2003 - an underestimated vintage

2003 - an underestimated vintage


A very warm vintage, which makes some of the wines "chaud". But the alcohol level of Lafite 2003 is just 12.7 %. With 86 % Cabernet sauvignon and only 50 % of the grapes in the final blend, this very ripe 2003 competes with the best Lafite vintages ever. A power Lafite in magnum, but still so elegant. BOW 9.5.

Jaboulet Chapelle 1990

Jaboulet Chapelle 1990


Perfection, only one word suffices. We have tasted the Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 1990 a couple of times. But for the first time the wine seems to be fully mature and not completely purple colored. An explosion of blackberry fruit, coffee, chocolate, spices. Overwhelming, astonishing. This wine will last for another 30 years. This magnum bottle was at its best. BOW 10.

Big Battle

Big Battle


In two ways: two great wines from a stellar vintage. And both in magnum. To start with the conclusion - it is just of matter preference. The Cheval Blanc was at its peak. Regular bottles tend to be past the best drinking period, but magnums are in optima forma. So fruity, so silky, Cabernet Franc at its best. The la Mission opened up after 10 minutes and proved to be the better wine: superb balance, all perfect. We tasted with 10 persons, 6 voted for Cheval, 4 for La Mission. So the better wine did "lose" - it was just a matter of preference. BOW Cheval Blanc 9+, La Mission 9.5.

The elegant Salon Le Mesnil 2004

The elegant Salon Le Mesnil 2004


The small but mythical champagne house Salon has released their Le Mesnil 2004 vintage earlier this year. MORE ...

With only 46.000 bottles of the 2004 vintage produced the harvest was even for Salon quite low.


Since we are all huge lovers of this champagne we couldn’t wait to taste the wine, even though we knew that the champagne would still be very young. 


After opening the bottle the champagne shows hints of the chalky grounds. The champagne is very elegant and offers a palate of lemon and oyster shell. Full of elegance however it will even more evolve over the next 10 years.

BOW 8.5/10

We still have several bottles available:


Astonishing St Vivant

Astonishing St Vivant


What shall we have to accompany some fusion French-Asian food ? That was the challenge we faced after a nice wine tasting with amongst others Napanook. We decided to go for a Burgundy from a less known producer with MORE ...

a very good reputation. And top vintage. Unfortunately no 1999, but 2002 can stand the test. The Robert Arnoux Romanee St Vivant was so overwhelming that we had at least 5 minutes without any conversation. So silky, so elegant but so concentrated. Strawberry, raspberry avalanche. How great can top Burgundy be ? Together with the spicy accents it reminded me of Lafite 1986 or even 1996. Finish lasted at least 90 seconds. We still have the 2005, I think I have to reserve this one..... BOW 9+.

Sassicaia 1991 versus 1992

Sassicaia 1991 versus 1992


We had a lovely dinner in 1-star restaurant Bridges in Amsterdam with bring your own bottle. Pichon Baron 82, Vieux CH Certan 82 and Leoville 83. But the stars of the evening were Sassicaia 1991 and 1992. MORE ...

Indeed, off-years, but everyone who is familiair with Sassicaia will agree - Sassicaia needs time, a lot of time. Both bottles were impressive, but so very different in style and taste. It was like Bordeaux against Burgundy, one said. The 1991 showed real power, as if only 10 years old.  It seems to take time to open up. Dark fruit, spices, cinnamon, some wood, tabacco. Tuscan power, with a beautiful balance. The 1992 was fruity, cherry, raspberry, sweet styled and lighter than the 1991. Even in color. Much more easier to drink and so elegant. Indeed Bordeaux - Burgundy. It was a question of preference, I preferred the 1991 (but not many did). Ratings 1991 BOW 8+, 1992 BOW 8.

Classic Bordeaux 1997 - so nice

Classic Bordeaux 1997 - so nice


Bordeaux 1997 and 2007 are so called classic years. A term used to describe an average year. However, our experience is that these vintages always show what Bordeaux can do just "on its own". MORE ...

Mouton Rothschild 1997 is a wine we haven't drunk much, just out of habit you always pick the more "special" vintages, Beautiful cassis, some blackberry, spices, typical Mouton terroir. A bit light styled, even though only 55 % of the harvest was used. We enjoyed the 1997 very much, but if you compare this to 1993 (same classic vintage) we prefer the 1993. BOW 7.5.

Dauvissat grand cru vs. Coche Dury

Dauvissat grand cru vs. Coche Dury


We enjoyed a 7 course dinner at De Leest, a 3 star Michelin restaurant near Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The winelist was impressive, with a big emphasis on White Burgundy. MORE ...

And the prices were very reasonable. We started of with Dauvissat Chablis les Clos 2009. For a Dauvisat Clos of 7 years old it was very open and impressed us from start to finish. Will have at least 15 years ahead. Tropical fruit, floral notes, minerals, it's all there and what you can expect from a big grand cru Chablis. Paired perfectly with the 3-star elegant dishes. Next bottle was the Coche Dury Puligny Enseigneres 2007. Not a cru and a lesser vintage, But Coche stands out, so unique in its winemaking and taste. A bit like D'Auvenay. Citrus, heavy and concentrated fruit (peach, lemon) but still well balanced. This bottle was priced very nice and therefor worth every euro. It's such a shame that prices of Coche have gone up so rapidly. BOW Dauvissat 9-. BOW Coche 8. 

Glendronach Exclusively selected for the Duchess

Glendronach Exclusively selected for the Duchess


We are very pleased to announce our very first single cask for the Duchess.

The Duchess is our independent bottler trademark brand for all our future single cask bottlings that we will consecutively release for Bestofwhiskies.com.

GlenDronach 2003 Virgin Oak Hogshead Cask 1751 250 bottles 53.9% Exclusively selected for The Duchess MORE ...

Tasting Notes by the chaps at GlenDronach:

Nose: Tarte tartin drizzled with apricot syrup and dusted with toasted coconut. All spiced with waves of delicious sweet oak.

Appearance: Glowing harvest gold

Palate: Candied peel and ginger syrup poured over roasted orchard fruits with a fantastic combination of  cinnamon sugar and gentle vanilla.

In our honest opinion, it’s a stunner indeed. We totally agree with Billy Walker and his team on their tasting notes, but still we couldn’t resist adding our very own personal tasting notes.

Nose: Lots of fruitiness. The likes of plums. Accompanied by a warm swell of butterscotch and spices; Cinnamon and hazelnuts.

Mouth: Butterscotch is eminent on the foreground. Lots of pleasurable spices like the aforementioned cinnamon, ginger and a little sugarcane sweetness in the background.

Finish: long and dry herbal finish; Laurel and liquorice.

Balance: A very stunning dram it is. Very well balanced in both and the nose and mouthfeel. The thing that attracts me the most is the overwhelming complexity of this GlenDronach…Don’t we all love ginger spices and liquorice ???89/100 points

 We are very excited about his single cask bottling. You can order a bottle directly through this link.

We are very curious about your opinions when you have experienced this gem. Your opinion is very important to us.

Please email your tasting notes to us.


Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best Of Whiskies 


A dessert dessert

A dessert dessert


Sauternes and a sweet dessert always proofs to be a fantastic combination. A classic with an apple pie or creme brulee. But vanilla and warm MORE ...

cherries always shows the best out of this pourriture noble-wines. Rieussec 2006 was the choice and the result was a dessert-dessert. The dessert stood out alone perfectly, the wines was a dessert on its own. But toghether they multiplied. The price-quality of this difficult sauternes vintage is very very good. BOW 8+.

Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 vs. Mouton Rothschild 2002

Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 vs. Mouton Rothschild 2002


Battle of the bulge

In sunny "Palma de Mallorca”, we tested 2 outstanding wines heads up. MORE ...

The Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 versus the Mouton Rothschild 2002. Both where magnum sized!

To conclude: Both score 9/10 points, no way to tell which is the winner. Both wines are almost perfect in balance, very well concentrated, but yet so elegant. It’s really a tsunami of silk and fruit. The finish longs for more than 60 seconds!

To sum it all up: The difference is what your preference is: The power, portrayed in its most elegant way for the Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 or the more silky and smooth terroir in the “Pauillac” for the Mouton Rothschild 2000.
It’s hard to choose anyways… we couldn't. BOW 9

Pontet Canet 2007

Pontet Canet 2007


Dinner with winefriends, we took some Bordeaux 2007 with us to the beautiful city of Breda. And what an evening we had: 2007 is still an MORE ...

underestimated vintage and doesn't have the sexy fingerprint of 2000, 2005, 2009 etc. Classic Bordeaux, what you see is what you get. This Pontet 2007 showed extremely well, but will improve in the years to come. Blueberry, wood, truffel, some asian spices. One of the best Medoc 2007's, if you get hold of some, drink or store. Will drink well till at least 2036. BOW 8+ (Peter).

Lynch Bages 2000

Lynch Bages 2000


Drinking wine with friends, what more needs to be said, especially with this Lynch Bages 2000. This wine is getting better every time MORE ...

we drink it for the last 3-4 years. Very dark colored, astonishing bouquet (this is Pauillac !). Reminds me of old-school Lynch Bages. Thick, fleshy, very concentrated, but so elegant. Cassis, caramel, tutti-frutti. Tannins well integrated, this 2000 will last till at least 2040. BOW 9 (Peter).

Montrose 1990

Montrose 1990


For this special occasion we choose a bottle of Chateau Montrose 1990, we already wrote several times about this monument of a wine MORE ...

and when you have a perfect bottle it’s party time. It’s all we have wrote before and got BOW 10 again. We enjoyed by a dish of pigeon from Bresse created by Wilco Berends the chef of the one star restaurant “De Nederlanden” in Vreeland.

Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux 2006

Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux 2006


In the little village Loenen aan de Vecht, we had a lovely dinner at Tante Koosje. This one Michelin star restaurant is located by the church and has a MORE ...

lovely terras with a lot of sun after 5 p.m. We choose for Domaine des Perdrix Echezeaux 2006, this is muscular with intense fruit of black cherries and integrated wood expressions, which went great with the three types of lamb. BOW 8.

Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2001

Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2001


Restaurant La Rive in the Amstel Hotel, one of Amsterdams most famous restaurants MORE ...

, was visited by our Best Of Wines tasting team. We had a lot of nice discussions with the Fine & Rare Wine expert and sommelier Ted Bunnik. Together we enjoyed an Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 2001. The label was stained due to some leaking of the cork, but the wine was stored in a very good cellar, so it should be ok. And it was. We enjoyed the bottle during a nice summer evening looking over the Amstel river. Beautiful cherries and raspberries, silky texture and tannins, big and concentrated, wines lingers on and on. Typically 2001 with some reserve and the terroir of St Jacques was so present. BOW 8.5.

Sassicaia 1985

Sassicaia 1985


Yesterday evening we had a wonderful dinner in one of the best Asian restaurants in the Netherlands Restaurant Royal Mandarin. For this occasion we brought a Super MORE ...

Tuscan legend: the Sassicaia 1985.

The bottle came from a private cellar, the wine was bought on release and stored in a conditioned environment till yesterday. The level was into neck and we decided not to decant.

The colour was dark red and the bouquet displayed a wonderful sweetness and softness, quite a right bank Bordeaux character. Indeed strange for a cabernet wine. But we noticed immediately that the wine was still flattened, it had to open up. And it did ! After 5 minutes we were staring at each other, this is a 100% Mouton Rothschild 1986 nose. Then we tasted and were overwhelmed by the concentration and intensity of the cassis and dried (tutti frutti) fruit, the spices, licorice and sweetness of the oak.

The wine is so unbelievable concentrated (glycerine on your lips) and so complex. On every sip you discover new elements. And so elegant and delicate. Balance is without any doubt perfect. Length > 60 seconds. In our opinion Sassicaia makes wines that last and need time to soften. The 1985 shows what this means for Sassicaia: a perfect wine, and the best Sassicaia ever. Monumental, a wine you should drink once. Ratings are almost without exception max. And we agree. BOW 10/10. This wine will last till at least 2030.

We still have one bottle of this perfect wine available.

Mouton Rothschild 2002

Mouton Rothschild 2002


Last night we visited Samhoudt places, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Amsterdam with small and really surprising dishes in their tasting menu. For the MORE ...

meat course we brought the still underrated Mouton Rothschild 2002. Almost black colored, very impressive nose, fruit  (cassis) bursts from the glass, mint, eucalyptus, wood, spices.

A very concentrated wine, tasting it is overwhelming, with clear Cabernet, mocca, vanilla and very elegant and integrated tannins. Top line Mouton in such a "classic"  vintage, will improve as it just started to get in its best phase. BOW 9.

We still have several bottles available at our website

“The concept of quality over quantity really does matter”.

“The concept of quality over quantity really does matter”.


John Glaser, The Compass box; “The concept of quality over quantity really does matter”. MORE ...

This week I had a little gathering with John Glaser, founder of the Compass Box whisky company, for a masterclass and I had a nice little chat accompanied by a dram afterwards.

As a company, we mainly focus on single malts with our bestofwhiskies.com division, but we do love blends as well.

We think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good blend. I have sometimes tricked my friends, in a blend in our monthly blind tasting sessions. We all agree that they do hold their own against malt whisky.

John Glaser and myself share the same passion for old blends. 95% of the time they will beat any single malt today by both taste and quality. John asked me: “Why is it that old blended whisky is that good”?

The answer is pretty simple, so let me give you a little history lesson to answer that question.

Scotch whisky hasn’t always been as popular as it is today. In the Victorian age the wealthy and the gentlefolks had taken a liking to Brandy-soda and French cognac. It was only due to the fact that the grapevines had been infested by grape lice (esca) and insect pests that the production of wine and the distilling of wine (brandy & cognac) had instantly seized production and stopped.

The noblemen had to look for another drink that would be to their liking, since the brandy and cognac had become very scarce. Now back in the day, Single Malt was considered a “poor man’s drink’. It was a totally inconsistent drink, often very harsh, under proofed and mostly not matured in wood.

It was only by the invention of “blending” by smart businessmen like Alexander Walker in 1857 (Johnny Walker & Sons) and A.J Cameron of the Dewar’s blending company in 1899, that the production of Scotch whisky blends thrived under their smart entrepreneurial spirit. They really had a foreseeing gift in understanding what the market needed. It was due to their work that whisky became the gentleman’s drink that it is today.

To understand the concept of “blending” you have to understand that these smart business men understood that blends needed to be consistent in taste. They made “easier”, more consistent style of whisky. They understood that it was the quality that made the sales, not the quantity that mattered. They turned blending into art, it became the drink everybody was after and the rest is history.


John Glaser is a humble man that speaks with a passion unlike you have ever seen before when speaking about his work. His take on blending for the Compass box, is exactly the art form that seems to be forgotten by the big blending multinationals today.

Compass box is all about quality over quantity. John Glaser stands for transparency of the components actually used for making up the end product. He strongly believes in the consumer’s right to know what the contents of their product actually are when they’re purchasing a quality Compass Box blend. The people ought to know, it’s their right as a consumer.

John is very open about the casks he uses, the distilleries and the age…Wait! Not anymore. The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) won’t allow him to share the age statements of the cask used. I can rant about this a for thousand more words, but really; you’ll should read about it from the man himself and support his campaign on transparency.

You can read all about it here.

I guess I must have made you all a little thirsty by writing this blog. You can view one of the Compass box gems right here at our site!


Gal Granov scores this high quality blend 92/100 points.


Nils van Rijn

Whisky Specialist for Best Of Whiskies


Follow us at Facebook

Lafleur 2003

Lafleur 2003


Remember our wine tasting with René Gabriel two weeks ago ? This one was chosen as best wine of the evening by 30% of the tasters. It was our last bottle in stock, so we are hurrying to buy some more….. The 2003 Bordeaux can show some contradictions. Some are very disappointing and “chaud”. But some MORE ...

domains really outperformed in this vintage. First impression: this is a Céléstine von Henry Bonneau or a Burgundy wine from Henry Jayer. But it contains very ripe Cassis, some citrus elements. Very creamy and thick, elegant and a milky finish. What a wine, perfectly vinified. But still very young, needs at least 5 more years. BOW 9, but will get better.

Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2003

Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2003


White Burgundy 2003 can show a “tired” impression. On opening this bottle we were again not surprised didn’t show much, a little cork maybe ? But we

MORE ...

decanted it, let the wine breathe for 10 minutes and then it showed what a Corton Charlemagne from Coche Dury can do: very complex bouquet, a little “chaud”, but beautiful fruit, chamomille, floral elements and a concentration and terroir typical for Coche Dury. BOW 9+.

Guigal Lalala 1988 comparison

Guigal Lalala 1988 comparison


La Landonne + La Mouline + La Turque 1988: all 100 Parker Points...

Does it have the perfect score ?
Robert Parker gives the La Mouline 1988, La Turque 1988 and La Landonne 1988 the perfect score of 100 points. Well, let’s find out if we agree…….

MORE ...

In 1988 Guigal made his lalala’s with much less influence of wood. So a little more elegancy and less power.

Guigal La Mouline 1988 – Bouquet contains lots of spices, leather, wood. Tastes creamy, beautifully balanced, typically French Syrah print. Nice wine, but on the edge of best drinking period. We rated it on average 8-/10.

Guigal La Turque 1988 – Shows age, with orange rim. Very nice bouquet, with curry, bouillon, spices, some wood, tabacco, raisins. On the palate leather, nice fruit, silky but balance is not perfect. Smelling the wine promised everything, tasting was slightly disappointing. BOW 8+/10.

Guigal La Landonne 1988 – Still in top shape, will last another 15 years. Took some time to open up, but there it was. Lalala complexity, so aromatic, so fine, so complex. A great wine which shows what a terroir it is. BOW 9/10.

Haut Brion battle

Haut Brion battle


Last week the great wine critic and our friend René Gabriel from WeinWisser visited us for an exclusive tasting. We had a wonderful evening with some beautiful wines.

MORE ...

We started with the battle between Château Haut-Brion Blanc, Château Laville Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion blanc 2011

La Mission Haut Brion Blanc 2011 – Medium yellow, lots of spices, some mint. Floral notes, and beautiful tropical fruit. Smooth, concentrated, complex nose. Perfect for drinking now, but will last at least another 20 years. BOW 9/10.

We still have 6 bottles available for €650,- the bottle at http://www.bestofwines.com/uk/wines/view/7203

Haut Brion Blanc 2011 – Light yellow wine, with some green notes. First impression a little bit closed but on tasting the wine shows concentration, but is not as concentrated as the La Mission. Complex nose, but still not showing its potential. Maybe the element wood is too present in relation to concentration. The La Mission shows more and even on age will be the better wine. BOW 8+/10.

Nice cellar pictured

Nice cellar pictured


Just checking the pictures of the new additions Domaine Leflaive from a perfect cellar. The proof is in the drinking.: Bourgogne Blanc 2004 from OWC drinks like a 2012. What a way to end the day. BOW 7+/10

Lynch Bages 1970

Lynch Bages 1970


We bought this bottle from a private cellar in the Canalzone in Amsterdam. It was a very old cellar, also containing Burgundy from the 1930’s thru 1960’s.

MORE ...

We opened a Bichot Volnay 1934 with a 10 cm level, and it was still beautiful! The Lynch Bages 1970 had a high shoulder level, so there was a risk. But as this cellar proved to be very good, we knew that this bottle would be great. And it was! The color was dark red, the first sip was of a wine in its youth... . A cabernet classic, with cassis fruit, chocolate, truffel. It changed in texture and complexity and character during the first 10 minutes. One of our tasters reminded the wine as a Latour 1970 which he drank only a few days ago. Bottles with top shoulder level or higher will last another 20 years. A treat ! BOW 9-.

Palmer 1989 imperial 6 L

Palmer 1989 imperial 6 L


This week we have a grand tasting in Mallorca. After some fabulous Rioja Reserva bottles on Monday we sat down for an exceptional bottle: an imperial 6 litre Palmer 1989. We have (highly) rated this wine a couple of times, but big bottles always tend to show greater quality. The bottle came from MORE ...

a private cellar, was stored in a conditioned environment since release. Level was high fill. The first 15 minutes were like a roller-coaster, the wine changed every couple of minutes. After 30 minutes it showed its best. Smell of sweet reserva elements, wood, cinnamon, some tea and mocha. And a unbelievable load of black fruit. The taste is so soft, silky and delegate, astonishing! The complexity on the highest level, the acid, softened tannins and sweet fruit gives the wine a perfect balance. So much power but so elegant. We tried to finish the bottle but luckily kept some for today. To pair it with Italian and Rhone stars. Big bottles indeed show better quality.

Palmer 89 always scores 9.5 or higher. This bottle BOW 9,5/10

Petrus, La Fleur Petrus, Lafleur

Petrus, La Fleur Petrus, Lafleur


Three great terroirs 2000 - Pétrus, Chateau La Fleur-Petrus, Chateau Lafleur 2000.

MORE ...

The three chateaux lie besides each other. So terroir is of major influence in the final quality of the wine. Let’s start with Petrus 2000.

Petrus 2000 – darkest color of the 3 wines. Lots of cassis, but also berries, cocos, vanilla. Palet is full of liquorice, so fat, but so smooth and sweet. The Merlot works like liquid silk, creamy and gives the wine the perfect balance. Comparable to Petrus 1989 and 1998, but with the charme of 1990. Is this the best Petrus of the last 50 years? BOW 10/10.