Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What We’re Tasting Now: Spirits Edition

With our November/December holiday issue off to press and a counter full of spirits waiting to be sampled, we took some time out recently to taste through them all. Here are five of the highlights.

Sempé VSOP Armagnac
Commercial production for this Armagnac began in the early 1930s, but the Sempé family can trace its local roots back to the 14th century. Silky smooth and full-flavored, this single-distilled French brandy offers warming notes of apples, plums and spice. After tasting this, we’re thinking about Armagnac eggnog this holiday season.
$49, melandrose.com

Johnnie Walker Double Black
Most anyone who knows Scotch is already familiar with the various bottlings of Johnnie Walker. This latest, limited expression is the edgy big brother to the Black label with amped-up char and smoke and notes of leather, wood, tobacco and dried cherry.
$40, johnniewalker.com for retailers

New Amsterdam Vodka
This offering from New Amsterdam is five-times distilled and delicate on the palate with notes of lemon, vanilla and cream, all at a price that’s hard to beat.
$17/1 liter, internetwines.com

Der Lachs Goldwasser
Guilty pleasures? We’ve all got them, and we can already tell this alluringly spiced liqueur will find its way into our glasses and toddies more than once this winter. Dating back to the 16th century, this herbal liqueur offers notes of cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, pine, anise, citrus, saffron—the list goes on. And on.
$35, winecommune.com

Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate
This flavored vodka is a pleasant surprise. Van Gogh somehow managed to harness the flavors of rich cocoa powder, chocolate cake batter and a hint of spice without becoming cloyingly sweet.
$23, totalbeverage.net