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What's News In Booze: A Dozen New Spirits To Get You Through Autumn

Posted: 09/13/2012 9:58 am

The first couple of weeks after Labor Day are a doozy. It still looks like summer. It still feels like summer. But all of a sudden the rules change. The douchebags who so graciously departed for the Hamptons in June have returned en masse. Kids are back in school. People have to start paying attention at work again. Football makes its violent, militaristic reappearance. Those awesome seersucker and linen suits? Back in the closet for nine months. Sure, it's still warm and lush and green outside. But the waiting game has begun. When are the fall clothes going to come out of mothballs? When's the first frost? When are you going to look around and say, "Holy crap, how did it become winter?"

In a nutshell, I hate this time of year. But good booze always helps mitigate the crud factor of autumn, and this autumn there's a ton of very fine new bottlings out there. Most of them should be on your liquor store shelves by now, and the few that aren't will be launching within the next few weeks. There's something for just about everyone here, from bourbon to rum to liqueur to absinthe, and at price points ranging from $20 to $5,000. Try one or, as I did, try them all -- just not in one night. Autumn unfolds slowly, so take your time.

Photo from xlibber, Flickr.

Appleton 50 Year Old Jamaica Rum - Jamaican Independence
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APPLETON 50 YEAR OLD JAMAICA RUM - JAMAICAN INDEPENDENCE RESERVE (45% alcohol by volume, aged 50 years, suggested retail price $5,000).

According to the good folks at Appleton, when Jamaica first became an independent nation in 1962, a few barrels of rum were laid down with the express purpose of aging them for half a century, and then bottling them to commemorate the 50th anniversary of independence. Now, I can see how this could be done in Scotland, which has a fairly chilly climate. But in the tropics? How can a rum survive in oak for that long without either tasting like a piece of wood or evaporating completely? Apparently, 11 of the 24 barrels laid down did indeed suffer that fate -- careful monitoring and double chill filtration at the end of the aging process helped the others survive. Limited to a mere 800 bottles worldwide, the rum comes in a very swanky crystal decanter with a brass and cork stopper finished in gold. And inside the bottle is a very fine spirit -- oaky for sure, but you don't feel like you're licking the inside of a barrel. It's got strong notes of honey, molasses and caramelized banana, with a ridiculously long and smooth finish. If you're enough of a connoisseur/collector to consider spending $5,000 for a bottle of rum, you won't be disappointed.
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