Friday, November 26, 2010

BEYOND WINE...WHAT "IMPRESSIVE" SPIRITS GIFTS SHOULD I BUY FOR THE HOLIDAY?? by Philip S. Kampe

THANKSGIVING is over.
BLACK FRIDAY has come and so BEGINS the GIFT SEASON.
As a believer in WINE as gifts, I also believe that SPIRITS also are wonderful gifts for those special people who have an Advanced Palate.
Wine fills the palate with hundreds of flavors.
Beer does the same.
And so do Spirits.
At a recent Spirits tasting, aimed at Holiday Consumers, I found several possibilities for Gifts that are fairly priced, contain beautiful packaging and are of Top Quality.

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#1 VODKA is the number one selling spirit in America. There are hundreds of choices in the marketplace. I sampled RUSSIAN STANDARD Vodka and found this to be the BEST VODKA I had ever had.
The vodka is a true expression of Traditional Russian Vodka. RUSSIAN STANDARD Vodka owes its name to DMITRI MENDELEEV'S classic formula, which was commissioned by TSAR ALEXANDER III.
Traditional vodka has a wheat taste from Russia's winter wheat combined with clarity from the soft glaciers of the frozen north. RUSSIAN STANDARD has a bitter, soft bite that is typical of Russian vodkas.
VODKAPHILES comment on Russuan Standard:
' I spent four years in Russia and and tasted them all. Ruskie Standart was by far the best. It went down smooth and didn't hurt you the next day. This is the premier vodka of Russia'.
' Simply the best vodka I had ever had'
' In a class of it's own....Simply the best'
' I like a vodka that I can tatse and savor. This one has a very appealing nose, and is smooth, yet loaded with mouth feel. Enjoy this one with about five minutes of ice melt, and the flavor opens up, winter grains, wheat berries and soft water. Big and round with a slight vanilla sweetness. Clean finish, pleasent warm feel, not hot and no burn. A big Classic Russian Vodka'.
To learn more about the vodka and to see the bottling, visit: http://www.russianstandard.com/
Russian Standard retails at $17.99 a bottle. The Holiday bottle, even comes with a scratch-off ticket for a chance to WIN a Special edition Russian Standard t-shirt or a Signature Rissian Mule copper mug.

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#2 Fifth generation distiller, Cyril Camus was anticipating demand for lighter and more elegant cognacs. The public wanted this, thus the creation of CAMUS XO ELEGANCE COGNAC .
Cyril Camus explains his creation, ' CAMUS XO ELEGANCE calls on venerable eaux-de-vie from exceptioanl vineyards, with a strong presence of the signature Camus Borderies. The unique bouquet of floral aromas and palate tinged with dried fruit, licorice and spicy notes culminate in a persitent, leathery finish'.
The cognac is light and fruity with a minimal oak influence. Cyril Camus only uses aged oak barrels to create a less harsh product.
Wine Enthusiast scored Camus XO Elegance with 95 points and says ' The nose discovers scents of buttered toast, baked apple and pear pastry, cinnamon and nutmeg with subtle notes of worn leather, pipe tobacco, cigar wrapper and burnt sugar. Palate entry is modestly sweet: midpalate flavors of vanilla, toffee, dried cherry and lanolin vie for dominance. Finishes light and elegant'
Priced at $110, the Limited Edition Gift box contains two crtstal tulip cognac glasses and a bottle of CAMUS XO ELEGANCE.
Visit http://www.camus.fr/ to learn more about this 95 point cognac.

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#3 LUCID ABSINTHE SUPERIEURE
I am a New Orleanian (my first 24 years) and ABSINTHE has played a large role in social circles of the Crescent City for decades. In 1797 Major Dubied opened the First Absinthe Distillery in Couvet, Switzerland.
Absinthe was created as an ELIXIR by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire and was launched as a ' miracle cure all'.
Today, LUCID Absinthe is distilled at the historical Combier Distillery in Samur, France (Loire Valley) using the distilleries original antique copper absinthe stills and apparatus, much of which was designed in the 1830's by Gustav Eiffel.
LUCID is the first genuine absinthe made with real GRANDE WORMWOOD to be available in America in 95 years. LUCID is crafted with whole herbs and neutral spirits. The green color is all natural.
Visit http://www.drinklucid.com/ to learn everything everything about Absinthe.
The striking bottle with cat's eyes starring at you intrigues everyone who sees it. Once you open the bottle, the aroma of anise and spice take over the room. At 62% alcohol, I understand why the traditional, cloudy drink is mixed with a splash of water and sugar. Immediately, I noticed fennel mixed with anise on the palate, plus the additon of wormwood, which was new tatse for me. The spiciness on my palate finished with a hint of pepper.
Lucid is a very balanced Absinthe and a great Absinthe to give as a gift. The Holiday goft box contains two glasses and the typical and necessary Absinthe spoon.
At around $55, this is a gift that will be remembered forever. The gift pack contains everything you need to enjoy the tradional Absinthe experience, which is full of history and mystery.

PHILIP S. KAMPE
philip.kampe@thewinehub.com


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