WE FOUND more than whisky at the Whisky Live and Bar Show 2023, since the whisky convention included more than just whiskies.
• Douglas Laing’s Rock Island: The name is appropriate, as the whisky purports to have a “salty oceanic fresh influence.” They’re right, as there is a note of saltiness in the otherwise cozy whisky, which one should probably drink during a fog. There’s a smokiness to it that reminds one of a fire, a similar warmth, rounding out with a note of honey.
• Flor de Cana 12: We were probably drawn at first to the fact that this rum has a Carbon Neutral certification from the Carbon Trust, as well as being Fair Trade-certified. At first sip, it can be a bit flat, but the overall effect in the mouth shows nuances of vanilla and tropical fruit. It’s light enough for mixing at a summer party.
• Remy Martin 1738 Accord Royal: Remy Martin launched its 1738 Accord Royal during Whisky Live, commemorating the reward of excellence awarded by King Louis XV of France to the founder, Remy Martin, in 1738. Taken neat, this cognac has a soft warmth, with cozy notes of candied fruit and, surprisingly, pastry.
• Full Circle Distillers: This homegrown brand released a Christmas Gin, made with botanicals like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet orange, hibiscus, and roses. This reminded one of fruitcake, without all the terrible associations of it. It’s all the spiciness and warmth of fruitcake without the plummy caramelized flavor from brandy. Note that its flagship product, Archipelago Botanical Gin, won gold at the World Gin Awards in 2019. — Joseph L. Garcia