• My Rating: D+

Pinot Noir Special Reserve 2004 – Isabella Winery, 12% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

(it’s over 10 years old, but is it any good…?)

on the back label:

“Exceptionally exquisite this red icewine, with amber hues, delivers intense flavours of strawberries, dried apricots and honey. Rich in texture, it is best served chilled, on its own or with vanilla ice cream.”


  • Style: (Pinor Noir) Icewine
  • Taste: unelegant sugary strawberry/grape alcoholic
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $60 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: what for?

Visual: Cork broke in half upon opening, solidified sugars at the mouth of the bottle. Pours reddish-orange-purple.

Nose: sweet red grape juice, faint alcohol detection,  (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: very dense sugars, tangy, medium sour-acidity

Mid-palate: (lvl-9)-sweetness, bitter alcohol, lingering acidity, (MAIN) strawberry, concentrated red grape juice

Finish: cloying sugars, mild heat, sickly sweet finish.

Summary: Like the majority of their previous offerings, this one isn’t at all good either. No sensational textures or flavours, just sugary strawberry-grape with a whole lot of roughness throughout. Avoid. If this is their special reserve how bad is their regular batch?


Curiositas 20 Years Old Single Malt – The BenRiach, 43% ABV -70cl, (Morayshire, Scotland)

  • My Rating: B-

On the back label:

“BenRiach, located in the Heartland of Malt Whisky, displays all the traditional charm of a Speyside distillery. Established in 1898 and built by John Duff, it is one of the few distilleries with its own on-site floor maltings.

The distillery draws its water from the Burnside Springs and uses a lightly peated malted barley varietal as the cereal source of this distinctive and intriguing Speyside malt.

This smooth single malt has an elegant full taste and aroma that captures fruity, floral, spicy notes, with fascinating overtones of honey, vanilla, apples, chocolate and nuts.”


This particular whisky has won:

  • Gold Medal 2005 – International Spirits Challenge
  • Silver Medal 2006 – International Wine & Spirit Competition
  • Silver Medal 2007 – International Wine & Spirits Competition
  • Gold Medal 2011 – International Wine & Spirits Competition
  • Style: Classic Speyside
  • Taste Profile: caramel -> vanilla/honey/chocolate -> oak/llight peat/more caramel
  • Where I got it: somewhere in Edmonton
  • How much: ~$80, sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would non-scotch drinkers like this: no

Tasting notes: Pours light orange, kind of lacking in colour for a whisky that has been casked for 20 years. Vanilla and caramel, just a touch of peat on the nose. Slighty thicker than water viscosity, a bit salty at the start, lots of apple-caramel sweetness, vanilla, nutmeg, honeycomb, chocolate, finishing with oak and a small amount of peat. Medium-high tongue numbness and roof and back mouth numbness, soft throat burn, good sippability. Agreeable flavours, though I think I prefer the Macallan 18YO over this one.


Elderflower Ale – Storm Brewing, 5% ABV – 1L., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

-Another brainstorm. I’m a big fan of elderflower anything; I think what got me hooked was St. Germain Elderflower liqueur. Ever since I had it mixed with sparkling wine I became hooked.

  • Style: (elderflower) Flavoured Ale
  • Taste: Med-sour tangy dried elderflower woody malt
  • How much: $8 – 1L, bring your own bottle (March, 2015)
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not mindblowing

Visual: (growler fill) Pours light copper brown with a small dissipating head, a thin layer of micro retention, some lacing, lots of slow steady streams.

Nose: dried elderflower buds, brown sugar malts. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp, fizzy-bite

Mid-palate: light sour, (lvl-3)-sweetness, (MAIN) dry citrusy, woody malt, elderflower -> medium tangy

Finish: dried elderflowers, woody malt exhale, gentle-soft lingering bitter hops, finishes dry.

Summary: It doesn’t really have the freshness of picked elderflowers, but still there is definitely a flower component that works well with the malt character of their base Scottish Ale. Crisp, floral and above all, very drinkable.


Bloody Mary Pilsner – Storm Brewing, 5% ABV – 1L., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

-?!!! Bloody mary in a beer?! Lol what, this sounds very interesting… I’m a fan of Bloody mary’s and Caesar FYI. Brewed with tomato juice, limes and Thai chilies.

  • Style: (tomato, lime, thai chilies) Flavoured Lager
  • Taste: Tomato undertone lime crisp barley malt gentle spicy
  • How much: $8 – 1L, bring your own bottle (March, 2015)
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: it’s not bad at all

Visual: (growler fill) Pours translucent orange with a reddish hue, thin ringed micro retention, non-sticky, a few steady streams in the center.

Nose: tomato juice, squeezed lime (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: veggie undertones, incoming lime oil

Mid-palate: very crisp bite, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) lime juice, sweet barley malt,

Finish: tomato aftertaste, gentle lingering spicy kick, subtle bitter hops.

Summary: Surprisingly done well and very drinkable. A good balance of sweet-spicy-aromatic without any unpleasant flavours. Probably not for all but I love tomato juice so I welcomed this.


Mojito Pilsner – Storm Brewing, 5% ABV – 1L., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

-Another one of their crazy one-off brainstorms! Who doesn’t like mojitos? Add it to beer and you’re sure to get something special. Here goes…

  • Style: (mint, lime) Flavoured Lager
  • Taste: Lime sweet malt cinnamon subtle mint soft bitter hops
  • How much: $8 – 1L, bring your own bottle (March, 2015)
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: (growler fill) Pours light hazy pale orange with a small head, thin lacing, very thin ringed micro retention, not that many but steady micro streams.

Nose: fragrant lime oil, smells like fresh squeezed. Mojito indeed. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: a burst of lime oil, very crisp

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) lime, cinnamon, caramel malt, hopped bitterness,

Finish: soft mint, lingering soft bitter hops, gentle sweet malt finish.

Summary: Because of this beer I just had a revelation that lime peel and barley malt together brings out the “cinnamon” flavour to palate; It’s both interesting and intriguing. A very drinkable and easy-going beer, though not particularly full-bodied.


  • My Rating: [C-]

Fortified Blueberry Wine – Wellbrook Winery, 16% ABV – 375ml., (Delta, BC, Canada)

on front-right label:

“The Bremner family has farmed the rich soil of Delta, British Columbia, since the 1950s. Today they operate three farms and grow the finest blueberries and cranberries. Their fruit is prized for its intensity, full body and rich flavor, all of which can be enjoyed this evening with best wishes from all of us at the Wellbrook Winery.”

  • Style: (blueberry) Fortified Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Light fruitiness of blueberry mostly alcohol & warmth
  • How much: $19 – 375ml
  • Where I got it: @Winery, November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Standard thin and tall dessert wine bottle, shrink foil wrapped, synthetic cork, a nice quality label. Pours deep and dark luscious purple.

Nose: grape-blueberry with some muskiness (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: incoming sour acidity, alcohol, thin fruity

Mid-palate: (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) cassis, blueberry, red grape

Finish: light oak, alcoholic dryness, deep throat warmth, minor alcohol tongue numbness, light berry fruit finish.

Summary: Overall just decent. Not particularly lush or aromatic, the flavours just glide along with alcohol and warmth being the main players.


Tricycle Grapefruit Radler – Parallel 49 Brewery, 3.5% ABV – 355ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

on the back of the can:

“The European drink of champions. Tart grapefruit juice and a crisp lager combine for a thirst-quenching summer hybrid – it’s like rocket fuel for leisure time.

Ingredients: pilsner and munich malts, vanguard hops, yeast, grapefruit juice from concentrate, citric acid, sodium benzoate.”

  • Style: Fruit Beer/Radler
  • Taste: Plain grapefruit juice lingering peel bitterness
  • How much: $12 – 6x355ml,
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Aluminum can. Pours cloudy juice-like luminescent pinkish-peach, very fast dissipating small head, zero retention, a couple of small bubbles surfacing.

Nose: grapefruit juice, faint lager malts. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: juice consistency, incoming juice + sour

Mid-palate: very sour, medium tart, (MAIN) pink grapefruit juice, malt

Finish: soft bitter peel, grapefruit acidic harshness, grapefruit juice finish.

Summary: Very low carbonation, grapefruit dominates, barley takes a back seat. Since the juice was from concentrate, there’s not much complexity in the juice either. Too simple.


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