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Contents.

[Scotch. | Baileys. | Vodka. | Tia Maria. | Tequila. | Brandy. | Gin. | Rum.]




Scotch Whisky.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society. This society's home page covers everything from tasting notes, distillery details and how to make your own whiskey!

Islay Whisky. A page dedicated purely to Islay malts, such as Laphroaig and Bowmore. There are 7 distilleries on Islay, which is only 25 miles long!

Malt Advocate. The Whiskey Pages, including Distilled News, a buyers guide, and links to Irish and American whiskeys.

Edinburgh Malt Whisky Tour. More tasting notes and historical guides.

Distillery List:



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Baileys.

Baileys. Welcome to the Pleasure Dome! This site has everything from cocktail recipies, a "mood tester", news and a Baileys shop.

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Vodka.

Vodka can be produced from a variety of plants and grains, including wheat, rye, potatoes, molasses and beets. Vodka is made predominantly in Eastern Europe, with Russian vodka made from wheat and Polish vodka made from rye mash.
Vodka is distilled in one of two ways; by a "pot" or a "column. The choice used does affect the character of the vodka produced. Although all vodka is a clear, still liquid, vodka produced from a pot still (the same method as that used for Cognac and Scotch) contains more flavour and aromas from the original mash it was produced from. The column still is much more efficient than the pot still, but produces a vodka with much more neutral character. Unlike some other spirits, there is no "hard and fast" method of classification of vodkas. Russian exported vodka is usually labelled "osobaya" and that labelled "krepkaya" is a longer distilled vodka of at least 56% ABV. Poland labels vodka depending upon its purity; the standard is "zwykly", the premium is "wyborowy" and the deluxe is "luksusowy". As far as the drinker is concerned, however, there are many flavours and fortifying agents that may be mixed with vodka, and this is perhaps the best way of classifying most of them.
Flavoured vodka is much more varied in Russia and Poland, and includes:

  • Kubanskaya - flavoured with lemon and orange peels.
  • Limonnaya - lemon flavoured.
  • Okhotnichya - a spicy vodka, flavoured with ginger, cloves, lemon, coffee, anise, sugar and white wine.
  • Pertsovka - flavoured with peppercorns and red chilli peppers. Starka - literally means "old" and is flavoured with anything from leaves, fruit, other spirits, and oak casks.
  • Zubrovka - flavoured with bison grass.


    Absolut Vodka.

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    TiaMaria.

    Tia Maria Home Page.

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    Tequila.

    Excellent Tequila page. Includes a bit of history, facts and tasting.
    Tequila Home Page. (By Elvis...)

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    Brandy.

    Brandy is basically made by fermenting fruit juice and pulps. However, it can be divided into three main classes:

  • Grape Brandy. This is made from distilled fermented grape juice (or crushed grapes) and aged in oak casks to add colour, aromas and flavours.
  • Pomace Brandy. Here, instead of crushing the grapes, they are pressed first to extract the juice for wine, and the pulp, skins and stems then used for brandy. The brandy is rarely aged, and hence doesn't usually obtain the roundness of character from the casks. This results in a fresh, fruity character, but one that is often an aquired taste.
  • Fruit Brandy. This is basically any brandy that has used a fruit other than grapes as its basis. The spirit is normally distilled from the equivalent fruit wine. Well known examples include Calvados, an apple brandy from northern France, cherry brandies such as Kir and Kirschwasser from Alsace, France and Bavaria, Germany repectively, and a plum brandy called Slivovitz made in Eastern Europe.

    France produces the most and, arguably, the best brandies in the world. The most famous of these is Cognac. Cognac is simply the area of France in which the brandy is made, and is situated just north of Bordeaux. The region is further divided into six regions; Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Bois Ordinaries, Borderies, Fins Bois and Bons Bois. The "Champagne" regions produce the best Cognac. Almost all Cognac is made from three grape varieties - Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard. The Cognac is double distilled and aged in oak casks. Almost all Cognac is a blend of brandies from different vintages and regions. This effectively means it is difficult to date brandy, hence an agreed set of terms is used.

    VS, VSP, Three Star.
    VSOP.
    XO, Luxury.

    Another well known French brandy, and probably the oldest, is Armagnac. Again, the name is due to the region of production, situated in southwest France in the province of Gascony. It is divided up into three zones; Bas-Armagnac, Haut Armagnac and Tenareze. The grape varieties are the same as used in Cognac, but the process uses a type of still called an Armagnacais. The resulting brandy does still need cask ageing, which is usually done in oak casks.


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    Gin.


    Gin is a white, grain based spirit that is flavoured with juniper berries and a variety of spices and herbs such as anise, cinnamon, corriander and cassia bark. Gin is distilled through column stills, and thus retains very little congeners resulting in a product with very little flavour. The three types of gin are:

  • London Dry Gin. This is the dominant style in the UK, USA and Spain. It also is ideally suited for mixing.
  • Plymouth Gin. This style is much more aromatic than London gin, but is still a clear liquid. It is only made in a distillery in Plymouth, UK.
  • Old Tom Gin. Although rarely produced now, this is a lightly sweetened gin popular in the 18th century.


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    Rum.


    Rum is made by distilling either fermented cane juice or molasses, the latter of which is the remaining residue after sugar is produced. The most common form is Molasses, which, although is effectively over 50% suger, also conatins many other minerals and flavourings which add to the final character of the drink.
    Rums are usually classified as follows:

  • White Rum. These are lighter bodied, clear, with no strong flavours. They are more often used as mixers or blenders.
  • Golden Rum. The golden colour is obtained by oak cask ageing to mellow out the medium bodied spirit.
  • Dark Rum. These are rich, full bodied, and often aged for longer periods in casks. They are usually coloured with caramel.


    Rum is produced in many parts of the world, but the centre has to be the Caribbean, where virtually every island has its own unique style. Brazil is one of the largest producers of white rum, whereas Guatemala and Nicaragua are producing more medium bodied rums. Australia, where Rum is the second most popular alcoholic drink after beer, produces white and golden rums.


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    Methylated Spirits.

    Mmmm... nice and pink.

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