Host's Guide Holiday 2012: Spirits of Giving

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Parker’s Heritage Collection Master Distiller’s Blend of Mashbills
The sixth and newest edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection is arguably the most ambitious yet for Heaven Hills’ Parker Beam—who, fittingly, is the Beam family’s sixth-generation co–master distiller (son Craig is the seventh). For this presentation, Parker has taken a selection of 11-year-old wheated and rye-based bourbons, many of them used for such stalwarts as Old Fitzgerald and Evan Williams, and blended them to create a non-chill-filtered 131.6-proof limited release of 7,500 bottles. This powerhouse bourbon demands a hearty splash of distilled water to appreciate its true finesse. ($80)

Cruz del Sol Tequila
Better known for its wines, Trinchero Family Estates is now importing this unique tequila produced by three Arizona State University graduates who decided that, rather than continuing their search for the perfect tequila, they would travel to Jalisco and make their own. Blue agaves, slowly steamed in traditional hornos (brick ovens) for two days, and a proprietary distillation process result in a sweet, floral Silver and a slightly spicy but delicate Reposado. ($45/Silver; $53/Reposado) 

Crown Royal XR
This latest addition in Crown Royal’s Extra Rare Whisky Series—only the brand’s second XR edition—is composed of whiskeys from its storied past. The first offering, released in 2006, included whiskeys from Crown Royal’s old Waterloo distillery, which burned down in 1993. But now, whiskey lovers have a second chance to sip from the past. This newest presentation comprises specially selected whiskeys from the historic LaSalle Distillery in Quebec established by the Bronfman family, who originally created the Crown Royal brand to commemorate the 1939 grand tour of Canada by King George VI and Princess Elizabeth. The component whiskeys in this current blend were selected by Crown Royal master blender Andrew MacKay and therefore have a special significance, for MacKay once apprenticed at the LaSalle Distillery. Dried fruits and honey dominate on the palate, accented with spicy notes of rye, raisins, and brown sugar. ($130)

Mandarine Napoléon XO
In 1806, Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte met with Antoine-François de Fourcroy, a French chemist known for his extraordinary distilling skills. The purpose of their meeting was to create an exclusive Cognac-based liqueur for the emperor using mandarins from Sicily. The result was the sweet, citrus-laden Mandarine Napoléon, which was not made available to the public until 1892, well after both men had died. But in the early 1900s, a much more refined version was unveiled: Mandarine Napoléon XO. Today that superb digestif has been reintroduced by Royal Dutch Distillers, a subsidiary of family-owned De Kuyper Royal Distillers. Featuring 30-year-old Grand Champagne Cognac blended with a distillate crafted from macerated mandarin peels and 27 enriching herbs and spices, this XO reveals its ratio of two-thirds Cognac to one-third mandarin in prominent eau-de-vie top notes accented by a tingling burnt-citrus undertaste. Just 904 hand-blown, acid-etched bottles encased in black presentation boxes were produced in the first limited run. Ironically, Mandarine Napoléon XO is distilled in an abbey less than 30 miles from the battleground at Waterloo, where Napoléon suffered his last major defeat. ($350)

This article was originally published in the November 2012 issue of Robb Report. Click here to read more articles from this issue.

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