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  1. Russians invented vodka centuries ago, but the U.S. government only recognized the clear spirit (which was deemed odorless and tasteless) as a separate spirit category in 1951. Since then, distillers...
  2. Japan is the second-largest producer of single-malt whiskey in the world; however, its whiskeys have only recently become known in America, primarily in the form of Suntory distillery’s Yamazaki 12-...
  3. Although we tend to think of bourbon as robust and Cognac as more refined, these two brown spirits share many traits. Their production is heavily regulated; both are aged in oak barrels; and each has...
  4. The final creation of Courvoisier’s master blender Jean-Marc Olivier before he retired in 2009, L’Essence de Courvoisier ( www.courvoisier.com , $3,000) was created in collaboration with Olivier’s...
  5. The Speyside Distillery owned by William Grant & Sons has released the second version of an incredible single malt: The Balvenie 40 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Batch Two ( www.thebalvenie...
  6. Not since the 1977 launch of the Cent-Cinquantenaire that celebrated Grand Marnier’s 150th anniversary has there been a liqueur from the Marnier Lapostolle family of such depth and thoroughly...
  7. One might wonder whether Highland Park could match the quality of its 40-year-old Orcadian Limited Edition Series 1968 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which won last year’s Best of the Best tribute, but...
  8. To make a superb extra añejo —a tequila aged three years or longer—requires not only a superb añejo but also an equally superb blanco , for they all emanate from the same distillate. Last year,...
  9. The Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition 2011 ( www.myfathercigars.com , $16) is produced solely by Garcia himself, president of My Father Cigars and son of famed Cuban expatriate master...
  10. The understated red-and-black band of Tatuaje Fausto ( www.tatuajecigars.com , $8 to $8.75) gives no hint of the strength that lurks within its Ecuadoran Habano maduro wrapper. But combined with a...

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