Japanese canned booze special

Today we’ve got a Boozism special: Japanese beer!

Look at me I’m multi-cultural!

My friend recently returned from a trip to Japan and upon his arrival, he presented me with several cans of Japanese beer (cheers Eric!). I’ve never seen any of these over here so I figured it would be a good opportunity to drink some tasty Japanese booze and share my worthless opinions. I can’t read Japanese which means I’ve got no idea what the fuck is written on the cans, so instead of drinking alone tonight, I’ll be drinking with my good friend Google Translate. This could make a fun drinking game: drink every time the translation makes no fucking sense.

Kirin Brewery – Nodogoshi-Nama

Dragons and shit on the can (not actual poo)

It took me quite a while to figure out what this beer is called because the whole fucking can is in Japanese, however it appears to be named “Nodogoshi-Nama” by a brewery named Kirin. I was able to find a marketing website which provided more information about this beer. You know a beer is just screaming with quality when the product description begins with the phrase “For tax purposes”. The article then goes on to talk about “Second category beer” which uses less malt and therefore pays less tax. It gets even better: this is actually “Third category beer” because it doesn’t use any malt at all, and instead uses soy protein. Lovely.

Nodogoshi-Nama is actually better than the above paragraph would lead you to believe. It’s 5% and comes in a 350ml can. Upon pouring it, the beer is a slightly darker colour than I would have expected, but not by much. It’s very heavily carbonated and has a slightly strange head which is quite light and made out of very small bubbles. The way the head clings to the sides of the glass reminds me of soap bubbles when cleaning a window. It smells somewhere between a cheap lager and a cheap pilsner. There’s not much taste to it and it’s a bit watery, but it isn’t unpleasant. This is a very easy beer to drink and I could see myself knocking back pints of this during the hot summer months. I don’t have a price for this beer, but going by the whole “for tax purposes” thing, I’d assume it’s pretty cheap which makes this a pretty great beer.

Boozism rating: 8/10 deliciouses


Asahi Clear

This beer taste very rice

I’ve drank many bottles of Asahi Super Dry in the past as it seems to be the only Asahi beer which is available here. It’s a pretty decent beer and one of the few Japanese beers which is easily available. This is the first time I’ve got a chance to try some of their other beers so I’m looking forward to these ones.

Asahi Super Dry is brewed with rice. I’m not sure what’s in Asahi Clear, but I’m guessing there’s no rice. It comes in a 350ml can and measures 5%. It looks like any regular lager, so there’s nothing unusual here. The smell is pretty much as expected too. It smells like a regular lager although there’s a slight metallic scent which thankfully isn’t too up-front. There’s a bit more of the metallic aroma in the taste, but again it’s not overpowering and can be somewhat ignored. Asahi Clear definitely tastes different from Super Dry, but I’d chose Super Dry over this if I had the choice.

Boozism rating: 6/10 deliciouses


Asahi Clear Prime Rich

I’m struggling to write witty captions without looking like a horrible racist

A quick flick through Google would suggest Asahi Clear Prime Rich is the big brother of Asahi Clear. Whereas Asahi Clear appears to be going for a lighter, cleaner lager, Prime Rich appears to be going for a heavier, more flavoursome approach. It comes in a 350ml can and weighs in at a hefty 6%.

This beer looks like any regular beer, however it has a strange smell which I can’t quite put my finger on. The smell reminds me of vegetables. Not nice vegetables, a bag of really shitty microwaved vegetables with a hint of the Christmas dinner vegetables which nobody ever eats. There’s also a metallic taste. A bit like blood, or if you’re ever handling a load of coins and then lick your fingers. You could also lick the coins directly but I wouldn’t recommend that. This isn’t the worst of beers, but bloody vegetables isn’t really a flavour I would go out of my way to seek. To me, Prime Rich tastes like a more intense version of Asahi Clear, which isn’t something I want. It’s drinkable, but if I had the choice I’d take the regular Asahi Clear.

Boozism Rating: 5/10 delciouses


Kirin – Hyoketsu Lemon Strong

Lemons are healthy and so is 9% booze

I have no idea if I’ve got the name of this one right. It’s another one made by Kirin and there’s a lemon on the can. It’s another 350ml can but this one comes in at 9%. I had assumed this was some kind of beer mixed with lemon but I was totally wrong. It’s more like an alcoholic lemonade. A quick look on Google revealed another marketing page which provides a bit more information. I had again incorrectly assumed this was vodka and lemonade, but it’s actually a stronger version of another Kirin drink named “Hyoketsu” which is made of Shōchū, soda water and fruit juice. Shōchū is a Japanese spirit I hadn’t heard of until now. It sounds quite strange as it can come in a wide range of strengths and can be made from various things such as chestnuts or carrots. I’m sure it’ll turn up in a future review.

Hyoketsu Lemon Strong pours like a lemonade and looks the same. It’s carbonated and clear. It smells like a weak lemonade and vodka. It doesn’t taste as strong as I expected. Again, it tastes similar to vodka and lemonade. There’s some notes of lemon Pledge but it’s nothing overpowering. This isn’t something I would buy very often, but it tastes good and it’s pretty strong. Assuming it’s not expensive, this is a pretty decent drink.

Boozism rating: 8/10 deliciouses


Suntory – Strong Zero Lime

Zero sugar, zero regrets

This one confused me for a while as I had once again made incorrect assumptions. After drinking the previous Kirin Lemon Strong, I assumed this was the same drink but with lime instead. Although it looks somewhat similar, it’s made by a company called “Suntory”. This also comes in a 350ml can and is 9%. This one is sugar-free which explains the “zero” in the name. I’m not finding as much information about this one online, but I’m going to make another (probably incorrect) assumption that this is made with Shōchū, diet soda and lime.

Similar to the Kirin Lemon Strong, Suntory Strong Zero Lime pours and looks like lemonade. It smells a bit like Sprite and tastes like Sprite with a splash of vodka. You can tell it’s sugar-free, but no more than the difference between regular and sugar-free Sprite. Like the Kirin, this is pretty easy to drink and tastes pretty good. I prefer this one slightly more than the Kirin, but that’s probably because I prefer lime over lemon. Both Suntory and Kirin appear to have these drinks in various different flavours such as lemon, lime, grapefruit and peach. I’m sure they both have regular and sugar-free versions too. It’s nice to know this one is sugar-free so I can literally drink as many as these as humanly possible and I’ll never get fat. I’m actually fairly certain I’ll end up like Arnie if I keep drinking these. Hopefully Hercules-era Arnie and not that period where he went all weird and saggy.

Boozism rating: 9/10 deliciouses

During my research for these drinks I came across another review blog which specialises in Japanese beers. He has a much more tasteful approach than me and seems to know what he’s talking about so I recommend giving it a visit if you’re interested in Japanese beers:
https://japanbeer.wordpress.com/

Posted in Lager, Pre-Mixed | Leave a comment

3 Hammers strong cider

Due to recent financial difficulties, Booze Review has been forced to cut down on booze spending. Rather than sobering up, food money has been stricken entirely from the budget and alcohol costs have been cut slightly. Due to this, we present to you: 3 Hammers cider.

3 Hammers usually comes in a 3 litre bottle, but for now we’re sampling the 2 litre bottle. 3 Hammers is a 7.5% white cider costing £3.69. A 3 litre bottle is almost as much alcohol as a bottle of vodka, but under half the price, meaning this is a pretty excellent booze:money ratio.

TODO: A 3 Hammers screwdriver

3 Hammers is made by Ashton Manor, the people who make pretty much every cider which comes in a big plastic bottle.  They try to advertise 3 litre bottles as “Sharing Packs”, but nobody is falling for that. You’re buying a 3 litre bottle to drink alone, sitting in the dark and shovelling a microwave dinner into your face. The label has a lovely little warning not to drink it while pregnant or trying to get it up the duff. You’d like to think pregnant women don’t consume several litres of white cider per day, but who are we to judge?

Firstly, 3 Hammers is pretty fucking hard to open. I didn’t even shake it slightly and it still took about 10 minutes to open without it spraying everywhere. It looks like white wine in appearance, but really fizzy and bubbly. So I guess it doesn’t actually look like wine at all. 3 Hammers smells like some kind of pissy, iron, mechanical vomit. It’s as if somebody vomited all over themselves and tried to cover it up by spraying themselves with Febreeze. They’re trying to argue with you that they’re sober but they’ve got vomit all down their shirt and you there’s shit running out their trouser legs. It tastes like apple juice which as been fermenting inside a shoe and the shoe was then grated the into a bowl of carbonated onion juice. It has a long lasting after-taste which you’re probably going to taste all night unless you plan to start chugging mouthwash. You’ll taste this shit in the morning if you burp. 3 Hammers without a doubt lives up to it’s name by feeling like you’ve been smashed in the face by several hammers. Shitty Poundland hammers.

There is a bright side to 3 Hammers: it’s cheap and it’s fairly strong. By your second or third glass you’ll have forgotten how your life got to this low-point and you’ll hopefully stop noticing the god awful taste so much. It’s not like it hurts to drink, it just tastes horrible and smells like trashcan vomit. It’s no Tesco Value Vodka, but it’s still cheap booze and isn’t that what we all ever really want?

Booze Review rating: 8/10 deliciouses

Posted in Cider | 3 Comments

Foster’s Rocks Classic Rum

Today we’re going to be diving deep into the world of Foster’s Rocks Classic Rum. While stumbling through the aisles of my local B&M Bargains I saw 4 cans of beer for £1.99. I expected this to be the usual reduced-alcohol-content beer you usually see for this price however I was happy to see it was actually 4.5% which is fairly reasonable. £1.99 for 4x440ml cans of beer. Not bad.

Foster’s Rocks Classic Rum is one of those beers infused with other shite which people seem to love these days. People can’t just drink beer, it has to have fruit or tequila or some other nonsense included. One time I ordered a pint in a bar and the fucker plopped a slice of orange in it. Another time I got a slice of lime in my Jack Daniel’s. This kind of behaviour is how you end up with a foot inside your asshole.

Rum flavoured beer which contains no rum and doesn’t taste like beer!

After getting it home I realised this drink doesn’t actually have any rum in it. There’s small print on the side of the can saying “Lager with rum flavouring. Refreshing lager twisted with great rum taste”. I haven’t even opened the can and I’ve already been lied to. I’m not expecting some fancy cocktail which has been painstakingly crafted with Ron Zacapa 23 rum, but for fuck sake at least add a splash of some shitty cheap rum. Something like Glen’s Rum would do the job. You’d have a better chance of getting drunk from eating a fucking Baileys cheesecake.

If you close your eyes and really focus, you can smell hints of rum. It’s fuck all of a hint to be honest since there isn’t actually any rum in this. It also smells slightly sweet and vomity. Like if you ate an entire bag of Haribo in one sitting and then spewed everywhere. Appearance-wise, Foster’s Rocks Classic Rum seems to be a little darker and cloudier than a regular lager. It also pours with a decent head. The first taste also gives the same Haribo/vomit flavour which is present in the smell. There’s also seems to be a bit of a Southern Comfort taste in the mix. It’s interesting taste to experience but definitely not something I would describe as “pleasant”. This is a drink which becomes unenjoyable after the first can and fairly sickening by the second. Unfortunately I bought 8 cans so there’s still another 6 to go.

Foster’s Rocks Classic Rum isn’t a drink I’d particularly recommend. £1.99 for 4 cans is pretty good but I’m starting to think it may have been that price because they were trying to get rid of it. If you’re not a fan of lagers you might enjoy the sweet flavour it has, as it doesn’t taste much like a standard lager. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys those fruit ciders you might enjoy this, but it’s not a fruity taste. I’d place this firmly in the category of “buy one to try, but don’t grab a crate for a piss-up”

Booze Review rating: 5/10 deliciouses

Exciting new review section: *What the missus thinks*

Here we get a quick review of booze from a woman who doesn’t drink at all! Exciting stuff! Here’s what the missus has to say:

“It smells like burnt cinnamon and rotten apples. It burns your nostrils a bit.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

DIY Booze: Coconut Rum

I wanted some coconut rum, but the alcohol content of Malibu means it’s basically coconut wine (now there’s an idea!) and it costs far too much. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I’ve never been able to find coconuts. For some reason all the shops suddenly have coconuts now, so I went to Lidl and got a few for 39p each. I would have also picked up a bottle of Ron Blanco rum, but Lidl have decided to be massive shits and not sell rum anymore (fuck you Mr Lidl). Bacardi is too expensive, so I had to settle with Glen’s.

I once saw a guide on making coconut rum, but I can’t find it. Therefore I’m gonna guess what you’re probably meant to do and hope I don’t fuck it up some how. I mean, it’s just coconuts and rum, how hard can it be?

Gather your coconuts and your rum. I don't know anything about coconuts but I'm assuming they're all the same.

Gather your coconuts and your rum. I don’t know anything about coconuts but I’m assuming they’re all the same.

Stick a knife into one of the black spots and twist it until you're inside the coconut. One of the spots should be softer than the other two. That's the one you want to drill into.

Get your best knife and cram it into one of the black spots and twist it until you’re inside the coconut. One of the spots should be softer than the other two. That’s the one you want to cut into.

Success, we're in!

Success, we’re in!

Turn it upside down over a glass and let it drain. I didn't realise there was so much inside it. Pour some of your rum into the water and make sure you're pleasantly fucked while doing the next few steps.

Turn it upside down over a glass and let it drain. I didn’t realise there was so much inside it. Pour some of your rum into the water and make sure you’re pleasantly fucked while doing the next few steps. We’ll be using knives and fire so it’s important to be drunk.

Get some kind of funnel so you can pour the rum inside the coconut. I would have used a plastic funnel if I had one, but I'm quite fond of the taste of paper so I decided to make one instead.

Get some kind of funnel so you can pour the rum inside the coconut. I would have used a plastic funnel if I had one, but I’m quite fond of the taste of paper so I decided to make one instead.

At this point you should remember that paper is shit at containing liquids and will leak rum everywhere. Don't use paper.

At this point you should remember that paper is shit at containing liquids and will leak rum everywhere. Don’t use paper.

At this point I realised a coconut is just a tropical hip flask, and I actually do have a tiny funnel thing.

At this point I realised a coconut is just a tropical hip flask, and I actually do have a tiny funnel thing.

Cut a cork so it's slightly bigger than the hole in the coconut. We'll be using this to seal off the coconut.

Cut a cork so it’s slightly bigger than the hole in the coconut. We’ll be using this to seal off the coconut.

Shove the cork into the hole.

Shove the cork into the hole.

The probably isn't going to be completely airtight so I decided to melt some wax over it to form a seal. For this I used a gas powered soldering iron and a crayon.

The cork probably isn’t going to be completely airtight so I decided to melt some wax over it to form a seal. For this I used a gas powered soldering iron and a crayon.

The soldering iron was far too powerful and blew boiling hot crayon all over the kitchen, but hey it worked!

The soldering iron was far too powerful and blasted butane everywhere, blowing boiling hot crayon all over the kitchen and burning the absolute fuck out of my hands, but hey it worked! At this point I realised it would have made more sense to drip a candle over the top instead of blowtorching a crayon indoors.

At this point you’ll want to store the coconut somewhere and leave it for a week or two. Shake it once a day to make sure everything gets infused properly. Or maybe you’re meant to leave it for months and not shake it at all. Fuck knows!

My original plan was to do a follow up where I tasted the rum and reviewed it. Unfortunately I got absolutely shitfaced one night and raided the rum coconuts and drank the delicious boozy contents. I assume it tasted great. Maybe I’ll try this again sometime in the future…

Posted in DIY Booze | 1 Comment

2017 Hyperupdate: Booze Review is now Boozism.co.uk

Greetings fellow boozebags!

It’s been quite a while since the last review. Several years in fact. This is partially because I moved away from my beloved Lidl which made it slightly harder to stumble upon strange drinks. To be honest, it’s mostly due to laziness. I’m now living near a B&M Bargains which sells alcohol so hopefully there will be more silliness to come.

Recently there was some issues with the domain. It expired and then was taken over by a rather stubborn SEO company who wanted me to pay a fuckton of money to get it back. Joke’s on them, as they paid money for a domain associated purely with promoting alcoholism and vile tasting drinks, so best of luck trying to flip that for a profit! As a result, I’ve moved to a new domain: boozism.co.uk! Things should be exactly the same as before, but I’m sure I’ve fucked something up along the way so please let me know of any clusterfuckery you find.

I’m hoping to get back into the swing of posting semi-regular reviews. Maybe I’ll even install a new theme for the site and act like I spent days painstakingly creating it myself. Anything can happen when you’re polishing off a bottle of Tesco’s own brand rum at 1:30am on a weekday.

Leave a shout in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to see reviewed and I’ll see what I can do. Nothing too fancy because I’m still a cheap bastard.

Hugs and kebabs,
Randy Hambast

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Rolov Mild Imperial Spirit

Today I noticed something I had never seen before. Behind the counter, hiding beside the vodkas on the bottom shelf, I saw an uninteresting bottle labeled “Mild Imperial Spirit”. This obviously interested me, so I purchased a bottle for £9.99. The off-license doesn’t let you pay by card unless you spend over £10, but the lovely woman made an exception this time.

I cannot think of a more pointless drink than Rolov not-vodka

I cannot think of a more pointless drink than Rolov not-vodka

When I got home I poured myself a glass and read the label. It was at this point that I realised why this drink is called Mild Imperial Spirit. It only has an alcohol content of 30%. Thirty fucking percent! I could have walked 10 minutes down the street and bought a 37.5% bottle from Tesco for 2p cheaper, but now I’m stuck with this silly little drink. This is vodka with 1/4 of the alcohol missing! As far as I’m concerned it’s a mixed drink.

When I said the bottle was uninteresting, I wasn’t lying. Rolov comes in a plain bottle with a red cap, and has a white label with (mostly) black text. The label seems to only contain what is legally required. It appears to be made by a company named “Strathendrick Vintners”, but a Google search of the name returns no results whatsoever. Whoever makes this drink clearly doesn’t like to give out more information than necessary. From my understanding of vodka, it is made by distilling it to around 95%, then watering it down to the required strength. This means somebody has went to all the effort of distilling vodka, then said “Yeah, just fire in more water. It’ll be fine.”

Rolov Mild Imperial Spirit is a colourless drink which lies about being vodka. In the bottle it smells like regular cheap vodka. When poured into a glass it smells like acetone mixed with water. On the first taste, Rolov is quite flavourless and neutral with a slight but firm burn on the way down. It certainly isn’t tasty, but you can swallow it without instantly vomiting. After about 10 seconds, the inside of your mouth will begin to writhe and burn, while an overwhelming taste of hot plastic cripples every exhaling breath you take. After two glasses you’ll have a splitting headache and no will to drink, but you’ll know you need to finish up, otherwise you’ll be left with more for another day.

When I picture this drink being made, I imagine some kind of machine which twists giant sheets of plastic until vodka juices out. Kind of like how you would juice an orange, but with plastic instead. I know that isn’t how plastic works, but I can’t imagine how else you would make a drink like this. I didn’t think you could create a spirit which is less alcoholic than vodka, burns more, and tastes worse, but the boys at Strathendrick Vintners have found a way.

Booze Review rating:
3/10 deliciouses

Posted in Vodka | 4 Comments

Queen Margot Blended Scotch Whisky

Having drank pretty much everything else in Lidl, I finally decided to go for something I’ve been avoiding: the scotch. Scotch isn’t something you really want to cheap out on, but I decided to sample their cheapest anyway. Queen Margot is a 40% blended scotch whisky costing £11.99. It’s kind of expensive for something which is probably shit, but it will be drank anyway, so it’s a win-win situation.

Something about maggots or faggots.

If they added hops it would be hopscotch.

The bottle doesn’t look like complete shit which is quite promising. Some quick poking around on Wikipedia shows that Queen Margot was a woman who was forced to Marry Henry IV of France, and was also imprisoned by her brother for 18 years. I hope this trend continues and we’ll soon be able to taste the zesty flavours of Nelson Mandella vodka. Annoyingly there isn’t anything to poke fun at on the bottle. The best thing I can come up with is that “Margot” is kind of similar to “Faggot” but even that is a bit of a stretch.

Queen Margot smells like some kind of rum with a notable caramel and fudge aroma. It actually smells like some kind of fudge sundae. Tastewise, it’s pretty bland. It’s not bad, just kind of boring. There’s a slightly woody, caramel taste but that’s about it. Disappointed by the lack of flavour, I decided to add some water. This definitely released more flavour but unfortunately not in the way I wanted. If you want to recreate this at home, simply spray some perfume on a lollypop stick and chew on it. A few mouthfuls later, the weirdness begins to subside but there’s still a lingering taste of perfume. After this failed attempt to rescue Queen Margot, I decided to go all in and drowned the fucker in coke. Mixed with coke, it’s actually pretty decent. It’s not as harsh as other cheap scotch mixed with coke which I’m quite happy with.

Queen Margot is an alright whisky, but you’re either going to have to drink it straight or drown it in mixer. None of that fancy jug of water bullshit. At £11.99 there’s cheaper ways to get drunk, but if you really want scotch then it’s acceptable.

Booze Review rating: 5/10 deliciouses

Update:
For the first time in the history of Booze Review I have decided to change the previous rating. Drinking this scotch straight is not so enjoyable, but I have found myself returning to this drink and mixed with coke it is indeed quite fantastic. As a result, I’m upgrading the queen to an 8.

Updated Booze Review Rating: 8/10 deliciouses

Posted in Lidl, Whiskey | 24 Comments

Duc De Coeyr Cidre De Normandie

Wow! Another yummy, yummy cider! Awesome!

I had recently been having a (now fairly regular) discussion with a cider drinking friend about how all cider is shite, when instead of the usual response of “Fuck off! It’s cheap!” I was told that most cider is indeed shit and French cider is the only good cider. I have only ever really drunk the kind of cider which comes in 3 litre plastic bottles and is apparently made from onions, so I couldn’t really argue. Roughly a week later, I had departed on my regular journey to Lidl and noticed they had begun to stock something named Cidre De Normandie. I had considered ignoring it, but then I remembered that booze which comes in 750ml bottles usually has some kind of quality and I probably wasn’t going to buy French cider at any other point.

For some reason the bubbles were all on the right hand side. Maybe it's because the French drive on the right?

For some reason the bubbles were all on the right hand side. Maybe it’s because the French drive on the right?

Cidre De Normandie is a 4.5% cider in a 750ml bottle costing £1.99. It’s kind of expensive but I was prepared to take the hit as I knew it would only be the once. 4.5% seems kind of weak, but maybe it’s normal for cider. Who knows!

Cidre De Normandie is definitely French. I know this because the label features 4 French flags and mentions France/Normandy over 20 times. I’m not sure what “Duc De Coeur” translates to, but from my limited GCSE French vocabulary, I think it means “Duck of sister” or “Duck sisters”. Upset Frenchmen are free to complain in the comments. The label says “BRUT” at the bottom. If French cider is like wine, this could simply be indicating that the cider is carbonated. It could also mean it’s flavoured like Brut deodorant, or has a general brutal taste. The back label suggests it goes well with “light meals” so I think I’ll accompany this bottle with a slice of sponge cake.

When opening the bottle, I expected to be greeted by the typical stench of farts and rotten apple, but instead I was surprised by a delicate aroma which is best described as Shloer mixed with WD-40. I’ve been known to gag upon smelling the likes of 3 Hammers, so this much tamer scent was quite pleasing. I don’t know what colour cider is meant to be, but this seems quite orange compared to beer. I also had a strange problem where the cider refused to pour in a straight line. Kind of like when you’re trying to piss and it shoots everywhere for no reason at all. Maybe that’s just a French way of aerating their drinks.

Cidre De Normandie tastes much better than any other cider I’ve drank. I’m not sure if this is because it’s French or it’s just a better cider, but it is massively more swallowable than all other ciders. It has quite a smooth apple taste which doesn’t linger for too long, which may be a bad thing if you like cider, but for me it’s a great thing as I have to taste it for even less. Like all ciders, this one also tastes like you’re sucking on a handful of loose change, however it is much more refined, like you’re sucking on newly minted pennies or perhaps some coins recently cleaned with some Cillit Bang. Cidre De Normandie seems to go flat quite fast which makes you able to taste the apples more clearly. If you like drinking cider then being able to taste it is probably a great attribute, but for people who drink cider despite hating it, it’s certainly not preferable.

Cider De Normandie turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. I was expecting French cider to be maybe slightly less shit, but this is actually quite drinkable. A higher booze content would be good, but if I saw this in cans at the same price as other pissy swill such as Magners, I’d probably consider buying it. I’ve just remembered I forgot to eat my cake. Fuck.

Booze Review rating: 6/10 deliciouses

Posted in Cider, Lidl | 6 Comments

Hampstead London Dry Gin

On yet another journey to the ever wonderful Lidl, I came across a new gin they had in stock. I was unsure what to think as the bottle looks fairly mid/high teir, but only cost £8.99 which is an incredible price. Hampstead is also 40% rather than the usual 37.5% found in bottom shelf spirits, making it both cheaper and boozier than Lidl’s other Castelgy Gin.

Gin-ger beer.  I'm sorry. That doesn't even make sense.

Gin-ger beer.
I’m sorry. That doesn’t even make sense.

For once the bottle actually looks pretty respectable, seeming to be based loosely on Hendrick’s, Gordon’s  and Plymouth. The front label has the words “Excellent Distillation” which is a nice change from the “TRIPLE DISTILLED” which many other spirits constantly brag about. When reading the back label I soon realised why this gin is so cheap. It’s only a 500ml bottle! I guess either the shape of it threw me off, or I was too excited about cheap booze to bother checking what size the bottle is, but looking at it now it does seem kind of stumpy.

I was very thankful that Hampstead doesn’t smell pissy at all as I was expecting. In fact, it actually smells pretty good. There’s quite a noticable citrus scent to it which could be there to cover up other shitty smells, but it’s a very welcome addition to the gin. Upon drinking, lavender and lemon flavours stand out the most. It seems to have a more complicated taste than most cheap gins, and although this is an alcohol review website, I’m too pissed to pick out any of these subtleties. In a gin and tonic, Hampstead is fantastic. Add lime and you have an extremely refreshing drink which doesn’t taste too strong, but still has a slight kick.

Hampstead is a really great gin, but unfortunately the bottle is small. However, at only £8.99 for 500ml, it works out at the equivalent of £13.50 for a standard 700ml bottle which really isn’t bad for such a great tasting booze. 500ml isn’t enough for one night of drinking, but I would happily pay £13.50 if there were to sell this in a normal sized bottle. Either way, this is a good gin and you should probably spend all your money on it (but save some for limes and tonic water).

Booze Review rating: 9/10 deliciouses

Posted in Gin, Lidl | 35 Comments

Old Samuel De Luxe Blended Bourbon Old Kentucky Whiskey

I was in Tesco looking for booze in their tiny booze section. Tired of the usual Tesco Everyday Value Vodka, I decided to opt for something slightly more exciting. There wasn’t much available other than Gordon’s Gin and Smirnoff Vodka, but there was one bottle of whiskey which caught my eye. Old Samuel is a blended bourbon costing £13.50 and comes at a strength of 40%. Being the cheapest drink other than vodka, I decided to take my chances with it.

At least the bottle won't roll around on the floor of your car.

At least the bottle won’t roll around on the floor of your car.

The bottle is really something special. The shape is that of Jim Beam’s square sided bottle, while the overall design is borrowed heavily from Whyte & Mackay, so one can only assume it’s going to taste like some bastard of a bourbon/scotch amalgamation. The front label proudly displays its silver medal in both the 2010 and 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition. Winning an award in a competition which covers such a broad variety of drinks means it probably doesn’t hold much merit. Sitting down to compare a bottle of white wine to a bottle of tequila would be quite a bizarre experiment (and something which Booze Review might actually attempt at some point in the future). Old Samuel is another bourbon which states it is “Matured in oak cask”, but seeing there is no minimum aging period for bourbon, I assume this is only for a few hours. Old Samuel is also the only bourbon I’ve seen which suggests mixing it with cola or making it into a long drink. Despite the front label mentioning America 6 times, the back label says it is bottled in the Netherlands. Let’s start drinking then.

Straightaway, Old Samuel smells quite off. It isn’t an overpowering stench, but it smells more like vodka or rum than a smoky bourbon. On the first sip, Old Samuel burns the tip of your tongue, which then gives way to a much more familiar bourbon taste, all before scratching out your esophagus on the way down. If you can ignore the first burn, the bourbon actually isn’t too bad. It has a fairly smooth oaky taste which is good, but it feels like it was probably quite a shitty barrel to begin with. Although it’s a perfectly drinkable whiskey, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found bits of sawdust floating around at the bottom of the bottle. Tired of the burn (and having no intentions of drinking the whole bottle straight) I added ice to attempt to make it slightly less shitty. The ice does a pretty good job of killing off the burn and reveals a slight vanilla flavour in the mix. There’s still a hint of plastic in the taste, but after a few drinks you’ll be able to ignore it.

Old Samuel tastes better than I expected, but it’s a really bland bourbon. There isn’t anything notable about it, other than it maybe being the most average whiskey I’ve ever tasted. If somebody gave you a glass of this, you would say “Yeah, that’s definitely bourbon” and the conversation would be over. Old Samuel is cheap for a bourbon, but there’s nothing about it which would make me want to buy it often. It also feels quite heavy and tiresome to drink. If you’re stuck in a Tesco with a shitty booze selection some night, Old Samuel is a worthwhile pickup, but you’re better buying something cheaper or tastier if you can.

Booze Review rating: 6/10 deliciouses

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