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

Posted in Whiskey | 6 Comments

Parrot Bay Frozen Citrus Daiquiri

While in the booze shop recently, I noticed new pouches of booze by a company named “Parrot Bay”. The pouches contain premixed cocktails which you freeze, smash up a bit while it’s still in the bag and then either pour into a glass or drink straight out of the metal pouch like an adult Capri-Sun. While they looked interesting and I have been wanting to try a Daiquiri for a while now, I decided that at a price of £2.75 for a 250ml drink with only 4.7% alcohol content, it was far too expensive. However, while in the same booze station today, the pouches were reduced to £2, so I decided to take the hit and got a Citrus Daiquiri.

Stupid unopenable pouch

Stupid unopenable pouch

The drinks come in a pouch which resembles a Capri-Sun but without the straw. The packaging says you can drink it from the pouch, but it’s impossible to open without a knife or scissors, so if you’re somewhere you can actually open it, there’s probably a good chance that there’s some kind of drinking receptacle nearby. I was hoping to drink my Daiquiri out of a cocktail glass like in the movies, but I had none. After some internal debate over whether or not a wine glass is a suitable replacement, I found a glass which slightly resembles a massively over-sized cocktail glass with no stem. To prepare the drink, you put it in the freezer for 8 hours and then squeeze it or run hot water over the pouch while it is closed to break up the ice inside. Then you drink it. I didn’t have the patience for such a thing and instead I only put mine in the freezer for about 2 hours, which was long enough to freeze it pretty well.

It doesn't really look like a booze, but it is.

It doesn’t really look like a booze, but it is.

When I opened the pouch I expected it to be of a much more liquid consistency, but it was an icy slush. I dumped the contents of the pouch into a glass and it sat there like a boozy snowball. At first it seemed kind of weird, but I soon realised it was like an alcoholic Slush Puppie, and that made everything seem OK. The Citrus Daiquiri is a pale white colour like cloudy lemonade. There was a slight citrus smell from it, but you wouldn’t notice any smell at all unless you were told it was citrusy. On my first taste I was pretty impressed by how it tasted. It’s tastes pretty much like a Slush Puppie mixed with a slight hint of Fanta Lemon topped off with a nice boozy kick. It’s extremely refreshing and would be massively delicious on a hot summer day.

Overall, Parrot Bay Frozen Citrus Daiquiri is a pretty delicious drink, however it’s also expensive and takes a while to prepare. If they were cheaper I would buy more and see how it tastes when not frozen. At first they seem like a drink you could drink all night, but by the end of the pouch I began to see how you could get sick of them after drinking a few. As a delicious booze snack on a hot day, these are pretty awesome, but they’re in no way a session drink. Lots of points for deliciouseness, but loses one because of the price.

Booze Review rating: 9/10 deliciouses

Posted in Pre-Mixed | 7 Comments

Drinks That Aren’t Drinks: The Rusty Bishop

This edition of Drinks That Aren’t Drinks is slightly different than usual. It’s slightly more expensive, but I decided to include it because it is made out of things I had in the cupboard and wanted to use up and therefore still carries the spirit of Booze Review. This drink started off as a Bermuda Rum Swizzle, but I’ve bastardized it so much that it is now a completely different drink

The unassembled Rusty Bishop

The unassembled Rusty Bishop

Club Orange or any kind of fizzy orange drink (I have also used Sprite with good results)
Angostura Bitters
Lemon (optional)
Lime (optional)
Crushed ice (optional)

Not all screwdrivers are racist

Not all screwdrivers are racist

Start by mixing vodka, orange and ice. You’re pretty much making a screwdriver here, except the orange is carbonated. I guess you could call it a power screwdriver or maybe a sonic screwdriver but that isn’t really important. This drink doesn’t taste too strongly of alcohol so don’t skimp out on the vodka. I’ve made a few of these using Sprite instead of orange and it also tasted pretty good so it’s entirely up to your personal preference. The orange looks better when the grenadine is added but if you’re reading Booze Review then you probably don’t care how beautiful your drink is. I guess I could add umbrellas and coat the rim of the glass in coloured sugar, but for now I’m going to keep it simple and only include 7 ingredients.

Kind of like a Tequila Sunrise without the tequila

Kind of like a Tequila Sunrise without the tequila

Next add a splash of grenadine. I’m fairly shitty at pouring grenadine and always end up pouring far too much into the glass but this time it went pretty well. Adding too much leaves a really sweet syrup at the bottom of the glass so try to avoid fucking it up if you can. I’ve been trying to use up my bottle of grenadine for quite some time but unfortunately a little goes a long way and you can’t just add lots of it like you can with vodka. I’m hoping that at this rate it might be finished by Christmas but I’m worried that by then I’ll have developed a taste for it and the whole cycle will start over again.

Almost finished!

Almost finished!

Now you add bitters. I’m not really sure how to use bitters so I probably use too much. I usually add about 6 dashes which was originally enough to make an entire pitcher of Bermuda Rum Swizzles, but as long as it tastes fine I don’t really care. The bitters will float at the top, so give it a quick stir. You can just give the top a quick stir if you want to keep the Tequila Sunrise appearance or you can stir the whole thing if you don’t give a shit. I once sniffed a bottle of Angostura Bitters and felt extremely light headed, so you might want to try that while you’re at it.

The Rusty Bishop in its native habitat

The Rusty Bishop in its native habitat

The drink is pretty much finished now, but I’ve been adding slices of lemon and lime recently because if I’m going to all the effort of making this drink then I might as well go all the way and have plants floating in it. When I was buying the lemon and lime, the woman behind the counter looked at them both and said “A lemon and a lime” in a really disappointed tone as if she knew damn well they were going into some poorly thought out drink. I guess I had the last laugh since I’m drunk and she isn’t.

Overall the Rusty Bishop is a surprisingly good drink for something thrown together from unwanted ingredients. It takes most of its flavour from the orange and grenadine. It tastes slightly of those orange flavour vitamin tablets which dissolve in water, but it’s best if you try not to think about that while drinking it. The end can get pretty sickening from the grenadine which sinks to the bottom, but I suspect this is because of my shitty pouring. If you begin to get sick of drinking Rusty Bishops, you can start dropping a few of the ingredients, probably the grenadine, and have a normal drink. The Rusty Bishop is kind of time consuming, but it’s good for cleaning out the cupboard. It probably isn’t a great thing to order at a bar, but for drinking alone where you can hide your shame, it’s quite tasty.

Booze Review rating: 8/10 deliciouses

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Svenzka Vodka

Today’s booze is Svenzka Vodka. I had originally wanted to buy a bottle of Boru Vodka on sale at £12 but unfortunately there was none left, so after considering a bottle of Smirnoff for £11.99, I noticed a bottle of Svenzka (37.5%) for only £11.79. Svenzka is a vodka which is always there, but I’ve never bought it as it never stands out any more than the other cheap vodkas.

It's really hard to take a good picture of the bottle

It’s really hard to take a good picture of the bottle

There isn’t much information on the bottle, only really saying that it was founded in 1866 and is made in Scotland. The whole bottle gives off a vibe that it’s going to be pretty similar to Glen’s Vodka. The bottle is the same shape, the cap design is pretty similar, they’re both Scottish, same strength… I guess we wont know until we try it!

Svenzka smells like a cheap vodka, but it much less aggressive. It smells like it might be made from molasses but there isn’t any mention of it on the bottle. Svenzka goes down surprisingly smoothly, with a burn which develops slowly. There is a slight sweet taste, but overall it’s a very neutral vodka.

There isn’t really much to say about Svenzka. It’s cheap, inoffensive and gets the job done. Overall it is quite similar to Kulov but slightly smoother. If I was drinking straight, I’d chose the Svenzka, but both are excellent.

Booze Review rating: 8/10 deliciouses

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Argus Full Light Premium Beer

I was casually strolling through Lidl when I noticed a new addition to their booze aisle. Argus Premium Lager is a 5% booze costing 99p for a 500ml can. At first I wasn’t really interested in trying it, but after seeing the words “EXCELLENT TASTE” on the label, I could resist picking up a can. It was difficult to find a can which wasn’t dented, but after several hours I was able to find one.



The first thing you’ll notice about the beer is that its name closely resembles that of the major catalog retailer, Argos. The can also gives the idea that it will taste like something they brewed. The side of the can is covered by a sticker containing English versions of the ingredients and warning not to get shitfaced if you’re pregnant. The top of the can has the word “BEER” printed in 8 different languages, only one of which is English On closer inspection, this seems to be a Polish beer, but I’m still expecting it to be awful despite the label’s promise of excellence.

Argus is kind of dark for a lager, but it looks pretty good. It doesn’t form much head, but at this point I’m fairly certain it’s because of these shitty plastic cups I bought from Poundland. The beer smells pretty neutral, which is a good thing as I was expecting some pissy aroma. Tastewise, Argus is quite tasteless with soapy aftertones, leading to a bathwatery finish. It actually isn’t too bad and I’d rank it quite highly amongst cheap, watery lagers. It seems quite light too, so I can see Argus being a good choice if you’re planning to drink lager all day. I still wouldn’t describe the taste as “excellent” so they might want to change it to say “ACCEPTABLE TASTE”.

Despite the shitty name, Argus is a pretty decent lager. It’s kind of expensive, but Argus seems like a great choice for Summer drinking and I’ll probably throw a few cans in the fridge when it gets hotter. I’d probably prefer to drink Argus over Grafenwalder, but unfortunately neither of them are as alcoholic as Vodka.

Booze Review rating: 6/10 deliciouses

Posted in Lager, Lidl | 6 Comments

Alhambra Premium Lager

Today we’re joined with a nice big bottle of Alhambra Premium Lager. I don’t remember how much this cost, but as it looks fairly shitty, it couldn’t have cost much more than £3. Alhambra comes in a 1 litre bottle containing 4.6% lager. It looks kind of like one of those “Forties” Americans are always going on about, but unfortunately they are impossible to find here, so essentially it’s just a big bottle of shit beer.

Delicious hot hamwater

Delicious hot hamwater

Normally I am cautious of Spanish beers as everything I’ve had has tasted like pissy shitwater (although my experience is limited to the likes of San Miguel) but the large bottle convinced me that it would be worthwhile. There isn’t much information on the bottle, but a little internetting suggests that it is made by Carlsberg and San Miguel. As there isn’t anything to make fun of on the label, we’ll skip straight to drinking it.

Alhambra doesn’t have much of a smell but there is a slightly sweet scent, as well as a usual cheap lager aroma. The beer seemed to form a head of larger bubbles when it was poured, but this is possibly because I chilled it quickly in the freezer for 15 minutes so I didn’t have to drink it warm.  Overall it looks quite bland. I’m not sure what’s different about it, but it looks much more boring than other beers. At first taste I was pleased with the beer. It isn’t a super flavoursome beer, but it is quite a standard lager. Alhambra is a lager without much taste, which could be considered a bad thing, but I don’t expect cheap lagers to taste great and I would much prefer a watery, tasteless lager over a really grassy tasting lager such as Carlsberg or Stella Artois. About half way through the first glass, Alhambra begins to develop a sweet taste. It isn’t overpowering but it is quite strange. By the end of the glass it doesn’t really taste too much different, whereas with other beers I find the end of the glass to be warm and horrible. Alhambra isn’t an overly flavoursome beer, but it seems like a perfectly swallowable summer beer.

Overall, Alhambra is a pretty decent beer. Assuming I didn’t spend a huge amount on it, Alhambra is top of its class (assuming its class is shitty lagers). As I only have the one bottle I don’t know if the sweetness would become sickening if drinking it all night, but as a quick refreshing beer, Alhambra is flavourless enough to guzzle and provide a quick buzz.

Booze Review rating: 7/10 deliciouses

Posted in Lager | 2 Comments

Glen’s Special London Extra Dry Gin

Today we’re drinking a bottle of Glen’s gin. Glen’s are known for their cheap vodka so it’s only fair to assume that their gin will be awful. Glen’s costs £12.59 for a bottle of 37.5% gin. This is £2 more expensive than the vodka so I certainly hope it tastes £2 more delicious.

Dumb little plastic lemon and accidental diet tonic water make their unwelcome return

Dumb little plastic lemon and accidental diet tonic water make their unwelcome return

Glen’s gin comes in a plain square bottle. I like square bottles because they don’t roll around so they’re less easy to smash. The label doesn’t contain much information and there isn’t much to make fun of other than a drawing of the houses of parliament which isn’t completely correct. I assume this gin is Glen’s vodka which has been distilled with juniper so hopefully it hasn’t developed some shitty taste in the process.

I was surprised by how not-shitty Glen’s gin smells. Rather than the expected overpowering chemical flower scent, it is much milder. It kind of smells like vodka spilled on an old person’s sofa and they tried covering up the smell with potpourri. It also smells like something which would come from a plastic bottle. Glen’s gin tastes really perfumy. It doesn’t taste massively like gin, but more like a flavoured water. It’s not necessarily a bad taste, but it isn’t something you would drink if you wanted to taste gin. It also burns a lot. When used for a gin and tonic, Glen’s tastes even weirder. It could be that I accidentally bought diet tonic water again, or the dumb little plastic lemon could be fucking things up, but it really doesn’t taste like a gin an tonic. Watering it down makes it taste even more like some shitty flavoured water (who the fuck would want Christmas tree flavoured water?) and gives it a really unpleasant taste.

Overall Glen’s gin doesn’t taste bad, but it doesn’t really taste like gin either. It’s OK as a cheap drink if you’re mixing it, but it doesn’t work in a gin and tonic. The fact that it doesn’t taste very ginny straight and can’t be used in a gin and tonic means that you’re going to have to treat is like a more expensive, less versatile vodka. It would make more sense to buy the cheaper Glen’s Vodka and get a good mixer than it would to buy Glen’s Gin.

Booze Review rating: 5/10 deliciouses

Posted in Gin | 2 Comments

Smirnoff Ice Raspberry Blast

Once again our good friend and shite drinks expert Mr Jelf Boho joins us for another edition of Booze Review. Today he reviews a wine cooler, or as some of you may know it: poof juice.

Smirnoff Ice Raspberry Blast

Well, where to start. I guess the look. I’ve seen other Smirnoff Ice and it was cloudy, but this one isn’t so that’s different I guess.

Doesn’t really have much of a smell.

Something fishy is going on here ahahahahahah

Something fishy is going on here ahahahahahaha

WOW. It tastes exactly like raspberry candy or sweet tarts or something. Lightly carbonated. Goes down easily. This drink is as inoffensive as candy. Nothing really to complain about. I guess it’s perfect for people who cant stand the taste of normal booze. I only bothered drinking this after I’d finished two big cans of Fosters.

If a man drinks this too much he’ll catch gay. The only reason it gets a 7 is because it’s like rating a tasty soda, not a true booze. Even though the ABV is 4.5%

I think the fact that I have nothing else to say about this drink should say more than any paragraph of text can.

Jelf Boho’s rating: 7/10 deliciouses

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Drinks That Aren’t Drinks: Snagari

The only ingredients you need

The only ingredients you need

Hello and welcome to another episode of Drinks That Aren’t Drinks, the place to find out about the latest and greatest drinks that probably shouldn’t have been made to begin with. Today we’ll be indulging in our own version of the classic drink Sangria, which has been dubbed “Snagari”.

I had originally wanted to make Sangria, but upon reading the Wikipedia article I soon realised that I would need more ingredients than I cared to gather. After very little thought and consideration I decided that I could achieve the same results by mixing vodka with fruit salad, and so it began.

Not a huge variety...

Not a huge variety…

At first I was unsure if I should buy several fruits and make my own fruit salad, but upon seeing a large can of “Fruit Cocktail” in Lidl for 80p, I knew that the pre-made fruit mix would be easier and cheaper than fucking around with fruit and knives. The can contained peaches, pears, pineapples, grapes and cherries, although in the whole can I only noticed two cherry halves. I would have preferred a better selection of fruits such as kiwi and apple but at that price I couldn’t really complain.

Top tip: Use a jug bigger than the can you're pouring from

Top tip: Use a jug bigger than the can you’re pouring from

Upon opening the can of Fruit Cocktail I instantly realised that I hadn’t thought it though at all. The can appeared to be 90% the same fruit and I had underestimated the fruit:juice ratio. It was clear that this was going to be a drink I would be chewing. Next, I emptied the can into a jug so I could mix everything together. This was my second mistake. Halfway through transferring the contents of the can into the jug I realised that the jug wasn’t anywhere near enough, but for some reason instead of stopping, I continued pouring the Fruit Cocktail into the jug. This meant I now had most of the fruit in the jug and had no room to add vodka.

Not enough liquid to call a "drink"

Not enough liquid to call a “drink”

Luckily I realised I could pour some of the fruit into a glass and prepare the first drink that way, so I dumped the rest of the can into a glass and then added some of the fruit and juice from the jug. I then added a healthy dash of vodka before realising that there was far too little liquid in this drink and soon became concerned that I would be drinking my Snagari with a fork. I had considered adding more of the juice from the jug but that would mean the next drink would be even more terrible. The drink was then saved when I remembered I had some 7 Up and adding it would probably make the drink taste better than it would with only fruit and vodka. After a splash of 7 Up and a quick stir, the Snagari was complete.

A nice tasty Snagari for a hot Summer night.

A nice tasty Snagari for a hot Summer night.

In the picture the drink looks like a cloudy mess, but it looks much better in person. The contents of the jug look a lot clearer, so I’m guessing I smashed up the fruit by stirring it too hard. Surprisingly Snagari doesn’t smell of anything. I was expecting it to smell very fruity but I guess the canned Fruit Cocktail isn’t very fresh. Disappointingly, there isn’t much taste from it either. It tastes very faintly of melon and vodka. You can tell the vodka is there, but it doesn’t taste too strong. Upon reaching the end of the glass, I was left with a pile of fruit. I was able to eat them with the help of a fork, but I noticed the fruit pieces tasted a lot more strongly of alcohol than the juice did. I’m not sure why this is but maybe eating vodka soaked fruit would be a better idea next time.

Overall the Snagari was good although somewhat bland. I probably shouldn’t have filled the glass with fruit and I probably should have just made Sangria, but as a cheap summer drink it could be pretty good. Ideally I would have left the fruit soaking in vodka overnight but I have no patience for such things. Using better quality fruit would probably make Snagari taste a lot better and so I’ll probably try refining this drink in the future.

Booze Review rating: 7/10 deliciouses

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Vladivar Vodka

Vladivar Vodka is a drink which always seems to be on sale. I can’t think of a time when I’ve bought it and it hasn’t been reduced in price. I guess it’s like the DFS sales where you would feel ripped off if you somehow managed to pay full price. This bottle of Vladivar cost £12 and has an alcohol content of 37.5%. It’s more expensive than Glen’s but I remember it tasting slightly better.

Healthy and nutritious

Healthy and nutritious

Vladivar comes in a plain glass bottle with a load of Vs embossed around the top. I had always assumed that this vodka was meant to be Romanian or Russian but the back bottle says it’s Scottish, which was unexpected. The back also claims that the bottle contains 28 measures but in reality it would be lucky if it made even half that. The front label is hard to read as it has a black font on a reflective cyan background, meaning you can’t make anything out unless you’re in the right light. Luckily all it contains is the standard description of the sophistication and excellence of the vodka, something a drunk isn’t going to care about reading.

Vladivar doesn’t smell great but it is much tamer than other cheap vodkas. There is a slight petrol smell, but it can easily be ignored. Tastewise, Vladivar is quite a neutral drink. There’s a very minimal taste of what I can only describe as smoky or oaky which is strange but also quite nice. After a while of drinking, Vladivar begins to develop a plasticy cardboard taste. It isn’t completely disgusting, but I’ve never licked an envelope and thought “Yum! I hope there’s more!”. I think I read something about peppermint somewhere but I don’t notice anything minty. There are maybe mild tones of bland toothpaste in the taste, although I’m probably just imagining that while trying to detect peppermint.

I was expecting Vladivar Vodka to taste like a slightly less shitty cheap vodka, but it is much better than that. Vladivar is similar to Kulov or maybe better. This is a vodka which you can drink straight without needing to cover up a horrible boot polish taste by drowning it with a mixer. At £12, Vladivar is cheaper and tastier than most other bottom shelf vodkas, and I’d probably consider buying it even if it wasn’t on sale.

Booze Review rating: 8/10 deliciouses

Posted in Vodka | 2 Comments