Onyx Secret Stash Reserve Review

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Name: Onyx Secret Stash Reserve

ABV: 41.5%

Proof: 83

Nose: Vanilla, Caramel, Maple Syrup

Palate: Molasses, Maple Syrup, Vanilla, Cherries, Nutmeg

Finish: Moderate and smooth with some cherry and almond flavors.

Overall: On the nose Onyx Secret Stash has a rich vanilla aroma with some notes of caramel and maple syrup. The deep flavors of molasses, maple syrup, and vanilla seem to play well with the tart cherries and spicy nutmeg flavors. The finish is moderate with some more tart cherry flavors and almonds. The mouthfeel of this whiskey felt thicker than most and I enjoyed that especially since the overall flavors reminded me of eating dessert. Secret Stash is a very smooth easy sipping whiskey with absolutely no burn. The flavors seemed authentic and not artificial which is one of the qualities I enjoyed most about this whiskey. I tried this neat, with a splash, and in a cocktail and I enjoyed it best neat. There are a great deal of cocktail options with this whiskey given the rich flavors throughout. After trying this whiskey, it leaves no doubt what a little time in a barrel can do. Overall, this is a delicious whiskey and one that I plan on keeping on hand.

Secret Stash 1a

I tried this whiskey a second time after getting a cigar recommendation and it was equally as good but the cigar brought out some more of the rich flavors. The Macanudo Cafe Court Cigar is a great compliment to this whiskey. It is a mild cigar with a light Connecticut wrapper a smooth creamy taste.


You can quickly and easily pick up some Macanudo’s at Famous Smoke.

Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur Review


Name: Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur

ABV: 37%

Proof: 74

Nose: Cinnamon, Clove, Anise, Nutmeg

Palate: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pecans, Tobacco, Cloves

Overall: Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur was supplied to us for review from Sukkah Hill Spirits and in addition they included some recipe ideas. We decided to try Besamim and Bourbon. In this cocktail, I used equal parts bourbon and Besamim Liqueur over ice. Besamim Liqueur has a pleasant cinnamon and nutmeg flavor and it is incredibly smooth. When mixed with bourbon it brings out some more spice flavor. I am not a fan of flavored whiskies but mixing Besamim and bourbon created a drink that is what I wish cinnamon whiskey tasted like. The cocktail tasted authentic and homemade, like good eggnog with warm cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. This is a great choice for a winter cocktail and like the Etrog, Besamim is a spirit you could get very creative with. Besamim is exceptionally smooth, even when mixed with bourbon and holds up well. The subtle spice flavors of Besamim taste authentic and are not overwhelming and artificial tasting like other spiced spirits. The recipe we used for this review is listed below. For more information on Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur click here.


1.5 oz. Besamim Aromatic Spice Liqueur

1.5 oz. Old Forester Bourbon or bourbon of choice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons sugar

Pour sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix gently. Wet the rim of a rocks glass and dip the glass in the mixture to get a coating on the rim of the glass. Fill rocks glass with ice. Add Besamim Liqueur and bourbon and stir gently for 30 seconds. Enjoy!

Etrog Liqueur Review


Name: Etrog Liqueur

ABV: 38%

Proof: 76

Nose: Crisp Apples, Lemons, Limes, and Orange Zest

Palate: Lemonade, Lime, Honey, Apple, Grapefruit

Overall: Etrogs are an ancient heirloom citrus fruit traditionally grown in Southern Italy, North Africa, and Israel. Etrog Liqueur was supplied to us for review from Sukkah Hill Spirits and in addition they included some recipe ideas. This was my first time of learning about and Etrog and Etrog Liqueur. We decided to keep our cocktail simple and tried Etrog and Bourbon. In my cocktail I used equal parts bourbon and Etrog Liqueur over ice with a sprig of mint to garnish. The cocktail was refreshing and light; this would be a great summer drink. It was smooth with some fresh citrus notes such as lemons, grapefruits, and limes. It was similar to a glass of ice tea with lemon or an Arnold Palmer (half ice tea, half lemonade). What I enjoyed most about this drink is the fact that the Etrog Liqueur was able to hold up well against the bourbon. I have not had the chance to try any other cocktails using Etrog, but this is one drink that you could easily get creative with and I have no doubt it would add a great deal of flavor to a number of different cocktails. The recipe we used for this review is listed below. For more information on Etrog Liqueur click here.


1.5 oz. Etrog Liqueur

1.5 oz. Old Forester Bourbon or bourbon of choice

Sprig of mint for garnish

Fill a rocks glass with ice. Pour Etrog Liqueur and bourbon over ice and stir for 30 seconds. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!

Famous Grouse Review


Name: Famous Grouse

ABV: 40%

Proof: 80

Nose: Crisp and clean, notes of apple, wheat, apricot, tobacco

Palate: Malt, smoke, grains, apricot, cinnamon, peppers

Finish: Moderate, sweet with notes of malts and dried fruit

Overall: Most folks associate this whiskey with Christmas, mostly due to the advertising this spirit used to receive that time of year, but also with gifts they give or receive. No matter what time of year, Famous Grouse is a great choice for an everyday blended scotch. Famous Grouse is a simple, straightforward blended whiskey, which has a unique flavor and great finish. I tried this one neat, on the rocks, and with a splash and this one is best suited on the rocks. Overall, Famous Grouse is not one that is going to impress the serious scotch drinker, but it is a solid choice if you want a unique tasting, budget friendly blended scotch. I generally reach for Famous Grouse over Johnny Walker Red and Black Labels.

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey Review


Name: Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey

ABV: 46%

Proof: 92

Nose: Vanilla, Molasses, Nutmeg, and Oranges.

Palate: Rich molasses, caramel, vanilla, allspice, and deep smoky wood flavors.

Finish: Moderate and floral with light spice and wood tones.

Overall: This is a creamy whiskey that is perfect for those wanting an easy mellow sipper. The flavors are distinct and play well together. This is a whiskey that could definitely be enjoyed during a heavier dinner rather than after as the flavors compliment a variety of meal options. I really enjoyed the finish with this one; it was nearly perfect in my book. My final thoughts on Teeling Small Batch was that it is a great whiskey for those wanting something very smooth, simple, and light. Neat is the way to go with this whiskey.


Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Review


Name: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel

ABV: 47%

Proof: 94

Age: N/A

Notes: On the nose Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel has a smoky brown sugar and honey aroma. At first sip, I was greeted with a dry oak flavor with some slight notes of citrus, vanilla, sea salt, and sweet corn. The finish is rather long with lots of alcohol and a slight burn with notes of vanilla, corn, leather, and almonds. I enjoyed Jack Daniel’s single barrel. It has a very noticeable dry taste and I know a lot of folks that don’t like it because of that. There are some great flavors with this one but there is a strong alcohol taste that I didn’t enjoy all that much. I feel it took away from the other flavors a bit too much but I was able to mellow it a bit by adding a splash of water. Overall, this is a good whiskey and one that I would recommend to a friend. I tried Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel neat and with a splash and adding the splash mellowed the alcohol taste slightly and allowed me to focus more on the other flavors. Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel is available for around $50 a bottle a most places.

Dashfire Bitters Review


I recently had the pleasure of trying a few products from Dashfire Bitters and I have to say they are quite impressive. I tried their Brandy Old Fashioned Bitters, Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters, and Vintage Orange Bitters.

The Brandy Old Fashioned Bitters (38% ABV) have a rich, sweet molasses flavor with some spicy notes of cinnamon and clove. I crafted an old fashioned with these using Bulleit Bourbon and it was delicious, the spicy flavors from the bitters really added to the spicy flavors of Bulleit Bourbon and the cocktail had a slight coffee cake flavor which I really enjoyed.

The Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters (43% ABV) had a noticeable licorice aroma but a mix of spicy and sweet flavors like anise, clove, cinnamon, ginger, apricot, and oranges. They added a great deal of spice flavor to the old fashioned I made and the flavors seemed authentic and not artificial.

Their signature product, Dashfire Vintage Orange No. 1 Bitters (45% ABV), are aged in a Minnesota-made white oak barrel and are Minnesota’s first and only barrel aged bitters. There is a burst of fresh orange flavor with some similar spice flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, and anise. You definitely get a barrel aged taste with these and a great balance between sweet and spicy.

I really enjoyed all three of the bitters I tried from Dashfire’s line. There must have been a fair amount of trial and error that went into these to get them right but they indeed did just that. They are great products and surely deserve a spot on any home bar. The flavors are genuine and you can tell they are high quality. Dashfire’s mission was to create hand-crafted blends that can be used by everyone who appreciates a quality cocktail. Especially for folks like me who are still trying to perfect their cocktail skills. I highly recommend Dashfire Bitters not only for the great flavors they provide but for the quality of the products.

History: The force behind Dashfire, Lee Egbert, is driven by an unending curiosity coupled with an appetite for travel and a desire to learn all he can about the flavors and spices of different cultures.  Lee lived in China for a year and a half, and has also travelled extensively in Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, where he had the opportunity to learn first-hand about local herbs and spices as well as spirits and food.  The inspiration for all Dashfire products is drawn from these experiences and flavors, as can be clearly seen in Mr. Lee’s Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters and Dashfire’s unique line of Tinctures.  So imbibe with the peace of mind and knowledge that every effort was put into making our creations with the highest regard for the ingredients.





Koval Single Barrel Bourbon Review


Name: Koval Single Barrel Bourbon

ABV: 47%

Proof: 94

Notes: On the nose Koval single barrel bourbon has a very upfront and straightforward fruit scent to it. At first sip there is a burst of fresh fruit, most noticeably apricot, followed by more sweet flavors like caramel, vanilla, and maple syrup. Although sweet and with plenty of fruit flavors there are also some good spice flavors as well such as black pepper, tobacco, and leather. The finish is moderate with apricot flavors and some subtle earthy flavors and a slight burn. I really enjoyed this bourbon. It was definitely one that has unique flavors and is using some unique ingredients. The apricot flavor didn’t taste artificial and the tobacco and leather flavors added some complexity. Overall, I would definitely recommend this whiskey to a friend. In my opinion this one is best enjoyed neat.

History: Koval distillery uses Millet, which is a gluten-free ancient sustenance grain, and like corn, has a history of working in the spirits industry. Learn the full history of Koval Distillery here.




Gunpowder Rye Review

Gunpowder Rye

Name: Gunpowder Rye

Bottled By: New England Distillery

ABV: 43.5%

Proof: 87

Notes: On the nose there is a strong scent of fresh spearmint and roasted corn. On the palate there is a nice fiery burst of flavors such as black pepper, grains, mint, cloves, and some slight citrus flavors. The burn of this whiskey and strong flavors stand out in a good way. It has a burn but it’s not overpowering. The finish is surprisingly sweet with flavors of vanilla, mint, and caramel. I personally enjoy this whiskey best neat although it does fine with a small splash. This is a delicious whiskey and one that I have really been enjoying lately. I shared Gunpowder Rye with several friends and it was interesting to see the different flavors each of them detected. All found this to be a very enjoyable whiskey. At around $40 a bottle it is well worth it in my opinion.