Isn't it time to add some luster to your liquor cabinet? Whether you're looking for bottles to spark up your next party, to bring to the holiday dinner table (always a solid move) or to sip on while Aunt Margaret drones on about her latest knitting project, here's a few new and noteworthy spirits bound to impress:
Banks "5 Island" Rum: This white rum shatters convention with its vegetal, grassy nose, robust ginger spice and dry finish. Composed of rum from five islands--Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana and Java--each rum is aged between three and 12 years, filtered, and then blended with a touch of arrack. Launched in August, this rum has already earned a 96-point rating from this year's Ultimate Cocktail Challenge, a 95 from The Tasting Panel and Best White Rum at the 2010 RumFest U.K. Retails for $28 for 750 ml.
The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask: Responding to the appeal of 2008's limited edition 17 Year Old Rum Cask, The Balvenie's latest release is a beautifully balanced whisky. Aged for 14 years in oak casks, the whisky is finished in Caribbean rum barrels for a few months, providing notes of honey and toffee. Retails for $50-60 for 750 ml.
Excellia Tequila: And for another twist, how about tequila aged in Cognac casks? Made from 100 percent Blue Agave, Excellia Tequilas are separately aged in Grand Cru Sauternes Casks and Cognac barrels then carefully blended. The grape notes soften the finish, making this tequila an ideal choice for drinking neat. Retails for $55 for the Blanco 750 ml, $60 for the Reposado 750 ml and $70 for the Anejo 750 ml.