Making the decision to double our annual Top 50 Spirits list was easy. Narrowing the list of stellar spirits down to an even 100? That was the hard part. Never before have there been so many great spirits from which to choose. It seems like I say that every year, but this year in particular, I’ve been lucky to sample a handful of spirits from distillers who’ve declared, “This bottle represents the apex of my experience.” Consider, for example, Don Pancho Origenes Reserva Rum Aged 30 Years. After more than 50 years as a hired gun making rum for a wide range of companies, this was the rum that Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez yearned to bottle—and it’s delicious, redolent with toffee and spice. Another astonishing bottle: Angel’s Envy Finished in Port Wine Barrels, a sip-worthy magnum opus Bourbon from the late Lincoln Henderson. It’s difficult to not be in awe of these distillers. And as a critic, I’m deeply appreciative of their work. It’s also impossible not to declare the spirits class of 2015 as the best and brightest yet. Then again, there’s always next year.
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