Ben Glaetzer is from Australian winemaking royalty, and now he's a winemaking star in his own right, too. 91 points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. The review: "Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2012 Shiraz explodes with creme de cassis, blueberry pie and mint aromas accented by hints of licorice and dark chocolate. Full-bodied, rich and packed with warm black and blueberry fruit flavors, it has a medium to firm level of fine, rounded tannins and a long, spicy finish with lively lift. Drink it now to 2018+."
Old Ballantruan is a peated version of Tomintoul single malt, named for the distillery's spring. This is the first issue of this whisky with an age statement and is bottled at 50%. My Tasting Note: "Nose: soft and creamy with peaty, firm smoke, caramel and white fruits; there are some hard candies, malt and some minty top notes; Palate: big and creamy, honey and more hard candies (fruit to anise) with muddy earthy smoke, more mint and lots of malt; Finish: long, coating, creamy and toasty with fading floral smoke; Comments: surprisingly Ardbegian.
Based in Surrey, BC, Central City is "the first Canadian brewery to get the exclusive brewing and distribution rights to The Hobbit Trilogy series of beers," according to the brewery team. 'Smaug Stout (9.5% alc./vol) is styled after a classic Russian Imperial Stout, but with a subtle hint of Habanero chilies to remind you of the fire and danger awaiting Bilbo and to the Company of Dwarves in their journey to The Lonely Mountain. Pronounced notes of coffee and chocolate balanced with Northwest Hops and a touch of heat produce an exceptional imperial stout, a worthy reward for your hard-fought journey."