Keen-eyed readers will note that Spirit Animal has taken a brief hiatus over the holiday season. We'll be back in action shortly—promise! 

Here, there's nothing major to report, friends. The drawbacks of being a professional writer, one man show, and all around general-type dude is that the holidays can sometimes rip a hole in the sky and shower even the most well-intentioned of bloggers with less-fun obligations. Fortunately, yours truly is just now beginning to dig out of the year-end work pile, much as I imagine a hurricane survivor might extricate himself from a collapsed house.

While you're here, thanks for being a part of this website. 2018 will continue to have many more reviews, articles, and guffaws. I do it all for you.

Oh? What's that?

You wanted some kind of spirit-related gossip or conversation? Well, let's see if I can provide a few quick thoughts of some spirits to come later in the year.

Ketel One Oranje - It's quite good. If all flavored vodkas reached this level of quality we probably wouldn't talk shit about them. I put my trust in the Nolets to craft a good spirit, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Citric without being saccharine! 

Hibiki Japanese Harmony - I was sad when the Hibiki 12 was axed, but the NAS replacement has an altogether different character. This, thankfully, allows it to feel like something other than a "lesser than" facsimile of a better whisky. I dig it.

Highland Park Magnus - Blegh. It's not terrible, but it tastes like a $35 blended scotch and not like a single malt. Fans of the HP sweet-and-smoky profile are well advised to stick to the 12-year expression. The extra $10 will be well-spent. 

Macallan 12 - I still don't love it, but I've raised my estimation of it from "yucky" to "drinkable." I'm appreciating the quality of the barley that Macallan uses, but the particular taste of the sherry cask finishing isn't to my liking: too much sour raisin, methinks. However, unsherried Mac 10 and Mac 15 are back on my radar—why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Caol Ila 14 (unpeated) - An unpeated Islay might sound like something you'd drink if you were stranded on the Isle of Misfit Toys, but this is some very rich and malt-forward stuff. Digging it!

That's all for now, friends. See you in the new year!