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Tasting Notes From The Award-Winning, Wild Foraged The Botanist Islay Gin

The Botanist Islay Gin is a special gin for a number of reasons. First off, it’s made in Scotland. Second, it’s distilled at the iconic Bruichladdich Distillery, on the shores of western reaches of Islay in a place called the Rinns. But the main distinction with The Botanist is in the 22 foraged botanicals that are infused into the gin after the first distillation. These wild botanicals are all harvested by professional foragers around the island between the spring and fall.

The result is magic in a bottle — our top-rated gin of 2020.

We aren’t the only ones to love this expression. The Botanist has also been a mainstay on the awards circuit since it dropped a few years back. The Whisky Exchange named it their Spirit of the Year back in 2014 (that’s above all spirits, including any whiskeys). Since then, the gin has racked up awards from all the major ceremonies and holds 91 points (out of 100) from the Internation Wine and Spirits Competition.

The downside? The Botanist has historically been tough to find on U.S. shelves. But since Rémy Cointreau purchased the Bruichladdich Distillery, The Botanist has gradually become more widely available across the U.S. and not just at niche liquor stores, duty-free shops, and high-end cocktail bars. Today, you can grab a bottle from most delivery services nationwide.

With that new-found ubiquity, we thought it was high time to try the stuff again (officially this time) and offer our tasting notes.

The Botanist Islay Gin

The Botanist

ABV: 46%
Distillery: Bruichladdich Distillery, Rinns of Islay, UK
Average Price: $40

The Gin:

The spirit is distilled from a wheat mash bill combined with Islay spring water in a bespoke Lomond still. The base combines a macerated blend of the nine core gin peels, barks, berries, and roots. That’s a mix of cassia, coriander, juniper, orange, cinnamon, lemon, licorice, angelica root, and orris root. The vapor distillate then passes through a botanical basket full of 22 wild botanicals that are foraged all around Islay. This makes for a bold gin that’s smoothed out by the wilds of Scotland’s islands.

You can check out the list of the 22 botanicals used in The Botanist here.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a lot going on in the nose of this one — from lemony mint to hints of juniper to a clear sense of summery wildflowers. While other gins can get “oily,” The Botanist stays clear and velvety, with a sense of the juniper in the background as the florals, lemons, berries, spice, anise, wood, and vodka-esque wheat all balance one another to create a delightful sip. I get a hint of marzipan that’s not overly sweet but more imbued with rosewater. Lastly, there’s a faint sense of fresh herbs that feels more like parsley than coriander to me.

The taste ends fairly quickly but leaves you slightly warm, with a light sense of the briny sea, once again spiked with those botanicals.

Bottom Line:

I like to drink this with fizzy mineral water and ice to let all the botanicals shine. Naturally, this also works wonders in a gin and tonic with a quality tonic — but be careful, the sugar of the tonic can steal a little too much shine away from the gin here.

I also really dig this as a martini base. I like to use a classic 50/50 base of The Botanist with a nice, dry vermouth (I use Noilly Prat or Dolin). Stir in a drop of Angostura bitters over ice and stir until it’s ice cold. Then, I tend to stick with the spirit of the citrus and spritz lemon oils onto the cocktail and drop in the rind. It’s super refreshing, massively flavorful, and very crushable.

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Goran Dragic Has Reportedly Suffered A Plantar Fascia Tear In His Left Foot

The Miami Heat had a dreadful Game 1 of the NBA Finals, losing 116-98 to the Lakers, with that final score not even telling the full story of just how ugly it was.

Making matters worse is that the Heat saw two of their best players exit the game with injury in Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo. Adebayo injured his left shoulder and his status going forward is uncertain, but Dragic’s series may be over with a left foot injury. Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports Network was the first to report the Heat were concerned about a plantar fascia issue, news that was confirmed later by Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania, Chris Haynes, and Marc Stein.

It’s devastating news for the Heat, and while they say Dragic will be re-evaluated later, it would seem to indicate he’ll miss at least some action in these Finals with the injury — although it’s possible he could try to play. Dragic is also entering a free agent summer in which he figured to get paid handsomely thanks to his efforts this postseason for the Heat, in which he’s averaging 20.9 points per game.

While the Heat won’t rule out his return, they’ll now likely need to ask more of Jimmy Butler as the primary ball-handler and give significant minutes to rookie Kendrick Nunn, who started much of the regular season but has been used sparingly in the playoffs.

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Three Takeaways From A Dominant Lakers Performance In Game 1 Of The Finals

Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals started with Miami looking like the more aggressive and assertive team, as they darted out to a 25-12 lead at the 4:21 mark of the first quarter. However, once the Lakers woke up it was a thorough ass-kicking for the next 40 minutes of the game as they were dominant in every facet of the game on their way to a 116-98 win and a 1-0 series lead.

There are plenty of things both teams will look at from this game, with Miami obviously having the most to work on to get back into this series. Here, we’ll explore three takeaways from Game 1 and how they will shape this series going forward.

1. The Heat need a new plan for Anthony Davis

Davis got off to a tremendous start to his first NBA Finals game, with 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and three blocks, and he was as thoroughly dominant as those numbers would indicate. Davis controlled the game on both ends of the floor, deterring Miami drivers when on defense and overpowering just about everyone the Heat threw at him defensively and continuing his strong shooting from deep in this postseason.

Miami did not match Bam Adebayo up with Davis much in Game 1, as Adebayo spent most of his time on Dwight Howard early when he started, and that would seem to be the necessary adjustment — or to try out more zone defense. However, with Adebayo leaving Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury, the task of slowing down Davis would get far more complicated. If Adebayo can’t go in Game 2, they’ll have to get very creative with their rotations, likely meaning bigger minutes for Solomon Hill — who played a good bit in the opener and held up reasonably well — and others like Kelly Olynyk, who might at least be able to draw Davis out of the paint when Miami’s on offense.

Davis is going to produce, that’s always going to happen, but he can’t dominate the way he did on both ends if Miami’s to have a chance. Part of that comes down to Adebayo having a dismal game even before his injury, but the Heat have to go back to the drawing board with how they plan to deal with Davis on both ends.

2. Tyler Herro is the Lakers top target

Tyler Herro was very rudely welcomed to the NBA Finals stage by LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The young swingman had a breakout performance in Game 4 of the conference finals and has been a key contributor all postseason, but the rookie had a horrific Game 1. Herro finished with 14 points on 6-of-18 shooting (2-of-8 from deep) and Miami was a stunning -35 while on he was on the court. While there’s always some noise to single game plus/minus, it felt as bad as that number indicated.

Herro looked to be moving very quickly on offense, bordering on out of control at times, but it was his defensive performance that has to concern Miami the most. LeBron James is the best in the league at hunting mismatches, and he and the Lakers went at Herro just about every opportunity they could. Herro got cooked by nearly every Lakers perimeter player at least once and the Heat were all too willing to let James get the switch onto Herro, allowing James to attack and, at worst, force a hard rotation to open up a L.A. shooter once he cleared Herro going to the basket.

The Heat love their rookie and won’t go away from him totally, but they might have to be a bit more judicious with his minutes when the Lakers hunt him the way they did defensively. On offense, he has to be better to stay on the floor and part of that is being smarter with his shot selection, but the main concern is what L.A. did picking on him defensively. They need a new strategy on that end of the floor, namely in being less willing to give LeBron whatever he wants with their switching, because if not, he’s going to attack Herro — and Duncan Robinson — mercilessly. James finished with 25 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists and I’d wager a guess that at least half of those points and assists were the direct result of Miami’s willingness to let him pick his matchups.

3. How serious are the Miami injuries?

I want to be very clear about something here, which is injuries were not why the Lakers won Game 1. However, for Miami to have a chance in this series they will need their stars on the floor, and Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, and Bam Adebayo all picked up injuries in this one. Butler’s seems the least severe, as he continued playing and was on the floor for 33 minutes of the game despite rolling his left ankle late in the second quarter.

Dragic and Adebayo are much bigger concerns, as neither returned after they departed from the game. Dragic suffered a left foot injury and there is reportedly concern his series is done. Given the offensive boost he’s given them in this postseason, averaging 20.9 points per game, his absence would be crippling to the Heat’s effectiveness on that end, and surely force a lot more Kendrick Nunn minutes. Adebayo left with a shoulder injury, and while X-rays returned negative, he did not return for the second half as well. The Heat all postseason have been heavily reliant on the Adebayo minutes to win games, as their net rating went from +8.5 to -3.9 when he left the floor. With the size of the Lakers, his presence is vital to their chances, and any absence of his would lead to serious issues for Miami.

The Heat have plenty of on-court adjustments to make, but they’ll likely be rendered moot if they’re without one or two of their best players for an extended period.

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Bam Adebayo Left Game 1 Of The NBA Finals With A Left Arm Injury

It’s been a nightmare start to the NBA Finals for the Miami Heat. After starting the opening quarter of Game 1 with a 13-point lead, the Lakers staged a furious comeback behind 11 first-half three-pointers and have led by as many as 30 in this one as they look to take a 1-0 series advantage.

Along the way, Jimmy Butler rolled his left ankle — although he continued to play — while Goran Dragic left the game in the second quarter with a foot injury and was listed by the team as doubtful to return on Wednesday night. But the injury woes didn’t end there.

Midway through the third period, Bam Adebayo also left the game with a left arm injury — it’s unclear if it was his shoulder or an aggravation of his wrist injury from the conference finals.

Adebayo had been struggling up to that point, scoring just eight points on 2-of-8 shooting for the night, to go along with four rebounds, playing limited first half minutes after picking up two early fouls. Adebayo was set to be one of the Lakers’ biggest obstacles going into this Finals series, as Los Angeles even opted to start Dwight Howard at center to help counter him. Hopefully, Adebayo and the rest of the Heat players’ injuries aren’t series enough to prevent them from returning for the remainder of the series.

UPDATE: Adebayo’s initial X-rays returned negative, which is a good sign but further testing will be needed to determine his status going forward.

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Check Out The First Images From Chadwick Boseman’s Final Film, ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

It’s been just over a month since Chadwick Boseman passed away, and it’s gutting to realize that he still had so much ahead of him, so much he could have done had life not handed him a bum card. In fact, there’s only one more Boseman film that has yet to be released: A film version of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, August Wilson’s play set amongst blues musicians in 1920s Chicago. The movie is due for Netflix on December 18, but you can get a sense of what it will look like from the first images dropped to the streamer’s Twitter account Wednesday night.

The four images show Boseman as Levee, an ambitious trumpeter who squares off against legendary singer and “Mother of the Blues” Ma Rainey, played by Viola Davis during a tumultuous recording session. The film also stars If Beale Street Could Talk’s Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, and Michael Potts, all three of them alumni of The Wire.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the second of Wilson’s beloved plays to make it to get turned into a movie recently, following 2016’s Fences, directed by and starring Denzel Washington and which gave Davis her Oscar. First staged in 1984, Ma Rainey is part of Wilson’s 10-play “Pittsburgh Cycle,” the only one not set in the western Pennsylvania town, and each of which portrays African-American life in a different decade. It was the second play in the cycle produced, following Jitney, which was set in the 1970s. May they make movies of them all.

(Via Deadline)

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Fans React After Bryson Tiller Played His Entire ‘Anniversary’ Album In A Zoom Meeting

Bryson Tiller will make his return to fans in a couple of days with his upcoming third album, Anniversary. Prior to the announcement, which he made earlier this week, fans had been growing impatient with Tiller as the Louisville native went three years without an album since his sophomore effort, True To Self. Now his fan base of adoring listeners can rest assured as Anniversary will arrive this Friday October 2. However, before the album arrives, Bryson decided to have somewhat of a personal experience with fans as he invited them all to join him in a Zoom meeting.

While the reason for the Zoom meeting was unknown at first, Bryson quickly revealed at the start of the meeting that he would play the Anniversary album for those in attendance. Before pressing play on his new body of work, he revealed that he was previously working on an album titled Serenity, but opted to put the album on pause as he felt his current position in life did not match the album’s theme. He also revealed that his love for streaming while he plays video games pushed him to livestream the album. Pressing play on the album and revealing its artwork after the quick speech, fans quickly noticed that the Anniversary artwork closely resembled the Trapsoul artwork, this time depicting the singer with his head facing to the left in what looks like blue-lit room.

As for the album, Anniversary flaunts his trademark Trapsoul sound as fans could hear through the ten songs played in Zoom meeting. While the tracklist has not been revealed yet, the album features Bryson’s most recent singles, “Always Forever” and “Inhale,” as well as a guest feature from Drake, on a track reportedly titled “Outta Time.”

The livestream of the Anniversary album lasted just under 45 minutes, but through it all, fans shared their reaction to what they heard. Check them out below.

Anniversary is out 10/02 via RCA.

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Goran Dragic Suffered A Left Foot Injury In Game 1 Of The NBA Finals

The Miami Heat came out on fire to start Game 1 of the NBA Finals, at one point holding a 13-point lead in the first quarter, but the Lakers swiftly erased that lead and managed to exit the first with a three-point advantage. From there, things only got worse for Miami as the Lakers were unstoppable offensively and ran out to a 17-point halftime advantage.

To make matters worse, the Heat saw two of their best players suffer injuries. Jimmy Butler rolled his left ankle late in the second quarter, but managed to stay in the game. Goran Dragic played just 15 minutes in the first half before he exited, and the team announced in the third quarter that he was doubtful to return due to a left foot injury.

It’s unclear exactly when the injury happened — ESPN showed a play in which he appeared to step on Rajon Rondo’s foot in the second quarter — but it’s a huge blow to a Miami team that struggled mightily to create offense in his absence. Dragic has averaged 20.9 points per game in the playoffs and his elevated play has been a significant reason for the Heat’s run through the Eastern Conference to the Finals. A comeback in Game 1 seems unlikely, particularly if Dragic is unable to return, but maybe more important will be the status of Dragic and Butler’s health moving forward as they desperately need both to be able to play major minutes to have a chance with the Lakers.

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Giveon’s Heartwrenching ‘Stuck On You’ Single Introduces His Upcoming ‘When It’s All Said And Done’ EP

Giveon is enjoying his breakout year. The music industry learned about the singer through his contribution to Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle.” Shortly after, Giveon graced the world with his debut project, Take Time, an 8-track effort that greatly increased the size of his fan base. After letting the album marinate for a few months, Giveon returns with a new song and the announcement of a forthcoming EP.

Giveon revealed that the release, called When It’s All Said An Done, will arrive this Friday, October 2. He also dropped his latest single, “Stuck On You.” The song finds him agonizing over a love interest who causes him more pain than pleasure. But he can’t help himself, singing, “It took some time but I realize / You do me wrong but it feels right.”

As for When It’s All Said An Done, the EP sports just four songs, with a single guest appearance, from Snoh Aalegra, who appears on a song titled “Last Time.” Giveon previously served as Snoh Aaelgra’s opening act for her late 2019 tour.
Listen to “Stuck On You” in the video above and check out the artwork and tracklist for When It’s All Said An Done below.


01. “When It’s All Said An Done”
02. “Still Your Best”
03. “Last Time” Feat. Snoh Aalegra
04. “Stuck On You”

When It’s All Said An Done is out 10/02 via Epic. Pre-order it here.

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Rick Ross Says His Upcoming ‘Richer Than Ever Before’ Album Is 95% Done

In the last two months, Rick Ross has been quite the busy man, and it appears he has no plans of slowing down. After announcing his album Richer Than Ever Before last month via an Instagram story, the musician returns with a comforting update. In a video given to HotNewHipHop, Ross is found in the studio with someone who appears to be his engineer. The two are working on Richer Than Ever Before when the engineer asks Ross “What percent are we at?” Ross confidently replies that the album is “95%” complete.

Next, the engineer proclaims that he and Ross will finish the album “this weekend,” prompting Ross interject that they’d do it “today.” While it’s unknown which the day the video was recorded, fans can rest assured knowing that it’ll be due sooner rather than later.

The announcement comes a little over a year after Ross shared his last album, Port Of Miami 2. On a more recent note, Ross joined Anderson .Paak for their “Cut Em In” video, in which the two are portrayed as 12th graders. He also participated in a Verzuz battle with 2 Chainz last month, in which he debuted an unreleased verse on Kanye West’s “Famous.”

(via HotNewHipHop)

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Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, And Dozens Of Other Filmmakers Are Urging Congress To Save Movie Theaters

Movie theaters may have reopened across parts of the nation — though still not in New York City or Los Angeles, two of the biggest markets — but they’re far from back to normal. Safety measures have forced them to operate at a fraction of their original capacity, and concessions are still a no-no. Not even the breathlessly anticipated Tenet has been able to save them. There’s a chance the nation’s movie theaters may not survive the pandemic, which is why dozens of filmmakers signed a letter, urging congress to take action.

According to Deadline, directors like Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Sofia Coppola, Greta Gerwig, and many, many more joined with the Director’s Guild of America, the National Association of Theatre Owners and the Motion Picture Association, penning a joint letter that urges Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to come to the rescue. The letter asks redirect unallocated funds from the CARES Act to save what was once one of the most profitable businesses in America.

“The moviegoing experience is central to American life,” the letter read. “Theaters are great unifiers where our nation’s most talented storytellers showcase their cinematic accomplishments.” Moreover, it read, “theaters are economic force multipliers,” employing 150,000 exhibition industry jobs, plus countless more across distribution, marketing, production, plus retail where multiplexes are located.

The letter also states that 3 percent of theater companies and losses of more than 75 percent compared to this time last year. Without any aid, 69 percent of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy, and may have to close permanently. If that happens, 66 percent of theater jobs will be lost.

Other filmmakers who signed the letter include Wes Anderson, Judd Apatow, Noah Baumbach, James Cameron, Jon Chu, Alfonso Cuarón, Lee Daniels, Clint Eastwood, Barry Jenkins, Patty Jenkins, Rian Johnson, Richard Linklater, Steve McQueen, Seth Rogen, M. Night Shyamalan, Zack Snyder, Steven Soderbergh, Taika Waititi, Edgar Wright, and Michael Bay.

The full letter can be read below:

Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:

Thank you for your leadership at this challenging time for our country. As you consider forthcoming COVID-19 relief legislation, we ask you to prioritize assistance for the hardest-hit industries, like our country’s beloved movie theaters.

No doubt you are hearing from many, many businesses that need relief. Movie theaters are in dire straits, and we urge you to redirect unallocated funds from the CARES Act to proposals that help businesses that have suffered the steepest revenue drops due to the pandemic, or to enact new proposals such as the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481). Absent a solution designed for their circumstances, theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic.

The pandemic has been a devastating financial blow to cinemas. 93% of movie theater companies had over 75% in losses in the second quarter of 2020. If the status quo continues, 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently, and 66% of theater jobs will be lost. Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide.

The moviegoing experience is central to American life. 268 million people in North America went to the movies last year to laugh, cry, dream, and be moved together. Theaters are great unifiers where our nation’s most talented storytellers showcase their cinematic accomplishments. Every aspiring filmmaker, actor, and producer dreams of bringing their art to the silver screen, an irreplaceable experience that represents the pinnacle of filmmaking achievement.

As well as their critical cultural impact, theaters are economic force multipliers. In addition to the 150,000 employees working in cinemas nationwide, the industry supports millions of jobs in movie production and distribution, and countless others in surrounding restaurants and retailers that rely on theaters for foot traffic. Movie theaters are also leaders in employing underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, senior citizens, and first-time job holders. Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer. But now we fear for their future.

Theaters need specific relief targeted to their circumstances. We urge you to come together on a bipartisan solution that provides this relief, by reallocating unspent funds from the CARES Act toward programs designed for industries like movie theaters, or by enacting new proposals such as the RESTART Act. These solutions would fulfill Congress’s intent in helping severely distressed sectors of the economy and ensure that our resources are focused on the industries that need them the most.

Please fight for our country’s beloved and essential cinemas by including relief for them in any forthcoming COVID-19 legislation. Thank you for your leadership and for considering this request.

(Via Deadline)