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Avion Silver Tequila Cleans House at International Spirit Awards: Double Gold, Best Tequila & Best White Spirit

Avion Tequila Avion Silver Tequila Cleans House at International Spirit Awards: Double Gold, Best Tequila & Best White SpiritNot Just a Hollywood “Entourage” Tequila Anymore

By Matt Goldstein

When we first reviewed Avion Reposado Tequila, we knew it was more than the just the hype it was getting for being on HBO’s Entourage.  That show was severely suspect; however, Avion Tequila is certainly not.  Both smooth and complex, the Avion Reposado was a flat out stud.  Now, it seems that the Avion Silver Tequila has cleaned up winning 5 awards at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition including a Double Gold Medal, Best Tequila and the prestigious Best White Spirit.  Crushing the competition at the world’s most prestigious spirit competition will solidify Avion as one of the best tequila’s in the world, period.

When Avion was unknown, the marketing campaign behind this tequila put in prime time on one of HBO’s most popular shows.  Now that it has won so many awards, expect the marketing campaign to step on the gas full throttle.  Avion tequila has arrived as a main stream tequila, not only proving to be one of the best, but soon to be one of the best sellers.  We can’t wait to get our hands on the silver and the anejo.

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Crystal Head Vodka Cocktails: The Heads Up, Cranium, Pure-tini & Crystal Driver

Crystal Head Vodka1 logo 199x300 Crystal Head Vodka Cocktails: The Heads Up, Cranium, Pure tini & Crystal DriverCompiled By Matt Goldstein

The Crystal Head Vodka is one of the best vodka’s in the world.  Check out these great vodka cocktails from Crystal Head mixologists.  First, Try the ‘Heads Up,’ when you ask a bartender to give you a ‘Heads Up’, it’s Crystal Head, 7UP with a splash of bar lime over crushed ice.  Another favorite is the ‘Cranium’.  The Cranium is Crystal Head Vodka and cranberry topped with club soda over crushed ice.  Crushed ice is perfect in the Crystal Head shot glasses as there is not much room for full sized ice.

Another favorite Crystal Head drink is the ‘Pure-Tini.’  It’s a simple martini, garnished with little olives on a fancy little toothpick.  Pure: because of the pure spirit Crystal Head Vodka.

Dan’s (Aykroyd) favorite way to drink it is, as he calls it, the ‘Crystal Driver.’  Crystal Head and fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice poured over it.  Dan says it should look like your adding an egg over it.  Don’t mix or stir.

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The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #3: A Hand Crafted Single Malt Masterpiece

balvenie tun 1401 batch 3 single malt scotch whisky 225x300 The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #3: A Hand Crafted Single Malt MasterpieceHand Selected By Balvenie’s Malt Master of 50 Years

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

With 103 single malt distilleries in Scotland there are only 5 which are still family owned.  Speyside in Scotland has 48 of these distilleries, the highest per capita in the world and the Balvenie has the most diverse and prestigious range if not in all of Speyside, perhaps in all of Scotland.  The only distillery with its own cooperage on site, the Balvenie grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and has its own coopersmith on site.  This hand crafted artisan style is unprecedented in single malt scotch production.  Now, the Malt Master for over 50 years, Dave Stewart,  has hand selected 10 of their best casks to create the Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #3.  Hand pumped from the cask, the ranges in years of the 10 whiskies are from 22 to 44 years.  The Balvenie Tun 1401 is a cask strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky at plus 50% ABV.

Tasting Notes of the Tun 1401 Batch #3

Slightly peated, with legs in the glass, and flavors of butterscotch, this smooth and complex whisky has a dry mouth feel and slightly bitter flavor.  Smooth, warm complex, dry and sweet, this is simply one of the best single malts in the world period.  The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #3 comes with our absolute highest recommendation possible.

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World’s Best Irish Whiskey: The Bushmills 21 Years Aged Malt Irish Whiskey

bushmills 21 yo single malt 111111 300x300 World’s Best Irish Whiskey: The Bushmills 21 Years Aged Malt Irish WhiskeyHappy St. Patty’s Day!

By Matt Goldstein, Amy K. Haight & Kevin Hussey

About a year and a half ago when my cousin Sari and her fiancé Kevin got married, Kevin’s father bought the groomsmen a bottle of Bushmills 21 Year Irish whiskey which meant a lot to us because Kevin’s father came right off the boat from Ireland and is a bartender at an Irish bar in Manhattan called Desmond’s.  It was a great moment and a beautiful wedding.  Unfortunately I was so hung over from the rehearsal that it was difficult to even look at the battle.  Honestly, when I woke up the morning of the wedding I didn’t think I would be able to go to the actual wedding.  Even more unfortunate, the groomsman and I crushed the bottle before Kevin could even get a taste.

So when Bushmills sent us a sample of each of their whiskey’s we thought it would be fitting to taste the 21 year with Kevin since he missed out on the beautiful gesture from his father.

The Bushmills 21 Year Malt Irish Whiskey is aged for a minimum of 19 years in Oloroso Sherry and Bourbon seasoned casks, then transferred to Madeira casks for the final 2 years of the whiskeys maturation.  The Bushmills 21 year is perhaps the most complex Irish whiskey but smooth, sweet, syrupy and oaky.  It’s sweet, soft, fruity and simply one of the best Irish Whiskeys in the world period.  The Bushmills 21 Year comes with one of our highest recommendations but it also comes with a steep price tag, about $100.  We definitely recommend this over the comparatively priced Jameson 21 year.

Bushmill’s uses 100% malted barley to make their whiskey and the Old Bushmills Distillery is about 100 miles northwest of Belfast in Northern Ireland and has been making whiskey in the same area for more than 400 years.

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The Tullamore Dew 10 Years Aged Irish Whisky

Tullamore Dew 10 Year Irish Whisky The Tullamore Dew 10 Years Aged Irish WhiskyTriple Distilled, Aged in American and Spanish Oak

By Matt Goldstein

A few weeks ago we were invited to the Tullamore Dew Irish True event in Philadelphia.  This tour featured free Tullamore Dew, free Irish food, Irish music and some boxers sparring in a “secret” room.  While the boxers were barely sparring, the free food and free whisky was pretty god dam awesome.  Unfortunately, the other people attenting this party weren’t there to pick up their 3 complimentary bottles of Tullamore Dew so they could review it for their whiskey web site.  We’ve had the Tullamore Dew original many times and we’ve had the pleasure of tasting the 12 year, which is simply one of the best Irish whiskies on the shelves.  However, this is the first time we’re tasting the Tullamore Dew 10 year, after all, we can’t buy every bottle of liquor one the shelf.

The Tullamore Dew 10 Years Aged Irish Whisky is a triple distilled spirit matured in Spanish and American Oak casks.  This whisky is thin, salty, and a light thin gold color.  With a sweet, syrupy mouth feel, slightly bitter, dry, with a light malty flavor, the Tullamore Dew 10 years is a good sipping Irish whisky and definitely one of the better Irish whiskies, very close to the 12 year.  The Spirit Journal recently gave Tullamore Dew 10 Year Old Reserve 4 Stars/Highly Recommended.  We recommend this whisky as well.

Tasting Notes from Tullamore Dew:

Colour: Medium amber gold.

Nose: Spicy, oily and fresh malty notes with more complex toasted wood and vanilla undertones.

Body: Medium bodied, balanced with malt, spice and citrus fruits. Complex oily flavours with faint notes of Christmas cake and a touch of leather.

Palate: Smooth and full; woody undertones, giving way to sweet Olorosso nuttiness with just a touch of spice.

Finish: Rich, long, malty and spicy notes. Pleasantly dry finish with slightly lemony and sweet notes lingering

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The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more…

powers 12 year special reserve irish whiskey1111 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...St. Patty’s Day Special: The Best Irish Whiskeys

By Matt Goldstein and Sommelier Tom Pittakas

In honor of this St. Patty’s Day, the Whiskey Goldmine has compiled our list of the best whiskeys from Ireland.  From sipping neat, on the rocks or in a shot, we give you a magnum opus of whiskey classics.  The following whiskeys are an absolute must try! 

 

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powers 12 year special reserve irish whiskey1122 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...1. Powers Special Reserve 12 Years Aged Irish Whiskey

Powers Special Reserve 12 years aged is crafted from the finest Irish Barley and water, triple distilled and matured in American Oak casks.  Powers 12 doesn’t need to any ice; this whiskey should be sipped neat.  Scoring 91 points from Malt Advocate Magazine, Powers 12 is a complex and flawless whiskey. The regular Powers Gold Label is the best selling whiskey in Ireland.  Yes, it crushes Jameson in sales actually.

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2. Redbreast 12 Year Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Redbreast 12 Year is perhaps the smoothest Irish whiskey in the world.  With a scotch like complexity and slight sweetness, Redbreast has a perfect whiskey flavor with a flawless bite.  Redbreast 12 Year is the only aged pure pot still whiskey in the world and is matured in sherry and bourbon casks.  

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Tullamore dew 12year bottle The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...3.  Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old Special Reserve

Founded in Tullamore, Offaly County in the heart of Ireland in 1822, this “legendary” Irish Whiskey is famous for it’s copper pot still blend.  Triple distilled and aged in American Oak and Spanish Olorosso Sherry Casks, Tullamore Dew 12 is a sweet and complex Irish Whiskey with notes of malt, nuts and oak.  “Give everyman his Dew!”    

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4.  Jameson 18 Year Old Limited Reserve

The Jameson 18 is a Blended Irish Whiskey is handpicked by the Master Distiller.  Aged in American Oak Bourbon Casks and Olorosso Sherry Casks, the Jameson 18 Year Old is a classic! 

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tyrconnel single malt irish whiskey 300x189 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...5.  Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Aged in Madeira casks and scoring a 98 by the beverage tastings institute, the Tyrconnell is a bit pricey but also critically acclaimed.  Tyrconnel 10 Year has pioneered the single malt revolution in Irish Whiskey.  It’s an absolute must try. 

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6.  Knappogue 12 Years Aged Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Distilled in copper pots with malted barley and aged in oak casks, Knappogue 12 is made with pure Irish spring water which creates a very light, smooth and easy drinking style.  Well rounded with medium intensity and a clean finish, Knappogue is a uniquely light but complex whiskey that still retains character. 

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bushmills single malt 16 year old irish whiskey The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...7.  Bushmills 16 Year Old Irish Whiskey

Bushmills 16 Year Old is triple cask matured in a combination of seasoned American Oak Bourbon Casks and Sherry Olorosso Casks, and finished for a few months in Port Wine Casks.  The triple cask maturation gives this whiskey one of the best finishes in the world. 

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8.  Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Scoring a 93 by the Beverage Tasting Institute and a 90 by Wine Enthusiast, this little known but critically acclaimed single malt Irish whiskey is very well rounded and one of the most underrated Irish Whiskeys ever made.

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Jameson 12 year old special reserve irish whiskey 1111 The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...9.  Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve  

The Jameson 12 Year Old Special Reserve Blended Irish Whiskey is a triple distilled, pot still and sherry cask blend.  The 12 year took the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2007 & 2009.  The Jameson 12 is very smooth and dry with a great scent and taste of malts; with notes of oak, wood and spice.  The Jameson 12 is a full bodied Irish whiskey, with a slight sweet, rich and full finish.

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1o.  Tullemore Dew Blended Irish Whiskey

Tullamore Dew is the 2nd best selling Irish Whiskey in the world and is also growing the fastest.  Tullamore Dew has won 22 gold medals in the last 10 years and is simply one of the best whiskey shots in the world.   

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11.  Green Spot

 

Powers Whiskey The Top 10 Best Irish Whiskeys: Powers, Jameson, Redbreast, Tullamore Dew and more...12.  Powers Gold Label

Powers Gold Label is the best selling whiskey in Ireland.  Yes, it crushes Jameson in sales actually.

 

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13.  Bushmills 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey

14.  Michael Collins Single Malt Irish Whiskey

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The Top 10 Irish Pubs in Philly

brittinghams irish pub The Top 10 Irish Pubs in PhillySt Patty’s Day Feature: The Best Irish Bars in Philadelpia

By Pat Smith, Jeremy Thomson and Matt Goldstein

In honor of St. Patty’s Day and the greatest city in the world, Whiskey Goldmine has compiled our list of the best Irish Pubs and the best Irish Taverns in the city of Philadelphia.  With its authentic Irish food, Irish music and craft beer, Philadelphia offers a truly historical and unique take on the Irish Pub, with one of our favorite bars even dating back to 1763.  With a very large Irish population, Philadelphia is one of the best Irish Pub experiences in the United States.   

1. McGlinchey’s Bar & Grill

It wasn’t too long ago when McGlinchey’s served 50 cent Black & Tans & 25 cent hot dogs.  This Rittenhouse gem gets a lot of broke college kids and starving artists through some real tough times with that authentic pub feel.  One of the best spots in the city period.  259 S 15th St. Philadelphia, PA.

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mcgillians old ale house 300x168 The Top 10 Irish Pubs in Philly2.  McGillian’s Old Ale House

McGillan’s has been pouring beers in the same spot since 1860.  This is one of the most authentic Irish pubs in the country, let alone Philadelphia.  1310 Drury St, Philadelphia, PA. 

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3.  Brittingham’s

Much older than McGillian’s, Brittingham’s has been pouring beers and playing Irish music since 1763.  Along with the General Lafayette Brewery, Brittingham’s offers a historical and warming character to Lafayette Hill.  They have great live Irish music and nothing’s better than drinking half and half at Brittingham’s on St. Patty’s Day or kicking the crap out of a bunch of chumps in Quizzo.  640 E. Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA. 

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fergies irish pub 300x225 The Top 10 Irish Pubs in Philly4.  Fergie’s

I’ll never forget my 21st birthday when already bombed, we walked into Fergie’s and the bartender poured me three shots for my birthday.  I told the bartender that if I drank the triple shot that I would throw up.  The bartender shrug his shoulders as if he did not care.  Needless to say…  1214 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA.    

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5.  Plough & the Stars

Plough and the Stars has the most authentic and mouth-watering Irish food in the city and great live Irish music.  2nd St in Old City, Philadelphia, PA. 

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alwayssunny philadelphia 300x225 The Top 10 Irish Pubs in Philly6.  Brownie’s Irish Pub

The best craft beer spot of any Irish pub in the city!  A home away from home…   46 S. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA.    

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7.  For Pete’s Sake

Best muscles in the city?  900 South Front St., Philadelphia, PA. 

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8.  Slainte

With Irish beer samplers and beautiful Irish whiskey list, Slainte is the best bar around the 30th St. station area.  3000 Market St. Philadelphia, PA. 

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pj whelihans 300x239 The Top 10 Irish Pubs in Philly9.  Moriarty’s

Moriarty’s has some of the best wings and best Irish food in the city.  1116 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA. 

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10.  PJ Whelihan’s

Yup, it’s a chain, we know.  But guess what, PJ Whelihan’s has the best craft beer list out of any chain anywhere in the area.  Actually, they have a better craft beer list then a bunch craft beer bars.  That’s not peanuts!  The PJ’s Pub craft beer list is a very educated and critically acclaimed, no question about it.  There are 12 PJ’s Pub locations in the Philadelphia area.   

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The Crystal Head Vodka Shot Glasses, a Must for any Bar

Crystal Head Shot Glasses 300x136 The Crystal Head Vodka Shot Glasses, a Must for any BarBy Matt Goldstein

We’ve all heard the hype around Dan Akroyd’s pricey premium Crystal Head Vodka and quite frankly, the Whiskey Goldmine has played a major roll in this hype.  First, winning our double blind taste test against 6 other vodkas and then independently reviewing Crystal Head as one of the best vodkas in the world.  The steep price tag of $50 per bottle is a bit hard to swallow as there are great vodkas for merely $15, but the Crystal Head definitely performs with the best and deserves all the praise.  Now, Crystal Head Vodka has released shot glasses resembling the unique crystal skull vodka.

2 OZ Each, Approximately 1.5 Inches In Height, these mini skull shot glasses are great for doing shots or sipping any spirit neat.  We love them for vodka and whiskey alike and they look hella cool next to a Crystal Head Vodka Bottle.  We would post a link here but you’re just gonna have to google it on your own.  Do some work for once and stop being so gosh darn lazy.

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The Jura 16 Year Single Malt Scotch: Simply one of the Best Whiskies in the World!

Jura 16 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky The Jura 16 Year Single Malt Scotch: Simply one of the Best Whiskies in the World!What Single Malt Scotch Whisky was Meant to Be…

By Matt Goldstein & Amy K. Haight

Only 180 people populate the Isle of Jura, and the Jura distillery lies on the east side of the island.  Distilling scotch on the remote island of Jura dates back to the 1600’s and the Jura distillery just celebrated their 200 year anniversary in 2010. The island of Jura is just 7 miles wide and 30 miles long with one road, one hotel and one distillery.  In Gaelic, the people of Jura are known as Diurachs and known for their hunting, shooting, fishing, sailing, lobster, and of course, single malt scotch.  The Jura 16 Year Single Malt is aged just off the beach on the Isle of Jura and gets much of its complex characteristics from the ocean air.  Matured no less than 16 years, this single malt Scotch whisky is simply one of the best in the world period.  All we can say is WOW!

The Jura 16 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting Notes:

With a scent of ocean air, oak and syrup, thw Jura has notes and flavors of oak, syrup, honey and has real complexity.  Smooth yet very complex, this is the perfect single malt scotch and comes with our highest recommendation.

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Breaking Down the Hype Machine: Is Crystal Head Vodka the Best Vodka in the World?

Crystal Head Vodka1 logo 199x300 Breaking Down the Hype Machine: Is Crystal Head Vodka the Best Vodka in the World? Crystal Head: The Planet’s Hottest Premium Vodka

By Matt Goldstein

Dan Akroyd’s premium vodka out of Canada, Crystal Head Vodka, has a full on hype machine driving its pricey bottles right off the shelves.  Winning a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and our very own double blind taste test against the likes of Belvedere, Grey Goose and Tito’s vodka, there is no doubt that Crystal Head Vodka has performed very well against the best vodka’s in the world, but is Crystal Head the best vodka in the world?

The theme of Crystal Head Vodka is based on the legend has it that 13 crystal heads have been found in regions around the world, from the American southwest to Tibet and they’re dated between 5,000 and 35,000 years old.  These Crystal Heads were supposedly polished into shape from solid quartz chunks over a period of several hundred years.  Whether the legend intrigues you or not, the clear glass skull vodka bottle is certainly eye catching and definitely the most unique vodka bottle on the shelf, if not the entire liquor store and this bottle fuels the hype and dynamic sales.

crystal head vodka glacier water Breaking Down the Hype Machine: Is Crystal Head Vodka the Best Vodka in the World? Made with glacier water from Newfoundland Canada, quadruple distilled and filtered through Herkimer diamonds, Crystal Head is a grain based vodka with zero additives.  We’re not sure where the genius is in how they make the vodka, but it’s certainly in there.  Most people are looking for a smooth vodka, and that’s perfectly fine.  We on the other hand are looking for a complex vodka and a little bite.  Crystal Head Vodka has all of those elements in one.  We tasted Crystal Head Vodka straight out of the bottle and poured it in the glass, neat and at room temperature, and then we tried the Crystal Head with and In and Out Martini with as little vermouth as possible so we could taste the vodka.

Tasting Notes of the Crystal Head Vodka :

This is an excellent vodka with a complex and smooth style.  With hints of vanilla, citrus and grain this  perfect vodka has just enough bite to let you know it’s there and it works perfectly with the vermouth in  martini.

Dan Akroyd Crystal Head Vodka Breaking Down the Hype Machine: Is Crystal Head Vodka the Best Vodka in the World? Is Crystal Head the world’s best vodka?  It is very difficult to say that any vodka or anything for that matter is best in the world, but without question, Crystal Head must certainly be considered one of the best vodka’s in the world period.  Winning the double gold medal at the world most prestigious spirit competition and crushing the competition in our own double blind taste test, Crystal Head certainly performs exceptionally well time after time.  With the Crystal Head comes a steep price tag at about $50, which is expensive for a vodka considering you can get a solid vodka for around $15.  For example, Tanqueray Sterling vodka finished #2 in our vodka trials and the retail price is $14.  Now, Crystal Head is certainly better than Tanqueray Sterling, but is it more than 3 times better as the price indicates?  That is uncertain.  All in all, looking past the hype, gimmick and excellent marketing, Crystal Head Vodka comes with our highest recommendation.

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