Apparently it’s easier than I thought to hack into a Web site. A few kind readers have alerted me to the fact that my RSS feed is corrupted, and instead of shooting out messages about whiskey, it’s telling everyone about Cialis and other decidedly non-alcoholic medications. My heartfelt apologies.
I’d like to say I have my crack Web team working on it, but since that team has a roster of one — me — I’m not going to lie. This could take a while. I’m more lost now than if I had to take apart my car engine. What is my database? I have a database?
As the Germans say, “Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof” — life, my friend, is no pony farm.
Craft bourbon is selling like mad these days, but what is a craft distiller’s endgame? Bourbon as a category is set up to make it almost impossible to win unless you’re a massive legacy distiller like Beam. Consider: barrels can only be used once. They must be made of charred oak. The juice has to sit around for at least a year to get anything drinkable – and at least a few years to get something worth selling.
And then, after jumping through all the definitional and regulatory hoops, what? At the end of all that, if you’re lucky, you’ve got Buffalo Trace, or Jim Beam, or something approaching any number of conventional bourbons on the market – but at probably two or three times the price. Continue reading “Just Sampled … Colorado Gold Straight Bourbon Whiskey” »
St. George Single Malt Whiskey, Lot No. 13 86 proof, 750 ml, ~$70
For most people, American whiskey begins and ends with Kentucky. But when it comes to American single malt, California — and the West Coast generally — is the place to be. From Ballast Point in San Diego to House Spirits in Portland, distillers along the Pacific Rim are producing a shelf-full of malt whiskeys impressive enough to sit beside some of the finer scotches on the market.
It’s far too early to talk about anything like a regional grouping, let alone a signature style — there aren’t enough West Coast single malts yet, and they all do things a little differently. You’d never mistake Clear Creek’s gentle whiskeys for the peat bombs of Lost Spirits. Still, it’s a small world professionally if not geographically, and as these distillers play off each other, there’s bound to be a synchronization over time. Continue reading “Just Sampled … St. George Single Malt, Lot 13” »
Wild Turkey Forgiven 91 proof, 750 ml, ~$50
Whiskey marketing is all about creating a backstory. Neither Evan Williams nor Elijah Craig “invented” bourbon, but that doesn’t stop Heaven Hill from using both legends to sell its whiskey. The down-home myths surrounding Jack Daniel and George Dickel are legion, often obscuring the very real business genius that the two men brought to the Tennessee distilling trade. More recently, Templeton Rye has made bank on the premise that its whiskey was once the favorite drink of Al Capone – not even remotely true.
None of this matters, really; you’re not supposed to believe it. It’s just window dressing, the equivalent of a pretty woman in a beer ad. You drink the beer, you get the girl, and we still drink the beer even though we all know, really, that we’re not going to get the girl. Continue reading “Just Sampled … Wild Turkey Forgiven” »