If you're looking fro some great Scotch to taste in SoCal this weekend head over to the Scotsfest!
Well folks, I just got some great news for everyone coming to Whiskies of the World. I have learned that John Lunn, Master Distiller for George Dickel will be joining us for the evening. I have not met John yet, but I look forward to spending some time with him at WoW.
There are so few Master Distillers that make themselves accessible to the public, and this is a great chance to meet one for yourself.
Join me in welcoming John to San Francisco, and I'll see you there!
It is a great time to be a peat-freak. The popularity of the bold and smokey malts has lead producers to create an ever increasing variety of expressions for us to enjoy. We're seeing new heavily peated, some say over-peated expressions from many distilleries that are coming to us very young. That coupled with new peaty blends and blended malts and there is a flood of new tastes to explore.
The latest Islay to cross my desk is Smokehead. This one, from Ian Macleod Distillers has just barely made it to US shores and apparently is flying off store shelves. It bills itself as an Islay single malt Scotch whisky without an age statement or distiller, but don't let that fool you, this is a bottle worth having. I finally got a taste of this new immigrant this week, and you can too at Whiskies of the World on March 27th.
I am way behind the news cycle. I just learned that Conellia Marie captian Phil Harris has passed. If I have any regular readers, they will know that I'm a fan of the Discovery Channel show, "The Deadliest Catch" due to my relationship to crab fishing here on the coast. Phil had been battling deep vein thrombosis (DVT/ economy class syndrome) and suffered a stroke while offloading.
Tonight my wife and I raised a Duck Fart for Phil.
Not so long ago a friend of mine picked up a bottle at the whisky shop in heathrow airport. Litle did I know that it would become my absolute favorite whisky and cement Caol Ila as my favorite distillery. Talisker and Caol Ila are responsible for my appreciation of peated Scotch.
2009 looks to be a great year for Scotch in America. Diageo has announced their line of 2009 Rare Edtions to be released world wide and there are some beauties in there (which we will talk about as soon as we get some).
Here is what the official releases say about this wonderful whisky:
With its abundant fresh sea air and robust, yet easy going disposition, Islay is birthplace to a unique malt Scotch whisky named Caol Ila (pronounced “Cul-Ela”).
The Caol Ila Distillers Edition finished in Moscatel casks creates an extraordinarily stylish and complex expression of Caol Ila; the Moscatel cask wood not over-evident; richly flavoured yet also drying and finely balanced.
UPDATE: "sources in Scotland" have confirmed that the list below is accurate, but no concrete details on which malts will make it to us here in the states. Also Caol Ila DE is coming to the states in October. Here's hoping we get to sample some of these newsmakers at WhiskyFest SF 2009!
A couple of days ago John Hansel clued us all into something special coming from Diageo regarding their malt whiskys on the 4th of September. This always leads to rampant specuation and more than a few google searches. I don't know exactly what is coming, but at least it has a name now;
The Manager's Choice Single Cask Selection.
In seven days, The Discovery Channel premieres a new season of The Deadliest Catch. That means it's time to practice layering Duck Farts again. I have loved this show ever since it first started beaming into my home in 2005. I'm certain that I feel such a connection with these captains and deck hands because I grew up next to the ocean. I spent many afternoons fishing off the docks at Pillar Point and talking with the guys working the boats. We still get our crab directly off the boats as our harbor is a hub for Dungeness Crab fishing.
When we first moved to California in December of 1980 we lived on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco for about two weeks. 1980 was a record season for Dungeness and we ate a ton of them. Coming from Utah, the freshness and quality of the crab was amazing. We moved to Moss Beach before the year was out and continued feasting on crab.
The focus is squarely on our favorite brown spirit and the products represented are predominantly whiskies. Brandy, Vodka, liquers and Rum make appearances but are in the extreme minority.
For us, it's a whisky wonderland.
Every one of these shows has its own personality and character. Some of that comes from the format, some from the attendees and a health chunk comes from the sponsors. People like John Hansel and Riannon Walsh work very hard to keep these three forces in alignment and aimed in the right direction.
WhiskyFest is very much an industy showcase. The major players and minor importers are on the same footing here. Everyone has the same space to work with, but that doesn't imply that the presentations are at all equal.
Mark and I trace the genesis of our whiskey adventures back to a science fiction convention in March of last year, but perhaps the biggest watershed for us was attending WhiskeyFest San Francisco in 2007. WhiskeyFest is an annual event hosted by Malt Advocate Magazine in
Once again proving that no sacrifice is too great, I boldly ventured on to the Jameson Bartenders Ball last night. Oh... what I won't do for my readers :)
This event is hosted By Jameson 3 times a year here in Northern California and last night was the last one for the year. It's a heck of a party and nothing like what I expected. I was imagining something with the lights up, music mellow and insiders chatting about products, promotions and other aspects of the spirits industry. This was just a wet tshirt contest short of spring break.
The drink menu was extensive: Jameson neat, Jameson on the rocks, Jameson and soda, Jameson and ginger ale, Jameson and cola, Jameson and American Honey or American Honey. All of the open bars were stocked with cases of Jameson and it was flowing freely.
Life has a way of pushing things around. Mine has been a roller coaster for the last couple of months and pushed writing off the cliff of available time. Now that Baycon 2008 is behind us and my release schedule at work is starting to gain sanity I can get back to writing of our adventures in the land of whiskey.
Bear with me, thar be great tales a comin!
Every field and venture has it's dangers. Being a whisky afficianado is no exception, and while some are well known (having a dram too many of the Laphroig and drunk-dialing an ex) some are a bit more...exotic. As a for instance, last October my esteemed WhiskeyBro Mark and I were perusing the plethora of possible pours at WhiskeyFest SF. If there was a bit of stagger to our step, well, it had been a long night. We encountered the Dalmore table with gusto, but not quite as much as the fiery Scot who walked us through the tasting. In fact, "fiery" and "gusto" don't quite do justice to the force we reckoned with. Suffice to say that we did not treat the Scotch in front of us with sufficient gravity, which resulted in, well....ice chucking. That's right ladies and gentlemen, Richard Paterson himself, award-winning, third generation, master blender for Whyte & Mackay threw ice at my brother-in-law.
There's a very interesting law being worked on in Sacramento:
This bill would also permit an out-of-state distilled spirits importer, out-of-state beer manufacturer, beer manufacturer, distilled spirits manufacturer, rectifier, beer and wine importer, distilled spirits importer, beer and wine wholesaler, or distilled spirits wholesaler to provide entertainment, food, and beverages to invited guests, as specified.
The current law limits these activities to local companies. Out of state (or out of country) companies are very limited in the ways that they can provide product for events. Product launches and promotions are very limited by the CA ABC. With this change we would be able to open up the market for sponsored parties and tastings to a much wider base.
Last weekend the WhiskyBros were faced with the difficult and dirty task of attending the Whiskies of the World expo in San Francisco. To make matters worse Mark was working the Johnnie Walker table which left me alone, in a room full of whiskey. As you can imagine, this put me in a quite an onerous situation.
While we will certainly write more about the event, the whisky, and the brilliant seminars the day before, I wanted to spend a minute on a new friend. High West Rendezvous Rye is a real treat, and while Ryes tend not to be my prefered dram, I've said before and will say again that good whiskey is good whiskey, whatever it is.
High West is a new micro-distillery started by a Californian named David Perkins, in Utah (of all places). Take whatever time (or drinks) you need to stifle your disbelief, that's where it is, and apparently, it's not a big deal to the locals. Even if it is funny.
I'm so happy St' Patrick's day is here again. The one day a year I can convince a large number of my coworkers to join me in some good Irish cheer. Every year I celebrate at the office by making a large pot of coffee, bringing in some whipping (or whipped) cream and a bottle of Irish Whiskey. I have a feeling that Guinness might make an appearance as well.
This year, in honor of Bushmills 400th anniversary, I wll be making them with Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey. I was considering going with Bushmills Black Bush or Bushmills Malt 10 but settled on the Bushmills Original for economic reasons.Not the least of which is that I can get a full liter of Original for less than a 750ml of the other two. Also just to sweeten the deal a little bit more, I'll bring in the Carolan's Irish Cream. I normally stock Bailey's Irish Cream but I'm out at the moment and the Carolan's was a very good deal at Christmas.