June 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
So in my week of back-to-back whisky events, I was told that I must attend this soiree (don’t you love friends who insist you join them out for wild, chic, crazy nights?). And, in my theme of doing “heads up” posts on what’s going down around town, I thought I ought to include a little ditty about this… after all, there will be booze & burlesque … how can you go wrong?
Click HERE for more info.
See you around. -WW
June 11, 2012 § 8 Comments
Ok gang, we have 1 week until it’s the day we’re to be giving thanks to our Old Man … and if you’re like me, you haven’t bought anything yet – not even the card. (Ok, perhaps you’re just saying that you haven’t “found the right thing yet” but we all know you gave it a 2 second google search and then were on to the 10 new emails that just reloaded in your inbox). We’ve all been there… I’m not judging.
Instead, I know exactly how you feel. But don’t worry – if you act now, you just might manage to give him the PERFECT Father’s Day gift on time … whisky style.
GIFT OPTION 1: Whisky Tasting Set from Master of Malt
Chose from over 25 different specialized sets – including a “Cigar Lover’s Tasting Set” and a “Father’s Day Gift set” which can be shipped out of London in 24hrs. Act quickly before they’re either sold out (as some are) or it’s too late! Available online at MasterOfMalt.com
GIFT OPTION 2: Personalized Whisky bottle
So you wanna be a baller? Now’s your chance. Give your dad a bottle of whisky (chose from 16 different whiskies from a variety of producers and prices) that’s personalized JUST FOR HIM! Now that’s one way to upstage your siblings … 😉 Available online at MasterOfMalt.com
GIFT OPTION 3: Subscription to Whisky Magazine
Give him a 1 or 2 year subscription to Whisky Magazine and let him keep up monthly with all the latest whisky news from around the world! Available online at WhiskyMag.com.
GIFT OPTION 4: The NEAT Glass
Keep your dad up on the latest nosing glassware trends and get him a set or two of the NEAT glasses! Available at TheNeatGlass.com .
GIFT OPTION 5: Vintage 1950’s-60’s 14k Gold Carafe
Picture this filled with ice water sitting next to your dad’s Double Old-Fashioned glass 1/2 filled with his favorite Scotch. The Wall Street Journal is folded in a slight mess on the floor and if you keep your eyes closed just long enough, you can almost feel the worn leather of his favorite chair and hear his favorite song being hummed in the background… and if that’s NOT your memory of him, make it his reality! At only $12 USD + shipping, you can’t afford not to! Available at BellaLaineVintage on Etsy.com (but act now because there is only 1!)
Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful dad’s out there!!!
May 31, 2012 § 6 Comments
Congrats! You’re moving! Now, what to do with all those bottles you actually want to bring with you and not just consume in one debaucherous night?! Relax, I’m here to help. 😉
Having just moved my rather sizable whiskey and wine collection (200+ total bottles) – I have a better idea now how to do this compared to just a few weeks ago and in my “I’m back to blogging and getting back to life” post (really titled “Spring Cleaning” click HERE) I was asked by Chuck over at the Whiskey World Tour blog if I had any tips for moving one’s collection. Turns out, I do! Too many to write in the comments section so I thought it best to list them here.
Not assuming we’re all starting out with the same base knowledge about this – some of these tips may seem obvious but better to be safe then sorry!
For the quick, get-it-done, rather spend the money not the time person:
- Assess how many bottles you have that are open (don’t risk it, if the seal is broken, just treat it like it’s in the “opened” camp)
- Buy a box (or 2, 3, …) of the 1 gallon size Ziplock bags for your shorter bottles and the 2 gallon size for your taller bottles (I personally like these: Ziploc Double Zipper Freezer Bag and these: Ziploc Resealable 2 Gallon Size) for all of your open bottles. You can do this for all of your closed bottles too if you’d like for just a little extra security.
- Place all of your open bottles in the appropriate size Ziploc bag (ok to turn the bag – not the open bottle – sideways to get the fit nice & snug (see photos)).
- Buy the appropriate number and size packing boxes from either The Spirited Shipper or a similar company. These are specially designed for precious – but heavy – alcohol bottles and I think they are GREAT.
- Follow the packing directions provided by The Spirited Shipper and seal with a healthy amount of heavy-duty packing tape (like THIS one by Scotch)
- Before sealing the box entirely, move it around a bit. If you feel like the bottles are not completely secure or you hear them moving around (even if they are “just” hitting the cardboard sides) add packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or rolled up socks -clean preferably.
- If you see a good amount of space between bottles, you might be able to fit in some of your smaller, 50ml UNopened bottles here if they are well protected and don’t interfere with the packaging around the bigger bottles.
- Buy a set of white (not clear!) printable labels (like THESE by Avery) and print in big, bold letters: FRAGILE – WHISKY (or FRAGILE-HEAVY) and insert an “Up” arrow graphic (like THIS free one from Veryicon.com) –Believe me, you’ll thank me for this step – it’s a huge time saver verses writing all over the boxes
- If I had thought of step 8 before I finished packing, I would have done this not only for the whiskies & wine, but also would have made a stack of labels with the each of the rooms where I wanted the movers to place each box (i.e. “OFFICE” “KITCHEN” “BEDROOM” etc)
- One final tip – using a big bold marker, number all of your boxes and keep a list for yourself (perhaps you will organize it like: “Kitchen – 30 boxes OR: Whiskey- 5 boxes). You don’t want to run the risk of having anything accidentally left on the truck!
For the “I have some time and am trying to save some money” person, try these revisions!/span>
1. STEP 4 revised:
- Instead of purchasing new boxes, ask your local liquor & wine shop if you can grab some boxes after their next delivery. Make sure you inspect the cardboard thoroughly and don’t use any that feel at all flimsy or unstable.
- Also take a look at the inserts – grab as many as you can (if you can’t use them on your spirits, perhaps they’ll come in handy for your dishes or something else).
2. STEP 5 & 6 revised:
- Assuming your whisky collection has bottles of various sizes, you’ll need to spend some time making sure you package all of the bottles of similar sizes in appropriately sized boxes. Get the height of the box as close to the top of your bottles -but not under!- and don’t let a single bottle touch another.
- Use towels, socks, your crazy collection of used wine corks (I did this!), anything that is soft to help secure each bottle in it’s place. Shake that box hard to make sure you don’t hear movement, if you do – add more packing materials.
- If the top of the bottles don’t come up to the top of the box when closed, fill in the top with folded towels or something light but strong. These boxes will get stacked on top of each other and any space left in the top will cause that box to dent when under pressure, causing all of the boxes on top of that one to tilt, or worse, fall.
3. STEP 8 revised:
- Fall in love with your Sharpie marker. You’ll be making lots of “Up” arrow drawings, writing “FRAGILE” and “HEAVY” and “LIVING ROOM” all over these boxes. But it’s okay – you’ll get through it! Pour yourself a quick dram and let the drawing begin!
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you are embarking on a journey that requires you to go through the above – or similar- steps, then I wish you all the luck and patience. If I have left anything out – I’ll be sure to reply/comment/update as necessary.
Here is a photo of my 750ml, 9 1/4″ tall bottle of Bruichladdich in a 1 gallon size Ziploc baggie. I like to pull the baggie over the bottle hard enough that it creates a bit of pressure and holds that cork (or screw cap) securely in place.
Here is a photo of my 750ml bottle, 12″ tall bottle of Tom Lawless that is too tall for the 1 gallon size Ziploc but a perfect candidate for the 2 gallon size. If you can’t close the zipper bag without it tearing – the baggie is too small for that bottle.
Please share your own thoughts/experiences/questions/ideas below. I definitely do not have all of the answers – nor can I or this blog take any responsibilities for your brown beauties should something happen to them during your own move. I just hope you can find some of these tips useful!
May 29, 2012 § 16 Comments
First, I must thank everyone who during this month long blogging hiatus of mine have continued commenting, checking in, reading & reacting to posts and conversations previously initiated here. You all inspire me daily.
Secondly, I must apologize for this month long “walk off” – I wish I could say I was busy traveling the world, exploring hidden distilleries and finding the hidden whisky gems of the world – but alas, I was smacked in the face with the reality called “life” (and no, this was not a TV show that realized just how cool I actually am and bombarded my life to film it)… no, it was nothing like that.
Instead, I moved. And had a big birthday (which I kind of forgot to celebrate…). And went to San Francisco. And then to Seattle. And placed very large orders for corks, bottles and the like for my own whisky brand that I’ll be launching in the Fall. And then tried to build a website. And, did I mentioned I moved? I hate the whole packing/unpacking thing. And I will forever have immense sympathy for anyone moving into an under-construction or still-being-renovated apartment as I have just done. The unpacking thing sucks – but it’s even worse when you are physically not allowed to do it and forced to live in chaos.
On the plus side – MOST of the whiskies have been unpacked! Only 5 boxes of bottles left 😉
On the day of the move, one of my neighbors sent me this text: “Funny how all of your boxes say: Fragile-Whisky or Fragile-Wine … do you not own anything else?”
Above is what’s left to unpack (eek!). But below is what the other side of this room looks like … can we all share a spa-like “ahhhhhh” moment?
It’s a work in progress but luckily as the contractor wraps up and we’re allowed to start moving into other areas of the apartment, we are whittling away at our fortress of overstuffed cardboard boxes and starting to get settled.
Preferably this will all happen in classic Mad Man style with a glass of whisky in one hand…
My apologies again for my absence, it seemed to be the perfect-storm of crazy big life changes on top of the rush-to-get-everything-done-before-summer-starts typical Spring season that was not just a ridiculous time for me but for many. On that thought, I hope you all will join me in a little toast to ourselves this evening.
April 13, 2012 § 6 Comments
Anyone who knows me or who follows me on twitter probably knows that I attended the WhiskyLive NYC show this past Wednesday as I was practically jumping out of my skin with excitement! And this year surely did not disappoint.
It’s one of my favorite nights of the year – a time to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and drink some seriously stand-out drams. And may I just give my sincerest apologies to everyone who I either didn’t mention here or didn’t have a chance to visit. I could have easily used another 4 hours!
My first stop was quite intriguing … Notch Single Malt Whisky from Nantucket. Notch partners with Cisco Brewers who makes a special beer for them from Maris Otter malt (which has an interesting history for a grain & according to Wikipedia, is “acknowledged right across the brewing world as the finest-quality malt available”). This beer, or wort, is then moved to the Triple Eight Distillery to distill in a small copper pot still where just the heart cut of the distillate is used and aged for 8 years in ex-bourbon and finished in French oak Merlot wine casks from local Nantucket wineries.
Now, this was a really enjoyable dram but what I can’t understand is the price. $888 for a 750ml bottle. I am sure they didn’t have the price match the name of the distillery to be cute … but I just can’t get my head around this! Remember, this was my first stop so I know my brain was still quite sharp – but I didn’t hear them mention the addition of 24k gold or a unicorn horn as a “gift with purchase” so not wanting to further interrupt the interview they were doing with Gregg from DistilleryAge.com, I snapped the above photo promised them I would be following up … and you bet I will be! Asap.
Next stop, Balvenie!
Now you know you’re a #WhiskyBadAss when you show up to an event with your own malting floor! David Stewart and team, you guys are my heroes. (If you missed it, check out my earlier post of my visit to this distillery HERE)
I always enjoy my time with the happy and wonderfully talented Balvenie crew. David and I caught up over a beautiful glass of their 14yr Caribbean Cask Single Malt which was divine. They actually bring rum over from the Caribbean in tanks – not in casks – and fill their casks with the rum for 6 months. Once they have their barrels perfectly seasoned with the rum, they remove it and replace the rum with their 14yr single malt to finish for 6 months prior to bottling. Pretty cool, huh?
Hey – are we taking each others photo!? Silly social media whisky geeks (myself included)! Smile!
The Whisky Peddler. Only available online HERE out of the World Of Liquor store in New Jersey. Unbelievably yummy. Patrick is smart. He purchased two very interesting casks from notable distilleries in Scotland; one from Glen Grant and one from Highland Park. You may ask (as I did) why buy his whiskies over buying a 14 year directly from the producer? Because for both of these malts, he purchased the casks and kept them aging only in their ex-bourbon casks – no sherry finish on these beauts – and let me tell you simply – wow. I was really happy standing here. And at $52 or $60 / bottle, it keeps me baffled by the $888 price tag on the Notch …
Off to the Cocktail’s Live area!
A toast with Kat Valentina – the fab mixologist from LA who was brought in to serve up a very tasty creamy-whiskey cocktail:
2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey, .5 oz Sambuca, .75 oz Rum Chata & 2 oz of chilled coffee
… can we say mid-show pick me up?
Whisky & chocolate – a great pairing. Lucky for us, the hyper-talented chocolatier, Roni-Sue, was there serving up her unique bonbons and pairing them with such lovelies as Laphroaig and Basil Hayden! I loved their Dark & Stormy truffle: dark chocolate ganache that features Goslings dark rum, fresh ginger and lime zest – all I tasted was pure deliciousness.
Glen Garioch paired up with Murray’s Cheese, an excellent cheese shop in NYC (and luckily right down the street from me!) to create a cheddar that pairs specifically with the Glen Garioch whiskies. HOW COOL IS THAT!? I’ll be there tomorrow picking up a good wedge for this weekend! The whiskies are great – balanced, smooth and perfectly complimented by the tangy-creaminess of the cheese. At this point, though, it was too crowded and my glass was too coated with other whiskies to get accurate tasting notes but I’ll definitely be picking up a bottle on my next Scotch-run.
Finish off with hug, dram and special (secret) Bourbon-Ball (a dark chocolate & Smooth Ambler bourbon bon-bon) from John Little, head-distiller at Smooth Ambler, and it was time for the after party!
Now I don’t know how you travel to an after party … but I’m the kind of gal who likes to arrive in style so if that means negotiating a limo ride for some whisky for myself and my beloved whisky-family, like Balcones’ Chip Tate, Compass Box’s Robin Robinson and Kat Valentina … then so be it! 🙂
Off to Ward III we went! It was another amazing night! Congrats Dave Sweet for organizing yet another stellar event! Slainte!
April 6, 2012 § 14 Comments
Between the rain and the recent snow, there were a few beautiful, dry, warm & sunny days in Scotland … and I was lucky enough to have been a visitor during just those days!
After an incredible tour of Forsyths, the Scottish still makers (see my post on that visit HERE), next on the itinerary was a visit to another place in Speyside which has a deep place in my whisky-heart; Balvenie.
Not only was I lucky enough just being there – but my travel buddy (head distiller of Balcones, Chip Tate) and I were given a private tour by Balvenie’s Malt Master (aka, head distiller), David Stewart and their distillery ambassador, David Mair. And if that wasn’t enough – David Stewart was also in the midst of celebrating his 50th year at Balvenie! Congratulations, David!!!
We truly had a lovely afternoon walking the grounds, geeking out about all things “whisky” and of course – drinking some seriously special drams – a few of which David poured straight from the barrels into our open palms. Luckily, slurping was acceptable because I wasn’t letting a single drop hit the floor!
Below is a collection of photos that I took during the visit. Hope you enjoy!
The Balvenie Castle … not exactly where we were trying to go (it’s not that close to the distillery) but it is quite cool to see. Thanks to Google Maps for accidentally taking us here first!
Oh the Scottish weather!
The sign says, “Welcome To Dufftown” …. phew! Back on the right road and almost there!
We made it!!!
This is the view with our backs to the distillery. Isn’t Scotland just so pretty?
The Malting Floor. One of only about 3-5 distilleries left in Speyside who still have an active malting floor. It’s a lot of hard work, manual labor and expense for these distilleries to maintain so it’s a real treat when you get to see one with your own eyes. Highland Park is another one who malts some of their own barley. I don’t know if there is a single distillery left who currently malts 100% of their own barley… if you know of one – please share in the comments below!
Love their old, red grist grinder!
Inside a giant mash ton
This is what they’re talking about when they say, “wooden wash backs.” Not many places ferment their grains in wood anymore. Stainless steel is far more common.
Check out their shiny gold (ok, brass) spirit safes! This is where the distillate cuts are made. Meaning that during the distillation process, the distiller uses the switches and the hydrometer (the device that reads the % of alcohol content) to move the new make through the stills, the low wines receiver and the spirits receiver. Fancy, huh?
Sorry – no photos allowed of the aging rooms (though they were really cool!) – we need to let that liquid gold get it’s beauty sleep! Off to the tasting room we go!
This was the “planned” tasting round … but as luck would have it, the cabinet doors were opened up and we were treated to a few bonus rounds! David & David gave us to some really special pours which I’ll certainly share my tasting notes to later … so stay tuned!
Needless to say, it was a really special afternoon. Thank you David, David and Chip for the laughs, whisky and lasting memories. This day will stay with me for a very long time.
April 3, 2012 § 3 Comments
Oh man am I excited!!! It’s that time again – WhiskyLive is coming to NYC next week on Wednesday, April 11th.
If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet – especially all of you whiskey/spirit bloggers – do so now! WhiskyLive by Whisky Magazine is not the event to miss. With over 230 different whiskies being poured and the USA PREMIER of the CocktailsLive show (featuring whisky cocktails created by some of NYC’s top bartenders – awesomeness!) this is something I seriously look forward to year after year. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!!!
Go for the whiskies, the networking and this year for the addition of the CocktailsLive show – all included in the price of a basic ticket (and did I mention a full dinner buffet?)!
Ready for your discount code? Here you go! Just enter: ww2012 in the promo code at check out to receive 10% off of your VIP or Regular ticket. (Code is case sensitive – please note there are no upper case letters). Click HERE for more info and to see the list of Master Classes.
If you’re going to be there – let me know in the comments and include your twitter handle – I’ll follow you!
(oh, and since I know you want the inside scoop, the industry after party will most likely be at Ward III in Tribeca … but you’ll have to follow me on twitter for real time confirmation – where ever it ends up though – you can bet I’ll be there!)