February 17, 2012 § 6 Comments
Here’s a good one! $20 = 3hrs of whiskey tastings, cocktails & Jambayala
If you’re wondering what to do this weekend – head on over to one of my all-time favorite stores: Le Du’s Wines for an awesome tasting event with a little bit of Mardi Gras goodness!
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 from 4pm-7pm
600 Washington Street (between Leroy & Morton)
See you there!
December 21, 2011 § 8 Comments
I just spent a full week checking out the whisky scene in the sunny city of Los Angeles, California. On my last day, I was driving around like a crazy person (as you do in LA) trying to squeeze in a few last store visits.
Up until then, I had really only be focusing on specialty shops (K&L for example) and authentic whisky bars (hello, Seven Grand) but I found myself sitting in a parking lot in Beverly Hills staring at a somewhat dingy looking store that, for whatever reason, I felt I was being gravitationally pulled to enter.
Sigh. Ok! I hop out of the car and go into what I would describe at first look as being a pretty standard American liquor store. Neon signs, branded posters, old linoleum floors complete with a faint smell of cat (or is the cat smell only in my memory?).
A quick overview of the room tells me the liquid gold that I’m looking for is in the center of the store (interesting … whiskies are usually along the sides or back walls). Hmmm. I keep walking.
At the start of the aisle, there is a cheap, locked display case that I’m quite sure was been held together with discretely placed duct tape. Now, here’s what I didn’t expect to see in it:
1 beautifully displayed 750ml Baccarat crystal decanter holding non-other than the Louis XIII cognac for around $2500 (see earlier post about this spirit HERE)
1 box (on the bottom shelf, tucked off to the side) of a Compass Box 50ml Sample Gift Set.
Gasp. WHAT!?! I have never seen this kind of set in the States before… ever. SOLD!
This is the perfect way to familiarize oneself with a brand, style, region, etc. I picked up a few sets like this from La Maison du Whisky in Paris back in July (see earlier post HERE, reviews of the sets I bought to be posted in 2012).
In this Compass Box set, it contains five 50ml tubes, one of each of the following:
-1 x Hedonism
-1x Peet Monster
-1x Spice Tree
-1x Oak Cross
I also really appreciate the pull out information card that is secured on the underside of the box lid. This is beautifully done, clean, well organized and a perfect gift … for oneself or someone special!
Sadly, a quick google search produced only one place online with stock and that is a single sellers on eBay (click HERE) but I’m not even sure that’s legal and that guy is selling his box for $89.99 (compared to the $49 I paid at full retail).
IF you can find one – I encourage you to buy it. It’s a great set. I’ll definitely be asking my local store later today to see about getting a few in stock!
Lastly, here’s the information for the store from which I purchased this awesome set:
Vendome Wine & Spirits9153 W Olympic Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Hopefully they can ship to you!
1 ADJUSTMENT SINCE I FIRST PUBLISHED THIS POST: I HAVE SINCE HEARD FROM COMPASS BOX AND THEY OFFER THIS SET FOR SALE IN THEIR ONLINE SHOP HERE: http://compassbox.specialitydrinks.com/
WITH SHIPPING TO THE USA (FROM THE UK) YOU CAN GET IT HOME FOR AROUND $64 USD.
November 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
If you live in or plan to visit NYC, read on! These two events are different and interesting enough that I wanted to give others a chance to attend instead of doing a post-event review. (See, aren’t I nice!?)
These are hosted by Le Dû’s Wines … who has been building quite a nice collection of whiskies over the last 6 months and are taking this recent addition to their shop quite seriously (which makes me happy!). You may remember me giving them a shout out earlier this month for hosting the exclusive Louis XIII tasting I blogged about HERE. …
Get out your calendars are read on!
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7th
Click on the box above to be taken to their site or call 212-924-6999 for reservations.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15th
This next event is FREE but invite only and space is extremely limited. Consider this your personal invitation. If you are interested (and why wouldn’t you be!?) email JT Robertson (jt at leduwines dot come) asap for a spot.
Here are the details: Free but invite only Signatory and Cigar tasting on December 15th. Signatory’s Brand Manager will be tasting 8 or so awesome single barrel Scotches in a super swag cigar shop in Midtown (complete with a smoking lounge, of course). What could be better? Get on the list now to get the full scoop!
THANKS for the 411 JT!!! You know you’ll be seeing me behind a whisky glass! Can’t wait!
August 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
Can’t believe the timing on this but if you read my post earlier this week about Balcones (HERE) and are intrigued by these awesome whiskies, there’s a FREE tasting TONIGHT from 6pm-8pm at Astor Place Wine & Spritis!
Love. Summer. Fridays.
Whisky distilled from blue corn! Blue corn whisky smoked with Texas Scrub Oak! American malt whiskey made from barley smoked with peat, cherry, and beechwood! This Friday at Astor, fight your way through the throngs of whiskey nerds and taste these truly innovative, utterly unique, mind-bendingly delicious new spirits.
6:00-8:00 | This event is free
**Announcement originally posted HERE on nycwhisky.com**
August 2, 2011 § 8 Comments
I had the HUGE pleasure of spending time with Balcones head distiller Chip Tate this past weekend.
What. a. cool. guy.
After a marathon 6 hour talk-fest on Friday (interspersed with food and whisky, of course), we picked back up Saturday evening to do a ridiculously fun whisky “tour” of lower Manhattan (Angel’s Share, Astor Place, Brandy Library, you get the idea) where I got to play sidekick to him sharing his mighty fine spirits with the owners & sommeliers of these lovely establishments.
Here’s the inside scoop – the always interesting, super smart Mr. Tate was here finalizing his NY distribution channel. Bottom line: BALCONES All-American Texas Craft Whiskies WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN NYC! Woohooo!!!
Check out this photo of his products front and center on the Brandy Library bar…
Here’s why I dig it:
1) Balcones makes everything themselves by hand, Chip even made the copper stills (yup, he welds copper).
2) They are the only distillery using artisanal Blue Hopi Corn (as opposed to generic white or yellow corn) which lends a much more refined and rounded flavor to their spirits (think Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese vs a gourmet Mac ‘n’ Cheese made with Gruyere & a bit of bacon … riiight). Makes a difference. Try the Baby Blue whisky or the cask-strength version, True Blue.
3) Small barrels lend a hint of those caramel & buttery notes we love from oak-aging but Chip doesn’t let it overpower the corn notes. The finished products are perfectly balanced with layers upon layers of delicate flavors.
4) One of the products in their line-up is Rumble. It’s fermented Mission Figs, Texas Wildflower Honey & Turbinado Sugar. On the nose, I find an interesting bouquet of rich honey, iris flower, and a hint of smoke/black tea. At 47% abv, this is no wimpy spirit – but it’s really fun to drink and experience the flavors rolling over your tongue. There is no category for this product. It’s its own thing … kind of like Balcones.
5) Last but not least, I need to mention the Brimstone whisky. He smokes the whisky. Let me repeat, he smokes the whisky – not the grains – the actual distilled liquid. It’s a secret processes, rightfully so, and he’s smoking his blue corn whisky with Texas scrub oak. Let me break it down further: it’s Texas BBQ in a bottle… with a side of corn bread. You just need to try it for yourselves. It’s a very unique experience and in my opinion, it rocks.
A nod to tradition fueled by their independent & adventurous drive.
Job well done. Welcome to NY.
PS – I also confirmed my visit to his Texas distillery in September… Stay tuned!
July 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
Need I say more?!?
This is the mecca of all things great. It’s where Parisians and Whisk(e)y come together under one (ok, 2) roofs. La Maison du Whisky (LMDW) is legendary. They have one of the best collections of whiskies from all around the world, including a back room with extremely rare and few-of-a-kind bottles at their store on 20 rue d’Anjou. If you’re in Paris, you must plan to spend time in both of their stores.
La Maison du Whisky (original shop)
The original La Maison du Whisky boutique is situated in the 8th arrondissment at 20 Rue d’Anjou. Located in one of the chicest neighborhoods in Paris, this sexy shop is on the ground floor and so beautifully designed you’re going to want to move in (and that’s not just the whisky talking!). It’s elegant and soft minimalistic design in grays and browns are the perfect backdrop for showcasing their collection. Further more, I can’t help but mention the wonderful people who work there. They were happy to answer any question and help in any way (and most speak English fluently).
*A bit of a warning, what we thought would be an easy find turned into a bit of a “tourist in headlights” moment. It is Paris, after all, and all of the street curve, turn, end and turn into something else, or don’t intersect where you think they might. Long story short, bring a detailed map.
LMDW Fine Spirits (2nd shop)
Their second store in Paris, appropriately names LMDW Fine Spirits, is located in the über cool 6th arr. in the neighborhood of Odéon. Located at 6 Carrefour de l’Odéon, this recently opened 3 story beauty is well worth the visit. Very different from it’s sister store, LMDW features a wide variety of all spirits, not just whiskies. The main floor features a large, rotating themed collection that is framed perfectly in their massive windows (during my visit, it happened to be Whiskies of the World – woohoo!). The basement level is where the buyers really flex their muscles and stock some of the coolest and most unique spirits I’ve ever seen. The 2nd floor, however, is where the magic happens. This level is set up like a bar (in fact, I was ready to pull up a stool!). It’s part concept store and part functioning bar, used only for tastings and special events. Otherwise, as was described to me by their manager, it’s the best setting to get yourself in the mood to purchase their beautiful edited selection of bar accoutrements! Cocktail shakers, anyone? (You may not need one but in that setting, you certainly believe that theirs has magical powers to turn you into the best at-home bar tender the world has ever seen!)
By the way, if you’re in Singapore … I here the LMDW store there is pretty amazing too!
July 20, 2011 § 7 Comments
Hello Whisky Lovers!
Apologies for my month away – I was traveling in France (I know, you all feel terrible for me!… and I thank you) tasting some UNBELIEVABLE whiskies which I will be blogging about over then next few days/weeks. I have to admit, I thought I would miss my computer and find times to logon and touch base with reality, however, once I was there I realized that I certainly couldn’t be sitting behind it! Especially not when there were so many Japanese (and Australian and French) whiskies to try and fresh baguette on every corner! But alas, I am back and excited to bring you this fun announcement!
Published first on GrubStreet.com – check out their review of the very new Whiskey Shop (below or click HERE).
Whiskey Brooklyn Team Opens the Whiskey Shop
7/15/11 at 4:10 PM
Ninety-nine bottles of whiskey line the walls.
Because “there are not enough nice liquor stores, especially in Brooklyn,” the team behind Whiskey Brooklyn, Whiskey Tavern, and Whiskey Town has opened a pint-size liquor store to further “spread the brown gospel” says partner John Wiseman. The retail space, located next to the entrance to Whiskey Brooklyn, might be the country’s first whiskey-only storefront. Its tiny dimensions (288 square feet) mean it’s floor-to-ceiling brown spirits, a rotating collection of 99 bottles with an emphasis on domestic and local labels. Whiskey nerds will like the two varieties of Suntory Yamazaki, while neophytes might prefer the easy-drinking, specially brewed Tom Lawless house whiskey. And, “for those rare times when whiskey isn’t enough,” says Wiseman, there’s a curated lineup of one vodka, one gin, one rum, one tequila, and one bottle each of red, white, and sparkling wines. See the full roster of spirits here.
The Whiskey Shop, 44 Berry St., nr. N. 11th St., Williamsburg; 718-384-7467
Now that I’m back – I know where my next local-excursion is going to be! Whiskey Shop, here I come!!!
June 11, 2011 § 9 Comments
I was asked on Twitter the other day what stores in NYC have the best whisky collections.
I wish I could have shared a more “secret” shop; a cool, hidden, underground, off the radar type of store that you only know about through word of mouth and need a secret code to get in …. however … I have yet to find that one (or maybe that’s where the small door around the corner leads to!).
Here is the truth of the matter: if it is sold in NYC chances are the sales rep’s first stop is Astor Place Wines & Spirits. As an Astor employee told me the other day: “if it’s out there – it’s on our shelves” In addition to a multiple whisky-dedicated floor-to-celling shelves, they also have a few free standing locked cases with some very expensive, high-end and rare whiskies. They also have a great ecommerce site and can ship to lots of states (bonus!)
The second place to try is Drink Up New York. Located in Brooklyn, I have yet to venture out to their brick & mortar shop but have purchased from them online.
Another – and most “secretive” of the bunch – is Le Du Wines. Not only is it a fabulous wine store (#1 by Zagats 2011) but I know that Jean-Luc Le Du is personally on the hunt for some rare, less seen whiskies. He will be beefing up his true craft bourbon & rye stock to launch early Fall. I am going crazy with excitement to see what he brings in and how he improves on his ever-impressive and evolving inventory. Visit the store in person any Saturday from 4-7 to stumble upon an awesome (& typically free!) wine tasting event. And it usually is an event.
Of course – the other mecca for fantastic, amazing & a truly complete Whisky/Whiskey selections is Park Avenue Liquor Shop!
Is there a shop in your neighborhood that stocks your favorite rare whiskies? Share below!