An intern weighs in…

August 31, 2012 § 9 Comments

As some of you may know, I’m gearing up to launch my own whisky, Brenne in the Fall.  This summer, I was lucky enough to have had Whitney Krueger interning while we worked through a variety of tasks to prepare as best as we can for Brenne’s release.  Constantly impressed by Whitney’s ability to quickly pick up the flow, goals, focus, ideas & concepts of what launching a new brand is, means and how that relates to Brenne, I thought it best to have her guest write a post this week to share her thoughts as her Summer internship came to an end.

The BRENNE Experience
by Whitney Krueger

As a twenty-something woman who has been out of college for a few years, I wasn’t sure I would ever contemplate the following question again: “What should I wear on my first day of school?” However, I just asked Allison Patel her opinion on the matter last week. In a few days, I am going back to school to get my MBA and am wrapping up my summer internship with Allison at Local Infusions. Hopefully, I’ll be back in fall, pending my class schedule.

In order to get a feel for the spirits industry and, specifically, the marketing side, I have been working on Allison’s single malt whisky launch of Brenne. I had previously worked in advertising and wanted to get an idea of what being in the spirit (and luxury) industry actually entails. I have long been fascinated with understanding why people order the drinks that they do: Can they actually tell the difference between a vodka soda with Ketel One or one with Gray Goose? If they can, WOW, I am impressed, but if they can’t, what made them choose one over the other? I would guess that it is about perception, which is probably at least partially shaped by marketing and that’s where I decided to begin.

Allison and I made the connection through a mutual friend and from the first time that I met Allison, I knew that I had a lot to learn from her. Not only did I fall in love with the quality & taste of Brenne, but I was ecstatic about working on a brand without preconceived ideas about what we could and could not do.

So, what have I been doing at Brenne? A little bit of everything. I helped to design the website and promotional materials, budgeted, brainstormed accounts, partnerships and events and wrote design blog posts amongst other things. The first part of this internship has been focused on the creative side, laying the groundwork and determining with few data points what may make Brenne succeed. What I hope to learn in school and the timing seems to be right for Brenne, is how to set up those events, postings and ideas in a way that lends to being measured. Being neither completely left brained nor completely right brained, I want be creative, execute and get quantifiable results.

So will people choose Brenne because of it’s flavor profile? Will the events that we are laying the groundwork for convert attendees into devoted Brenne loyalists? Will the target audience appreciate our fun and different approach and promotional items? We don’t know, but being able to measure those successes and potential missteps when the time comes, I believe is how a brand continually improves and eventually succeeds. It has been an honor to work at Brenne for the past few weeks and I am so excited to see our ideas materialize and, eventually, dig into the data behind that work.

Thanks everyone! ~Whitney

Here I am trying to figure out the best size for our awesome Brenne temporary tattoos

Meeting a Friend of Brenne in the pharmacy on the corner!

Me, Brenne friend Cindy, & Allison

We worked really hard and put in a lot of long days but Allison reminded me it was still summer with a surprise day trip to the beach on one of my final days.

Whisky & the passage of time

July 18, 2012 § 8 Comments

One of the things I have always loved most about whisky is the spirit’s ability to make me recognize the passage of time and take a moment to slow down a bit.

Hourglass by Marc Newson on

Hourglass by Marc Newson on

When I’m looking over a whisky, I often find myself wondering what I was doing _X_ years ago when what I hold in my hands or bring to my lips was first coming off the still.  I think it’s actually quite a powerful thought.  Unlike wine (my other favorite evening beverage) which is aged but only for a certain period of time that’s measured in months, whisky is (traditionally) aged for periods of time measured by years.

I find this particularly relaxing.  Our daily lives move so quickly now – with the internet, 24 hour news and the ability to connect globally with just the click of one’s mouse –  I find peace in the idea that my nightly ritual can not be reproduced on the spot the next day (like vodka can be … which blows my mind as to how it’s as expensive on the shelf as whisky and why consumers continue to allow the ridiculous “rise” of the vodka industry … but that’s another rant, er, I mean post for another day).  Back to my whisky.

I understand that the inventory economics are extremely hard for producers – how do they know how their brand will be trending in 5, 10, 15 years when what they’re making today is ready?  It’s a challenge for sure – and why some brands can fall into moments when they have big problems meeting demand.  Being someone who is gearing up to release her own whisky, I am constantly analyzing these aspects and appreciate this complicated side of the business as well …

However, on the consumer side of it, I quite like the idea that time stops when I take a sip of my nightly dram.  It’s a fun ride down memory lane – I dance back through the years and smile upon the memories & highlights and appreciate the “time capsule” gift that whisky continues to give me.

Whiskey Gifts: Father’s Day edition

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

Photo courtesy of 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

GIFT OPTION 2: Personalized Whisky bottle

Photo courtesy of Master of Malt

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

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


Photo courtesy of 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 .

GIFT OPTION 5: Vintage 1950’s-60’s 14k Gold Carafe

Photo courtesy of BellaLaineVintage on

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 (but act now because there is only 1!)

Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful dad’s out there!!!

Spring Cleaning: the moving of a 100+ bottle whiskey collection

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 😉

Photo for The Whisky Woman (c) 2012

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?”

Apparently not.

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?

Photo exclusively for The Whisky Woman (c) 2012

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.

sláinte mhaith


WhiskyLive NYC 2012 – REVIEW

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!

Photo (c) of The Whisky Woman, 2012

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, I snapped the above photo promised them I would be following up … and you bet I will be!  Asap.

Next stop, Balvenie!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

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?

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

Hey – are we taking each others photo!? Silly social media whisky geeks (myself included)! Smile!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

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 …

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Off to the Cocktail’s Live area!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

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?

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

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.

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

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.

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman

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!

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

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! 🙂

Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Off to Ward III we went!  It was another amazing night!  Congrats Dave Sweet for organizing yet another stellar event!  Slainte!

Whiskey Photography … under a microscope!

March 7, 2012 § 10 Comments

Last week, I was excited to click on a link from a friend to an article in the Huffington Post published about scientist Michael Davidson.  The article says that back in the 1990’s, Davidson used a high-powered microscope at the Florida State Research Foundation to photograph a variety of drinks – mostly of the alcoholic variety (fun!).

The results are really – well – stunning.   I’ve shared 2 of the whisky photos below as well as a piña colada, tequila & vodka tonic.  Before or after consuming one of these beverages – I might swear that I had just seen these hanging in the MOMA.  What do you think?  Can your favorite drink be both a work of art on your bar and on your wall?

Photograph of Scotch as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

The above is a photo of Scotch.  The article doesn’t say if it’s a blended Scotch or single malt though …

Photograph of Tennessee Whiskey as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post

This looks like abstract coffee beans to me!  But instead … it’s Tennessee Whiskey!

The next three are not of the whisky/whiskey variety but fun and beautiful nonetheless.  Enjoy!!!

Photograph of a Piña Colada as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

Photograph of a Vodka Tonic as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

Photograph of Tequila as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

Please click HERE to be taken to Huffington Post’s original article and to see more beautiful photos!

Whisky Water Trick

January 26, 2012 § 9 Comments

This is an odd one, folks, I’m not going to lie … but still very entertaining in it’s own way.  A whisky-loving friend of mine just shared this with me and since I was sucked in and watched the whole thing, well, I thought perhaps you’d enjoy it too!

Without anything further, I present to you the Whisky Water Trick.  Comment below if you’ve seen this, tried this, or are now contemplating trying this!

HOW TO: Create your own Whisky Tasting Party

December 5, 2011 § 13 Comments

I have been attending so many whisky events recently that it got me thinking: what would make these even better?

Answer: To be surrounded with my close friends.

So this holiday season, I offer you this: The Whisky Woman’s Guide to Creating Your Own Whisky Tasting Party .  It’s time to stop fretting and start celebrating!


Whisky (at least 3 different bottles, the more the merrier -for easy online ordering, check out Binny’s, DrinkUpNY, Astor Wines, BevMo, Park Ave Liquor, K&L)

Tulip Shaped Glasses  (to help focus your nose to the delicate aromas, check out Glencarin, -found HERE at Amazon)

Room temperature spring water (if you want to kick it up a notch, buy a dropper or 2 for easier control of the water-adding situation – found HERE at Amazon)

Unsalted Crackers (to cleanse your palate between spirits – also found HERE at Amazon)

Coffee beans (not necessary but I find very helpful when smelling lots of different whiskies during one sitting)

Opaque Container (for spitting and/or dumping – in a pinch, I use mugs – found HERE at Amazon)

Friends (this party can be done by yourself, but it’s WAAAAY more fun to dive into your whisky exploration with your pals around! – easily found HERE at Facebook) 😉


For the novice, familiarize yourself with the different types of whisky.  “Whisky” or “Whiskey” is the main category under which you have Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Single Malts, Blends, Irish, Canadian, Japanese, American Craft, etc.  If you are new to whisky, I suggest choosing bottles from different categories and going as pure as possible (single malts, straight Bourbons, straight rye) and not because there aren’t good blends out there (there are!) but because the authentic characteristics of each type of whisky are often more diluted or altered in a blend.


“Bring a bottle” – you can have each guest bring a bottle (though perhaps it’s best to confirm choices before hand so you can make sure you have some diversity)

“Vertical” – like a Vertical Wine flight, you can do a tasting of the same producer but different years

“Single category” – having different producers from the same category (like all Ryes or all Canadian whiskies) to start to understand the different nuances between the distilleries (think about their production methods and their climate & altitude locations as these effect how the whiskies age in the casks).

“Single Region” – look at trying Scotch’s all from the same area, Bourbons from just Kentucky or Tennessee

“Craft vs Mass Producer” – look for a small producer (perhaps one that is close to your neck of the woods?) and compare their product to one of the “big boys”

Feel free to get creative!  This is the fun part!


1) Pour whisky & pass around to friends

2) Observe color and clarity (murkiness is OK! If your whisky is cloudy, the distiller did NOT use chill-filtration before bottling which removes impurities but also removes flavors)

3) Smell!  Putting your nose gently above the glass (give it some space!) start to inhale and enjoy the different notes you find.  Get in there – move your nose around to different points around the mouth of the glass, top, bottom, sides, open your mouth as you inhale through your nose … this will help you find different flavors.  Move your head away from the glass, inhale non-whisky air, and go back in again.

4) Chew – Take a very small sip that is enough to prep your palate but not enough to swallow.  “Chew” it by moving it around your mouth, letting it dissolve on your tongue.

5) Taste.  Be taken away by the spirit!  Pay attention to how it changes as it moves around, how it feels once you’ve swallowed it and the lingering effect it leaves in your mouth (called the “finish”)

6) Be a chemist!  Time to add a few drops of water.  This helps to calm down the alcohol and bring out the more delicate notes of the whisky.  Nose it again than drink and enjoy!

7) Rinse and repeat!

Photo credit: Sebastian Yao, Fix It In Post, (c) 2011 for Local Infusions. Please respect the photographer and do not steal this photo and use illegally

“Lost in Translation” Suntory scene (with translation)

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

To conclude this week’s post: HIBIKI 12 REVIEW, I thought it best to end with one of my favorite scenes from the movie that inspired so many of us to seek out a bottle of Hibiki in the first place; Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

As an added bonus, I have also included the full English translation of the Director and Interpreter’s conversation below the clip (spoiler alert, it’s great!).  May I suggest before pressing play, first throw an ice-cube in your favorite rocks glass and top it off with a nice blended whisky? … enjoy.

And now, for the translation!


DIRECTOR (in Japanese to the interpreter): The translation is very important, O.K.? The translation.

INTERPRETER: Yes, of course. I understand.

DIRECTOR: Mr. Bob-san. You are sitting quietly in your study. And then there is a bottle of Suntory whiskey on top of the table. You understand, right? With wholehearted feeling, slowly, look at the camera, tenderly, and as if you are meeting old friends, say the words. As if you are Bogie in “Casablanca,” saying, “Cheers to you guys,” Suntory time!

INTERPRETER: He wants you to turn, look in camera. O.K.?

BOB: That’s all he said?

INTERPRETER: Yes, turn to camera.

BOB: Does he want me to, to turn from the right or turn from the left?

INTERPRETER (in very formal Japanese to the director): He has prepared and is ready. And he wants to know, when the camera rolls, would you prefer that he turn to the left, or would you prefer that he turn to the right? And that is the kind of thing he would like to know, if you don’t mind.

DIRECTOR (very brusquely, and in much more colloquial Japanese): Either way is fine. That kind of thing doesn’t matter. We don’t have time, Bob-san, O.K.? You need to hurry. Raise the tension. Look at the camera. Slowly, with passion. It’s passion that we want. Do you understand?

INTERPRETER (In English, to Bob): Right side. And, uh, with intensity.

BOB: Is that everything? It seemed like he said quite a bit more than that.

DIRECTOR: What you are talking about is not just whiskey, you know. Do you understand? It’s like you are meeting old friends. Softly, tenderly. Gently. Let your feelings boil up. Tension is important! Don’t forget.

INTERPRETER (in English, to Bob): Like an old friend, and into the camera.


DIRECTOR: You understand? You love whiskey. It’s Suntory time! O.K.?


DIRECTOR: O.K.? O.K., let’s roll. Start.

BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! (Then in a very male form of Japanese, like a father speaking to a wayward child) Don’t try to fool me. Don’t pretend you don’t understand. Do you even understand what we are trying to do? Suntory is very exclusive. The sound of the words is important. It’s an expensive drink. This is No. 1. Now do it again, and you have to feel that this is exclusive. O.K.? This is not an everyday whiskey you know

INTERPRETER: Could you do it slower and —

DIRECTOR: With more ecstatic emotion.

INTERPRETER: More intensity.

DIRECTOR (in English): Suntory time! Roll.

BOB: For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

DIRECTOR: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut! God, I’m begging you.

(Translation credit: What Else Was Lost in Translation By MOTOKO RICH)


And if you got through all that and want just a bit more, well, what could be better than a little “Lip My Stockings” ??  Amazing movie.  Great whisky.  Perfect for a rainy Thursday!

Pure genius.

Fabulous Fall and a Liebster Blog Award!

October 18, 2011 § 10 Comments

Hello friends!

The weather has finally changed, the sweaters are on and the whisky is being generously poured.  Yup, it’s Fall!  My favorite time of year.  And in all of this merriment, imagine my excitement (and surprise!) when my fellow blogger, A Hint of Garlic, nominated The Whisky Woman for a Liebster Blog Award!  Thanks so much, HoG!

The Liebster Blog Award is given to recognize your favorite up-and-coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 subscribers, and that you feel deserve more. It’s a cool way to meet more folks and learn some new things.

Rules are:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  2. Reveal your top 5 bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

And we are be thrilled to nominate the following blogs; 

Words On Whisky – a great, thorough blogger who writes about the whisky he drinks and his interesting experiences that define these events.


Champagne and Heels – an amazing fashion stylists who has a sharp eye for fashion and culture.  Her finger is always on the pulse (and tho she doesn’t mention it, she does love whisky so she’s definitely fly in my book!)


One Taste Rule  – seriously great eats that are seriously healthy (a great balance to my whisky-rich diet!)


The Glass and Bottlea “beverage” blogger who writes equally well about whisky, wine & beer – can’t go wrong on this site!


The Casksan awesome West Coast whisky blogger who will keep you in the loop on what he’s tasting and where you can get your “tastes” on too! Lots of other info in between – a great resource.

Thanks to all of you, my rock-star readers, followers & drop in’s – your support keeps The Whisky Woman going!
Many, many humble thanks.

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