The halflight of the late afternoon is permeating my apartment, giving the 80's new-wave I have pumping through my computer speakers a nostalgic glow that makes me sentimental. It's either the music, or the gin that's making me completely relaxed and content in this moment - perhaps a combination of the two. I've been making recipes from David Chang's Momofuku book all day, whipping up batches of ginger-scallion sauce and red dragon paste as I sip from the martini glass. I'm all over the place right now - the perfectly scattered mindset I sometimes require to pump out an interesting blog post. Here's the scoop:
- I didn't post about our second day at the UWE because there wasn't much more to tell. We hit the workshops and visited with people mostly. I've spoken with a few K&L customers who also attended and so far the feedback has been overwelmingly positive. Much like we heard from last years participants, the UWE experience is incredible as long as you're alright with the entrance fee. Some of our customers are already booking next year's trip.
- David OG and I did attend the Springbank seminar on Saturday, which was a blast. We went through several Longrow, Hazelburn, and older Springbank whiskies while hearing about the distillery itself. I took more joy out of watching the room marvel in the experience than I did in participating myself. Springbank is such an amazing distillery and I wish everyone could visit to see how fantastic their model is. The whiskies simply tower over other malts.
- Speaking of Springbank, two quick pieces of news - starting in 2013 they hope to source all, or at least a majority, of their whisky from local farmers. That means every whisky from then on would be a "local barley" release. That's f-ing insane. I hope they can pull it off. Another quick factoid - they have halted their single barrel program. This means that the 13 year old Bourbon cask and the 14 year old Madeira cask are the last two barrels we'll be able to source direct from the distillery. Snatch those up while you still can. They're going to need all their whisky for official bottlings starting now.
- Back to the martini I've been slowly ingesting over the last twenty minutes - wowee wow! The Faultine Gin is freaking delicious in a well-mixed martini. I need to start tinkering with a negroni next. Dave Smith, distiller for St. George, really out did himself. He made a gin that might out-do his own official creations. Dave, you're not supposed to make superior products for retailers! You need to save those for St. George! I cannot wait for this gin to drop. You're all going to crap your pants. This martini is concentrated with wonderful herbal flavors.
- Bruichladdich has come through with a replacement barrel for our Chenin Blanc catastrophy! Simon met with David OG and myself at the UWE this past weekend and we went through some candidates. There was a Jurancon wine barrel finish, a Calvados aged malt, and some other red wine-enhanced possibilities, but ultimately the choice was clear right from the get-go - a peated whisky from 2003 that was originally meant for the Bruichladdich 3D3 Peated release. It's beautiful and it will turn nine years old on April 12th. I'm excited to get this into the store and help Bruichladdich continue their dominance. I've really been impressed with all the post-2001 distillates from them.
- So where did the DOG and I taste these Bruichladdich samples? Most of the wine casks were tasted at the Frank Marino dragqueen Divas show in the Imperial Palace. What a fun time! Scotch and Cher! We got a lot of work done. If you're in Vegas, there's no beating $60 front row tickets with free drinks at the Frank Marino show.
- Speaking of Vegas, I will be flying back just to eat at Lotus of Siam. It's one of the best restaurants I've ever been to - anywhere. Not expensive, either. Just plain good.
Back to work tomorrow. Lots to do.