Pre-Prohibition Cocktail Night w/ Jennifer Colliau & Erik Ellestad @ Martin's West - Monday June 21st 7 PM $15-
I may have just found the all time greatest deal in spirits since I have worked at this store. As I was heading out the door yesterday I got stopped by one of my favorite vendors who wanted me to taste a couple of mezcals. I went back into the store and obliged him and was very impressed with both the blanco and the reposado. All organic farming from the the small village of San Juan del Rio where we also source a few other bottles on the shelf. The price, however, was too low to be believed. I thought he had to be joking. "How much do you want?" he asked me and I froze. How much is going to be enough and how much is too much? Mezcal is the smallest section in our store and it is so underappreciated despite my attempts to push it and my own personal love of it (I probably drink it more than I do whiskey). I think I'm going to go balls out and buy one hundred bottles of each and do a massive email about it to the big K&L list. If you want to get into mezcal but don't want to pay Del Maguey prices, I understand and this is going to be your big chance. I am going to get two bottles that I could sell for $50 and sell them for $20. They are very very good and my co-workers were all in unanimous agreement. Get ready.
Not enough info lately to justify sending out an email to the Whiskey Email list, so I'm just going to add a few things to the blog here.
- I just brought in Highland Park 15 because I got a good deal on it via a bulk combo with the 12 and 18. Lowest price I found on the internet was $54.99 and so I put it at $52.99. That's cheap if you like Highland Park. I won't be ordering it again once it's out, so take advantage of the sale.
- Speaking of Highland Park, we're toying with bringing in the new release of the Highland Park 40 year and we have worked out a deal where you can have the brand manager come over to your house and taste you and your friends on the entire portfolio if you purchase the bottle. I think it's around $3000, but that's pretty nice of them to offer I think.
- Speaking of toying around, I was playing with the idea of starting an old and rare whisky section much like we do with the wines. I'm not sure how into that most single malt fans are, but there are some auction houses for retail out there that have things like 1974 Ardbeg. Maybe by the end of the year I'll have a collection of bottles no longer available behind my newly remodeled jewel case. If you don't want to buy them at least we can all look at them and dream, right?
- Going to send an email out soon about the cocktail event coming up at Martin's West on June 21st. I'm thinking $10-$15 a person for an evening with Jennifer Colliau and Erik Ellestad. Jen makes the drinks and Erik tells you about classic drinks and their evolution. Fun.
That's it for today.
Why are these bourbons so expensive and why are they such a big deal? That's exactly what I thought when I first saw these whiskies on a store shelf. At that time in my life a bottle of Buffalo Trace was barely affordable for me, so by comparison it made the Willett seem astronomical and exorbitant. When I started working here and got a chance to taste them, I still didn't quite get it. But, as with all wine & spirits (and basically everything else - food, art, literature, etc.) you have to put things into context. It's not until you taste Van Winkle, Four Roses Single Barrel, and George T. Stagg that you realize how amazing the Willett bourbons are. I really love the Van Winkle bourbons, but the wood on the 15 and 20 are simply too overpowering for me at times - too much vanilla and sweetness. I enjoyed the bottle of Stagg that I had, but the heat is simply too much and I was never able dillute it to a point that I found preferable. To me, the ideal whiskies are those found in the Willett collection - and they are never the same. Always single barrel, always cask strength, and always breathtaking. The Willett family has made an artform out of sourcing great whiskey - an underrated skill these days. At this point in time, the Willett distillery is still out of production, although my sources say they are getting closer to finally reopening. For the meantime, I've really taken a liking to what they find. Ever heard of Black Maple Hill? You know that whiskey that we sell the s--t out of? That's Willett. Noah's Mill and Rowan's Creek? Same deal. These are all different labels that contain awesome bourbons sourced by the Willett family. They are always a balance of sweet wood and corn, earth and spice, power and elegance. They are never cheap, but they are never disappointing either. They come in a variety of ages and we get what we initially put in for. Once they are gone, they're gone. Single barrels don't yield enough for everyone nationwide. They're all here right now, so for bourbon fans this is the time.
When the Cocchi Americano dropped two week ago, I didn't expect it to be a big deal, but it turned out that many a bartender had their eye on this and were anxiously awaiting its arrival - we sold out in a day. What we know today as Lillet is a lighter, more mild and easy going version of what used to be known as Kina Lillet - a far more bitter and expressive vermouth that contained quinine. It was (is) a main component of the Corpse Reviver #2 cocktail and stands well on its own with a splash of soda and a slice of orange. The Cocchi is an Italian version of Kina. This is a low-alcohol, wine-based aperitif that does what so few purported aperitif's seem to do: it enlivens your palate and your appetite. What a concept! This is the original Americano, produced without a break in the Piedmontese town of Asti since 1891 and made according to an entirely natural recipe, which includes white wine aromatized with many herbs and spices, and no artificial coloring, flavoring or additive of any kind. It is produced in limited quantities and matured for a year before being put on sale. Think of it as white Campari! I am currently enthralled with it.