Pavlov's Blog

I'm getting a bit tired of reading blogs that require me the reader to comment in order to make the article interesting.  Guess what blog writers - it's your job to entertain me! However, more and more of my bookmarked pages are supplying me with fewer and fewer interesting stories to read.  I used to look forward to checking them like clockwork every morning, but now it's just "What are you drinking tomorrow?" or "What would you pair with this meal?" or some other question that allows the author to get away with another workless day. 

Blogs take work to keep people interested and these quick comment-seeking posts are NOT work, but they do seem to get people to interact more.  If they're in a hurry, then I'd rather they post nothing.  The question you have to ask yourself is: what is the motivation for these authors to write a blog to begin with?  Me, it's simple.  I run a liquor department, I like to interact with my customers and keep them satisfied, and this in turn results in good business.  Plain and simple. Keep people informed about what's going on and bring in more interested parties. Too many blogs these days, however, constitute little more than pure egoism (including this one from time to time!) because, let's face it, you have to be a bit full of yourself to believe that people actually care about what you have to say. 

Anyone who tells you they're just serving the people or some other sanctimonious horse crap is lying.  If the goal is to educate or entertain the public then there would be some informative prose rather than a short paragraph asking me "What do you think?  Please use the comment field."  I get the feeling that comment fields are becoming tools for authors to stroke their ego, a personal sign that what they have to say is important or perhaps a better way to grasp how many people are actually reading their blog. Provocative statements provoke encouraging comments from readers - "Right on!" "Way to tell 'em!" etc.  It's like ringing a dinner bell for self-esteem.

Personally, I don't want to read comments unless they continue an already interesting discussion or provide filler for originally broad details.  I think sometimes that blogs are measuring their success by how many comments their articles are getting and this results in more articles that are geared towards getting them.  Just like TV networks that attempt to grab a target audience rather than actually program quality shows, the outcome is boring and stale.  Let's get back to good journalism please! I need more interesting stuff to read when I wake up and lay in bed!  Besides, the best articles should be the ones that get zero comments because there's nothing more to add!

-David Driscoll

P.S. Comments disabled for this one!


Making Rye @ Old World Spirits

Just a heads up before you watch these videos: I thought that my vertical (or sideways view) on my new Canon camera would remain level on screen, but apparently that is not the case.  Therefore, when I turn the camera sideways, you have to took at it sideways.  There was no way to flip it around.  Next time I'll know.  In the meantime, watch these awesome hi-def videos of Davorin in action! Oh, and by the way, we got a bit tipsy making cocktails with his walnut liqueur - it is THE great mixer with brown spirits! Who knew?  I'm going to re-up big next week.  EVERYONE needs to get a bottle to mix with.


A/V - Week In Review #1


K&L Best of 2010 Awards: Bourbon

So many good bourbons this year, yet David OG and I were able to come to a unanimous decision on this category.  There was the fabulous K&L Four Rose's Single Barrel.  Our great double-barreling of Stitzel-Weller 18 bottled by Jefferson's.  The always stellar Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and, of course, the fabulous Van Winkle line-up.  Even with all these heavy hitters, David and I were left speechless by the return of high-proof, wheated bourbon to Heaven Hill.  Tasting it with Parker Beam at Whiskeyfest was a real treat and getting to hear his take on it ("It's supposed to taste like bourbon.  If it doesn't then I try again.")  was refreshing.

David D and David OG unanimously pick: Parker's Heritage Collection 10 Year Wheated Bourbon Batch #1 - Big, spicy, cask strength power.  Not overly sweet or rich, everything is in perfect balance.  Buffalo Trace is facing stiff competition now for top of the wheated bourbon market.  Don't miss out on this one.  Batch #2 is already replacing Batch #1.  It might be just as good, but we haven't tasted it yet so we don't know. 

-David Driscoll


K&L Best of 2010 Awards: Brandy

Cognac, Armagnac, brandy, what-have-you!  If it's grape-based and barrel-aged, then it all falls into this category and here are our picks for Brandy of the Year 2010.

David D picks: Marie & Fils 58 Year Old Single Barrel Cask Strength Cognac - I can't remember if I've EVER been excited about Cognac, a spirit that seems destined to be forever limited to "smooth."  Then Nic Palazzi walked in and said, "Try this."  Being a big bourbon fan, Palazzi wanted to bottle his Cognac like the American whiskies he tasted after moving to New York.  The result is a Frenchman who gets the American palate - we want it unadulterated! This is all from 1951 and it's all one barrel!  Only 257 world-wide.  Easily the best of the year for me.

David OG picks: Chateau de Laubade Extra Bas-Armagnac - The most critically-acclaimed brandy of the year was also a hit with David OG.  The depth of flavor had just about everyone who tasted it spellbound: rancio notes intermingled with sweet, fat, dripping textures of dried fruits flavors.  A benchmark Armagnac for those who appreciate it, or an eye-opener for those who don't.

In other news today, I got to taste with Val and JVS again this morning as we went through some of the new Signatory bottlings.

From what I tasted, I thought the 1997 Clynelish was a sure standout, full of everything that makes it one of my favorite distilleries - wax, citrus fruits, and oily notes - but this one has a tropical/banana creaminess that really drew me in.  I look forward to offering it along side the classic 14.  The 16 year old Bladnoch also warmed me up as I look to constantly expand our Lowland selections beyond Auchentoshan, Glenkinchie, and the occasional defunct Rosebank bottling.  This one had plenty of heather and a light, floral disposition.  A perfect addition to the shelf.  I also cleaned CVI out of their 19 year old Caol Ila Murray McDavid.  I got a good price so instead of the old price ($129.99) I'm able to bring it down to $105.99.  A great deal that I am sipping the rest of right now as I type!

Before we were done, being the nice guy he is, Val pulled out a sample of 1981 Brora Signatory Cask Strength - a whisky now long gone, but that I had really wanted to try.  I've been on a Brora kick lately because I love Clynelish so much and Brora has all the goods with a pinch of smoke.  I was so grateful to get a small taste of this: swirling stone fruits, salty oil and butter, peat in the background, but really hanging back, and a bit of heat on the finish as I didn't proof it down enough.  Very, very good.  Now that I've tasted two Broras in my lifetime, I'm definitely convinced that I love it.

-David Driscoll