Busy Thursday

Staff tasting with Ardbeg and the guys from LVMH first thing in the morning.  They have to make sure that the top Ardbeg account in the U.S. is up to date on their product.  Our new guy Matt needed to be briefied as did our new phone guy Sal.  Corryvreckan at 10 AM?  Mmmmm......

Lincoln Henderson's bourbon project landed today as well. The well-hyped Angel's Envy showed up at 11 AM to our warehouse and I scrambled to start placing orders for all you folks that ordered one yesterday.  Still a good amount left over for the general public to try as well.

At noon, my boy Todd Smith from Pacific Edge rolled in with boxes full of new booze to taste.  Todd was one of the founders of Bourbon & Branch and, as an experienced bartender, I really love hearing what he has to say about the latest goods.  We tasted some new rums that both of us quite liked (including some from the makers of Zacapa), but I was most excited about this:

Hot damn!  Watch out Carpano Antica, you've got a new competitor in the world of Italian vermouth.  From Eric Seed and Haus Alpenz, the guys who brought you Dolin and Cocchi Americano, comes a better, sweeter, more bitter, more concentrated Italian sweet vermouth that costs less than Carpano ($18.99) and in my opinion tastes even better.  What a bombshell!  It also comes in half bottles!  Can't wait til this comes in on Wednesday.

Todd also brought a new A.D. Rattray bottle of 20 year old Bowmore that I really fell for.  It's smoky and peaty, of course, but so much more retrained than the other big guns.  This has a lot concentrated sweet cereal notes and fruit that I can't quite put my finger on.  Complex and haunting.  Should be $105.99 when it hits.  That's pretty reasonable for a cask strength 20 year old.

After Todd, Rich, and I hit Martin's West for lunch, I had to get back for a late-afternoon meeting with Montanya distillery, a high-altitude outfit in the Colorado mountains making rum from cane sugar.  I was pretty surprised at the quality and immediately bought some for both NorCal stores.  I've heard that Martin Cate at Smuggler's Cove is quite fond of these so maybe head over there if you want to get an idea of how to mix them.

After I ran upstairs to place a few orders, I had to come back down and taste the Arran line up that for some reason had avoided me until now.  All the K&L staff members had tasted while David OG and I were in Scotland, so I needed to play catch up.  The Arran malts are all very solid and they're so well priced.  Where am I going to put all of these?  They have a 14 year, a single bourbon cask, and a single sherry cask, in addition to the 10 year that we already carry.  They all have well-balanced flavors of grain, sweet vanilla, and stonefruits.  More stuff to buy.  Add it to the list.

Now that I'm home, I'm going to call up my buddy Erik Ellestad and do a podcast about cocktails for this week's show.  Erik just finished working his way through every drink in the Savoy Cocktail book, so he's got a lot of info to share with us.  No rest for the wicked.  Back to work.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll