Giving Thanks Around The World – Part I
This is my brother, David OG, resting in a state of complete peace and harmony on a boat, while cruising along the Caribbean coast of Barbados circa 2013. This guy and I have been all around the world together. The fact that we get along and love each other so much is a godsend. I couldn't think of a better person to travel with and do my job alongside. I've been going through old photos lately, trying to organize them a bit, and possibly turn them into an album of sorts. It got me thinking: I'm so thankful for the global relationships David and I have made over the last five years (we just hit the anniversary as spirits buyers), so I thought it might be a fun time to go back—seeing that the holidays are upon us—and give thanks to both my partner (the Notorious DOG) and the folks all over the world we've met on this crazy journey together.
Since we're already talking about Barbados, let's give thanks to the locals down at the rum shack who taught us the proper way to drink in the Caribbean. Banks beer, shots of Mount Gay, and a carefree attitude. Have fun talking about your collection of rare cask strength rums in this place.
Since I'm getting all sentimental on you, I'll even break my own rule and share a few pictures of myself. The first time we went to France I couldn't wait to run through those vineyards. When we drove through Burgundy I made Charles Neal—our importer for all things French—pull the car over and let me out. "I'm going to frolic in those fucking vineyards, Charles," I said, "And there's nothing you can do to stop me." I give thanks to the French countryside for continuing to inspire our work each day.
A hearty thanks to the village of Montreal-du-Gers in Gascony; a town that David and I have come to call home. It's our base of operations in Armagnac and a place we've both come to feel quite comfortable over the years.
Thanks to Simone, Charles Neal's mother-in-law, who always keeps us fit and fortified during our stay in Montreal. She's a saint.
And thanks to her son, Bernard, who stuffs us like the pigs he slaughters daily by hand. His food is maybe the best I've ever had—anywhere, anytime, anyhow, anyway. This man can cook like no one else I've ever met.
Thanks to le chat, who always seems to find his way into my room each time we stay in Montreal. This cat cracks me up. The owner of the hotel always apologizes for letting the cat sleep on my bed, but I think it's great. This little guy bites the shit out of my hand, scratches me, and follows me all over the guesthouse when we stay there. We've become good friends over the years.
Thanks to the Claverie family—the people behind Baraillon Armagnac—who always treat us like kin each time we visit. David and I want to fly Laurence (the daughter standing to the right) out to California for a mega-tasting event. She's the sweetest person in the world.
Thanks to the Camut brothers, Emmanuel and Jean-Gabriel, who have hosted us year after year at their grandfather's house in Normandy. We've sat around that table, roasted meats on an open fire, and drunk apple brandies dating back to 1941 together. The time we've spent with those two French giants (literally, they're huge men) has been some of the most memorable in my life.
Thanks to the Esteve family, who always provide us with incredible, ancient vintages of their heritage each time we visit their estate in Cognac. Jacques continues to be one of our great partners in the Petit Champagne region.
Finally, thanks to Charles Neal, who treats us like family when we travel through France, and allows us to party with his family each time we stay in Montreal. David and I are both very blessed to have you, Simone, Bernard, and the rest of the gang on our side each time we stay in Armagnac.
We'll be raising a glass to you all this Thanksgiving.