The New Year

January is a funny month in the retail business because everyone thinks it's a time when we can put our feet up and take a break after the holiday rush. Ironically enough, I've been more busy this last week than I was during any point in December. Why? Because around January 5th an assortment of invites and requests starts hitting my inbox, saying things like: "Hey, I hope you survived the craziness! Now that the rush is over, I thought it might be a good time to meet and talk about deals in the new year." Imagine that email times 100 and you'll understand why this week has been absolutely packed with appointments. Next week isn't looking much better, either.

That's not to say it's a bad thing. I'm definitely not complaining about being busy. I feed off of that energy and harness it into focused positivity, but eventually I'm going to run out of gas and just keel over. For that reason, I've reserved most of February for vacation; a chance to catch my breath and finally give my mind a rest. That being said, January is a great time to make deals happen; which is why I'm going to keep pushing for another few weeks. I know many of you saw the Bushmills email that went out yesterday, but in my haste I realized we forgot to mention that the 16 year old is finished in port casks and the 21 year old is finished in madeira casks. Do you know how good those whiskies are? It had been years since I tasted either one of those Irish stalwarts, but we popped a bottle of each yesterday and the staff went wild. The soft and red-fruited suppleness of the 16 year had our operations guys swooning. "I think I could drink the entire bottle," said Julio, our manager in the warehouse. I was a sucker for the 21, that rancio, burnt orange peel, oxidized explosion on the finish just did it for me. I was thinking: I could buy a bottle of the 16 and the 21 for what most stores just sell the 21 for. So that's what I did.

In any case, I'd keep my eyes peeled for more deals along those lines throughout the month. There are a lot of balls in the air right now, especially with Diageo. The new limited editions will be dropping soon, as will the latest batch of the Orphan Barrel. I'm hoping to finish up January with the launch of those whiskies, then quietly sneak out of the office for a few weeks until the dust settles. I did another D2D interview this week (which I'll post on Monday), and I've got two more lined up for next week. You can read the old ones in the archive I've created on the right hand margin. The potential for more volunteers continues to expand! Many thanks for the positive feedback many of you sent in after the David J post. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too. Speaking of that margin, I've also changed the tasting schedule from a calender to a link that takes you to the main website. I've got tastings scheduled for the rest of the month and into February for the San Francisco store. I'll have Redwood City wrapped up before I leave, so check back in there if you feel like tasting some free hooch.

No appointments today, so drop by the store if you want to say hello. You can check out the space-aged Ardbeg exhibit while you're there.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll