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tanstaafl2

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About tanstaafl2

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    Atlanta, GA
  1. Eclipse Cocktails

    I will be in the 90% or so zone in Atlanta or so I hear and as I will be at a liquor and beer show that afternoon I will definitely be drinking! Might even find time to go out and look for a moment or two. In the early 80s a total eclipse zone essentially went right over my house near Atlanta so I have "been there, done that" and have no great desire to join the throngs predicted to gather for this one. So that's my excuse for a somewhat limited level of interest! Plus did I mention I will be drinking that afternoon? For free???
  2. Tales of the Cocktail (2017)

    Sounds like we might have been following each other around a bit! I also did Alexandre's Chamber of Secrets on Saturday morning. My Chartreuse session was also the second one I think (on Friday) so not sure about bottles the first session had access to. After stumbling out of Latitude 29 at what seemed a rather early hour of 11 or so I also made my way down to Cane and Table for some additional fortification that night.
  3. Tales of the Cocktail (2017)

    I survived despite being a Tales virgin! Foolishly did serious damage to myself at Latitude 29 on Monday before Tales even really got started. Violet Hour at Cure was fun. Got to try Foursquare Triptych, the 2006 Blend and new Criterion. Hope I can get a Criterion but the odds seem long. Did some great rum seminars (and some whisky and especially Chartreuse!) Shared a drink with the likes of Richard Seale, and Luca Gargano. Attended seminars with the those two and Jeff Berry, David Wondrich, Joy Spencer, Martin Cates and others. Not sure it could have been much better! By Saturday evening I had pretty much hit a wall (OK, maybe several...) so I was glad to have survived and ready to head home.
  4. No offense here! I freely admit vodka is not my forte. I suppose I was just waxing poetic and drifted off subject a bit! Vodka labeled by a brand could very well be made at some giant neutral grain distillery and bottled by Heaven Hill or perhaps redistilled by them before labeling. Hang on because I seem likely to start waxing poetic again! Wax On! The great overlord that is North Carolina' ABC Commission does note that JW Dant vodka is a Heaven Hill brand but that does not guarantee it is from the same distillery as the bourbon (which is currently distilled in Louisville, KY). Bardstown is Heaven Hills corporate HQ but the distillery burned down in the 90's and so all distilling was moved to Louisville when they bought a old and well known distillery there usually referred by its older name, the Bernheim distillery. And I have no absolute certainty with regard to where Bowman vodka comes from either. The information I posted is accurate for their whiskey but might not apply to the vodka. They also have a rum which I know is sourced from an unspecified Caribbean distillery but unfortunately that tells us nothing about the vodka either! There is a number that would be reasonably definitive which is called a DSP or Distilled Spirits Plant number which would help define the source (this site shows DSP numbers for many Kentucky distilleries for example). It is not without a few flaws either. Dant has a DSP on their Bottled in Bond or "BIB" bourbon but no DSP on their vodka as far as I know. Unfortunately it is not required to be on every bottle of alcohol made. I wish it was!. Typically it is found on things that are "BIB" which is mostly a few brands of straight American whiskey like the JW Dant BIB or Heaven Hill BIB 6yo. One exception used to be Lairds Apple Brandy which had a Bottled in Bond brand. Unfortunately they couldn't keep up with demand and now use some brandy that is young than what is allowed (has to be at least 4 years old) so they can't currently call it Bottled in Bond or "BIB" anymore. Wax Off!
  5. So I finally gathered the odds and ends from my recent trip to London and Paris last week. I stopped into The Whisky Exchange because I am able to get them to hold things for me and have always liked a lot of the store barrel picks. After picking up a Perique and a couple of Amer Picon Black Labels I moved on to their selection of store picks. Tried pretty much everything they had available to taste (couldn't have been too much as I could still walk afterwards! Well, sort of since the bar I was headed to was just around the corner). Ended up with their barrel pick of Redbreast from a sherry cask that had been aged about 15 years and was served up at a robust 59.9% along with a very tasty Kavalan that was perhaps 8 years old (which seemed pretty old for Kavalan given that didn't start making whisky until about 2006) that had been aged in an unspecified Islay whisky barrel. A nice touch of smoke without overwhelming the whisky I thought. Also at barrel proof but a bit gentler at 52.4%. The rest came from Paris and primarily from LMDW. Once their I quickly ran out of space to be able to haul it all back home in my luggage since I was flying steerage. You have to pack at least a few clothes because you can only turn your underwear inside out so many times before it starts to chafe... So I picked up a few Chartreuse elixir vegetal as well as a special green version Chartreuse 9E Centenaire because I am a sucker for unusual bottlings of Chartreuse. Came upon an Vulson Old Rhino French rye from Hautes Glaces which was likely something I wasn't going to see at home either so in the bag it went. Joining it was a Charon Armagnac from 1995 that was bottled in March 2017. I have had a much younger Charron before so I thought this older version deserved a try. Also picked up a couple of rums from their new rum store next door. One was a 6yo Jamaican Velier from the Hampden distillery at a modest 67% and the other was a special barrel that LMDW did of Bielle Rhum Agricole from Marie Gallant at 56% that is "extra aged" but not age stated. I did track down another Marc de Bourgogne from Domaine Dujac that is an Hors d'age but again not a specific vintage so may be a blend of several years. Finally I picked up a couple of Nikka from the Barrel at Duty Free because duty free selections generally suck these days but you just can't have enough Nikka from the Barrel! Oh, and the little sample bottle is from our visit to Compass Box in London where we went through a very enjoyable blending exercise with John Glaser using various components to create a personalized blend. Components used were all bottled in about 2016 and included a 2008 Clynelish, a Highland Blended malt aged in hybrid casks (something like Spice Tree as I recall), a 2005 Laphroaig, a 2005 Benrinnes sherry cask and my favorite, a 22yo Part Dundas grain whisky. I was tempted to just bottle that grain whisky! But I ended up blending all 5 with the Port Dundas as the base at 65%, 15% Benrinnes sherry, 12% Clynelish, 5% Spice Tree and just a touch of the young Laphroaig at 3% just to see if I could taste it. Now that it has had time to marry a bit I will see how it tastes.
  6. Bowman's distillery is located in Virginia and is owned by Sazerac which also owns Buffalo Trace in Frankfurt and Barton distillery in Bardstown. I am not sure whether Bowman's vodka is in fact made at the smallish Bowman's distillery in Virginia but I doubt it is made in Louisville. Buffalo Trace makes a lot of vodka (Wheatley, Rain) as does Barton so if it isn't made in Virginia then it may be from one of those two places. Maybe like the Bowman bourbon, it is made at one of those places and then redistilled in Fredericksburg at the Bowman distillery. JW Dant is a Heaven Hill brand name and while HH still have their headquarters in Bardstown the distillery burned down over 20 years ago. The bought a distillery in Louisville and now do all their distilling there. I did not even realize they made a vodka under the Dant name (they make several brands of vodka) as I have only seen the bourbon. Then again HH makes a couple zillion brand names and I rarely look for or buy vodka. I would guess that Louisville is where it is made. I know they make a Heaven Hill brand vodka. Probably just slap a Dant label on it for certain markets.
  7. Amer Picon & Torani Amer

    After some effort to query local bartenders in both London and Paris (where you would think they would know!) I came to the conclusion that there is no consensus. So I went with my original plan and brought a couple of bottles of the black label home with me. Among the many cocktails I had in both towns I don't recall anybody using Picon of any type in any of them. So I consoled myself by picking up a number of other bottles of odds and ends to include three bottles of Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal. Apparently you can buy the stuff in pharmacies in Paris (as you no doubt know) because it is still considered to be as much medicinal as it is a spirit. Works for me! Now I can at least do a SBS with the Bigallet and my homemade version compared to the Amer Picon Black Label.
  8. Drinks! 2017 (Part 1)

    Just returned from a cocktail infused quick trip to London and Paris where I had the chance to check out 6 (at least???) cocktail bars in the 4 nights I was able to go wandering around the towns. In London it was The Bar with No Name and Trailer Happiness (a tiki bar with the most delightfully tacky décor. Felt like I fell into the '70's). Then in Paris I tried the Experimental Cocktail Club, Little Red Door, Candelaria and Mabel. I liked them all but I think Mabel was my top choice this time as I was feeling rather rummy this trip. Wish I could remember all the different drinks but I am doing well just to remember all the bars!
  9. At a minimum! I go for the OGD 114. I already pay the local county to send water to my house so I don't need to pay Beam as well because I can add my own if need be!
  10. I am guessing that if the waiter had any sense by the second night he was drinking tea...
  11. Amer Picon & Torani Amer

    I am traveling through London and Paris briefly next week so I have been trying to figure this out as well. As best I can tell the Picon Biere with the orange label (which I often see used to replace the original Amer Picon in a Brooklyn and other cocktails) is really a French bitters intended for flavoring a lighter beer. Whisky Exchange also lists a Picon biere with lemon added but doesn't seem to have any regular Picon Biere in stock at present. The Picon Club is more similar to the Picon Biere but intended to be a bitters aimed at flavoring wine according to the blurb about it on Whisky Exchange. http://www.kindredcocktails.com/ingredient/amer-picon https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/p/5030/picon-club-a-lorange-liqueur-bitters-litre What I think I want is the black label bottle pictured above called simply Amer Picon, which I think is the vestige (perhaps recently revived?) of the once much higher proof Amer Picon that was used in many prohibition era cocktails and was cut down in proof in the 1970's to the current 42 proof. It is slightly higher proof at 42 pf compared to biere and club at 36 pf but a far cry from the former proof of pre prohibition era Picon that was at one time apparently as much as 78 proof. All speculation on my part. But going with a bit more proof, even 42 versus 36, always seems like the best option! https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/p/29350/picon-amer-black-label In any case the Black Label is the one I am going to try to find if I get a chance. I can always slip in a dash of Everclear to boost the proof if need be!
  12. The Brooklyn Cocktail

    I don't think of OO as softer or more mellow but every palate is different! By mellow to you mean the lower proof? Current day OO is a young, thin (3yo and 80 pf) Beam rye and Rit is BIB (at least 4yo and100 pf) Heaven Hill rye but both likely have the minimum amount of rye in the mashbill at 51%. I find OO to be a bit grainy tasting and a shadow of its former self. But Rit is typically a very bourbon-y tasting rye whiskey. Although the newer DSP1 Rit does have perhaps a bit more rye earthy/spicyness character to me than the Rit from a few years ago that was made down the road by Brown-Forman at DSP354 on behalf of HH.
  13. Wasn't sure if this warranted its own topic so feel free to move as appropriate. This is more of a "what I am thinking about buying" post! Picture of a selection of older bottles which I can't seem to find out much about. The Ponti Asti Liqueur in the gold box at the bottom right of this picture has left me a bit in the dark. Anybody know anything about it?
  14. Rhum Agricole: The Topic

    If you can get the La Fav liter bottle for about $30 you might be able to get the 3yo La Fav Vieux agricole ($50-$55 or so in California?) as well and have both for less than $100. Might even be able to squeeze in a 6 year old Clement agricole (Also maybe $50 or so?) in place of the La Fav Vieux and still be under $100. For the aged rhum I would consider the older clement which is probably about the same price and a little more proof. Also gives you two different distilleries to explore. The Neisson Reserve Speciale is very good but probably about $70 or so in California. It is a blend of different ages up to about 10 years. But it is also a 1 liter bottle and is at 100 proof so there is that! That would squeeze you in at about $100 (if you don't count tax... ). If you get a choice with the Clement go for the older 6yo with a bit more proof (88 pf) over the newly released "XO" version which is also 6yo but at a lower 84 proof. Likely plenty of the 6yo bottles still around.
  15. To be honest I have found I don't like it from the freezer and have moved it to the refrigerator. I am not sure what the traditional way to drink it is but I think it is typically drunk as just a room temp shot in Hungary and probably is not typically chilled. It is pretty piney and bitter though!
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