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  1. The Premise and the 2005 arrived in Atlanta but the one I really wanted a resupply of, Dominus, has for some reason not appeared. That was the bottle I brought back from Barbados that I really wanted more of!
  2. That's it! A Samarkand Balsam. That led me to this link. Serge was intrigued if ultimately not in favor. I could at least swallow it but otherwise his description seems pretty spot on. OK, not the best thing ever by any stretch of the imagination (although I would choose it over Malort!) but certainly unusual an interesting.
  3. A well made margarita using quality ingredients is always a good thing, whether it be blanco, reposado or anejo. Different? Sure. But still good! That said, I do tend to drift towards a reposado. But perhaps a s a whiskey drinker that bit of barrel influence is hard for me to let go of. And a good anejo I typically prefer to drink as is. No adulteration necessary! 3 oz reposado tequila 1 oz Cointreau (or Solerno blood orange or perhaps even better to me agavero orange) 1 oz Damiana liqueur 2 oz lime I like my margaritas big! A well chilled glass and minimal ice Or better yet a rare occasion to use a non ice chilling method. I have these silly glasses with water in the walls of the glass that you can freeze. Works well and prevents excessive dilution!
  4. The "Americanino" that he describes at the end sounds rather delightful for the summer to me! Will have to give it a try. Ingredients:2 oz Cinzano bianco vermouth 1 oz Amaro Braulio (or other Alpine-style amaro. if you don't have it he suggests a 50-50 mix of Fernet-Branca and Montenegro ) .5 oz Splash sparkling water Coupe, chilled Garnish: Swatch of thin-cut lemon peel Directions:Add all the ingredients, except the sparkling water, to a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Top with a half-ounce splash of chilled sparkling water and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.
  5. I should think the freedom to distill if you wish to is rather more civilized, not less!
  6. Not a purchase, at least not by me, but a gift from a friend who knows I like odd spirits. This one does indeed fit that category. It was apparently sourced from Uzbekistan and I presume made there as well. But that is about all I know. Cork broke as soon as I tried to remove it so it has been transferred to a new bottle. But it makes an interesting enough display on its own. Spirit inside is a dark brown spirit with a rich herbal , earthy, mild to moderate bitter character but very hard to pin down exactly what. Pretty sure it is not a brandy so I presume it to be a neutral grain/vodka base. The person who bought it had no clue what it was and the label is of little help to me! What little of the words I can read is of no help and my Cyrillic is a little rusty... Anybody here have any idea exactly what this might be?
  7. Dilution that doubles a cocktail that starts at 3-3.5 oz pre dilution seems like a lot of dilution to me! One size doesn't fit all for cocktails of course but the bartending pros on the board can better comment on that. If you are getting that much dilution in just 15-20 seconds of stirring then perhaps your ice is on the wet side or else you need to stop using a curling iron for a stirrer!
  8. Playing with a variation on a Martinez as much to feature a new (to me) vermouth one of my favorite bars had in stock. Nice solid mouthfeel with some salinity and almost a hint of olives to me (but that may just be my imagination!). Have to say I really enjoyed this one! 1.5 Oude Genever (cut back from 2 oz to let the vermouth play) 1.0 Vermouth Silvio Carta de Sardegna vermouth 0.25 Maraschino (Luxardo) 2 dashes Bokers Bitters Lemon twist
  9. 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???
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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