Sunday, May 29, 2016


I've been a whisky drinker for a long time.  Back in my early college days I was something of a vodka connoisseur.  I had the desire to taste and try numerous vodkas to really pick out the differences and nuances.  I've always had this kind of curiosity but looking back it was a much less rewarding experience trying all of those vodkas than it has been doing the same with whisky and brandy.  At the time though I had no desire to try whisky, what I had tried was bottom shelf blended American whisky and I had no reason to think whisky could be much better than that so I stuck to vodka.  Brandy was even further from my mind, I thought of brandy as sickeningly sweet with few redeeming qualities. I had no idea just how wrong I was.

I was saved by Johnnie Walker.  Sometime during college I was invited to a Johnnie Walker tasting by a friend of mine.  It was an eye opening experience for both of us and wholly converted me over to a scotch drinker. I was a dedicated Black Label drinker and to my mind it didn't get much better than that.  Much as with my prior vodka experience though I had a curiosity to try new things and this led to trying the entire Walker line and eventually branching out into single malt scotch which was a world I stayed in for a long time.

Bourbon seemed somehow inferior to scotch.  This was misplaced but was a long held belief of mine which goes back to my terrible experiences with American whisky in college.  I didn't know the difference between bourbon and blended whisky and I didn't know about the strict quality of bourbon either.  Further driving my belief that bourbon was inferior were age statements.  Most entry level scotches were at least 12 years old while that was about the high end for bourbon at the time.  Older must be better right?  I didn't understand the differences that climate had on aging or the difference that using new oak versus a used barrel would have.  What finally brought me to bourbon though was my love of bourbon barrel aged beers.  Bourbon barrel aging does something magical to beer, something that scotch barrel aged beers never seem to be able to match.  Realizing this was the impetus I needed to finally give bourbon a try.  It started with Four Roses Single Barrel and I've never looked back.

Of course my love for bourbon didn't stop with Four Roses Single Barrel, it grew from there.  Along the way though, while I continued to educate myself about bourbon, I became curious about all kinds of other spirits.  There are a lot of fantastic whiskeys in this world and I really grew to appreciate and want to try all different types from American malt whiskys to Japanese rice whisky to whatever I could get my hands on.

It was through this journey that I found what these days are my two biggest influences.  When I was living in Los Angeles I stumbled across the K&L Spirits blog and SKU's Recent Eats blog.  I'm not sure which came first but together David Drisoll (of K&L) and SKU (obviously of SKU's Recent Eats) educated me not just on whisky but on Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados and all kinds of brandy.  This was a whole new journey and what ultimately led to me creating this blog.  I got so much out of reading what both of them wrote which only increased my curiosity and led to me wanting to learn more.  But there isn't a whole lot more out there, at least not that I've found.  The spirits blogs out there really seem to be heavily whisky influenced (let's face it, even this one is going to have a lot of whisky talk) but there are few doing quality writing on the incredible modern world of brandy.  While I can't promise quality writing I can promise reviews and discussions on brandy.  I don't know that anyone will get anything out of what I write but I hope one day someone will stumble across my blog, much as I did SKU's, and decide to take a chance on their first bottle of Armagnac.

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