Welcome to Full Glass Class!!

Whisky.com has a new blogger.  Me.  Why?  Well, because I opened my big mouth while enjoying a cigar and conversation with the master of Whisky.com, Michael Castello.  After waxing proudly about how I’d like to get on a soap box and lay out my thoughts on whisky, Michael offered me the chance to do just that, here.

There are already plenty of bloggers out there already doing what they do better than I ever could.  To be honest, I don’t want to do what they do (although I’m glad that they do it.)  So, why am I relevant and what can I offer you?  To be honest, there are tons of people who know more about whisky than I do.

Whisky distillation?

I don’t make a thing.  I’ve never even been to a scotch distillery.  I’ve heard the process explained a dozen times and I’ve forgotten it that many times.
Am I a big collector?

I’ve got a lot of bottles but I’d barely make a blip compared to the big boys.  I know folks who have been collecting for 30 years and practically have whisky museums.  There are billionaires who buy old Dalmores like they’re bubblegum.  Not me (sadly).

Encyclopedia Whiskytannia?

I can barely remember where my car keys are when they’re in my hand.  I google.
Expert taster?

I can hold my own, but some people do that for a living.  They are better, that’s why they have books.
So what am I good for (if anything?)

Ever since I started the LA Scotch Club with my friend, I have become a whisky mentor, not a whisky master, but a friend that knows what you need to know, even if you don’t know that you need to know it yet.  I started a scotch club because I wanted to share what I knew, and I wanted to learn from others.  My friend and I knew there was more to know but we didn’t know where to begin.  What do we buy?  Where do we buy it?  In time, I got a better idea, and now I’ll share with anyone who cares.

What I’ve become pretty good at is showing people who love whisky how to be whisky lovers.  I’m the buddy who’ll lay the truth down.  If a whisky is bongwater, I’ll tell you to avoid it.  If it’s great, I’ll tell you where to scoop it up at the best price.  If you don’t know what you’re looking at, I’ll explain it to you.  If there’s juicy whisky gossip, I’ll dish it out.

We’ve all been to whisky tastings to learn more, but the instructors’ goal is to sell, so there’s a conflict of interest.  Every distillery has a representative advocating for their brand.  I’m an advocate for you, the whisky drinker.  I’m just a regular guy who loves good scotch.  I don’t get freebies mailed to my door and I’m certainly swimming in tank of gold, so I have to make sure that the whisky I buy is worth it.  My friends share what they know with me, and hopefully I can do the same for you.

In the whisky world there’s BS, there’s exaggeration, and perhaps even worse.  It’s all fun and games until some poor chap such as you blows a Christmas bonus on a $200 bottle that tastes like a wet sock.  I promise that I’ll do my best to be honest and forthcoming.  If I was a bit more urban and could pull it off, I’d say I was going to “keep it real”.  I can’t, so “honest and forthcoming” it is.
And there we have it. I’ve just whined for two minutes and offered you nothing.  I’ll do better next time.  Let’s just pour a dram.

2011 IRONDRAM CHAMPIONS!

We have a winner! Six proud independent bottlers entered the IronDram Colosseum in downtown LA with their handpicked gladiators. Eighteen scotches available in the Western US market were poured into a new bottle so that everything could be tasted blindly. The bottlers entered a scotch each of the three tiers: Low price (Star Wars tier), Mid price (Breakfast Mascot tier), and High Price (Gilligan’s Island Tier). Our blind tasting participants didn’t even know which tier was being tasted. All bias was gone, the scotch tasted, and the votes counted.

A.D. Rattray won the low tier with Ben Kenobi, which was revealed to be a cask strength Cragganmore 14. Our reviewers noted that with water (it runs hot) some fruit notes come out as does a faint hint of peat (is there any peat? We don’t know for sure)

Chieftain’s annihilated the mid tier with Cap’n Crunch, a cask strength Caol Ila aged 14 years in a Jamaican Rum barrel.  Our reviewers found heavy and obvious peat, yet with a bit of sweetness hiding within. Mmmm.

Gordon & MacPhail won the high tier with The Skipper, a Glen Grant aged 21 years. Our reviewers thought it had a great sherried nose and just about everything you would expect in a sherry beastie like this one. 

So we had three winners in three categories but still had to pick out which company was going to be the overall IronDram champion. We tallied up all of the scores to get a grand total, and it was a close one. Chieftain’s just barely squeaked by A.D. Rattray and are our 2011 IRONDRAM CHAMPIONS! Congrats to both companies and to Chris Uhde of JVS Imports, who selected Chieftain’s winners.

Special thanks go to our contestants: Chieftain’s, Duncan Taylor, A.D.Rattray, Signatory, Gordon & MacPhail, and Hart Brothers.