A second experimental from Glenfiddich – XX



Some of you may recall our second podcast where we tasted the first in Glenfiddch‘s new Experimental Series: Glenfiddich – India Pale Ale Finish.

Well, I was fortunate enough to be given a wee dram of the second single malt in this series. This time Brian Kinsman, Malt Master at Glenfiddich, set out to create something that had never been tried before, a sort of ‘Mystery Box’ single malt. Twenty of their whiskey masters/ambassadors where brought out to the distillery and let lose to pick their favorite barrel. Then it was Brian’s job to find the right blend, using all 20, to create this whisky, XX (Twenty).

Just us as we taste something special whisky lovers – especial Speyside whisky lovers, should be on the lookout for in the near future.

Sláinte!


Boylan Birch Beer – Special Guest!



Recently I had a chance to turn my attention to a regional soda – Boylan Bottling’s Original Birch Beer. My fourteen year old nephew was visiting us from France and inquired what Birch Beer was. And instead of settling for just describing it as ‘similar to root beer’ we decided to sit down and taste it.

We picked up a four pack of Boylan’s – the recipe of which dates to 1891 – it was their first product, although in a serum form, not the soda we enjoy today. Using cane syrup, as opposed to high fructose gives their Birch Beer a distinctively heavy, full-bodied mouth feel. If you enjoy craft root beers – you definitely need to reach out and explore this North Eastern U.S. product.

Cheers!

 

 


The man, the myth, the legend – David Stewart, MBE, malt master of The Balvenie



While there are hundreds, if not thousands of people who’ve been in the ‘family’ of distilling and making single malt Scotches (as well as blends), there is really only a handful of people (or arguably none) who have had as much influence as David Stewart, Malt Master at The Balvenie for over 50 years. Besides developing the practice of finishing whiskies (with the 12 year Doublewood – which he developed before the term ‘finishing’ was termed for the practice) and developing all the single malts at The Balvenie. He also consulted in the design of the Glencairn whisky glass, now considered the preeminent piece of glassware to enjoy the spirit. So valued is his work that last year he was bestowed the title of Member of the Order of the British Empire (or MBE).

A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with David Stewart for a few minutes after an intimate tasting he led at Jack Rose Sallon in Washington, DC. Take a few minutes (bear with the background noise) and listen to the words from one of the true legends in the history of Scotch Whisky as we discuss his ‘favorite’ single malt from The Balvenie, some of the process that makesThe Balvenie the distinctive and world renown single malt we enjoy today – and he sets the record straight about the Kininvie distillery‘s origins.

Cheers!


Krupnikas! Sveiks!*



Almost two weeks ago (sorry to just be catching up on posting so many recordings ‘in the can’) Page & I had the pleasure of having her cousins, Claire & Aris, visit for the weekend – primarily to watch the Cubs-Orioles weekend series. They brought us some lovely housewarming gifts – the first of which we tasted together for this podcast. Also joining us for this podcast is our friend, and fellow Cubs fan, Maureen.

The gift – Krupnikas, a traditional Lithuanian liqueur made by combining grain alcohol, honey, and spices. ‘Legend has it’ that it originated with Benedictine Monks in Belarus, and is know by simply Krupnik both there and in Poland. Krupnika(s) has a long tradition of being made on household stove tops, with family recipes playing a major role.

The Krupnkias that we enjoyed come from The Brothers Vilgalys Spirits in Durham, NC. Naturally their story started around their own stovetop, and then was founded as a business in 2012. They still keep a lot of the family tradition alive as the bottles are all hand marked, with both batch number and the name of the bottler (ours was Michelle, Batch No. 114)

Their business is growing and (especially if you live on the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic) you may be able to find this near you.

Sveiks!*

*Which I believe is how you spell the ‘Drink up!’ Lithuanian toast we enjoyed.


BTWOE* – Part 6 of 10 with The Whiskey Room



We’re now past the halfway point of this series and have returned to Scotland and Single Malts. Christopher Rhodovi from The Whiskey Room & I were able to sit down, taste and talk about #5 in the BTWOE* series** – The Glenlivet 12.

#5 on the list is The Glenlivet 12, which was the first legal distillery under King George IV’s new regulations – founded in 1824. With a storied history – including a legal case against many imitators – The Glenlivet prides itself on collecting many older ‘vintages’ of their The Glenlivet 12 whisky, comparing it to their current production and ensuring it’s as close to ‘the original’ as possible. Chris pours a ‘heavy hand’ and we both get off topic of the The Glenlivet 12, but at least stay on the subject of whisky. apologies if we went a big longer than usual…

We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.

Cheers!


Three Blind Wines – #3 and the Reveal



Though a busy end of the week and jam packed weekend prevented me from posting, the Baroness and I were able to conclude our ‘Three Blind Wines’ crossover series with my other podcast –  Wine, Women, & Song last week.  [If you are starting here – stop and go back to the first in this series.]

We conclude this mini-series with a tasting and review of ‘Big Meaty Red’ #3. Once more having no idea what the wine is, didn’t stop us from throwing out our guesses (we both agreed on it being New World, Australian Shiraz). I was very eager to get to the reveal of all three wines – which we did with surprising results. Regardless we both were in agreement that all three wines are fine choices for the Baroness to select from for WWS. Tune in to their August episode to see which one she selects.

Cheers!

Campo Viejo Rioja 2012

Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz 4th Vintage (2015)


Three Blind Wines – #2



The Baroness and I continue our ‘Three Blind Wines’ crossover series with my other podcast –  Wine, Women, & Song. As you may recall the 3 provided wines to taste – all of which were wrapped in opaque paper and stripped of any identifying materials, and labeled simply #1, #2, #3 – are on the theme ‘Big Meaty Reds’. Ideally with one being selected for August’s WWS podcast.

So here is our tasting and review of ‘Big Meaty Red’ #2. Once more having no idea what the wine is, didn’t stop us from throwing out our guesses (we both agreed on it being New World, likely California – but we differed on the grape we thought it was). Find out what all Three Blind Wines are by listening to the third podcast in this series.

Cheers!


Three Blind Wines – #1



I should admit from time to time my friends in the industry drop off some items to taste and review.* In fact, the respect they have for my palate, thoughtful care in tasting, and creativity in reviewing helped to fertilize the seed of my podcast ideas. I never feel the pressure to ‘go positive’ on their behalf, though admittedly I often find something redeeming in the products that I taste – even if they are not ‘my taste’. Through my years of tasting I’ve learned tastes change, and tasting as objectively as possible has given me a wealth of information to draw upon to serve others’ tastes – and my own well.

So it is, that the Baron of Beverage finds itself in a bit of a crossover episode with my other podcast –  Wine, Women, & Song. We taste wines blind while enjoying classically trained voices singing opera, art song, lieder, etc – and reviewing both. An upcoming theme on that podcast is ‘Big Meaty Reds’ and one of my friends ‘in the biz’ had an idea to help out. And so…

She dropped off 3 wines – all of which were wrapped in opaque paper and stripped of any identifying materials, and labeled simply #1, #2, #3 – to taste. Ideally, one would be selected for inclusion in Wine, Women, & Song‘s August podcast.

Not wanting to keep all the fun of blind tasting to myself, I asked her if tasting and reviewing them all individually here would be acceptable as well – and she agreed.

So here is our tasting and review of ‘Big Meaty Red’ #1 – and while the Baroness & I have no idea what the wine is, that didn’t stop us from throwing out our guesses (we both agreed on a guess of Spanish). Find out what all Three Blind Wines are by listening to the third podcast in this series.

Cheers!

*Currently, 90%+ of products reviewed are all procured at the BoB’s cost.


BTWOE* – Part 5 of 10 with The Whiskey Room



You didn’t think we’d let another month pass before Christopher Rhodovi from The Whiskey Room & I were able to sit down, taste and talk about #6 in the BTWOE* series** – Knob Creek did you?

 #6 on the is is Knob Creek, one of four ‘small batch’ bourbons put out by Beam Suntory (often referred to, and still by us, as Jim Beam). Since this is our first bourbon of the series, we discuss what makes a bourbon a bourbon – as well as age statements (which Knob Creek as of this past fall now lacks) and what it means to be ‘small batch’.

Chris and I failed to mention on this podcast how when Chris first encountered Knob Creek it was a bit too intense for his liking. Time has passed, and palates change/develop – much as Crown Royal surprised as more enjoyable than we would have thought -Knob Creek has become a bourbon staple for our bars, and many others. We encourage you to grab a glass, pour a dram, and join us.

Cheers!

*-“Best Tasting Whiskies On Earth”, order from the UPROXX article “These Are The Best Tasting Whiskies On Earth, According To Twenty Thousand Whiskey Drinkers

**-Baron of Beverage (BoB) will run several series interwoven through their regular podcasts, rather than run all contiguous/uninterrupted.


Road Trip to NYC – The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking



I’ve been to New York City many a number of times through auditions and to see operas primarily. As of late my trips to NYC have almost exclusively been in my role as a National Officer in my union, AGMA. These trips usually take up all my time and leave no time for ‘fun’ – something I was resolved to change if possible.

With that in mind as I sat down on my early morning train, fired up my phone, and searched for ‘Broadway Shows on Mondays’. I presumed theatres were (historically) dark on my one free night. To my pleasant surprise there were a fair number of ‘off-Broadway’ shows with performances that evening. When I scrolled down and saw “The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking” – I simply had to attend. [The fact that there were three drinks included in the price of admission didn’t hurt either!]

Realizing that this isn’t a theatre review podcast/blog, I still need to point out that this was a fantastic show. What writer/staring Anthony Caporale has put together both a thoroughly enjoyable night out – and manages to have everyone also leave just a little bit more knowledgeable about the ‘party & dance’ drug humans have been enjoying for millennium. Was it a theatrical revelation a la “Hamilton”? Certainly not. Was it the the most entertaining alcoholic beverage presentation I’ve ever come across in my life – most definitely.

Anthony and I sat down after the performance to talk a little bit about the show and taste his Raspberry Creamsicle Old Fashioned (the show’s second featured drink). This cocktail served as a reminder that modern twists on classic cocktails don’t have to sacrifice the celebration of the spirit.

Without reservation, I recommend seeing if there’s a performance for this – or any of their other ‘variations’ (There are brunch, holiday, and pirate versions seasonally in rep too!) when you are next in NYC.

Cheers!

@The_Imbible

#ThirstyTheatre