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September 2007

Snob versus Snob

Here's a great idea: Sam's Wine & Spirits in Chicago is sponsoring an "Ultimate Wine IQ Challenge" to see which consumer knows the most about wine. The winner of the multi-month contest earns a $1,000 shopping spree at the store. I would love to see the final contest, and I would especially love to see it get really, really nasty. Wait a minute, has anybody done a wine IQ challenge on the Food Network, or a wine snob reality show, or a show where people have to harvest, produce, and blend their own wine with the winner getting their name... Read more →

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Wet Wednesday

On Wednesday I stopped into Elixir for a Rhum Clement tasting. I tried five products- the white Premiere Canne rum, VSOP rum, the Cuvee Homere, XO, and Liqueur Creole, a rum-based orange liqueur. All the products were delicious, and I piggily asked for seconds of the XO because it was terrific (and I can't afford to buy any). As I'd been recently studying cachaca that is also produced from sugar cane juice instead of traditional rum's molasses, I was curious to try the line. (Note: it tastes nothing like cachaca.) I spoke with Ben Jones, General Manager of Clement USA... Read more →

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We've got spirits fests, yes we do

Here is my comparative round-up in San Francisco Magazine of the three upcoming spirits festivals in San Francisco: the Independent Spirits Festival, Malt Advocate's WhiskyFest, and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's Extravaganza. I just found out I'll be out of town for the Independent Spirits Festival, which is too bad because they'll have all sorts of weird stuff there. But hopefully I can still hit the other two. Labels: events, SanFrancisco, whisky Read more →

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Sock Suckers

In Eric Felten's most recent Wall Street Journal article, he takes on bad, and badly-named drinks. He goes into one particular drink but takes an extra sentence to describe the name. Popular in Australia, it seems, is a shooter made of Baileys and butterscotch liqueur. The drink's elaborate and unprintable title vividly describes a "cowboy" engaged in an activity the Supreme Court adjudicated in Bowers v. Hardwick. Frankly, I can't decide which is more distasteful -- the lewd logo, or a drink of Baileys and butterscotch liqueur.That's a long way of saying "cowboy socksucker." (I'm replacing the 'c' with an... Read more →

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Repo Man

Phew! I'm finally finishing up some intense weeks of writing assignments. I think I've been in touch with every cachaca brand on the market and crammed more obscure liquor history in my head than should actually fit (so if I forget who you are, it's because that place in my brain is filled with orgeat instead.) Last night I hit Rye for the mixing competition, where Partida Reposado was the base spirit to use- and they provided free tequila for the crowd too, which was nice. Johnny Raglin of Absinthe took home first place, with Ryan Fitzgerald (Brick, Bourbon &... Read more →

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The value of overcharging

Here's a fun article on why Balvenie can charge $30,000 for a bottle of 50-year-old scotch. The best part: Few consumer product purveyors dare to trumpet the exorbitance of their prices as an actual virtue. But this is the spirits world, where flavour nuances are as subtle as they are subjective, and where bragging rights can be more of a draw than the fleeting liquid in the bottle. The past few years have seen a parade of "rare," bottles proudly promoted at stratospheric prices. In 2005, a bottle of The Macallan 1926 single malt was ceremoniously sold for $75,000 (U.S.)... Read more →

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