The Full Bar - all my pages

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


And that's as political as we're gonna get here.
(It's a joke, BTW.)
Boy, it's dusty in here. 

Hard to believe I used to post every day, for four years. That passed, and then I tried to start it up again in 2016, but blessedly, I got busy, and the blog came in dead last in my priorities.

Things change. I have a book to support, and free rein to do that, so I'm starting up the Inferno, sorry, wrong reference. I'm going to start blogging again.

It's going to be a bit more whiskey-focused this time, since there's that book I'll be flogging. But there's still going to be beer, and food, and travel, and probably pictures of my dog. And I'll be sticking to the original principles of the blog, explained in full here; briefly, though, I'll be writing criticism, not snark, and recognizing that none of us know everything. So whiskey reviews, and industry overviews, and personal profiles will be written with care, with charity. That doesn't mean "I love everything" reviews, it just means that the negative reviews will try to understand what happened, and I probably won't review the real train wrecks. If you want to revel in deliciously cruel reviews of the whiskeys you love to hate...look elsewhere.

There are going to be regular whiskey reviews, and some other spirits, and beers, but mostly whiskey. Part of that's the book support, but some of it is that I found that I missed writing the reviews I was doing for Whisky Advocate. (Yeah, no link. It's the least I can do). And since no one else is really paying for whiskey reviews, I'll do them for myself.

The first new post -- after this one, natch -- is going to be a chat with Beam Suntory's Freddie Noe and a review of all three of his Little Book chapters, the blended whiskeys from Beam that shook things up a bit. The idea that Beam had some aged malt whiskey*, that Beam was going to admit that they had stocks of Canadian whisky, or that there was 12 year old Baker's...well, I found that all pretty exciting. So when the Beam people asked me if I'd like to talk to Freddie about it, I thought, 'Hey! That would be a great first post for the revived blog.' So that's what I did. That's going to be coming soon, couple of days.

All I can show you for now. Note: no ice in the glass. Fought hard for that, because I know you care. 

Anyway, about the book. It's titled Whiskey Master Class, and it's about the creation of aroma and flavor in whisk/ey. (I promise, I'm not going to make a habit of that 'whisk/ey' construction.) From traditional formulations and the grains in them through malting, milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation, barrel construction and selection, aging, blending, proofing, filtering, bottling, and all the intangible stuff that's so hard to measure...I've tried really hard to cover everything that makes whiskey what it is.

The book was inspired by something that renowned blender and Scotch whisky innovator Dr. Bill Lumsden said to me one time. “If the barrel gives a whisky 50% of its flavor...that just means that the other 50% doesn't come from the barrel.” To really understand a whiskey then, you have to know where every bit of that 100% comes from, and how it's different from another whiskey. That's what the book is all about. I'm very pleased to say that Dr. Bill agreed to write the foreword.

Pippin's only 10 months old...
but his ears are full-grown!
It's due out on February 18 but you can pre-order now: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local independent bookstore (assuming someone asked them to order it...I'm looking at you). You can be sure the blog will run at least that long, and probably up through the 2020 Christmas book-buying season. And I'll probably be fully in the habit by then, and we'll just keep going. My publicist tells me that the blog's good, but I'm going to have to back it up with Instagram (and Twitter, and Facebook), so I'll be there as well, hashtagging like a champ.

I've made a fair number of promises here. I intend to keep them. This stuff is fun. of my dog. Promise that, too. Here, take a look at Pippin. 

Little Book is coming soon. And then it's off to the races.

*I have a really annoying habit of mistyping "whiskey" as "shiskey," so if you see that...I was typing so fast I missed it. I almost did here. Just letting you know.