Friday, September 28, 2012

Whiskey Review: Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon

Seriously, what a sweet bottle
Blue grass goodness! I was enjoying a family get together when my uncle brought out this little gem. I jumped at the opportunity to try a new whiskey and was decently impressed by this Kentucky native. Don't get me wrong, nothing extraordinary, but still worth trying! It was Blanton's Original Single Barrel Bourbon. He was testing it out and I was excited to try a new bourbon!

First off, a little about the whiskey itself...

Type: Bourbon Whiskey
Mash Type: Sour
Barrel Type: White Oak
Bottle Proof: 46.5% Alcohol by Volume - 93 proof

Color: Reddish Amber, deep russet
Nose: Dried citrus and orange with a hint of caramel and vanilla.
Palate: Full and smooth, caramel, orange, and spice- cloves/nutmeg maybe?
Finish: Short and sweet with vanilla and citrus.

My first glass was neat, like I try to do with every whiskey I taste. Then the next glass was with an ice cube. I recommend that everyone try both ways, for it can really change how the whiskey tastes. You might find it is great neat or even better on the rocks. Variety is the spice of life righ!? For this whiskey I loved it neat and was not impressed with the ice. The ice diluted this whiskey to a point not worth trying.

Anyway, the first taste was a smoothier and sweeter Maker's Mark. It was more vanilla and spice than most bourbons. Its complexity was actually quite unexpected and tasty. I might pick up a bottle pretty soon here. This didn’t blow me away, but I think it would look good in my collection, plus that bottle is awesome! Overall, I give this bourbon a strong 7.5 of 10.

Questions for YOU:  Have you tried Blanton's yet? I hear it has quite the following and want your opinion on this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Twist on a Classic Drink: The Old Fashioned

What can I say? I guess I am Old Fashioned. Man that was cheezy. 
Anyway, I found this "new" recipe for a great classic drink. Check out the video by below. I decided to give this one a try even though it was 10:30 in the morning. Weekends dont count right?! 

The brown sugar really made this cocktail pop. I have always used simple syrup but this was something else. Sweeter, but in a smokier way. I think I might have to reconsider my usual recipe for Old Fashioned's...



·       1 Brown sugar cube
·       .5 tsp White sugar
·       3 dashes Angostura Bitters
·       1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6
·       .25 oz Cold water
·       2 oz George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky or other American whiskey        (I used Woodford Reserve and it blew my f-ing mind)

In a rocks glass, muddle both sugars, both bitters and the water. Add the whiskey and a large ice cube. Twist slices of lemon and orange peel over the drink and drop them in.
Garnish: Lemon and orange twists
Glass: Rocks

Contributed by Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmas of

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cigar Review: Rocky Patel Sungrown

Everything is better in the sun. Cold beer, volleyball, bikinis! So there is no reason why this Rocky Patel Sun Grown wouldn't be delicious.

Now the name "sun grown" can be a little misleading. All tobacco needs sun and is therefore grown in the sun (kind of).You can also grow tobacco in the shade. It still gets sun but not direct light. The difference is that shade grown is generally smoother and a little more bitter. The sun grown leaves develop a little rougher skin and have more veins. This direct sunlight also makes them sweeter though. Got it? But enough cigar babble. What about the cigar?

The cigar itself is made from a 5 year old Ecuadorian wrapper with Dominican binders and Dominican/Nicaraguan fillers. All masterfully blended by the fellas at RP.

Now to the smoking! The wrapper was ok, little veiny but that is ok (see above). The cut, light, and first puff all went off with out a hitch. That first puff was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Really bold tastes here. A little spiciness out of the gate, then mellows out real earthy like, then fades with a rich, sweet molasses kick. Wow! That was one hell of a first puff. Are you drooling yet? You should be. The thick sweet smoke swirled around me and I tell you, that was close to paradise (unfortunately I was sitting on a porch and not a sunny beach). Maybe next time...

Sun-grown, night-smoked
The important thing to remember here; this cigar rocks! From the first puff to the slightly spicier last, you will be longing for more.  Perfectly blended, great flavors, and a perfect finish. Man, how can you get any better? Well other than a little nicer wrapper and maybe a little more punch, you can't. I give this Rocky middleweight a strong 8 out of 10. On a beach with sun and cold beer, 10 out of 10. Done deal Rocky, done deal

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Xikar. A Company To Trust

Ever have a bad customer service experience? Of Course. Who hasn't? Ever have one go so well you write a blog post about it? Irony....

Well I have had two Xikar lighters in my time: an Executive and the other an Element .  Both lighters have been great. They are tough and have a consistent flame with easy ignition. Over time they need a clean or two but some easy dissemble can take care of that. My Executive even feel in the toilet! After a little dunk in a bowl of rice overnight, good as new! The rice sucks the moisture right out, works with cell phones too. And don't tell me you haven't smoked a cigar in the bathroom...

Anyway, the Element was having some ignition problems. It had to be turned up to keep a steady flame while months before was working just fine on a lower setting. I was annoyed enough to call Xikar. They told me to send it in as they have a lifetime warranty on their products. Heard that one before too. Within a week or two, a brand new Element was sent to my door. No questions asked, no accusing, no hassle. How awesome is that!? With a great experience like that, how can I not get another Xikar. They said they were going to honor their warranty and they did. That is good business and getting all too rare these days...

Just thought I would share.     

Monday, September 10, 2012

Scotch Review: The Glenlivet 12

If this is your first Scotch. I feel bad for you...

When you go to a bar, the Scotch they always have (if they have a single malt) is Glenlivet 12. So what is so special about Glenlivet? Its mild and relatively cheap for a single malt, that's why I believe it is popular. The taste and basically the whole drink just isn't that good. It is OK, but forgettable when compared to some very similar drinks like Glenmorangie and THE Macallan.

Color: a very pleasant amber, still very light but a shade darker than some of the lighter Scotch's I have reviewed so far.
Nose: a surprisingly strong smell for a milder scotch, I get that sort of iodine smell with a light caramel wiff
Taste: a very sweet start with that vanilla berry taste but it comes and goes VERY quickly
Balance: A very light not particularly noteworthy dram with a light taste. It doesn't have that smokey taste that makes a scotch a scotch. It is sweet and not very complex but the finish doesn't last, otherwise it would be pretty good.

The cool thing Glenlivet has done is with their marketing. They have positioned themselves into every bar as "the go-to single malt". Their website is great for a very traditional business and they constantly keep followers up to date with newsletters and tastings. They have a cool "print your own label" for gifts. You get to personalize the label and they will mail it to you for free! You then just peel off the sticker and slap it on your bottle, how cool is that? I made custom labels for Fathers Day and my pops loved it. It's the little things that get you ahead.

I give this OK Scotch a 5 of 10, nothing special here. Move on...