For those not in the know, MB in this situation stands for Magnificent Bastards. This was my first time going to the meeting of the SoCal MBs. Although i have met 3 of the guys at other events. A Magnificent Bastard is a term of endearment of those who follow the Whiskey Vault and/or The Whiskey Tribe. I was looking forward to meeting the rest of the boys from this segment of the Tribe as we've been chatting through Facebook for a long time.
At these meet ups we all bring a bottle (or a few) for everyone to taste.
This time, Chef Jimmy also brought some special dry aged steaks. He had 45 day dry aged New York steaks and 60 day Jack Daniels whiskey aged Rib-eye steaks. Check out the pictures at the bottom of this post for his handy work.
The meetup was at Jonathan's house in Newport Beach. He lives in a gated community with a security guard out front. Once you pull up to his house in the cul-de-sac you see a beautiful home with brick stairs leading to the house, the door was open for us to walk right in. Once you go through the front door you're in a great entry room with spiraled stairs leading to the upstairs area, and I believe, marble tiled floors. I can hear some of the other boys talking so I followed the voices into the kitchen. A damn impressive kitchen indeed. Viking Fridge, gas stove with a copper hood, big center island, and lots of windows with views of the in-ground pool and hot tub in the backyard. Already here is Pedram, Jon, Jimmy and Baylee the chocolate lab. Chris and his wife Elizabeth came and brought their dog, Abe. Richie and Aaron B came with arms full of bottles then we were later joined by Aaron A who brought plenty of bottles and empty sample bottles so we can take some samples home.
The plan was to try to limit the amount of bottles we brought and try to stay themed, but that only lasted a short while. As for the Bourbon (and American) line up we had: Black Feather, WT101, MB Roland, Michter's American, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Willet Family Reserve, O.K.I., E.H. Taylor 4 Grain, Smooth Ambler Big Level, Russel Reserve, Bell Meade Single Barrel, 4 Roses Single Barrel OBSF Hi-Times pick, and Joseph Magnus
Islay (and Island + misc) bottles were: Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength, Battlehill 4 year Bunnahabhain, Cadenhead Single Cask 23 year, Peat Monster Cask Strength, Talisker 10 and I'm probably missing a few others since more kept coming out somehow.
The steaks were remarkable! Chef Jimmy really hooked us up. Check out the pictures to see the before and after on the steaks, they're like a work of art.
These types of meet ups are always fun when you have good company. We have a great bunch of guys who get a long well and we had some good laughs and conversation while getting to try new whiskies together. I have to thank Jon and his wife, Jaime, for being such gracious hosts to allow this meet up to happen. Thank you to Chef Jimmy for the phenomenal steaks, and all the other Magnificent Bastards for bringing whiskies for us all to enjoy. Whiskey has become more than a hobby, it has become a catalyst to making new friends and allowing new experiences and for that I'm grateful. I look forward to future meet ups with the MBs and I encourage you to continue to follow the journey with me.
Since we've all met through a particular group (The Whiskey Tribe) I feel it's only fitting to end this with the outro they use:
"If you steal, may you steal a lovers heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a friend.
And if you drink....may you drink with us!"
Check out our Youtube review to see what we think of this celebrity owned Bourbon filled with Nitro and Ridiculousness.
This is a new whiskey brand and we are sampling from Batch #1.
Last night I had the honor of attending Meet the Distillers night at Urge Gastro Pub and Whiskey Bank in Oceanside, CA. It was a really intimate event inside of their private speakeasy room with maybe about 15 attendees. I arrived early so I can take pictures (I'm far from a photographer) and to meet Laura to find out how the event would take place. Laura is the bar manager for Urge, she's also the brand ambassador for Whistle Pig, who definitely has a passion for her craft. She put together some gorgeous cocktails for us.
These types of events are great to be able to speak directly to the head distillers, owners and employees that are responsible for the spirits we drink. It allows you to ask questions, find out their unique stories and see the fire in their eyes as they explain their "why". The 3 distilleries represented last night was Henebery Celebrated Whiskey out of Vista, CA and Pier View Gin and Misadventure & company Vodka both out of San Marcos, CA.
Before the presentations officially kicked off, I had the pleasure to speak with each of the owners/distillers which was Whit from Misadventure and Jordan from Pier View. I also spoke with Walter (brand ambassador) and Jesse (Owner/Head Distiller) of Henebery Whiskey. Jesse also introduced me to Sean who owns Shadow Ridge Spirits in Oceanside who invited me to tour his distillery. I'll keep you posted on when that happens. :)
Everyone there truly enjoys their craft, and it's great to see how each of the companies play off each other and support one another. Small businesses that understand the importance of having a support system and are wiling to work together, are the ones that usually survive the war of business ownership.
The presentations started off with Jesse from Henebery talking about the history of his company. (Lots of cool details that I'll save for when we interview him next week) This is a family owned and operated company. The Henebery brand dates back to 1851 under Mathew Henebery, who is the great, great grandfather of Jesse's wife. They brought the new Henebery to life about 5 years ago. They do every part of the distilling in house and bottle at 90 proof. Jesse was explaining the importance of temperatures with distilling as well. Walter came by and poured us all a healthy pour of the whiskey neat. The whiskey is 95% Rye/5% Barley. Upon nosing you get vanilla right away, maybe some hints of chocolate as well. On the palate you definitely get that vanilla and a soft mouthfeel. Surprisingly, no bitterness or burn like I'd expect from a high rye. This is a damn good tasting whiskey neat! Laura brought out the featured cocktail they call The Balboa.
The Balboa recipe:
2 oz Henebery Whiskey
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Honey Syrup (3:1 honey to water)
3 dashes of R&D Sasparilla Bitters
Shakes with ice. Serve over rocks in tumbler glass. Garnish with Lemon Peel
Personally, I'm not a fan of cocktails but this one was my favorite although I would always drink Henebery neat.
Some shared plates came out: Sliders and Cheese Curds
Next up was Jordan from Pier View Gin. He poured us a sample of the gin neat. He prides himself on saying they're changing people perception of gin needing to be a mixer, and I'ds say he's right. This is actually a fine sipping spirit neat! Right away you get citrus up front. Cool bit of information is they try to locally source all their ingredients when possible and all of the lemons used for the spirit come from farms right here in Fallbrook, CA! Some bragging rights they earned this year is that they won Gold at the Distilled Competition. They use a mash bill made of 100% corn. Laura brought out the featured cocktail which was called Satin Sheets. The ingredients were Pier View Gin, St. Germaine, Peach Liquor, Lemon Juice, simple syrup and topped with soda water.
Another shared plate came out on a skillet, my apologies for not getting the info on that one.
Whit came up to tell us about Misadventure and Company Vodka. Their story is nothing short of amazing and I feel the world should already know what Misadventure is doing. They are going to be starting an entire movement when more people learn what they have perfected. Misadventure is the world's first vodka to be made from excess baked goods. Yes, you read that correctly, their mashbill consists of excess baked goods! No we're not talking about moldy, rotten food...but even if it were the distillation process would kill any mold and fungi...we're talking about foods that may be getting close to expiration dates, or food donated to food banks that is too much for them to sell so it would go bad and end up in a landfill. In their first year alone, they prevented over 78,000 lbs of baked goods from entering landfills! Not only do they have a small footprint, they have a negative footprint! So when you drink and support Misadventure you are actually helping the environment and you are supporting a movement. Not to mention, you are supporting a local small business to help them keep this movement alive. Now...how does it taste? Well it's actually good enough for a non-vodka drinker like myself to drink it neat! So not only are you going to support a great cause, but you're going to get a quality product. The featured cocktail Laura brought out for us was San Luis Rey. Ingredients were Misadventure Vodka, Dubonnet, Tonic and a sprig of mint in a tumbler glass. It was a really clean and refreshing drink. If I can give any suggestion to Whit: You need to make the story, the "why", and the landfill/foodwaste facts up front and center in promotional materials and social media. There is a movement opportunity. I stopped typing just to (passionately) explain your story to my wife...I'm not even a vodka drinker but your story has me hyped to tell everyone about it and want to give it a home on my shelf as my only vodka in the house!
I'm so grateful for this event which allowed me to learn about some local companies that deserve our support for what they're bringing out with their small batch spirits. Thank you to Urge for giving these distillers the platform to teach us, I truly hope there are more events like this planned for the future. Everyone needs to check out all the businesses involved, from Urge and their amazing food and whiskey selection, to the distilleries themselves. North County San Diego is putting out some amazing spirits and I'm excited for the future of the craft.
Thank you Laura, Urge, Jesse, Whit and Jordan for sharing your time and expertise with us.
Scroll through the pictures below. Also, listen to the audio podcast right here while scrolling through the photos. The play button is below the pictures.
Listen to the audio podcast here:
I know it's short notice but if you can make it out tomorrow night you should attend this event at one of my personal favorite spots, Urge Gastro Pub and Whiskey Bank in Oceanside, CA.
They are hosting, Meet the Distillers which will have Henebery Whiskey, Pier View Gin and Misadventure & Company Vodka on hand speaking about their spirits.
In addition to learning, we will be having cocktails served by Laura using each of the spirits we learn about. The event starts at 6pm and with the low ticket price of only $20 which includes cocktails and shared food plates, you need to be there.
This will be held inside their speakeasy! So shhhh... :)
For tickets and info, email: email@example.com
Stick around afterwards and have some more food (this is my favorite place for burgers and fries...Wild Boar burger for the win!) and sample from hundreds of different whiskies.
I'd love to hang out with you guys, so let me know if you'll be attending.
Click below for the audio (very brief) podcast:
Watch the video to see our review of Mortlach Rare Old Scotch Whisky.
We try our whiskies 3 ways and score each one:
1- Neat in a Glencairn glass
2- With a few drops of water added
3- In a rocks glass with ice.
Have you ever tried Mortlach Rare Old? If so, let us know in the comments.
Last night was the inaugural meet-up for the Whiskey Friends of Fallbrook. We were all introduced virtually through Facebook, but now we know each other in the real world. An online friend, Chris, from another whiskey group I'm a member of picked me up for this Guys Night Out. Scott took on hosting duties for the meet-up. Scott has a beautiful home in a gated community. After exchanging pleasantries, we got right to opening bottles of whiskies to take some samples. The rules were simple: Bring a bottle of whiskey that we can all share, and don't be an asshole. I brought Mortlach Rare Old and a few nosing glasses. Scott brought out his daily drink, Evan Williams as well as Maker's Mark. Chris brought Highland Park 12, Four Roses Single Barrel, Henry McKenna 10 BiB, and Monkey Shoulder and some Glencairn glasses. Everyone came in at different times but we were joined by Jaime who brough Crown Royal Limited Edition. Scott started up the BBQ and showed us the outdoor area and his inground pool. Dave came by and brought a case of water (Gotta stay hydrated) Knob Creek Single Barrel (man that one is aggressive!) and Talisker Storm. John and Michael came together with Hibiki Harmony and Crown Royal Bourbon Mash. Dan brought Tullamore Dew 12 a 6 pack of Mason Ale Works coffee stout and another beer I didn't look at. Some of the guys brought cigars as well. We were sampling a little of everything and after having some food off the BBQ, we took the party outdoors. I snapped a few pics of the bottles and some of the guys (I really need to learn how to adjust settings on the camera)...the pics in this post are from John's iPhone, I haven't uploaded my pics off the camera yet.
There's always the fear that a bunch of guys meeting for the first time, and having copious amounts of alcohol, that there's going to be personalities that clash or some asshole ruining the night, but we didn't have any of that. Everyone got along, we had some great conversations and enjoyed whiskey in it's best form: in the company of friends. That's exactly how this felt, it didn't seem awkward, we all got along well and it was as if we knew each other for longer than just a few hours. It just goes to show you, having similar interests can really bring people together. It was a fitting circumstance to occur on the same day of the passing of Anthony Bourdain, because we honored his life's wishes. He always implored people to travel even if just to visit neighbors, share in new foods (or drinks) learn from your fellow man and EXPERIENCE life. So I thank everyone I met in this group. Thank you for the experience. Thank you for being cool people and sharing your drinks with me. I look forward to our future meet-ups and to building new friendships.
As I gather my thoughts from last nights events, my initial thoughts are to thank Hi-Time Wine Cellars and Westside Museum for putting on this wonderful event. The venue was perfectly set up for the type of event being hosted, there were rustic looking tables lined up along the walls and also down the middle of the room. There was a lounge area with chairs and tables so you can rest up, take notes or just have conversation. There was a live band on the stage in front of the lounge area as well. Upstairs there was a bar with more whiskies to be sampled as well as a food vendor to buy some grub.
When you first arrive at Westside Museum you're greeting by the valet. After going inside and showing your ID to the bouncer, you get your wrist band and a glass for your tasting pours at the front hostess table. They also give you an impressive looking program so you know which whiskies are being sampled and by whom. It was a great way to take tasting notes or write in your own tasting scores next to the whiskies you sampled which was really convenient. It also showed normal pricing and event special pricing next to each whiskey. Ryan Press did a great job designing and printing these.
The glasses were donated by Dianco. I'm not sure on the brand name, but they were from Romania. They were a more stout version of a Glencairn glass. The base was much wider which makes them better suited for a public event like this where lots of moving parts and accidents can occur, these are less likely to tip over than Glencairn. I would say these are now a very close 2nd best glass for daily drinking, but I think they're a top pick for large group tastings. Similar shape, but sturdier base. If I can find more information on the glasses I will update this post with the name and/or a place to purchase them. It appears they might be sold exclusively through Hi-Time Wine Cellars: Dianco Single Malt Glass
At the advice of Toby from Hi-Time and Nate from ScotchNoob I made sure to pace myself and only swallow some of the whiskies. I had no shame spitting out some of the whiskies into a plastic cup. There were definitely some whiskies that blew me away (some for bad reasons) so to keep things positive, I want to mention which were my favorites. Yamazaki 12 was the clear favorite for me. It is SO good! There was a really unique Rye Whiskey from Cedar Ridge that I think should be on everyone's must try list. Another great Japanese Whisky was Kurayoshi Pure Malt 12 Year. My other top picks were both from Compass Box, No Name and the pound for pound king of budget whiskey: Great King St Glasgow Edition. I think Glasgow will be a permanent bottle on my shelf.
I have to make sure to mention, one of my favorite drinks wasn't even a straight whiskey. Nooku Bourbon Cream. Amazingly good. Even my wife who doesn't like whiskey would have no problem putting back a full glass of this. Which can be dangerous how easy it goes down with some ice. It claims to be the first true Bourbon cream made using only bourbon whiskey and dairy cream. At a budget price, you need to bring this out for your next social gathering, it's a huge step up from Bailey's Irish Cream.
I also want to mention, almost every vendor there was kind and personable. Most of them loved talking about their product and what made theirs unique. I also spoke with many of the patrons who were also really kind and liked speaking about which whiskies were there favorite and share about ones that were a "Must Try" it really made this event feel like one big members only club as if we all knew each other already. This may be the first time I've ever been in a room full of people drinking and yet there wasn't even one of "those guys", you know the type. I really, really enjoyed the even in all aspects. My one wish is to find out that Hi-Times decides this will be an annual event.
Thank you to Hi-Time Wine Cellars and Westside Museum for putting on my favorite event to date.
Audio recap can be played and heard below:
As a fan of scotch and other whiskeys I was tired of looking up reviews for new whiskeys that just oozed of snobbery. I wanted to create an outlet for average Joe's who don't have a sommelier palate. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, I moved to San Diego, California in 2010 with my wife. I'm also a fan of MMA, pro-wrestling, comic books, video games and strongman. All subjects are topic for discussion on the podcast.
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