It’s not every day that the attic of one of LA’s oldest public houses gets converted into a members only bar, but that’s exactly what has happened at Tom Bergin’s! What once was storage and attic is now “The Vestry” LA’s newest members only bar.
Arriving at 7:00 for a 7:30 tasting and education with Glenmorangie and Travis Tidwell, I stepped out of my Uber to walk into the restaurant Wood & Vine. This was my first time visiting but I’d heard of it before, as it was conveniently located just down the street from my favourite bar Lost Property.
Tonight was no ordinary tasting event, however, as it was a mini launch party of Glenmorangie 1990 Grand Vintage, which we will talk about a little further down the page. Leading up the 1990 Vintage, we tasted Glenmorangie the Original Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar D’Or, Bacalta, and 18 Year. Now this particular night my nose was a little stuffed up, so some of the aromas were harder to get. I’d met Travis briefly once before at Seven Grand for their 10 year anniversary, but it was such a crazy night that I didn’t get to talk much with him.
I eagerly arrived in an Uber at about 1:30 for a 2:00pm tasting at what has quickly become my favorite Hollywood bar, nay favorite bar PERIOD, Lost Property located in Hollywood, on Hollywood and Vine, but unless you knew what you are looking for good luck finding it from the street! There is minimal signage and that helps to keep the lounge/speakeasy feel alive. I’ve been to several events at Lost Property and the team there is amazing. So let me just take this moment to give a shoutout to my friends Jeremy and Rhino who own Lost Property! You two are awesome, and thank you for running such a great and welcoming space.
It’s not every day that one gets to attend a tasting for WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, one of the most well known rye whiskies in the country. For me, doing so so early in my drinking “career” I was very excited for this! But being that it was early on for me, please pardon the minimal notes. I’d had their 10 year once before and was quite pleased with it, and we got to try the elusive Boss Hogg. This wonderful evening was led by Mr. Daniel Khan and Ms. Shelley Buck.
WhistlePig 10 Year: This is their base-line whiskey, nothing fancy here. It’s aged in new American oak with rye whiskey from Canada. Kahn said “It’s got a finish so long it needs its own zipcode!”
Nose: It has a slight astringency on those nose with hints of orange and spice followed by vanilla.
Flavour: Spicy and warm with a sweetness on the back of the palette. Overall, a fairly simple flavour profile.
WhistlePig 12 Year(Old World): Aged in a Madera cask, which we were told was identified as the best barrel for a bourbon whiskey, it’s finished for 6 weeks in 3 casks, Madera, Sauternes (french), and lastly port casks. They are then married to make the 12 year Rye.
Nose: Complex spices, with subtle orange notes.
Flavour: Malty and sweet, with a slight creaminess to its flavor. Overall, it had a powerful yet still subtle flavour.
WhistlePig 15 Year: Oh man, this one gave me a lot of trouble! It’s a good expression, but I had a tough time discerning flavours and aromas.
Nose: The nose on the 15 year is typical of most other Bourbon’s or Rye’s, yet at the same time it was essentially impossible for me to discern any individual aromatic notes.
Flavour: The flavour on the 15 year was nice, and not too overpowering. It is creamy yet slightly bitter at the same time, all the while also having notes of white pepper on the back of the tongue.
The Boss Hog: Oh boy, easily the most anticipated pour of the evening was the legendary “The Boss Hog”. First released in 2013, there has been a release almost every year since, but stock is limited. In 2014 they introduced gorgeous heavy pewter corks with a cool design. Skipping 2015, the most recent release was in 2016 and was a 14 year old. “The Boss Hog” is aged in Scotch barrels giving it a unique flavor and aroma!
Nose: Sometimes less is more, that’s not the case here. The only thing I was able to discern aroma wise was scotch, and while I love a good glass of scotch as much as the next guy, I need my Rye whiskey to have more aromas than just that.
Flavour: By and large the most flavourful expression of the evening, “The Boss Hog” did not disappoint! It was scotchy and smoky, but smooth. It was malty and had some sweet notes all the while there was a creamy to it as well.
In all, I think WhistlePig is doing a great job and I look forward to their next release, and to hopefully getting my grubby little Nerd paws on a bottle of The Boss Hog, but that’s neither here nor there now is it?
Arriving at 6:45 for a 7:00 Macallan tasting my Uber dropped me off just out front, or out back depending on how you look at it, of Alley Lounge which as it’s name suggests is behind FIN in Culver City and you literally enter through the alley off Grandview. It’s an unassuming building but that just adds to the charm as, once inside, it’s gorgeous!
I eagerly walked up to the doorman and he checked my name off the list. I was early I had my pick of seating, so naturally I chose the seat that ended up being closest to our host for the evening, the excellent Mr. Brendan Reynolds, Los Angeles Specialist for The Macallan. The evening’s line up included Macallan 12 yr, Macallan 12yr Double Cask, Macallan Rare Cask and the most awaited pour of the evening Macallan Edition No. 2!
– Macallan 12 year: I’ve had 12 year on a few occasions before, it’s a solid expression and is on the younger side of what Macallan sells, but it’s good. The nose consists of subtle caramel aromas, as well as sweetness and creaminess. Flavor wise is really nothing special. It’s a sherry cask expression (like most of their lineup) with a subtle sweetness to it, and it’s smooth and has a peppery flavor consistent with most scotch.
– Double Cask: The Macallan 12 Year Double Cask is my favorite of Macallan’s lineup, at least of what I’ve had so far. It’s very dry on the nose, while still remaining sweet and creamy with subtle sherry and oak notes. The flavor is smooth and subtle with a slight wateriness to it.
– Edition No. 2: This was, for me, the most anticipated pour of the evening. For most people I’d venture a guess that it would be Rare Cask but seeing as I’ve had that particular expression about 7 times now, I don’t really care as much anymore. The nose was definitely different. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. It had spices, a subdued sweetness, and some oak notes. Then there were also some light fruit aromas, perhaps apple, though I’m not entirely certain. Following that were notes of sherry, some very subtle malt, and a pinch of cinnamon. The flavor didn’t quite live up to the nose, but was still a solid pour. It’s sweet and heavy, with warming spices.
– Rare Cask: The infamous Macallan Rare Cask! $300 for a bottle of this beauty, and while there is nothing wrong with that, it’s no longer the best thing in their lineup (in my humble opinion). It has a strong and sherry forward nose, with a slight creamy aroma that is followed up a slight scent of hops. Yes, hops, like in beer (no, I had not had “too much to drink” at this point). It was finished by some malt. The flavor profile for this expression is sherry forward, with some subtle spices, and it’s very warm.
In all, it was a phenomenal tasting led by Mr. Reynolds, and Alley Lounge was kind enough to provide snacks while we enjoyed our Scotch. If you ever go to this venue make sure to get their bacon jam, it’s SOOO good! Chris H.M., who runs Alley with his team, put on a great event, and had excellent Macallan cocktails to order. I am very excited to go back there for another tasting event!
*As always allow me to add this disclaimer. I am still new to the world of Scotch, Whiskey and Spirits. Therefore my palette is still developing. As with Scotch and other Whiskeys, where there are usually some tasting notes from the distillery, more often than not, people find their own flavors.
Arriving just after 6 pm I eagerly walked up to one of the most well-known Whisky bars in Downtown Los Angeles, Seven Grand, for a Burns Night celebration. As I arrived I immediately sought out our host for the evening, Silimath Weir, Los Angeles’ very own “Protector of the Peat”; to greet and catch up with my friend.