Making New Friends

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A few things I need to clear up before moving forward with this blog: since I am now officially a distributor, I can no longer name any of the bars, restaurants, or retailers that I show in photographs due to compliance issues. As a distributor, I’m forbidden from giving any sort of special treatment to an account (whether they carry our booze or not), nor am I allowed to show preferential support. If I tell you on social media that the cocktails at _____________ are really good, that’s considered giving an unfair advantage to that customer.

So no more of that.

However, if you want my personal opinions about food and booze, my email is up there in the about section and I’m happy to correspond privately with anyone interested.

We’ve been stricken by a bit of bad luck down here with the SoCal sales team as two of our veteran reps wound up in the ICU last week. Thus, I was unleashed onto the Los Angeles market much earlier than expected and I was practically chomping at the bit. I was stopping at ANY liquor store that had a pulse, cornering poor sales associates, and forcing them to taste high quality spirits from the state’s most compelling and interesting portfolio of alcoholic goods. It’s easy to make new friends, however, when you’ve got a whiskey like the Barrell Bourbon Batch #16 in your arsenal. Like I’ve mentioned before, the Barrell whiskies were just catching on as I was on my way out of the business last Spring, but now I’m the one who needs catching up. Barrell is an independent blender and bottler of American whiskies (and sometimes rum) out of Kentucky that is releasing some of the best-tasting juice in the market today. Case in point: this baby, a blend of 9, 11, and 15 year old Bourbons from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, bottled at 52.9% ABV. All I have to say is this: YUM.

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David: Hi there, I’m with Pacific Edge…

Retailer: OK, but we’re not interested…

David: Have you had the new Barrell Bourbon Batch 16? You really need to try this.

Retailer: Like I said, we’re not…

David: Here let me pour you a glass.

Retailer: My friend, please don’t…

David: Put this up to your mouth.

Retailer: Sir, really, I already told you…

David: TRY THIS, MAN! DRINK IT!!!!

Retailer: What are you doing?! Sir, please….argh…..ftupsht…..blarb….(gulp).

David: Isn’t that delicious?!!

Retailer: Wow, that is really good.

David: See? I told you! How many cases do you want?

On the nose, this whiskey is brimming with vanilla and butterscotch with just a bit of charred wood seeping in on the end. The initial entry is a balanced attack of sweet oak, candied spice, herbaceous flutter, and mealy sawdust with a creamy, soft-spoken finish. At 105.8 proof, I’d never know this Bourbon is that strong from initially tasting it. After a minute, however, the heat begins to move into your nostrils and the charred oak character moves like a wave over your senses. I still taste brandied fruits and candy corn minutes after swallowing. Spending nearly $100 on a bottle of Bourbon has become so routine these days that my ability to determine value has become incredibly dulled; hence, I can’t tell you honestly whether it’s worth spending that on this edition. What I can tell you is that I saw a number of lesser Bourbons during my rounds today clocking in at well over $200, due solely to their perceived rarity on the market.

I know where I’d rather spend my money. Batch #16 is the real fucking deal. I opened up two new accounts today with just this sample alone. Imagine if I’d poured everything else in my bag!

One more thing to note: I’m going to talk about spirits from all different companies on this blog, not just Pacific Edge, so don’t assume this is just a company asset. That being said, I’m also forbidden from disparaging other brands as a marketing tool, so I can only tell you about the products I like. I also spend all day tasting PacEdge products, so that tends to take up most of my bandwidth. More soon.

Over and out.

-David Driscoll