Bliss in a Barrel

Cask Strength Art for the Whisk(e)y aficionado

Laphroaig: Whisky Tasting at Seven Grand with Master Ambassador Simon Brooking! March 24, 2012

Filed under: Islay,Seven Grand Whisk(e)y Society,Single Malt — L.T. Do @ 7:32 am

Through my grand adventures of attending drinking events, I’ve had the privilege to meet 3 absolutely adorable Scottish men. I’m a huge fan of the following Brand Ambassadors:  Martin Daraz for Highland Park, Simon Brooking for Laphroaig, and Johnnie Mundell for Glenrothes and Bowmore. I’ve concluded that their infectious charm is beyond their Scottish accents; it’s really encoded into the Scottish gene!!!

Since this portion is about Laphroaig, I will concentrate on documenting notes about my meeting with Mr. Brooking.  Before we drank, he would toast to us and sing a classic, Celtic tune!  I felt really lucky that he enjoyed my little doodle of the distillery.  Mr. Brooking showed my doodles to Jim Piser, who is one of the manager for Beam Global, and they both pointed out historical details about the distillery.  Jim pointed a section of my drawing and stated, “I’ve walked on these steps before!”  I’m hoping that I will be able to see this distillery in person soon.  If you enjoy smoky, peated whisky, then this is a great brand to explore!   Personally, I love all types of peated-style whiskies!!!  One more thing, I learned that this is Prince Charles’ favorite whisky, so on each bottle there’s the royal stamp of approval of Prince Charles’ crown!


Bar Smarts: Getting to Know the Spirits March 24, 2012

Filed under: Nerdy Stuff — L.T. Do @ 6:49 am

FYI, Bar Smarts, is a fantastic program that you can sign up on-line to learn about spirits.  Here is the link: Bar Smarts  The people who run this program are truly talented folks who have elevated the art of crafted cocktails and spirits industry as a whole.  I admire Dr. David Wondrich, one of the mentors in this program, who has written books like, Imbibe and Punch.  He travels all over the world to research original cocktail recipes.  A few months ago, Dr. Wondrich found to what appeared to be the original recipe to the Singapore Sling.  In addition, Dale Degroff, another spirit guru from the Bar Smarts program, is responsible for reviving cocktails, urging people to use fresh ingredients to hi-lite a spirit as opposed to masking it with crappy, artificial ingredients.  I hope you take the time to explore this program or read Dr. Wondrich’s works!









Tequila and Mezcal

Tequila and Mezcal







Haven Gastropub March 15, 2012

Filed under: Bars,Cocktails,Restaurants — L.T. Do @ 1:42 am
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Haven is located in The Orange Circle, a quaint little town with some historical sites that is close to Chapman University.  The Orange Circle is a charming city overall, filled with vintage stores and other delicious places to eat (i.e. Felix, which is a Cuban restaurant; Citrus, a relaxing environment to get decent brunch on Sundays).   As far as Haven, I like their burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, and shepards pie the most.  They’ve got more selections of beer than they do with whisk(e)y, and they opened a second location in Pomona around January or February of 2o12 I think.   This place opens until 2:00 AM, which is rare for Orange County.


Memphis and Lola Gaspar: Drinking in Down Town Santa Ana March 15, 2012

Filed under: Bars,Cocktails,Restaurants — L.T. Do @ 1:35 am
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The Artist Village in Santa Ana has a lot of amazing bars and restaurants popping up.  Memphis has great southern-style food and cocktails, while Lola Gaspar has tapa-style dishes and cocktails.


High West: Heads, Tails and Heart with Proprietor David Perkins at Seven Grand March 15, 2012

Filed under: Nerdy Stuff,Rye Whiskey,Seven Grand Whisk(e)y Society — L.T. Do @ 1:26 am

High West


Beyond the Barrel: March 15, 2012

Filed under: Nerdy Stuff,Uncategorized — L.T. Do @ 12:34 am

American Oak vs. European Oak

*Information about characteristics on Oak for this page above is provided by BarSmarts.

When making bourbon, it must be aged in brand new oak.  The used bourbon barrels are then purchased by other other distilleries (i.e. distilleries from Scotland, Tequila companies, etc).

European Oak and American Oak

For clarification, Johnnie Mundell, who is the Brand Ambassador for Bowmore and Wild Turkey, explained to Seven Grand Whisk(e)y Society members during the Glenrothes Tasting Event that European casks are much larger than American oak barrels.  The branches from European trees are higher in elevation than American oak branches.   Any part of the trunk that has branches attached cannot be used because the staves need to be made of solid wood.  As a result, any part of the wood that starts below the branches and to the base (trunk) of the tree can be used to make staves.  The value of an American cask is around $165, while European casks cost much more.  Johnnie showed us two staves, an American stave and European stave.  The American stave was about 4 feet long and the European stave was about 2.5 feet long.


Rules for Charring, this information was provided by Pedro Shanahan, the co-curator for Seven Grand.  By the way, the staff from Seven Grand and Pedro are super amazing people; they make whisky fun and accessible for all of us.  Rules for charring was discussed during the Angel’s Envy Event with Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson.





Experimenting with Cocktails with Jameel March 14, 2012

Filed under: Cocktails — L.T. Do @ 11:54 pm


In the Community: Interview with Beer/Whisk(e)y Enthusiasts March 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — L.T. Do @ 11:44 pm

Jameel Pueblos

Jameel Pueblos

Jameel Pueblos and Jordan Hunter

Jordan Hunter

Jordan Hunter


@Chapter One: George Dickell, High West, and Sheep Dip March 11, 2012

Filed under: Irish Whiskey,Restaurants,Rye Whiskey,Uncategorized — L.T. Do @ 10:10 am

 is a restaurant that is located in The Artist Village in Santa Ana.  It’s an open space filled with vintage books and a great selection of spirits, especially whisk(e)y.  The bartenders and owners are very friendly here.  The last Wednesday of every month, the staff holds a “Women and…” event, which is launched in celebration to encourage women to dapple their toes into spirits and wine.   They have a fantastic dessert called Milk and Cereal, which is a playful dish that explores different textures in a bowl.  Flower petals are strewn over a vanilla flan-like piece basted by crushed, honey chex mix and cinnamon ice cream.  The vanilla custard is very light in terms of flavour, but it blends well with the sweet, cinnamon ice cream and Chex cereal to create a fantastic balance of mild to sweet.  Aromas of petals bounce off from the cinnamon spice in a masterful manner that makes the dessert a thoroughly fantastic dish.

The Milk and Cereal pairs well with Russel’s Reserve Rye Whiskey.   Since the vanilla custard is very light and subtle, the rye whiskey, which has some spice and earthy notes, punctures the custard and helps make the custard sweeter.   As a result, one does not have to rely on the cinnamon ice cream and honey chex mix cereal to add sugar into the custard.


Caroline’s Birthday Crawl in Downtown Los Angeles March 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — L.T. Do @ 8:43 am