“All i want to do is have a little fun before I die”…….. After a great leg in Texas it was time for some California sunshine and amazing Los Angeles hospitality.
Having spent some time in this market in my previous life I felt another bout of deja vu coming on as I got to visit some very familiar stores that I had not seen in over 7 years. Meeting up with Chris Uhde again was great and it was fantastic to see that he has carved a really great whisky legend story of his own in LA.
Day one and Im actually enjoying a rare day off on the road. Topping out at 35 degrees it was definitely a warm one but I was able to soak a little in the pool, get some laundry done (yep have to be fresh and clean to sell whisky), work out and of course get some serious walking in. I managed to find a closish cigar store and nabbed myself a 1992 Rocky Patel Vintage 10 Year aged Toro which was really really good. Days like this are rare on the road and was one to cherish. Had a very tasty pint or two (definitely two) at Gordon Biersch in Burbank just a short stroll from my hotel.
Into work on Monday and I was lucky to spend a couple of amazing days on the road with Josh and Tim from JVS Imports and was really able to showcase Secret Spirits to a whole new market.
What we are really here to talk about however is whisky and/or whiskey and that is what topped off an amazing trip to this part of the US courtesy of Chris and his generosity. Chris graciously invited me back to his place to meet his wife and brand new edition (Chris was definitely a bit sleep deprived). It was my last stop before heading to the airport and if it were not for the flight I would have loved to stay a lot longer.
First was a warm up dram of Ohishi Tokubetsu reserve that is 33% 27 year old sherry cask Rice whisky from Ohishi and has been brought up to strength with some book ended 7 and 11 year old. More about this amazing whisky and its origins in a future blog. Suffice to say that it was delicious and the balance of the more delicate flavors intermingling with the sherry was outstanding. The good news is that Ohishi will soon be available in Canada launching in Alberta in August.
Chieftains 40 Year Old Springbank was my Single Malt choice as the 2nd whisky coming in at a very healthy 54%. This was a really great older dram and I couldnt go past it even when the other two Single Malts on the table were a Murray McDavid Gold Series Macallan 25 and an Exclusive Malts 2001 Bowmore. Still feisty after 40 years I was excited that Chris put this on the table as I knew that it would be a special old bottling and it did not dissapoint.
Next up was a choice of some really old American whiskey and the bottle offered was filled in 1917 and was a Rye from Old Lewis Hunter. It’s a very rare treat indeed (as in first time ever) to try a whisky that was bottled 100 years ago. Rye was the dominant force yet it was really even on the palate and the half ounce that I poured myself took longer to finish than I had time for with my flight to San Francisco looming.
Something for the road that has become a favorite category for Chris was a 1912 Verdelho Madeira that I tasted blind and thought might be PX but not as sweet, Absolutely delicious and being a real fan of anything old and sticky I absolutely loved it. All of this was tasted beside a very famous LA delicacy called a Guava and Cheese Strudel from Porto’s bakery (yummy).
What a great send off before taking off for my San Francisco leg. Thanks so much to Josh, Tim and Chris for making me feel so at home and helping us spread the passion of Secret Spirits to LA ‘ers.
Next up half a week in SF finishes my trip to the West Coast.