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Singlemalting # 196 – Magnificent Bastard? Why yes I am.

G’day everyone and welcome to the fun tale of my visit to meet Daniel and Rex of the Whiskey Tribe. I have had several trips to Texas this year as we at Secret Spirits continue to work hard to bring delicious adventures to deserving folk in the US. It was on one of these trips that I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the newly minted Crowded Barrel Distillery.  Getting a secret tour of The Vault up in the Wizards Academy tower and learning all about the Whiskey Tribe was an added bonus.

Wizards Tower

Firstly having seen a lot of their Whiskey Tribe videos I have to say that I really resonate with how much fun Daniel and Rex have in and around all forms of whisk(e)y. The world needs more fun and adventure and these guys offer it in spades.

View from the Wizards Tower

The Wizard Academy is a not for profit university style campus in Austin Texas and helps entepreneurs and businesses of all sizes to delve into the world of marketing and more. There is a wedding chapel that provides an amazing free space for couples from all over to tie the knot. Now a brand new distillery to help fuel Daniel and Rex’s passion for great whisk(e)y is up and running.

The attention to detail that Roy Williams the visionary behind this space has put into the campus experience is amazing. The amount of inspirational artwork and design are everywhere. My personal favorite is the hilt of a sword that perpetually points to the North Star at the top of the tower. You look up from a below sea level trench cut into the Texas bedrock that ties into the old man and the sea display behind you. This would be a fantastic place to learn while getting creative juices flowing.

Boys at the Fang & Feather opening day
Fang & Feather

Daniel escorted me through a tour of the tower where every different floor is a unique experience. The ultimate room however was the Whisk(e)y Vault. You gain entrance through a secret book case doorway and step into a world of whisky donation wonder. Every whisk(e)y in the room is sent to the vault by people from all over the world and Daniel and Rex work tirelessly to review every one of them.


I know how much time and energy is required to consistently keep putting good content out there and engage the whisky faithful that are always thirsty for more cool stuff. Well done Daniel and Rex you have created something very special that has enhanced the whisky experience for thousands. What a fantastic whisky achievement.

My wife Cindy and I checked out the Fang and Feather bar attached to the distillery to try the first bottling releases of Eleanor Bourbon that is only available on site. Next time I am in Texas I am going to have to grab one if there are any left as they were just getting the bottling going when we were there. It was the first official day that the distillery and bar was open so we felt very privileged to be able to share it all.

Eleanor Bourbon

This month (August 25th) they had their grand opening celebrations. Wish we could have been there for that as I know that great whisky flowed and a lot of fun likeminded magnificent bastards attended.

Daniel one Magnificent Bastard

To you Gentlemen may your MB Tribe grow in leaps and bounds.



Whisky Vault

Singlemalting Blog # 161 – Doin it Big in Texas

It’s amazing how so much comes back around in this industry and so it was over 6 years ago that I last visited the Lone Star State of Texas and this time at the helm of my own company with a case full of Secret Spirits goodies and some Texans to talk to.
Gary Clark an Edinburgh born Texan has pretty much been there and done everything in the alcohol industry but his real love lies with whisky and so I knew I was in great hands. Airport to hotel and then straight to “The Man Cave” a South Houston Cigar lounge that was hosting Gary and Brian Devorik of Impex to pour the range of Tamdhu and Kilchoman Single Malts for the whisky club crowd that were coming in to get their taste on.
The Man Cave
Lets head inside
A quick stop on the way for Texas BBQ and a plate full of smoked Brisket did me the world of good. I was along for the ride to chat with club members, taste some whisky and of course support The Man Cave by having a cigar (if I have too). I ended up going for a My Fathers….. which was a great smoke and went really well funnily enough with both the Tamdhu Cask Strength Sherry and also the Single Batch Kilchoman sherry. Some really tasty whisky, cigar combo action going down for my first night in Texas.
Deja vu reigns supreme as I travel into the US now visiting stores and meeting people that I have seen and talked whisky with before. It was very encouraging to be met with such enthusiasm about what is for everyone in the US a brand new concept. Along the way Gary was always keen to drop into his go to spots to showcase a local Texan treat like Tex Mex Fajitas that were absolutely awesome and a triple smoked pastrami sandwich that was so big I had to eat half of it for lunch and the other half for dinner. I think you are getting the picture here that I love trying the local specialties and meeting like minded whisky and rum lovers.
The 35 degrees every day made it much like my former home (Australia) and so I was really soaking up the ambiance and recharging my Summer batteries. There were some great independent stores visited along with one of the largest Chains in the state so fingers crossed Texans everywhere will be able to get their hands on our fun brands this year.
Thanks Brian for the Ashton Churchill it was excellent and thanks Gary for being such a great host and showing me the dining ropes in Houston. I’m really looking forward to heading back to the market with some whisky to pour after our launch later this year.
Whisky brings people together from so many backgrounds and cultures and it is so fun as an Australian/Canadian to be tagging along with a Scot/Texan and a Jewish/Illinois combo to sell great whisky and rum.
Thanks again boys it was a great time. Look forward to cracking some whisky when I am down there next.