What brings me here?

•February 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

What has led me to create this blog? In general, I inherited my worldly tastes from my mother. Unfortunately for my wallet, my interests as a consumer run deeply throughout the worlds of clothing and electronics, as well as food and drink. Having to manage food sensitivities and dietary restrictions throughout my life has forced me to focus a keen eye on how what I put into my body affects the way I feel. As a result, I make my food choices almost exclusively based upon ingredients before taste, and the truth is that a nourishing, wholesome meal just tastes better to me than the standard American fare of cheap and convenient.

Now, on to drinking. I did not grow up around alcohol. My father was prescribed medication as a teenager that chemically altered his digestive tract such that he can tolerate neither alcohol nor caffeine, and my mother has only developed a mild taste for alcoholic drinks in the last decade or so. I first experienced the effects of alcohol when I was around 6 years old and over-did the Mogen David wine at a Passover dinner. I still recall the pleasant, warming and somewhat disassociating numbness I felt. I was drunk less than a handful of times in high school, and got sick on one of those occasions.

I went to college in New York City and thoroughly patronized bars from the Upper West Side down to the Lower East Side, everywhere in between, and the occasional romp to Brooklyn. My friends were other actors, filmmakers and photographers, and they taught me the ways of the ‘warrior alcoholic’ (I’m not exactly sure how much exposition this term begs, but I’ll undoubtedly revisit it down the road). There was neither time nor money for me to adequately explore much in the way of subtlety in the world of spirits during my NYC period (roughly 1996-2004), but I learned a bit about my limits, my tendencies, my preferences and style.

Forward to 2006, living with my then-girlfriend (now adoring and adored wife of 1.5 years) in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, I was fortunate to be curious enough to rent the first season of Deadwood (HBO television series that takes place in 1870’s South Dakota, love it love it, can’t recommend it enough!). The way the whiskey looked as poured from the plain, scuffed up bottles, into the heavy shot glasses of the Old West, and down the gullets of weathered settlers fired up my romantic imagination, and I dutifully went out and bought a bottle of the only named bourbon I gleaned from the show: Basil Hayden.

I drank the Basil like they did on the show, sipping and sometimes shooting from a shot glass. This was my first step into the world of whiskey I now find myself in: a world of passion, discernment, and subtlety building upon a romantically held base on the subject.

I love Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey for its American honesty, its past traditions, current momentum and future craft. I love straight Rye Whiskey for its grainy bite and cinnaminty sparkle that seems to all but defy its nature. I love craft distillers practicing the plain alchemy of turning soil into spirit, the idea of a natural product massaged into a sometimes complex, layered, always intoxicating juice. I enjoy employing my imagination in translating to words the various effects whiskey, whisky and other spirits have on my senses.

I hope to express my passion, and I hope to inspire others’ passion with my own.



•February 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment


ahhh! when I go lose myself
in the vacuous crevices between the night,
transform my corporeality to a gust of dust
whose origins delay the rhythmic possibilities
that I remember myself.

oh -when the organs which weigh in my structure
deny their own bulk
like heavenly bodies in miraculous buoyancy!

The logic of my movement
hides in the drenched aura of intoxication
surrounding my flinging physicality.

I push and pull without will,
traveling captive to the whims of the spirits
I have given myself up to.

And as they manage the impulse of my voice,
I recede into an animated sleep
and fade from repressed motivations,

relinquishing my host to indulgence.

Antics through the city streets,
boisterous chattering with friends and strangers,
scattered images of events only realized through memory.

I surface from slumber
to the semi-conscious reminiscence of a dream,
quite unsurprised at the

familiar milieu
of my bedroom.

And when this partial awakening
delivers me to the light of afternoon,
the sudden invasion of circumstance
shows me where I stand.


(written in the Spring of 2000)

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

•January 30, 2011 • 1 Comment

Bought: Dec. 2010
Price: $99.99 @ Binny’s
90.4/Vol. (45.2%)Pappy 20
First taste: Dec. 2010
Tasting Date: 1/27/2011

Chalice: Glencairn glass

Color in glass: warm orange/red, light autumn copper

Smell: candied watermelon, strawberry fruit, sweet banana candy corn, caramel nutmeg, raspberry blossom.

Taste: dried, pressed strawberry honey, banana chip, leather undertones, earthy grass supporting the balanced fruit. Strawberry perfume on the edges with orange/lemon leading to a light, unmistakable leather tannin center.

The heat expresses itself almost exclusively in a caramelized-fruity mist. A slightly tangy, acidic wormwood lingers towards the back of the tongue, perfectly anchoring the sweet fruit ride.

Just the tastiest, most balanced, smoothest, most pleasurable bourbon I can imagine. This Pappy 20 is the finest bourbon I have ever had to privilege to imbibe. That being said, I must confess that any whiskey whose character has been finessed in the filtering and/or proofing process, regardless of the superiority of the spirit, loses some points with me; I hold the naked honesty of an unfiltered, barrel-proof product with the utmost regard. A perfect bourbon would be naked as well as balanced, pleasing, complex, and wide yet personable. Mind you, I do not hold it against the Pappy 20 in the slightest. If I question how I could be more pleased with a bourbon, my only answer at this point is that the intellectual stimulation in knowing I was drinking something straight out of the barrel would be the only factor that could deepen my satisfaction of the experience.

Value: $165/$99