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About this Blog

Welcome to Po'Nutrition Fax! This blog is about alcohol - it has nothing to do with health or wellness, and the only relationship between this and Edgar Allen Poe is that he was an alcoholic.

I used to work in a liquor store and developed a taste for all different types of booze. As my collection grew, I felt the need to share my knowledge of, interest in, and experiences with my purchases - from the standards (e.g. whisk(e)y, gin) to the less-than-standard (e.g. kirschwasser, raki). You'll also find a lot on beer (another love of mine).

This is not about how much I can drink nor do I promote over-excess of alcohol. As with most blogs, there is some self-reflection included with most of the reviews. The point is to encourage everyone to reflect on what they drink.

Leave comments or ask questions! Also, "follow" me if you like what you read - I am not making money from this blog but if I see more interest in this and hear some feedback, it will encourage me to write more.

Cheers!
Mike

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blanche de Normandie



If you read my recently published article in the New York Cork Report, then you'll know that I love eau-de-vie.  However, I've been having trouble finding an apple eau-de-vie.  There are German apple liqueurs (i.e. Apfelkorn) but they are liqueurs and not eau-de-vie so I was not interested in buying one-sided liqueurs.

Basically, eau-de-vie is an un-aged fruit distillate.  Although it could be considered a brandy (since it is distilled from fruit) it is generally made using the entire fruit, not just it's fermented juice.  Notable examples: Framboise is made from raspberries, Kirschwasser is made from cherries, Grappa is made from grape pomace.

Researching this particular apple eau-de-vie, it is distilled from an apple cider.  Since some appellations within Normandy can produce calvados using apples and pears, I thought there might be some pears in this eau-de-vie - but the bottle claims it is "100% Apple."  I also discovered that this was one of the most highly-rated spirits of 2007; I did not know this before purchasing and trying this liquor so my opinion was not influenced by such factors.  Regardless, for such a lauded spirits one would think this would be a rather pricey bottle; however, I found a .750L bottle for only $23 at my local spirits retailer.  Seeing as how this type of spirit (i.e. eau-de-vie) is rarely consumed in the States, this is not surprising.  Fortunately, I get to take advantage of the average American consumer's lack of knowledge/appreciation of certain fine drinks.

The sweet aromas of apple and pear are accompanied by floral aromas and a certain rustic "je ne sais quoi."  Like all eaux-de-vie (the "x" makes this plural), there is some heat to this unaged spirit but there is a touch of butter and cinnamon that reminds me of a Tarte Tatin.  I can see why this eau-de-vie was so highly rated.

Unfortunately, I now have a craving for some sort of freeze-dried apple and Chinese cassia flavored cereal.  Perhaps the one advertised here by these two "heroes"?:


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Double Your Fun - Two Posts in One Day!

As you can see in the Po' Nutrition Fax "About Me" space on the far right-hand side, I say "I enjoy writing so I've decided to blog in order to have an excuse to write and thus to be creative. This is what I do."  Po' Nutrition Fax has been a chance for me to pursue my interest in writing professionally and it seems as though some are interested in what I have to say.  In other words, I was published... twice... in one day:

Once with the New York Cork Report.

The other on the Buffalo Whiskey Guild.

I wrote the entire article for the New York Cork Report and I contributed on the review for the Buffalo Whiskey Guild.

Getting published once is cool but twice in one day is even cooler.  Things that come in twos are great.  Here are some other examples:

Very useful
Also very useful
The Two-Man Rule for Launching Nuclear Missiles normally gets little praise
Kid N' Play - enough said
Thanks to everyone who reads Po' Nutrition Fax on a regular basis.  I'll just have to make sure to write more often!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Highland Park 1994

I'm a big fan of Highland Park.  I can honestly say that I had Highland Park when the bottle looked like this:

Unassuming yet delicious

Before it changed to this bottle design:

Sleek and stylish - and still delicious
That's right, I'm being that guy.  You know, that guy that says "I had it before it was popular!" as if I had foresight or special "insider" knowledge of this distillery.  I did not, in fact, have any insight but it was (relatively) cheap and I hadn't tried it yet; these were the factors that influenced my purchase.  When I bought the 12-year, it was retailing for about $40.  It was the best damn scotch I had ever had (at the time) - especially for $40. Then Wine Enthusiast published an article about non-Islay, island scothes and rated the Highland Park whiskies as some of the best deals in the single-malt market.

Fortunately, due to this new media coverage, the local distributor made sure that the employees of the store I worked at could try Highland Park's 18-year scotch (still, one of my favorites).  UNfortunately, the price of Highland Park whiskies began to increase too.  This increase in popularity brought about the new bottle design as well.  Nevertheless, Highland Park remains a great distillery in my mind.

Therefore, I try to keep Highland Park in mind when buying scotch - especially when buying those released by independent bottlers.  However, on my recent return-trip from Bavaria, I found some "exclusive" Highland Park bottles at the Duty-Free Shop in the Munich Airport.  These "exclusive" bottles are only available "for Global Travel Retail" - at least according to the packaging.  These "exclusive" releases are labeled with vintage-dated (1998, 1994, 1990, 1973) rather than the standard age statement labeling (e.g. 12-yr, 18 yr., etc.).  What does the vintage matter for distilled spirits?  Cognac producers say it means nothing, but Armagnac producers disagree.  Personally, I think that vintage does influence the distillate, but only marginally; but I'm digressing.  I decided on the 1994 as it was in my price range.  As I was returning from Germany, I felt the best use of my unspent Euros was on merchandise rather than selling them for back for U.S. dollars; I would essentially be throwing money away since I had already exchanged my U.S. dollars for Euros and would be losing money in the re-conversion.  Furthermore, I felt the money would be best spent on something that I could not buy back in the States - hence this purchase.

I've been waiting to try this scotch for quite some time now.  I had inflated its value in my mind due to it's "exclusivity" so I was waiting for the perfect time to try it.

However, anytime is the perfect time for scotch.

I opened the bottle the other day - and was disappointed.  Granted, I had inflated expectations of this scotch as it was "exclusive" and I spent about €65 on this bottle (roughly $81 at the time).  However, for a roughly 15-yr whisky (distilled sometime in 1994, and bottled sometime in 2010), it wasn't the quality I had expected from Highland Park.  That's not to say it's bad, but it's not fantastic by any means.  While it has the aromas and taste of dried fruits and nuts macerated in sweet sherry (like the filling in a Lady Baltimore cake) followed by a briny smokiness, it falls flat quickly.  It is not quite insipid but it lacks follow-through.  I'd expected more from what had been such a great distillery in my mind.

This is not to say I've written-off Highland Park completely; I'm willing to give them a second chance (maybe even a third... or fourth).  However, don't always be fooled by the "exclusivity" of the bottling.  I thought I had learned that lesson but I guess not.

Learn from my mistakes - "exclusive" doesn't always mean "superior."