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Posts Tagged ‘Whisky’

November 16, 2020 Leave a comment

This just in: We will have a new president next year, which is good. I am profoundly glad to have been wrong. It will be nice to have a president who speaks, generally, in complete sentences, and more often than not, bases his words on verifiable facts, and isn’t a blatant sociopath. The absolute worst case scenario has been avoided, but a lot of people are dancing like this is the big victory at the end, as opposed to a slight door opening to the new work beginning. Also, there are two remaining Senate runoff races, which will determine whether or not Mitch McConnell remains in control of the Senate. If so, Dems will be able to pass no legislation, and nominate no judges. If this matters to you, do what you can to elect Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff in GA! I bought just about everything on both of their merch pages. Also, very curious to see who will be appointed to Kamala Harris’ seat in the Senate. Now, back to the e-mail I wrote the day before the election was called for Biden and Harris….

So, this 20-something jackass comes in at 1:45pm, on a weekday, very obviously wearing pajama bottoms. He goes right for the fridge (which as we all know has multiple signs on it, asking one not to do that), Derek explains the usual, and after some coaxing, for about a minute, he complies. After getting a cold bottle of grigio, he crouches down in front of the fridge, and flatly ignores questions and statements from both of us such as: “Is there anything else we can help you find?” and “If you’re looking for cans, they’re all visible with pricing over here, where the lights are on.” When he finally stands up and responds, pouty and sour-faced, all he wants to do is argue about why he should be able to block the font door and stare into a dark fridge, if that’s what he wants to do. It’s his birthday. Spoken like a true entitled idiot who has never worked a hard day in his life. I’ll bet you $1000 I can guess which building he lives in. Most of the worst people that come in here live in one of two new(ish) builds (in fairness, a handful of truly decent regulars live there as well, but they are in the notable minority). Aside from this, the number of phone calls being made in our shop, directly in front of one of the no cell phones signs is off the charts (and even a couple of facetime calls). Not sure how we’re going to make it through the end of this godforsaken year without major policy changes. I’m an inch away from making entering the building by appointment only, or just go the pick-up only route. … Sigh.

Anyway, the two largest booze distributors in our market account for about 85% of all alcoholic products (excluding beer) that are available to us retailers in New York, including just about every domestic and world whiskey that most people have heard of. Many of the larger conglomerates of producers switch between them (as they’re both impressively poorly run companies) because their size gives them near monopolistic control over the widest local distribution networks. Recently, Diageo (which owns Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Captain Morgan’s, and other factory crap we’ll never carry) jumped from (the Evil) Empire to Southern, and all of a sudden, products that were supposedly long “sold out” at Empire popped back up on the Southern wholesale website. I Assumed this was due to Diageo’s published product list being handed over and copied, regardless of what was physically available, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try and order. Though it’s also possible that remaining stock in other markets was consolidated here to clear it off the books, as was the case with now very rare Orphan Barrel Barterhouse 20 year. While I was largely correct, a few of these long unavailable bottles actually showed up, most notably 3 of the limited edition Game of Thrones whiskeys by Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, and Oban (the latter of which is my favorite of the set, in both palate and presentation).

Even more interesting is that the price of most good Scotch, most especially the legendary Lagavulin, has gone up in cost considerably in the last year and a half, such that we’ve just now paid slightly less for Lagavulin Lannister Edition 9 year as we’ve been paying for the regular release of Lagavulin 8 year (though in fairness to the proof sluts, it is 2% lower abv than said 8yr), and you know how much we love to pass a good deal on to you. So, guess what’s on flash sale this week?! Apologies to those who paid full collectible price last year, before the GoT finale, we were assured those were the only bottles we’d ever receive, and the demand at that time was rather high.

(!) CLICK HERE to access the hidden sale page (!)

Dalwhinnie Stark Winter’s Frost   SALE: $44     retail: $56       last year: $125

Lagavulin Lannister 9 year   SALE: $69            retail: $85            last year: $145

Oban Night’s Watch Bay Reserve  SALE: $75   retail: $89            last year: $165

** This week only, as supplies last! **
* No other discounts apply.*

Cheers,

Jack
Proprietor
Free Range Wine & Spirits

P.S. Free Range E-mail Archive.

Back together again, for the first time…

October 25, 2020 Leave a comment

Howdy Free Rangers,

Since the onset of the zombie apocalypse, when in-store tastings instantly became a thing of the past, we’ve been pondering other kinds of events, and promotions; hence the weekly e-mail sales. But I don’t Zoom well. I’m not even good on the phone. And setting aside an hour during prime sales floor time, toward such an endeavor, seems like a recipe for disaster. And since it remains illegal for retailers to pour anything outside the physical confines of their licensed addresses, we really haven’t come up with much else. It’s all we can do to maintain proper order when more than 4 people are trying to get into the shop at once. Speaking of which, we know that waiting outside the shop to get in is no fun, and we do our best to hurry through the “just looking” folks who ignore the sign on the front door, specifically asking them not to do this. As always, your patience and support is greatly appreciated. But if you come across a gaggle of tourists in here, taking up as much space as possible, and clearly not buying anything, please feel free to yell at them, if you get to them before I do. It takes a village to shame its idiot(s).

We now take you back to the last of the golden age of Manhattan’s East Village. Tonic was the best little music venue in New York, and just a skip down Rivington was a fabulous little Italian joint with a small number of tables, a long line outside, and a deep selection of properly aged Italian wine. ‘inoteca be thy name, and I loved that little spot. Many nights when the wait for a table was over an hour, a solo flier could still sneak into one of the tall stools at the back bar, where you’d sit in nose-shot of the day’s cheese selections. It was a wonderful little corner of calm amongst the chaotic throb of that rhythmic neighborhood, to enjoy some bruschetta and a seventeen year old Valpolicella. While ‘inoteca has been gone from Rivington for some time, there is now a Brooklyn-based ‘inoteca pop-up offering family style multi course Italian meals for pick-up or delivery in two sizes, on Wednesdays, at the moment (à la carte items are also available). Check out the details here: ‘inoteca pop-up. We’ve also put together a page of wine pairings, if you’d like to have them delivered with your dinner: Free Range ‘inoteca wine pairings.

Now, for your weekly flash sale… It seems not terribly long ago that we offered a sale on Suntory Yamazaki 12yr– the most classic of all Japanese Whisky- but it was one of our most popular, and more cases than we’ve seen in years just walked through the door (and I had already hoarded up a good bit). So, we’ve got 3 cases of Yamazaki 12 to sell at our lowest price of the year on this classic single malt whiskey.

 (!) CLICK HERE to add Yamazaki 12 to your cart w/ coupon code (!)

Yamazaki 12
sale: $115                                    retail: $135

*** This week only, as supplies last! ***
* No other discounts apply.

Cheers,

Jack
Proprietor
Free Range Wine & Spirits

“Oh, you mean a store pick?”

May 26, 2020 Leave a comment

Here’s the latest from Free Range Wine & Spirits (not sure why this didn’t post last week):

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Hey Free Rangers,

Let’s skip the apocalypse talk this week (we all know what’s going on- and/or not going on), and head straight for the rare Bourbon deal of the week, about which we are fairly excited. But first, let’s talk about (whiskey) bottle hunters. There’s a breed of whiskey bro who only want the rarest blue chip bottles of which they’re already aware (Stagg, Pappy, Weller 12), or the latest tiny production darling of some blog, and only at the lowest price in the country. They’ll ask price quotes on 10 or 20 rare bottles, then tell us how much less they paid at some warehouse liquor store in a flyover state (or central Jersey), and often they buy nothing. These same guys are completely uninterested in our exclusive single barrels. And it’s hard to take somebody seriously who claims to be motivated by scarcity and intrigue, but has no interest in a single barrel Elijah Craig 8yr for $36, and the 217 bottles stacked here are the only that will ever exist on Earth: a rare variation on a classic Bourbon (with an age statement) for 36 bucks. “Oh, you mean a store pick,” is the response. Neither of us are impressed. *It should be noted that web site prices on those big ticket items are often flexible for anyone in our system, who has purchased whiskey with us before. 

We’re quite excited about our new exclusive Elijah Craig Free Range Single Barrel 8yr Bourbon, and we still have a bit of our previous, Elijah Craig Free Range Single Barrel 10yr. We’re offering a coupon code for 1 bottle of each 8yr and 10yr for $59 (normally $78). Click here: Elijah Craig Exclusives Deal! *
** This week only (limit 6 per customer) ***

Once again we’re closed Monday this week.
The rest of the week’s Open Hours are status quo:

Tuesday:            Pick-up only! 1 – 7pm
Wednesday:       Pick-up only! 1 – 7pm
Thursday:           Open 1 – 7pm
Fri – Sat:            Open 1 – 7pm
Sunday:             Open 1 – 7pm

Always worth a call, if you think it’s getting late: 718.643.2250

Lots of great new (and old) bottles added to the web site this week, and we’re always happy to discuss anything you see and/or specifically don’t see there: www.FreeRangeBrooklyn.com
More fun with rare whiskey ahead.

Cheers,

Jack
Proprietor
Free Range Wine & Spirits

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BourbonGeist – Elijah Craig 12 year, End of an Era

June 21, 2016 Leave a comment

1 Elijah Craig 12 6-2016Well, I’ve just cleaned out a local discount shop of the last of the 12 year, so I can relay the secret, my personal stash secured.

Elijah Craig 12 year small batch bourbon is one of the very best values in American whiskey. Quality and barrel year per dollar, with an age statement of 12 years, it is (was!) almost always available for under $30 per bottle. These are unheard of numbers in the new American whiskey market, and they’ve finally buckled under its weight.

Elijah Craig SB 12 6-2016Last year, when the visually prominent ‘12’ was removed from the Elijah Craig 12 Year label, it seemed they’d eventually be dropping the age statement, as so many have, due to the Boom. Until the most recent batch, the 12 year age statement was still in the very first line on the back of the bottle. The trend in the whiskey world is toward removed aged statements and increasingly mysterious blends. It’s the simplest way to increase production and keep up with demand. Regardless of all technological advancement, it’s still impossible to up production of a twelve year old product tomorrow.

As a nerd and a collector, I would’ve preferred the price of the 12 year increase and a less expensive 8 year be released (or even a 6 and a 9 year, or a 6 and 9 year, or an If 6 was 9 year!). I get why that would be less practical, but it would’ve been much cooler.

Now, the tasting. It’s easy to assume the worst, and at this point the age unknown small batch blend likely contains barrels of 6-12 year old bourbon, but with no statement, it can literally be any age combination. It will likely get younger and younger over time as Heaven Hill struggles to keep up with world thirst. As of today, the 94 proof Elijah Craig Small Batch is a little lighter in color than the last of the 94 proof 12 year, a little less red, slightly more golden, visually. The difference in nose is similar, but a less measurable contrast, the small batch comes off as a little brighter, the 12 year a little deeper, more overt wood, and a ghost of faded smoke.

Flavor-wise, the difference between the two is subtle, but noticeable, though it’s hard to say that my beloved 12 year is empirically better. It’s deeper, darker, more complex, greater overt wood affectation- and all the little secondary and tertiary flavors that go along with that. The small batch is comparatively lighter, sweeter, prettier, livelier, but not hotter. One man’s ‘lighter’ is another man’s ‘flatter’. I’m sure many will prefer one over the other, but I don’t think in a blind panel collective preference would necessarily skew toward the elder.

In short, the quality per dollar is still high in the new NAS (no age statement) Elijah Craig Small Batch; this is not just a cheap imitation of the original. That being said, for your own future enjoyment and edification, you may want to check out your nearest retailer, flip the Elijah Craig bottle(s), and if the back label says ’12 year’, maybe squirrel a couple away. Nobody ever said, “What am I going to do with all this nice 12 year bourbon?”