If I could make one bourbon related wish come true, it would be to taste all the different blends and varieties side-by-side. While I'm waiting for that to happen... I did manage to do a double tasting of Bulleit and Four Roses. These are widely available bourbons that you can usually find in the $15-25 range (for the lower price, you'll have to wait for a sale), and both are quite drinkable. I'll write up my tasting notes at the end of this post, but first, a little about each bourbon:
Onil Chibas has a gregarious laugh. We used to work together catering parties for Pasadena's elites (he was the chef-owner of Elements Kitchen and Catering, and I worked for him). I can say without a doubt that in the fast-paced catering world of tight deadlines, over-stressed wedding planners, and creative competition, you won't find a kinder, more genuine person. Recently we met at The Market on Holly, an American Fusion Restaurant tucked away on a side-street among the quaint brick buildings, hip cafes and European bistros of Old Town Pasadena. Over an extended brunch of farm fresh omelets and bold, black coffee, we talked food, wine and the mysteries of life. Throughout our two hour meal his laugh cut through the clatter of dishes, the staccato sizzle of frying butter, and the boisterous conversations of other guests. You can't spend time with Onil Chibas without feeling better about life.
R: Let's start with the basics. What is food to you? I was talking with my brother the other day, and he put it really well when he said that growing up, food was fuel. In the Midwest culture where I came from, the rural farming community, you make hearty food that sustains you. If it's salty, it's good. If not, add a little hot sauce. But that's it. It's fuel. So how do you think about, what do you think of when you think of food? Its obviously more than that to you...
O: Absolutely. that's a terrific question. I think for me it's a lot of different things. Certainly it's fuel. But I think that when it is fuel, when it's at its basic, it should be tasty. Food is love. I also then think it's a time for people to come together. We didn't say, "Let's just go talk at the park." I mean we could have, "Let's meet at x place." But we said, "Let's meet, let's have coffee, let's get lunch or breakfast or whatever." So food plays a very unique role. It's the one thing that everybody does, from ISIS to the Pope. And every culture has some sort of ritual with food involved in it.
Laphroaig is one of my favorite island whiskies. It's dense peaty nose and complex flavors transport me to the isle of Islay every time I pour myself a dram. Right now, Laphroaig is attempting to set a world record by having a global toast, so tune in!
From the Laphroaig website:
LAPHROAIG LIVE 2015 RETURNS HOME TO THE ISLAND OF ISLAY TO CELEBRATE 200 YEARS On Thursday 24th September at 8pm local time the ninth annual Laphroaig Live will broadcast live on the web from the island of IslayLaphroaig is this year celebrating 200 years and to mark this very special anniversary we are returning to the home of Laphroaig, the island of Islay to showcase four phenomenal whiskies as well as going behind the scenes at the distillery with Laphroaig’s very own distillery manager on this auspicious year John Campbell who will be joined by no less than five of the previous distillery managers! The first time they have all been together.
This year we will be tasting 4 very special expressions. The one off’ Laphroaig 15 YO – The official 200th Expression, Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 (distilled using only the original small stills), Laphroaig 21 YO –Created for the Friends of Laphroaigs 21st Birthday and a unique Laphroaig 32 YO 100% sherry matured-A very rare, special expression.
Coming live from Laphroaig’s famous floor malting’s (one of only a handful left in the whisky industry), John Campbell and our five previous distillery managers will be joined by 2 experts Bernhard Schafer - Whisky journalist and Master of the Quiach, and Emma Andersson -Editor of Allt Om Whisky. Also joining Jon will be famous Scottish actor Sam Heughan - best known for his role in the series Outlander and Marcel van Gils – Author of the official 200th book about Laphroaig as well as many of our ‘Friends of Laphroaig’ from many countries around the World.
But our main audience, who will as always be posting in their questions to the panel live on the night – is our worldwide audience of Laphroaig lovers, including a live link to Laphroaig US whisky ambassador Simon Brooking who will be joined by 75 friends of Laphroaig via a live link from the New York.
To celebrate this special occasion, Laphroaig will be attempting to set a world record by encouraging the whole global audience to raise a toast to Laphroaig on their 200th anniversary!