I don’t go to many runway fashion shows, but I’m glad I made an exception for Dressed to Kilt, New York’s annual celebration of all things Scottish, complete with celebrities modeling kilts. There is nothing like a show of nationality to get the blood stirring: proud countrymen dressed in the fine textiles of Northern Britain, eating the local delicacies (thankfully no haggis) and supporting a good cause (the Wounded Warrior Project).
What to call John Ramsay? His title is master blender. But given that that is a pretty common spirits-industry term defining a person who oversees blending, perhaps for Ramsay we need something more. It may seem redundant, but how about master master blender?
My first Big Smoke came in New York in 1997, when I started at Cigar Aficionado, and it blew me away with the great smokes, drinks and food. But mostly it was the fun and camaraderie of the guests that struck me. Here were all these stogie fans having a great time celebrating their passion for smoke and knowing they were with like-minded people. I thought: "It don't get much better than this."
Eighteen hours had passed since I’d first tasted Bowmore Gold and the last tasting note was just getting finished on my palate. There are arenas where it’s best to come in last, and the world of hyperpremium Scotch whisky is one of them.
As discussed in a previous blog, cigar smoking on television or in the movies always captures my attention. That is especially true when the cigar is an important prop in the action and it is used more creatively—and positively—than the stereotype of popping a perfecto in the character's mouth to make it clear that he is a gangster or some other villain. Cigars in the negative were done to death using Edward G. Robinson and then later in the Courageous Cat cartoon with Chauncey Frog, who was clearly based on Robinson. (I will admit, however, that one of the greatest cigars scenes of all time is in a gangster movie: Albert Finney shooting up his rivals with a submachine gun between puffs in Miller's Crossing.)
I didn’t end up making the aforementioned trip to Kentucky to see the cooperage operation for Brown-Forman, but I also didn’t go to Niagara Falls as my wife had schemed. Where the family actually went (after much begging from my daughter Grace, who is fascinated by all things historical) was Mystic Seaport. At the other end of Connecticut from where I live, it was an easy day trip into a time that occurred many days ago (more than a century would be closer).
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