We've formed so many great relationships around the world, we can't just stop with France and Islay. Let's keep going! Thanks to my hero Jim Rutledge for always dropping whatever he's in the middle of to talk with us. He's a mentor and a true friend (and his Bourbon tastes pretty good, too).
Thanks to both Eddy and Jimmy Russell for opening our eyes to the greatness of Wild Turkey whiskey. Thanks for letting us pick such great casks from your stock (and thanks for choosing two of your own favorites to send us later on this holiday season).
A big thank you—of course—to the stoic Des McCagherty from Signatory who, each year when we visit, I'm afraid will finally snap and bury the two of us in a hole somewhere outside of Pitlochry. He's so calm and calculating. I can't stress this enough: it's like tasting whisky with Liam Neeson from the movie Taken. At any point in the conversation you might say the wrong thing and this guy will totally snap your neck. My highlight of the year for 2014 was when Des heard me telling David about my favorite Sheldon Cooper moment, and said, "You guys watch the Big Bang Theory, too? I love that show." I about died.
Thanks to the Diageo gals at Benrinnes distillery who let us—completely unannounced—walk into the place and snoop around. We're becoming big fans of Benrinnes, and the good vibes we experienced on our impromptu visit this year really helped to solidify those positive feelings. Between our Signatory cask, the lovely Stronachie 18 we currently stock, and the new SMWS barrel we selected, we're sitting pretty with some of the prettiest whisky available. Love, love, love Benrinnes. Thanks ladies.
Another big, big thank you to George Grant from Glenfarclas. Thanks to the strong relationship we have with Big G, we'll finally be moving out of just the single cask business. That's right—two new Glenfarclas/K&L whiskies should be here any day, and they're not just two random barrels we tasted and put our name on. Retailers all over the world now are choosing casks and putting a little sticker on the bottle. How many of them are blending those casks together with the goal of creating a larger vatted expression, I wonder? That's what we're moving towards with George's help.
Thanks to all our amigos in Santa Catarina Minas at the distillery behind Mina Real and Don Amado mezcal. An amazing display of both hospitality and a commitment to authenticity really left a mark on us.
Thanks to Le Terminator himself, Nicolas Palazzi, for keeping us stocked with exciting new spirits from the old world. Can't wait to get those new whiskies and Cognacs into stock! I sometimes think Nicolas is a robot who traveled back in time to erase my checking account from existence.
Thanks to Judah Kuper from Mezcal Vago and Jake Lustig from ArteNOM for continuing to bring the best goods from south of the border. You're putting other producers to shame.
Thanks to Shaun Caleb and all the folks at DDL in Guyana for allowing us to come and visit your wonderful distillery this year. We can't wait to get the Faultline wheels a rollin'. What a memorable time that was!
Thanks to Ian and all the folks at Kavalan for trusting us with your brand and giving us the tools we need to better represent it. We all think it's just a matter of time before the industry catches up to what you're doing over there in Taiwan.
And a big, hearty thanks to the folks at both Anchor and Nikka for allowing me to fulfill a lifelong dream. Japan is everything I hoped it would be. It's literally the best place in the world. Literally—as in I'm not using hyperbole as a literary tool. What a great time. Are we not men? We are DEVO!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Thanks to our friends around the world and our loyal customers here at home. Have a safe and joyous holiday, and we'll see you when it's time to refill.