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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Islay

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We visited Ardbeg first, and got an incredibly in-depth tour from distillery manager Mickey Heads. Our first impression was how shockingly small the operation is, at least in comparison to their marketing budget. Ardbeg only operates a single pair of stills. To put that in perspective Glenlivet has 28 pairs.

 

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Phelan Segur

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We visited the Phelan Sugur property after an already daunting morning of tastings in the Medoc. Pauillac and St Estephe are tough on the enamel but we persisted on to Phelan Segur and arrived just before lunchtime. We maneuvered down the long drive, walked through the expansive, serene grounds and discovered our gracious hosts in their beautiful, sun-filled tasting room.
 

phelan segur

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Campbeltown

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After a long drive across the lowlands and down the Campbeltown peninsula we arrived in the town of Campbeltown. Once the mecca of Scotch whisky with over 35 distilleries in the town, the number has dwindled down to just 3. Two of them are owned by the Wright family, Springbank and Glengyle. Founded in 1828, the Springbank distillery is a special place for Scotch lovers.
 

Campbeltown Scotland Binny's

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Speyside and The Highlands

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Family owned since 1895, G&M is one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers. They’re also a wine, spirits and beer wholesaler. Their operation is very large, spanning several acres. We got a chance to see one of their warehouses and it was a sight to behold. They use a tall, racked warehouse as opposed to the short, dank dunnage warehouses. There are some real gems in their warehouses and they have some of the oldest casks in the business. In fact, they’ve bottled the oldest single malt ever bottled, a 70-year-old Mortlach. We had the privilege of tasting two different Macallan casks from 1940 while we were there. They were both surprisingly vibrant and fresh when we expected woody and tired. We’ve got plenty of G&M cask samples we’re tasting through and considering and will update our picks in an upcoming post.
 

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Wine Hotline Hits the Road: Canon la Gaffeliere

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When I started looking forward to my first trip to Bordeaux, one of the places I was most excited to visit was Canon la Gaffeliere. Beyond the great esteem I have for the wines, I was fascinated at the idea of meeting Comte Stephan von Neipperg. The guy/count is a legend; every person I know who’s visited talks about an experience with him. Known for his colorful style, wit, and enthusiasm, he spent the last thirty years innovating and elevating the quality of wines at his family’s estates.
 

Canon la Gaffeliere

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Islay

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The Whiskey Hotline is currently on sabbatical on Islay, but the line between work and play is always blurred. We visited a few of our favorite distilleries in between eating haggis burgers, haggis pizza, haggis nachos and black pudding and managed to get an advance tasting on some upcoming releases you’ll want to keep an eye out for. These are all currently on the water and we expect to have them within a month or so. We’ll be sure to let you know here as soon as they arrive.
 

Islay Whiskey Hotline

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Cigar Team Hits the Road: Nicaragua

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Our Cigar team recently traveled to Nicaragua for an unforgettable cigar experience with Drew Estates. Our trip started with true Nicaraguan food, which we finished with a Liga Pravada no.9. The roads in Nicaragua are buzzing with car horns, pedestrians and motorcycles. The Drew family shared Ligas, Naturals, Kuba kubas, and Undercrowns on the bumpy ride through mountainous terrains.

 

Drew Estates View

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Beer Buzz Hits the Road: 5 Rabbit Cervecería

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This week we escape the cold winter greyness with the bright Latin flavors of Chicago’s 5 Rabbit CervecerÍa. These intrepid brewers turn to Central and South American cuisine for inspiration, using a wide variety painstakingly sourced ingredients at various stages of the brewing process.
 

5 Rabbit

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Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Myths and Legends Brewing Company

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All this cold weather as of late was driving us a bit stir crazy, so we decided to hit the road and visit some local breweries. Our customers continue to rave about Myths and Legends Brewing Company in nearby Westmont, so we headed on over to check things out.

 

Myths and Legends Tap Room

 

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Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Ballast Point

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The Beer Buzz recently took a trip to sunny San Diego, so naturally we needed to check out Ballast Point’s new facility in Miramar. Stepping foot into this 107,000 square foot brewery, it is incredible to think how far Ballast Point has come since their humble beginnings in the back of Homebrew Mart twenty years ago. Ballast Point was founded with DIY determination and that passion for craftsmanship can be seen in the gleam of this beautiful 150 barrel brew system salvaged from a brewery in Germany.

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