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Johnnie Walker Double Black


   We have received a ton of requests for this thing. We won’t even call it a Binny’s Mailbag, just plain old spirits news.

   Johnnie Walker Double Black is on the way. The Whiskey Hotline originally reported that Double Black would see a September retail release, but now it’s looking like it will be on shelves in the first week of November. Retail will be $39.99 for the 750mL bottle.

   People keep asking if they can pre-order this thing, or be put on a waiting list. Neither should be necessary. It looks like we are going to receive a pretty sizable allocation, so there should be enough to go around.

   This new Double Black is a new extension for the Johnnie Walker range that uses more West Coast malts that means much more peat for a smokier, more robust blend. Theyr’e taking their iconic style and pushing the boundaries even further.

   It originally saw a very limited release in just a few travel retail locations, but now we’re excited to see distribution broaden to include Binny’s.

   November. Counting down. Watch for more info here on the Binny’s Spirit Blog and over on The Whiskey Hotline.

More with More Cigar Sale

All through the month of October, Binny’s is running a sale on virtually every cigar we carry. This is huge.

It’s our More with More cigar sale. It’s really simple: the more you buy, the more you save – up to 15% off. This is your opportunity to pick up a few new smokes you’ve been wanting to try, or to stock up on your favorites.

Here’s how it works:

Read more

Binny’s Mailbag: Pumpkin Beer / Event Suggestion


Another great question from the Binny’s Mailbag:


   As a big fan of pumpkin beers (and being that this is the season for them), the following article got me thinking: “Binny’s should host a tasting event for people to try the various pumpkin beers (and ciders) out there!”
   The Ultimate Guide To Fall Pumpkin Beers (via Huff Post Food)

1.) Is there an event like that already planned?
2.) If not, would you consider arranging something along those lines?

– E


Hey E,

   Thanks for the question and thanks for the link to the article. We both love and carry a good number of those beers and the ones we don’t are just anticipation.

   We actually did have a big tasting recently featuring about 30 fall beers at our Bolingbrook store, featuring mostly pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers.

   Believe it or not, many of the most popular fall beers, especially pumpkin beers, are already sold out or are nearly sold out at our stores. The next wave will be a small batch of wet-hopped beers (yum!) and then we’re into winter styles (awesome).

   We always have tastings. Keep checking our events page. It’s updated often, and there’s always something cool going on.



Binny’s Mailbag

2008 Joseph Phelps Insignia

   For those who still collect high-end California: the newest vintage of Joseph Phelps Insignia has arrived in limited quantities at Binny’s. This Bordeaux-style blend – the 2008 includes 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Verdot and 4% Merlot – is a California icon, one of the blue-chip Napa Cabernets collected by wine lovers and spectators alike.

   Robert Parker thinks highly of this Insignia. He gave the wine a preliminary 95-97 points last December, saying The 2007 and 2008 Insignias may be the best back-to-back vintages they have produced since 1995 and 1994. We haven’t had a chance to taste it … yet. 

   The 2008 vintage was a tricky one in Napa. Problems included crazy frost damage in April and blasts of heat toward the end of the season. The result is good wine but much less of it. Yields were down across the region.

   By the way, we still have limited amounts of the highly-regarded 2007 Insignia as well.

Monetizing Social Media

Bear with me here:


I was on the CTA Red Line heading into town for a wine tasting. I was reading a book by Gary Vaynerchuck and wondering if I were indeed ‘crushing it.’ My mind was on my potential to monetize social media. Deep stuff.

Then a guy across the aisle from me asked if I were a student. He said he had books of poetry, and he gave half-off discounts to students. I told him that I was not a student but then added something about all of us being students of something. Then, against my better judgment, I bought his photocopied and stapled book of poetry and drawings.

I thought to myself: this guy certainly is social – moreso than a person behind a computer screen. Such as all of the other people on the train, on their phones, for example. He has his medium and he is monetizing it. Somehow this doesn’t count as monetizing social media.


So anyway, I wanted to remind everybody that Binny’s is all over the web. We’re broadening the ways you can communicate with your favorite beverage depot. Like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter. Or just stop by your favorite Binny’s location and find out just how social we can be.



   This post on the Binny’s Blog is not an endorsement for photocopied subway poetry.

Quick Flight, Small Pours


Great American Beer Festival starts tomorrow.
This totally sweet video condenses the entire 2009 event into a minute. Wish we were there.


Why some beer labels don’t include ABV.
Avoiding an “hypothetical public health problem” by prohibiting consumers information?

U.S. Wine Drinkers Root for Home Team, pricing considered.
Once upon a time, people only ate and drank stuff from the neighborhood. Now it’s remarkable that we drink nationally.


The World’s Best Food Wines are from Italy.
Discussed: acidity cutting your tongue in two. We can relate.


Decanter gives some love to Australia.
Glad we’re not the only ones who think the wine producing region country continent has seen undue blowback after the popularity and high scores from just a few years ago.



Binny’s Mailbag: Marilyn Merlot


Another peek inside the Binny’s Mailbag:


I am looking for the September release of the Marilyn Merlot wine. It is the 25th anniversary edition. Will you have this available at any of your stores?

– D.F.


Good news, D.F.!

   First: Yes, the 2009 Marilyn Merlot, the 25th Anniversary bottling, can be found at almost all Binny’s locations right now. That isn’t to say the stuff will last forever it is a collector’s item, after all but it is widely available right now.

   Second: You might also want to check out the upcoming Marilyn Merlot & Thirsty Girl Open House tasting that we’re hosting at our South Loop location on Friday, October 7th from 4:30-7:30pm. Stop by for the chance to taste the latest vintage of Marilyn Merlot. While you’re there, meet the ladies of, an online community of women who share a passion for food, travel, libations and life.

You’ll find more info on this event and many more on our Big Events page.


Binny’s Mailbag


Do you have a question for the Binny’s Mailbag? Hit us up via email –

The Whiskey Hotline Updated


   Check out the newest update to the The Whiskey Hotline. We share our excitement for the following topics:

a heck of a guy – high octane cherries
country star’s mezcal – clear anejo
whisky pulled from Antarctic ice, a recreation of
under-the-sea rum aging – divisive basil vodka
a “bang for your buck” pick – strawberry cream in a can
the Irishman not from Cooley …

…and a bunch more, of course.

New Face at The Whiskey Hotline


   If you’ve called The Whiskey Hotline (888 817-5898) or emailed us at over the last few weeks, you may have heard a new voice. We’re stoked to introduce Pat Brophy to The Whiskey Hotline team. His expertise and people skills make him perfect for this position. Plus he’s a heck of a guy.

   Pretend that we actually sat down with him and had this conversation:


Pat BrophyThe Whiskey Hotline: What’s your history with Binny’s?

Pat Brophy: I’ve worked in various management positions from customer service manager to general manager at four suburban stores Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Downers Grove, St Charles. Outside of store operations, my focus has been specialty spirits. I’ve also handled the craft and specialty beers, doing a lot of the ordering.


TWH: As part of the Binny’s tasting panel, your fingerprint already shows on our hand picked selections. What are your favorites? What is good to your palate? And outside of whiskey?


PB: My favorites from our hand selected casks? Where do I start? I LOVE big, bold flavors in bourbon: The vanilla in Eagle Rare, that peppery rye spice in our OBSK bottlings of Four Roses. One of my mainstays at home is the fat, oily, rich Elmer T Lee
   On the other hand, I prefer a little more balance in my scotch. My favorites from the last Binny’s casks are the 1992 Glenlossie and the 1995 Linkwood. But I don’t always need that beautiful honeyed-fruit/oak balance, I love the peat bombs too. The heavily peated Bunnahabhain we just got in is fantastic! And I’m definitely a sucker for all things Ardbeg. 
   As far as my favorites outside of whiskey? I’ve been on a Cognac and Armagnac kick recently. I’m also a lover of tequila. I stick mostly to reposado and anejo. And who doesn’t like a rich, extra aged rum?
   I suppose this question should be what DON’T I like? I also am abeer FANATIC. I love almost all styles, but have been on a sour ale kick as of late.


TWH: Right, you brew beer too. How’s that going?


PB: Home brewing is the best hobby ever. I truly believe that there is no better way to understand beer, what REALLY gives beer it’s particular nuances, subtleties, and complexities, than to make it. The understanding you gain about what different malts and hops can really add or subtract to a beer is what makes home brewing so rewarding.
   It certainly comes with its difficulties too. About a year ago I brewed a killer 13.1% ABV American barleywine, but couldn’t get it to carbonate, even with the addition of champagne yeast! I have an ESB on deck for this weekend, hoping for the classic biscuitymalt profile with a nice piney hop balance. I’ll report back on that one.  


TWH: Anything else going on?  How have the first couple weeks at The Whiskey Hotline gone?

PB: There’s ALWAYS lots going on! Been a busy first few weeks between getting caught up with all my new duties and getting acquainted with all our regular Whiskey Hotline customers. We also just got some new samples of Elijah Craig 18 year old and Evan Williams Single Barrel that we need to get the panel together to taste. That’s a job duty I get particularly excited about.


WH: Anything else completely off topic? Do you collect photographs of old-timey groundwater wells or make little model spaceships inside of glass bottles or groom kittens for competition in your spare time?




TWH: … um … Thank you for your time.

Binny’s Mailbag: Whisky Recommendations


Let’s open up the Binny’s mailbag:Binny's Mailbag

Can you make any whiskey recommendations that are similar to Johnnie Walker Black Label and Glenlivet 12-year. I am looking for something around the same price or cheaper. The two brands that I mentioned are $59.99 for the 1.75L bottle right now.

Thank you,



Hi J.C.

   We have two recommendations for you that would fit into the profile you’re looking for, and the price. 

   For starters, we highly recommend Speyburn 10 year old single malt. It’s a highland malt, and slightly more full-bodied and caramel forward than your Glenlivet, but very smooth and approachable for $50 for a 1.75L bottle. 

   Our other recommendation would be Teacher’s, a blended highland scotch. The base malt for Teacher’s is Ardmore, a particularly peaty highland single malt. The peat actually comes through slightly more than the Walker Black Label, whose base malts are the very peaty Talisker and Caol Ila. 

   Hope this helps. 


Binny’s Mailbag

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