Posted on Sunday, Oct 21, 2012 at 05:14 PM
We get this question a lot. Not only do the clubs have similar names, but so do the people who run them -- Adam and Andy. You'd think we'd have planned this better.
The LA Whiskey Society (LAWS, this club) is private. If you've poked around our website, you know that it's difficult to join. There's a waitlist to get on the waitlist, and a vetting process before membership is granted. We're a bit secretive, and we like it that way. Our events are small and sincere tastings and discussions, always with a theme, usually with whiskies that are rare or unusual, and often with industry guests. (See our FAQ for greater details).
The LA Scotch Club (LASC) is public. Anyone is welcome to attend. All it takes is an interest in whiskey, a modest fee, and a tolerance for a fellow named Marshall. LASC events are often designed to be accessible to novices, but that's not to say that there aren't plenty of "expert level" malts to be had (there are). Many of these events are at bars or restaurants, and they can be quite large, especially the yearly "Peetin' Meetin'." LASC also often hosts industry guests.
Neither club has anything to do with the Seven Grand Whiskey Society, though some members sometimes attend those events. There are no clubs called the "LA Whisky Club."
Both LASC and LAWS meet about once a month. We keep in touch with each other and there's some overlap of membership. Andy was LAWS's first new member when the original 10 of us decided to expand.
One key thing to understand about both clubs is this: we operate on a loss. There's no money being made here. LAWS and LASC are all about good whiskey and good friends. To wit, much of our social lives revolve around whiskey. Outsiders have trouble understanding that has little to do with getting drunk. For us, whiskey is about the adventure of tasting, exploring, and discussing -- not anesthetizing ourselves. (That's what vodka is for, and we don't like that stuff).
Cheers to all. Drink whiskey!
Posted on Thursday, Aug 16, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Special circumstances called for a special summer meeting!
Thomas Ewers, the man behind indie bottler Malts of Scotland, was visiting Los Angeles this August -- and he was kind enough to bring us some of his exlusive malts. As you may know, MoS was started just a few years ago and has quickly become known for their high quality cask selections. (And, par for the course, they're not distributed in the US.)
We tasted a selection of new Malts of Scotland bottlings, and the consensus was that they ranged from something like "yummy" to "outrageously good." Thomas's releases are consistently delicious because whisky isn't his main business. It's his passion. That means he's not under the constant pressure to produce like the large independent bottlers are. When a cask tastes ready to be bottled, it's bottled. If it's not, it's ignored. If he has a gap in production, so be it. There are no "filler bottles" thrown in just to keep the brand going.
...and probably most raved about was a 40yo Glengoyne sherry monster cask sample that's awaiting bottling. Suffice it to say that we were already asking how we could purchase it!
Huge thanks to Thomas for a stellar evening of great whiskies!
Posted on Friday, Jun 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
It's been a while since we've had an exceptionally silly meeting. This solved that problem.
The "Highlander," based on the 1986 film/legend of the same name, had a simple premise: each of the top 6 website contributors had to secretly pick one whisky. At the meeting, the whiskies would fight till only one remained!
- Region had to be Highland, including Speyside.
- The whisky couldn't already be on the LAWS website.
- LAWS funded each up to $200, out-of-pocket overages ok.
Combatants had 7 weeks to choose their entry. Some members took the challenge pretty seriously, while at least one selected his fate while stopping at a liquor store on the way to the meeting.
For the contest, each competitor blinded his whisky into 1 of 6 identical opaque bottles. Tasting order was randomly chosen, and half the group tasted in reverse order.
The champion and winner of The Prize (all whisky knowledge known to man) was... Fuji!! His 1981 Lochside narrowly beat out Adam's 1965 Glenfarclas. Coming in last was Dave, whose 1992 Ardmore gained slightly less traction than others.
The whiskies were blinded with the names of the 6 immortals in the original film. In tasting order, they were:
MacLeod: Ardmore 1992 19yo Single Malts of Scotland (Dave's bottle) 6th Place
Fasil: Glenallachie 1974 The Whisky Exchange (Andy's bottle) 5th Place
Kurgan: Glendronach 1975 33yo "Three Generations" Duncan Taylor (Chris's bottle) 4th Place
Vazilek: Lochside 1981 The Whisky Exchange (Fuji's bottle) 1st Place
Ramirez: Ben Nevis 1990 La Maison du Whisky "Artist" Range (Sku's bottle) 3rd Place
Kastigir: Glenfarclas "Probably Speyside's Finest" 1965 46yo DL Platinum (Adam's bottle) 2nd Place
The entire contest was extremely close, and only 1/3 letter grade separated first from last place. We had to use a numeric system to 2 decimal places to determine final results!
Posted on Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Wanna open up some dusty Springbanks? Yeah, we wanted to also. We pulled six bottles from our collections -- all bottled in the 90s -- cracked 'em open, and drank 'em. That's all there was to our latest meeting. Sometimes we get pretty complicated, other times we keep it simple. Drink Whisky!