Bonhams Responds to "Conspiracy" Accusations

Posted on Monday, Mar 25, 2013 at 07:31 PM

Parody of Bonhams Auctioneers Logo reading


You may know that this website has been exposing the mistakes and blunders in Bonhams New York Whisky Auction. It started with a little ruckus last June that forced them to rescind a bottle and delete it from their website.


The latest Whisky Advocate magazine contains an article that seems to defend the auctioneer. We can't reprint it here (we do very much advise subscribing to the magazine though), but here's our fact-checking review of the Whisky Advocate article and Bonhams' responses in it.


If you don't see something wrong at these auctions, you're high on "Circa 1886" crack.

Lagavulin Vertical

Posted on Saturday, Jan 5, 2013 at 03:40 PM

Lineup of 30, 25, 21 old, 21 new, 16 White Horse, Feis Ile, and others 
One well-known Alsatian whisky blogger recently pointed out that comparing the new Lagavulin 21 "...with the older 21 is any whisky blogger's favorite sport these days." Count us in! We'd been waiting to get our hands on the new 21, and when we did it was finally time for our long-anticipated Lagavulin Vertical.
Lagavulin whisky being poured into LA Whiskey Society Glencairns
For a baseline, we started with a "White Horse" 16yo that dates to around 1990. We compared that to a 2012 16yo, and the general consensus was that the circa 1990 is more enjoyable, with a "dirtier" or "earthier" quality than the current version, which is sharper with a more peppery bite. (We did consider that 20+ years in glass might have mellowed out the White Horse a bit).
Then we went in reverse, from the 30 on down, figuring that we should hit the bottlings with subtler flavors (well, for Lagavulin) first. So the lineup in order was:
the royal seal on bottle of 1990s White Horse Lagavulin
...and we also tasted through various other 12's, 16's, DE's, and a 2010 Distillery Only.
The winner of the meeting was definitely the 2007 21yo, with it's "perverse complexity" standing head and shoulders above all others, including the current 21yo. And, the 25yo was unanimously preferred by all 15 tasters to the 30yo.
Lagavulin as seen from across bay

Bourbon Awesomeness

Posted on Saturday, Nov 10, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Rare bourbons dating from the 1940s through 2012
One of the reasons that LAWS is awesome is because we're awesome.

With that tautology proudly in mind, combined with our recent mockery of some massively misrepresented "circa 1950's" bourbons, we set off to taste some real bourbons from that era.
Bourbon bottle distilled 1948, bottled 1956
However, when we dug into our bourbon archives to create the meeting, we couldn't ignore the newly-arrived Jefferson's Ocean Aged, just begging to be opened. We don't do a lot of bourbon meetings -- so into the lineup it went. And then we just ditched the 1950s thematic and picked the dusties we most wanted to taste.
How did they fare? Reviews and ratings will appear as members motivate. 

Misdated Bottles Again At Bonhams - And Some Dumb Buyers

Posted on Monday, Oct 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM

 Happy auctioneer selling bottles at your own risk


Something is amiss in the US whiskey collecting community.


By now, auction "errors" shouldn't come as a surprise. Buyers should expect them and be savvy. But this past Sunday, instead of bidders being smart and educated, they paid hundreds for bottles worth about 20 bucks. 


We're talking about ignorance caught up in an expanding bubble, and you should read about it here.

What's the difference between the LA Whiskey Society and the LA Scotch Club?

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!
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