Tag Archives: enjoyment

Do You Know Your Whiskey? Every Man Should Know These 10

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Most of you probably enjoy a few fingers of whiskey from time to time.  If not, it is never too late to start, responsibly of course! Personally, few things are as enjoyable for me as sipping on a nice whiskey while smoking a good cigar.  Doing both of those things doesn’t happen often but when it does I really try to enjoy it and soak up the experience.

There was a time when I was pretty uneducated in the different types of whiskeys and there is a decent chance some of you might be as well so I thought we would discuss it in some detail.  I am sure most of you know that Scotch, is indeed, a whiskey.  You probably also know that bourbon doesn’t have to come from Kentucky to be bourbon (although scotch does need to be made in Scotland to be scotch.)

Once you get past those basics the amount of diversity found in whiskey can be a bit confusing.  If you are like me, you have no doubt pretended to know the difference between rye whiskey and single malt scotch when out with your buddies.

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Here is a quick review of the basics

Scotch
Distilled from a mash of water, yeast, and malted barley and aged in oak barrels for at least three years.  Scotch can be one of two types. It can be a blend of whiskey from different distilleries or it can be made by just one distillery.  If it is made by one distillery it is called “single malt.”  As mentioned above, in order to earn the name scotch, it must be made in Scotland.  If you are looking for a good blend you can try Johnnie Walker Blue.  However, if you have been paying attention then you know single malt is all the rage these days.

Like anything that is “the rage” it tends to drive prices up so be careful what you pick up.  Just because it is expensive doesn’t guarantee quality.  A reasonably priced single malt is the Balvenie Double Wood 12 Year.  You can usually find it for around $50.

Bourbon
Typically made from corn and aged in new oak barrels.  While Kentucky still has the reputation for making some of the best 6a00d8341d4d7c53ef0111683a7f04970c-500wibourbon in the world, there are a ton of small craft distilleries that make excellent bourbon.  I like bourbon because it still is a great value.  I am a huge fan of Makers Mark which you can get for $20 – $30 a bottle.  Blanton’s Bourbon Single Barrel is also good, starting at around $40/bottle.

Rye
Similar to bourbon, except of course that it is made mostly with rye and not corn.  Rye whiskey’s popularity took a dive after the Prohibition Era but in recent years has made a comeback.  I am not a big fan of rye whiskey but I am told that Sazerac makes a good one for about $27.  If you want something a little more serious in the rye category you can check out Woodford Reserve for about $40 per bottle.

Now that we have that covered let’s talk about 10 of the very best whiskeys out there.  Some of the prices aren’t for the faint of heart but I promise you these are all amazing.

Elijah Craig Bourbon.  Every year Heaven Hill releases a special limited edition bottling of this wonderful whiskey.  It is aged 20 years and takes on some amazing and robust flavors. $175

The Macallan 15.  Just last weekend I had the chance to enjoy a few fingers of this amazing single malt scotch.  You will find notes of rich chocolate, with a hint of orange, rose, cinnamon and raisin.  Pair it with a nice cigar and you can’t go wrong.  $110 – $130 per bottle.

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Highland Park 18 Year Old.  Another single malt scotch many people consider this the best in the world (not sure I agree but it is certainly good.) You will find notes of oak (duh!), smoke and sweetness in this whiskey. $120.

Spice Tree.  Some of the snobbier whiskey drinkers turn their noses up to blended scotch.  Don’t be like them.  Compass Box makes a great one that includes notes of spices and vanilla.  $60.

Lagavulin Single Malt 16 Year Old. This classic single malt starts smoky but ends with vanilla and caramel notes with a dry finish. $70.

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Redbreast 12 Year Old. We can’t leave off our Irish friends of course!  This is an excellent Irish whiskey that many people consider the only Irish whiskey worth drinking.  You will find strong notes of dark fruit. The finish is long and creamy with custard and spice.  Order online and you can find this between $40 – $50 a bottle.

Four Roses Single Barrel. Yes, yes I know.  Pappy Van Winkle tends to be the single barrel of choice these days.  Avoid the trendy pick and stick with Four Roses. This one also has dark fruit notes with a sweet cocoa, maple and spicy finish. $50.

Lot No. 40 Canadian.  If you can’t leave off Irish whiskey than you certainly can’t forget our neighbors to the north.  This is considered the best Canadian whiskey out there.  I don’t drink enough to say one way or the other on this one.  This is strong rye whiskey that has won many awards. $60

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Yamazaki Single Malt 18 Year Old.  Japanese whiskey is one of the most underrated whiskeys out there.  If you are looking to try something new I highly recommend this.  A few years ago someone gave me a bottle of this for free because they didn’t think it would be any good (they never even tried it!)  Lucky for me.  It combines wonderful flavors of apple and smoke.  This one can be expensive but I have found it for as little as $200 bottle.

Which whiskeys have we left off the list?  Tell us in the comments!

Tell us if you agree or not!

 

 

 

The Daily Grind – A Few Quick Tips to Surviving This Week (and every week after)

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The Concrete Jungle and Daily Grind NYC Style

Happy Monday people!! 

I hope you all had a better weekend than I did! 

For me those days are in the past and I am looking forward to a productive and enjoyable work week and a much better weekend ahead!  It is not always easy to be positive on a Monday morning but I am trying!  On my way to work this morning I was noticing a lot of weary faces in the subway and slow shuffling feet on the sidewalks.  Seems like people were moving extra slow today.  It could be the weather as we are having a bizarre combination of humidity, fog, drizzle and the like the last two days.  Unusually warm for this time of year but not all that sunny etc.  I think weather has a greater effect on us than we realize.

Anyway, in an attempt to get your ass moving in a positive direction I thought I would share a few quick tips on surviving this week.  Actually, you know what?  I don’t think you should focus on just surviving, I think you should focus on kicking this week’s ass up and down both sides of the sidewalk!  We don’t always know what life will throw at us from week to week but we can do our best to be prepared for anything so let’s roll!

1. Get Enough Sleep

This is one of the biggest challenges for me personally.  People in New York City have a hard time going to bed at “normal hours” and I imagine if you live in any big city similar to New York you might also have the same problem.  Anytime your work day ends after 7pm or later, getting to bed by 11pm can be a challenge.  You can read a really great blog from Men’s Health on the various reasons it is important for men to get enough rest here.

There are two important things I want to touch on.  First, the body is designed to sleep when it gets dark and to be up again when it gets light.  Between the hours of 11pm and 2am (if you are sleeping) your body goes through a reconstruction and rebuilding process to undo all the stress, fatigue, etc., that it has been put through during the day.  If you aren’t sleeping during this window of time you will actually miss it completely (just like that express train you might have missed this morning, except another sleep express isn’t coming.)  That means if you fall asleep at 2am most of the time your body isn’t going through this all important process.  I know it feels lame to be in bed by 10:30 or 11am but you are missing out on some of the most important restorative health functions your body undertakes every night.  You really need to be sure you are getting a good nights sleep it is key to your long-term health.

Second, if you get enough sleep you won’t need a Red Bull or Monster for energy throughout the day.  The most basic answer to daily fatigue is getting  a good 7 – 9 hours every night.  If you can develop a good sleeping habit you will have more natural energy and feel better.  Get some rest it will make you more prepared for whatever this week has for you!

2. Stay Positive

No matter what happens on Monday or Tuesday don’t let it influence your view for the rest of the week!  Studies show that positive people have a better life both inside and outside of work.  While some people just are more positive than others being positive is a mindset that can be created with practice.

If you stay positive you will: live longer, handle pressure at your job better than pessimistic co-workers, your marriage will be more successful and staying positive will help you persevere during times of difficulty.

Read about more benefits of staying positive here.

3. Do Something You Enjoy

Make sure you find a few times during the week to do something you enjoy.  You know what works best for you so I don’t have anything specific to recommend.  If you enjoy working out then do that.  If you enjoy going for a hike or bike ride than do that.  It is important from week to week to make space in your life for the things you find enjoyable.

For me, I love watching baseball.  Tonight I will be watching the Red Sox at one of my favorite bar’s in New York City.  Even if they don’t win I will still enjoy myself and it will make the rest of the week that much better.  I also really enjoy walking around New York City so I always try to make sure I walk at least once a week.

Create enjoyment and your week will be more positive and encouraging for you!

4. Trust That God Has Your Back

Lion-537x358If you can head into the week knowing 100% that no matter what happens God is going to deliver you, protect you and provide for every need than you are 90% of the way to having a kick ass week!  The other 10% is constantly reminding yourself of the 90%.  For me nothing gets me more amped for my week than the following passage from Psalm 91.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.  If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because heloves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91 (NIV.)

Man if that can’t get you fired up for the week I am not sure what can.  I am praying for all of you this week and appreciate those of you who pray for me and my family.

What did I miss?  Let me know any other tips you have for kicking ass and taking names during the week!  I look forward to those tweets and emails!

P.S.  I also realized as I am completing this blog entry I have been listening to music.  Also an important part of my weekly survival.  Whatever you enjoy listening to I hope you can incorporate that into your life.  I LOVE getting to the office early when no one is here and charging my batteries by listening to music that moves me.  Certainly worth adding this to our list above!

Until tomorrow, be a better man!

Andrew