The latest from the founders

Bittersweet Success


I’ve been remiss in my blog posting duties lately. We’ve been busy and, frankly, it’s been a pain waiting (and waiting…) for the BenRiach to finally be delivered to our members. What a clusternut that was?! As the Stones say, “But it’s allll righhhhht now, in fact it’s a gas!” (Jumping Jack Flash). The Gold Medal winning BenRiach 17 is flowing freely and members are beginning to see why the International Whisky Competition voted this beauty its Numero Uno Cask Strength Whisky back in April. Members are beginning to come to grips with just how the barley-forward, sweet fruit balances against the peat and the creamy mouthfeel, so that the wait was hopefully deemed worthwhile. Now that we’ve worked out the kinks in our distribution chain, the self-imposed blogging extinction is over.

I am truly inspired to write tonight, about something incredible, and about something that will leave a pit in my stomach. I’ll start with the sad news first.

The announcement came as a stark clarion call viewed on the SCN private fb page: Josh matter-of-factly announced last week that there are fewer than 50 bottles of Arran 12 year old Pinot Noir double-matured cask remaining. HOLY COW! Really?! That was the one that started it all; the first cask we ever selected as a panel; the one that was going to put us on the proverbial map. And it lived up to its billing in every sense. I am going to miss that cask, not only for its supreme yield, but also because of the poignant place it will forever hold in my heart.

My feelings about running toward the end of our very first cask are bittersweet. Surely, if I was paying the least bit of attention, I would have been able to predict that this fate would repeat with each and every cask we bottle. Such is the nature of being an independent bottler of SINGLE CASK whiskies. When the cask runs dry, the memory of its incredible contents will inevitably fade. Maybe not the memory of the existence of the cask and its yield, but certainly the precise recall of its profile; the experience of the whisky on the tongue as it fills all the senses. And, as we have always maintained: Once it’s done, it’s gone forever.

For Jason, Joshua and me, this separation anxiety will be felt most acutely and repetitively. As Dr. Frankenstein developed a fatherly attachment to his creation, so, too, will we develop a sense of ownership in the whiskies we select to bottle for our members. Only our whiskies will not have thumbtacks sticking out of their necks as makeshift electrodes. And hopefully they will not set loose upon the countryside, wreaking havoc and causing mayhem across the land, before they ultimately turn on their creators (okay, so it’s an imperfect analogy…).

Parting is such sweet sorrow, and I will forever miss my first love (Uhh, I’m talking about the cask of Arran whisky, folks. What did you think I meant?! C’mon!). Yet ‘tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. So in that spirit I am resigned to saying goodbye to the Arran. And then to the Kilchoman 4 and the BenRiach 17 in its wake. And so on, and so forth through many amazing casks of whisky. This is the nature of the business we’re in. As I’ve said before: It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Bitter indeed, but that’s only half of the word “bittersweet.” The rest is sweet. Very sweet.

I ask you to raise your glasses of Arran 12 Pinot Cask in tribute to this fine spirit the next time you drink it; for that bottle may be your last, and she’s one hell of a dram.

Now on to the purely sweet news: Your Nation was featured yesterday in the NY Times!!! We are skyrocketing in popularity and recognition. Being featured in the Dining section of the Times was a thrill and an honor. And it couldn’t hurt with member-building, too! Speaking of…our memberships have been selling well. If you know anyone who wants to get in the door as a Founding Member before that initial class closes, they would be well advised to sign up soon!

Here’s the link to the giant, half-page feature in the NYTimes:

Things are progressing beautifully for the Nation. Thanks for joining us.

L’Chaim and Slainte

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