Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Seven Grand, Los Angeles

Craft beer has slowly enhanced my sense of taste to where I now enjoy tasting beverages of all kinds. This includes something I hated the minute I had my first sample a handful of years ago- Bourbon. It wasn't until I had a Bourbon Sour (Maker's Mark) at the Seven Grand a few months ago that I realized I might like this stuff.

The Seven Grand is Southern California's only whiskey bar. Well, I don't know that for sure but it's a pretty good bet. And if it isn't the only whiskey bar I would bet my life it is by far and away the best. Maybe one of the best in the country. It's located on 7th and Grand in downtown LA just around the corner from the Library Bar (good place for beer). The bartenders know their stuff, and then some. They don't make a whiskey sour by using sour mix and a shot of whiskey. Nope, it's lemon juice, sugar, and egg whites shaken vigorously, and then topped off with a few dashes of bitters. Their Old Fashioned is bursting with bourbon, orange, and spice perfection.

So last night I met a friend there to have an Old Fashioned after work. While making my way through the drink the bartenders alerted us to a Buffalo Trace bourbon tasting that was about to start down the hall in one of their pool rooms. We went in and the rep was about to put on a DVD detailing the history of Buffalo Trace and their brands of bourbon and whiskey. As the tasting started they poured 4 brands distilled by Buffalo Trace:

  • Buffalo Trace, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Sazerac Rye, 6-year-old, Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Blanton's Single Barrel, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Eagle Rare Single Barrel, 10-year-old, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Tasting them side by side I was able to tell there were differences, though not so much pick out tiny flavors like citrus, spice, dried peaches, raisins and honey as the tasting notes of these describe. The only things I could really pick out are caramel, burn, and Rye. Yeah, that Sazerac Rye was my favorite. The first sip I took reminded me of rye bread, I loved it. The other ones all had their bourbon character, the Blanton's Single Barrel having a big maple syrup smell and also had a lot of oakiness.

On another note, during the tasting we had met a sales rep for Martin Miller's London Dry Gin. She guided us through a small tasting at the bar afterwards, comparing Martin Miller's to the well-known Bombay Sapphire. Let's just say if I ever decide to become a big gin person, I won't be ordering Bombay Sapphire.

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