Humboldt Distillery Vodka – The Review

Posted on October 21, 2013 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on Humboldt Distillery Vodka – The Review

Costco is one my new favorite places now that I have more than 3 kids, more than two cats, more than no dogs and wives.  But it is a chore, a gut-wrenching chore to steel myself to go in there.  On my last trip, I was pleasantly surprised.  Going by the liquor aisles, without entering (the temptation was horrible), I noticed a stand set up with some vodka I had never seen before.  A charming woman was scarfing down some energy bar or something so with impeccable timing I asked her about the vodka.  Humboldt Distillery Vodka.  Having an energy bar in her mouth she held up a finger and turned to the side.  Several chews later she tried to converse and was stymied by the bar.  Turning away again she went through some mandibular contortions and eventually cleared her mouth.

Lots of talk about crabs, but really, just good vodka.

Lots of talk about crabs, but really, just good vodka.


It turns out that she was the proprietress of the distillery and had just that morning driven over the mountains from Fortuna schlepping cases and cases of organic Vodka the she and her husband were trying to sell so that they could remain in such a lovely area as the North Coast but one very deficient in good jobs.  The drive over Highway 36 is scenic but not great.  I talked to her a while and since I greatly enjoy supporting small distilleries (and large if it comes to that) I purchased a bottle.  Only $15.99 at Costco, this seemed like a bargain.

So, I brought it home and tasted it.  First, the bottle has a bold, crab-filled label.  Crabs are important on the north coast, but I am not a crab fan.  The label talks about the fresh waters of the Pacific which throws me for a minute, since it is salt-water, or was last I checked.  My mind goes on these tiny paths.

The Color:  Clear.  Very, very clear.  Like the clear waters of the Pacific, except not, since they are not particularly clear.

The nose.  Fairly strong alcohol and a kind of “aseptic” smell.  I am kind of straining here since I drink bourbon mostly.  However, it is pleasant and fairly distinct compared to the other vodkas I have had.

The Taste:  The mouth feel is smooth, a tiny bit sharp with a medium to short finish.  There is a bit of herb or botanical flavor to it.  Like a very mild gin.  I know that the site says otherwise and that it is supposed to be a blank slate but I get a tiny bit of flavor which I like.  It is distilled four times, which could be increased if they wanted to lose this little bit of character, but I think they should embrace it.  80 Proof, a pretty standard strength for vodka.  Made with cane sugar (or sugar cane, which I guess is not necessarily the same thing) which is also interesting.  Organic for what that is worth.

I find this vodka to be distinctive and perfect for a vodka martini (don’t get me started on just saying martini, which of course involves gin).  Perfect I say.  With a bit of character it provides just the right note for a dry martini.  Certainly serviceable for other drinks as well, I think this vodka is well worth the price and a good addition to a liquor cabinet both for its value as a liquor and as a show piece because not many of your friends will have had this liquor.

For more information on the distillery, visit them at:  Humboldt Distillery  or like them on Facebook.

Rejoice Fellow Flyers!

Posted on June 11, 2013 | By The Bon-Vivant | Comments Off on Rejoice Fellow Flyers!

Via a blog called “I’m a Travel Ninja” comes a most astonishing discovery: you can legally bring liquor onto airplanes!

I was recently tipped off to one of the most unbelievable travel tricks ever. In this day and age of insane security, invasive procedures and removal of freedoms, here’s a bright ray of sunshine. With an unintentional loophole (maybe intentional with some of the drinking habits in Congress), you have the freedom to take the alcohol (or non-alcohol) of your choice on your flight with you.

I first had a discussion with a TSA supervisor about this a couple of months back. My clarifying question was in regards to the 1 qt bag of liquids you are allowed to take through security. The rule is that you can take as many containers (less than 3 oz each) that you can fit in a 1 qt Ziploc style bag. I then specifically asked if alcohol was allowed. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” In fact, he was enthusiastic about it.

Here it is, in one easily understood photo, the trick for getting your little bottles of booze onto your next flight…

Flying with liquor. It can be done.

A plastic zip-lock bag of happiness.

Yes, it doesn’t make up for the police-state patdowns, the cancer-causing x-ray machines, or the random TSA buffoonery, but I’ll take whatever I can get, and being able to bring six or seven shots of premium alcohol onto my next flight will somewhat ease the pain of societal decay.

A Vodka Surprise That Surprises No One. #Greygoose #Hipsterdrinkers #morons

Posted on May 31, 2013 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on A Vodka Surprise That Surprises No One. #Greygoose #Hipsterdrinkers #morons

After the New Jersey liquor scandal, the New York Post did a survey as to whether the individuals could tell the difference between Grey Goose and some vodka I have never heard of with a stripper’s name – Barbie Vodka – I mean Alexis Vodka.  Star Industries, who produces the Barbie Booze immediately issued a press release.

From the press release – the results concluded that 44% of those who participated in the taste test, many of whom identified themselves as connoisseurs, could not recognize the difference between the two brands.

Perhaps this was one of the “connoisseurs” – from the Post –

“I would just order the cheap one from now on. If you can’t taste the difference, I would go for the low end,” said Emma Taylor, 22, after knocking one back. “I don’t make that much money.”

How ridiculous. First off, vodka is, and should be, pretty much tasteless. It is a base alcohol, essentially. The best are filtered to remove impurities. So, if it is pretty much tasteless, then how would you tell the difference? These people who order Grey Goose and soda or water drive me crazy. What the hell kind of drink is that? Buzzwater? Get a real drink. Secondly, “connoisseurs”? Puhlease! How many of those have you met, let alone a bunch in some random sample of hipsters in New York. And of vodka? True story- I had a friend who would order Perrier water in bars when he figured he was done with alcohol for the nonce. It was pretty expensive for water. The bars would give you club soda for free. So, once when he got up we poured out his Perrier and substituted club soda. He never noticed. When confronted that he could save a ton of money he owned up that that was not the point. The statement, and obvious waste of money that implied something, was the point. Which was why he would never let the waitress take the Perrier bottle away even if it was empty.

Will Emma, above, start knocking back the cheap stuff? Probably not, or if she does, she will claim it is Grey Goose. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.


If By Whiskey

Posted on March 3, 2013 | By The Bon-Vivant | Comments Off on If By Whiskey

You may keep your William Jennings Bryant “Cross of Gold” and your Jack Kennedy “Ask Not”, for my money, the greatest political speech ever was a short oration first delivered in 1952 by Noah “Soggy” Sweat, candidate for the Mississippi legislature. It is known to us today by the title “If By Whiskey”:

My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey:

If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.

But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.

The phrases “the oil of conversation” and “the philosophic wine” have now officially entered become part of my vocabulary.

Special bonus: Here’s a video of the writer John Grisham, who clerked for Judge Sweat, discussing this noble figure and reading his words.

Homeopathic Bourbon – Maker’s Mark FAIL.

Posted on February 21, 2013 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on Homeopathic Bourbon – Maker’s Mark FAIL.


Maker’s desperately trying to distract you from the fact the bottle is not completely full. Another brilliant way to stretch supplies. Wait. You aren’t even reading these words are you?

Recently Maker’s Mark announced that due to the inability to meet the demand for their bourbon they were going to make Homeopathic bourbon. If you follow homeopathic medicine, this is where they put something in water and dilute it until there are perhaps NO MOLECULES (NOT ONE SINGLE ONE) of the original solution left. Through the miracle of homeopathic magic, this water somehow retains the properties or some affinity with the original. Thus, as Rob Samuel’s of Makers Mark announced, just by lowering the proof (i.e. diluting) their bourbon, they could meet demand. (By the principles of homeopathy they could meet any…ANY…conceivable demand).

So, problem solved. Until reality came and bitch-slapped Makers Mark right in the face. It was as if Makers had peeped Chris Brown’s phone.

So, Rob Samuels proudly announced that people had spoken and Makers had listened and thus there would be no watering down of their proud product. Problem solved.


Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker’s Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.

You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down.

So effective immediately, we are reversing our decision to lower the ABV of Maker’s Mark, and resuming production at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof). Just like we’ve made it since the very beginning.  -Rob Samuels

Slim Fast versus Booze – The Duh of the Duh-ay.

Posted on January 13, 2013 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on Slim Fast versus Booze – The Duh of the Duh-ay.

So Slim-Fast UK (Is that Onomatopoeia) published a study (ha!) that stated the following:

Research conducted by Slim.Fast, one of the UK’s best-loved weight-loss brands, suggests only a third of 55-64 year olds (34%) would be willing to give up drinking alcohol in order to lose weight, despite this being one of the easiest ways to start to slim down. Surprisingly, this older audience is much less keen to give up booze than the UK’s youngsters, with almost twice as many (64%) 18-24 year olds claiming they are happy to ditch the drink to lose weight, counter to reports of a so-called irresponsible generation.
PR Newswire (

So, this being a booze blog, I looked at this. And not being a moron I was surprised at the “Surprisingly” surprise of the writer about older folks being half as likely as younger folks to SAY they would give up drinking to lose weight. For on thing, young people are delusional liars, to themselves and others. They say they would give up drinking, they would not. They think if they give up drinking, in about 2 weeks they would have the body of a model or weightlifter. They would not.

Older folks are more realistic. They might give up drinking but realize they probably would not lose weight. If they did lose weight, they probably would not look that much better anyway. Finally, if they stop drinking they would realize what morons the younger generation truly is, especially in Britain, and that would cause them to drink. Skip the middle man, keep drinking.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon – The Review

Posted on January 9, 2013 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on Old Forester Birthday Bourbon – The Review

Every year around Christmas-time (a coincidence?) my birthday comes around.  Sadly, if I want to drink bourbon, all bourbon is much younger than I.  I could switch to Scotch, win a million dollars, and drink booze older than I, but this has not yet come to pass.

So, this year for my birthday I got to to Old Forester Birthday bourbon, the 2010 bottling.  This bourbon is aged twelve years and each year they put out a limited bottling of the “birthday bourbon.”  I have had it 3 or 4 times but the 2010 bottling is, so far, my favorite.

I dream of Genie with the light brown bourbon.

I dream of Genie with the light brown bourbon.

A little background based on their own dubious website:  According to them, Old Forester was the first bottled whiskey.  This was due to it being medicinal and ladies needing a quality standard.  It also claims that George Brown, who distilled Old Forester, invented the ubiquitous cardboard separator that goes into cases of 12 bottles that keeps them from banging into each other.  One of the things that makes me dubious of the whole thing is the claim that the term “spiking the whiskey” (a term that I have never heard – heard of spiking things with booze, but not spiking booze itself) comes from competitors throwing nails into the barrels of whiskey to spoil them.  First, never heard that phrase.  Second, can’t find any other citation for that claim.  Third, how the hell would they get nails into the barrels?  Nail guns?  Teleporation?  Trained squirrels?  Wuck?  So, you can read their website and decide for yourself.  It seems though, that Old Forester, while not the first bottled bourbon, was the first bourbon available exclusively in bottles, which was a way that doctors and pharmacists could guarantee quality of their medicine (ha!).

They may tell a tall tale, a whiskey drinking tradition, but they also make some decent booze.  This particular bourbon is unique, as are all their birthday bourbons, but so far are pretty similar to my tasting.  So, it goes like this:

Color:  Deep amber.

Nose:  A delicate hint of ketones.  Smooth, sweet vanilla and caramel.

Palate:  Oak, corn, a hint of citrus.  Potent on the front for my friend, it had a somewhat harsh alcohol on the back of the tongue, while being smooth and sweet on the front for me.  It leaves a nice tingling-almost a fleeting effervescence.  The mouth feel is smooth, almost  oily and “glowing”.  Adding a bit of water smooths it out quite a bit but also takes some of the sweet ketones and warm mouth feel.  I think I prefer it straight, but that would definitely be a matter of taste.

Finish:  Warm, pleasant and long.   This is a very warming drink.

Bottle:  Cool shape.  Like an old decanter, but if you put some cool decorations on it, you could fool yourself into thinking it was an “I Dream of Genie” bottle.  Not that would even occur to me, but it might to some.

Sipping this bourbon on my birthday, I wondered what I needed to do to finish the day.  Feeling in a lucky mood I headed off to  Dropped a few dollars while sipping but then made it back to finish off a happy and lucky birthday.

Notes:  Old Forester is produced by Brown-Forman.  The mashbill is 78% corn, 18% rye, and 10 % barley.  While I am normally a wheated bourbon fan, this bourbon is pretty sweet and drinkable even for a man of my tastes.  This is also the same mashbill for Woodford Reserve, which is one of my favorites at it’s price point.  The 2010 is 95 proof, so a decent kick, but not barrel strength or anything close like some bourbons.


The final word- Old Forester Birthday Bourbons are gifts that do not disappoint. Want to give a great gift? Choose this bourbon. Rave reviews every time.

The end of the Mayan World as We Know IT! Two bourbons to drink before the Mayan Apocolypse (We like to call it Mayacolypse)

Posted on December 19, 2012 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on The end of the Mayan World as We Know IT! Two bourbons to drink before the Mayan Apocolypse (We like to call it Mayacolypse)

The world is ending tomorrow.  We all know it.  However, we are not sure what time.  I had heard 3:30 p.m. but no one said if that was Eastern Time, Central, GMT or what.  So, if it is Pacific time, you luck devils on the East Coast have pretty much the whole day on Friday to get your end-of-the-world drink on! (Look! Chinese alcohols!)

  Since at this point money is no object, rush out and make sure you have had these two bourbons before your inevitable and probably painful (anaesthetic is imperative) end:

First up:  A product from the Barton family of bourbons by the Sazerac Company.  Ten High!  This is not the best bourbon.  Heck, it is one of the worst.  Sazerac makes some really, really good bourbons.  This is not one of them.  Under $15.00 for 1.75 liters.  You could run your car on this cheaper than gas.  However, for our purposes, it is important.

So, get a glass, put some in, neat, and take a few sips.  Just when your stomach, tongue and any sensibilities you may have are getting ready to attack you, you…..

Move on to:

May cause brain damage, but the world is ending - Who cares?

May cause brain damage, but the world is ending – Who cares?

Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old – This is one of the finest of bourbons, and not so cheap.  Put it on a credit card, you won’t have to pay, the Mayacolypse is almost here. This is hard to find because they have had very limited bottlings. They generally do only a few thousand bottles at a time. The price would probably be around $250 to $300 per bottle (Ten High is seeming like more of a bargain here). Drink it neat. Water or ice will just destroy the fine flavors. With a sweet, oaky nose with lots of vanilla, this bourbon starts out great. The flavor continues the oak and vanilla and you really taste the wheat. It finishes sweet with just a hint of bitterness at the very end. Sip and enjoy. Contemplate the errors of your life and realize that after the world is destroyed, who cares? Occasionally sniff the Ten High to remind you just how good this Pappy is.

The Ten High was the contrast to really show you how great the Pappy was. After you have sated on the Pappy you move on to the final course:

Jeppson’s Malort! Here is the link to our original discussion of this liquor.  Exactly like eating a tire fire.  The point here is, after having the Pappy, and basing this on their own statistics, 49 out of 50 men will welcome the end of the world after this drinking tour de force.

So, bottoms up to you, Mayans! Good Game!

23 Years.  Excellent in women, superb in Bourbon!

23 Years. Excellent in women, superb in Bourbon!

Word to Quetzacoatl!

Word to Quetzacoatl!

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Posted on November 5, 2012 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on Where there is a will, there is a way.

A Turk with the name of Haroun

Ate whisky by means of a spoon.

To one who asked why,

This Turk made reply:

“To drink is forbidden, you loon.”

Pergo® XP Extreme Performance Laminate (and Home Depot® Installation)-The Review (Spoiler alert-They suck)

Posted on October 3, 2012 | By TheEnabler | 13 Comments

I would suggest to you, that the following taken directly from Pergo is an incredible lie:

PermaMax™ surface protection by Pergo features innovative ScratchGuard Advanced technology for double the wear, double the durability over ordinary laminate flooring. Authentic texture provides a realistic wood grain finish. Installation is easier and more secure than ever with the patented PerfectFold® joint and premium attached underlayment for a more natural sound. Lifetime limited residential warranty and 5 Year limited light commercial warranty

We had this crap installed in our house by Home Depot. We got the English Oak. A lovely color, looks beautiful for the first week, then you find out that it is crap. This product is billed as commercial grade, extreme performance. Ha! It is to laugh.

Here is a picture of the product, and I use the term loosely:

You will love this Pergo flooring for a week. Then you will hate it and really hate it after Home Depot and Pergo say you were stupid for buying stuff from them.

Okay, time for bed. I will add to this review in the following days. Check back for updates!

So, the sad saga:

Bought the Pergo.  Liked the color and we have used Pergo 3 times before in both commercial and home locations and have loved it.  Home Depot was offering a special of professional installation for $400.00 flat rate if you bought the Pergo from them.  We went for it.

Home Depot installed and initially it looked great.  – A quick aside.  During the installation, while we were out and the installers were working, the dishwasher overflowed onto the floor.  The installers told us what happened but said they had cleaned it up and went on installing.

So, they got done and it looked great.  Then we noticed that some of the boards in the kitchen were lifting and that some of the edges in other rooms were high.  Then we started getting scratches very easily on the floor which had never happened to us with Pergo.  The kitchen got worse.

So, this being the XTREME! and commercial version with the 25 YEAR WARRANTY (5 year commercial) we called Home Depot.  As soon as we called, the installer, without any prompting as to what room it was in or anything, said “Oh, that is from the dishwasher overflowing.”  Now, this was the installer who had cleaned it up and continued on with his work.  If he had told us “Oh, it overflowed and we will have to take out what we had partially put in and replace it.” we would have been fine with that.  Our dishwasher overflowed.  Or if he had said that we had to let it dry for a week or whatever, that would be fine also.  But they said nothing.  So, when he immediately piped up with blaming the dishwasher, we were not happy.

So the manager cough*Natalie Bunce* cough, came out with the installer and inspected it.  They said it was nothing to do with them and that they had no reason to honor any warranty but that they would send a complaint to Pergo in case it was the manufacturer and a crappy product (which only Home Depot sells, btw).

Pergo came out, poked around and issued THEIR report.  It boiled down to they were not responsible but the installers had done a crappy job, had not sealed the kitchen area as the warranty required and had not dried the kitchen after the water spill before completing installation.  Pergo, in addition, said that the raised areas in other portions of the house was an installer error and was repairable.  Naturally, Home Depot did not offer to repair any of it.

In addition, Home Depot and Natalie Bunce did not give us the Pergo warranty report when initially asked for it.  Instead they only gave us the page that said our claim was denied and not the other Pergo report pages.

So, in summation, I would say this:  Pergo sucks but Home Depot sucks worse.  The XP Extreme is the worst laminate we have purchased even though it is the most expensive and supposedly of commercial quality.  We have loved other Pergo’s, we hate this one.  Pergo also sucks because they sell this as commercial quality but have no intention of backing their warranty even in a lower use home setting.

HOME DEPOT SUCKS THE WORST.  They do a bad job of installation, try to duck responsibility, avoid giving you information, pretend that they are not in their office when they clearly are, won’t acknowledge receiving a complaint that has been mailed and faxed several times (next up, making 400 copies and dumping them in their parking lot) and won’t offer to make good on their crappy installation job.

Come back in a month or two for the update on how the lawsuit in small claims court goes.

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The Liquor Locusts

The Liquor Locusts

"The harsh, useful things of the world, from pulling teeth to digging potatoes, are best done by men who are as starkly sober as so many convicts in the death-house, but the lovely and useless things, the charming and exhilarating things, are best done by men with, as the phrase is, a few sheets in the wind." ~H.L. Mencken

The Dangers of Thirst

"Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing." ~Jerome K. Jerome

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The Jug of Empire!

The Jug of Empire!

"How solemn and beautiful is the thought that the earliest pioneer of civilization, the van-leader of civilization, is never the steamboat, never the railroad, never the newspaper, never the Sabbath-school, never the missionary -- but always whiskey!" ~Mark Twain