Tag Archives: craft

Best Bets: Compass Box Scotch Whiskies

Words like “craft” and “artisan” are thrown around much too freely these days. Everything we buy now has to have some grand, romantic story attached to it. From furniture to farmers’ markets, from apparel to accessories, stories sell. If you don’t know the name of the guy who made it and you can’t drop by his charming little Gepetto-style workshop on a whim, well, it’s just not worth having, is it? Of course, nowhere is this more true than at your local liquor store.

Let’s face it, wax seals and hand-written barrel numbers are the exact same thing as putting your vodka into a glass skull. It’s selling the bottle, not the spirit. (Although to be fair, there’s a lot of really good whiskies in some of those bottles, whereas all premium vodka is a joke.) In an era when every ultra-premium vodka has a celebrity pitchman, and every distiller in Kentucky is offering single barrel this and small batch that and putting the cute little hand-written batch numbers on the bottle, It can sometimes be hard to tell what’s inside, and whether it warrants its price tag. These days, everyone’s an artisan.

Spice Tree. The best way to warm up this winter.

John Glaser is an artisan. Take that statement for what it’s worth. Compass Box Whisky has a story. We’re not going to bother telling you the story. You can look it up on their site. It’s a lot of technical stuff about wood and blending and aging, which really is interesting if you’re into that sort of thing. What we are going to bother to do is to tell you that this stuff is really, really good.

Of the two lines that Compass Box produces, Signature and Limited Release, we’ve so far had a chance to try three different examples of their whisky. Each one was markedly different, but all were equally excellent. Bottles in the less expensive Signature line are generally available in the $35-$40 range, and compare favorably with bottles costing twice as much. To our palate, a Peat Monster is every bit as good as a Laphroaig, and We’d reach for an Oak Cross over a Glen-Whateveryoulike any day of the week. Seriously.

With Winter now firmly digging in, we’re in all-brown-liquor-all-the-time mode here at the Chophouse. We’re declaring Compass Box to be our house Scotch going forward, and by the time the Winter’s out we expect we’ll have three or four different bottles on hand. We suggest that when you head to the liquor store this weekend you go ahead and buy two or more bottles. They make a great holiday gift, but make sure to keep one for yourself.

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Squidfire’s 10th Art Mart @ Fell’s Point Today

Wow. We had such a good time yesterday walking around Flowermart looking for plants, looking at girls and mixing up Lemon Sticks, that we’re totally sold on the whole buy-locally-from-an-open-air-market idea. And it looks like we’re in luck again, because there’s no shortage of them today.

In addition to the Waverly Farmers’ Market which we get to as often as hangovers allow, we’re also going to check out the Really Really Free Market at 33rd and Guilford which is running concurrent today from 7 am to 1 pm. RRFM is a nationwide progressive movement started by San Francisco pinkos. You ought to know by now that if there’s one thing the Chop can get behind, it’s nationwide progressive movements started by SF pinkos. This one appears to be made up locally of Hopkins students, and their parents buy them nice things, so we’re looking to score.

Squidfire's 10th Art Mart takes place in the Fell's Point square today. 11 am- 6 pm.

But wait… there’s more! Just in case leftover Ikea lamps and obsolete televisions don’t satiate our hoarding appetite, we’re going down to Fell’s to check out Squidfire’s 10th Art Mart. Art Mart gets bigger and more successful with each installment and this time around it will feature over 50 artists and crafters and run from 11-6, rain or shine.

Odds are you’re probably aware of the huge DIY arts and crafts scene here in the city, but have only seen scattered examples of it around town or online. Art Mart is a great chance to take it all in at once and see what’s available in the world of handmade goods.

It’s a great feeling when someone says “Oh my God, that’s awesome! Where did you get that?”, and it feels even better to say “Its one of a kind. I got it at Art Mart.”

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