Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Grown-up Glass Part 2

When the Scotch Chix launched their web site in 2008, they each served their guests whisky from hodge-podge of nosing glasses derived from whisky purchases and surprising finds at consignment stores. With the advent of Scotch Chix though, CA Scotch Chick realized that if the Chix were going to hold themselves out as whisky lovers, such a situation simply would not stand.

Consequently, soon after launching Scotch Chix, CA Scotch Chick outfitted DC Scotch Chick with a set of her very own whisky glasses. She researched the best of the best glasses, decided that the Glencairn glass was worthy, and managed to score a fantastic price for the set from the good folks at Cobhthaigh Celtique, see A Grown-up Glass.

A quick note about whisky glasses. The shape of a true whisky glass is very unlike the cut glass tumblers of Hollywood fame. A good whisky glass concentrates the nose and presents the liquid to the palate in as optimal a way as possible.

The Glencairn glass is truly a fine whisky glass. These little gems were created for the pub and restaurant trade, and not only do they present the whisky in a way that allows a true appreciation of its finer points, they are sturdy little glasses that fit nicely in one's hand and don't break easily.

Despite her best of intentions, however, CA Scotch Chick never got around to purchasing the CA Scotch Couple a set of whisky glasses. The CA Scotch Couple's natural tendency to be reclusive combined with their diminutive Little Beach House meant that entertaining was simply not a priority.

Studio A changed all that. The CA Scotch Couple now had no excuse — Studio A had ample space for entertaining, and the CA Scotch Couple had even gone against their deepest ingrained misanthropic natures and scheduled a party. It was time for the CA Scotch Couple to get their own grown-up glasses.

In addition, it is an understatement to say that CA Scotch Gent had a pretty awful birthday last year. He spent it with broken wrists and a split open head waiting to see if CA Scotch Chick would survive surgery. This time last year the CA Scotch Couple came very close to being no more, and CA Scotch Gent, consequently, did not get much celebrating done. He deserved to have an extra special birthday this year.

With CA Scotch Gent's birthday falling a week after the CA Scotch Couple's unveiling of Studio A and coinciding with the anniversary of their accident, CA Scotch Chick desperately wanted to find a gift that would appropriately celebrate her best buddy, their amazing new home, and their stolen year together. Consequently, she again turned to Dave and Marty Coffey of Cobhthaigh Celtique to make it happen.

The Coffeys are a remarkable couple who travel the world on whisky adventures, and who happen to have both the least expensive prices for sets of Glencairn glasses and the best customer service. Their site, Cobhthaigh Celtique is also a photography site — the Coffeys are skilled photographers, and they sell haunting photos of the scenery captured on their whisky adventures. However, CA Scotch Chick was seeking out the Coffeys for both their killer prices on their Glencairn glasses as well as their all important custom etching.

The Coffeys do all of their etching in house. When CA Scotch Chick asked about the etching process she was told that they do both true type font initials and custom logos. CA Scotch Chick sent them a logo she had created for Studio A, and while the Coffeys say that they aren't graphic artists, they certainly tweaked CA Scotch Chick's Studio A logo to make it eminently etch worthy.

Two years after first working with the Coffeys, CA Scotch Chick was just as impressed this time around. The Coffeys cleaned up her logo, provided updates on timing, and turned the job around in an astonishingly short time period — certainly long before the August 31st party. In addition, they are still the best source on the net for multiple glass purchases, and their etching service is amazingly affordable. Oh, and, one final note, CA Scotch Chick didn't realize this before — Cobhthaigh is Gaelic for their name, Coffey, so the Coffeys also get points for a clever word play.

And so, when the CA Scotch Couple undraped their furniture hours before their party, CA Scotch Gent found a special present under the plastic, a set of his very own grown-up glasses. The CA Scotch Couple set them out on the Drinks Table, and their guests were more than suitably impressed. It was an evening to remember, full of toasts from good friends to Studio A, CA Scotch Gent, and the long and happy stolen years ahead for the CA Scotch Couple.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Studio A

The Ca Scotch Couple firmly believe in living below their means. They shop at consignment stores, sock away the max for retirement, and adhere to a strict 25% debt to equity ratio. Consequently, the CA Scotch Couple's move to paradise in 2004 couldn't have come at a worse time. It was at the height of the real estate boom; the only houses even remotely within the CA Scotch Couple's price range were shacks, and even those shacks had multiple bidders.

So, it is no surprise that the beloved Little Beach House was one such shack: a circa 1913, 700 square foot single wall construction edifice with outdated wiring, inadequate plumbing, precipitously sloping floors, and a hole in its roof. The CA Scotch Couple spent many (many many many) years making the Little Beach House habitable. Unfortunately, no matter what they did, there was no escaping the reality that even with its new wiring, plumbing, and roof, the Little Beach House was a shack.

So, when the real estate bust hit San Diego hard, the CA Scotch Couple decided to see if they could trade their shack for something a little more spacious. They took a financial bath on the Little Beach House, and set out on their house hunting adventures with three goals for the new home: it needed to have lost at least as much value as the Little Beach House had, it needed to be more spacious than the Little Beach House; and it couldn't be a project.

One of the first properties the CA Scotch Couple viewed was a lovely old mixed use loft conversion in a slightly dodgy area. This 1933 grand dame had started its life as an old fashioned car dealership/garage and had then become an artist's studio and residence. It had magnificent arching barrel ceilings, open architecture, exposed terra cotta masonry, and concrete floors. It also wasn't up to earthquake code, had a leaking roof, had been stripped of plumbing, appliances and countertops, and, worst of all, had birds nesting in it. It was a whopping 2700 square feet, but man, oh man, it was project. CA Scotch Chick dubbed it "the Bird Sanctuary," and the CA Scotch Couple swiftly walked the other way.

But the CA Scotch Couple kept their miserly eyes on the Bird Sanctuary, and within a few months, market forces had driven it down to the price that the CA Scotch Couple had paid for the Little Beach House in 2004. Project or not, the CA Scotch Couple simply couldn't resist. It was a remarkable space, and it was worth the pain to make it beautiful again. They made an offer.

For seven months, long before the accident and throughout the CA Scotch Couple's recovery, they fought their way through the tortuous short sale and then foreclosure process. They managed to buy the Bird Sanctuary from the bank on the final day of 2009, immediately moved in, and endured endless months of living under plastic sheets with construction chaos ringing around them.

On the day they finally closed on the Bird Sanctuary, CA Scotch Gent sat CA Scotch Chick down and asked for two favors. First, could they please, please, please, set a goal of having the renovations done by the end of summer? No more projects stretching for years. Secondly, could they please, please, please, stop calling it the Bird Sanctuary?

They set a goal of August 31st as the drop dead date for finishing the renovation, and they scheduled a party to make sure they met that goal. Then they cast around for a more suitable name — finally deciding on "Studio A" in honor of the sign over its door.

It was a long hard nine months, complicated by the CA Scotch Couple's recovery from their injuries and those all encompassing work schedules. However, on August 31st, a mere three hours before their party, the CA Scotch Couple finally removed the last of the plastic, pushed the furniture into place, and claimed Studio A as their own.

It was well worth the effort. Studio A is now up to code; the birds have been evicted; it has been scrubbed from top to bottom; and it is now equipped with new bathrooms, appliances, countertops, skylights, and roof. Gentle light filters into its spacious and gracious interior giving the CA Scotch Couple the impression that they are stepping into a magnificent cavern whenever they return at the end of the day — the perfect refuge for a pair of recluses. It has been an extremely long tough year, but the CA Scotch Couple are finally home.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Return of CA Scotch Chick

When last we left our heroine she was recovering from being run over by a car ( Life Can Change in a Split Second) and happily reviewing her stash from her good buddy, the Japanese Peat Chick. She had shared her ordeal with her fans and managed to keep up with her posts through the worst of the recovery, when suddenly, there was silence, nothing, nadda.

It was enough to test a Scotch Chix Fan's deepest loyalty. Scotch Chix Fans must have felt like CA Scotch Chick's mother — "You never write; you never call; you never tweet; you never post on Facebook…"

So, what the heck happened?

The simple answer is that life hit CA Scotch Chick like a tsunami after the new year. Her foot didn't exactly recover with the greatest of ease; she and CA Scotch Gent moved once again; and that all encompassing world of work reared its ugly head. Consequently, CA Scotch Chick put Scotch Chix on hold for a few weeks…and then another tsunami hit: more surgeries, renovation, work…

…and, suddenly half a year had whirled by, and, being the recluse that she is, CA Scotch Chick discovered it was easier to find herself retired than to face her fans. She gave herself until today, September 5th, the anniversary of the accident, to make the decision whether to pick up Scotch Chix or to officially retire.

CA Scotch Chick would probably have officially retired had it not been for a series of adventures with the whisky community that deserved sharing. In early August, CA Scotch Chick needed to put together an exceptional gift for a very special birthday, and she contacted her old friends Dave and Marty Coffey at Cobhthaigh Celtique to arrange for some custom whisky glasses. Scotch Chix Fans will remember the Coffeys from their role in helping the Scotch Chix finally transition to drinking whisky from "A Grown-up Glass." Both the quality of the product and the customer service from the folks at Cobhthaigh Celtique absolutely needed a review.

At the same time, CA Scotch was struggling to replace some beer glasses that were only available in Europe, and she reached out to a little shop in the Netherlands known for having the best whisky selection in Amsterdam, Ton Overmars Wijnwinkel and Slijterij. The proprietor of the shop, Ton Overmars, went out of his way to acquire the glasses and have them waiting for CA Scotch Chick on her latest business trip to the Netherlands. In addition, the whisky selection CA Scotch Chick discovered upon visiting Mr. Overmars was well worth reporting.

Finally, CA Scotch Chick didn't really want to retire. There is so much to share. The last nine months have been packed with whisky, food and travel adventures, and there is much much more ahead. CA Scotch Chick wished to come back, if only her fans would have her.

So, if there are any Loyal Scotch Chix Fans still out there, we are off once again. Please join us for the further adventures of the Scotch Chix. We'll start by telling the story of why the glasses from Cobhthaigh Celtique were so special, and then we'll lead you on a tour of Ton Overmars Wijnwinkel and Slijterij. We still won't be calling, tweeting or posting on Facebook, but we promise to write and not to test your loyalty again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Japanese Peat Chick

A couple of years ago, the CA Scotch Couple were pleased to make the acquaintance of the lovely and intelligent Japanese Peat Chick. They first met this remarkable individual when she was casting around for a school at which to spend her year long sabbatical. Since her work is in an area very close to that of CA Scotch Gent, he was her primary contact here in San Diego.

During their first meeting at the University Club, the Japanese Peat Chick commented that she liked whisky, but that while she knew a great deal about the Japanese whiskys, she had limited knowledge regarding the whiskys from Scotland and would need some guidance. Now, CA Scotch Chick has been involved in a fair number of deals involving Japanese nationals, and has been drunk under the table by her clients numerous times, so she should have known better.

However, she recommended a fairly benign whisky, an Oban 14. The Japanese Peat Chick politely asked for something with a bit more flavor. The CA Scotch Couple next offered up a Glenlivet 18. Again, the Japanese Peat Chick politely asked for something with a bit more flavor. The CA Scotch Couple were baffled; these were pretty flavorful whiskys. Finally, out of desperation, the Japanese Peat Chick took the ordering into her own lovely hands and requested that the waiter bring a Laphroiag 15. The light dawned — that kind of flavor; the CA Scotch Couple's new friend was a peat lover!

The Japanese Peat Chick chose San Diego as the base for her sabbatical, and a friendship based on mutual admiration both for each other and for whisky was born. While the CA Scotch Couple have tried to share their knowledge of whisky from Scotland with the Japanese Peat Chick, they have definitely received more than they have given over the past year.

The Japanese Peat Chick's education both in academics and in whisky took place in Hokkaido, a large island in northern Japan. Hokkaido just happens to be the home of Nikka Whisky, the first Japanese whisky distillery. It was founded in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese whisky. Its offerings differ from whisky from Scotland in that the flavors are more intense; for example, the Nikka Yoichi 12 Woody and Vanillic resembles Highland Park on steroids, packing the palate with vanilla and butter. Consequently, while the Japanese Peat Chick was indeed searching for peat during that first meeting, it is understandable that she was also looking for something with a bit more flavor in general.

Each time the Japanese Peat Chick has made a voyage home, she has returned bearing gifts from the Nikka distillery for the CA Scotch Couple. Since much of what the Japanese Peat Chick has brought to the CA Scotch Couple is only available at the distillery itself, the CA Scotch Couple are well aware that they are truly privileged to sample this nectar from Japan.

The Nikka Line-up
Taketsuru Pure Malt, Single Cask 20, Single Cask 25, Yoichi 12 WV, Yoichi SS, Yoichi 15

The Japanese Peat Chick and her boyfriend, The Tax Attorney, came 'round the CA Scotch Couple's home the other day while he was visiting from Japan. The CA Scotch Couple set up their Drinks Table with a wide variety of whisky, including the line-up from Nikka, and while the Japanese Peat Couple indulged in the offerings from Scotland, the CA Scotch Couple focused on the Nikka whisky.

The Drinks Table

It was evening of friendship, fun, and a whole lot of whisky, and it gave CA Scotch Chick an excuse to finally review all of the wonderful Nikka whiskys the CA Scotch Couple have been privileged to sample over the year. Below please find CA Scotch Chick's reviews of Nikka Taketsuru 12 Year Pure Malt, Nikka Single Cask 20, Nikka Single Cask 25, Nikka Single Malt Yoichi 12 Woody and Vanillic, Nikka Single Malt Yoichi Sherry and Sweet, and Nikka Single Malt Yoichi 15.

Nikka Taketsuru 12 Year Pure Malt

Nikka Taketsuru 12 Year Pure Malt

This award winning vatted malt is difficult if not impossible to find in the United States. It is a sweet single malt reminiscent of Highland Park 12 with just a bit more raisin, apricot, and cherry on the palate.

Single Malt Whisky: Nikka Taketsuru Whisky 12 Year Pure Malt

Region: Hokkaido, Japan




Light Sweetness, Cherries


Smooth, Light


Sweet, Raisin, Apricot, Cherry


Short with just a bit of bite

CommentA delightful whisky

Nikka Single Cask 20

Nikka Single Cask 20

This Nikka Single Cask 20 is super smooth with a buttery, creamy palate and just a hint of apple. The only thing CA Scotch Chick would change is the finish. There is just a bit too much of a bite to it.

Single Malt Whisky: Nikka Single Cask 20

Region: Hokkaido, Japan




Sweet, vanilla


Super smooth


Butter, cream, just a hint of apple


Bit of a bite

CommentPerfect until the finish

Nikka Single Cask 25

Nikka Single Cask 25

This smoky single cask is round and luscious in the mouth. Sweet smoke predominates, appearing in the nose, on the palate and in the finish.

Single Malt Whisky: Nikka Single Cask 25

Region: Hokkaido, Japan




Smoke, sherry, sweetness


Round, luscious


Sweet smoke, cherries


Short smoky finish with just a hint of pepper at the end

CommentAppeals to both peat lovers and regular whisky drinkers