Goodbye Friend… Mr. Pickerell

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We have lost a giant. Not just the craft spirits industry who utilized Dave’s talents to grow. A man who was instrumental to getting an entire industry on its feet in off the ground. A legend among the greats, David Pickerell was a friend to everyone he never met, a mentor to many and the creator of some of the best whiskey your lips could ever touch.

Known as the man behind a hundred whiskeys he was a distiller at Maker’s Mark appearing in a History Channel documentary called Modern Marvels which happened to be focusing on Whiskey that day. The first time I saw it I recognized him and thought “cool I know a celebrity.” From there his star continue to rise after leaving Maker’s Mark in 2008, he founded Oakview spirits, a consulting firm where he helped to launch brands across the country from Hillock in New York to Corsair in the south, and perhaps most famously Whistle Pig. He was also instrumental in bringing back a recipe from one of our founding fathers relaunching The Distillery at Mount Vernon and producing George Washington’s own recipe.

David was in Ohio born Soldier whom many don’t know attended West Point. A humble, kind and well-educated man he had no enemies. Last year I called him at 6:30 in the morning California time thinking that he was back on the East Coast. He answered the phone and told me that he was in Oregon and I felt horrible that I had woken him up but of course he’s been up for hours. When I asked him to speak at a conference that I was planning he enthusiastically agreed, and we will begin talking about the sensitive subject of compensation he said, “just pay my way out there.”

One of the most generous souls you could ever meet he was a music lover, attended West Point on a football scholarship, has a master’s degree in chemical engineering and most recently was working with Metallica to produce a new whiskey.

It was his gregarious personality that you remember the most even sitting at breakfast one morning with him in Colorado. One of the proudest moments of my professional career was several years ago at tales of the cocktail when surrounded by a flock of groupies he reached into his backpack and pulled out some samples that he wanted my opinion on. Just writing that I’m nearly tearing up because he was a man who valued loyalty and opinions and he cared deeply about everyone he met.

His influence and guiding hand in the craft distilling industry will be sorely missed but everyone he touched.


You Sir will be remembered as a Father, a mentor, a friend and a legend. You will be missed.

Categories: Whiskey

Wines tasted # 5

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Nardone Aglianico 2012
Baked plum, mushroom
Very clean minerals, bright to cloudy rim variation.

Traban(?) Chile 2009
Syrah, funk of earth and full of cream with oak

Tariquet 2012
Clean and crisp with some acid, fresh and very nice with some fruit, good gooseberry flavor

Chateau de Tracy Pouilly Fume

Boulder Bank Pinot Noir
Marlbo(?) 2010

Mary Hill Serendipity 2007

Joseph Merlot, San Perie 2012
Tons of stone fruit, peach, melon
Lime zest, candied lime
La Chatelnie

Antonin Rodet Chablis 2012
Clean, ripe melon, stainless steel
Acid is medium, fades to stone fruit, apricot, peach, and lemon zest.

Chateau Du Pavillon 2009 Bordeaux
Wool, cherry, soft tannins, baking spice, pepper, cherry on the finish.

Ch. Cantenac 2009, 1/3 Nevou(?)
Bolunt(?), plum, cherry, blanc hordes(?), currants, tobacco, leather, soft berry forward finish.

Domaine Berthet-rayne, Cote du Rhone
75% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 10% Syrah
Full body, great soft acid, soft tannins

Chateau Des Karantes 2011
Very soft, supple flesh fruit, Grenache 60, Syrah 30, Mov. 10,

La Bal Ope. Cote Du Gascogne,
Herbacious, melon

Villa Floriano Pinot Grigio
Passionfruit, honeysuckle, fleshy

Seis Circles Vinera Chardonnay
Soft honey, baking spice

Categories: Tasting Notes, Wine

Wines tasted # 4

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Berfield Wine – Anistoda 2009
Full body, wow.  Tons of tannins, balanced and nice finish.

Tenuta Polvaro
Li son classic, 100% Tosca

Tenuta Polvaro, ORO
Chard, pinot grigio, very  220 Traminer
Soft peach, stone fruit, melon

Tenuta Polvaro Cab. 2010
Soft cherry, great tannins

Tenuta Polvaro Nero
Cab. Merlot, syrah, refosco, good round structure, soft fruit

Tenuta Palvaro Ducis
Soft stone fruit, good


Tantas – Temp Garnacha RD Duera
Fuller body, shock after, violets, dried fruit

Tola, Nero D’Avola
Wet forest floor, leather, earth, truffle, cherry, good structure, soft but great acid

Gens Merlot 2010 Clarksburg, CA

Categories: Tasting Notes, Wine

Wines tasted # 3

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Owen Roe Share Croppers Cab 2007
Ruby color, good cherry nose, light tobacco, strawberry, easy finish.

Dynamite Lake County
Plum color, ripe fruit good.  Tartness, nice smooth tannins, good easy finish.

Broadside Peso Robles
Purple color, not a lot of structure, lacking good fruit on the nose, vanilla oaky and not bad but currant on the end.

Ridge Santa Cruz Bordeaux blend
Dark purple, deep color, easy nose, good tannins, soft finish.

Edge Napa.
No nose, lacking structure, great color, plum, dark fruit, jammy fruit, 14.4%

Trefethen Oak Knoll
Dark rich, plum color, soft tannins, opened good tannins, jammy nose, tons on cherry and chocolate

Clava sauvignon blanc, Chile 2008
Crisp, clear, steel color.

Trullo Primitivio
Good dry, tannic, Rhone type, soil on the nose

Casa silva petite verdet
tannic, great berry forward and awesome color from a grape, normally used in blending.

Categories: Tasting Notes, Wine

The Best Omelette I have ever ate!

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At the end of a long trip  for me begins a mew journey usually home.

On this particular, Sunday I was joined in a rusty old Diner nestled in between two antique stores in downtown Santa Rosa California by Austin Beeman and Jennifer Nelson. The three of us had just completed a whirlwind tour of Northern California wine regions and two conferences. We were gearing up for one final day of wine touring, tasting and mocking people endlessly.

This is part one of a several part post about a two week period filled with wine. So much  wine! The trip began in Amador County, in the shadow of the Sierra Foothills.

If you have not been; go!

We begin with the end!

We decided to stop and have a solid breakfast for the first time in a week so that we had a base for all of the wines we were sure to taste throughout the day. Individually we had heard that The Omelette Express was a great place for breakfast and we were greeted at the door by a man who looked like he belonged in Donnie Brasco instead of at a diner. It isn’t often you’re greeted by a bouncer at a diner first thing Sunday morning but we waited outside and watched patiently as other people walked past us to try and get inside and were stopped by Don.

It’s the type of place that you would completely expect Guy Fieri to go to and make the many ridiculous and annoying sounds and dudes that he spews on his popular television show.

When I Googled whether he had ever been there or not I was very happy to know that the customers that were there were True Believers instead of triple D’ers.

Surprisingly I am not a huge breakfast person, rarely up early enough to experience breakfast with the rest of the world and even when I am my body is not prepared to eat such a big meal so early. Yet just after 9:30 we were seated and ordered Jennifer got the number 16 , Austin got the number one and I got the number 4 and added ham and bacon.

The # 1 Bacon, Avocado, Tomato and Cheese

The # 4 Ground Sirloin, Spinach, Scallions and Cheese

The # 16 Mushrooms, Herbs, Spinach and Cheese (Come on Jenn)!


Holy shit were we impressed to get three bloggers who bloviate constantly about everything just shut up for almost 10 minutes while we devoured the best cheese meat and vegetable filled omelets that exist on this planet and possibly others. It was a monumental feat!

Decadent doesn’t begin to describe the ground sirloin spinach scallions pepper jack cheese and ham filled cloud that I consumed along with Homestyle potatoes and the thick buttery piece of toast. Huge big as your face breakfast which normally bugs me that portions are so large. but this time it was awesome!

For me it was that moment that we realized that our journey was only beginning even though we already spent 6 days nestled in Sonoma County imbibing and tasting through hundreds of wines from all over California and the rest of the world. It was well into the trip and the last before I returned home to my fiancé who joined Jenn and I for the first leg. Now we began our journey from Sonoma back east!


The bill is paid and we left stunned only leaving crumbs on our plate and half of Jennifer’s omelet in a  to-go container that filled my car already doused in whiskey and cigar soot with the aroma of breakfast.

We hit the road for our first appointment satisfied and ready for the day but also wishing for a nap and a snort of something tasty to awaken our pallets for the day to come…First Stop….



You can check Austin and Jenn out below!


Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle, Wine

April 2018 Rules for civilized behavior

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91. Do not waste time with people who you do not enjoy.
92. Be blunt and purposeful! Censorship is for the FCC
93. Give the respect you want or get none
94. Give more and better complements and mean them
95. Not everyone is hitting on you, get over yourself
96. Driverless cars will be the death of us all!

97. By opening that bottle; it creates the special occasion.
98. Go wine tasting in Amador
99. Buy some fucking Barbera
100. Zinfandel is red, buy some and drink it with pizza, pasta or baked brie with fig jam.
101. Pay attention to people, get off your damn phone in public.
102. Get Action, Take Risks!
103. If you vote for a child rapist, then you support rape. There is no other way to put it.
104. Smoke one cigar a month at least.
105. Dear Trader Joe’s, just stop!
106. Register to vote
107. Look up at the sky one a day
108. Buy someone a drink you don’t know
109. Eat some Almonds


110. Go for a 20 minute walk each day
111. Drink some pastis
112. Learn to surf
113. Stop binging so much fucking Netflix and pick up a book
114. Check out the new Hall and Oates
115. How’d those resolutions Go?
116. Have you been to Livermore California? Go!
117. Stop procrastinating!


118. Get ready for derby day by adding mint to the garden now
119. Big rigs don’t own the road
120. Eat more fruit.
121. Drink more Rum, there are plenty of craft rums out there

Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

Rules for 2018 March

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  1. Listen to old people.
  2. Dear, kale fuck you!
  3. Dear vegans, my ancestors killed yours for fun and danced in the caves.
  4. Learn your fucking history morons. Pick up a book.
  5. Never yell Bomb on a plane. That’s just good life advice.
  6. Yoga pants are for yoga. If men are not allowed to be comfortable wearing boxers in public, then, why should you? OH, wait they look good. Never mind carry on. Nevertheless, seriously stop dressing for the gym at the grocery store.
  7. Men, Yoga pants are for women! No exceptions
  8. Take pride in your education and never let anyone make you feel bad for knowing the answer
  9. Stop dressing like… (Men Only)
  • A pirate
  • A steamboat captain
  • A homeless person
  • You live in your mom’s basement
  • You spend all day playing video games

  1. Men, buy her some flowers, candy or jewelry because you want to and she deserves it. Fuck Valentine’s Day just do it!
  2. Go somewhere fun for a weakened this month.
  3. Drink some fucking Merlot- Here is a list.
  4. Challenge yourself daily
  5. Trivia can keep your mind sharp.
  6. Lay in bed, pour some Whiskey and watch porn with someone special! I recommend Basil Hayden during a nice gangbang scene!
  7. Play some music daily- Take ten minutes to chill to your 3 favorite songs
  8. Or find 3 new songs a week and expand your horizons.
  9. Have a threesome; take your time and enjoy
  10. Say yes to 5 things you normally would say no to.
  11. Have one junk email address and one main one- DELETE all others. Save yourself.
  12. Drink more water; Order water every time you order a drink.
  13. Try to get a little kinky at least once a week!
  14. Drink more Cognac
  15. Go wine tasting in Temecula
  16. Use your tongue for more than just speaking
  17. In keeping with the previous rule- Learn when to shut up
  18. Get back to people with an answer even if it is no. The idea that you can ignore someone until they go away is for assholes.
  19. Love deeply and fuck like you mean it
  20. Do not surrender, or fear defeat learn from it!
  21. Call people back, stop texting someone who calls you
  22. Do not waste time in conversations you do not enjoy.


Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

Rules for 2018 February

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  1. Find the one who makes your life better
  2. You know you hate your job so leave!
  3. Check your credit score and report and fight back before we lose that right too!
  4. Make a new resume and be bold and yourself.
  5. Clean out the cobwebs…
  6. Join a meet up or group
  7. Read some goddamn books!
  8. Read the newspaper!
  9. Catch up on the news daily! The real news, not the Kardashian reality tv bullshit.
  10. Do you know who your Mayor is? Find out last shit!
  11. Stop shopping at Walmart!
  12. Go back to school
  13. Don’t just plan an adventure: Go
  14. Watch your damn kids.
  15. Become a hedonist and live life for the sheer pleasure.
  16. Drink more absinthe
  17. Stop ordering stupid drinks to impress people, drink what you like.
  18. Skinny jeans are STILL for Women only.
  19. Make 2018 your bitch!
  20. Eat more fruit.
  21. Stop with the fucking diets, eat smarter and better.
  22. Take this and all list or ideas with a grain of salt.
  23. Truth is not a choice, facts are not up for discussion.
  24. Thank people for what they do.
  25. Smile more, resting bitch face is not a thing.
  26. Have lots of sex!
  27. Apply for a job you have no business getting.
  28. Tipping is not god’s gift you cheap fuck.


Books to read

  • Wings Unseen by Becca Gomez Farrell with a Spirit Works gin and tonic!


Podcasts to listen to

  • Crime Writers On

Rules for 2018!

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Rules for 2018 January

  1. Learn to drive moron!
  2. Listen to a new podcast every month.
  3. The horn is your friend
  4. Drink more Water
  5. Eat more cheese!
  6. Drink more whiskey
  7. Fry some zucchini
  8. Tweet Donald Trump
  9. Spend less time online and more time outside you fucking vampires (but still visit my website and podcast)
  10. Try Malort, and good luck!
  11. Stop using coconut oil unless you are cooking.
  12. Cancel cable and screw the man.
  13. Call your Congress person and tell them they have sold our nation and next time to at least sell to the highest bidder.
  14. The left lane is for FAST cars.
  15. Fuck you if you drive a Subaru Or Prius!
  16. Cut your fucking hair guys! I can’t believe I still must say this.
  17. Only ask for one Christmas present this year.
  18. If you Are willing to wait to hours to buy a phone but not to vote please leave my country.
  19. Learn to park asshole!
  20. Hit the road and see the world!
  21. Go see America before it is used by our corporate overlords.
  22. Go vote! Early and often
  23. Get off your ass and do something.
  24. Flip a coin, you know what I mean!
  25. Pay your bills on time, and screw the man by not paying fees.
  26. Clean your closet!
  27. Stop procrastinating and go do it!
  28. Play with your kids and put down your phone, ass!
  29. Say what’s on your mind!
  30. The merge is your responsibility not traffics’.
  31. Be less sensitive to what people say, grow a thicker skin.




Books to read

      • Studs Terkel- Hard Times

Podcasts to listen to –

    • My Favorite Murder
Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

Make 2018 your Bitch!

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In 2018, we have some choices to make about politics, country, hope and our daily lives. Make sure that no matter you are, what you think or what you believe that you participate and let truth and facts guide you. Since so many people are dumb, I have written a list of some rules that we should all live by to make and keep ourselves happy. If you do not agree, I do not care. We all have way too high an opinion of ourselves and I have been silent for far too long. 2018 is going to be my bitch so I you want to live as a hedonist, enjoy life, drink, fuck and be a better person all in one day join me!

Check out the new Whiskey reviews on YouTube


And a always, the podcast will have some cool interviews for consumption.

Each month I recommend, wines, whiskey, beer, spirits, books and podcasts for you to try, enjoy and learn from.


Justin K.


Categories: Hedonist Lifestyle

Angel’s Share


The craft distilling world has lost a giant this week.  Jim Harrelson passed away Sunday after suffering a heart attack nearly a week ago. Jim was the Head distiller and “Lead Janitor” as he liked to call himself at Do Good Distilling in Modesto California. Do Good is a collaboration by friends and colleagues who banded together after the death of Paul Katuszonek, Jim’s brother in-law, an Oakdale police officer killed in a car crash on his way to work.



The announcement of Jim’s passing was posted to Facebook in the early morning hours of Monday by his wife Liz. “Despite earlier improvements, my sweet, strong, husband, Jim, passed away yesterday after his heart attack on Monday. He was the very best that person I’ve ever met. We welcome continued prayers and positive energy as we all work to navigate the world without his laughter, guidance, and support.”


The community went to work as soon as they heard with thoughts and prayers for Jim’s speedy recovery and social media lead the charge with #prayingforJim wanting Jim to wake up. The massive heart attack as it has been described sent him into coma that family and friends hoped he would awake from. Sadly, #hopingforamiracle was unanswered along with why this would happen to such a good man. On August 4th, it looked like he would wake up and that hope was strong with the family until the end.


On Jim’s Facebook page, he claims that “I do things that sometimes can be confused with work” and that seems to be how people will remember him, with an unwavering sense of humor.

He was a visionary and understood the needs of the industry. According to the Do Good website Jim consumed knowledge of distilling and brewing and even attended classes when he could. His love for knowledge and fervor for the craft industry lead him to become president of the California Artisanal Distiller’s Guild. The page also tell us that he was an avid runner, loved gardening and going to concerts.


I last saw Jim a year ago, while collecting bottles for an event at a conference I was putting together. We spoke about the state of the craft industry, the changing landscape of spirits in America and he had plenty of advice. He was always willing to share information and from what I gleamed he was the type to make friends everywhere.

Jim was a respected member of the community in California and was a former Deputy Sherriff of Stanislaus county. He is survived by his wife and three daughters who filled his life with laughter and love. Their loss will be felt by the community, family and an entire industry.


I will be raising a glass of Night Hawk in his honor this evening and hope many will do the same.


Jim, your lust for life and whiskey will be remembered.


May peace find you.

Categories: Spirits, Whiskey

Rules for 2017! Part 1

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For many of us 2016 sucked. It certainly did for Hollywood and the Music world. Fuck 2016.. It’s a new year new rules, new beginnings and let’s have some goddamn fun!

Here are some general rules for 2017.

Rules for 2017…

  1. stop being your own worst enemy
  2. become hedonist like me, you will have better skin
  3. Boycott junk food 6 days a week go nuts have fun on the last one
  4. You know that thing he wants you to do. DO IT….
  5. Smoke cigars.
  6. Move away from Ohio!
  7. Wear that dress! Trust me!
  8. Guys get a fucking haircut
  9. Skinny jeans are for women…
  10. Visit Brattleboro
  11. Give Oral more and give it better!
  12. Drink Armagnac
  13. Stop ordering obscure shit to stump the bartender.
  14. Read a book or several
  15. Do NOT take this too seriously
  16. Gents… and I use that term loosely these next few are for you
  • Open the goddamn door for her or him.
  • Man buns are acceptable if you are
  • From the islands like Hawaii,
  • American Samoa
  • NZ
  1. Never ask if you can kiss her just do it…if she slaps you or maces you then you misread the situation. (DO not Be TRUMP)
  2. Look people in the eye..
  3. ohh and stop playing video games.
  4. befriend 2 or more lawyers
  5. give your friends more on yourself
  6. Take your head out of your ass!
  7. Put down your fucking phone.. (not now, keep reading) but afterwards
  8. Drive as if you are not a fucking blind moron.
  9. Drink responsibly
  10. Send a thank gift when someone gives you a ride home.
  11. You will all arrive at the same time. Do not jump the line to get on a plan early. All in the same boat.
  12. Register to vote. As long as you are 18 by the next Election Day you can register whenever.
  13. Listen to someone over 70 for an hour a month. Knowledge runs deep.
  14. Inexpensive whiskey is ok..

Do those things this month and for the rest of 2017. Each month there will be a new rule for each day. Do not fret there will be plenty of reviews and tasting notes even in the rules…


Love Justin


Make 2017 your Bitch!

Categories: Uncategorized

Mercer Estate Part 2

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“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.” – Jessica Munnell

Mercer Estates Part 1

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“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.” – Jessica Munnell