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By the Smoke and the Smell, a must-read by Thad Vogler

By the Smoke and the Smell, a must-read by Thad Vogler
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  • By the Smoke and the Smell, a must-read by Thad Vogler

    Post #1 - February 21st, 2018, 12:16 pm
    Post #1 - February 21st, 2018, 12:16 pm Post #1 - February 21st, 2018, 12:16 pm
    I just finished reading By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail by Thad Vogler, owner of Beard-award winning Bar Agricole in San Francisco and I have to say that it profoundly affected me. If you care at all about spirits, how they're made and where the industry is heading, you'll find it an informative, fascinating and entertaining read.

    The book essentially chronicles Vogler's "business trips" (he explains why they are so much more than this) during which he crosses the globe in search of spirits to use in his bars (he also owns Trou Normand and Obispo). The book is remarkable on a number of levels. Not only is Vogler extremely articulate (he graduated from Yale and comes from an academic family), but he's also refreshingly and astonishingly candid in his observations about the materials he's attempting to source, as well as the people and companies that produce them (and his travel companions). On top of all that, he's insanely knowledgeable and notably wise, which makes the book valuable, educational and enriching on a number of levels.

    Some of the places he visits in the book are France, Cuba, Scotland, Kentucky and Mexico. At each turn, he goes into great detail describing his overall travel experiences, as well as the successes and the pitfalls that are part of each trip. After reading it, I feel extremely connected to him on an emotional level. But I also feel a bit sorry for him. To see the his world as he does, especially in current times, can lead to a lot of disappointment. However, I also feel a renewed love of -- and passion for -- spirits, which just feels great. And, I'm a so much more informed about how some spirits are made, how they have been traditionally made and how they are likely to be made in the future.

    This book, which was recommended to me by a friend who owns a bar here in town, is the most interesting and informative industry tome I've encountered since Kitchen Confidential (though, Vogler and Bourdain are not too much alike). If you're at all into spirits or this genre, I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - March 6th, 2018, 4:27 pm
    Post #2 - March 6th, 2018, 4:27 pm Post #2 - March 6th, 2018, 4:27 pm
    Thanks for the recommendation! I've been trying to think of a present for my husband's birthday, and I think this would be perfect.

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