Friday, September 28, 2018

Booze Clues: Why Angel's Envy Should be All you Drink this Weekend

Firmly Rooted

If you follow us on Instagram, you caught the recent revival of our #TIPsyTuesday series, in which we share fun tips and tidbits about a particular spirit. This round was dedicated to bourbon, and we turned to our favorite Angel's Envy Whiskey Guardian, Becca Pesce (@misswhiskeyprincess) for intel. When we started this blog ten years ago, we were under the common misconception that a whiskey could not be called bourbon unless it was made in Kentucky. Guess what...

 Bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky

According to Becca, "while 99% of bourbon is made in Kentucky- legally, it just has to be American.  Angel’s Envy is made in Louisville, Kentucky at our new home on 500 Main St." 

You cannot add anything to bourbon after aging except water

Becca also informed us that after aging, the only thing you can add to bourbon is distilled water.  No caramel coloring.  No “wood flavorings.” No Sugar.  So 100% of the color and flavor of bourbon comes from the mashbill (the makeup of grains) and aging process. You should know that lots of brands add extras to their product for the sake of "consistency," but they can't call themselves bourbon. And now you understand why certain whiskeys taste so similar to bourbon but aren't labeled as such. Speaking of mashbills... 

 Angels Envy has a unique process

For a liquid to be called bourbon, it has to contain at least 51% corn. Angel’s Envy's unique blend uses 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. "Corn provides that nice, sweet bourbon backbone. The Rye imparts a nice cinnamon spice to it, and there’s an enzyme in malted barley that speeds up the fermentation process, so we use 10% to have a completely natural fermentation," says Becca. A large part of the flavor also comes from the barrels, though- up to 60%, according to various bourbon producers.

 up to 60 percent of bourbon's flavor comes from the barrel

A few compouds present in American oak- tannins, lignins, lactones, and vanillin- are largely responsible for the flavor notes in the bourbon we drink.

We usually hear of tannins when referencing wine, but they affect the flavor of bourbon, as well. They're also found in tea and walnuts, and they slowly seep into the spirit as it ages, imparting a dry, spicy flavor. American oak is lighter in tannins than European oak, so it gives bourbon a softer, less astringent mouthfeel. Lignins help the spirit to absorb vanillin, which gives the whiskey a vanilla, or marzipan flavor. American wood is higher in lactones, so this will give a buttery and creamy mouthfeel, as well as notes of toasted coconut.

 It takes almost 90 years for a tree to reach barrel-level maturity

Bourbon is aged in charred new american oak.  It takes between 85-90 years for an oak tree to mature to the point where you can use it as a barrel, and you can only get up to four barrels from one tree. The char on the inside of the barrels gets rid of impurities, and helps the cooper to be able to shape the barrel. Number 3 and 4 char are the most commonly used levels for bourbon producers.  At this level of char, the wood sugars caramelize at the surface of the barrel and are in constant contact with the whiskey through the aging process. Clearly, oak trees are integral to the bourbon industry, so Angel's Envy is doing its part to help replace the wood it uses. 

 toast the trees with Angel's Envy

Every September, Angel’s Envy teams up with the Arbor Day Foundation for Toast the Trees.  For every picture taken of an Angel’s Envy bottle, cocktail, on the rocks, neat pour, (etc.), that is posted online with the hashtag #ToastTheTrees, they will plant an oak tree the following spring in Daniel Boone National Forest.  In 2017, they planted 12,030 trees, which was the first year they planted more trees than they used.  This year they’re going for 20,000 trees. Now you know why there's a little picture of an Angel's Envy bottle in each of our posted images! Also, now you know why you should (responsibly) drink and post lots of Angel's Envy this weekend. 

 Angel's Envy 2018 Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels

Oh! Be on the lookout for their newly released 2018 Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels. We got to taste the limited-edition liquid earlier this week at an intimate event in New York, and it's pretty tasty. The port barrel finish gives it notes of cherries and raisins, which will be delightful as the temperatures cool. It's also incredibly smooth for 124 proof. Only 12,000 bottles will be sold in select markets, and it retails for around $199. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Caring Soles: Nissan's Kicks on The Street

Driven to Greatness

DJ Envy, Fat Joe and the Nissan Kicks at UP NYC
DJ Envy and Fat Joe with the Nissan Kicks at UP NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Last weekend we attended Kicks on the Street, a "pop-up with a purpose" curated by Nissan, its agency partner, Fluent 360, and BET. Held at Fat Joe's sneaker boutique, UP NYC, the event invited a specially selected group of New Yorkers to enjoy the musical delights of DJ Envy and culinary delicacies from Kimchi Grill while shopping limited-edition sneakers, accessories and sportswear. Out front, we had an opportunity to check out new Nissan Kicks, a highly customizable crossover vehicle that merges affordability with advanced technology. There were also three raffles, where the winners received a Nissan-branded backpack full of goodies and a pair of Nike Just Don Legacy 312 sneakers. Sadly, we were not among those winners.

A Kicks on the Street raffle winner with her Nike Just Don Legacy 312 sneakers
A raffle winner with her limited-edition sneakers (Courtesy Photo)

The main focus of the evening, however, was the opportunity for all attendees to participate in a charitable endeavor. Invitees were asked to bring school supplies and used sneakers for donation. Those donated sneakers will be recycled by Angel Bins, which will then donate the money from the recycled goods to the National Society of Black Engineers. (That means less old sneakers in landfills, more post-consumer materials for the construction of playgrounds and funding for an organization that helps drive innovation forward.)

Lanae Jackson and DJ Envy at UP NYC
Lanae Jackson and DJ Envy (Courtesy Photo)

"The Nissan KICKS on the Street event was designed to be a pop up with a purpose.  It was important to give back to the community, while hosting an event to celebrate the launch of the all-new Nissan KICKS.  Our corporate vision is to enrich people’s lives and one way to do that is to support non-profit organizations, like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).  Representation matters in all areas, and the NSBE organization is playing a vital role in increasing diversity in the engineering field.  Engineering is the foundation for what is possible in design…from the hottest sneakers, to the next innovation in vehicles.  What is unique about the shoe donations we collected at the event was that the old ones will be recycled by Angel Bins and the money raised from the recycle goods will be donated to NSBE.  We are using technology, being green and giving back at the same time!" - Lanae Jackson, Multicultural Marketing Manager, Nissan North America.

We had a great time at the event, and we love the luxurious ambiance at UP NYC, from the gilded frames on the mirrors to the illuminated sneaker wall in the center of the store.

Branded sneaker wall at UP NYC
Exclusive Sneaker wall at UP NYC

Of course, we had to do a bit of attendee shoespotting. Here are a few of our favorites:

Sparkly Nike Air Max 97 at UP NYC

Limited edition sneakers spotted at UP NYC

Shoespotting- colorful sneakers

Hey Chicago, you're up next! There will be a Kicks on the Street event in your city tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Shoe News: This Shoe Club is Disrupting the Luxury Reselling Game

Lovin' this Club

Women and Shoes for Luxury Shoe Club
Courtesy Photo from Luxury Shoe Club

We all know that keeping up with shoe trends can be an expensive feat (aural pun intended), and storing a shoe collection presents quite a challenge for those of us without Kardashian-sized closets. That's why consignment shops and online resale networks come in handy, right? But those come with their own sets of challenges, like long waits for payments, lack of convenience and general shipping hassles. Luxury Shoe Club, (www.luxuryshoeclub.comthe recently launched trading club for pre-owned designer shoes aims to solve all of these problems via its membership model, ios app and next-generation shoe trading platform.

After intensive research, Luxury Shoe Club's Chief Shoe Evangelist and co-founder, Scott Van Valkenburgh, said he realized that the key to simplifying the shoe reselling process was to create a way for women who wear the same size to trade shoes. 

But how does that work? 

Luxur Shoe Club actually works on a points system instead of actual cash, with each point equaling $1. When a user lists a pair of shoes, LSC's proprietary algorithm determines its fair market resale value and instantly pays up to 50% of that value to the listing member. The remaining amount is paid once the shoes are bought. The club offers members personalized shopping, express shipping, free shipping boxes, at-home pickup and a 7-day return policy.  

Luxury Shoe Club
Courtesy Photo from Luxury Shoe Club

Does it cost to join?

Yes. Well, it will soon. Right now (and for a limited time), in celebration of its launch, Luxury Shoe Club is waving its annual membership fee for members who list shoes within 7 days of joining. For those who miss that deadline there are three membership levels from which to choose: Intrigued ($49/ year), Passionate ($99/ year) and Obsessed ($149/ year). Membership level will dictate access to special services, including bonus Club Points, savings on purchases, discounts on shoe repair & polishing, free shipping boxes and free shipping for purchases.

One more thing... 

This sole club also has a heart. According to Luxury Shoe Club, it's a sustainable fashion company focused on driving social impact, and as such, it donates a percentage of its membership profits "to help women in need get back on their feet."

Now, if you're feeling ready to join a mighty band of designer sole sisters, Scott has one warning for you, "be careful, the LSC app is incredibly addictive!"

Friday, June 29, 2018

Celebrity Shoe Spotting: Kristin Cavallari and Sofia Richie Love These Ankle Boots

Point Blanc

Kristin Cavalarri in Alias Mae Ahara boots
via Instagram

We love white boots, and we love snake print. Apparently television personality, Kristin Cavallari is also a fan. She recently posted the above picture on her Instagram feed wearing this sick pair of pointed-toe ankle boots. Clad in an easy outfit of a white tee, cutoffs and mirrored shades, she ponders the value of coffee over tea, saying "Day 3 no coffee. Blah. Do you guys really like tea? I mean I love matcha- but this tea just kinda tastes like sh*t 😂." Fans chimed in with their opinions. Meanwhile we were just there for the shoes. (Though maybe we should inform Kristin a little Slow & Low Rock & Rye will wake that tea right up.) Sofia Richie was also spotted sporting this style earlier this month. So who made these must-have white and black python print booties? If you guessed that they're from Kristin's eponymous collection by Chinese Laundry, you're incorrect
Courtesy Photo

The shoe in question is actually the "Ahara" Snake Boot by Australian footwear brand, Alias Mae. Part of the brand's Fall '18 collection, this block-heel beauty is available for preorder here. If you need a similar style sooner, here are a few suggestions: