Given its central location, abundance of homes and prominent zip code, it’s a surprise that the stretch of Wilshire between Canon and La Cienega is deader than disco.
But now there’s a little sprout of life, in the form a dark and cozy whiskey bar called The Double Barrel.
It’s part of the Saddle Peak Lodge family, and the new Beverly Hills outpost of their legendary Malibu haunt boasts a whiskey list that’s some 700 bottles deep. It looks the way you’d assume a proper whiskey snug to look: Edison bulbs in iron chandeliers, antlers, dark leather and wood furniture, with walls of glass-doored lockers that regulars can rent to stock their bottles. There are two patios — front and back. This spot is ideal for intimate encounters, be it friends, colleagues or more amorous concerns.
Barrel (3 images)
Images courtesy of The Double Barrel
With all the booze, you’ll want to line your stomach. The food is similar to Saddle Peak Lodge, with plenty of red meat and rustic bread. You can’t go wrong with a cheeseburger and some Texas-sized french fries.
But let’s talk about what you’re really here for.
They refer to the leather-bound menu as the “Bible,” and of its 24 pages, 21 are dedicated to the brown stuff. Countries of origin range from Scotland to Japan to rarer producers like India and South Africa; there’s even a rare Swedish whiskey in there.
It also comes with its own evangelist, aka Double Barrel whiskey sommelier Sam Green, a pleasant fellow who likes to guide guests through flights of five labels, which we did with him recently. Our caveat? Introduce us to the rarest labels on the menu — stuff that we’ve probably never heard of, and that would also make a great gift for discerning tipplers visiting for the holidays.
Below, the five Green shared with us, along with some tasting notes on each.
Image by Reuben Brody
Mackmyra Svensk Rök
Friendly. Clean. Smooth. You could drink this whiskey straight out of bed in the morning. Not that there’s a very limited supply of this stuff (i.e., Sam’s private stash). But be very nice and maybe he’ll pour you some.
Elmer T. Lee
Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Ah, bourbon. Like a true southern gentleman, this honey- and caramel-laced sipper comes with a bite. It’s 90 proof and has a charming enough label. If you like bourbon, you’ll love this. A glass is $31.
Founder’s The Irishman
This is a classic rye, the sort of whiskey you’d could see yourself drinking half a bottle of at the neighborhood Irish pub. It has apple notes, and would probably be great in a cocktail. At $18 a glass, this was also the most modestly priced we sampled.
Aberfeldy 18 Year
This is a Highland single malt with equal notes of peet and char, which comes from an ingenious process of re-charring the sherry barrel so you get old wood with a fresh burn. This is the sort of Scotch refined drinkers tipple, and at $32 a pour, you’d be wise to sip slowly and enjoy neat.
You probably know Kirin best as a Japanese beer. They also made a limited run at whiskey, and this is some of the last of their stock. Like most Japanese whiskies, this is clean and smooth, with a full flavor that hits you at the front of the taste buds and then finishes abruptly for a subtle after taste. It would’ve made for a good cocktail whiskey had they kept at it.
All in all, consider it a great place to get cozy before colder climes set in.
8689 Wilshire Blvd (map)
Main image courtesy of The Double Barrel
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