The Spirits of the Season

If giving quality spirits gets you in the spirit for the holidays, you can find a variety of liquid treasures at Tulsa outlets that will certainly brighten your season.
And, local package store owners and managers are expecting Tulsa’s liquor connoisseurs to be in the giving mood.
“Yes, definitely so,” said Scott Ryel, manager of B&B Liquor Warehouse, 7002 S. Mingo Road.
“It’s kind of like money is no option this year vs. last year,” he said. “People are wanting to splurge. Normally if they buy a $5 item for their household, if it is a gift or for themselves, they’ll go ahead an spend $10, $15, $20 this year.”
Of course, that is just an example. We are talking many times that for the finest spirits.
Take the .750 liter Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac, bottled in an individually numbered Baccarat crystal decanter, which B&B sells for $1,240.99
If a customer walked in and asked for the highest end spirits in the store, “Oh, I would show them the Lou,” Ryel said. “That is probably the highest I have. The decanter itself, even after it is empty, has been sold on Ebay for over $300.”
Why so expensive? Each bottle “is a blend of 1,200 cognacs, ranging from 40 to 100 years old, across three generations of cellar masters, resulting from the combined labor of 10,000 people,” according to Remy Martin.
For those people with the appetite but not the pocketbook, the “Lou” comes in a 50 ml. mini version for $179.49.
“They brought this in basically for people who wanted to try it but didn’t want to spend $1,200,” Ryel said. “Still, it’s almost $180. For typical people that’s a little more reasonable than a down payment on a car.”
While Mary Stewart, owner of Ranch Acres Wine and Spirits, 3324-A E. 31st St., said she can get the Louis XIII, she doesn’t keep it in the store.
But, if you are still in the market for a vintage cognac with character, she has a .750 liter bottle of 1946 Maison Surrenne for $309.99.
Probably next on the list of quality spirits would be the top end single malt scotches.
Stewart stocks a 30-year-old Macallan Single Malt Scotch for $549.99 for the .750 liter bottle.
Or Ruby Brave Bear of 71st Wine and Spirits, 11234 E. 71st St., has another choice scotch, a .750 liter 30-year-old Glenfiddich for $229.99, and Ryel has a .750 liter Oban 32-year-old single malt for $281.99.
The availability of a many top-notch scotches may be limited this year.
The popularity of Johnnie Walker Blue Label — Johnnie Walker’s ultimate blend, “which is real popular overseas,” has made it difficult to stock many scotches, Ryel said.
At the heart of Blue Label is Royal Lochnagar, a rare malt distilled near Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish holiday home. In addition, there are another 15 or so premium whiskies in Blue Label.
“In a normal year before all of this started transpiring over in Japan and elsewhere, I had no problem getting higher end scotches,” Ryel said. “But now the popularity is taking off to where it is getting harder and harder to get some of the higher end stuff.”
The option is to buy the Blue Label, which is available at many outlets in the $180 range for the .750 liter bottle.
If your tastes run a little further south of the border, there is an interesting selection of tequilas available ranging from the $255.99 .750 liter Herradure Seleccion Suprema at Ranch Acres to the .750 ml Patron Gran Platinum Tequila for $164.49 at B&B or the uniquely bottled Milagro Romance Tequila, $120.99 for .750 liters, with a glass-in-glass construction featuring reposado and anejo varieties.
But if your tastes only run as far south as Kentucky, you are likely to find a very standard selection of bourbons. The slots for the 12- and 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkles were bare.
For the wine and champagne fancier, there are some quality choices, but it is unlikely they will remain in stock long.
B&B has a .750 liter 2000 Margaux Premier Grand Cru Classé for $679.99 that is top-rated by both Wine Spectator and Robert Parker, the Wine Advocate, said wine manager Jeff Tucker.
“It’s incredible to be rated 100 across the board like that,” he said.
Ranch Acres stocks the 1994 Fonseca Vintage Porto, .750 liter for $349.99, which was rated 100 by Wine Spectator and selected Wine of the Year in 1997.
And even further off the beaten path, Ranch Acres had three bottles at $99.99 each of the 2001 .375 liter Forster Jesuitengarten Reisling Eiswein, bottled in the Pfalz area of Germany. Only 30 cases were made.
Probably the most difficult to find premiere champagne available in Tulsa would be Roederer Cristal. 71st Wine and Spirits had a 1999 Roederer Cristal Champagne Brut for $239.99, but you won’t find it on the shelf. Brave Bear keeps her only bottle in the office. Ranch Acres also kept its Cristal stock out of the public eye.
And Ryel did not expect to have any in stock this gift-giving season.
“I get, like, three bottles a year,” he said. “As soon as people know it is in the market, they might go from liquor store to liquor store and just buy one bottle here one bottle there and buy the entire allotment for Tulsa.” ?



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