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It’s Winter, which means that swaths of America have been plunged into subzero temperatures. Of course, in Los Angeles, we’re going on our fifth day in a row of 80-plus degree weather, but that’s neither here nor there. Don’t worry: when this state falls into the Pacific, you can have your laughs.

The point is that this is an excellent time of the year to curl up next to a fireplace (or radiator) and enjoy some whiskey. Thankfully, the good people at Orphan Barrel™ recently invited me and a guest to taste their new release, The Gifted Horse American Whiskey, and I’m proud to say that on that frigid 55 degree evening, it was the perfect antidote to the Winter blues. Pics after the jump…

The story of the Gifted Horse batch is sort of interesting. It all began back in Louisville, KY where a seventeen year old batch of aging bourbon was accidentally mixed with some young stuff. That’s right: seventeen years of waiting just went down the drain. Well, not literally. Or figuratively. The resultant blend turned out to be “surprisingly special,” and so while purists may balk, the rest of us have the Gifted Horse (which, by the way, is a one-time only thang. Once this batch is done, it’s done).

Here are some pics of the event, held at Hollywood’s No Vacancy bar.

Product placement by a fireplace. Isn’t this the coziest blog post ever?

Our official whiskey guides for the evening, replete with charming Scottish accents.

There once was a time when whiskey made me gag. That was my Long Island Iced Tea phase (1999 – 2002). Now, when I see that caramel color in the glass, there is some light swooning.

As for the Gifted Horse Whiskey, it’s fairly strong and intense, but with a splash of water, new flavors emerge, resulting in a sweet, almost syrupy flavor.

The Gifted Horse has a suggested retail price of $50. To get a serious breakdown of what this whiskey has to offer, check out the comprehensive review at The Whiskey Jug.