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Harrison-Odjegba-OkeneHARRISON OKENE, who in 2012 spent 60 hours trapped in an air-pocket 100 feet under the sea.  Then 29, Okene, cook on a tugboat servicing Nigerian oilrigs, was awake at 4:30 AM when the boat capsized and sank, coming to rest upside down, with the stern on the ocean floor at 32 meters. He moved around inside until he found a large airpocket and built a platform to help hold himself half out of the water.  Okene’s flashlights failed after 24 hours, leaving him in total darkness. He could hear fish eating his crewmates. He did a lot of praying. He was rescued on the afternoon of the third day by divers looking for corpses. “I was calling on God. He did it”.

There is live video of his rescue, showing Okene as found in the air-pocket, at

Dear friend of fine spirits,

One of our favorite blogs, Serious Eats, had some nice things to say about Vodka DSP CA 162: “will challenge your very perception of what a flavored vodka can be”. If you remember what happened the first time you tasted Hangar One, before the brand was bought: it’s like that again, and even better. These are serious vodkas.

On the Germain-Robin’s Old & Rare page you will see a list of new releases, a series from their amazingly rich cellar. One of the reason old spirits can be so good is that evaporative loss concentrates the flavors. We lose about 1 1/2 – 2% a year; the GR/30 is less than half or its original volume. These brandies represent the purified essence of perhaps the finest grapes ever used for distillation, now concentrated and deepened by decades of maturation in air-dried Limousin oak. I can write without blushing that several of the Old & Rare series are among the best spirits ever bottled.

Are they expensive? Sure. Worth it? Yes: they are in fact bargains compared to other products of their age, quality, and scarcity: equivalent cognacs and malt whiskies cost in the thousands of dollars. The Single-barrel releases in particular are extremely good values.

We will start to ship the Old & Rare on October 1, but you can pre-order by calling Sue Miller at 800 782-8145. The limit is two bottles of any one release. We are holding back significant amounts for you, our direct customers. Feel free to call me at 707 468-7896 if you have any questions about these brandies. I especially recommend the Barrel 351.