Whiskey Talk: Taylor Marshall

Editor’s Note: We are happy to welcome back Dr. Taylor Marshall, from the New St. Thomas Institute.  Dr. Marshall was first interviewed on this blog in 2013, when we were first starting out.  His quote that “whisky is the extraordinary form of alcohol” has become something of a motto for us.

What is the place of the Catholic Gentleman in the modern parish setting?  What are some practicalDr. Taylor Marshall.  Source: fishermore.edu ways in which he can help lead others to more reverent worship?

I think we can have more reverent worship if we first begin with true friendliness at the local parish. The parish has become a check-in/check-out destination and nobody knows one another. Consequently, the liturgy of the Mass becomes the “social meeting,” and that’s just not right. If we could build real friendships and bonds with our fellow Catholics then the Mass will become oriented toward God and less about saying “hello” to my neighbors during the passing of the peace.

Regarding liturgy itself, the priest’s reverence is the single most important factor in guiding the reverence of the people. “Like people, like priest.” Hosea 4:9

How does the Catholic Gentleman engage the peripheries of society, whether that be those closed off to the Faith, those in need of corporal works of mercy, or those who are simply in need of social fraternity?

The Catholic man simply lives the faith, but with a profound smile and joy. The modality of truth is important. That is, the way you deliver it matters to people. A smile itself will disarm a hater.

Could you talk briefly about the Catholic Gentleman as the Good Shepherd of the Family?

The father is a shepherd. He is a guide. He should be able to guide his children in religion, prayer, finances, work, marriage, and skills. The father should be a treasury of prudence from which the children make withdrawals.

Several men have recently written to us about starting fraternal organizations based on gentlemanly behavior, lively discussions on Faith, and the proper enjoyment of whisky.  How important are fraternal organizations to developing communities of men who actively embrace their vocations as husbands, fathers, and shepherds of families?  Could you recommend a few books that might prove worthy of study and discussion at such groups?

We launched the fraternal organization of the Troops of Saint George for priests, deacons, fathers, and sons. We seek to grow in the seven virtues in the context of outdoor adventure and survival. This provides a way for Catholic men (even Catholic priests) to talk around the campfire, away from the noise of the world. We made the hard decision not to allow alcohol on campouts and outings, simply because there are young men around and it would be too messy. Still, the men and officers of my local troop did recently get together for a scotch tasting (without our young sons). Catholic fraternity is something that we need. And a glass of wine or scotch doesn’t hurt if handled virtuously and in moderation.

Since we last spoke, you launched the New Saint Thomas Institute to provide online video theology and philosophy classes.  Could you please give us a summary of the program, including how our readers might become involved?

Over the years, I heard from so many Catholics that wanted to get deep and study Catholic philosophy, theology, and apologetics. They wanted to take classes with me but we were limited by time and space. So we launched the New Saint Thomas Institute providing online, short, fun, and profound classes online via mp3 and HD video. We’ve grown as big as 1,600 student Members in 25 nations. It’s hugely successful and popular.

We offer three certificates in Philosophy, Theology, and Apologetics. There is currently a waiting list to join, but you can learn more and watch a sample lesson at newsaintthomas.com.

What is the place of St. Thomas in modern Catholic thought?  What are some ways the Catholic Gentleman could learn more about the Angelic Doctor?

The Latin motto of our New Saint Thomas Institute is “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of an ox” from 1 Cor 9:9. We use it to refer to Thomas Aquinas who is known as the “Dumb Ox.” We want Thomas Aquinas to speak to our time and our culture. I believe that this century will be a Thomistic century in the Catholic Church. His philosophy and theology is the answer to the doubts and questions of our time. I wrote a small book called Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages and I’d like to offer that to all your readers for free. It’s an easy and short introduction into the mind of this amazing intellectual saint. You can get the book for free here: taylormarshal.com

Last one!  What are you drinking these days?  Do you have any new recommendations for our readers?

I’m drinking a lot less these days and I usually stick to scotch and gin.  My dad’s favorite Scotch is Oban 15 (Highlands single malt) and I really like it more and more. Plus it reminds me of him and therefore has a certain nostalgia to it. Certain scotches remind me of certain friends. For example, I can’t drink Lagavulin without thinking of a priest friend of mine because he introduced it to me.

I used to chase after the fancy 21 year single malts (because it felt cool), but honestly I keep coming back to the 15 year range, particularly the Speyside and Highlands distilleries. I really like Dalwinnie (Speyside single malt) which is a 15 year.  I’ve taken to Scotch and soda instead of wine if I’m out with my wife and I’ll usually ask for Chivas blended in that case.

I used to laugh at “scotch cocktails” but I recently discovered the Ginger Dram and it’s fantastic. Bars don’t know how to make it so I have it saved in Evernote on my phone. I literally hand my phone to the waiter and he takes it to the bar and has the bartender make it. Here’s the recipe on my phone for the Ginger Dram:

Ginger Dram

1 3/4 oz. single-malt scotch whisky (Laphroaig 10-year recommended)

1 oz. Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur or ginger brandy or ginger vodka)

2 barspoons Fernet Branca (bitters)

2 dashes Angostura bittersIce cubes

Tools: barspoon, mixing glass, strainer

Glass: Nick & Nora

Garnish: lemon twist

When it comes to gin, it’s either Gin and Tonic or a Gibson (a gin martini with an onion instead of an olive).  Which gin do you like?  I’ve tried fancy gins and I always come back to Tanqueray because it so obviously tastes like juniper.

Our favorite is Plymouth Gin, distilled at a former Dominican monastery in Plymouth, England. The gin is both strong and smooth, but maintains the distinctive juniper flavor.  We would highly recommend it for use in a martini.

Thanks for having me on. It’s always fun to talk about these kind of topics!

Book Review: The Curious Bartender

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My wife gave me The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon, and Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson for Christmas, in part, because it is a great looking book for a shelf or coffee table.  The book is an odyssey of the world’s whiskey making experience, covering the history of whiskey, how it is made, the major current distilleries, and several blend and cocktail recipes.  With an old-time cover and page after page of fantastic pictures inside, I was a little skeptical that Stephenson could provide more substance than most of the watered down whiskey books that have flooded the market in recent years.

I finally picked up the book one night when I needed a mental break from law and Chesterton, and after a few hours I found myself on page 50 and unable to put the book down.  Not only is this book markedly different — and better — than the seemingly endless parade of clone-like whiskey books currently hitting the market, but it is actually quite enjoyable.

Stephenson does an excellent job of writing in a style that is simultaneously informative and engaging.  He generously sprinkles unforgettable anecdotes into his narrative history of whiskey making.  For example, he notes that George Washington owned the largest distillery in North America at the time of the American Revolution, and that bourbon received its name because it comes from Bourbon County, Kentucky — which in turn was named in recognition of the generous support Louis XVI of the Bourbon Dynasty gave to the revolutionary efforts.

Stephenson’s work is also shockingly readable given how thorough and informative it is.  He paints with broad brushes at times, but does not fail to leave out important details.  His description of how whiskey is made is the best I have read in a book thus far.  One can almost picture standing on the floor of the distillery with him, looking up at the copper stills as he explains how they function.

My one complaint with Stephenson is that he has a somewhat stubborn modernist streak that perks up from time to time.  For example, he briefly gives credit to the Chinese for inventing distillation because of the discovery of a pot with fermented rice.  He just as quickly backtracks on this conclusion, however, when he truthfully admits that there are many reasons why fermented rice might be at the bottom of an ancient pot given the standards for cleanliness in ancient cultures.  This rambling leads the reader no closer to understanding the circuitous path that distillation has traveled in the past several hundred years.  Overall, however, I found that he rarely allows his opinions to get in the way of the great story he has to tell.

The suggested blends of whiskies near the end of the book are intriguing.  Few whiskey books actually suggest blends for readers to experiment with; a sort of “make-your-own-bottle” approach that I find fascinating.  Unfortunately, making these blends is unrealistic unless you can afford to drop a few hundred dollars on several bottles of scotch.  He has, however, inspired Andrew and I to try our hand at blending the next time we get together.

This is a great book for whiskey lovers of any level of knowledge, including beginners.  I wish we had this book available when we began our journey with whiskey, as it would certainly have shortened the learning curve.  I would recommend it to our whiskey-loving readers.

Whiskey Man: Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty

Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (1898-1963) was a hero of the Roman Catholic Church during the Second World War.  O’Flaherty’s fortitude saved countless Jewish and Allied soldier lives during the Nazi occupation of Italy from 1943-45.  His life has been since dramatized by the film The Scarlet and the Black.

O’Flaherty, as his surname would suggest, was born in Cork County, Ireland in 1898.  His family lived on a golf course, and hofsketchO’Flaherty showed a high aptitude for the sport at an early age.  He entered missionary seminary at age 20, with the anticipation of serving the Church in South Africa.  Instead, he was sent to finish his studies in Rome when the Irish War for Independence broke out and from there he was recruited into the Vatican diplomatic corps.  O’Flaherty served as a Vatican diplomat in Egypt, Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Czechoslovakia before the start of World War II.

After fighting broke out, O’Flaherty frequently visited Allied soldiers in POW camps to find those men listed as “Missing in Action” and to relay messages to the families of soldiers over the Vatican radio.  He also began to build a network of men, women, and families willing to sacrifice their own safety to hide those the Nazi regime would send to concentration camps.

Once Italy surrendered to the Allies, Allied troops were released from Italian POW camps and German occupation of the country began.  German forces quickly tried to recapture the Allied troops, many of whom, remembering their conversations with O’Flaherty, fled to the Vatican.  O’Flaherty’s network was able to quickly absorb 4,000 Jewish civilians and Allied troops, an astonishing number given the rapid German occupation of the country.

Nazi forces worked to destroy O’Flaherty’s network as soon as they learned of its existence.  An underground network of British troops gave members of the network as much security as they could under the circumstances.  O’Flaherty himself was marked for assassination by the SS.  The Germans painted a white line to mark the boundary between the Vatican and Italy, and O’Flaherty was told he would be shot if he crossed the line.  Undeterred, the monseigneur ventured into Rome proper in many disguises, narrowly escaping harm to minister to his flock.

AfterItaly’s liberation, O’Flaherty frequently ministered to imprisoned Nazi’s, including those who had previously ordered his assassination.  Incredibly, in 1959, after over a decade in prison, the occupation head of the Rome SS was converted to Catholicism by O’Flaherty, who baptized him personally.  O’Flaherty suffered a stroke while saying Mass in 1960, which forced his return to Ireland.  He died three years later.

BPI: Lenten Embertide

Lenten Embertide

At the beginning of each of the four seasons throughout the year the Church sets aside a set of three Ember days for fasting and prayer. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday make up each set of three days.

The four sets of days are observed during ember weeks which occur during these four times each year: after the feast of St. Lucy during Advent, after the first Sunday in Lent (Quadragesima Sunday), during the Octave of Pentecost, and following the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in September.

The origins of Ember Days stretch back to early Church when the Faithful would fast on certain days each week. Eventually these were moved to the beginning of each of the four natural seasons.

Today begins the Wednesday of the Lenten Embertide. Though the law of the Church today does not require fasting during Ember Days, it nevertheless a fitting time, especially during Lent, for prayer and penance. The Dominican friar, Blessed Jacopo de Voragine, wrote about Ember Days in 1275 in his Legenda Aurea. He describes the reasons and intentions for fasting during each of the four embertides in the year. With these Ember Days upon us, let us consider his reasons for amplifying our Lenten fast:

Then let us fast in March which is printemps for to repress the heat of the flesh boiling, and to quench luxury or to temper it…these fastings here begin in March in the first week of the Lent, to the end that vices wax dry in us, for they may not all be quenched; or because that we cast them away, and the boughs and herbs of virtues may grow in us…we fast in March to the end that the air of pride be attempered to us…we fast then in March that we may be in the infancy of innocency

The Catholic Gentleman: Fortitude

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In his treatise on fortitude and temperance in the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas says, “it belongs to the virtue of fortitude to guard the will against being withdrawn from the good of reason through fear of bodily evil.”  S.T. IIa IIae, Q. 123, a. 3.  Certainly, there is no greater evil the body can undergo than its separation from the soul, and so the virtue of fortitude comes to bear more perfectly in danger of death.

As a virtue, fortitude must tend towards a good, and it is for the accomplishment of that good that a man would resist the urge to flee in the face of death.  For this reason, the perfection of fortitude comes not in meeting death from disease, old age, natural disaster, or even deliberate physical violence, for such deaths do not necessarily come in the pursuit of some good.  Rather, “fortitude is properly about dangers of death occurring in battle.”  S.T. IIa IIae, Q. 123, a. 5.  When Aquinas speaks of “battle” he means more than armed conflict between armies, although the soldier who faces death in a just fight is an exemplar of fortitude.  Battle could also mean “private combat” in which one exercises fortitude by doing the good at the risk of his own life.

The history of the Church is replete with heroic men and women who put their very lives on the line in the service of truth and Seeschlacht_von_Lepanto_von_Pieter_Brünnichejustice.  We recall the fortitude of an old soldier like Jean Parisot de Valette, Grand Master of the Order of St. John Hospitallers, who witnessed the surrender of Rhodes to the Ottoman Turks as a young knight, but resolved to defend the order’s new home on Malta to the last man when the justice of Allah threatened again.

And defend it he did, saving that linchpin of the Mediterranean from Ottoman control and setting the stage for the exploits of Don John of Austria, illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who was named Supreme Commander of the Holy League by St. Pius V at the age of twenty four.  Having distributed Rosaries to all the men under his command, Don John engaged the much larger Turkish fleet off the western coast of Greece in what came to be called the Battle of Lepanto.  The fortitude of this young man in the face of dire odds led to the destruction of Ottoman naval power and the preservation of Christian Europe.

This brings us back to St. Thomas’ treatise.  We have already seen how fortitude properly  concerns guarding the will against being withdrawn from the good of reason by fear of bodily evil, the greatest being death, and the most virtuous death being in some form of battle.  It is no surprise then that St. Thomas moves from his question on fortitude right into martyrdom, which is the greatest of private combats.  “Now it is evident that in martyrdom man is firmly strengthened in the good of virtue, since he cleaves to faith and justice notwithstanding the threatening danger of death, the imminence of which is moreover due to a kind of particular contest with his persecutors.”  S.T. IIa IIae, Q. 124, a. 2.

Not only is martyrdom an act of fortitude, but it is of the highest perfection.  The martyr endures the greatest bodily evil for the greatest good of reason, charity.  St. Thomas reminds us of the scriptural basis for this claim, “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).”  S.T. IIa IIae, Q. 124, a. 3.

Today this truth is being lived out by Christians throughout the Islamic world.  Just days ago, twenty one Egyptian Coptic Christians were beheaded on a beach in Libya by the Islamic State, the holy name of Jesus on their lips.  The venue for their fortitudinous deaths was not chosen without purpose, as their blood purpled the waters of the Mediterranean on a coastline opposite the Eternal City across that expanse of water once defended by brave sons of the Church like Jean Parisot de Valette and John of Austria.   May it please God to raise up more faithful sons to rally around the Cross, sons born of that blood of martyrs which is the seed of His Church.

“Almighty, everlasting God, in whose hand are the strength of man and the nation’s scepter, see what help we Christians need: that the heathen peoples who trust in their savagery may be crushed by the power of Thy right hand.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.  Amen.

– Collect from the Votive Mass for the Defence of the Church, 1962 Missale Romanum

Review: Baronius 1962 Daily Missal

1962 Missal

The Baronius Press 1962 Daily Missal is essential for any Catholic Gentleman who aspires to appreciate the beauty and fullness of the Catholic Faith.  Summorum Pontificum, one of Pope Benedict’s XVI’s many gifts to the modern Church, ushered in a new era of appreciation for the Mass of the Ages, Tradition, liturgical seasons, and the authentic Catholic culture that inspires saintly behavior.  The 1962 Daily Missal is the key to unlocking this momentous and wondrous gift, the lens through which the Catholic Gentleman can examine and appreciate its contents.

Like everything that Baronius publishes, the 1962 Daily Missal is a true work of art.  The pictures are worthy of the holy contents of the missal, and contrast sharply with the scribbles in the modern paperback missals found in parish pews.  The binding and cover are built to withstand the frequent study every Catholic Gentleman should give his prayers.

When used at a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, the 1962 Missal is a worship aid in the authentic sense of the word in that it augments the Catholic Gentleman’s worship of Christ.  For each Mass, the Missal includes the Introit (the entrance antiphon), Collect (a short prayer before the Epistle), Lesson (Epistle), Gradual (psalm), Sequence (Gospel verse), Gospel, Offertory, and Secret (prayer at the end of the offertory), as well as Communion and post-Communion prayers.  Because these prayers are in Latin, the Missal’s English translations aid the Catholic Gentleman in his efforts to understand prayers and readings he is not familiar with as the Mass progresses.

The preface to each feast day includes a brief description of the historical roots behind the celebration in a language befitting the occasion.  For example, for the feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino, the Missal states:

St. Joseph, a humble Franciscan Friar of Cupertino in Italy, who could acquire but little of book knowledge and needed divine help to qualify for the priesthood, was favoured by his crucified God with a marvellous grace of contemplation, and with the remarkable power of miracles.  He dies at Orsino A.D. 1663.

The brief descriptions — which encapsulate the heart of a feast or saint’s life in a mere three sentences — gives the modern reader context to the original beauty of liturgical feasts and seasons that have since become obscured in American Catholic culture.  The origins and reasons for the liturgical seasons are explained more clearly in the 1962 Missal than they are in any other Catholic publication in widespread use.

It would be a tragic mistake to assume that the 1962 Missal is only useful with respect to the Mass in Extraordinary Form.  The first 150 pages of the Missal are a practical field-Catechism for the Catholic Gentleman in that they give him the basic knowledge and tenants of the Catholic Faith and the tools required to ease his path toward heaven.  Included in this practical Catechism are the most elementary basics that every Catholic surely knows — such as the Ten Commandments and Angelical Salutation (“Hail Mary”) — as well as other important concepts that most have forgotten or were never instructed in — such as the Six Precepts of the Church, the Angelus, and the Regina Caeli.  The 1962 Missal also includes Devotions for Confession, Devotions for Communion, Vespers, and Compline, all of which help the Catholic Gentleman actively participate in the sacramental life of the Church and draw him closer to Christ.

We here at Whiskey Catholic give our highest recommendation to the Baronius Press 1962 Roman Missal. We quote exclusively from Baronius texts for the purposes of this blog, using either the 1962 Roman Missal or the Douay-Rheims as the situation dictates.  Every Catholic Gentleman, especially those  embarking on an exploration of Summorum Pontificum, is urged to purchase one.

Call for Whiskey and Fraternity Groups

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Several readers have written to us regarding informal, local Catholic men’s groups whose charism centers on whiskey and fraternal discussion of Faith.  Other readers have asked where they can find such groups in their local communities.  To accommodate such fraternal organizations, we will host a webpage with the location and basic information of groups that request listing on our blog.

As always, we will have a few ground rules and caveats.  First, we cannot vouch for the Catholic authenticity of every group that requests listing.  We simply request that groups honor the basic tenants of this blog; gentlemanly behavior and allegiance to the Catholic Church.  Second, we will not be moderating such groups — so e-mails to us stating that this or that group tends to contradict Church teachings on this or that point will go unanswered.

If your group requests listing on this blog, please include the name of the club, a meeting location, and contact e-mail.  Send all requests to whiskeycatholic@gmail.com

BPI: Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. Before Mass the faithful receive blessed ashes on their forehead, as the priest says the words from Genesis, “Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris” (“Remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return”).

At the Collect for Mass today, we are reminded that this begins a season of penance and fasting for our sins:

Deus, qui culpa offenderis poenitentia placaris, preces populi tui supplicantes propitius respice; et flagella tuae iracundiae, quae pro peccatis nostris meremur, averte. Per Dominum nostrum Jesus Christum…

O God, who by sin art offended and by penance appeased, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy supplant people: and turn aside teh scourges of Thine anger, which we deserve for our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Today is a day of abstinence and fasting (Can. 1251):

For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards. (USCCB)

Book Review: Man Alive

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Editor’s Note:  It is impossible to discuss Man Alive without a detailed analysis of the plot.  Therefore there are many, many spoilers below.

Man Alive is one of G.K. Chesterton’s most obscure and overlooked works of fiction.  While the book appears superficial and silly in the first few chapters, like everything Chesterton writes, it is profoundly spiritual and nothing short of a stroke of genius.

Unlike many of Chesterton’s classics, this book takes some time to warm up.  Chesterton’s description of the opening scene is impossibly long, and the plot evolves at a glacial pace as he sets the four story lines in motion for the final climax.  The reader will need to commit to making it through a somewhat dry — and seemingly pointless — 60 pages before realizing that Chesterton had a plan all along.

Man Alive tells the story of an incurable optimist, whose eclectic personality and incurable joyfulness lead others to think he is an insane criminal.  Each criminal charge is defeated, however, because either the “victims” refuse to accuse the main character or because an eclectic optimism is not enough to hang a man, no matter what society may think.

For example, the main character challenges the intellectuals who claim that God does not exist — and that the world is so depraved that no reasonable person would allow another to suffer through its drudgery — by brandishing a firearm and putting the fear of death into the intellectuals until they confess a will to live.  This will to live is authentic because it comes not from an evolutionary perspective, but from a realization that the world is — and always will be — a place that has many goods, whether that be because of the people who live it in, the rhythm of nature, or God himself.

Similarly, the main character spends his vacations courting his wife as if he never knew her, from a first date through the wedding.  In doing so, he keeps his passion and appreciation for her at a level many men’s wives would envy today.

Part of the genius behind the book is that the main character’s optimism carries him beyond the spirit and letter of the law.  We are commanded not to covet our neighbors’ goods.  The main character breaks into his own home from time to time to determine what he would steal so that he can covet his own goods.  There is something poetic and intensely refreshing about his actions.

I am drawn to Chesterton and Waugh because these men display an optimism that challenges me — and I suspect many other Catholics as well — to live a lifestyle of true optimism.  The Catholic optimist does not see the world as if it were filled with “skittles and beer” — but rather intensely believes that each man has the power to change lives for the better by living more joyfully and by loving more selflessly.  By exposing others to the joy and love that a true Catholic lifestyle brings, the optimistic and faithful Catholic will open even the most hardened of hearts to truth.

If you are like me, and fall into a pessimistic rut from time to time, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It has been barely two months since I’ve read it, and already I would rank it among the top ten most influential books on my life.  It has certainly challenged me to pursue my vocation with greater joy and I think it could do the same for many pessimists I know.

Mailbag Time: February Edition

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I haven’t reached back into the mailbag since November 8, 2013.  How many e-mails could we have possibly gotten in 461 days?  Quite a few…Let’s answer four of them!

I am part of a group at my Parrish that has a slightly similar founding. The group is called the Manhattan Club. In doing research I came across your blog. Imagine googling Whiskey and Catholic…I thought you guys might be interested in this article about our club.

From the article:

It’s a men’s fellowship model so casual that it has no name, no formal program, and no official members. But it’s unofficial members — who range in age from 20 to 70 and rarely miss any of its weekly back-porch meetings — think it could renew men’s faith everywhere.

Mike Mattingly founded the group without meaning to. “I’m doing things for other people most nights,” says the Our Lady of Lourdes (Western Hills/Cincinnati) parishioner, who works at Miami University. “So I decided to sit on my porch on Wednesday nights, have a Manhattan, and smoke a cigar.”

A friend asked to join him. Then another. Soon a group of men were assembling on Mattingly’s front porch for the “Manhattan Club.” Most of them were Catholic and knew each other from a Christ Renews His Parish retreat at OLL, so talk began to turn to faith, prayer, and helping others. One was thinking of joining the Catholic Church, so the men went over the RCIA material together.

That’s not to say there isn’t ritual or tradition. The meetings start with prayer, and men pay unofficial weekly dues — whatever they want to give, but about “the cost of a Manhattan in a bar,” Mattingly says. Dues, which go to whatever projects the men are working on, are collected in a barrel watched over by a monkey statue Mattingly brings out for the occasion. It’s so ugly, he says, that his wife won’t allow it in the house.

This is simply amazing.  Great work guys.  We’ve lost a sense of manly camaraderie in Catholic circles over the past 20 years.  I think part of this has to do with folks no longer staying in the same city or neighborhood long enough to have a close group of 15-20 friends they feel comfortable drinking and talking faith with on a regular basis.  The bottom line is that we are all in this Church together and the more time we spend supporting each other in our manly vocations, the more successful we will be as a community.  Excellent job guys!

My name is John. I was googling a whiskey, looking for a review, and your website was one of the first results. I’m just wondering where you all met, and what college you went to, etc. I went to Christendom College, so I absolutely appreciate what you all are doing. You can be sure I will tell my friends about your site!

I get so excited when people find us through our whiskey reviews.  Be sure to check out our updated “About Us” page, but I am willing to share a little more detail here.  We all went to Boston College and we met through a Catholic student group that holds adoration on Monday nights.  Andrew and I lived together — with Nicholas often sleeping in our foyer — during my time at the  Boston College Law School.  We hatched the idea for this blog after a dinner party and spent the next several months developing content and acquiring the sense of taste and smell necessary to properly review whiskey.  We have always been attracted to a more classical form of Catholicism and feel that the college atmosphere does not value or encourage gentlemanly virtues.  Our blog has always been premised on Catholicism, manliness, and whiskey.

You seem laughably incapable of seeing beyond binary genders…

Fact.  If we ever publish a Whiskey Catholic book that quote is going on the back cover.  We should get a page of testimonials from hate mail that unwittingly compliments us.

What do you think of Yamazaki Single Cask Sherry 2013 being named the best in the world? 

Having tried Yamazaki without the sherry cask I can imagine why the 2013 release was so spectacular. Over the past year I have grown much more fond of whiskey aged in sherry or port casks.  Old bourbon barrels simply do not give high-end whiskey the same smoothness and flavor that sherry and port casks can.  As sherry casks become increasingly rare I think that these types of special releases will become proportionately more uncommon.  If I was to draw up the perfect whiskey it would be aged in port or sherry casks and Yamazaki is already a great product on its own so yes — this makes a lot of sense.

I already have a few e-mails tucked away for next time but feel free to write us at whiskeycatholic@gmail.com!