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By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I love reading, which should go without saying given I’m a bookseller by trade. But some books, for whatever reason, totally and unreasonably hook me. While engrossed in its pages I’m good for nothing, and absently bumble my way through life until I can next devour each line of text. Afterwards, I feel as refreshed and energized, and find myself thinking of it long after I put it down. Vogler has wrought such a feeling in me, and I feel simultaneously close and in awe of him. He brings the personal deep into his work, enthusiastically and unabashedly sharing his process for choosing the spirits with which he stocks his bar, while allowing you to fall a little in love with each farm, each distiller. He consciously seeks out those who love their craft, and insists on the same farm to table traditions that have become ubiquitous in the foodie scene. Each bottle is a connection to him, a piece of history he deems worthy of serving to his patrons. It reminds me of bookselling in that way, where you search for the perfect book that is worthy to give to your customers. It’s a tale of advocacy for the independents, the family owned businesses, and those who labour out of love. I can say with certainty that this book has found a place close to my heart, and I can’t wait till I can next visit Bar Agricole.

— Jax


In By the Smoke & the Smell, spirits expert Thad Vogler takes readers around the world, celebrating the vivid characters who produce hand-made spirits like rum, scotch, cognac, and mezcal. From the mountains of Mexico and the forbidden distilleries of Havana, to the wilds of Scotland and the pastoral corners of France and beyond, this adventure will change how you think about your drink.

Thad Vogler, owner of San Francisco's acclaimed Bar Agricole and Trou Normand, is one of the most important people in the beverage industry today. He's a man on a mission to bring "grower spirits"--spirits with provenance, made in the traditional way by individuals rather than by mass conglomerates--to the public eye, before they disappear completely.

We care so much about the food we eat: how it is made, by whom, and where. Yet we are far less careful about the spirits we drink, often allowing the biggest brands with the most marketing dollars to control the narrative. In By the Smoke and the Smell, Vogler is here to set the record straight. This remarkable memoir is the first book to ask the tough questions about the booze industry: where our spirits come from, who makes them, and at what cost.

By the Smoke and the Smell is also a celebration of the people and places behind the most singular, life-changing spirits on earth. Vogler takes us to Normandy, where we drink calvados with lovable Vikings; to Cuba, a country where Vogler lived for a time, and that has so much more to offer than cigars, classic cars, and mojitos; to the jagged cliffs and crystal-clear lochs of Scotland; to Northern Ireland, Oaxaca, Armagnac, Cognac, Kentucky, and California. Alternately hilarious and heartfelt, Vogler's memoir will open your eyes to the rich world of traditional, small-scale distilling--and in the process, it will completely change the way you think about and buy spirits.

About the Author

THAD VOGLER is the owner of Trou Normand and the James Beard Award-winning Bar Agricole in San Francisco. For nearly two decades, he worked to design, open, and manage the bars at more than 20 top Bay Area venues. In 2011, Vogler was named one of Forbes magazine's most interesting people. A global authority on craft spirits, he is consulted regularly by national and global press including the New York Times, Der Spiegel, the Washington Post, Sunset, Bon Appetit, and the Wall Street Journal. He has worked with numerous world-famous restaurateurs including Alice Waters, Charles Phan, and Francis Ford Coppola.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780399578601
ISBN-10: 0399578609
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English


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