Spirits Network is the world’s first shoppable streaming channel centered around the world of premium spirits and the stories behind them. Flavien Desoblin, owner of New York City's famed Brandy Library, has served as Spirits Network's Chief Curator since the platform's debut. Here, we dive into the one-of-a-kind platform in an exclusive interview with Desoblin himself.
With the growing popularity of premium spirits (particularly of the brown variety), how does a novice even begin to get their arms around it?
My best advice to beginners is to please go slow and don't over-complicate things. Even the best master distillers suggest they trained their palettes to some degree and were not necessarily born with that skill. Take your time and don't do it alone...even better, let your first time(s) be in the hands of an expert, whether going to a Scotch tasting at a restaurant with the brand's ambassador or master blender, or while watching Spirits for Beginners. Refrain from trying to know everything in three months. Our palates and brains, with the memories of our past tastings, take time to understand what's going on in a drink.
Tell us about Spirits Network in a nutshell––it's a brand new, first-of-its-kind concept that you've likened to Food Network (but shoppable). What makes this membership experience so different from the rest?
We, of course, love instant gratification. Imagine watching Food Network or Netflix and being able to buy what your favorite celebrity is eating, wearing, or drinking and have it delivered to your door in less than two hours. You can do that now on Spirits Network in 50 cities. Before, if you wanted to drink an old fashioned, you'd go to your favorite local joint and then you'd go to your nearby comfort food place for a casual dinner––nowadays, you invite friends over to your house, and you make cocktails and food from scratch. There is a growing awareness in drinking better, not more, and a pride in understanding the rich history behind your favorite brands. Fine spirits have entered our lives like sports or music, which have had their channels for a while...and now spirits have their own as well.
What about the person who has it all and knows what they like and may already have strong brand loyalties? How can you push people outside of their comfort zones at every level of expertise?
Humility. Our palates change over time, so a true connoisseur will never settle completely. On Spirits Network, our membership box subscriptions provide access to pre-sales, private casks, and limited editions. Always be open-minded and curious––it has been proven to increase happiness!
Favorite bourbon for fall? Or cocktail?
Fall screams for brandy distillates such as Cognac and Calvados. And of course, a rye old fashioned