Team Wendy M-216 Ski Search and Rescue Helmet Review – Best Ski Helmet Ever
In a world of endless tacky and lackluster ski helmets, one company has a taken a tasteful approach to perfect the art of head protection. As I walked the aisles of Outdoor Retailer earlier this year, I kept noticing a common theme: An abundance of ski helmets that screamed with their vibrant colors and over the top exterior designs.
The ones that could stomach the mirror test, were ultimately so minimalistic that they lacked virtually any functionality; not to mention, they made me question their true level of safety. After a while, I started to wonder how it could be so difficult to design a decent looking and functional helmet? Then I stopped at Team Wendy’s booth and spotted their M-216 Ski Search and Rescue Helmet. Wow I thought, the perfect ski helmet does exist!
To my disbelief, there was one company out there who decided to create an ultra-clean, eye-catching, tactical ski helmet that was loaded with numerous safety and operational features. I just had to own one. But before I tell you why I think this is the greatest ski helmet of all time, I’d like to first tell you a little more about Team Wendy and why they do what they do, the best.
Team Wendy History:
You might be wondering where the company name “Team Wendy” comes from. The story begins in 97’ with the daughter of the chairman who skied into a crevasse at Mammoth Mountain. Unfortunately, at the time, ski helmets were only worn by a relatively few number of people.
The accident had caused a traumatic brain injury and ultimately lead to the passing of Wendy 90 days later. To remember Wendy, far beyond what a monument or similar could ever do, Team Wendy was created.
Team Wendy Saves Lives:
With a goal to offer the best protection available on the market, while also uncovering the causes and preventative measures of TBI, Team Wendy produced their first ski helmet ever. While it featured proprietary multi-impact foam technology (Zorbium Foam) for protection, it was relatively heavy and didn’t pass the mirror test all too well.
Fast forward to 2004-5, and the army came out with a requirement for ballistic combat helmets. Before the requirement, ballistic helmets were designed for exterior threats like projectiles. On the interior, there was nothing more than just a leather band for primary comfort.
While the iconic steel helmets of the past served a purpose, the Iraq and Afghan wars introduced new challenges: IEDs and similar devices. To address the issue, Team Wendy presented the Zorbium foam in their ski helmets to the Army. By doing so, they had won their business for not just one year, but 12 and counting. Today, a 7 pad set is standard issue and goes into every combat helmet.
Eventually, Team Wendy would go on to develop aftermarket pad systems that were drop-in/plug and play. Later on in 2011-12, Team Wendy had decided to go back to their roots and build full helmet systems. They designed the EXIF carbon, which could accommodate everything from NVG to optics, cameras, lights, beacons, etc.
Best of all, the helmet platform could easily be scaled up or down to meet virtually any mission. From military soldiers to search rescue operators, backcountry ski patrol, and beyond, it delivered exactly what any operator would ever need. For instance, if you are a solider NVG’s are probably your go to, while a backcountry ski patroller would be better suited with thermal optics for locating the heat signature of someone who’s lost. Luckily, the platform allows you to run only what you truly need.
Today, Team Wendy gear can be found in 50 countries; all over the world. From the Australian defense forces (their largest customer) to federal, CIA, DEA, state departments, homeland, border patrol and beyond here in the USA. If a mission can turn into a life or death scenario, you can bet a piece of Team Wendy gear is there to protect it.
- Removable ear covers.
- Interior in-ear communication/audio pockets.
- 8 adjustable crown vents with 3 positions.
- Fidlock magnetic buckle for 1-handed operation.
- Accessory rails for mounting lights, cameras, etc.
- BOA Fit system for precise adjustment with single handed quick release.
- Glass-reinforced polycarbonate shroud for mounting NOD’s, cameras and head lamps.
- Included Princeton TEC Light; your choice of Switch Rail or MPLS.
- Available in black/grey or white/grey with Sizes from small to x-large.
- 14 total vents: 8 crown (adjustable), 2 front (passive open), 4 rear (fixed open).
- Integrated goggle strap retention
- Lightweight EPS impact liner with a removable and washable comfort liner.
- Meets the impact attenuation requirements of both ASTM F-2040 and EN1077 Class B
- ABS polymer hard front shell; reinforced accessory mounting areas while minimizing weight.
Team Wendy M-216 Ski Search and Rescue Helmet Review
Beyond the successful polycarbonate, ballistic and search/rescue helmets, Team Wendy now offers what I’d like to share with you today: Their new M-216 ski helmet. The introduction marked the 20th anniversary of the passing of Wendy Moore.
While this technically is a ski helmet, it’s far from your ordinary ski helmet. I could flat out tell you it is in my opinion, the best one I’ve ever put my hands on, but I really don’t have to… Just look around and compare, eventually, you’ll find nothing else quite like it.
Unlike other helmets on the market, Team Wendy hasn’t taken a quick, tacky approach. They haven’t chosen to go with flashy colors, bizarre vents, a Stormtrooper style, etc. In reality, the M-216 is so well made, Team Wendy doesn’t have to rely on what most other manufacturers stoop down to in order to draw in attention.
One look says it all. The clean design of this helmet has a grown-up, tactical style that’s truly admirable. And while you might think appearance is where this ski helmet really shines, the truth is, that’s just where things begin. Each Team Wendy M-216 helmet comes with a shroud in the front and rails on the side. The helmet itself uses a hybrid construction with an additional outer shell that covers the front/side for a reinforced mounting platform.
Of course, you’ll also find a BOA dial closure system, removable ear covers (which can comfortably house communication equip or drop in Bluetooth speakers), adjustable vents, a retention system with a magnetic buckle, a goggle retention strap and much more. In fact, there are so many things to enjoy when it comes to owning the M-216 it’s hard to notice them all at first glance. But don’t worry, I’ll explain all of the benefits below here in a moment.
Fidlock Magnetic Strap
Meet the Fidlock Magnetic strap, a simple, easy to use closure that lets you secure your helmet in place with just a single hand. Best of all, you can connect the straps while keeping your gloves on.
All you have to do is get the two end parts within a close-ish range and they automatically snap into place. You can have horrible aim, but in reality, the magnet does all the work for you to ensure they connect precisely in place.
Adjustable Crown Vents
Too hot or perhaps too cold? 8 adjustable crown vents can be set to three different positions. Fully open, half open or fully closed. In the past, I’ve had some helmets from other brands which were really annoying to adjust the air vents. Luckily, the M-216 vents slide/adjust easily and snap securely into position.
You don’t have to fight the tab in order to get the vents to adjust properly. Nor do you have to be overly careful, because they aren’t super sensitive to the touch. A normal motion is all it takes.
While I’m showing you the top here, I want to point out the smooth surface area. By keeping the top free of any obstructions, you gain the option to place additional equipment such as a beacon at the top of your helmet.
Every time I see a ski helmet with vents or a tab in the dead center/front for no reason, I have to wonder… “Why!” Luckily, Team Wendy gave this area some solid consideration before jumping to a design.
Safety and Protection
If you’re wondering what goes into a Team Wendy M-216 helmet to ensure you stay protected (should you have an unwanted impact or collision), here’s a quick glance of the interior. In terms of impact performance, this helmet is rated to meet: ASTM F2040-11 (Recreation Snow Sports) and BS EN 1077:2007 Class B (Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding).
If you compare this helmet to other brands you are probably going to wonder, who has the safest helmet out there? I can tell you that with full confidence after doing my own homework, I’m going to go with Team Wendy. I noticed other brands tout a thing called MIPS, but once I had a moment to fully understand the reality behind it, it left me less than impressed.
Team Wendy gave me a crystal clear explanation below; it should be enough to satisfy anyone’s curiosity.
As we mentioned, we do not presently offer any products utilizing MIPS as we are investigating the test methodologies used to quantify the performance of such systems. These test methods are not currently standardized and several open questions exist, including the use or lack of a surrogate neck (the MIPS test utilizes a free fall head surrogate with no neck or body), how realistically the head surrogate depicts a human head/helmet interface (including the coefficient of friction between helmet and head), and the injury metrics used to determine the actual effectiveness of the system.
With more than 20 years’ experience, including 12 years in the military space, Team Wendy has always been data-driven. We are presently investing in comprehensive research on traumatic brain injury through partnerships with Brown University, Drexel University, and Sandia National Laboratory. With a $4.75 million grant from the Office of Naval Research, the study aims to produce new insights into how traumatic injuries form in the brain and develop new helmet technologies to help prevent them. Accomplishing this will require a comprehensive, multi-level understanding of how forces are transmitted from a helmet to the skull, from the skull through the brain and ultimately to the individual brain cells and axons that are damaged during TBI. With a better understanding of how traumatic brain injuries occur, the study hopes to lead to the development of new standards for head protection and next-generation helmets.
With that said, at the end of the day if I truly wanted the safest ski helmet money could buy, my choice is to go with the Team Wendy M-216. Given all the research I’ve done, I’d trust my life to their products far more than I ever would with other brands.
Ps. the padded liner is removable and yes, it can be hand washed and air-dried should you ever need to clean it.
Removable Ear Covers With Audio/Communication Pockets
Should you wish to remove the ear covers, they are easily removable. If you choose to keep them in place, you’ll find that both offer nice interior pockets for things like in-ear communication systems or Bluetooth audio, etc.
BOA Closure System
For the absolute perfect fit, the Boa closure system is magic. Just put the helmet on, push/turn the knob and the helmet will clamp onto your head until it’s snug and secure.
It truly doesn’t get any easier than this or more comfortable. It’s like owning a helmet that was tailored to fit your head specifically once you get the adjustment spot on. To release the system, just pull up on the knob and the quick release functionality will allow your helmet to slide off effortlessly.
On the rear of the M-216 helmet, you’ll find a goggle strap. I have seen other brands try to do this with a variety of different methods, but personally, I like Team Wendy’s approach the best. Just tug the plastic piece downwards, secure it under the metal hook and you’re good to go. Even if your goggles did somehow manage to flip over your helmet for whatever reason, they’re not going anywhere thanks to this strap.
Exfil Rail 2.0 Quick Release Adapter Kit
Add the Exfil Rail 2.0 quick release rail adapter kit to an M-216 helmet and your possibilities start to get endless.
While the helmet does come with your choice of Princeton Tec Lights (Switch Rail of Switch MPLS), I was able to add a much more powerful Coast HP5R on the side thanks to the handy rail system. Is this totally unnecessary for most skiers? Sure, but here’s the deal, if want a 600-foot beam with 185 lumens, the rail on the M-216 helmet makes it possible.
If you want to mount a camera there instead you can. Whatever your heart desires; whatever the mission demands, you have options available. While other ski helmet manufacturers are leaving functionality behind as a forethought, Team Wendy actually gets it. Their rail shows it and it’s rather refreshing to see that kind of innovation.
Ps. if you can’t tell by the photos, you can add a rail on both sides of the helmet. For installation of the rail, removing the side panel, snapping in the rail, and screwing in four screws is all it takes.
Princeton TEC Switch Rail & MPLS Lights
For lighting, Team Wendy already has you covered. Each M-216 helmet comes with either the Princeton TEC Switch Rail or MPLS, it’s your entirely your own choice. While the bendable and flexible arm on the MPLS is excellent for getting that light beam exactly where you want it, I’m sort of a sucker for the simple switch rail that’s more discreet and out of the way.
Regardless of which you choose, both come with dual LEDs, white and red, not to mention, both work exceptionally well in terms of brightness. For such a small system, I’m impressed with the light output.
Glass Reinforced Polycarbonate Shroud – Go Pro NVG
While I don’t have a GoPro, NVG or Thermal optics at the moment, I do plan to pick up the first two here soon. I will come back and update this when I have a chance. A move across the country right now means that my camera gear has been reduced down to just a 4K Sony A6300.
Regardless, I still want to mention that I’m seriously impressed with just how rock-solid the glass-reinforced polycarbonate shroud is. Curious to see how much force this area could take I gave it fairly rough pull and it’s not going anywhere. The locking system with the GoPro NVG mount (an accessory) is rugged built, and there’s a really easy to use button that releases your equipment with a simple push.
With any action sport whether it be skiing or even mountain biking, vibration from a head-mounted camera eventually takes a toll on most helmets. Luckily, I don’t see this being a problem, ever, on the M-216, the construction and build quality is really that top notch.
To go along with the M-216 helmet, the EXF Balaclava is a match made in heaven. To be honest, I was not expecting it to be as soft, comfortable or generously thick as it is in person once you wear it. In reality, the quality surprised me considerably.
The Best Ski Helmet Ever
We’re approaching summer now, and hitting the slopes doesn’t look like it’s going to happen right this moment. I know most of you reading this will probably prefer to see me skiing against a snowy background or similar with some really cool action shots, but while those photos will be shared later on, here’s something else to consider:
Give Team Wendy’s M-216 a closer look (you’ll find their info below), order/try one on if you can, you will love it! If there is one piece of gear that you’ll want for the next ski season, without question, this is it!
I had a lot of time to spend at Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show earlier this year, and well, Team Wendy’s latest helmet takes the cake. They haven’t just made another ski helmet… They’ve made one of the best ski helmets ever.
Ps. the goggles I am wearing are the ZEAL Optics Nomad with the Dark Night frame and Automatic YB lenses. I was hoping I wouldn’t look like a gaper with a giant gap between my goggles and helmet, but The M-216 profile hugs my goggles nicely. Add in the EXF Balaclava and it really doesn’t get any better (or cooler) than these 3 pieces of gear combined. If you want the best of the best, you’ve found it.
Team Wendy Collection
While the M-216 Ski Search and Rescue Helmet does come with a really nice standard carrying sleeve, Team Wendy also offers a Mystery Ranch brand transit pack. If you’ve seen my Marshall Pack review, then you’ll know why I think Mystery Ranch makes some top notch gear. You can also pick up a Princeton Tec EOS II MPLS headlamp for the M-216 as well for an added boost of light. If black isn’t your color, the helmet also comes with a white option as well.
Aside from the M-216, Team Wendy also offers their NIJ Level IIIA EXFIL Ballistic helmet, and their SL version which boasts a 15% weight reduction. There’s also an EXFIL LTP bump helmet, a super lightweight EXFIL Carbon, the SAR Tactical and the SAR Backcountry. Among the accessories for those lines, I really like the counterweight kit in particular.
It helps compensate for the weight of night vision and other front-mounted devices. No matter the mission or protection requirements, chances are Team Wendy has you covered.
Stock images credit: Richard King Photography.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
The 10 Best Grilling Tools for Your Summer BBQ
If you want to be a grill master, you need the right tools for the job. While having a top-quality grill is obviously vital, there are many other things you need to make your life at the grill as easy as possible.
There are plenty of tools out there that will enhance the flavor of your food and allow you to cook your meat and veggies to perfection. We’ve looked at a range of them from meat thermometers and grilling gloves to cedar planks and grill baskets.
While all these tools are different, they’re all great ways to enhance your grilling experience. We’ve searched high and low to come up with 10 that you’ll love. All you need to do is read on and choose the best grilling tools for you. Let’s get started!
1. Kizen Digital Meat Thermometers for Cooking
When cooking on the grill, it can be easy to be a little nervous about whether or not your meat is ready. With this Kizen meat thermometer, you can put those fears to bed and know exactly when your meat is done.
The reading on this thermometer only takes around three seconds, so you’re not going to be waiting around for your results. It’s waterproof and durable. This is a tool you’ll be using time and time again.
It’s versatile too. Thermometers are often required for beverage and candy making, among other things. This tool is perfect for them all and will give you readings to a very high level of accuracy.
It will automatically turn on/off when you take out the prong and there is also a temperature guide written on it. It’s very easy to use and the magnet and handle hole also makes it simple to store.
2. Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty BBQ Grilling Tools Set
You can’t become a grilling master without having a high-quality set of grilling tools. While you can buy them all separately, it makes sense to get a set such as this. It’s brilliant and comes with a spatula, fork, basting brush, and tongs.
All of them are made out of thick steel so you don’t need to worry about them succumbing to the heat. They’re also fitted with silicone grips which keep your skin safe and the tools firmly in your hand.
Their design also makes them very simple to use, including the lockable tongs that allow them to stay compact when not in use. Added to this, all four of the tools have hooks for easy storage.
One downside of grilling tools is needing to clean them after use. With this set, that won’t be an issue. Not only are they easy to wipe down, but they are also dishwasher safe. This is perfect for anyone needing a brilliant set of essential grilling tools.
3. GEEKHOM Grilling Gloves
Your hands are going to be near very hot pieces of metal and you also have the risk of fat spitting onto your skin. For those reasons, it makes sense to invest in a pair of high-quality grilling gloves.
These are made of silicone which can cope with very high heat of up to 446F. On the inside is soft cotton, making the gloves very easy to wear. The material is breathable, so you won’t need to worry about your hands sweating.
The safety of these gloves doesn’t stop at the high-temperature resistance. They also cover your wrists and have a non-slip surface, allowing you to securely grip whatever you’re holding.
Usability is also exceptional as the gloves are non-toxic and machine washable. Five colors are also available, so you can pick ones that suit your style. If you want to grill in safety and comfort, these gloves are a must.
4. Kona 360 Clean Grill Brush
You’ve cooked all your food, everyone’s loved it, and you’ve had a fantastic day. You then look down at your grill and your heart sinks. You know that it’s going to take a long time to clean and you simply can’t be bothered.
If that sounds like you then you need to get the Kona 360 Clean Grill Brush. It will drastically cut down the time you need to clean your grill. It takes minimum effort and you won’t have that dreaded feeling after you’ve finished cooking.
A great aspect of this brush is that it can be used on all grill types. The three-pronged brush allows you to clean three times faster than most other models. It’s also very easy to use with the textured finger grip and 18” handle.
Impressively, the durability is also very high here. You get a limited five year warranty which is no surprise due to its solid construction. It’s going to last for a long time and you’ll enjoy that super-quick clean time and time again.
5. Primal Grilling Premium Cedar Planks For Grilling
For those that want a unique way of cooking their food, using cedar planks is a brilliant way to do it. All you need to do is soak them in water and then grill away. It results in food that is full of moisture and flavor.
These planks are quite thick which means they don’t burn easily at all. You can use them repeatedly before they become too charred to use. They come in a pack of five, which is going to last a very long time.
The natural cedar doesn’t contain any chemicals and is a very natural way of cooking food. It’s particularly good for fish but the planks will also enhance the moisture and taste of any meat, along with any veggies you want to cook.
When you’re finished using your planks, you can pop them in the drawstring bag provided and use them again whenever you want. You’ll love the results and if you’ve never done it before, you should definitely give it a try.
See more about - The 10 Best BBQ Grills For Your Summer Cookout
6. The Seasoned Griller Store Professional Grade Stainless Steel Grill Basket
While we love grilling, there’s no doubt that it can get messy. Veggies can also be very difficult to cook as they are hard to move around with your grilling tools and can easily fall between the gaps.
An ideal solution is to get this grilling basket from The Seasoned Griller. It’s a great way to keep all your cooking contained while heating it perfectly. The holes are big enough to allow the heat in without letting any food out.
It’s made of stainless steel and can be used on almost any grill. It is worth double-checking the dimensions to make sure it’s a good fit for your model. It’s not too big, so it shouldn’t be an issue. While it’s great for vegetables, you can cook anything with this and it makes it exceptionally easy. It saves cleaning your grill and prevents any lost food. It’s a great addition to your BBQ.
7. Victoria Cast Iron Grill Press
When it comes to pressing down your meat, most people will use the back of a spatula. It’s not what it’s designed for and isn’t great for the task. Instead, you should get a cast iron grill press.
It will help to reduce cooking time while also adding excellent flavor to your food. This model is seasoned with flaxseed oil to produce great results. It’s the ideal tool for searing or flattening meat.
It’s also simple to use, thanks to its excellent design. It has a removable cool-touch wood handle along with a textured bottom for a secure hold. It can be used for a wide variety of different meats and is ideal to have while grilling.
8. OXO Good Grips Meat Shredding Claws
Shredded meat can add an extra dimension to your food in both texture and taste. It works brilliantly with pork but you can also get wonderful results with the likes of chicken and beef.
When it comes to shredding meat, most people try to do it with regular forks, which can be extremely difficult. With these meat shredding claws, you’ll find the task to be incredibly easy.
The long handles and interlocking teeth mean that the task will get completed in no time at all. The grips are also comfortable and have a high level of heat resistance. If you want delicious shredded meat, then there’s no better tool than this.
9. Ofargo Plastic Marinade Injector
Adding flavor to your meat can be difficult. One method is to pierce holes into it with a fork or knife and try to rub marinade or seasoning in. The problem with this is that it’s not very efficient and produces mediocre results. With a marinade injector, you can put that flavor directly into the meat. The difference in results is huge.
You’ll find the meat to be much tastier and the flavor to be much more consistent throughout the meat. This injector is perfect for the job. It’s lightweight and compact so you can just place it on your shelf next to the grill, ready to go. It can easily be used one-handed and is food-safe too.
There are two different needles, one for sauce and another for liquid. It’s a great addition to your grill and takes the flavor to another level.
10. Hudson Durable Goods - Professional Grade Chef Apron
Unless you want clothes that are full of grease, food splashes, and charcoal stains, it’s a good idea to get an apron. This one comes in six different colors and they all look stylish. They’re made from heavyweight cotton that is very tough while still being comfortable to wear. Once you’ve finished using it, then you can throw it in the washing machine before using it again.
There are some great features here, such as the back straps which will prevent any neck pain. There are also four pockets and a towel look, for easy use. It’s easily adjustable and can be taken off quickly with the back buckle.
The versatile apron can be used for a lot more grilling and can be used time and time again. The quality is excellent throughout and most importantly. It’ll keep you and your clothes protected.
See more about - The 8 Best Aprons For Men Who Love To Cook
Grilling Tools FAQs
At a very basic level, you definitely need a spatula, fork, and tongs. After that, it depends on what you’re cooking and how you want it to be cooked. For safety, an apron and gloves are essential whereas other tools such as cedar planks are a great luxury extra.
Grilling tools need to cope with a high level of heat and need to keep you protected from that heat. They should also be comfortable and allow you to grill with ease. Once they tick those boxes, it’s all about how they make your life easier or improve the taste of your food.
This is difficult to answer as there is a vast range of brands that make a wide array of high-quality grilling tools. We think it’s more important to focus on the quality of the product if the tool meets your needs and the customer reviews. All the tools we looked at here get our seal of approval.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
The Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey
The difference between bourbon and whiskey is as clear as mud when you’re trying to choose between brands and bottles. Bourbon needs to be American-made, aged in oak for four years, and have at least a 51% mash bill, while other American Whiskeys are made using wheat and/or rye or utilize other variations in the distillation process.
Whiskey was a term first employed during the late 1800s to differentiate Irish Whiskey and American liquor from Scotch whisky and Canadian whisky (which everyone called rye). The in-vogue Japanese whisky also went with the Scotch spelling (click here for the full breakdown of whisky versus whiskey).
The following article defines what mash bill is needed to make bourbon, but also identifies the other major American whiskey styles, bottled-in-bond, Tennessee whiskey, and single malt varieties that are beginning to become more prevalent in the US.
What Makes a Liquor Bourbon?
A frequent refrain that can be heard in Kentucky is: “Not every whiskey is a bourbon, but every bourbon is a whiskey.” To be called bourbon:
The liquor needs to be crafted from at least a 51% corn fermented grain mash bill that has been stored in charred oak barrels for four years. The spirit must have been distilled within the United States.
95% of the bourbon whiskey bottled in the U.S. is distilled in the state of Kentucky.
Is All Bourbon From Kentucky?
Kentucky is considered bourbon country, and your home bar is most likely to be stocked with expressions from the Bluegrass state. The majority of bourbon has been distilled in Kentucky since American whiskey production was drawn from the corn-producing farms of the 1700s.
Despite this, other regions – such as Tennessee, Colorado, California, and even New York – are beginning to craft and/or bottle amazing bourbon expressions. Just like with peat and barley malt for Irish Whiskey and single malt and blended Scotch in the British Isles, your liquor of choice comes from the source material.
Finding the best Kentucky bourbon is like finding the best single malt Scotch – it’s entirely subjective and based on a wide variety of factors including flavor, taste, aroma, price, and accessibility.
See more about - The Top 10 Best Kentucky Bourbon Brands To Try In 2021
Wheated bourbons are those made with a large proportion of the mash bills secondary grain being wheat, in addition to the mandated 51% minimum corn. Wheat as the secondary grain provides subtlety and contrast, adding a creaminess and gradual sweetness to the spirit than that derived from the majority corn, malted barley, or rye recipe.
Wheat is also useful during oak barrel aging, with a tendency to age much better than many traditional bourbons (up to around the 20 year mark).
Best choice: Maker’s 46 Wheated Bourbon
Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon and Whiskey
The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 was a set of legal regulations created by the U.S. Government to standardize and authenticate the quality of American distilled alcoholic beverages, especially bourbon, wheat, and rye whiskey.
Prior to the time the Bottled-in-Bond Act was legislated, the American whiskey market was being decimated by inferior quality, unregulated booze. Bottled-in-bond is a whiskey label that adheres to a set of legal regulations contained in the United States government’s Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits.
The regulatory jargon breaks down as follows:
- The whiskey must be the product of a single distillation season
- The distilled spirit must be made by one distiller at one distillery
- The distilled spirit must be at least four years old
- It must be stored and aged in government bonded warehouses
- The whiskey must also be at least 100 proof (50% ABV)
- Only water may be added to the mash bill
If you purchase a bourbon whiskey or rye labeled bottled-in-bond the regulations from the Act must be met.
Best choice: New Riff Straight Bourbon Whiskey
American Rye Whiskey
For a spirit to call itself American rye whiskey, the grain mash must be made up of at least 51% actual malted rye cereal grain.
Certified rye whiskey’s initial alcohol content can’t be higher than 160 proof, or roughly 80% alcohol before it’s distilled down and eventually bottled.
Aside from the straight rye whiskey, you’ll find some rye mash bills filled out with brown sugar, corn, or malted barley, or have the wooden barrel finish in wine, rum, or brandy casks to add another flavor dimension.
Best choice: WhistlePig Rye 10 Year
American Single Malt Whiskey
Single malt and blended whiskey expressions made from malted barley are becoming more popular craft spirits in the U.S.
With Scotch whisky at its highest popularity level of all time and the emergence of Japanese whisky as a power player in the billion-dollar market for blended malt whisky, there’s an opportunity for local distillers to make quality single malt. While it lacks the cultural cachet of Scotch, American malt whisky is meticulously crafted and caters well to craft distillation.
Best choice: Westward American Single Malt
There’s a simple, yet important distinction between Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey which makes a huge impact on the taste and what goes on the label. The crucial difference is that Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal as part of the Lincoln County Process, a charcoal filtration method in which fresh whiskey passes through charcoal chips and is then put in oak casks for maturation.
For a whiskey to attain the Tennessee label, it must go through the charcoal mellowing stage, in the state of Tennessee.
Best choice: Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey
To be called bourbon, your whiskey needs to be distilled in America for a minimum of four years in oak barrels, with a mash bill of at least 51% corn. If it’s predominantly rye, wheat, or malt grain-based, then by law the spirit can’t be called bourbon.
Figuring out what constitutes whisky or whiskey is a lot simpler than in the past when nobody really knew what was going on. The simplest way to remember is If the country of origin has an “e” in it, then spell it whiskey. See, clear as mud!
See more about - The 10 Best Bourbons Under $50 To Try In 2021
The 10 Best Jordans of All Time
Even if you are not a sneakerhead and don’t know all the nitty-gritty details of every pair of kicks on the market, you’re sure to recognize a pair of Jordans when you see them. Or not. I can spot a pair from a mile away; however, I have a friend that doesn’t know the difference between a pair of Nike Jordans and a pair of Adidas Gazelles, which is upsetting, but I digress…
One of the most classic and iconic sneaker styles ever, Jordans have been around for over 30 years and continue to be a part of rare and exclusive collaborations, making them a collector’s dream, with some pairs going for $12k or more. So get your wallet and credit cards out because you may just max them out as you go through this list.
1. Jordan 1 Retro Chicago (2015)
Undoubtedly the most popular style and colorway of all time as far as Jordan’s go. Last released in 2015, this iconic high-top silhouette has become the staple for street ballers, basketball fans, and sneakerheads alike. Since the airing of The Last Dance, the white/varsity red-black Chicago colorway has skyrocketed in popularity, but for the right price you can still get your hands on a pair.
2. Jordan 3 Retro Black Cement (2018)
To celebrate Mr. Jordan’s 55th birthday in 2018, the Jordan 3 Retro emblazoned sneakers feature the original “Nike Air” branding on the black cement for the first time since 2001. This mid-top kick has a black-based leather upper with cement grey, fire red, and white accents. Finished off by the iconic elephant print detailing, it’s one of the most iconic Jordan’s around.
3. Jordan 6 Retro Black Infrared (2019)
The Air Jordan 6 Retro “Infrared” is a 2019 re-release of the OG colorway. The shoe’s black nubuck upper includes a reflective 3M layer with perforations throughout for breathability. The heel, tongue, and lock sport Infrared accents, with the color also featured on the signature midsole detailing. Visible Air in the heel provides cushioning, while the translucent sections continue down onto the outsole for traction.
4. Jordan 1 Retro High OG Shadow 2.0
This very rare OG colorway has hit shelves only three times in the 30 year history of Jordans, making these a must-own for any AJ1 collector. The shoe features a black and grey leather upper with original “Nike Air” branding on the tongue tag and insoles, along with a white midsole and black outsole. It should be noted that the grey leather panels found on the “Shadow 2.0” are lighter in color than the original grey leather on the first “Shadow.”
5. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Shattered Backboard
Released in 2015, the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1 High is inspired by a 1985 exhibition game in Italy in which Michael Jordan broke the glass backboard after a dunk. Constructed in high-quality tumbled leather in the original high top silhouette, the orange, black, and white colorway is taken from the team uniform MJ wore during the game and modeled after the OG “Black Toe” AJ1 color block. Highly limited upon its initial release, the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1 disappeared quickly and is now one of the most sought after pairs of not just Jordans, but of sneakers, in general.
See more about - The 10 Best Sneakers Under $100
6. Air Jordan 1 Retro Royal (2017)
An original colorway of Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe, this 2017 re-release receives an upgrade in regards to the quality of materials used and its shape, which is truer to the actual 1985 release. The Varsity Royal blue paneling appears in tumbled leather on the toe box, Swooshes, heel, and ankle.
Black premium leather covers the remainder of the upper to complete the classic color blocking. A clean, white midsole balances out the shoe, maintaining the iconic motif along with the Varsity Royal outsole.
7. Jordan 13 Retro Low Chutney
Putting a spin on the iconic Jordan 13 design, Tinker Hatfield designed the Chutney as a stand out in the Air Jordan family. And stand out they do.
The difference between this chutney design and a traditional 13 lies in the cut. These retros replace the classic high top style with a mid top and feature a tan suede upper.
8. Jordan 1 Retro High Dior
If you happen to have $10k-12k burning a hole in your pocket then here is a place for you to spend it. One of the most highly anticipated launches, The Dior x Air Jordan 1 High sneakers are the first collaboration between the luxury brand and sneaker giant.
Featuring a premium white leather upper with wolf grey overlays and the classic Dior logo on the swoosh, this version of the iconic high-top silhouette is a stand-out. The collar has also been altered, stamped with a special “Air Dior” logo.
9. Air Jordan 1 Retro High Rust Pink
Again, if you happen to have $6+ grand just waiting to be spent, first, what do you do for a living, if I may ask, and second, please buy these shoes. These Jordan 1 Retro High Rust Pink kicks were released in early 2017, adding a coral pink “Rust Pink” hue to the two-tone color blocking previously seen on other classic AJ1 silhouettes.
The black paneling features a premium tumbled leather construction, while the midsole appears in white.
10. Air Jordan 5 Retro SP PS “Off-White - Sail
Every sneakerhead remembers when Nike teamed up with Virgil Abloh for the now iconic “The Ten” collection. Abloh added a second colorway to his Jordan 5 collaboration with the Jordan 5 Retro High “Off-White Sail.” This release pays homage to the first pair of Jordans that Virgil ever owned, the Air Jordan 5.
In signature fashion, Virgil has reimagined this classic silhouette with his own recognizable style. This Jordan 5 consists of a sail textile mesh upper with translucent netted panels and circular window inserts throughout the shoe. 3M reflective tongues, fire red Jordan branding, and an aged translucent outsole completes the design.
See more about - How To Choose A More Ethical And Sustainable Pair Of Sneakers