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TX Blended Whiskey

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I’m not much of a whiskey drinker.  I wasn’t aware that any whiskey was distilled in Texas. I was not aware of TX blended whiskey. Let’s face it, I don’t know much. But I do know that this shit is good.

Crafted in Fort Worth, Texas by the Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. this is one of the few blended whiskey currently made in the USA.  The distillery was founded in 2010

Each bottle is capped by a cork with a disc of repurposed leather from donated boots from the community. The leather varies from lizard to alligator to buffalo to cowhide and no two are alike.  The bar is set pretty low by the average screw cap, but regardless the cork is pretty cool.


The TX is a blend of select whiskeys.  They advertise flavors of honey butter, banana, caramel and coffee.  It’s a smooth 82 proof that was awarded Best American Craft Whiskey and Double Gold medal at 13th Annual World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.  Each step in distillation process done by hand (no automation), so you know they take their spirits serious.

That’s all fine and good… but how did it fare in vigorous field testing?  During a dinner party with neighborhood friends, the new bottle was brought out as an after dinner mint.  I thought I’d have the bottle for a while, but after a roar of enthusiasm Chris, Colin, Britt swarmed and we sampled.  After an hour, the bottle looked like this.  I had to buy a replacement bottle for the cabinet.


Their aged bourbon will be released later this year. Until then, enjoy this fine blended whiskey. I can’t judge whether it’s worth it’s $35 price tag, but it is damn good.  I need to drive to Fort Worth and do one of their distillery tours.

The Summary

Does it open?  Uh, well – that’s an awkward question. This isn’t a bottle opener. But the cork did pop nicely and the whiskey did flow.

Can it open anything else?  It does a good job opening a conversation and can only help your sinuses.

Overall rating: 5 Stars (5 / 5). Form does follow function. This opener is spectacular.

References: Star-Telegram ReviewFirestone & Robertson Distilling Co.

Category: Booze

Japanese Disc Bottle Opener

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Like a ninja, this work of art came out of nowhere and invaded my cutlery drawer. Emily found this unique opener in an antique store and gave it to me as an anniversary present.

This a Tsubame-Shinko bottle opener from Japan and is from the TI-1 series of stainless steel cutlery and flatware and was unlike any opener I had ever used. It is a 3.15 inch (80mm) disc, nicely weighted, with a center slot for the cap.  My internet research tells me this was designed by Takenobu Igarashi and was part of an award winning collection. That’s some good ancestry… but who cares about that. Does it open bottles or what?

Some experimentation was required to figure out the best way to grip and use this opener. At first, I thought perhaps form did not follow function and this one was a bust, but once it was decoded this turned out to be a stellar tool.

To use, the bulk of the opener is placed on the opposite side of the bottle and gripped with 4 fingers.  A quick jerk to pull the cap towards you results in a satisfying hiss as the cap is popped.  The opener is hand-sized and feels like a well balanced, fine crafted tool.

_MG_8382_disc  _MG_8387_disc  _MG_8390_disc


Does it open?  Absolutely. Every time.

Can it open anything else?  Surely so. It can be thrown like a ninja throwing star to chop melons at 6 paces.  It could be slipped under a lid to crack open a jewelry box or perhaps the edges could be sharpened to battle invaders. However, my aim isn’t so good – so it’s probably best kept in the kitchen drawer.

Overall rating: 5 Stars (5 / 5). Form does follow function. This opener is spectacular.

References: None.

Category: Bottle Openers

The Loveable Zap Cap

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Meet the Zap Cap. Once billed as the World’s Greatest Opener, I’ve had one of these on my countertop since 1997. We loved the plastic white opener so much, I purchased its stainless steel cousin a couple years later. We loved this opener so much, I gave it to my groomsmen along with a couple other gadgets when I married in 1999.

This is a plunger opener, whose design has either been stolen or rebranded many times since. It is holds a Japanese patent dated 1980 by Hiroshi Kichijyo (ref US patent 4414866). Cellardine is listed as the seller on my plastic opener. I’ve also seen newer Chinese versions listed as the Bottle Hammer, Bottle Popper, Be Open Soda and Beer Bottle Opener, MyTopOff, and Easy-Open Bottle Opener.

Its function is relatively simple. You rest the opener over the neck of the bottle and press down firmly and pop up in a firm plunging motion. The opener pops the cap and holds it with a magnet. When you remove the opener, the cap follows. No more chasing rogue caps across the counter or floor.

_MG_8341_zap2 _MG_8342_zap3

Whenever this opener is busted out in front of guests, a conversation usually follows. The more enthusiastic guests may suddenly become chivalrous and offer to fetch a drink for their spouse to try it themselves. Rookies may need 3 or 4 plunges to remove the cap, but with practice it should work with a quick double-pump for most bottles. The Zap Cap does struggle with short necked bottles since it requires nearly two inches (5 cm) of clearance for plunging.

This opener has worked great for years. We did replace a plastic model after several years of use, but the replacement has held fast for a decade since with limited use. We’ve had no issues with the stainless steel model.  Others have reported different success. This may be due to their lack of seasoned plunging technique or perhaps quality control is not what it could be in China.


Does it open?  Absolutely. Although, your mileage may vary depending on manufacturing and quality control.

Can it open anything else?  Doubtful. Since it has no sharp edges and is pretty light, I can’t imagine what other use it could have beyond popping caps.

Overall rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5). This opener works and delivers a wow factor that will attract attention from even the most apathetic houseguests.

References: S-4 in JFO type index.




Category: Bottle Openers

The Quest for the Perfect Opener

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_IMG_8339_OpenersWe’ve all used many styles of bottle openers to pop the cap off a nice cold bottle of beer or soda. Some of them fit in a pocket. Some are at the bottom of a drawer. Some are tied to a cooler. Some are mounted on walls. And there’s always one person in the crowd who has one attached to his keychain, in case of emergency.

Some of these openers work well.  Some work eventually after a few twists. Some suck. And then you happen upon a well weighted, well crafted opener that pops open a bottle with grace. Suddenly that tool seems like a work of art.

Herein lies the quest for the perfect bottle opener. I’ve explored many common openers, novelty openers, ingenious designs, antique openers, foreign openers, and handcrafted openers. They all have their merits and many have their downfalls.

The journey begins.

Category: Bottle Openers