Elijah Craig, 12 Year


Wow. It has been too long since my last published tasting review. It's not that I haven't been savoring new bourbons in the company of friends, I just haven't had the time to sit, taste, and compile my thoughts about bourbons lately---so I am forcing myself to write a review, because I know you want more tasting notes.

I've sampled the majority of bourbons in the $20-$40 range, so I'm always looking at the edges of the shelf space for my store to add new bourbons. This last trip to the store they finally had Elijah Craig 12 Year small batch bourbon (produced by Heaven Hill Distillery). Pastor Elijah Craig has a very interesting history, one which you can read briefly here or more extensively here, but what is important to realize is that preachers making liquor was the dawn of bourbon distilling in this country.

So how does it taste?

First, the mouth feel is very smooth and oaky, to be expected from 12-years of aging. It's not a sharp tasting bourbon, with a quick bite. I would describe this bourbon as rich, with a vanilla smoothness, followed by pecans, and scent notes of cherries. The finish is clean, and doesn't linger unnecessarily long, i'd say it's the perfect finish.

I would recommend a bottle of Elijah Craig 12 for dreary almost-spring days, or for any occasion where a sub $30 bourbon fits the bill, i.e. an everyday sipper.


Sources Used in tandem with my own taste experience:
Master of Malt
Bourbon Enthusiast
L.A. Whiskey Society


my apologies

Sorry for the lack of updates to [WILLHAAS]Blog. My latest film work can be seen via www.jennyhaas.com and to stay current with my life I encourage that you visit me @thewillhaas on Twitter, or @thewillhaas on Instagram.

There are a lot of positive changes happening in my life, and with my family, and I cannot wait to share these updates with you----just not yet.

Thank you for checking back often, thank you for your patience.


Careen & Branden

careen and branden had the mixed fortune of last-minute heavy rains on their wedding day. i've always enjoyed the way rain heightens the beauty of a wedding day, but guests sitting outside don't see it the same way. fortunately the staff at Cedar Springs has a plan B. awesome.
Music by: Drew Holcomb [Hung The Moon]
Filmed at - cedarspringspavilion.com/
Many Quality shots filmed by: studio213films.com/
Photography by: jennyhaas.com/


Mandee & Mitchell

Mandee & Mitchell's Wedding Day Highlights from will haas on Vimeo.

some wedding days it rains...and then the weather turns beautiful and you get married. such is the tale of Mandee and Mitchell's wedding. what an awesome day.
A very special thanks to David Schmaus at studio213films.com/ , who captured some of my favorite sequences of the day.
Music, Think of Me, by Rosi Golan.


jacqueline & chris

jacqueline & chris from will haas on Vimeo.

jacqueline and chris' wedding day highlights.
"Perfect Day" by Holly Maher, holleymaher.com/

Special Thanks to:
Polen Farm: ketteringoh.org/newweb/departments/recreation/rec_fac_polen_main.php
Jenny Haas Photography: jennyhaas.com/
Ele Cake Co.: elecakeco.com/

All quality shots were filmed by David Schmaus via studio213films.com/


2013 Top List

Did I really type 2013? Yes. Because believe it or not, 2013 will be here very soon. Therefore I need to start working on my "Best Of" or "Most Used" list for next year. This past year's "Low-Tech" list was a huge WillHaas[Blog] favorite, so this year I am letting you, the readers help me choose a list for 2013.

Please let me know which list you would like to see for 2013. You may also send suggestions for items in any of the lists:

1) Top-10 Low-Tech of 2013

2) Top-10 High-Tech of 2013

3) Will Haas Essentials [10 quintessentially Will Haas items]
4) 2013, The Year of the D-I-Y [DIY projects TBD]

Send your pick and/or suggestions to willhaasblog@yahoo.com

Thanks again for visiting my blog, check back for more posts, photos, reviews, and more!


how i'll send my kids to college...

Over the past year, I have been experimenting with coffees, coffee makers, and coffee economicscoffeenomics. Why? Because I love coffee---the taste, the aromas, and the morning ritual that makes it such a universal tonic. In this blog post I want to shatter every claim that I’ve made before and teach you how to make the best coffee from home, for the least amount of money. But first, a review.

If you’ll recall in my coffee-maker-shoot-out, the Keurig single-cup brewing system was pitted against the Mr. Coffee auto-drip brewer. Our goal was to determine the most convenient single-cup brewing system, which we did indeed find to be the Keurig machine (for a full review click here). But suppose that our goal was frugality, not convenience. What is the cheapest way to brew, while still making great coffee? A French Press.

A French Press is simple. It's cheap to buy. And since it's not automatic, you're in full control of every step of the brewing process---which in my opinion yields the best cup of coffee i've ever tasted. How impressive are the results? Consider this:

Based on 5 cups of coffee per week, 260 annual servings (which may be less or more than your typical consumption).

     Keurig System ($120) + [ K-Cup Coffee ($0.50 per cup) x 260 ( servings) ] = $250 ($130 after Year 1)
     Mr. Coffee Brewer ($25) + { [ Filters ($0.20) + Coffee ($0.25) ] x 260 (servings) } = $145 ($125 after Year 1)

     French Press ($10) + [Coffee $0.10 x 260 servings ] = $36 ($26 after year 1)

Clearly you can save at least $100 per year by switching to a manual coffee-making process. Why is coffee so much more expensive for drip-brew than FP? I have found that a drip-brew process takes roughly twice the coffee grounds per brewing cycle, even if you only want 1 cup. 

Is FP Coffee worth the hassle? I hardly think it's a hassle, think of it as hand-crafting the best cup of coffee. FP coffee is richer, thicker, and more satisfying than any other cup of coffe you've had. So how does one press like the French, observe: 

Step 1: 2 tbs (approx 1/4 cup) coffee grounds* for 12oz of water
Step 2: Heat 12 oz water to 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 3: Add water to coffee grounds (stir gently while adding water). Let sit for 3 mins
Step 4: At 3 mins, stir gently. Wait 1 more minute

Step 5: Place lid on tightly, slowly press the plunger all the way down. Plunging should take 15-30 seconds.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy.

*I use any premium medium-roast, ground for a drip-brew system. But you can manipulate the strength of your coffee by increasing or decreasing the size of the grind...


Bulleit Bourbon

A special thanks to Cameron Braun [ http://www.braun-photography.com ] for gifting me this bottle:

Bulleit Bourbon from will haas on Vimeo.

contextual and flavor research was provided with the following sources:

Paul Pacult via Bourbon Enthusiast, bourbonenthusiast.com/forum/DBvd.php?id=159&task=displaybottling


uncrate.com/stuff/bulleit-bourbon/ '

and Wikipedia, of course.


10-Year Glenmorangie Original

A Scotch tasting on WillHaas[blog]?!? If you're mind hasn't exploded onto the walls around you, you'll want to keep reading. Not only is this the first Scotch (a.k.a. irish whisky) but this is also the first time that I have relinquished authorship of a post to a guest writer. 

The guest author is long-time friend (and now international linguist) Sam Ronicker. I have known Sam since 1997, and although we haven't seen each other for a few years, our conversation was revived with a quality, aged tonic. 

Please take some time to check out Sam's Blog: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Now...on to the Scotch
10-Year Glenmorangie Original: 
[photo credit sam ronicker]
Sam writes:
I taste-tested this single malt scotch whisky Glenmorangie Original at Taguchi beach park this evening.  While I like the taste and may add it to my regular scotch collection, it doesn't have enough bite for my preference.  I like biting scotch and this particular single malt it a bit too smooth and sweet for me.  A bit of a floral taste sweeter than other single malts I've tasted.  

It does, however, have a beautiful look, especially in the warm glow of the setting sun over the East China Sea.  It has a bit of a woody taste to it---which isn't unusual for single malts and it is quite smooth.  Glenmorangie is not the smoothest taste I've had but pretty good.  I definitely will look forward to having more.  Don't worry the bottle and glass, they survived the trip to the beach and I am actually sitting at my desk enjoying another glass as I write this. 

Whatever the case, if you're looking for a clean single malt to go with a premium cigar (which I don't have, because I haven't found a good cigar shop here on island yet) just to sit back and enjoy the original Glenmorangie.  You will not be disappointed.


ashley & zak wedding highlights

awesome plymouth, michigan wedding. we loved this couple and hope that you enjoy their wedding day highlights.

filmed in conjunction with jennyhaas.com/

all of the quality shots were filmed by joel murray // twitter.com/#!/thejoelpmurray


Jacey + Jake (aka Justin)


my apologies

[insert mental image here]

I cannot thank you enough for your patience and persistence in coming/returning to my blog, in spite of my blogging neglect.

I miss posting for you, sharing with you, interacting with you. I'm looking forward to a summer season full of amazing posts, informative writing, taste tests, and more minutia than you'd ever want.

I promise your patience will be rewarded.

thank you,


sunday a.m.

Sunday isn't a day off for me. In fact I have been working Sundays for churches since 2004, the last two years have been as lighting director for Living Word Church. Fortunately, I get to work with some of the finest musicians and service support personnel anywhere.

Here are a few photos from a recent service, they're self-explanatory. Of course the bass player would be sick the week I brought my camera...

lwc (8 of 8)
lwc (2 of 8)
lwc (1 of 8)
lwc (5 of 8)
lwc (6 of 8)


SMILE Safety Campaign

Graphics by John Luchin

We've all benefitted from the job-site safety mandates set foth by OSHA, but those standards are only a bare-minimum of compliance to ensure workers safety. However, the trend in industrial safety has changed drastically over the past decade. OSHA Standards are the legal "shall-do's" to keep employers compliant, but does very little to cultivate a positive climate of cooperative safety between employer and employee. The major shift in safety is evidenced by OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program, which encourages an atmosphere of safety awareness at every level of operation and self-policing for safety hazards and go well above and beyond the bare-minimum standards.

Although the exhibit production shop I work in is not yet VPP compliant, we are making strides to change the workers mind-set from legal "shall-do's" to self-interested "want-to's" (including increasing safety and safe practices on AND off the job site). One way to build-in safety awareness is through self-inspection, enter the 2012 SMILE campaign.

The goal of the SMILE campaign is to have the craftsmen regularly inspect all areas of our metal/wood fabrication shops and storage areas for hazards or safety violations. The inspection process is simple, and easy to remember, plus has the added benefit of catching and correcting any hazardous situations before injuries or penalties occur. For our purpose, the shop will be divided into pairs of inspectors, and all areas will be inspected with the SMILE acronym:

S - Spot check for safety hazards (is the area, in general, safe?)
M - Machine Guards (are machine guards in-place and to proper tolerances?)
I - I wear PPE (is personal protection available for use and used correctly?)
L - Liquids (are liquids labeled and stored properly?)
E - Electrical (are electrical cables used correctly or other electrical hazards present?)

Any safety violations or hazardous situations are corrected and recorded in the SMILE inspection log, for review by AF-OSH or OSHA. This regular inspection should keep our shop free from hazardous situations, keep our craftsmen safe, and reduce the stress of annual safety inspections from AF-OSH or others.




2/1/2012, happy birthday emmaline haas:


Low-tech Top 10 for 2012

Happy 2012 to all of my faithful followers, sorry that it has been so long since my last post, but the holidays and other activities of January have placed my blog on the back burner. But now, just for you, I am giving you my Top 10 low-tech tools/accessories for 2012. These are tools that I will use everyday, or devices that I think are list-worthy. Enjoy!

#1 - Keurig Single-Cup Brewer:
If you've read any of my recent blog posts, then you know that I use my Keurig Single-Cup brewer every morning. I love coffee, and this machine is a low-hassle, maximum flavor, brewing machine. I own two of these, that's how important they are, one is located at my office and the other in my house. This is a must-have for 2012 if you do not already have one.

#2 - Work Boots:
I know safety should always be first, but coffee is paramount to me. Let me explain--I'm not always in an industrial environment, but I always have coffee. Enough said.

These Thorogood work boots boast an electrically isolated Vibram sole, 75 lbs rated steel toe, 8" leather uppers, and have a classic look that will make your coworkers jealous. These really are more comfortable than they appear and will keep your feet cozy/safe all day---no matter what the situation. Every morning that I put these boots on, I know that I'm going to get a lot of work done.

#3 - Cell Phone / Calculator:
Need to phone home? The supervisor wants to talk to you? Need to find the volume of some box squared? Not a problem with my Casio G'zOne cell phone. This thing is tough, but still feature-packed.

I have integrated my cell phone into my daily routine: alarm clock, weather alerts, bank balances, texts, clock, navigation, email, calendars and more! This is my go-to device for any analytical questions I may have throughout the day. Also, it makes calls and handles voice-mail. Awesome.

#4 - Rope:
Rope is a tool? Absolutely, a tool that I use multiple times a week. In fact, it is perhaps the most important tool in my toolbox. Rope is an ancient tool and versatile for so many different situations--especially when working at height. The photo above shows my 4 main working ropes. The first 3 are 5/8" haul lines (also called Derby Rope or Braided Poly Rope), which are used for non-human hoisting/lowering. The fourth rope is an 11mm New England dynamic rope used for climbing, rappelling, or other human-contact situations. Trust me, you would be absolutely amazed what you can do with a piece of rope...

#5 - 8" Crescent Wrench:
For hanging theatrical lighting or tightening/loosening any kind of bolt, an 8" crescent will get the job done. I also have a 6" crescent that stays in my glove-box, but an 8" is a must-have for any serious stage work. This is an 8" Kobalt with a side-sliding adjustment to quickly change sizes. The side-slide adjustment is a real time-saver, but if you have to apply serious torque to a bolt, stick with a regualr Craftsman 8" wrench. I hardly ever use the built-in caliper section of the jaws, but they're there if you need them... (my wrench is pictured with a Black Diamond carabinerBlack Diamond daisy-chain, which is my preferred fall protection for my hand tools.)

#6 - Screwdriver:
I suppose any pair of Straight/Philips head screw drivers could suffice for this category, but my Klein 10-in-1 is 10x the screwdriver in the same amount of space. The driver features: 5/16 In. & 1/4 In. nut drivers, #1 and #2 Phillips, 1/4 In. & 3/16 In. slotted, #10 & #15 TORX , and #1 and #2 square-recess---all in one screwdriver! This tool is so handy that it stays in by back-pack and is always ready to be used. Worth every penny.

#7 - Canon 5DII + 50mm lens:
I love second-shooting with my wife, and I have taken more than 30,000 photos in the past 3 years, and I plan to add another 8-12,000 this year. What have I used for the majority of those photos? The Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 50mm f/1.4. Simply put, this set-up delivers the most bang-for-buck in digital photography. Don't believe me? Every photo for this post was taken with this set-up, except the photo above, which was taken with a Mk2 + 50 f/1.2 (costing nearly 3 times more than the 1.4), and you would probably never be able to tell the difference.

50mm is a great all-around focal length, and the MkII is the best sub-professional Canon body currently in production. This is a work-horse set-up and will deliver amazing images every-time. Even though I absolutely love Canon's 50mm f/1.2, this lens has no comparison for its price.

#8 - Fluke Multi-meter:
My Klein 10-in-1, my tape measure, and my Fluke multi-meter make up the trifecta of tools that live in my back pack, yes it is that handy. The Fluke's main (and most obvious feature) is its 600amp clamp-meter, which is rarely used around the house, but is essential for balancing loads on large transformers, generators, or various feeder cable.

This meter also measures Volts AC, Volts DC, and has an Ohms/continuity meter with audible alarm that I use ALL THE TIME for lamping. Peak hold features and a vivid green backlight, what else could you possibly want? Buy one used or new, it doesn't matter. They're built tough.

#9 - Sharpies:
You may not consider Sharpies (or any ink marker) as an essential for 2012, but for me they are an absolute necessity. During my drawing courses in college I discovered a love for fine-point Sharpies.In fact, before I started working on this blog post, I sketched it out (as seen above) on thick resume paper with fine-point black sharpies. I'm not sure why, but I feel the most creative and the most artistic when I use Sharpies. Sharpies have too many possible uses to mention here, plus they're only a couple of dollars for a two-pack. Take the plunge and buy a couple.

#10 - Tape Measure:
Finally, the last on the list, a tape measure. It has been said that man's greatest accomplishment is being able to measure his universe---that's why I always carry a 12' tape measure. Yes, I do have a 25' and a 200' tape measure, but this one lives in my backpack (where everything essential lives). 90% of the measurements I need fit within 12', so why lug around something larger?

Maybe I'm too analytical, but I am constantly needing to measure things. Furniture sizes, rope diameters, various flanges/caps/clamps, or widgets. My daughter Annie loves tape measures. Whenever I come home she asks to borrow my measure, and she spends hours measuring things. What do I do if I misplace this tape measure? Simple, a dollar bill is (approx) 6"x2.5" and quarters are approx 1" in diameter...but a tape measure if by far superior.


128:25 aspect ratio ornament making

If you're not family, this post may not interest you...except for the fact that it uses extreme wide-screen formatting. I love it.

Jenny wanted to make homemade ornaments with the kids, and this brief video documents the saga. Enjoy.

Music by: The Wedding Present


Drip Brew vs. Keurig

A few months ago, my good friend Jacob Yoder sent me an article proclaiming Keurig, or similar single-cup coffee brewers, as "the beginning of the end for great coffee". As owner of Muddy Dog Roasting CoJim Pelligrini's article is well written, and asserts valid points concerning the mass-production of single cup coffees---namely that licensing products such as K-cups/Tassimo prohibits diversity in coffee roasting. To be honest, I have been a long-time supporter of quality roasts brewed via french-press...except I don't have that kind of time or resources at my workstation to accomodate such complex coffee procedures, but kudos to those of you who do.

As a challenge, I would give up my trusty Keurig brewer for one month and drink only drip-brew coffee. I had so many initial questions: Which would I prefer? What are the pros and cons of the two devices? Is the flavor superior in one brewer over the other?, etc.

The rest of this post is dedicated to answering those questions. For the continuation of this post let us assume that I only have the capability of either the single-cup brewer or the drip-brewer, and that french presses, to-go coffees, or percalators do not excist. I brew coffee in my office and am therefore limited to these two brewing methods.

After one month of use, I created the table below [Fig 1]. This table shows a win/loss assignment for each category, then totals the number of wins/losses in the bottom row. Some categories are subjective, such as flavor, whereas others are very clear, such as electrical consumption. Essentially the drip-brew coffee maker wins in areas of price and flavor range, and the Keurig wins in categories of consistency and ease-of-use. It was surprising to see that, even with the complexity of preparation, the drip-brewer's prep-time was consistently faster than the Keurig. Although it should be noted that the average times below assume that all ingredients/materials need to brew are already set-out and ready for use. In real life I actually have to walk to first floor restroom to wash-out the pot and go to a vending machine for bottled water. Take a minute to examine the chart, the results are straight-forward:

Fig 1
What exactly is the brew process for each machine: I have broken down the two machines' brew process into the next two photo collages [Fig 2 & 3 respectively].

Here is the 9-step process for a drip brewer. The steps are: 1) Rinse-out pot 2) Add water 3) Measure Grounds 4) Place filter/grounds 5) Turn-on 6) Brew 7) Serve/Enjoy 8) Turn-off 9) Remove/Discard grounds:

Fig 2, Drip brewer process

Here is the 6-step process for a Keurig brewer: 1) Add water 2) Turn on 3) Add K-cup 4) Brew 5) Remove K-cup 6) Serve/Enjoy

Fig 3, Keurig brew process

The processes only differ by 3 steps, but it is clear that the Keurig is simpler and requires fewer products to brew a cup. The same is true where maintainance is concerend, the Keurig machine needs very little maintainance. In fact running through a no-cup cycle accounts for 90% of keeping it clean. The drip brewer however has multiple parts, a glass pot, and is difficult to clean in a men's room.

Lastly, I found that when I used my Keurig coffee maker I would only drink one (maybe two) cups per day. One cup was the perfect taste and serving size for most mornings. However, once I switched to the drip-brewer I began to drink as many as 4 cups per morning---because there was 30oz of coffee brewed and I didn't want to dump all of it down the drain, The increased amount of coffee is not favorable to me, because I found that even on the weekends I was craving more and more coffee. Its going to take me a couple of weeks to come-down from my caffeine high...

So will single-cup brewers, like the Keurig, signal the beginning of the end for great coffee? I hardly think so---afterall the microwave oven did not see the end of gourmet cooking. For me, in my office, the Keurig single-cup brewer is by far the superior choice, in terms of ease-of-use, flavor, consistency, and materials needed. It just makes sense. Yes the initial cost of the unit is 4 or 5 times more than the drip brewer, but to me it is worth it for the lack of hassles and serving size.


A Retro Package

As I struggled with how to deliver videos to couples in a meaningful and utilitarian method, no off-the-shelf product seemed to fit what I was looking for...so I created something that I thought was original (until I saw it here, weeks after I completed mine below). The final product is a USB 2.0 solid-state enclosure, much simpler than Engadget's but still allows for full HD files in various formats as necessary. I reproduced a retro RCA label and pair the cassette enclosure with a well-worn sleeve. The VHS below is an 8gb enclosure for brooke & sean.




Kids. Painting.

Our kids love to paint. A trait they inherited from their mother. I love it.

I am very intrigued by the still life and the ethereal. This video is a departure from my other work, so I hope you enjoy it.

Music by Bon Iver.


iPhone Stand

My friend Luke Maynard really hooked me up this time. I've been looking for a better way to charge/display my iPhone4, and then it finally hit me--shove an iPhone into a piece of wood! That's exactly what we did. I found the roughest piece of wood and then Luke perfected the measurements for use in the CNC router. After some final design ideas I gave him, he delivered this beautiful iPhone stand. There are no visible fasteners, no coatings, and no sanding involved, but unfortunately 2 cross-cuts. Enjoy.



Sean and Brooke, Highlighted

What an amazing wedding! Sean and Brooke are probably the two most artistic and friendly people that I've ever met. Every detail of their wedding was handcrafted or received vintage touches from Sean, Brooke, or their family. I'm so thankful to have been a part of their wedding day and I hope you enjoy the the highlights.

Music by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Thanks again to David Schmaus of 213 Studios [studio213films.com] for his talented camera work on this film.


Jack Daniels [Whiskey Taste #18]

Regardless of the growing amount of traffic to my blog, this blog is intended for myself first---you get the enjoyment of peering into my head with vicarious amazement. I was never much of a journal-er, so this is my way to export thoughts from my head and re-live them from time-to-time.

For instance, at first glance all of my whiskey reviews are visually repetitive, but there is a reason to my patterns. The point of these reviews are to taste the whiskey, not stare at the bottle. Yet every time I photograph a bottle I am careful to surround it with organic elements that mimic the very drink itself. Corn, wood, autumn colors---these are the essence of whiskey flavors converted into a visual palette. Okay, I have sidetracked long enough, its time to taste a classic. Jack Daniel's Old No. 7.


There are only a handful of drinks that are iconic enough to represent an era, a region, or a way of life---Coca Cola, Budweiser, and Jack Daniel's. In fact, Jack Daniel's is the number one most sold whiskey in the world

Jack Daniel's has been distilled in Lynchburg, Tennessee since 1875 and survived two dry spells (prohibition and a brief period during WWII). There are three major factors that distinguish Jack Daniel's flavor: a Corn-based dram (and sour mash), charcoal filtration, and American Oak Casks. 

Jack Daniel's is an exciting (and accessible) taste that starts with a smoky aroma followed by sweet caramel and spicy pepper---which are perfectly balanced. Jack Daniel's flavors may not be as complex as other fine bourbons or whiskies, but you could go to any restaraunt or bar in the world and they could serve you Jack Daniel's. For any occasion, you should try a bottle of this iconic whiskey.  


Filmos para Fotografia

Ok, so it was only partly my intent to increase Latin-American or Spanish visitors to my blog...but we'll see if it works.

We all make a journey in life. Sometimes the route we choose leads us to a different destination than we had intended, whereas other times we are able to consult maps and guideposts along the way to correct our orienteering, or maybe we have no fixed destination and therefore wander all of our days... What am I trying to say? In short, trial and error will end up as errors at least 50% of the time, its just statistics. 

For example, my trials with film photography. I know the end result I want to achieve, but I know I am not there yet. Let's list-off the known errors with these photos 1) No meter used, I guessed the exposures. 2) Processed by WSU intern via Meijer film labs. 3) 1-hour film-to-disc processing---need i say more ? Nonetheless, I have learned a great deal from these 2 rolls of film.

I hate the technicalities of these photos, but I love the subjects in the frames, so get over the terrible processing and enjoy the Haas children, riding bikes...or as my Latin-American friends might say, los niƱos que conducen bicicletas.