At $64,000, it’s the most expensive shot of whiskey in the world.
And that’s what entrepreneur Blaine Vess paid for 50 milliliters – or less than 2 ounces – of a 64-year-old single-malt Macallan scotch.
The Montage Beverly Hills’ 10 Pound cocktail lounge has long offered the one-of-a-kind minibottle with the proceeds going to the buyer’s favorite charity. When Vess, co-founder of West Hollywood education tech company StudyMode, was first offered the dram, he wondered who would ever make such a buy.
“At the time, I thought it was absurd,” he said.
That was a few years ago. Vess, 33, last month purchased the shot with all of the proceeds benefiting Liberty in North Korea, a Torrance non-profit that rescues North Korean refugees. He got involved with the organization in 2012 and has since become chairman of its board.
In a dark wood-paneled room, Vess gave a small toast among a handful of friends and LiNK staff members. But he quickly returned the amber liquid, untouched, to the hotel’s safe.
Vess still owns those 50 milliliters. And when North Korea’s people are free, Vess said, he will finally have that sweet taste of success.
When former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan wanted to get something done, he didn’t usually set out to do it himself. Rather, he empowered other people to do it. It seems Riordan has carried that same philosophy over to writing his memoir, which just came out a few weeks ago.
When asked what advice he would give to other wannabe memoir authors, he said, “That’s easy: Hire the best ghostwriter.”
In Riordan’s case, that was former local reporter Patrick Range McDonald.
“He did most of the writing and I did the editing and rearranging,” Riordan told the Business Journal.
He also got his longtime friend and ally, former President Bill Clinton, to write the forward.
“He and I made a great team when I was mayor,” Riordan said.
As for the memoir itself, Riordan said it was a cathartic experience for him, especially dealing with some of the more unpleasant episodes in his life, such as his drinking and extramarital affairs.
“People have to see both my weaknesses and my strengths,” he said. “And there were some people in my life that I had to let know that I was sorry for what I had done, especially my first wife, Genie. … And it’s worked: Genie and I are best friends again now.”
The 84-year-old Riordan said he doesn’t have any plans for more books; he’s too busy teaching at UCLA and riding his bicycle 50 miles a week.
For now, though, he’s enjoying the book tour.
“People have come up to me and say, ‘You’re the greatest mayor the city ever had,’” he said. “I love it when people lie that way.”
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