Thursday, 30 April 2009
... Yippee !!!
at long last, one of Scotland's best Independant bottlers has graced oor wee Glesga' Club with a rather excellent 'Blind' tasting presentation which happened at our Glasgow City Centre Grotto on Wednesday the 29th April, only days before the whole big 'Homecoming Scotland' Whisky Month of May heads into the Malt Peatosphere......
'Keeper of the Quaich' Alex Bruce, Adelphi's Marketing Manager, provided his expertise and considerable charm by introducing three 'blind' whisky samples for us Malt-clubber's to peruse and explore, ..... concluding with our own tasting notes and opinions!
Concentration was in order as the prize for the best/accurate note-taker was a bottle of Malt called 'Breath of Islay' at 56.6% vol.
After much marking and head scratching, I won the bottle (Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeessss!!!) due mainly to the range of my notes rather than the accuracy of my predictions.
The whiskies were all cask strength, un-chillfiltered and NONE had E150a.
They were; -
1. - Cameron Brig Grain (30 yo) - 90/100
2. - Glen Grant (16 yo) - 89/100
3. - Mortlach (26 yo) - 87/100
..... followed by Adelphi 'Fascadale' @ 46% vol. which, although an un-named Single Malt was, to me, a ringer for a sublime Ledaig-esque Talisker. ..... it was hugely engaging and delicious.
Interestingly, the Fascadale is a Limited mixing/vatting of no more than 10 Barrels of same-single malt as any more casks fuzzes the single character of the whisky,
.... now that is interesting indeed to us Anoraks as the implication is that excessive cask volume in batches can confuse the integrity of a Single Malt.
..... Finally, an 11 yo heavily peated Bunnahabhain which delivered the forearm-smash-of-a-Malt with which to finish the Tasting, then of course we clubbies opened our own wee samples to share around and enjoy.
and a good laugh at our wild tasting notes and opinions.
Certainly not a 'serious' event, but still lots enjoyed and learnt.
Adelphi Distillery bottles are well worth the attention of all whisky drinkers, and it is significant that this Company only bottle fifty 'single' casks a year, and only 1 in 40 Barrels nominated for selection are approved by whisky-professionals Alex and Charlie (Charles MacLean) at Adelphi.
On a note of interest, the original Adelphi Distillery was located in the Gorbals in Glasgow and having long since disappeared, the site is now home to Glasgow's main Mosque.
Sunday, 26 April 2009
......... www.whiskywhiskywhisky.com have had a Forum Canadian Whisky Tasting recently and the results are a rather good opportunity to view various legitimate interpretations of same whiskies.
Many people new to whisky are intimidated by others tasting notes, especially the 'official' ones from the Distillers, so it is refreshing to view a variety in the one location so as to see how easy and informative they can be.
You just go with first impressions,
take your time,
write down then organize your results.
Mark, the forum Administrator sent out loads of samples to forum 'regulars' and as and when people sample, they respond to the forum ......
......... here are my abbreviated and direct conclusions, keeping things to the point and with no flannel ! -
.......... are you sitting comfortably, ...... then I will begin,
N means, the nose/smell
T means the taste and finish.
ALBERTA PREMIUM - 68/100 - this is what we expect Canadian to be!
N - sherry,burnt sugar,soap,vanilla,cognac,honey/floral/ T - cream soda,sour-mash,young,sherried,stale,syrupy,swift arrival & fade,contrived.
ALBERTA PREMIUM 25YO - 88/100 - as good as Canadian gets! (Well aged!)
N - soft,aged, scots-grain(Carsbridge),old oak,Irish,creamy. T - complex arrival,malt,soap,sherry,sultana,fig,sweet/sour, turns sweet to bitter, grain to cognac.
CANADIAN CLUB - 69/100 - ubiquitous & forgetable, whiskey for cheap cocktails.
N - shy!,indistinct,anodyne,Industrial,green,grainy,cheap-honey, damp-stale-blotting paper. T - raw,odd-wood,breakfast cereal, dysfunctional rye,hollow,sweaty,Glayva,saccharine.
CROWN ROYAL(Ltd EDITION) - 84/100 - CHARACTERFUL! ....BUT FLATTENS OUT.
N - Buffalo-Trace spicey,Oldspice,Irish,grain,Old Jamaica,maple syrup sauce. T - Slow arrival,sweet,sherry,Strathisla,clove/cinnamon,cuban-coffee,sea-biscuits,bubblegum,sarsparilla.
MARK'S 'MY CASK' - 82/100 - DON'T GET TOO EXCITED! IT'S GETTING THERE.
N - mild,fresh,grainy,custard,lowland,peated,grapefruit,ripe banana,oddly GlenBreton'ish. T - Peat!,floral eau-de-vie,herbal,sherry,spicey,wood-citrus,menthol,soy sauce.
MARK'S MYSTERY MALT - 87/100 - OLD SCHOOL GRAIN.
N - grain,sherried,rich,brulee,brown sugar,bourbon(Dickel) T - syrup,salt,creme-brulee,wood-citrus,sugar,rum,soap, ............. something, old, sherried, lacking real character and HP/Pulteney with bitter grain(Port Dundas/Girvan)
............ there, all done.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
..... just read this recently in a local Paper, the Daily Record, tabloid of choice for Info-tainment and what a lovely, reassuring tale it is in reassuring all us Malties that drinking alcohol is not an automatic passport to ill health and social rejection .........
A COUPLE celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary put the secret of a happy marriage down to polishing off at least two litres of whisky a week.
Ethel and Harry Endersby, both 96, toasted their landmark - and the Queen - with a couple of large whiskies at their local pub.
The dynamic pair met while working at a mill and tied the knot two years later.
Ethel and Harry have one daughter, plus two grandchildren and three great grandchildren who all gathered for a family bash to celebrate the platinum anniversary. The pair ran a bakery for 20 years and had regular chats with Sir Jimmy Savile who was a frequent customer.
Ethel said: "I cannot tell you what the secret is. We worked long hours and we had the shop and the bakery for 20 years.
"I did the shop and Harry did the cooking then our daughter helped out. ........we have always worked hard, maybe that's the secret."
Ethel added: "Jimmy used to love the buns. All the children would wait at the end of the street and they would say 'Jimmy's coming!
He would drive really slowly down the road you could nearly hold on to the car he would go that slow, so that all the children could see him."
Son-in-law Peter Powell said: "They are in remarkable health, they go to the pub or club three times a week for their lunch and think nothing of getting the bus to go shopping.
"They live in a granny flat next door to me, but do all their own shopping and cooking and demolish two litres of whisky a week.
"A few years ago, my wife saw Ethel walking up to her keep fit class with a hula hoop and she was 93 at the time."
Since retiring 30 years ago, the couple have enjoyed holidays and socialising with friends and family.
Awwww .... Bless !
Sunday, 19 April 2009
....... having recently reviewed Yoichi 10 yo Malt from Japan at 'whiskyreviews', I will take the opportunity here to add a bit more information relating to the Japanese whiskies.
The Golden Pavilion Temple (pictured) in Kyoto is a very good symbol of the Japanese culture and mind.
Exotic, formal, obsessive, internal and articulate, the Temple is beautifully fashioned and on viewing it takes several minutes to realise that the entire landscape is as 'disciplined' as the building.
Wabi sabi by zen.
Japanese whiskies are expensive, not readily available, beautifully packaged, and if you want the good stuff, ...... be quick at the specialist whisky shops and don't flinch at the price $$$$$!
I consider Yoichi, Hakushu, and Karuizawa to be the better options, and worth a purchase just for the experience of good copy-style whisky, however, I would be so-much-more interested in experiencing original, authentic, singular Japanese Whisky made with NO reference to Scotch, but composed like sake, using native grains, and cultivated like those superb little pots and dishes one finds in the Railway Station Malls of Tokyo and Kyoto.
I loved my visit a few years ago to Japan,
I felt oddly alert and wonderfully anonymous.
The best on-line source of info: on Japanese Whisky is at Nonjatta.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
...... here’s the lowdown from Misako. I have left out all those that are steam, or that have no info because they’re closed.
Where there is no info but they are open, I have marked unspecified.
Starting from the end:
Tobermory – wash stills direct heated, spirit stills steam heated
Tamnavulin – unspecified
Royal Brackla – unspecified
North Port – unspecified
Millburn – unspecified
Macallan – open gas fire
Linkwood – open fire
Lagavulin – open fire until 1963
Knockdhu – unspecified
Kininvie – unspecified
Inchgower – unspecified
Glenturret – unspecified
Glen Moray – unspecified
Glengyle – unspecified
Glen Garioch – wash stills open gas fired; spirit stills steam heated
Glenfiddich – open gas fired
Glenfarclas – open gas fired
Glendronach – open coal fired
Glenallachie – unspecified
Aultmore – unspecified
Ardmore – open coal fired until 2001, now steam
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
..... The Independant BenRiach Whisky Company recently bought over GlenDronach Distillery in Forgue, Speyside and have re-launched this over-looked and under-rated Malt.
If you want the experience of tasting whisky from direct-fired stills where heating of the copper vessels is external, either by coal or gas, then this whisky is one of the few options available along with Springbank, Glenfarclas, and Glenfiddich.
I recommend a perusal ! ...... as direct-firing is like the difference between bread and toast ! and although considered 'messy' by modern production norms:, there is a lot to be said for the 'old ways' and I'm sure a modern technique of direct-firing stills would be entirely feasible.
At the moment, direct-firing is seen as a thing of the past, but they said that about worm-tubs ...
.... did they not ?
Monday, 13 April 2009
..... well, having received a few e-mails with more eccentric cask options for those 'Progressive Hebridean Distillers' of infamous-fame, Bruichladdich, I have sifted out the more derogatory suggestions and will conclude this little Blog-run with some more 'alternative' limited edition cask one-offs (of many!).
.... here goes;-
1. "Harlequin" Cask ....... A sample of every 'special' cask from one year married together for the New Year.
2. "I can't believe it's NOT whisky" Cask ..... Cognac matured in an ex-laphroaig cask.
3. "Gently does it Islay" Cask ....... Bruichladdich/Bunnahabhain ..... 50/50.
4. "Smokey" Cask ....... NO peat, only smoke in the malted barley.
5. "Have a guess" Cask ..... no info: on label, but if you guess the age and 'finish', you get a miniature posted free of charge ........yee-har!
6. "all-around-the-world" Cask ..... a blend of all the world's spirits in one cask matured on Islay.
It goes without saying that if you ever see Bruichladdich surface with any of these options, they probably borrowed it from me. (the bizzims!).
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Buckfast is a tonic wine made by monks using their water! and is an acquired taste not for the connoisseur.
Last year at Glasgow's Whisky Club, I introduced the fine members to a treat consisting of a 16yo Balblair Malt given a Buckfast Tonic Wine 'finish'.
Reviews were variable, however, a valuable point was made concerning 'finishing' Whisky with other liquors.
Buckfast is the tipple of choice for a Scottish phenomenon called the NED, a nazely, uneducated, street-culture saavey'd creature who considers "ya wee smelly nuggit roaster fa**y" to be a compliment.
They are usually armed with a blade called a "chibb" and should not be provoked with contemptuous stares.
Very popular with criminal defence lawyers, they are a protected species.
I have a YouTube link here to clarify the image of a NED with his BUCKY (buckfast wine)
Incidently, if no Buckfast is available, 'Mad Dog 20/20' wine will do instead.
Look and learn Malt-heads ....
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
..... and following last weeks ever-so-funny April fool spoof concerning Bruichladdich's decision to do a 'Buckfast' finished Malt (Buckfast is a chemically tonic wine beloved by 'neds') .
I won't explain 'neds', just google 'glasgow neds'.
A finish, incidentally, already achieved by Glasgow's Whisky Club to general acclaim and disgust, ......... well, it got me thinking as to what headline grabbing cask finishes could be plausible from those Malt-maverick-cheekmasters-of-mayhem and surprisingly, there seem to be quite a few feasible options.
Here goes: -
A. "see how lucky you are" Cask, ....... which features a silken Malt Moment wrapped in a newspaper loaded with depressing news and assorted doom 'n' gloom.
B. "D.I.Y. E150a" Cask, ....... darkly coloured with artisan E150a, fresh cooked at the distillery for that terroire taste.
C. "Energy Whisky" Cask, ....... given the 'red bull' treatment via a paxarette of taurine, inositol and caffeine.
D. "Just can't call this w****y" Cask, ....... those naughty 'inner staves'.
E. "Oh! the Bastards !" Cask, ....... a measuring label articulating how much was stolen by the angels, devils, and worst of all, the excise. Now you can really see on the label, .... the cost of your dram!
F. "who gives a hoot?" Cask, ........ absolutely no information whatsoever on the bottle. Splendid.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Everything is nice in Ralfy's work. The tone of voice (and the accent ;-)), the content (content over function, that's the Web as it should be), the 'live' feeling... and of course the spirit. Watch for instance his recent interviews with Glengoyne's Duncan (clips #41, 42, 43), they are just excellent. Very well done, Ralfy, I'm a fan.
Monday, 6 April 2009
The results are rather home-spun of course, but capture the flavour of the place wonderfully, and all three recordings would have not happened without the help of 'Mr Glengoyne' himself, Duncan the Stillman.
You will find the results at whiskyreviews and, alternatively, youtube.com (whisky review Glengoyne).
Friday, 3 April 2009
..... this is doing the rounds on a few whisky-spots, and as it fits neatly into my eccentric blog-sphere, .... I will now cynically reproduce it here in case all you darling malt-pots don't find it elsewhere! It's an interesting perspective from 1952, presented by the gloriously named Mississippi lawmaker, Noah "Soggy" Sweat Jr. to the US House of Representatives. ............. marvelous stuff.
But, if when you say whisky you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.
........ goin' 'yersel Noah!!!
Thursday, 2 April 2009
...... Raymond, in Glasgow's Whisky Club has recently opened his New business relating to the appreciation of Whisky through offering tastings, tutorials, tours and other varied options to help people gain an understanding of the precious stuff.
He has a good personality for promoting scotch, so if your interested in knowing more, visit Raymond's website at -
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
.......... and what a lovely time we had at Oran Mor, the 'converted' venue at the top of Byres Road in Glasgow, where, on the 31st of March, Inverhouse Cheer-meistress Nicola gave us Malt-heads a damn good thrashing with the Ancnoc Single Malt Whisky.
Ancnoc is a speysider of a rather engaging character formerly known as Knockdhu, but the whisky underwent a name change a few years back so as to save confusion with Knockando (which isn't such an 'expressive' Malt).
Nicola was excellent and patient with all us opinionated rascals blurting out our honest opinions no matter what the consequences, (Take heed Distillers!) coinciding with a screen presentation on the history of Knockdhu Distillery, and importantly, what Knockdhu is producing at the moment (in the Ancnoc range).
I'd tell you all but we were all sworn to secrecy by Nicola, so I can't tell you anything about 'developments', so you will just have to e-mail her at the Distillery.
What I can tell you is that Ancnoc is quite a craft produced Malt with wormtubs and dunnage a-gogo along with combinations of sherry/bourbon casks used in proportion and varying with the vintage.
Interestingly, the post-distillation residue is recycled into the following batch and is (apparently) occasionally used as eye-liner (must try that someday!)
Mr Bobby Banford (articulate nose!) won the charity auction offering £175 for an one-off Aberlour donated by Chivas (who doubled to £350 for Comic Relief) ........ wheeeeeeeeeeee !
...... and now he shows no sign of OPENING THE BOTTLE and sharing it with all his friends who will love him for ever IF HE OPENS & SHARES THE BOTTLE.
So now to Ancnoc results..
12 y.o. 88/100
NOSE- complex, mature, toffee, fig, maple, sherry-cream
TASTE-medium nature, toffee, mint, menthol, tea, ginger, stewed apples, treacle-salt.
1994 Vintage 90/100
NOSE-soft, deep, complex, brown sugar, cinnamon/clove, herbal, angelica, vanilla.
TASTE-soft, sherry, dry, malt-toffee, mild smoke. (opens beautifully with a little water).
16 y.o. 89/100
NOSE-vanilla, gorse, floral, almond, pecan, white pepper, lemon rind.
TASTE-oily, smooth, vanilla, chlorine, delicate floral, ..... crisp finish.
1975 Vintage 92/100
NOSE-dark-honey, age, toffee, butter-scotch, wintergreen, angelica, nutmeg.
TASTE-rich butter-sherry, toast, charcoal, estery (Jamaica rum) .... very little water required.
Plus three others we can't discuss.
You can see from the marks given, .... a great night, great venue, and great whisky, which I would personally recommend, .... and like Pulteney, you don't get a bad one.
Yawn! .............................. time for bed.
.... Innovative Exclusive Whisky Producer Glenmacben Ltd: are delighted to announce the release a very, very rare, limited edition, exceptional Blended Scotch Singular Malt Whisky which will only be available through private application via their Head Office in Bond Street, London.
Brand Ambassador Tabitha Tittyworth-Rojer, who's great, great aunt had a Scottish connection said, "I simply can't believe it! we just found this incredible Scotch sitting, lost, somewhere, all forgotten till we discovered it again whilst herding the deer at Glen Glenmacben, it's incredible, so we only want to share the excitement with all exclusivly, discerning aficionados around the world, AND the Whisky may be 100 years old".
The asking price will be only £50,000 each, and this is surely an investment worth re-mortgaging the house for, with a unique non-labeled 'Bolloxi' crystal decanter, half-filled to emphasize the rareness of this whisky and it's relationship with the elements of fire and earth, sea and sky.
The accompanying Papyrus Scroll is hand written by Glenmacben's resident poet and dream-catcher Bobby MacBen who explains that you too can share the passion, privilege, pride and provenance with each 'feature vessel' numbered and available cradled within an optional hand-woven plaid-trimmed heather basket for only an extra £2,000.
The bottle stopper is designed to give that 'big knob' feel to the proud owner, and has been 'clutch/grip' tested for maximum expression of 'pull-feel'.
if you can afford it.
I've ordered mine.