Whiskyfun
Home
(Current entries)


Whisky Tasting

 
 

Daily Music entries
 
 

Petits billets d'humeur
(in French)

 

 

 
Hi, you're in the Archives, March 2009 - Part 1
       

February 2009 - part 2 <--- March 2009 - part 1 ---> March 2009 - part 2

 

March 14, 2009


HOISTED WITH OUR OWN PETARD!

We almost never publish straight Press Releases on WF as they’re all the same anyway, which was what we wanted to (sort of) illustrate with yesterday’s posting. But we got caught at our own game by the clever people at Duncan Taylor’s, who were quick to test our little template and to send this to us:

Black Bull
PRESS RELEASE
We are delighted to be recognised by such a prestigious publication as xyz weekly, which is one of the most highly respected throughout the world. The award is a fantastic reflection of the fabulous work we have been doing here within the company since so many years in terms of innovation and quality. It’s really a great accolade to all of our long-service craftsmen and employees and everybody is truly excited here in Huntly.
We are even more delighted because our new Black Bull 30yo Blend is the quintessence of everything Duncan Taylor stands for, which is making the whisky of tomorrow for today’s whisky lovers and with our past in mind. Black Bull really is an exciting new expression and it is already a huge success among the most discerning whisky enthusiasts.
To celebrate this tremendous achievement, we are delighted to offer the opportunity for one of our Duncan Taylor fans to win a bottle of another of our exciting new expressions, {errr we don't do prizes that would involve giving something away!}, that has been finished for many weeks in high-end first fill Château {err we haven't found a chateau in Huntly yet} barrels and bottled without chillfiltration. To participate, please go to our successful new website www.blackbullwhisky.com.
END
Whaaaah, that’ll teach us!
Foreign

TASTING
TWO ‘FOREIGN’ ODDITIES

45 South (42.3%, OB, Lammerlaw, New Zealand, Blend, 1980s) A rare blend by the now defunct Lammerlaw Distillery in Dunedin. I’ve read that 45 South was never successful and that new owners Seagram had discontinued it… even before they closed down the distillery. Colour: pale gold. Nose: extremely unusual with its huge whiffs of pine resin, Ricola lozenges and wet paint coating notes of cranberry juice and tamarind (I’m not joking, why would I?) Even more unusual: notes of tomato sauce! And what’s even funnier is that all that is rather nice, but as often, the devil may hide on the palate… Mouth: no, this is not bad at all, just totally unusual again. These very resinous notes are well there, but the fruitiness is different from the nose, that is to say much more on orange squash. Hints of ginger and maraschino, going well with the pine resin. It’s not bad stuff! Finish: rather long, still half-fruity, half-resinous. Like if you put orange drops and cough drops at the same time into your mouth. Comments: a good surprise considering it’s a blend but alas, this is now totally unobtainable. Hey, could it be that this was the All Blacks’ secret weapon?… SGP:731 - 78 points.
Reisetbauer 7 yo 1997 (56%, OB, Austria, Chardonnay and TBA finish) TBA means Trockenbeerenauslese (not To Be Absorbed.) This is a bottle of single malt whisky that I bought in Vienna, under the abashed look of some Austrian friends. It seems that Reisetbauer make some great eau-de-vie, but also that they used their eau-de-vie stills to make this whisky. Vorsicht, that NEVER really works, it would be too easy… Colour: straw. Nose: a rather feinty spirit, all on porridge, muesli and baker’s yeast premixed with sweet wine. Maybe noble rot, maybe not – let’s not try to be smart. Very discreet hints of baby puke (not the kind of baby one would spot in Sturgis during the Harley-Davidson gathering!) Actually, this isn’t unpleasant at all but very far from ‘malt whisky’ as we know it, especially from Scotland (having said that, at the rate things are going over there…) Mouth: once again, this isn’t bad at all but we’re even farer from whisky. Actually, this tastes like a grappa – and a rather good one. Now, this isn’t Grappafun.com, is it? Finish: indeed, this is heavily finished. Long, on sweet wine and grappa (something muscatty.) I remember having had a chardonnay grappa in Italy that tasted exactly like this. Comments: not bad at all, but wrong labelling, hence wrong shelves. This isn’t whisky. SGP:620 – 65 points.

MUSIC – Recommended listening: granted, this is no happy music but I like it more than Philip Glass, if you see what I mean. It's multi-instrumentalist Richard Skelton doing Fold. Please buy Philip Skelton's music...

Richard Skelton
 
WF Statistics - update. Some happy fellows have been mildly (and madly) questionning the figures that we announced on March 1, as well as Alexa's all-relative reliability (righfully so in our view). No big deal of course but for number crunchers only, here's a screen capture of our current statistcs. We couldn't be more transparent, could we?
 

March 13, 2009


Award

NEW! FREE!
WHISKYFUN INSTANT HELP

(TO OUR FRIENDS IN THE WHISKY INDUSTRY)

Did you just win an award from a magazine, website or any kind of known or unknown organisation but are too busy dealing with the new whisky loch and have no time to write a PR piece, speech or edvertisement? No worries, here's a free template that you may simply copy and paste and then customise as you see fit.

<START HERE> We are delighted to be recognised by such a prestigious publication as {name of organisation - please double check spelling}, which is one of the most highly respected throughout the world. The award is a fantastic reflection of the fabulous work we have been doing here within the company since so many years in terms of innovation and quality. It’s really a great accolade to all of our long-service craftsmen and employees and everybody is truly excited here in {name of town}.
We are even more delighted because our new {name of whisky} is the quintessence of everything {name of company} stands for, which is making the whisky of tomorrow for today’s whisky lovers and with our past in mind. {name of whisky} really is an exciting new expression and it is already a huge success among the most discerning whisky enthusiasts.
To celebrate this tremendous achievement, we are delighted to offer the opportunity for one of our {name of company} fans to win a bottle of another of our exciting new expressions, {name of other whisky}*, that has been finished for many weeks in high-end first fill Château {name of château - please double check spelling} barrels and bottled without chillfiltration. To participate, please go to our successful new website www. {name of company}.com.
* We’re sorry, we cannot disclose its age but there is some very old whisky in it. <END HERE>
Tobermory TASTING
TWO TOBERMORY for Germany
Tobermory 13 yo 1995/2008 (51.3%, Alambic Classique, Jamaica rum cask finish, cask #810242, 249 bottles) Finished for ten months in rum casks from Monymusk Distillery. Colour: pale gold. Nose: powerful and rather spirity, with the rummy notes to the front but also quite some kirsch and plum spirit plus hints of ginger and faint notes of rubber (rather bands than tyres). Slightly buttery as well. We’re rather far from ‘malt whisky’ here, not that it’s unpleasant mind you. With water: a little more rubber (but we’re below the limit) plus added notes of cider as well as a little liquorice. Mouth (neat): punchy, with even more rum and a pleasant sweetness (cane sugar syrup). I like this palate better than the nose, even if the kirschy notes remain. With water: even sweeter and sugary (brown sugar) with hints of coffee liqueur. Not complicated but pleasant. Finish: medium long, more on cane sugar again. Comments: the rum does not dominate here, and brings a nice sweetness to the whisky. SGP:531 - 80 points.
Tobermory 35 yo 1972/2008 (49.4%, Whisky Doris, First fill dark sherry, 191 bottles) Colour: mahogany with shades of bronze. Nose: a heavy sherry it seems but the profile is rather different from the usual sherry monsters. Starts on a lot of chocolate, leather and game (well-hung pheasant ;-)) and develops on huge notes of balsamic vinegar and old pu-erh tea plus thyme and rosemary. Superbly dry and very aromatic – no fruits! With water: huge notes of leather and mega-huge notes of smoked bacon, pretty impressive! Mouth (neat): very rich and a little fruitier than on the nose (a lot of orange marmalade), with also much more old oak and hints of ‘dirty peat’ that remind me of some Ledaigs (quirkiness included.) Gets then very meaty/sweet and sour (beef jerky.) Very good and entertaining. With water: more nice bitterness and dryness, with a great rancio and notes of yellow/flor. Finish: long and still very meaty and leathery. Comments: if you like ultra-dry sherry you’ll adore this. SGP:263 – 90 points.

MUSIC – Recommended listening: don't we all need some positive music these days? So let's have the good ol' Florian Fricke and Popol Vuh's short Morgengruss 2 and... Aren't we in a better mood? Please buy Popol Vuh's music...

Popol Vuh
 

March 12, 2009


PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
 
 
Blair Athol

TASTING – THREE BLAIR ATHOL

Blair Athol 1974/2007 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #8818) Colour: amber. Nose: a sherry of very high quality! Big whiffs of squeezed Seville oranges and marzipan, then more woody tones including cigar box, ‘nice’ varnish and old walnuts. Goes on on liquor-soaked cherries (make that guignolet – or wild cherry liqueur) and caramelised poached pears, with finally a little milk chocolate and cappuccino. Oh, and hints of fried Swiss cheese (or comté) – not gym socks, min you! Pretty perfect! Mouth: excellent attack, smooth but firm, on, well, Irish coffee. A lot of figs, quinces and dates, then liqueur-filled chocolate, plum jam, chestnut purée, then more chocolate (dark this time), espresso… Gets bigger and bigger, and beautifully drier. Excellent whisky with a long and very entertaining development. Finish: medium-long but fabulously chocolaty. Comments: another great cask selection by Mr McIvor and the BBR team. Recommended – I think it’s still possible to get this one. SGP:552 - 90 points.
Blair Athol 18 yo '200 years' (56.7%, OB, bottled 1998) Bottled by the owners for the bicentenary of the distillery. Colour: full gold. Nose: very strange… that they would have bottled this as a commemorative item. Indeed, it’s rather dry malt, slightly metallic, slightly soapy and slightly meaty, developing on very organic touches such as cooked mushrooms, game, leather grease and dark tobacco (Gitanes). It’s not that it isn’t nice, it’s just very ‘unconventional’ so to speak. With water: it got immensely grassy and farmy (manure). More leather grease (or Barbour grease) too. Interesting but weird. Mouth (neat): once again, this is very unusual, metallic and spirity (kirsch). The sherry’s a bit odd, a little too vinous in our opinion. With water: ah, it’s a little better now but still disconcerting, raw and polished at the same time (raw kirsch – fruit liqueurs.) Tangerine syrup, roasted chestnuts. Finish: long, still on eaux-de-vie and liqueurs plus chocolate and always these metallic notes than remind us of old silver forks. Comments: what to say? It’s not bad at all but, as I already wrote, disconcerting. SGP:451 - 79 points.
Blair Athol 24 yo 1975 (57.5%, Kingsbury, Hogshead, cask #13847, 112 bottles) Colour: gold. Nose: all I can say is that I never nosed a whisky that came even close to this one. It’s big and extremely almondy and grassy at first nosing, with even whiffs of exhaust pipes (a motorcycle’s of course) and fresh putty. Gets then a little closer to the OB, with the same kind of meaty/organic notes and then we finally get tons of lemons and tangerines. Unusual for sure. With water: wowie! That worked beautifully, as we now have a full basket of various citrus fruits under our nose. You don’t need a list, do you! Mouth (neat): it’s got a bit of the OB’s strangeness but it’s rather straighter this time, fruity and candied (orange marmalade) but with the same kind of spirity notes when undiluted (raw eau-de-vie, kirsch). With water: it’s not quite as big a miracle as on the nose with water but the added spicy and herbal notes go very well with the orangey notes. Finish: long, cleaner, on fresh oranges and a little pepper and cardamom. Comments: another unusual whisky, a tad hard to assess, but it really gets great with water. SGP:551 - 88 points.
Craig athol And also Craig Athol 12 yo (43%, Atholl Distilleries, Pitlochry, Blend, 1970s) Colour: pale gold. Nose: smooth, easy-going but characterful, with notes of almonds and crystallised tangerines that we already had in the malts. Superb whiffs of honeydew arise, as well as freshly baked baklavas, orange blossom water and mega-huge notes of beeswax. It is superb! Unexpected medicinal notes coming through after fifteen minutes (antiseptic.) Mouth: superb! It’s not unlike and old Sauternes actually – and I’m not joking. Apricots, mint drops, faint smokiness, liquorice, quince jelly, hints of coriander, orange marmalade… And a very oily mouth feel. Finish: medium long and still creamy and fabulously orangey and Sauternes-ish (!) Comments: there shouldn’t be much grain whisky in there – probably none actually. It’s a magnificent drop nonetheless, and I hope the blender who composed this has his statue somewhere north of Hadrian’s wall. SGP:642 - 89 points.

MUSIC – Recommended listening: the delicious Sara Gazarek singing Let's Try This Again (from her CD 'Return To You'.) Jazz, whether straight ahead or more progressive, will save this world! Please buy Sara Gazarek's music.

Sara Gazarek
 

March 11, 2009


CONCERT REVIEW by Nick Morgan
COLIN BLUNSTONE

The 100 Club, London, February 20th 2009

The Zombies
Colin Blunstone, you may remember, was lead singer with sixties outfit, The Zombies, whose 1968 album, the famously mis-spelt Odessey and Oracle, is now widely regarded as a masterpiece of pop from that decade.
The band had already disbanded when it was released, with Blunstone working in an insurance office when the ‘phone started to ring with offers of a solo career when ‘She’s not there’, a single from the album, went into the top five of the Billboard charts. He re-recorded ‘She’s not there’ under the pseudonym of Neil MacArthur (I have a copy somewhere on a piece of forgotten vinyl) before embarking on a successful stint as a solo artist with hits like ‘Caroline goodbye’ and ‘Say you don’t mind’. As his solo career waned, Blunstone joined the Alan Parsons Project, eventually returning to touring and recording with fellow Zombie Rod Argent. Along with Argent and the two other surviving members, the Zombies (guitarist Paul Atkinson died in 2004, and was replaced by Keith Airey) performed their magnum opus last year at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire (spawning a live recording) and are touring a small number of venues later this year, presenting O & O “for the very last time”. Perhaps buoyed by the interest this has engendered, Blunstone is back with a new solo album, The Ghost of You and Me, and a short tour of the United Kingdom.
Blunstone
Colin Blunstone
There may be a recession, but outside it’s London on a busy Friday night. We only just managed to get seated for our Keralan dinner (thanks heavens, no more fish and chips for a while), and the 100 Club is pretty full. It’s a wonderfully mixed audience. Diehard Blunstone fans (mostly female, mostly over 55) have staked out their spots right at the front of the stage – their partners (mostly male, mostly bald, mostly over 60) have got the bar under siege. But there are some families here too (less Dads and Lads than Mums and Daughters), and some young folks who’ve come along to see a legend at close quarters. And it is close. Blunstone has never played here before, and I’m not sure how unnerved he is by the proximity of his admires, all only an arm’s length away. I heard him interviewed on the radio by chance and he explained that as his dancing skills were limited he was under orders from his family to keep his arms by his sides and not to move under any circumstances. This then explains the rather awkward figure he can cut (a figure that is bulging slightly over a tightly buttoned pair of trousers, I observe). He certainly sounds relaxed enough when he speaks – pleasant, in fact quite charming, and certainly self-demeaning.
Predictably, the evening mixes old material with new, most of which manages to sound pretty much like the old stuff, or, I was just thinking, the aural equivalent of a comfortable pair of old bedroom slippers. And he mixes this with a broad sweep of his back catalogue: there’s the Zombies/MacArthur ‘She’s not there’, and ‘Caroline goodbye’, ‘Say you don’t mind’ and ‘Misty roses’ from his first solo album One Year. ‘What becomes of the broken hearted’ was a Zombies favourite cover, which he subsequently recorded with Eurythmic Dave Stewart. Then there’s a clutch of songs from his other seventies albums, Alan Parson’s Project’s ‘Old and wise’, ‘Turn your head around’, recorded with Keats (a short-lived post-Parsons venture) and Oxygen from his 1995 album Echo Bridge. I have to say it all sounds a bit the same – but that’s not a criticism, rather a tribute to the impact of Blunstone’s voice, which is so distinctive as to define almost anything he sings. It’s not entirely flattered by the sound system of the 100 Club, and his surprisingly rocking band (driven on largely by the highly accomplished Airey) mean that occasionally he has to fight to be heard. But it’s still a masterful performance, and seeing him work at such close quarters demonstrates the real concentration and effort he puts into his singing, with nothing left to chance.
Blunstone
The fans are delighted – some transfixed for the whole performance. The guys at the bar, their football talk occasionally hushed by the disapproving crowd, are several pints of pretty decent beer for the better. And the curious no doubt more than satisfied. Personally I’d find it hard to give a Blunstone album any room amongst my CDs or downloads, but as a live performer he’s difficult to resist. - Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate)
Listen: Colin Blunstone's MySpace page
Balvenie

TASTING
TWO PUNCHY BALVENIES

Balvenie 15 yo 1985/2001 'Single Barrel' (50.4%, OB) All these ’15-SB’ were bottled at 50.4% until 2002, and then at 47.8% ABV up to current times. No natural cask strength of course – and big savings I guess… Colour: pale straw. Nose: rather raw and spirity, without Balvenie’s usual roundness and über-fruitiness. A little grass, vanilla, banana skin, baker’s yeast (or lager beer) and oak sawdust. Very austere, let’s see whether water will help or not. With water: it doesn’t get any less austere, rather grassier and kind of mineral. Notes of paraffin. Actually, I like it like that. Mouth (neat): completely different from on the nose here, much fruitier even if still simple. Apricot jam, plums and ripe apples coated with vanilla crème and a little lemon spritz. Some grassiness too (walnut skin, apple peeling.) With water: same, no further development. Finish: medium long, all on apples, tea and oak. Comments: it had its moments but it really lacked Balvenie’s usual playfulness that we like so much. SGP:261 – 78 points.
Balvenie-Glenlivet 'As we get it' (108.6°proof, Macfarlane Bruce and Co. Ltd, early 1970s) This independent version was rather popular thirty years ago, it came in various ABVs. I think the ‘as we get it’ wording has been used by various companies and these days Ian McLeod carry the ball. Colour: white wine. Nose: very raw, sharp, extremely spirity and rather tea-ish but water is probably obligatory here. With water: ho-ho, this is great! Really in the ‘old Highlands style’ in my view, that is to say mildly smoky, waxy, sooty and farmy. More and more smoke and whiffs of wet hay. Mouth (neat): sure it’s extremely powerful but it’s also very good now, very sweet, fruity, pleasantly bubblegummy, with a lot of white peaches and strawberries. Probably very young but it has big charms. With water: just like on the nose, water really makes wonders, exactly in the same way. That is to say more wax, resin, leafiness, smokiness, herbs (dill?), peat… Finish: long, back on strawberries. Comments: probably very young but very good. These old young whiskies arevery rare at such high strength so I believe these bottles are unique opportunities to try malt whisky as it used to be made fifty years ago, whilst not much bottle ageing may have occurred, thanks to the 60+% vol. SGP:572 – 88 points.
 

March 10, 2009


CONCERT REVIEW by Nick Morgan
ROBYN HITCHCOCK AND HIS FRIENDS
The Union Chapel, Islington, London, February 12th 2009
It’s almost Spring, or so it seems. From snow to sunshine. Shining daffodils on the kitchen table. And outside my window at night the persistent twittering of insomniac birds. What are they saying? Are they discussing the meaning of life or simply swapping self-absorbed semaphore at a volume that others can’t escape? I can’t really say and frankly don’t care. I’m contemplating, full of remorse. Well, that might be a slight overstatement, but not for the first time I have to admit that here’s an artist who has passed me by for many years, simply a name on a shelf-divider or a listings page. On the basis of this performance, I can confirm that this is something I deeply regret. Daffodils
We saw Robyn Hitchcock deliver an uncertain and unremarkable contribution to last year’s Rogues Gallery show, but something sparked my curiosity. Was it the garish shirt, the almost-Nick Lowe haircut, or the easy-hanging Stratocaster? I’m not sure which, but either way we jumped at these tickets, even if it did mean yet another trek across snowbound London and another visit (two within a week) to the you-know-where for a plateful of you-know-what, and a nice cup of tea. The lovely yet chilly Union Chapel is maybe only about two-thirds full, but yet again it’s clear that we’ve come to a church that’s full of believers, with high expectations of some sort of spiritual enlightenment.
It began with Hitchcock’s shirt, black and white spots that almost exactly matched the design on his Buddy Guy Stratocaster.
Hitchcok
Robyn Hitchcock
The slight sense of disorientation that this caused as the guitar moved was nothing compared with the effect of Hitchcock’s spoken contributions, delivered in the theatrical style of an Edwardian actor-manager. Occasionally cleverly-constructed song introductions, sometimes simply surreal observation. Some of it just twitter. It polarised the audience. Some looked bewildered, if not a tad embarrassed. Others – the majority, I’m glad to say - laughed. Frantically. At one point, during a particularly lengthy and obtuse introduction to the wonderful ‘NASA clapping’ the Photographer was in tears, something normally only achieved by comedian Ken Dodd at his bizarre best. It demanded huge powers of concentration just to keep up with Hitchcock’s musings, let alone the fifteen or so songs, all pretty strong material, including a few from his new album Goodnight Oslo, recorded with his sometime band the Venus 3 (featuring, it is mandatory to note, REM guitarist Peter Buck). If you don’t know, Hitchcock has been recording since 1976, first with The Soft Boys, then, in between solo work, with the Egyptians and more latterly the Venus 3. He’s recorded more albums and accumulated more re-releases and retrospective box sets as he’s moved record company, than most of us have eaten, well, plates of fish and chips. So it’s hard to know where to start, although Goodnight Oslo certainly won’t disappoint.
Tonight’s band features long-time collaborator Paul Noble on bass, Rob Ellis on drums and Jenny Adejayan on cello. Hitchcock divided his time between acoustic and electric guitars. On the latter he achieves, with the aid of an array of pedals and a quite unusual technique, a distinctive droning tone that fits marvellously with the cello to produce a sound that sits somewhere in time and texture between the Beatles’ Revolver and Sergeant Pepper.
It’s slightly psychedelic, and infused with a very attuned late sixties pop sensibility. At its most extreme, it falls into the infectious pop-pastiche of ‘Saturday Groovers’ from the new album. But the material is so diverse in tone and content that the sound never becomes repetitive or overbearing. As a writer Hitchcock falls into that school often dubbed, and almost dismissed, as ‘English eccentric’, a phrase that tends to devalue. He’s a great fan of Syd Barrett (they even share a discussion group, and he recently recorded a tribute gig to Barrett in a London pub) but if you listen carefully you can see that he draws his influences far more widely than from one person. And specific song titles speak for themselves and for the tone of the evening: ‘I’ve got the hots’, ‘Sinister but she was happy’, ‘You and oblivion’, ‘The museum of sex,’ ‘Sounds great when you’re dead’. Hitchcock ended with the title track from the new album, derived from a few days that he and Maurice Windsor (drummer with the Soft Boys) spent in Oslo twenty years ago under the influence of Norwegian amphetamines, an experience from which, he tells us, he has yet to fully emerge. Now that might explain something.
It’s a fantastic and enlightening show, in every sense, evidenced by the excited chatter of the audience as they leave. I can only urge you to go and see Mr Hitchcock if you get the chance – he’ll be touring the States with the Venus 3 in April - and maybe dip your toes into his extensive discography, which is what I’ve been doing. And as we left the Union Chapel it’s snowing again, putting Spring on hold for few more weeks, but I know that somewhere in the distance those birds will still be twittering. - Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate)
Listen: Robyn Hitchcock on MySpace
 
McDowell

TASTING
THE LIGHTNESS OF IT ALL

Suntory On The Rocks Whisky (12%, OB, Japan, 225ml) As you may imagine, this one was already the subject of many questions within maniacal circles! Can it be ‘whisky’ at only 12% vol.? Was it designed to compete with wine? Sake? We’ve also seen a clear version at 25%... Anyway, this is/was only available in Japan. Colour: pale gold. Nose: almost none, not unlike plain tap water. Distant whiffs of new plastic, cooked asparagus and metal polish. New polyester sweater? Very, very discreet, this was probably never designed to be ‘nosed’. After a few minutes: hints of cider, getting a little nicer. Mouth: highly diluted whisky and that’s all. It’s not bad at all, mind you, but much lighter than wine and maybe even than most beers (okay, not American Budweiser). Very little flavours. Finish: pardon? Comments: right, this isn’t bad actually, just not something for whisky drinkers (nor beer drinkers, wine drinkers, sake/ Nihonshu drinkers…) Probably quite drinkable on a lot of ice in the middle of Japanese summer. SGP:120 - 50 points (not to be taken seriously). Update: you may also read Johannes' comments in his latest edition of his 'liquid blog', the father of all whisky blogs as he started it in January 1997 - and still the best in my opinion. By far!
McDowell’s N°1 Diet Mate (42.8%, OB, India, bottled 2007) ‘Blended with Scotch and select Indian malts.’ Marketing blurb: ‘The smoothness of a reserve whisky is combined with the goodness of Garcenia - an ancient Indian herb, which has the rare ability to burn excess fat and control cholesterol levels in the human body. Targeted at the health & fitness-conscious drinker.’ Hey hey, that’s exactly me! Colour: pale gold. Nose: oh! Que gran horror! Plain wood alcohol, caramel and… and… well, nothing. Where’s this Garcenia thing? Maybe these faint whiffs of sunburnt geranium? Mouth: much nicer than on the nose at first sipping but gets then sort of dirty and imprecise, with notes of raw alcohol and a lot of caramel. Any Scottish blend is better than this. Finish: quite long, actually, but kind of liqueurish (cane syrup). Weird cloying aftertaste, overly sweet. Comments: what’s sure is that just by not being able to swallow this rather horrible ‘whisky’, drinkers should lose weight indeed. Clever, innit! Now, chilled down to 5°C… Oh, and we’ve taken the time to read the small prints on the bottle (looking for an apology ;-)) and there were these rather scary bits: ‘Manufactured by Baramati Grape Industries Ltd, Pimpali, Maharashtra under technical knowhow from McDowell & Company Limited – For sale in Maharashtra State only.’ Licensed distilling… even cleverer! SGP:320 - 15 points. PS: we love India and the Indian people! PPS: we had a look at Garcinia on the Web and here’s what Wikipedia says: ‘Aka Mangosteen. Often contained in appetite suppressants such as Hydroxycut, Leptoprin or XanGo, but their effectiveness at normal consumption levels is unproven. They may contain significant amounts of hydroxycitric acid, which is somewhat toxic and might even destroy the testicles after prolonged use.' Aaaargh!!!
 

March 9, 2009


TASTING – SIX 1982 CAOL ILA
Caol Ila
Caol Ila 1982/2007 (46%, G&M for Royal Mile Whiskies, cask #694, 264 bottles) From a refill sherry hogshead. Colour: straw. Nose: starts fresh and clean but gets soon a tad buttery and porridgy, albeit not excessively so. Hints of lemon drops and tonic water, seawater and sour fruits (apples). Mouth: good sweet attack with a little salt upfront, then more overripe apples, pepper and a faint yeastiness. Still clean and compact, nicer than on the nose in our opinion. Finish: long, sweet, peaty and peppery. Comments: good Caol Ila - that won’t make you scratch your head - but there are so many excellent Caol Ilas around these days! Rather an easy drinking one. SGP:446 – 83 points.
Caol Ila 26 yo 1982/2008 (54.6%, Duncan Taylor for The Nectar, cask #2738, 279 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: this is an ashier and more mineral Caol Ila, cleaner and zestier. Superb notes of smoked ham, lemon juice, white chocolate and oysters. With water: wet hay and wet dogs galore (sorry, dogs). Wool, whisky-sprinkled porridge. Definitely wild. Mouth (neat): big, crisp, ultra-lemony and peaty, a huge presence. Less gentle than most Caol Ilas! With water: superbly candied, salty, smoky, phenolic and resinous. It really took off. Finish: long, on almonds, quince, peat and lemon marmalade. Comments: absolutely excellent (second tasting, first was blind, score unchanged.) SGP:447 – 89 points.
Caol Ila 25 yo 1982/2007 (54.7%, The Single Malts of Scotland, cask #127, 244 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: same quality as the DT for The Nectar but a tad thicker and rounder, with much more vanilla, nougat and butterscotch. With water: a little more lemony and phenolic. Patchouli, infused tea. Just a tad less farmy than the DT/Nectar. Mouth (neat): almost the same as the DT/Nectar at this point. Huge, compact and pleasantly invading. With water: indeed, same as cask #2738. Maybe a little more ginger. Finish: same. Comments: same. SGP:447 – 89 points.
Caol Ila 26 yo 1982/2008 (55.2%, Duncan Taylor, Germany exclusive, cask #2733) Colour: straw. Nose: we’re closer to the ‘Nectar’ again, just a tad more on oranges than on lemons. Maybe a tad fatter in fact, but the quality level is the same, that is to say very high. With water: frankly different from the other ones now, much more smoky/ tarry. Kerosene, ‘fisherman’s boat’. Mouth (neat): same as both previous ones. Big peat and citrus fruits. With water: same as the others. Finish: ditto. Comments: ditto. Maybe a tad more resinous. SGP:447 – 89 points.
Caol Ila 26 yo 1982/2008 (55.4%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, cask #2736) Colour: straw. Nose: another little step towards a bigger fruitiness and maybe a little camphor. Other than that we’re in the same league once again. With water: a farmy one again (you know, dogs, hay and so on.) Very close to the DT/Nectar now – and no more camphor. Superb smokiness I must say. Mouth (neat): once again, this is very similar to all the CS 1982s we just had. The alcohol is too high to get nuances anyway! With water: no nuances, it’s more or less the same whisky. Maybe just a little more pepper. Finish: right-o. Comments: yes. SGP:447 – 89 points.
Caol Ila 25 yo 1982/2007 (57.9%, Adelphi, cask #685, 225 bottles) Colour: straw. Nose: we’re rather more in the SMOS’ style again here, with more vanilla and nougat but also the same kind of buttery notes as in the G&M. Sour cream and apples. The farmier of them all in fact (wet hay.) With water: it did not change, unlike all the other ones. Maybe a little camphor? The shiest so far. Mouth (neat): just as big s the others, maybe a tad more citric. Lime juice. With water: oh no, once again, this is almost the same whisky on the palate, whether reduced or not. Maybe a tad spicier. Finish: indeed, a little longer and spicier ala Talisker. Comments: excellent on the palate but this one lost points on the nose. SGP:347 – 86 points.
Conclusion: all these Caol Ilas were very good or excellent, even if maybe not as magical as a great Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Laphroaig of the same age. Now, we did a quick vatting of all six and believe it or not, it’s fairly more complex. Funnily, added notes of roasted nuts and camphor came out. Why?
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
 
 

MUSIC – Recommended listening: we're in 1977 and here's another totally wonderful song by Gil Scott-Heron (with Brian Jackson) called We almost lost Detroit. Yes, more than 30 years ago... Please buy these masters' music.

Gil Scott Heron
 

March 7, 2009


 
Muhahahaha! Another proof that with the Web 2.0/social/whatever, everybody's really an expert - or has a good sense of second degree humour! (via Twitter -> Islayblog.com - see, it works!)
 

March 6, 2009


Strathisla

TASTING – STRATHISLA WITH A GAP OF 30 YEARS

Strathisla 1997/2008 (43%, Jean Boyer, Best Casks of Scotland, 810 bottles) From re-coopered hogshead. Mastermind Jean Marie Kovacs seeks purity and fruitiness in his young whiskies and I must say he usually succeeds beautifully. Colour: white wine. Nose: indeed, this noses very well, being all on pear juice and muesli as well as fresh almonds. Very fresh and ultra-clean, uncomplicated an calling for… Summer! (and maybe a few ice cubes.) Mouth: fresh, fruity, youngish but clean and full-bodied, with notes of pears, bubblegum and vanilla custard plus cornflakes and a little strawberry jam. State of the art young Speysider with little direct wood influence, well in the style of the series as far as young whiskies are concerned. Finish: medium long but ultra-clean, fruity and playful. Comments: I’ll keep a few drops of this one and take it as a summer aperitif, should be perfect! SGP:721 – 80 points.
Strathisla 41 yo 1967/2008 (48.3%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, cask #2721) We’ve already had quite a few casks of Strathisla 1967 by DT and all have ranged from frankly good to excellent, depending on the oakiness of each cask. The spirit itself is always great! Colour: pure gold. Nose: can one notice any resemblance between a 1997 and a 1967 that were just bottled (hence not subject to OBE)? It’s rather hard to tell… Sure the pears are well here but they’re rather dried pears in the old one. What’s sure is that this shows how age is important to whisky, as no quick modern sped-up malt will ever nose like this old Strathisla! Superb fruits, plum jam, ripe apricots, pistachio nougat, dried lychees and some beautifully soft spices. Mulberries. Superb, with just whiffs of sawdust. Mouth: phew, no striking oakiness so this one will probably be an excellent one. Indeed, it starts on some playful fruity notes (quinces, crystallised lemons, apricots) and unfolds on more crystallised fruits and all things resinous (cough syrup, eucalyptus sweets, menthol, you name it.) The spiciness is soft and rounded and the oak plays it smooth and caressing (cut the crap, will you!) Finish: long, still creamy and candied, with a little more spices and pepper/nutmeg/cinnamon. Comments: excellent, just excellent but warning, it’s another one that’s very (too?) drinkable… SGP:651 - 91 points.
Strathisla 41 yo 1967/2008 (48%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld for Germany, cask #2718) Colour: full gold. Nose: a shier version of cask #2721, less emphatically fruity but also a tad more resinous and much more rummy. Rather big notes of cane sugar, tobacco and even hints of fresh mushrooms. Both casks start to converge but only after a few minutes… And after fifteen minutes both smell just the same! Very faint whiffs of varnish in this one. Mouth: frankly, it’s the same whisky as cask #2721 on the palate. Maybe this one is just a tad harsher and a tad less polished (yeah, right). A little more fruits, a little more oak, a little less roundness/creaminess. Finish: similar, with maybe a little more pepper. Comments: same standard, same high quality, same rating of course. SGP:652 – 91 points. (and thank you, Herbert).

MUSIC – Recommended listening: right, Light my fire but this time it's Dame Shirley Bassey's Jamesbondesque 1970 version. Anthemic, as they say. Please buy Shirley Bassey's music...

Shirley Bassey
 

March 5, 2009


CONCERT REVIEW by Nick Morgan
FAIRPORT CONVENTION
Union Chapel, Islington, London
February 7th 2009
Two Pence
I have decided, Serge, that for many enthusiasts, watching Fairport Convention is a bit like stamp collecting. Not that there’s anything wrong with the most popular hobby in the world, a pastime fit for pauper or even premier. It just seems to me that it might be a tad backward-looking, a touch retrospective rather than futuristic, or head-in-the-sand rather than head-in-the-clouds.
Something that might be considered to turn Great Men of Deeds into country postmasters, fussily rearranging forgotten jars of jam and marmalade on dusty shelves. Look, for example, at the way Fairport obsessives dissect the minutiae of every tour: “What’s the set list going to be this winter?”, “Will this Autumn’s T-shirt be as awesome as the Cropredy one from the year before last?”, “Did anyone notice Ric’s hat?”, “How grumpy was Simon Nicol?”. These and other questions of mind-numbing irrelevance dominate the virtual Fairport firmament, where hordes of soon-to-be ex-public service workers share their fanatical, almost philatelic, infatuations with like-minded souls; clearly their other point in common is having far too much time on their hands. It’s as if all they’re really interested in is finding that rare and unimagined imperfection, something that no one else can possibly have. Rather like John Fowles’ Collector. Spooky.
Pegg
Left to right: Dave Pegg, Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie.
It is a shame, since going to see the Fairports is still rather fun (as it should be) and especially with Jozzer, who may know a little too much about them for his own good: I’m told he goes to sleep humming ‘Matty Groves’ . But his maniacal ranting (“did you know that Dave Swarbrick once played ‘Rosie’ in Leicester’s De Montfort Hall with a bucket full of cigarette ends on his head?”) has been dulled by a vast plateful of Rock Salmon and Chips at the you-know-where, washed down with a handy bottle of something blanc from the hugely un-customer-centered Budgens store down the road (just past the famous Hope and Anchor). So he’s perched on his church pew, gently dozing with head resting on Trizza’s shoulder, while I’m left taking notes nowhere near as copious or detailed as those of almost everyone else in the place.
But I simply recorded a few facts. The show was opened by the unlikely pairing of Steeleye Span guitarist Ken Nicol and comedian Phil Cool. Nicol, says the notebook, delivered some great guitar playing, and Cool a truly wonderful Paul McCartney impersonation – his George Bush wasn’t bad either.
The Fairports joined them on stage for their last song, and then began their set with ‘Ye Mariners all’. Notable in this first set was Ric Sanders’ fiddle playing on ‘The Fossil Hunter’, his soaring notes seeming to fill every corner of the Union Chapel’s great high ceiling. Leslie sang a haunting ‘Reynardine’ from Liege and Lief, accompanied by the sirens of police cars charging round Highbury Corner while Nicol provoked a short debate on blood sports in his introduction to ‘Reynard the fox’ (to his disgust but Leslie’s delight, the fox lived to fight another day). And my notes noted, as they have before, that even if I can’t describe how irritated I’m made by Dave Pegg’s face-pulling, thumbs-up blokiness, his bass playing really is very good. Union
In the second half – and this was a real curiosity for the collectors – they played a pleasing mini-version of their often disregarded 1971 ‘folk-opera’ Babbacombe Lee telling the story of the man they couldn’t hang, convicted murderer John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee. Interesting, if not a bit 1960s. This was followed by a rather strained ‘Who knows where the time goes’, and the inevitable ‘Matty Groves’ (at which point Jozzer nodded off for good). For encore, before the mad rush to the merchandising store for the T-shirts and trinkets there was a weak ‘Ukulele central’, (involving lots of ukuleles and larking about) and finale ‘Meet on the ledge’ which was notable for guitar playing by Ken Nicol who’d joined the band on stage along with Cool.
Snow

As the collectors compared notes and swapped facts, we rudely stirred Jozzer from his slumbers and crept out into the cold snowy night. Did I mention that we’ve had snow in London? - Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)

Listen: Fairport Convention on MySpace
Ken Nicol on MySpace

 

Highland Park 1992

TASTING
TWO 1992 HIGHLAND PARK

Highland Park 1992/2002 (46%, Wilson & Morgan, sherry wood) Colour: white wine. Nose: it’s one of these rather waxy/smoky/yeasty indie HPs, with a good smokiness and something faintly mineral, the whole getting then rather grassy and even more porridgy as well. Hints of vulcanised rubber and fresh butter. Mouth: sweet and very ‘natural’, more on apple liqueur this time but with always a little rubber and these grassy notes. Slight smokiness and more and more apples and hints of green tea. Finish: medium long, grassy (apple peelings). Comments: good young grassy Highland Park with quite some character but it’s maybe not particularly sexy. SGP:372 – 80 points.
Highland Park 15 yo 1992/2008 (46%, Murray McDavid, Voignier finish, 2,475 bottles) Of course it was meant to be ‘viognier’ and not ‘voignier’. Viognier is a spicy and sometimes slightly muscatty grape variety that’s quite fashionable in the Rhone valley. Colour: amber. Nose: we have pretty much the same spirit as the W&M here, only with a rather huge coating of winey/spicy notes that, well, go rather well with it. It also gives it kind of an extra-smokiness and finally big notes of mirabelle plum pie. Works well. Mouth: the same thing happens on the palate, with a big spicy fruitiness (ripe plums, cinnamon, sultanas) and an enjoyable roundness. Tarte tatin, brown sugar, hints of cloves and liquorice. Finish: rather long, a little more on the whisky now (grassy wax.) Comments: a finishing that worked in my view. SGP:561 – 83 points.
 

March 4, 2009


Glendronach

TASTING
OLD YOUNG AND OLD OLD GLENDRONACH (+ a bonus)

Glendronach 12 yo ‘Original’ (43%, OB, 75cl, +/-1985) Many Glendronachs are or were very sherried so it’s always interesting to try ‘naked’ versions. Colour: gold. Nose: rather exceptional I must say, starting on a winning combination of olive oil, fresh orange juice and light honey and developing more on soot, wax polish and very appealing whiffs of kerosene. Gets then drier and drier, not unlike an old Riesling wine. Also hints of bacon and used matches. Very, very beautiful and complex! Mouth: amazingly powerful at only 43% vol. and almost as dry as on the nose, starting on old walnuts, apple peelings and candy sugar and developing more on ‘light’ orange marmalade (not much sugar) and green tea as well as almond milk and eucalyptus/pine resin drops. Great whisky, and easily obtainable at that. Finish: surprisingly long, more on crystallised lemon now. Lemon balm sweets. Comments: old style malt of the highest grade, still easy to find (hint, hint.) SGP:452 - 91 points. (and thank you Konstantin)
Glendronach 12 yo (43%, OB, Italy, bulky green bottle, pale vatting, 75cl, 1970's) Colour: straw. Nose: this is completely different from the younger 12, much, much fruitier and even sort of sugary, on tinned pineapples, marshmallows and, well, ‘a newly opened box of Turkish delights’. Also a faint mouldiness and finally the same kind of smokiness as in the other 12 (used matches, smoked tea.) The two oldies converge after a good fifteen minutes but this one never gets as majestic as the ‘Original’. Very nice, still. Mouth: starts excellently, on various fruit jams (quinces, plums) and orange marmalade, with quite some spices coming to the front after that (cinnamon, white pepper.) It does not really get any more complex and stays on these notes after that, which isn’t a problem as it’s beautiful whisky. Maybe more ripe apples and juts a little mint. Finish: medium long, on ripe apples and cinnamon. Comments: once again, this is very good but a little less complex than the ‘Original’. SGP:441 – 87 points.
Glendronach 33 yo (40%, OB, Oloroso Sherry, +/-2008) Colour: dark amber. Nose: oloroso galore! Huge notes of maraschino cherries, strawberry jam and nougat at first nosing, with more chocolate (ganache) and quince jelly after that. It’s finally beefy/oaky touches (old furniture) that have the last word, as well as a little parsley and sage. Even hints of oregano. Rather rich but maybe not totally explosive. After twenty minutes: it got a little more leathery/rubbery. Mouth: mellow and rounded, less big than both old 12s and, I must say, very, very close to an old Armagnac. Cherry liqueur, prunes, almond milk (or orgeat), chocolate, rancio (a lot) and black tea. The old oak is well there but tamed and just a little ‘cinnamonny’ (excuse me). Finish: medium long and… even more like an old Armagnac. Comments: one to sip in your club, in an old Chesterfield armchair and maybe with a good Habano in hand, while discussing the depress… I mean, recession (and the prices of whisky) with a bunch of broke friends. SGP:531 – 88 points. But wait, old Armagnacs… Let’s rummage through our sample library, maybe we’ll find one to try now and see if how it compares with this old Glendronach… one avec panache if possible… ah, yes, why not this…
Laubade
MALTERNATIVE BONUS – Château de Laubade 1900 (40%, OB, Armagnac, bottled 1983) The Château de Laubade is located in Sorbets in the Gers region of France. It seems that this ‘expression’ spent more than 80 years in wood, hence that it was never poured into demijohns and never saw ‘le Paradis’. Newer versions of this emblematic vintage are rather easy to find and probably five times cheaper than what any fake malt whisky from 1900 would cost. Colour: brown/chestnut. Nose: starts extremely empyreumatic and, I must say, very beautiful even if it’s rather extreme in its woodiness. Tons of mint, leather (horse saddle), eucalyptus, old turpentine, oil paint and pure pine resin ‘from the tree’, all at first nosing. Calms down a bit after that, getting rounder and smoother, much more on bitter chocolate, marron glacé, beef stock, very old balsamic vinegar from Modena and yellow Chartreuse. Keeps developing for a very long time but gets back to eucalyptus/mint, with also a little camphor but much less than in, say an old Islayer. Speaking of which, there’s a little smoke coming through after a while, hints of gunflints, dark toffee… This is hugely complex and in no way just an oddity. And yes, it could also have been a very, very old Macallan! Mouth: well, it is kind of a wood decoction I must say, and as expected it’s far less interesting and complex than on the nose, but it is drinkable and, above all, very moving. As for descriptors, let’s say bitter chocolate with mint and cough drops plus ‘old’ cloves. Finish: a little short but still clean and pleasantly dry and chocolaty, reminding me of a very old cherry (palo cortado.) Comments: I would not have imagined that this 1900 would have stood time in such beautiful manner on the nose, especially after more than 80 years in some of Armagnac’s typical 400 litres casks. SGP:272 – 90 points.
 
PETE McPEAT AND JACK WASHBACK
 
 

MUSIC – Recommended listening: simply beautiful, Tom Brosseau singing Here comes the water (from the CD Cavalier). What a voice! Please buy Tom Brosseau's music...

Tom Brosseau
 

March 3, 2009


Virtual Drinking Buddy FUNNY FOR SURE (but it would be illegal in many countries including France): here's Mickey the Irish Virtual Drinking Buddy (be patient while it loads!)
After Red Bowler's morons and the Fecking Irish, The Knot calls you an idiot...
Do we spot a damn new trend in f****g whisky advertising?
(via thewhiskychannel.com)
Tamdhu

TASTING – TWO TAMDHU

Tamdhu 39 yo 1968/2008 (40%, Duncan Taylor, Lonach) Colour: gold. Nose: starts very fresh and flowery (dandelions), with also notes of yellow plums and apricots. Gets then slightly resinous (pine needles) and vanilled (custard), with traces of plain oak in the background. Doesn’t really develop any further after that. Nice but pretty simple. Mouth: not the biggest attack we’ve even seen for sure, with a faint fruitiness (peaches) and notes of ice tea and tapioca/flour. Gets then rather drying and quite cardboardy and tea-ish. Just hints of marshmallows. Finish: a little short and rather woody. Comments: this oldie seems to have gone over the hill, but it’s still pretty drinkable. SGP:260 – 76 points.
Tamdhu 18 yo 1989/2008 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, Sherry Hogshead DL Ref 4608) Colour: dark amber/brown. Nose: this one starts like plain chocolate and cocoa powder, getting then more on prunes and beef stock and jerky, although it’s moderately expressive. Hints of gun metal and used matches. With water: more beefy notes and quite some mint and leather as well as kind of a farminess, which often happens after you’ve added water to some whisky. Very nice nose nonetheless. Mouth (neat): smooth and round and really full of sherry, to the point where it does rather taste like Armagnac-soaked prunes with quite some strong liquorice and a little pepper. Heavy toffee too, and chestnut liqueur, and Viennese coffee (I know what I’m talking about!) Concentrated and good. With water: a rather unusual development on mint sauce and even more liquorice mixed with chocolate and earl grey tea. Very good once again. Finish: medium long but still concentrated and liquorice-infused. Comments: a very good heavily sherried Tamdhu, unusually liquoricy. Recommended. SGP:451 - 88 points (and thank you, Tomislav).

MUSIC – Recommended listening: a totally wonderful song by Canada's Fred Eaglesmith called Worked up field. Spirited and soulful. Please, please buy Fred Eaglesmith's music.

Fred Eaglesmith
 

March 2, 2009


Laphroaig

TASTING – TWO LAPHROAIGS

Laphroaig ‘Triple Wood’ (48%, OB, 1l, 2009) This one is the well-known (and very good) ‘Quarter Cask’ that’s been finished in sherry casks. In other words, it’s double-finishing. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s interesting that the rather heavy (okay, elaborate) wood treatment (okay, technology) seems to have pushed Laphroaig’s medicinal side even more to the front, whilst the peat smoke got seemingly more subdued, and certainly less ‘big and obvious’ than in other young bottlings. Indeed, this baby smells much older than it probably is (7-9 years?) and we’ve had 20yos that were more pungent and raw, even at similar strength. To sum up, there’s vanilla, camphor, eucalyptus, antiseptics, tincture of iodine, light white pepper, smoked tea, wet hay, a little butter and dairy cream, roots, wet earth and then more vanilla – even if this is anything but a vanilla bomb. In short, very nice. Mouth: thick mouth feel, starts unusually sweet for a Laphroaig and very liquoricy, which may not please all Laphroaig lovers in our opinion. Much more vanilla than on the nose and something that shouts ‘new world chardonnay’ (whatever that means). Buttered toffee, cardamom, orange liqueur (peated Cointreau!) Finish: rather long, a tad closer to an ‘average’ Laphroaig but leaving kind of a greasy sweetness on your palate. Comments: very, very good but very modern and ‘engineered’, especially on the palate that is kind of liqueurish. A Laphroaig liqueur? We like the regular Quarter Cask a little better and our good old 10yo CS much better. SGP:547 - 86 points. (and thank you Christophe)
Laphroaig 16 yo 1991/2007 (57.0%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #29.62) This one was nicknamed “Danger warning!”, which means either that they got rather lazy in finding names at the honourable Society, or that’s it’s a scary Laphroaig indeed. Colour: straw. Nose: this is a good example of a Laphroaig that’s almost ten years older but that does not noses older than the 3W at all. That said, it’s extremely clean, zesty, mineral, ashy and flinty, getting then very slightly nougatty/candied but also much more maritime than the 3W. With water: ah yes, this is an excellent swimmer. Seashells, wet wool, raw peated barley, cough syrup and an unusual meatiness (game). Superb. Mouth (neat): to paraphrase the good old Stooges, this is raw power indeed. Extremely rich, thick, peaty, medicinal and salty, with this particular Laphroaig fruitiness that combines lemons with apples. A bit simple, though. With water: once again, water made wonders. Gentian, liquorice wood and pu-erh tea. Very classy. Finish: long and even more peaty, maritime and salty. Comments: classic untouched Laphroaig for Laphroaig lovers – but needs water. SGP:358 - 90 points. (and thank you Marcel)

MUSIC – Recommended listening: Ornette Coleman going commercial in 1982? Not quite but it's true that funky harmolodics work well methinks. More than just a curiosity (and yes it's Tacuma on bass), here's Sleep talk. Please buy Ornette's music!

Ornette
 

March 1, 2009


THANK YOU ! Yes, thank you because these humble pages have just been visited for the 2,000,000th time since Whiskyfun became a ‘tasting diary’ five years ago. Our cruising speed lies above 100,000 visits/30,000 single visitors per month these days, which isn’t too bad in our opinion. Alexa.com, which ranks websites by categories, puts us at rank #15 of all web sites about whisky (brand sites included), which isn’t too bad either even if their data do not seem to be very complete (here’s a PDF of their current Top 100). I’d add that if you added up the figures of the Malt Maniacs’ infernal trilogy of web sites (Johannes’ maltmadness.com, maltmaniacs.org, whiskyfun.com) all that would be much higher of course.
Now, do all these figures really matter? Yes and no… Yes because it’s always great to check that quite a few people seem to have fun visiting our pages (and read the 5,000+ tasting notes), and no because we’ll keep refusing to translate your kind visits into money (read paid advertising, edvertising, jobs, consultancies, masterclasses, email list broking, whatever – even whisky, mind you) in the foreseeable future. Not that all that would be wrong, of course, and we certainly won’t “throw stones” at all the nice guys who play it that way these days, but we really want to keep all this 100% fun and 100% independent. This isn’t our job, but simply one of our (sometimes invading) hobbies!
While I’m at it, let me add that if you spot some of our tasting notes/scores on commercial web sites, leaflets or shops, they’re always used for free. What’s more, yes we get whisky samples from some bottlers, but we also buy a lot of whisky and we have great friends! And before this gets really too long and maudlin, I’d like to thank these friends without whom Whiskyfun wouldn’t be, well, fun:
Konstantin   Nick Morgan and Kate Kavanagh for their totally fabulous concert reviews and photographs (remember, whisky and music go together!); Konstantin, the absolute Kaiser of rare whisky samples (and generosity); many Malt Maniacs and friends who are happy to give a hand whenever they can (Johannes, Olivier, Davin, Dave, Tomislav, Marcel, Chris, Bert… and many others); and of course our dear liver – even if we actually drink much less than what you may think.
Remember, “whisky is serious matter only to the people who make it, sell it or drink way too much of it.” Keep it fun!

February 2009 - part 2 <--- March 2009 - part 1 ---> March 2009 - part 2


C
heck the index of all entries:
Whisky
Music
Nick's Concert Reviews

 

 

Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only - alphabetical:

Blair Athol 1974/2007 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #8818)

Glendronach 12 yo ‘Original’ (43%, OB, 75cl, +/-1985)

Laphroaig 16 yo 1991/2007 (57.0%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #29.62)

Strathisla 41 yo 1967/2008 (48.3%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, cask #2721)

Strathisla 41 yo 1967/2008 (48%, Duncan Taylor Rare Auld for Germany, cask #2718)

Tobermory 35 yo 1972/2008 (49.4%, Whisky Doris, First fill dark sherry, 191 bottles)