When it comes to drinks which don’t contain alcohol, there is one that I am almost as obsessive over as booze – coffee. While I’m generally not a fan of coffee beers, there’s one that combines beer, coffee and whisky in a way that I can’t ignore: Magic Rock Common Grounds.
The internet is a dangerous place and Facebook is a collapsing mine of peril. Be wary of participating in ‘discussion’ as sometimes a throwaway comment can lead to blogging…
I love whisky labels. While regulations for what appears on a bottle are strict in most parts of the world, making it a challenge to be creative, there’s a whole segment of the market where they don’t care: counterfeit bottlings. I’m not talking about the intricately constructed fakes that pass undetected around the collectors’ world, I mean the dodgy bottles that are obviously fake to any whisky fan, including a lot of the folks who buy them.
From the infamous Johnnie Worker Red Labial to the design-your-own-label bottlings from the Aberlour website where enterprising individuals have added a vintage that predates the distillery’s construction, there are some obvious fakes out there. However, for me, one takes the biscuit: Chefas Rigal 81.
There are some bottle of booze that have mystique. Bottles that people search for and keep, opening them only special occasions. For me, one of the bottles that I’ve coveted since hearing about it is an 80 year old beer. So, here’s the oldest beer I’ve drunk, opened at the celebration of someone becoming old: an excellent occasion and an incredible bottle – Bass Prince’s Ale from 1929.
It’s Christmas. As someone who works for a whisky shop, I’ve got used to the 1 November festive season starter, but it seems that it’s still grating for most. However, there’s something to help get you through the long weeks until legitimate advent anticipation arrives in December: Christmas booze releases. This time – Aldi Irish Reserve 26 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey.
There has been much discussion of late about the creations of Lost Spirits, a company working on speeding up the ageing of spirits. While the process and ideas, and the surrounding recent furore, are interesting, the discussion unearthed a few things for me that dig much deeper into the world of drinks.
Yesterday’s announcement from Diageo about the ‘reopening’ of Port Ellen and Brora caught the whisky world unawares. At first, it made no sense to me, but after a day of mulling it over, and reading interviews and the internet, it’s started to come together. Here’s a round up of what we know and my thoughts.
Continue reading “Port Ellen and Brora: The Resurrection”
I like Scotland. Despite living in London and growing up on the south coast of England, I’ve been making the pilgrimage north of the wall pretty much every year for the last 35. One thing has been constant through all those years: brown signs telling me the way to the next distillery on the Malt Whisky Trail.
Every year, a new part of the distillation process or an ingredient seems to be ‘the most important bit’. Sometimes it’s the grain, sometimes it’s the water, sometimes it’s the stills, but almost every year the geekier whisky fans start talking about yeast – one of the key flavour creators in the whisky making process. And when it comes to yeast, there’s one distiller who does more than most – Four Roses.
Continue reading “Four Roses – two mashbills, five yeasts, ten whiskeys”
One of the most coveted tickets of the yearly Islay Festival (Feis Ile) is the Bruichladdich Feis Ile Masterclass – a chance for a few hundred of the distillery’s biggest fans to try not only the yearly festival bottling, but also taste hidden delights from deep in the well-stocked warehouses. This year, I finally made it along.