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.
It’s World Gin Day, and while I haven’t made it to any events, or even far from my house, I have been drinking gin – there are some standards that need to be maintained. As in more recent years, I’ve not been necking G&Ts, but instead been trying my hand at a cocktail. This time, a drink which I have deep fondness for – The Bramble.
The folks at Laphroaig are fans of the travel retail sector, and the latest launch has added a pair of whiskies to the range. While passing through Aberdeen airport recently, I grabbed the first of the two – Laphroaig Four Oak.
In case there’s anyone I haven’t told in person/on Facebook/by email/via carrier pigeon/etc: I’m going to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt this year. If you’re going, you should come and say hello.
It’s BrewDog’s AGM this weekend, and along with some big news (a new bar in Glasgow with micro-brewery, launching Lone Wolf gin and vodka, revealing who’s buying 22% of the company…) there are a load of beers to try. In amongst the the cans of Born to Die and bottles of Dog F are a trio of beers from the past: Hop Rocker, The Physics and Punk IPA. This isn’t the Punk of today, instead it’s a recreation of the original recipe. And while I’m not at the AGM, I am in BrewDog Shepherd’s Bush, leeching their wifi and drinking Original Punk IPA.
My recent post about fresh beer has made me change my attitude to beer almost as much as my first taste of new world hops. The past few weeks have seen me squinting at bottling codes in badly lit shops and regretting almost every beer I’ve bought in a restaurant. It’s also made me think a lot about the one indication that we usually have to give us an idea of how fresh it is – best before dates.
While almost every news item that has popped up over the past few months has seemed like an elaborate ruse put together by bored copywriters, 1 April is the day where there is some vague excuse to actually make up a story or two. Here’s 2017’s crop:
Compared with most forms of transport, air travel is still quite new. But what planes miss out on to hovercraft and helicopters in novelty, they win in numbers of passengers and potential for classiness. These days Easyjet’s rip-top pouches of cut-price vodka have cut into that class, but look back to the 1960s and you’ll find a golden age of air travel, or at least adverts claiming there was one. Then as now, if you have classy travel, you’ll almost always find a drinks company trying to cash in – introducing the Old Crow Traveler.