Meta: Facebook and Twitter

A quick meta-post – I’ve set up a Facebook page and Twitter account for the blog. With Google Reader going away I thought I’d have a play with non-RSS syndication, so new posts should magically appear on @BillysBoozeBlog and the BBBlog FB page. Whether they will or not is something I will discover over the coming moments after hitting the ‘Publish’ button, but whatever happens there’s a Facebook page and a Twitter account connected to this blog. If such things are your bag then do with this new knowledge whatever it is that you do with such knowledge.

Movember round-up, competition winner and that’s about it

So, in an effort to stop writing about things that aren’t booze (which only really happens around this birthday moustache part of the year) here’s a quick round-up of outstanding items.

Firstly, my competition with the FABULOUS PRIZE! has now closed. The names have been collated, the random number generator has been prodded and a winner has been selected. The answer was of course that Mr Roskrow has recently started up the World Whisky Review with the fine folks at Connosr, who I seem to spend a lot of time pimping at the moment. The winner of the FABULOUS PRIZE! is none other than Chris Welfare, who will (once I manage to get down to the post office) be receiving a copy of Dom’s very pretty book The World’s Best Whiskies. Well done to him, thankyou to everyone who entered for showing that there are people reading this blog who I haven’t met, and thanks to everyone who wished the blog a happy birthday last week.

Anyways, moving swiftly on – MOVEMBER IS OVER! Soon my pretty face will yet again be hidden and people will stop saying ‘Oh, it suits you’ about my frankly ridiculous facial hair. By today my team had raised £3062 and the Whisky4Movember network, with a bunch of other whisky related teams in, hit £11,124, with over £6k of that coming from Master of Malt’s Movember bottling (of which more in a later post). Which is pretty impressive. You can still donate if you would like, but the moustaches have already started to come off. Mine hasn’t and hopefully I won’t look too ridiculous while my beard grows back. Anyways, here is some of the facial topiary that appeared:

Special mention must go to Mr Standing, who was bullied into joining in during the recording of an episode of Village of the Drammed and ended up agreeing to shave his head if he broke the £1000 mark. He did, and now he looks a bit scary.

Anyways, enough meta posting, normal booze related service will resume shortly

Happy Birthday to Me. Again. And a competition!

The year has rolled around again and the mighty power that is Billy’s Booze Blog is now two whole years old.

This year has been a weird one, with the last half of it having been spent as a professional (I claim none of the characteristics associated with professionalism other than a pay packet) boozer rather than enthusiastic amateur that I was last November. Output on this here blog has dropped quite significantly over the last few months due to that, but I’ve still managed to get a good few posts out:

2009-2010: 102 posts, ~100k words
2010-2011: 66 posts, ~95k words

So, only 65% the posts but 95% the word count. Rolling in my (currently) work blog posts that’s significantly more words than last year but a lot less posts. I need an editor…

On top of my job I’ve also started doing a video podcast with Messrs Standing and RookVillage of the Drammed. We’ve got four episodes in the bag, with three released so far and plans to record more as soon as we can. You can even subscribe to it on iTunes and like us on Facebook. Here’s the first one:

As a thank you to you lot reading this, and as a way to try and get rid of some of the stuff that I seem to keep in my house, I have a Fabulous Prize! to give away! Last year I went to the launch party/practise dinner for Dom Roskrow‘s book The World’s Best Whiskies, at which I was given a copy of the book. A couple of months later a parcel arrived from the Whisky Tasting Club, which Dom helps run, with another copy of the book. As such I’ve got a spare one and therefore it counts as a Fabulous Prize!

To enter, drop me an email to worldsbest@bbblog.org.uk with the your name and the answer to the following question:

What whisky website is Dom working with to produce World Whisky Review, an online whisky magazine which recently released its first issue?

The competition will close on November 30th at 2359hours GMT – any entries received after that time will be ignored, as I’m going to turn off the email address. I’ll choose a name at random from one of my excellent hats (or using a random number generator, it depends on how much paper I have for my printer). The only rules are:

  • One entry per person
  • Billy may not enter
  • Billy’s decision is final

Anyways, thanks again to everyone who has written comments, grabbed me in real life and said “Hello, are you Billy? I read your blog” or otherwise encouraged me. Booze writing is now my job and it’s in part your fault. Well done.

Cheers

Movember – The Beginnining

It’s the first of November and that means that Movember 2011 has begun. Last night I had my now traditional (two years makes it a tradition) shave and have revealed my lack of a strong chin to the world. In standard fashion I also went for a number of intermediary beards, this year starting with a nod towards the Amish symbol of marriage, a step towards Daniel P Carter and then a Treme inspired fluffy soul patch. I am quite keen on going for a shaven headed chin beard next year, but will probably get bored of the idea before I could implement it, which is a good thing:

Movember 2011 - Shavedown

So, I will be attempting to keep up a daily progress report on my MoSpace as I slowly (so very slowly) make myself look more ridiculous on a day by day basis. Other than the upcoming Movember WhiskySquad tasting (still a couple of tickets left) this is the last I’ll be mentioning it so be good and go sponsor me.

Barcamp London 9 – Beginner’s Guide to Absinthe

So, yesterday I did a talk at BarCampLondon about Absinthe. Which was fun. My main take-away from it is that doing a history of absinthe, a discussion of production methods, a hand around of the botanicals, a tasting of two, and the obligatory “Don’t set it alight” and “No, it won’t make you see things any more than Special Brew” in 25 minutes is Hard. Anyways, here are my slides, although I recommend you download them if you want to have a look as all the info is in the notes. If you don’t have Keynote (which I didn’t until last week) there’s also a PDF of slides and notes here.

Whisky4Movember 2011

The year has rolled around again and my blog is getting alarmingly close to being two years old (November 23rd doth approach…) which can mean only one thing – it’s almost time for Movember. I looked out the window this morning into a fog layer deep enough that seeing the ground from 6 floors up wasn’t guaranteed and remembered that soon my delicate face will be exposed to the biting elemental fury that is a mild British winter. Fear for my chins, dear reader, fear for them.

In short – Movember is a charity that raises money for men’s health organisations, especially focusing on prostate cancer. The money raising bit mainly comes from hairy idiots like me removing the hairiness from their faces and gently cultivating some kind of moustache. I did it last year and I’ll be doing it again this one…

Continue reading “Whisky4Movember 2011”

An aside and some actual content: The Balvenie Whisky Den – Preview…

A bit quiet on the blogging front this last week as I’ve been doing my first week at The Whisky Exchange. So as not to leave the blog fallow here’s a quick post pointing you at another post – my first post on the TWE Blog, talking about whisky cocktails. Feel free to go and add a comment (that’s the last time I ask for comments in a blog post, I knew what was going to happen…). I’ll probably be putting something up over there most weeks, but hopefully usual service will be continuing here soon.

To add the actual content that the title promises, here’s something for London people. I’ve heard tales over the last few months of something interesting coming out of the pleasantly mad end of the William Grants PR dept and now it’s distilled into something real – The Balvenie Whisky Den. Hiding in a shop front on Tavistock Street near Covent Garden it’s, simply put, a pop-up bar. However, to build on the idea of craftsmanship that Balvenie are pushing as part of their brand on day one (Monday 9th May, about a week ago) there was nothing there apart from some building supplies and whisky. Since then, with updates through the @BalvenieUK twitter account, the team has been building out two levels of the shop to be a bar and tasting room for the Balvenie range.

I popped by at the end of week one and was confronted with a fairly spartan upstairs and a closed downstairs area. There was a bar, some stave based lampshades, a pair of barrel racks (complete with barrels) and a halved sherry butt being used as a table for tastings. They’re open from 1pm-8pm (although that may change) and offer visitors a free taste of Balvenie Double Wood and, for Warehouse 24 members (the Balvenie club, sign-up forms available on-site) a deconstructed tasting of Balvenie Signature – a try of each of the three types of whisky that go into Balvenie’s master distiller David Stewart’s signature malt.

The downstairs was closed when I went, due to to it still being a proper building site, but by Sunday 15th the upstairs was clad in staves and, all going to plan, downstairs should have had some interesting adornments and ‘activity areas’ added. The press launch is on Wednesday, which I’ll hopefully make it down for, and the London Cocktail Society, including myself again, are visiting on Friday, so there will be a more complete blog post sometime soon. However, in the meantime if you are around the Covent Garden area and feel like a dram – The Whisky Den, 34 Tavistock Street. They made a sign last Wednesday, so it should be easy to find…

The piccies are lifted from the @BalvenieUK yfrog account, where there are a bunch more in progress shots.

Change of circumstances…

A bit of meta-posting, but something that I felt I should share.

When I started this blog back in 2009 it was to give me the excuse (of the blog tagline) to get out there and try lots of different types of booze with no more intent than learning more about something that I’ve long been a fan of. However, through the lovely people I’ve met and things I’ve learned it’s taken over more and more of my life to the point that I started to consider that the drinks industry might be somewhere that I could make a living. So, it’s with a rather unexpected joy that I can announce that I’m leaving the world of financial software behind me and embarking on a rather different new adventure.

From early-May I will be working for The Whisky Exchange helping to manage content on their website.

Not a lot will change here, with this being my own website and not affiliated with my day job, and I’ll still be writing my normal wordy rubbish – my new masters haven’t quite sewn up the entire booze market (yet) and my quest to learn all things about the world of drinks is far from over.

So to all of those who have helped me along the way, not least all you lovely readers who have encouraged me to keep going – many thanks, I owe you a beverage or three. BBBlog will remain independent and still one of the best excuses to drink that I’ve ever come up with.

Slainte Mhath, Prost, Egészségedre!

Guest post on Master of Malt

Well. Pretty much as the title says – I did a guest post over on the Master of Malt blog. They sent me a bottle of whisky and some bitters (I now have two bottles of their bitters…) and asked me to come up with a Christmassy cocktail. I didn’t use quite as many bits of equipment or FIRE! as CaskStrength.net‘s Neil Ridley, who did the post before mine, but I think I can safely say that neither Neil, Joshua Hatton (who’s up next) or any of the others in the series will have come up with as dodgy a name as Mull of Apple-Tyre. It was late, I had a deadline, stop looking at me like that.

From:

00-Ingredients

To:

11b-Serve Poncily

With only a shake and the balancing of an overly large cinnamon stick. Yes, that is the same cinnamon stick that I used to stir my hot buttered rum. I am frugal.

And thus ends my whisky ‘deluge’. More of a spilled half empty bucket, but there will of course be more to come.

Whisky deluge warning and Billy does a whisky tasting

It seems that the next week or so is going to be a bit of a whisky focused one here on my blog (“In what way is this different to usual?” I hear you ask). Part of the excuse I’m using for that is that it’s Burns Night in a couple of weeks time, but the real reasons are twofold:

  1. I seem to have a lot of whisky in the house
  2. I’m off to drink whisky elsewhere a bunch of times in the near future
  3. I’m running a whisky tasting next week

The tasting is to be held on Thursday January 20th at The Alma in Islington as part of their week long run up to Burns Night. I’m going to be running a group through 5 whiskies and talking my normal range of obsessive toot from about 7.30pm. Tickets are available at £15 a head from the pub, although as it’s ‘way over there’ you can drop them a mail or call to book. It’s a general beginner’s tasting  so there will be some whisky to drink and discussion to be had. Let me know if you’re coming along so I can work out if I need to wear a disguise or not.