Laphroaig Càirdeas – with a little help from our friends

Laphroaig, despite being the biggest-selling Islay whisky, doesn’t mess around with many special edition bottlings. The distillery has a solid core range, an occasional selection of older and more expensive bottlings, and a few travel retail exclusives, but it focuses almost all of its special-edition efforts on a single bottle each year: Laphroaig Càirdeas.

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The Lakes Whiskymaker’s Editions: Liberty

The Lakes Whiskymaker's Editions: Liberty

I’ve tried to write about The Lakes a few times. I visited shortly after they opened and returned again a couple of years back, during which time it had changed to be almost unrecognisable. It’s a distillery that my opinion has changed about more than any other and with this latest release my opinion has shifted once again. Time to have a look at The Lakes Whiskymaker’s Editions: Liberty.

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Awamori with The Shochu Lounge at ROKA

If you’ve spoken to me in person in the past couple of years, I’ve almost certainly started rambling about Japan. I’ve been obsessed with the country for most of my life and, in more recent years, its drinks. Back at the beginning of 2020 I got to visit and explore the world of shochu and awamori, and my discovery of the latter continued through 2020’s lockdown. It’s all recently culminated in my first in-person awamori tasting – A Beginner’s Guide to Awamori hosted by The Shochu Lounge, an incredible bar hidden underneath ROKA Charlotte Street.

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Oli Klimek’s Super Happy Halloween Fun

It is Halloween. Rather than skipping through the streets helping children acquire diabetes, I am locked up in my flat with all the lights off, ignoring knocks on the door and drinking weird spirits. The first part of that sentence is expected – I’ve been scared of trick or treaters ever since my university flatmates stole my strawberry Milky Ways to feed to some while I hid in my room (I’m still not entirely sure why, but dress kids up as skeletons, and I’m hiding). However, the weird spirits bit needs some explanation.

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Fèis Ìle 2021 – Lagavulin 13yo and Caol Ila 12yo

It’s Fèis Ìle – The Islay Festival of Music and Malt – and, for the second year in a row, it’s not the normal island-population-doubling week of in-person shenanigans. While you can now go and play on Islay, the festival has stayed online, and this week sees a host of virtual events, from quizzes and dances to whisky tastings.

While the festivities have kicked off a day earlier than usual, with Ardnahoe grabbing the Friday, the opening Saturday focuses on Lagavulin, with queues usually snaking out of the distillery shop from first light. Sister distillery Caol Ila joins the fray on Monday, although generally with a quieter affair. However, everything is online this year, including the sales of the special festival bottlings – a Lagavulin 13 Year Old and a Caol Ila 12 Year Old…

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Waterford Gristers – a tale of terroir

Here’s a guest piece from Lee ‘Connas’ Connor – the Distilled Consultant, who you may know from his work with The Whisky Lounge and Scotch Malt Whisky Society – looking into the wonders of Waterford Distillery.

There can be no doubt that when Mark Reynier announced his return to distilling at Waterford, the whisky community was braced for a veritable wave of provenance-centred propaganda. And who can blame him, given his huge success in the regeneration of Bruichladdich Distillery and their ongoing obsessive commitment (even post-Reynier) to transparency in their whisky making process? From a purely commercial point of view, he would be a fool to tweak his trademark outspoken and irreverent image at this point.

What we were perhaps not expecting was the gaping abyss between how Bruichladdich and Waterford make whisky. Yes, it is what is in the bottle that counts, but you would be hard pushed to find two more contrasting single malt distilleries.

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The Negroni Variations: Boulevardier

There are waves in the drinks world. Ideas that roll around and smash together to create rolling peaks where everyone seems to talk about the same thing for a short time. I really like negronis, and having seen a bunch of mentions of them and the negroni family over the past week, I better jump on before my metaphor breaks. Negroni variation #1: the Boulevardier.

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