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.
Continue reading “Chefas Rigal 81 – My Favourite Whisky Label”
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.
Continue reading “More whisky than whisky”
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.
Continue reading “The Malt Whisky Trail – a wander through Speyside”
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.
Continue reading “Port Charlotte Transparency and the Bruichladdich Feis Ile Masterclass”
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.
Continue reading “The Bramble Cocktail – World Gin Day”
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.
Continue reading “I’m going to Islay – Feis Ile Pop-up Bar!”
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.
Continue reading “Best Before Dates – Fresh Beer II”
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:
Continue reading “Boozy April Fool’s round-up 2017”