Chefas Rigal 81 – My Favourite Whisky Label

Chefas Rigal 81

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.

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Four Roses – two mashbills, five yeasts, ten whiskeys

Four Roses

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.
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Port Charlotte Transparency and the Bruichladdich Feis Ile Masterclass

Bruichladdich Warehouse Tasting

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.

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Best Before Dates – Fresh Beer II

Best Before End

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.

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