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.
Despite the amount of time this blog implies I spend doing booze related activities I do also have a day job as a computer programmer. As part of this ‘secret’ second life I like to go and play at techy conferences and this last weekend I attended Barcamp London 8. Despite the potential of the word ‘Barcamp’ to refer to boozy activities (although there was a bar that I worked on and a lot of booze consumed, with drunken karaoke as the natural consequence of the latter) it is instead a free, community driven unconference, where there is no specific agenda and talks are all proposed and scheduled during the conference itself. While Barcamps are traditionally quite technical in nature they are not prescriptively so and I ran a session on one of my favourite topics – Whisky for Beginners.
Anyways, you can grab a copy of my slides (which get updated to make them more readable) from my website, although they were more a thing to have behind me on a screen than something filled with a load of information. Many thanks go to Rachel Clarke, who in a previous life worked at a distillery and knows a lot more about the making of whisky than I, who filled in some gaps and told me where I went wrong – it seems that my knowledge of grain whisky mashbills, amongst other things, is even more deficient than I thought…
Here are some links to some bits and pieces that I mentioned during my talk:
- Scotch Whisky Association legal definition of Scotch Whisky
- The legal definitions of the different whisky types
- Whisky regions on Wikipedia
- Richard Paterson’s blog
- Taiwanese whisky on this blog (the whisky on the title page is Kavalan Solist sherry cask)
- Whisky barrel speakers
- Master of Malt’s Drinks by The Dram (where my sample jars came from)
- My Movember page
The whiskies I brought along were:
- Master of Malt Mo’land Movember whisky. Lowland blended malt Scotch whisky. 40% ABV. ~£35 from Master of Malt.
- SMWS 127.3, ‘Beach BBQ for Older Boy Scouts’. Islay (Port Charlotte) cask strength single cask single malt Scotch whisky. 67%. ~£50. Sold out at the SMWS site.
Many thanks to all of those who came along. Please drop me a comment or email with any comments – it was my first Barcamp talk so any hints and tips are greatly appreciated. The talk has a page on lanyrd.com, so please add anything else you find about it up there.