I am much behind on Whisky Squad write-ups, which is especially bad as I’ve recently started helping out organise The Squad properly, rather than just shouting drunkenly during the sessions and claiming that it’s ‘help’. Anyways, Whisky Squad #37 has fallen by the wayside, as I was helping present it and didn’t make enough notes. But never mind – here is number #38!
It’s taken a while but unfortunately Whisky Squad has now run out of whisky to taste. Over 35 sessions (plus a few unnumbered ones) we’ve tasted our way through everything Scotland has to offer. Rather than curl up and die, like any self respecting society dedicated to the exploration of a specific spirit, the Squad has instead decided to switch allegiances and turn to another spirit – and thusly is it now renamed: Tequila Squad!
Or, you know, it could just be that Andy really wanted to learn about tequila and after attending a tasting session at Wahaca (which I also attended) got chatting with a chap who mainly hid in the darkness all night, making sure things ran right, and got an agreement that he’d run a session for The Squad. Jump forward a year and a bit and it finally came together, with the mysterious man in the shadows revealed to be Matthias Lataille of the Tahona Society, who brought along a friend of his – Stephen Myers from Ilegal Mezcal.
It’s been a busy month. Or so. However out of a combination of a (misplaced and unrequired) sense of duty and the fact that this blog is increasingly a replacement for my rapidly deteriorating memory it’s time for some more Whisky Squad magic. Way back in April (about a month as I write) we hit the mammoth third session within a four week period, breaking out very much for pastures new. Eschewing both our usual pubby surroundings and the chilly lands to the north of Hadrian’s wall we gathered at Dishoom on St Martin’s Lane for a run through some Indian whiskies with Icons of Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year 2012 Ashok Chockalingham of Amrut.
I quite like sacrilege, especially in the world of drinks. My first blog post at work was about whisky cocktails, a subject that raises ire amongst many whisky purists, and I’ve championed the use of decent whisky in cocktails ever since. That said, I also hate whisky in lots of cocktails and find recipes that say ’25ml of Single Malt Whisky’ particularly annoying – the flavour variation amongst whiskies makes such a statement fairly meaningless (although does leave things open to interpretation by the bartender/maker, as is Right and Proper). Anyways, the folks at Monkey Shoulder have many strings to their PR-y bow and one that is popping up more often recently is the joy of using it as a base for cocktails.
How time flies. A mere two years ago I was an occasional drunk who sometimes wrote things up on his blog, who then bumped into Andy and Jason of WhiskySquad at a couple of booze events, leading to my attendance of almost every one of their sessions. These days I’m a professional drunk who still only sometimes writes stuff on his blog, but WhiskySquad has gone from strength to strength. Up to at least two tastings a month and at least three iterations into their website, tickets still sell out quickly and, as a crowning achievement, they’ve even had me along to present an evening. After last year’s shindig there was a standard to be lived up to, so the big guns were rolled out for birthday number two – a matured whisky and new spirit pairing.
Yes, after two years of schmoozing the assembled masses of the whisky industry Andy and Jason managed to lever a number of sample bottles of new make spirit out of the hands of the distilleries for a bit of a special evening – tasting blind, as usual, whiskies and the new make spirits that they started out as.
Today is St Patrick’s day, a fact I know due to a) it being the day after my mate Adam‘s birthday (happy birthday Mr A) and b) Diageo having died their lake green. Again. In celebration of this holiday that I have no particular personal attachment to I have decided to live the stereotype to the full and am having whiskey for breakfast (Bushmills Original) while writing up the most recent Whisky Squad meeting – the not particularly imaginatively named ‘Irish Whiskey #1’. The second part of March’s St Patrick’s tribute sessions was this week, Irish #2 – Cooley is Hot, with Cooley whiskey flowing upstairs at The Gunmakers, but as I was sensibly sat on my sofa less sensibly watching the fairly awful, but colour relevant, Green Lantern, this is your lot for Squad writeups for the month. Let the rejoicing commence.
Hello. I’m in Scotland, surrounded by snow and equipped with inadequate footwear, a combination of facts that should make post(s) later this week a beacon for schadenfreude tinged enjoyment. Anyways, as whisky distilleries treat weekends in February with appropriate level of contempt (they’re working but don’t open for tourists, as there are only four of us here who want to come and visit, and we’re all sleeping, going to the pub and bemoaning our inadequate footwear) today is a day for writing things, in this case a quick note (edit: quick was the intention, however it didn’t happen) about Whisky Squad #30 – The Management presents.
January has now drawn to a close and with it came another Whisky Squad session. It’s hard work writing up two of these a month, it barely gives me any time to sit on my arse and obsessively watch The West Wing. Only two episodes watched this evening. And yes, this is two Squad posts in a row, but I’ve got other things to write about this week (although mainly for work) and I didn’t want this post to sit languishing until I sober up/find some time.
Anyways, January’s second session took us back to a previous venue, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society‘s London rooms. However, rather than just begging the space (and the lend of the glasses) we were joined by their Brand Ambassador John McCheyne who brought along a selection of drams, the ability to talk about said drams and the promise of 10% Off! if we bought any of the bottles.