Monday, February 20, 2006

Failed miserably :-(

Despite my real desire to do the Auchentoshan tour, it just didn't happen.


Went out with some folks from work ( people I like & some I tolerate) and guess what, I drank a few, well actually quiet a lot of drams.

My drink of choice was 16 YO Lagavulin, the cheap easy to get one, but a great drinking whisky all the same.

Jim Murray's (Whisky magazine) tasting notes :

Massive peat. Ultra-intense iodine carries a shade more spice than of old. The fruity-sherry notes are clean, vanilla is much deeper. Beautifully layered.
Palate - Peat so thick you could stand a spoon in it. Chewy iodine bolstered by sherry and big oak.
Finish - A little spice lightens the grip of the peat and vanilla. Dries off with malt, dried dates... and iodine.
Comment - A true classic in every sense that offers breathtaking depth.

And frankly who can argue ........ It's a real powerhouse & one of my favourite " drinking" malts. My wife thinks it "tastes of dirt" which means I can have a bottle all to myself at home:-)

Now, and this is another "find" for me, I have a bottle of Lagavulin 1989 distillers edition (Double matured in Pedro Ximenez cask) in front of me. In my opinion this is a fantastic "end of the day" dram.

It gives me loads of burnt wood, peat and toffee, with a hint of raisins soaked in sherry, fiery but smooth finish. Its a real belter. I think it may be an acquired taste and might not suit those who don't like the peatiness of the islay's but worth a shot if you haven't tried it all the same.

Some interesting facts about Lagavulin

Situated in a small bay on the south coast of Islay, Lagavulin is nearby the ruins of Dunyveg Castle.
It was from this bay, it is said, that 1,000 Islaymen set sail to fight alongside The Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314.This same bay was where the Macdonalds maintained their power base as Lords of the Isles until they were finally driven out by the Campbells in the 1600's.
Like many distilleries, Lagavulin claims to be one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Distilling on the site is thought to date from the early 1700's, which if true, would make it a legitimate claim to make.

That's me for this evening.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Just popping down the local, pet.

I am lucky enough to have a distillery on my doorstep. Bizzarilly enough, I have never been in it and have only sampled a couple of its more commercial expressions. (more of which later)

Auchentoshan is one of only 3 remaining(so far as I know) Lowland producers ( although Glengoyn could arguably be called Lowland, since it isn't above the highland boundary fault. I guess the owners feel being "a Highland" is more romantic). The others ( Glenkinchie, & Bladnoch & Loch Lomond) I have to admit to knowing very little about. It's going to be nice finding out about them though ;-)

I used to have another wee distillery even nearer that Auchentoshan called Littlemill. I don't remember it producing, but when I moved down to this neck of the woods, it still had a bonded warehouse on site ( it was owned by the Loch Lomond Distillery). Unortunately its now been knocked down, no doubt to make way for more houses or possibly a super casino......... aye right !)


Its got a really fascinating history, apperently during the Clydebank Blitz, the Luftwaffe blew up a couple of warehouses, resulting in the loss of over 1 Million, aye I did say 1 Million, Litres of spirit. That must have been one hell of a fire ;-(
Have a look at the website ( links on the right), its a bit cheesy, but makes for interesting reading.

The expressions I have tasted are The 3 wood and The Select ( in actual fact I have one in my hand as I type. Slainte Mhath )

The Select -
Hmmm, I have to say its palatable enough, quiet light and easy to sup, but (and maybe its just I haven't got my senses back after this cold) it doesn't do an awful lot for me. It's definetly a young un, so benefits I think from a reasonable splash of water 75 - 100% ( I would use water from the burn that runs into it, but its a bit murky and there are lots of sheep in the field just now ;-) ) Tasting notes suggest :

Nose: Floral, green apples and a hint of lime. - I get a bit more Pear Drops than apple, but hey I don't make the stuff.
Palate: Soft blackcurrant and lime flavours, with a touch of aniseed and malty sweetness. - for me its loads of aniseed and sharp malt, its funny how people's palates differ, but thats half the fun I guess.
Finish: Short, soft and fresh. - Aye, I'll go with that.

The 3 Wood -
I havent tried this one for some time, but when I had it last, it knocked me out. I remember it being really full bodied, not quiet christmas pud, but damn close. Strange for a lowland that, but it did have a real bit of depth to it. Tasting notes say:

Body: Medium with a mellow roundness.
Nose: Blackcurrant, brown sugar, orange, plum and raisin.
Palate: Fruit and syrup. Hazelnut with hints of cinnamon and lemon. A butterscotch sweetness adds to the overall complexity.
Finish: Fresh and fruity with a long lasting oaky sweetness.

Quiet frankly, from memory, I can't argue.

I'm going to try & get up to the Distillery this weekend and with any luck will get a sample of some of their more unusual wares. For the moment I would say, try the 3 Wood, its a pretty lowcost malt with tons of character.

'fraid that's all for now.

Yec'hed mat

Monday, February 13, 2006

Like a good dram, the 1st one will no doubt lead to others

Well..... I said I would start a blog on my favourite tipple, so here goes.

I've not been drinking anything for wee while, cause I've been under the weather, so I'll leave posting anything on tastes etc until I get my palate & nose back. In the meantime I will populate the blog with other whisky resources which I enjoy.

To begin with ( & this will not surprise those who know me) we will start with my favourite distillery.

Bruichladdich - a real island gem

The laddie site has some fantastic tasting & nosing info and like the whisky they produce, the website is a wee bitty different.
I like this stuff so much, I bought a cask of the stuff..........Its only 2 years old just now and I think the next 13 years are going to be tough, but with luck, the end product should be something just that little bit special - I went for a fresh sherry hogshead (mainly because there were no re-fill casks available at the time).

My favourite expression is the 15YO (although the forty is absolutely awesome ( thanks to uncle john for a wee snifter) unfortunately its a grand a bottle :-(

The fifteen is a real nice end of the day dram, well worth savouring. Have a look at the website for tasting info and do yourself a favour - go buy a bottle.

I promise you, whether you are a speyside, highland or peaty island fan, this will not disappoint.