drpaisley: (Default)
Tonight, I drank the last of a bottle of Port Ellen Islay Single Malt Whisky. It was a Signatory Vintage, and thus has its personal information on the bottle, thusly:

Distilled: 8.4.75*

Bottled: 13.5.99

Cask No. 1753

Bottle no. 61 of 250

I purchased the bottle on May 28, 2004, at the Gomer's Northland store. I noticed the Signatory can the bottle came in, noted the price, checked the info on the bottle, put it back in the can, put the can in the cart, and told Rohanna "We are buying this. If they have more, we are buying them all," because the price was $24.99. That is, just over $1/year. Sadly, they did not have any other such bottles. After ConQuesT, I looked this particular vintage online, where I found it for £149, or about $225 at the time.

Tonight just seemed like the right time to finish it off, and it was still wonderful. I shall keep th bottle, for the memories. Nom.
drpaisley: (Default)
We went to the Flying Saucer for my natal celebration, down in the Power & White Light District downtown. They always list the latest additions to their selections on a big chalkboard over the bar, so that's where I looked first. I immediately saw what I wanted, Founders Breakfast Stout. I was not disappointed. Very rich, full of chocolate and coffee, and smoooooooth. I have not been excessively impressed with most of the beers I've had from Founders, but this and their Old Curmudgeon barleywine are definitely worth checking out.

I had the "Build Your Own" meat & cheese platter for dinner, with pepper salame, hot soprasetta, smoked
Gouda and Manchego. Om nom nom. With it I had a New Belgium Hoptober, which I have enjoyed greatly in bottles, but wanted to try on tap. It's a very tasty medium bodied ale with excellent mouthfeel and a nice, but not overwhelming, hop presence. As always, an excellent experience at Flying Saucer.

Now I am debating whether it's too chilly (48˚) to go out on the porch and have a cigar and finish off the bottle of Port Ellen that I paid a dollar per year for ($25) in 2004. Just enough left to enjoy. I'm thinking it's not that cold.
drpaisley: (Default)
Just when where you planning on telling me about this, you fuckers!

713 malts available, two monthly public tastings. Gee, why would I be interested in that?

You're making me GO ALL CAPS DAY ON YOU EARLY, BASTARDS!

Thanks to Carol Doms for tipping me off.
drpaisley: (Default)
Our dear friend Keith Stokes posted this morning on the KDL list that there was to be a free Bushmills tasting at Raglan Road this evening (no linky, as the RR site is a] really annoying and, numero two-o]* only mentions the branch in Orlando, FL). So Rohanna and I headed down there with alacrity (but not Dragonet, who was working out at the RenFest site on making the booth where she will be working for the next seven weekends look appropriately rustic without actually being a danger to themselves and others).

Two very nice gentlemen from the local distributor who handles the importation of Irish potables (among other beverages). They had samples of Bushmills, Black Bush (neither a euphemism nor a political statement) and the ten and sixteen year old single malts. All were, of course, wonderful. The tasting was held in a snug where Raglan Road has their whisky safes (rentable lockboxes where one can store one's perferred tipple). Rohanna and I regaled the gents with tales of our trip to Ireland and her turn as an official whisky taster during the Jameson's distillery tour. At one point, I asked if they had tried the special 400th anniversary blend Bushmills issued last year, and they proceeded to bring a bottle of "The 1608" out of one of the safes and ask if we'd like a taste.

OMFGWTFBBQLSMFT. That was one of the finest blended whisky I have had the privilege to sample, and right up there with Middleton's. Ro wants a bottle, of course. If we can find one. Nom, nom.


*Props to the late, lamented Molly Ivins
drpaisley: (Big O'Pimpin')
So last Thursday I attended a scotch tasting held at Gomer's Midtown to promote the products of The Arran Malt, produced on (oddly enough) the Isle of Arran, which sits in the bay between Prestwick and Campbelltown off the west coast of Scotland. The distillery was started in 1995. As the distributor rep who was hosting the event explained, Arran had dozens and dozens of distilleries in the early 1800s, but they lacked that certain jenny say quoits known as licensing from the Crown. So the revenoors came in and shut them all down, until now.

To get the brand name out while waiting for the whisky to mature, the owners had a blend and a single malt made for them. We started out with them:

1 -- Lochranza (the name of the town where the distillery is located). A quiet, not particularly impressive blend. Not the worst I've had, but nothing to write home about.

2 -- Robert Burns. "Silver Medal Winner and Best In Class at the IWSC 2007," it is described on the website as an "aperitif whisky." It is quite light, both in taste and color (no coloring agents added to any of their products).

At this point, we were served the first of the actual Arran Malts. It was mentioned in passing that Arran does not use peat to roast the malted barley. A number of the 30 or so people there (myself included) reacted in shock. This seemed a radical break with tradition that should be emphasized.

3 -- Arran Chill-Filtered single malt. This is an undated whisky (the rep said it was either 3 or 5 years old, and was released at the behest of the accountants to help build the brand while the 10 y.o. was maturing). Light, a bit rough (though not as much as I was expecting), but not particularly impressive.

4 -- Arran Unchill-Filtered. The same whisky, the difference being it wasn't chill-filtered (a process that removes fats, esters and other byproducts by chilling the whisky until they solidify and separate out). Holy crap on a stick! I would not have believed 3 and 4 were from the same distillery, much less the same whisky. Much more rounded and robust flavor. Still a bit rough, but light years better than its brother.

The rep said that chill filtering became popular because consumers who liked their whisky on the rocks found the cloudiness the occured as unchill filtered whisky became cold unappealing. Get a freakin' life, or stick to a blend (note: actual Scottish spring water was provided to add to the whisky, which they purchased at Target. The addition of a few drops did significantly improve all of the whiskys tasted).

5 -- Arran 10 y.o. single malt. My notes just say "lovely." The brochure talks about vanilla notes and all the usual stuff. It tasted good, went down smooth.

6 -- Ledaig 10 y.o. Served as a contrast to the Arran, Ledaig is distilled on Mull, an island north of Islay and Jura, and has a nice peaty flavor, but not so much that it tipped into the oiliness of Lagavulin (not that there's anything wrong with Lagavulin, mind). It was interesting to compare the two.

At this point, they got into the specialty malts of Arran. They have several different ones, with more on the way. All of these are 8 y.o. whiskys that are finished for various periods of time in the specified casks.

7 -- Burgundy finish. Didn't get the specifics of the burgundy, but this is one damn fine whisky. The burgundy adds a wonderful depth and smoothness to the whisky.

8 -- Napoleon Cognac finish. This one was a bit harsh to me, though a number of other tasters thought it was the best in show.

The evening finished with another specialty whisky from the same distributor, though not an Arran product

9 -- Islay Vatting, 10 y.o. A blend of whiskys from all the Islay distilleries, it had a nice smokiness to it and a very good taste. One of the participants bought five bottles.

So, at the end, they revealed the prices. Not surprisingly, No. 1 was the cheapest, at $23.50. The Burns was $45, and the Ledaig and Islay Vatting were each $50. 3 and 4 (which have been discontinued), were $39. The Arran 10 y.o. was $52. All of the special finishes were $92, including a port cask finish that wasn't part of the official tasting and was quite excellent.

My rankings: 7, 6, 4-5 (tie), 2-8-9 (tie), 3, 1. I recommend Arran to anyone who likes good whisky. The lack of peat gives the products a lighter and different taste spectrum. Those who dislike the smokiness of scotch might give this one a try.

Arran is (their description) a boutique distillery. The distribution of most of the products is on the order of two 6-bottle cases per state .There was a mad dash by folks to place orders, and I was fortunate enough to get on the list for the unchill filtered when the next shipment came in. So today, in the midst of a truly hellish day at work (the Nelson-Atkins gallery will have a major showing of Chinese art starting Oct. 6; we're doing much of the signs and banners for it) my phone rang, and the nice guy from Gomer's told my he had a bottle with my name on it at the store. Now, as I said at the beginning, I just need to come up with $39.
drpaisley: (Big O'Pimpin')
So last Thursday I attended a scotch tasting held at Gomer's Midtown to promote the products of The Arran Malt, produced on (oddly enough) the Isle of Arran, which sits in the bay between Prestwick and Campbelltown off the west coast of Scotland. The distillery was started in 1995. As the distributor rep who was hosting the event explained, Arran had dozens and dozens of distilleries in the early 1800s, but they lacked that certain jenny say quoits known as licensing from the Crown. So the revenoors came in and shut them all down, until now.

To get the brand name out while waiting for the whisky to mature, the owners had a blend and a single malt made for them. We started out with them:

1 -- Lochranza (the name of the town where the distillery is located). A quiet, not particularly impressive blend. Not the worst I've had, but nothing to write home about.

2 -- Robert Burns. "Silver Medal Winner and Best In Class at the IWSC 2007," it is described on the website as an "aperitif whisky." It is quite light, both in taste and color (no coloring agents added to any of their products).

At this point, we were served the first of the actual Arran Malts. It was mentioned in passing that Arran does not use peat to roast the malted barley. A number of the 30 or so people there (myself included) reacted in shock. This seemed a radical break with tradition that should be emphasized.

3 -- Arran Chill-Filtered single malt. This is an undated whisky (the rep said it was either 3 or 5 years old, and was released at the behest of the accountants to help build the brand while the 10 y.o. was maturing). Light, a bit rough (though not as much as I was expecting), but not particularly impressive.

4 -- Arran Unchill-Filtered. The same whisky, the difference being it wasn't chill-filtered (a process that removes fats, esters and other byproducts by chilling the whisky until they solidify and separate out). Holy crap on a stick! I would not have believed 3 and 4 were from the same distillery, much less the same whisky. Much more rounded and robust flavor. Still a bit rough, but light years better than its brother.

The rep said that chill filtering became popular because consumers who liked their whisky on the rocks found the cloudiness the occured as unchill filtered whisky became cold unappealing. Get a freakin' life, or stick to a blend (note: actual Scottish spring water was provided to add to the whisky, which they purchased at Target. The addition of a few drops did significantly improve all of the whiskys tasted).

5 -- Arran 10 y.o. single malt. My notes just say "lovely." The brochure talks about vanilla notes and all the usual stuff. It tasted good, went down smooth.

6 -- Ledaig 10 y.o. Served as a contrast to the Arran, Ledaig is distilled on Mull, an island north of Islay and Jura, and has a nice peaty flavor, but not so much that it tipped into the oiliness of Lagavulin (not that there's anything wrong with Lagavulin, mind). It was interesting to compare the two.

At this point, they got into the specialty malts of Arran. They have several different ones, with more on the way. All of these are 8 y.o. whiskys that are finished for various periods of time in the specified casks.

7 -- Burgundy finish. Didn't get the specifics of the burgundy, but this is one damn fine whisky. The burgundy adds a wonderful depth and smoothness to the whisky.

8 -- Napoleon Cognac finish. This one was a bit harsh to me, though a number of other tasters thought it was the best in show.

The evening finished with another specialty whisky from the same distributor, though not an Arran product

9 -- Islay Vatting, 10 y.o. A blend of whiskys from all the Islay distilleries, it had a nice smokiness to it and a very good taste. One of the participants bought five bottles.

So, at the end, they revealed the prices. Not surprisingly, No. 1 was the cheapest, at $23.50. The Burns was $45, and the Ledaig and Islay Vatting were each $50. 3 and 4 (which have been discontinued), were $39. The Arran 10 y.o. was $52. All of the special finishes were $92, including a port cask finish that wasn't part of the official tasting and was quite excellent.

My rankings: 7, 6, 4-5 (tie), 2-8-9 (tie), 3, 1. I recommend Arran to anyone who likes good whisky. The lack of peat gives the products a lighter and different taste spectrum. Those who dislike the smokiness of scotch might give this one a try.

Arran is (their description) a boutique distillery. The distribution of most of the products is on the order of two 6-bottle cases per state .There was a mad dash by folks to place orders, and I was fortunate enough to get on the list for the unchill filtered when the next shipment came in. So today, in the midst of a truly hellish day at work (the Nelson-Atkins gallery will have a major showing of Chinese art starting Oct. 6; we're doing much of the signs and banners for it) my phone rang, and the nice guy from Gomer's told my he had a bottle with my name on it at the store. Now, as I said at the beginning, I just need to come up with $39.

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