Another GBBF acquisition today, chosen from the shelf to accompany some pasta and reward myself after a hard morning of pretending to tidy my flat – Baladin Isaac.
I’m slightly obsessed with Laphroaig. I’ve been a fan for a while, but over the last couple of years, ever since trying a 1990s version of Laphroaig 10, I’ve grabbed every one of their new releases, bought a few older ones at auction and investigated independent bottlings. Their new releases over the last few years have focused around Travel Retail, formerly known as Duty Free, with Triple Wood and PX appearing on the shelves. The former has now been moved into the general market, replaced by the latter, and this month they announced that another whisky had been added to the Travel Retail exclusive line-up - Laphroaig QA Cask.
I looked at my beer shelf the other day and realised I’ve been neglecting some of the interesting bottles. One that looked especially accusing was a beer that I picked up at the Great British Beer Festival last August, part of my now traditional (I’ve done it twice) drunken buying of decent Italian beer. I managed to write about a couple of the bottles I picked up at the show in 2011 (Imperial Ghisa and Bastarda Rossa – best beer name evar) but I’ve still got a couple sat on the shelf from 2012. I thought I’d start with the prettiest looking – AMA Bionda.
As was pointed out to me by a former Morrison Bowmore PR person (hello DK!) the other week, on occasion I have been behind trying the samples that the lovely folks associated with MBD have on occasion sent me. So, as last week featured their second Twitter tasting, a follow-up to #LoveBowmore, I thought I’d grab a couple of samples that have been on the shelf for a while for a follow-along with #LoveFirstFill, as well as one that has been sat accusingly on the shelf for a while.
The boys of Caskstrength have been good to me over the years. I went to their first ‘proper’ tasting; grabbed a lift with them over on Jura, allowing me to have a flying visit to Caol Ila and thus be able to say that I’ve been to a distillery on Islay; been mentally scarred by images of them wearing nothing but socks; and now I’ve been to the launch of their third whisky.
Joel and Neil are enterprising chaps and along with the various bits of consultancy and writing that they do around the whisky industry they’ve been keeping an eye out for interesting whiskies and planning their ongoing project – bottling whiskies from A to Z. A was for Arran, B for Benriach and C has now been revealed - Cutty Sark.
It’s been a while since I’ve investigated the shelves of my local shops for interesting beers. So, when a feeling of bone-level weariness after two days of Whisky Live London and an all-consuming hunger dropped me into a nearby Chinese restaurant to grab some takeaway dinner, I took the opportunity to pop into the shop next door to see what beers they had. At first I thought it was all the same old range of Lech, Tyskie and energy drink-alike cans of Redd (which are on the list to try, despite them looking nasty), but then I noticed an old standard that I’ve not yet tried – Żubr. Not only did they have regular green tin Żubr, but also the more lightly ABV’d Żubr Classic, so a pair of shiny beer tokens were handed to the shopkeeper and I returned home to put them through their paces.
A quick meta-post – I’ve set up a Facebook page and Twitter account for the blog. With Google Reader going away I thought I’d have a play with non-RSS syndication, so new posts should magically appear on @BillysBoozeBlog and the BBBlog FB page. Whether they will or not is something I will discover over the coming moments after hitting the ‘Publish’ button, but whatever happens there’s a Facebook page and a Twitter account connected to this blog. If such things are your bag then do with this new knowledge whatever it is that you do with such knowledge.
As is traditional for me on St Patrick’s Day, I entirely ignored St Patrick’s Day. I live next door to Diageo HQ, on the site of the old London Guinness factory, saw their murky green dyed lake when I looked out of the window that morning and put on my novelty Guinness hat for 10 minutes, so I think that counts as joining in. However, during the day I went to investigate something a little more interesting – the Mikkeller Yeast Series 2.0.
I missed a few things off my write ups of my trip to Canada and I’ve not stopped drinking since I got back. Actually, that doesn’t sound good. “I’ve not given up drinking since I got back”? Doesn’t sound much better. Anyways, I drank things. Some of them are below.
While I was up in York at the end of December I did my obligatory wander around town trying to find some local beer. The lovely John from the York Whisky Shop pointed me in the direction of Trembling Madness, an offie with upstairs bar that is rather full of beer from around the world. I restricted myself just to beers from near to York and found that there was rather more choice than I expected. Still I grabbed as many beers as I could fit in my bag.
Three bottles. It was only a small bag.