Despite my having a small pile of limes in the fridge and a bottle of bourbon staring at me from my booze cupboard, I decided that I couldn’t let the third year of World Gin Day pass me by without mentioning it here. I may have spent most of World Gin Day itself, June 15th for 2013, with a Dodd’s Gin and tonic in my hand (from The London Distillery Company, who I will one day write about more fully on the blog) but Sunday is my evening for experimentation, so a Gin Old Fashioned it is.
I should not be allowed to wander the fabled halls of my local Asda. While I find the place strangely relaxing it has two very specific areas that I find particularly dangerous – the toys aisle, well stocked with affordable Lego, and the drinks section. Every now and again there’s a product that stares at me as I walk past, daring me to buy it whenever I visit. While sometimes that leads to happiness, such as with the Bowmore Small Batch Reserve and Jeremiah Weed Sour Mash Brew, other times there is much potential for peril. This evening was one of those times – I finally gave into the siren call of Dead Crow Bourbon Flavoured Beer.
My fondness for Laphroaig is becoming a bit of a cliché. I’m not sure these days whether I pick up the bottles I do because I’m fairly sure I’m going to like them or whether it’s habit. Fortunately so far I’ve not been let down, with the Laphroaig QA Cask, Sherry Cask and various Cask Strength batches I’ve found recently all hitting the spot. However, there’s one bottling that I’m certain I’ll keep on getting as long as they let us buy it from their website – Laphroaig Cairdeas.
Another week, another decision to make on the drink front. However, tonight’s choice has been made easier by a couple of things that have happened this week.
A few days ago the results of the Spirits Business Scotch Whisky Masters were announced. I’ve been a judge for them for a couple of years and this is my second time on the Scotch Whisky Masters panel. It’s quite an interesting experience and does wonders for honing your decision making – my group had 55 whiskies to taste in a day. Of all of the drams we tried there was one that really stood out for me. As we judge blind it’s an effort to find out what a specific whisky is, but this was good enough for me to ask for a reveal once we had finished judging. It turned out to be Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 45.
I’m not very good at opening whisky. The physical act itself, of ripping foil and pulling corks, is something I have some skill in, but the mental shove to actually open a bottle is often beyond my grasp. Every time I reach for a sealed bottle a tiny voice in my head asks me if I’m sure. ‘Will you be able to get one of those again? Is that the last of it? Shouldn’t you save that for a special occasion?’. More often than not I put the bottle down, but a few nights back I decided crack open one of the more unique bottles in my collection – a hand filled bottle of Glen Moray, filled by me when visiting last year. It was from a cask sat in the visitors centre, inevitably finished by now, and is not the kind of bottle that people normally keep and sell on. When it’s gone, it’s really gone. It’s very nice and reminded me that I’ve not mentioned them on the blog, an oversight I now hope to correct.
I don’t write that much about events these days. Partly that’s because I don’t get invited to many and partly because when I do it’s for work. However, every now and again something pops up that I want to write about which doesn’t fit into the work basket and this is one of those times. A night of sherry, whisky and food at east London Galician restaurant Trangallan, which I’ve been meaning to visit for a while? Count me in.
Mark Gill, aka The Cocktail Geek, started up a tradition a while back of posting up your last drink of the week on Twitter, complete with a hashtag to aid in the finding of other participants. It didn’t really catch on, but I flung a drink up each week and Mark did a blog post. It’s gone a bit quiet over on the Twitters, so I thought I’d have a go at joining in again, but this time with an actual blog post. Just a short one…
Tonight I’ve decided to go for a couple of Last Drinks. Which is obviously cheating, but it’s a vaguely special day for a couple of reasons so I thought I’d reward myself.
Recurring events in the booze world are often slightly scary as they remind me how long I’ve been obsessed enough with drinks to remember them. In some cases it’s slightly scarier as it reminds me how long I’ve been writing this blog for. So, to break the recent stretch of blogging drought and remind me of the passage of time, an annual release from BrewDog – IPA is Dead 2013.
A range of 3 single hopped IPAs, each with the same recipe other than the hop. This year’s selection includes El Dorado, Dana, Goldings and Waimea…
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.