Monday, October 30, 2006

Inverhouse Sold

News totally out of the blue! Hadn't even heard a rumbling of an approach on this one Inverhouse have been bought for an 8 figure sum by International Beverage Holdings (InterBev), the international arm of Thai Beverages.

The sign of things to come perhaps! Am sure that this will be a good buy for InterBev with there knowledge of the local market brands like Puteney could just explode out there and again that leaves us Scots having to pay more for our whiskies.

This will be an interesting one to watch.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Whisky Prices To Go Up

Reports are that whisky prices are set to rise by around a £1 a bottle with some companies estimating a 10% increase in prices - maybe that will stop Tesco from selling whisky at £6.86 per bottle! They claim that the demand in China has caused the demand for whisky to far out strip the supply.

On top of the whisky industry putting there prices up - the department of health are wanting to put the tax on alcohol up to stop binge drinking - surely though if they are to do this putting the tax up on whisky would only affect us whisky drinkers and not your wee ned drinking his alcopops on a Friday night down the local park.

Hopefully the chancellor will see sence and not put the duty on spirits up in the next budget something which could only be bad for the whisky industry.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cave Turckheim Reisling 2003

I know, I know this is supposed to be a whisky blog and lately I have done beer and now the poncy drink that is wine. Well to hell with it I don't care I think it should be about all things things thathat it should be about all that I like so thats the way it should be. (There will be plenty more whisky news so don't worry).

Basically I know nothing about wine and I have a huge respect for people who do - whisky in my opinion is very simple to learn compared with wine! Anyway like whisky all you need to know is do you like it or not and for this 2003 Reisling I can say that I most certainly did.

My friend Mike who was drinking this bottle along side me said "It is probably the best Reisling he has ever had" and I imagine that he has had several in his lifetime! Anyway I liked it cause it was very fresh not overly sweet or big just very well balanced with lots of citrus fruits on the taste - made me wish I had drunk more white wine during the summer - I am mainly a Red wine man. Now think that it may well be time to open my eyes to white wines again. Anyway if you see this please do try it.

I got my bottle from my friends in Leek at the The Wine Shop Leek - who also do a great range of Whisky including there stunning queen of the Moorlands range - I will publish some notes on these whiskies shortly.

And They Say Scots Are Tight!!!

Well for hundreds of years us Scots have been given a hard time for being tight bastards! - Well we can now officially say that it is all lies. As stated in the Scotsman today bars in Argyll have been inspected and it has been found that 80% of all bars in the are have been serving too large drams! So surely this is proof that us Scots are not tight bastards after all - or maybe its just a clever piece of advertising from the tourist board in Argyll!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tar Barrels the next Arran / Bruichladdich Finish?

Finally a cask that hasn't been used by either Bruichladdich or Arran haven't used as a cask for finishing - although I doubt it will take long once they discover an annual fire festival. I can see it now the new tar cask bottling adds some real caramelised notes - thick and heavy with a touch of cresote an ancient tradition used by the druids in order to help preserve there whisky! Ok this is all tongue in cheek but i really think that the finishes and new expressions etc is all getting a bit much. Many of them are superb don't get me wrong but surely they are too many. Arran are in danger of stealing Bruichladdich's crown of having the most different bottlings at one time.

How many Arran's are there: No age, 10yo, Unchilfiltered, Port finish, sherry finish, 10yo Anniversary malt, 100 proof, Calvados finish, cream sherry finish, hardy cognac finish, sauternes finish, Trebbiano D'Abruzzo finish, Lepanto Px Brandy Finish, Bourgogne Finish, Marsala Finish, Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Finish, Champagne (Pinot Noir) Finish and Tomato sauce finish - you get my point -some are actually quite good but is there any need for all this!

Balvenie 14 Year Old Rum Wood

Since I am on the theme of William Grant and there finishes etc I thought that I would give the 14yo RumWood a try. A limited edition of only 14 casks from warehouse 29 - no explanation as to why this is important! This is unchilfiltered which is good and bottled at 47.1% ABV I doubt that this is natural cask strength but would not like to say for certain. Anyway here's what I think. Not sure but I think that this was mainly done for LMDW in France but as always I could be wrong.

Nose: Sweet, vanilla and lots of creaminess and fruits maybe strawberries. With time more orangey notes.

Taste: Initially a strange taste, a little drying. piney notes. Lots of vanilla a bit bourbonesqe in flavour.

Finish: Lingering woody notes, a touch of creaminess but bitter notes also.

Comment: Wanted to like this but have to say that it didn't really deliver - the whisky has become quite bourbon like but with a bitter woodiness which is slightly overpowering - love the initial nose those.

Score: 76/100 - Nothing startling - try someone elses and keep your bottle closed. Especially as its about £50 a bottle.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Trade Winds

This is one of my favourite beers of all time - very much for me a session beer as much as I love beers like Dark Island and Black Cuillin Trade Winds is vert much an every day drinker and something that you can have several pints of in an evening and not get bored.

The Elderflower used in the production certainly comes through in the final product - a beer worthy of winning CAMRA Champion Speciality Beer of Britain for three years running 2004, 2005 and 2006.

A soft subtle beer with a cracking elderflower edge that does not over power the beer - definately if you like beer and you have not tried this try it now. For me a 9.5/10 beer I have yet to find a real beer drinker that does not like this.

Please drink this beer!

Glenfiddich Toasted Oak

The latest release from Glenfiddich and a curious one at that - I saw this at whisky live Glasgow but have to admit that I didn't try it as it wasnt one that really took the eye on the day! Anyway what is this whisky all about oak they say by toasting the casks they release more vanilla and spicy wood notes? Fair enough but how do they define toasting? What is the difference between toasting and charring is it just a degree of charcoaling!

Anyway I look forward to trying this to see how it is - I imagine it will be similar to the Don Ramsay bottling which has recently disappeared from shop shelves.

This bottling also says that it is a limited edition maybe it will be more limited that the afore mentioned Don Ramsay bottling that was limited to a mere 227 cask. (please note I may have this number wrong by 10 or so casks - makes Diageo's Port Ellens look limited!)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Glenavon 150yo bottle?

This bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky is to go on sale at auction - as usual the papers are going crazy about it with quotes such as -"The most Expensive Whisky in the World" and is this the oldest whisky in the world.

But to me this is all a little crazy, ok if it is a real bottle - and it must be beause the woman selling it can remember her Granny having it in the 1920's, what more proof do we need - it will never become the most expensive bottle ever! Do journalists not do any research these days!

Also with all the fakes that have been on the market over recent years prices for a bottle of something like this has dropped considerably. My favourite fake has to be the 1982 Arran as highlighted by malt maniacs.

I would say that I see this bottle selling for around £7000.00 but will be interesting to see.

What I would say is that this would be exceedingly rare with Glenavon distillery closing in the 1850's this truely would be an amazing whisky to try - but would it be all that good? As much as I love old whiskies (whiskies bottled prior to 1990) I am sure that the quality control would not have been to the high standards we have to day back in the 1860's?

I guess this is something I will never taste - I would love to - but tend to think if you had paid 10 grand for this bottle you could only be dissapointed if you open it.