Wednesday, 14 August 2013

An Apology

We have been struggling to maintain our blog for far too long recently and decided that we really need to explain our lack of writing over the last couple of months before we launch back into more regular blogging.

We are both fine and dandy, but our free-time has been severely eroded these past few months. While we haven't been writing (although we have umpteen blog posts in draft form) rest assured, we have still been discovering whisky!

It all started back in May when I was trying to write a book review for Davin De Kergommeaux's excellent book 'Canadian Whisky'. I've read the book twice and was putting together a little review when I simply 'ran out of words' and wasn't happy with anything that was coming out of my head and onto the keyboard. I will finish this book review, but in the meantime why don't you check out his website Canadian Whisky

It was also around this time that my 'real job' got a tad busier. I've been spending around 50-60 hours a week in the office that I commute to and from (about an hours drive each way) which under normal circumstances wouldn't be too much of an issue. I normally sit and read and write while having a dram or two in the evenings, but since taking on the 'bathroom project', which also started around the same time, I've not been able to sit and concentrate in the evenings as there had been little rest at the weekend.

The bathroom project has been a major upheaval in my life. What started off as a simple repair job ended up with every weekend being spent gutting and rebuilding the bathroom. Most of the plasterboard walls needed replacing, new plumbing needed installing - the list goes on and I won't bore you with all the details. Fortunately I'm able to do all of the work, and have done, on my own, but the effort required has almost floored me at times. The chosen tiles are huge and out of the 100 or so, I counted just 5 that were whole! When I was younger, something like this would be well within my capacity - I could work all day at work, then work at home till midnight and still be up at 0600 the following morning. I turned 50 a few weeks back and realised I can't do this any more as my recovery time seems to be much longer these days! Each weekend I seem to find new aches and pains. Fortunately, I'm coming to the end of the project now so hope to be back blogging soon.

So what whisky action have we been up to since we were last active?
All set for the final Sunday afternoon for the Davin TT
Well May was a Canadian Whisky month, not only were we reading Davin's great book, we also got the chance to review the book with Davin while blind tasting four Canadian whiskies over the course of four Sunday evenings. A fantastic event organised by Johanne McInnis of The Perfect Whisky Match blog who chose four Canadian whiskies from her own collection for us all. I have all the details and a blog post in draft which will be posted eventually. There were three new whisky discoveries to report as one of them appeared in my first venture into Canadian Whisky.

We both went to excellent The Whisky Lounge London Fest, a two day event held in Shoreditch. I went on the Saturday, although wasn't feeling 100%, coming down with a dose of 'manflu' around that time. I made some new Whisky Discoveries in the first session which have been listed in The Liquid Log (WD425 - WD433) and ran the Balcones Whisky stand single-handedly for the second session. 

Kat went down to the Sunday session accompanied by her other half, which also included a jamming session. Again draft blog posts on file, but not finished. However, photos (and theirs are far better than mine) from the event can be found on our Facebook page here.

I had a great afternoon at the London International Wine Fair. Although not a great event for discovering whisky, I did catch up with Iain Allan from Glen Moray and taste a couple of outstanding vintages as well as finding some excellent Tequila which should be hitting UK shores in the very near future. 

One of my missions at the LIWF was to find out a little more about Sherry and Port and I met up with Wine and spirits writer Colin Hampden-White who took me through some amazing sherries and vintage Ports. While waiting to meet up with Colin I met Whisky guru Dave Broom and tasted a superb Glenmorangie 25 Year Old before all three of us headed over the the Gonzalez Byass stand and in a surreal moment was being taken through some fabulous vintages with Dave Broom to my left and Colin Hampden-White to my right. A few photos from the event can be found on our Facebook page here.

I left the Wine Fair around five o'clock and headed over to Piccadilly as I had two events scheduled on this day. A Warehouse 24 event named 'Malt in the Making' with The Balvenie team where I finally got to meet David Mair as well as a few of their international brand ambassadors. 

The event featured five vintages ranging from 2009 to the finale dram, drawn from a single cask laid down in 1971. I also got to meet Malt Master David Stewart who selected each of the casks just a few days before the event. My photos from the event can be found on our Facebook page here.

The Jura 50th Anniversary Tweet Tasting with The Whisky Wire was held at the end of May where we were treated to some very special drams. Starting with the new Travel Retail release Turas Mara we went on and tasted the Jura 30 Year Old, The Jura 1977, a special release 'Delme Evans' and a preview of a to be released 40 Year Old, aptly called for this event the Jura 39 3/4, as it was not ready to meet the 40 year Old age statement.

The Dramogram, a twitter led event organised by Tom's Whisky Reviews and a follow on from the 12 Blends of Easter just sneaked into May where I sent a blind sample to @whiskyrepublic to guess, and was sent a blind sample from @galg for me to make my guess. Another draft post that should be fairly straightforward to complete and post!

June was another busy month and started with Ardbog Day on the 1st of the month. Kat headed down to London to join in with the events there while I continued destroying the bathroom, her photos are on our Facebook page here.

My next whisky event was The Macallan Tweet Tasting with The Whisky Wire, and the four new 'colours' from the recently released 1824 Series was experienced. Although I had tasted these all before at The Midlands Whisky Festival I was fortunate to revisit them all and write some more comprehensive notes, again all the data is to hand, although I wasn't able to download all of the tweet tasters tweets as I normally would due to a software change in Twitter. However I did persevere and will be posting the full story very soon.
A fabulous box set was sent to each of the Tweet Tasters. A box set just like this recently sold for over £1,000 at auction!
My set is like new, except the miniatures are now empty, any offers?
A special 'Fathers Day' Glen Garioch Tweet Tasting with Rachel Barrie was held in the week running up to the Fathers Day weekend where we visited the 12 Year Old from their core range followed by two vintages from 1997 and 1988 before we tasted the 'mystery dram'. My internet was misbehaving on this evening and I was losing connection before it finally gave up on the third dram - I have all my notes so will be writing this up too.
Malt Master David Stewart and Tun 1401
I was also invited down to London for the launch of The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 8. I've never tasted any of the Tun 1401 series before but have heard so many great things about them so was really excited when I received my invitation. Batch 8 was absolutely amazing and I really wished I had bought a bottle there. I also had a wonderful chat with David Stewart before heading home. A few photos from the event can be found on our Facebook page here.

I turned 50 in the middle of June, but my birthday celebrations were nothing to shout about , I had a variation of the 'Midas touch', as just about everything I touched that day turned to shite! Most of my birthday weekend was spend fighting the bathroom but I did get a couple of bottles of whisky to add to the shelf. A bottle of Talisker Distillers Edition from 2000 and an Inchmurrin 21 Year Old

A  Wemyss Malts Tweet Tasting with The Whisky Wire introduced 4 new whisky discoveries, which was followed a week later by the Liquid Americana Tweet Tasting, again with The Whisky Wire, with five blind miniatures resulting in a further four new whisky discoveries. Our blog post will follow soon.

Another first, as headed down to London to meet Phil Brandon of Rocktown Distillery at The Soho Whisky Club. Phil started his own distillery and was introducing his Bourbon and Gin to the UK for the first time - be sure to look out for that soon as I was really impressed and already have my order in. You can find the photos on our Facebook page here:

In July Kat and I spent two fabulous days at Imbibe Live, meeting the Karen and Jacqueline from Wemyss Malts and sampling both their whiskies and Darnley's View Gin. We caught up with the Berry Bros and Rudd Team, tasted some amazing spirits including the recently released 2001 Vintage from The Glenrothes. We met Adnams distiller, John McCarthy and tasted his 'Spirit of Broadside'. There were a few 'Whisky Discoveries' made but mostly it was about catching up with friends as well as meeting people we'd only tweeted with to date. Again, you can find photos of this event on our Facebook page here:

We were really fortunate to receive an invite for the Glen Garioch Virgin Oak launch, held at the Zetter Hotel and Townhouse, just off the Clerkenwell Road. 

Hosted by Brand Ambassador Phil Nickson, and PR Director Carolynne Coole, we joined Matt and Karen from Whisky for Everyone, Jason B Standing of Whisky Squad fame, 'The Miss Whisky' herself, Alwynne Gwilt and whisky legend Ian Buxton for a delightful dinner before tasting the new Virgin Oak Glen Garioch alongside their 12 Year Old. We later found out that we had actually tasted this before, as the new Virgin Oak was also the 'mystery dram' from the previous tweet tasting! I've uploaded the photos I took during the evening, but my photography skills were at their lowest point on this particular evening. You can find them here.
And finally my wife and I made it to 'The Miss Whisky' aka Alwynne Gwilt's charity event held at The Opium Bar in London's China Town, where we spent the afternoon sipping Glengoyne's Teapot Dram and listening to cool jazz from Aline Stoffel while raising funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. A great Sunday afternoon was had by all and Alwynne raised over £1500. You can find out more on Alwynne's blog post here

So stand by for a stampede of blog posts as we try to get back on top of it all! 

Until our next Whisky Discovery, Slàinte! Dave

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