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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

This release is part of the Glenfiddich Experimental series and bottled at 43% ABV (which is quite unusual from Glenfiddich).   It is a peated malt that is finished in rum casks, hence the Fire and Cane (as in sugarcane)  name.  The nose is smokey, but more camp fire rather than strong peat.  Fire before the Cane.  The taste is spicy and nutty, chocolate, pepper, brown sugar and some honey and a hint of the phenol from peat.  The finish is a little hot, like eating burnt cake batter off a wooden spoon.  Water brings up more brown sugar and some lemon peel.  Very nicely done but not sure I would pair peat and rum casks, personnally I prefer peat and sherry casks.

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  • Friday, 27 January 2012 19:29

    Why Gordon and MacPhail’s Generosity in Victoria Made Me Feel Bad

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    I don't write this blog worried about what a reader might think of me.  This is just my hobby (now grown into a fully fledged passion) and a way to keep track of all the fantastic whiskies I have tried.  I also really like the mental challenge of trying to write a weekly, coherent missive on whisky and who knows, maybe one day I will actually succeed in doing that.  It is certainly not about the feedback or adulation I get.  Just as well, because I get none.  Nada.  Zip. Big goose egg.  (Insert sound of crickets chirping and lone bell ringing in background.)  However I am writing this particular entry because I feel guilty, a bit of a phoney, somewhat shallow and need to publicly express my remorse.

    You see I have espoused previously on the subject of very exclusive, expensive whiskies and my feelings about those.  In general I have been, what you might describe as, slightly negative on that subject.  I have instead preached virtuously of moderately priced, great value and ubiquitous whisky over the evils of ultra premium limited edition whiskies.  Hell I even been known to say in public I like blended whisky.  So why the guilt?

    It is because I recently tried the $20,000 a bottle Gordon and MacPhail Glenlivet 70 year old and.... I liked it.  I really liked it.  Damn Michael Urquhart and his generosity for exposing me.  I really wanted to say I have had better, that it was OK but I prefer the 21 year old Archive or anything else.  But the problem was it was really good.  Really, really, really good.    There is even the remote possibility it might be worth $20,000 a bottle.   I won't reproduce my tasting notes here but I have posted them under my Reviews if you are interested.    I assume this must be how the  left wing Socialist Worker student who after leaving college settled down, got married, started reading the Guardian and voting Labour must feel in the wee small hours of morning, wracked with middle class guilt  

    Sidebar:  One of my favorite stories from college was a friend telling about the time he "resigned" from the Socialist Workers Party.  When his comrades pressed him to stay committed to the cause he told them he would give it another week but if there was no workers revolution by next Friday he was quitting.  They agreed, there wasn't and he quit a week later.

    I have to accept that these old and rare whiskies are extraordinary and to some people they are worth it.  I must also say again how incredibly generous it was of Michael to pour that whisky (he must be one of the people who has never read my blog) and also point out that at $20,000 a bottle of his 70 year of Glenlivet is still $230,000 less than The Dalmore 1926 single malt recently released and in that context it still represents a veritable bargain.  In my own rating system I could only rate the Glenlivet 70 year old 3 stars – simply because I would not buy a bottle to put it on my whisky shelf – but it is still, without doubt, one the finest drams I have ever tasted.

    Perhaps at the next whisky festival I attend Richard Patterson will have read my blog and pour me a dram of that 1926 Dalmore?  I know it is not likely... after all Richard Patterson will, like the vast majority of the human race, never read this blog.  So perhaps a more realistic expectation is at the next Whisky Festival I go to "someone other than me or my immediate family" will read my blog.  (Re-insert sounds of crickets chirping).

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    Random Whisky

    Orbis World Whisky

    Here it is, number 98 of 101 World World Whiskies to Try Before To Die.  This is the one I once accused Ian Buxton of "making up" after many fruitless hours internet searching however he insisted on patience and sure enough it appeared a couple of months ago on the excellent Master of Malt website, and even better for me, it was available in their handy-dandy sample size.  Call me a sceptic but I was ready for the worse when I read about this blend of world whiskies, but to be honest it was a lot better than I expected.    The nose was soft and sweet with fruit peels but overall very well integrated and hard to dissect.  The soft nose carries over into a soft mouthfeel at first, with cocoa, marmalade, citrus and grainy sweetness.  I dont know a lot about the composition of this blend but I think I could detect some Canadian rye influence.  The finish has some oak, cayenne pepper and a little spirit burn.  Pretty good if not great.