Jan 262012
 

 

So…

An Irishman, An Australian and a couple of Canadians walk into a bar…

No, wait.  That’s not right.  They walked into my house and proceeded to turn it into a bar.  No different than most nights, though the accents were decidedly cooler on this occasion.

The ever-changing nature of The Collective morphed again this eve to accommodate a mate who works hard delivering the goods to we whisky-soaked many.  Jonathan Bray, previously mentioned on ATW as the Canadian Aussie in a kilt, popped by for a night of cask strength dramming and Cuban Cigar-ing.  Everything that happened afterwards…I’ll blame solely on the influence of the contents in his traveling bag of wonders.  Mary Poppins has nothing on the nifties Jonathan pulled from his magic bag.

To be honest though, this is a tough one to write up.  This was initially a semi-official visit to dig into some of Jonathan’s products, get to the heart of A.D. Rattray and put together this piece for All Things Whisky.  As often happens, the end result was a little different than what was initially envisaged.  Why?  Well…put simply…Jonathan’s a good guy.  After a while it simply became more a matter of mates enjoying each other’s company than a ‘feature for the site’ type deal.  All the better really.

Having said that.  Let’s not get too far into the weeds here.  I’ll share a few details with you about ADR, then we’ll get straight to the tasting notes.  That was the fun bit anyway.  A group of gents (and I use that term VERY loosely) sitting around beating the hell out their noses and their livers.  My ideal night in other words.

 

photo courtesy of Pat at Stand Still Photography

 

A.D. Rattray was founded in 1868 by a couple of fellows known as Andrew Dewar and William Rattray. Though their enterprises were varied, the one we whisky geeks care about was their involvement in blending and selling whisky.  For just over 50 years Dewar and Rattray worked the whisky gospel throughout the Southwest of Scotland, but sadly…all good things must come to an end.  In the tougher times of the early 1900s, the business was sold to whisky broker, William Walker.  Throughout his life and tenure at the top of the company, Walker worked hard to expand the company.

Now, back in the hands of the family (no…not ‘The Family’), a fourth generation descendant, Mr. Tim Morrison, formerly of Morrison Bowmore, has revived the company and is firmly in control at the helm.  Times have changed for ADR however.  For the better.  Nowadays the primary focus is on independent bottling.  Not only so, but much to the delight of the purists out there, the Cask Colection portfolio showcases Scotch malt as it should be; cask strength and unchill-filtered.  Much of what the company releases is pulled from Tim’s personal stock.  Other goods are sourced and purchased from distilleries based on a strict adherence to quality.

Globally, ADR has released anywhere from 30 to 40 expressions each year, and are now beginning to make inroads into new markets such as China.  On the Canadian front, we’ve seen about 60 to 70 releases in the nearly six years Purple Valley Imports has been importing from them.  Locally, we are generally seeing about 8 new expressions each year, of which some could be exclusive to particular stores.  Happy hunting, folks.

 

A couple of personal thoughts…

Independent bottlings can be very hit or miss.  Expecting to see the ‘typical’ distillery characteristics that we find in Original Bottlings (or ‘OBs’) is probably not the best approach.  Never forget that those releases are comprised of oodles of casks married together.  Any bumps or inconsistencies in the spirit can be ironed out or buried through vatting.  Independent bottlers, such as ADR, tend to release single cask editions, wherein nothing has been changed from the day it was pulled from the cask.  These expressions will often be VERY different from standard distillery releases.

I should also mention that, as with any other company releasing whisky, the product is only as good as the people at the top.  Independent bottlers need buyers with great noses to source their stores.  The logical conclusion is that there are some indies that are simply at a level higher than others.

What does this mean for us as consumers?  Well…caveat emptor.  Do your homework.

In closing…

All I can do is give my two cents and hope that constant readers who know where my loyalties lie take it to heart…A.D. Rattray releases some damn fine drams.

 

Slainte!

 

Forgive me…let’s add a note to Tim by way of a P.S. here:  “Tim…any Port Ellen?”

 

photo courtesy of Pat at Stand Still Photography

 

Tasting notes below are primarily mine, but I have taken the liberty of tossing in some thoughts the collective had as well, as they shouted out what they were nosing in these drams.  Unless, of course, I thought they were right out to lunch (which does occasionally happen).  So…what we end up with is a sort of group tasting notes.

 

Strathclyde 37 year old

Cask # 010722 (173 bottles)  Distilled 10.10.1969.  Bottled 06.03.2007.

54.4%

Notes:  Lowland Single Grain Whisky.

Nose:  Huge bourbon notes.  Mild cinnamon loaf.  Mild white fruit…pear and apple perhaps?  Wispy vanilla.  Chocolate.  Spiced stewing fruit.  Minty and slightly woody.  Hard candy caramel.

Palate:  Apple.  Chocolate.  Toasted grain.  Caramelized sugars.  Mouthcoating, but tart at the back end.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Softened slightly through age, but grains are still sharp enough to cut.  The bourbon influence is bold and beefy.

 

Glenlivet 17 year old

Cask # 13641 (248 Bottles)  Distilled 12.06.1989.  Bottled 20.10.2006.

60.0% abv

Notes:  Speyside.  Bourbon Cask.

Nose:  Tart fruit (apple?).  Blueberries n’ cream.  Peach and apricot.  Fresh tobacco leaf.  Wort.  Cracked peppercorns.  Lavender.  Cherry liqueur.  Slight nuttiness.

Palate:  Peppery fruit and oaky tones.  Fat threads of bourbon sweetness.  Surprisingly dry fruits.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Nifty l’il ‘Livet.  Not my favorite of the eve, but a tasty treat to be sure.

 

Strathmill 17 year old

Cask # 1288 (249 Bottles)  Distilled 25.03.1991.  Bottled 07.07.2008

60.0% abv

Notes:  Speyside.  Hogshead/Fresh Claret.  9 month claret cask finish.

Nose:  Deep…deep complexity.  Dusty.  Baking bread.  Floral.  Stewed fruit.  Hard red berries.  White chocolate.  Worty and yeasty.  MacIntosh toffee.  Allspice.  Mild dill pickle.  Stewed tomato.

Palate:  Malty grains.  Christmas baking spices.  Rich and salty tomato.  Dill pickle carries to the palate.  Very dry, tart and tannic.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Man, is this a whirlwind of scents and flavors.  Enjoyed the hell out of this one, not only for drinkability but also for the challenge of working through its complexity.

 

photo courtesy of Pat at Stand Still Photography

 

Macallan 17 year old

Cask # 2819 (256 Bottles)  Distilled 23.02.1989.  Bottled 15.05.2006.

58.4% abv

Notes:  Speyside.

Nose:  Tropical fruits.  Mild nutmeg.  Orange zest.  Sweet dried fruit.  Rising bread dough.  Fattest, sweetest raisin.  Shortbread.

Palate:  Chocolate (which does not really appear on the nose).  Mild ginger.  All of the typical spiced sherry notes.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Sweet and charming.  Nose outshines the palate.

 

Bowmore 14 year old

Cask # 2056 (573 Bottles)  Distilled 15.07.1991.  Bottled 15.05.2006.

57.8% abv

Notes:  Islay.  Sherry Cask.

Nose:  Rubbery smoke.  Fishy and oily.  Peat and smoke.  Tarry.  Medicinal and industrial.  Dry mint.  Fruit candy.

Palate:  Hefty smoke.  Drying and tart.  Lingering smoked rubber.  Large and in charge.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Great nose, though not typical for a young Bowmore.  More reminiscent of older, more fruit-laden and tropical Bowmore bottling.  Love this whisky.

 

Laphroaig 18 year old

Cask # 2244 (265 Bottles)  Distilled 29.03.1990.  Bottled 06.10.2008.

55.0% abv

Notes:  1st Fill Hogshead.

Nose:  Malty.  Dusty grain.  Soft peat and dry smoke.  Salt water taffy.  Caramel and vanilla.

Palate:  Smoky and salty.  Surprisingly fruity compared to the nose.  Grains, wood and anise.  Big and lasting.  Dries to tart puckered fruit.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Would not be able to guess the distillery.  Great dram, really…but not necessarily great for an 18 year old Laphroaig.

 

Glen Mhor 26 year old (1982?)

Cask Sample (~276 bottles)

50.8% abv

Notes:  Unbottled for this market.  Heavy in particulate and charcoal

Nose:  Creamy as hell.  Oranges and cherry.  Vanilla bean.  Watermelon.  Char/smoke.  Grassy and viney green herbal notes.  Blueberry.  Toasted marshmallow.  Moist unsmoked cigar.

Palate:  Grassy.  Dry smoke.  Bitter dark chocolate.  Vegetal.

Thoughts & Impressions:  (comment pending)

 

Tomatin 20 year old

Cask Sample (~216 bottles)

55.5% abv

Notes:  Unbottled for this market.  Heavy in particulate and charcoal.

Nose:  Raisin.  Dark chocolate.  Caramel and nut.  Cream.  Black cherry.  Smoky tendrils.  Butter cream.

Palate:  Waxy oak notes.  Smoky and meaty.  Fruits are strong, but dried and spiced.  Dries the roof of the mouth with sticky sweet caramel.

Thoughts & Impressions:  Fruity and engaging.  Shame this wasn’t bottled for our market.

 

photo courtesy of Pat at Stand Still Photography

 

New this season from ADR:

Cooley Irish Single Malt –  1999

Macallan 1991

Aberlour 1996

Miltonduff 1980

Bunnahabhain 1991

Cragganmore 1993

Glenallachie 1994

Glencadam 1990

Dalmore 1999

 

Keep your eyes peeled for some fun new stuff out there.

 

Special thanks to Pat at Stand Still Photography.  The best photographer I know.

 

– Sweet Drams…ATW.

 Posted by at 7:29 pm
Jan 262012
 

Episode 3…

 

After what has been a relatively mild winter, Mother Nature cranked down the thermostat and pushed Calgary into a week long deep freeze. Think -40 celcius with windchill kind of cold. It’s the kind of cold that chokes the life out of cars and puts the human mind into a state of semi-hibernation. These are definitely rotten conditions and it’s easy to let the bad weather put a damper on your spirits.

The only good to come of the poor weather is that it helped me to articulate one of the characterstics I enjoy most in sherry matured whisky. After shoveling off the driveway, I poured an Aberlour 10 and was struck by deep, rich warmth. Unlike the full-frontal-assault intensity of a peated whisky, a nice sherry matured whisky warms you up from deep in your belly. Having a dram of this whisky is comforting, like crawling under a heavy quilt, or having a cup of hot chocolate or chicken noodle soup after being out in the cold. Sherry maturation – the comfort food of whisky? Maybe so.

I recently split one of my samples evenly across a Riedel whisky glass and a Glencairn. Most whisky people I know are proponents of the Glencairn glass and after having conducted this test, I can confidently state that you get a hell of a lot more on the nose from a Glencairn than you do the Riedel glass. Scent plays a critical role in taste, and overall the whisky just tasted more complex and vibrant in the Glencairn.

Are there advantages to the Riedel? I suppose there are a few. First off, the nose on the Riedel doesn’t carry the same “edge” as it would from the Glencairn. I think it’d be an acceptable alternative if I wanted to pour something with a big nose (say, Ardbeg) with a guest who might otherwise be overwhelmed. And speaking of big noses, while I’m not exactly Gonzo…there’s no way to put this nicely…the Riedel fits my face better. The sips I take from the Riedel are very satisfying – they hit the entire mouth rather than being funnelled towards my tongue as they are with the Glencairn. It sounds weird, but this could be an advantage in cases where I’m not thrilled with the nose. 9 times out of 10 I’m probably grabbing the Glencairn, but the Riedel does offer enough of a different spin that it is worth going to time to time.

We are nearing the end of January. I have really been enjoying the Aberlour 10 and the month has gone by quickly. Liquorature is coming up this weekend and after that, it’s a few more days until I have to pick up sherry finished whisky bottle #2. I still don’t have anything particular in mind and I’m looking to spend about $50 (keep in mind, I’m in Alberta) so if any of you have any suggestions I’m open to trying something new. The past week has been pretty hectic and it has been difficult to rattle off this post, but it’s finally out of the way. I am having fun with the experiment so far, but I’m somewhat disappointed that I’ve had a few too many “straight samples” so I’m going to have to make the effort to do something a little more inventive. I have a few more “solo” Aberlour 10 drams left so I might as well try & swing for the fences before I introduce bottle #2 into the rotation. It’s something to ponder…preferably over a whisky!

 

– The Whisky Pilgrim

 Posted by at 7:09 pm
Jan 152012
 
Sherry Matured Selection #1 – Aberlour 10

The selection of Aberlour 10 as the first Sherry Matured single malt on the pilgrimage should not come as a huge surprise.

The Aberlour 10 is a vibrant, robust young whisky that is loaded with rich flavour. It has been a favourite of mine for a few years now.

A few words on this dram:

– Distilled by Aberlour

– Matured in ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry casks for min 10 yrs

– Bottled @ 43%

– No mention of chill filtering or artificial colouring, so I assume both methods have been applied with reckless abandon. This ain’t boutique whisky, precious!

Given the budget rules I’ve laid out, it does bear mentioning that you can pick this one up for roughly $32 at Real Canadian Liquor Store locations in Alberta. For the purposes of this exercise I’ll call it $30, leaving me with $120 for two more bottles. I’m satisfied with the purchase knowing that I’ll have a trustworthy bottle on the shelf for the next 3 months at a very reasonable price and have plenty of money available for February & March.

On to the 2nd sampling of the week…

I had originally intended to split this one between 2 glass types (glencairn, riedel, rocks-style) and see what difference glassware might make. Of course, I’d enjoy & type up this post at my leisure.

Life decided otherwise. As my wife headed off to the gym, I finished feeding our daughter who finished her bottle with emphasis and spit up roughly 4 litres of formula. Luckily for the chair & carpet (not so much for the pants) I caught 90% of it in my lap. As you may expect, this left me feeling rather less than fresh. So after I got the poor little girl settled into bed for the evening I did what any self-respecting man would given the circumstances.

I took a nice hot bath.

Laugh if you will, but read on I’ll do my best to justify this behaviour and redeem myself.

I got into the habit of bathing after reading James Clavell’s brilliant novel Shogun. Incidentally, the fella who introduced me to both Shogun AND the Aberlour 10 was none other than ATW photog extrodinaire, Pat. In the book, filthy british privateer John Blackthorne is subjected to “barbaric” Japanese bathing practices. At first Blackthorne believes he will die from daily exposures to fresh water, but he later comes to enjoy his scalding hot daily baths. I can’t do it justice…you won’t regret picking up Shogun, and while I haven’t polled the Liquorature crew for feedback, I can’t see how anybody can read that book and not think “hell, I could go for a bath…a bath with sake!”

Of course, that’s the magic ingredient: Blackthorne’s bath would not be complete without a generous helping of sake. Surely Aberlour 10 is a reasonable substitute?

Into a rocks glass goes 1.5 oz of Aberlour 10. The reasoning behind the rocks glass was that with all the humidity, my nasal passages would be opened wide up and a sniff from the Glencairn would knock me silly.

As it turns out, this probably was the correct decision. I think that combination of humidity, heat, and my overall body temperature all contributed to what was an unusually intense dram of Aberlour 10. The merest sniff of the glass sent vapour rocketing up my nose, scoring a direct hit on the brain. Upon tasting, the flavours of the whisky lit up. It felt as though I was sipping on some premium high-ABV cask strength. The finish left my senses buzzing and I soon found my way to the bottom of the glass.

I was awakened from my sherry coma by the sound of voices out across the backyard. Sure enough, Curt and the MaltMonster were out back on the deck enjoying a cigar and a drink. I arrived to find an empty Glencairn and a bottle of a Laphroaig somthin’ or another (gents, you’ll have to help me out here). It looked very tasty, was well within reach, and the Malt Monster has a well known intolerance for wee pours.

It was very tempting and under any normal circumstances I would have gladly jumped right in. But these aren’t normal circumstances – how pitiful would it have been if whisky pilgrimage entry #2 was “Day 6: Torpedoed my plans. mmmm, Laphroaig!”?

Despite my basic instincts I took a pass on the Laphroaig (sigh!) as a conscious decision to establish my pilgrimage habits. Hopefully, this was the first step towards greater rewards yet to come.

While this has already been an interesting and informative experiment, there’s no point in getting too bogged down looking back on what’s happened so far – plenty of time for looking back as the weeks roll along. Until then, I’m looking forward to my next dram & sharing the results here.

 

– The Whisky Pilgrim

 Posted by at 8:50 am
Jan 122012
 

 MORRISON BOWMORE DISTILLERS APPOINTS

RACHEL BARRIE

AS MASTER BLENDER

Glasgow, Scotland (January 10, 2012) – Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), one of the major names in Scotch Whisky and producers of Auchentoshan,Bowmore andGlen Garioch Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, announces the appointment of Rachel Barrie to the newly created position of Master Blender effective immediately.  Barrie will also head up the company’s Spirit Quality Control and laboratory functions. She will join Morrison Bowmore’s Operational Senior Executive Group and report directly to Andrew Rankin, MBD Operations Director and Chief Blender. Barrie joins the company bringing  a vast amount of knowledge and experience having served many years in a similar role within The Glenmorangie Company.

Commenting on the appointment Andrew Rankin says, “Rachel is one of the most experienced Master Blenders in our Industry and I am extremely delighted that she will be joining our team here at MBD.  We have a very strong blending team within the company and this appointment  will massively strengthen and reinforce  our commitment to producing the ultimate in quality single malt Scotch whiskies.”

Barrie’s background before joining MBD is steeped in the whisky industry.  Barrie comes to Morrison Bowmore from The Glenmorangie Company where she held the positions of Product Development Manager and ultimately their Whisky Creator and Master Blender and was responsible for creating some of their award-winning whiskies including Glenmorangie Signet and Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Prior to that, Barrie worked for Macdonald & Muir Ltd as the Quality Lab Manager and for the Scottish Whisky Research Institute as a research scientist.

MBD’s Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch Single Malt Scotch Whiskies are available worldwide and imported to the US bySkyy Spirits LLC, the eighth largest spirits company in the US and a wholly owned subsidiary of Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. (Reuters CPRI.MI – Bloomberg CPR IM), together with its affiliates Gruppo Campari.

 

ABOUT MORRISON BOWMORE DISTILLERS (www.morrisonbowmore.com)

Founded in 1951, Morrison Bowmore Distillers Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Suntory Limited and is one of the major names in Scotch whisky. With three Malt Whisky Distilleries situated in the major production areas of Islay (Bowmore), the Highlands (Glen Garioch) and the Lowlands (Auchentoshan),as well as significant blending, bottling and warehousing facilities, the company has established a leading role in the export of bulk blend, vatted malt and in particular `Bottled in Scotland’ Blends and Single Malts.  The success of Morrison Bowmore Distillers Limited is based upon maintenance of traditional values and innovation in the marketplace.

 Posted by at 6:37 pm
Jan 102012
 

Happy New Year to all!

Might as well get right into it. It’s resolution time.

It’s been an awful long time since I’ve provided a post for the site. I enjoy writing, enjoy whisky…and yet for most (all?) of 2011 I managed to avoid generating any content. I would like to turn it around in 2012.

One of the reasons that I’ve struggled for consistency is that it is difficult to come up with topics for the site.

Curt is a prolific reviewer, has lined up some great interviews, run a handful of great tastings, and is always up on the latest and greatest. If this sounds like a tough act to follow, you’re not wrong. But I’ve since realized that’s hardly the point.

When Curt asked if I’d make the odd contribution to the site he knew that I wouldn’t be up on deeply involved in finding new drams, that I wouldn’t provide much in the way of structured tasting notes, and that I will not be able to keep pace with all that the whisky world has to offer. He likely understood this better than I. We all have our place in this little collective, and class clown antics aside I am not really sure quite where I fit into this all.

So, in the spirit of resolutions and self discovery, I’ve decided that in 2012 I am going to embark upon a Whisky Pilgrimage.

For the next 12 months I’ll be doing a hands on experiment in hopes of answering questions both big & small. What are my tastes? Do price and age really matter to me? Do I appreciate the basics any more? Can I truly claim to appreciate the elaborate and sophisticated? Can I confidently state my opinions by virtue of experience rather than by inference? Heady questions indeed!

What makes this a pilgrimage? Apologies if I take a liberal interpretation of the word, but I’m calling this a pilgrimage because by my view, pilgrimages are journeys which are spiritual in nature. This is a pilgrimage about spirits. Close enough, right?

While I won’t be travelling in the physical sense, I’ll be trying drams from a variety of profiles and locations. I’ll get into the specifics below, but to summarize I’m going to get into some variety I normally wouldn’t bother with and will be making a point of trying things that I have never tried before.

Pilgrimages have a certain stripped down, ascetic quality. Through discipline and humility comes enlightenment…something like that anyhow. I’m going to impose a number of conditions upon myself – some of which are downright draconian – in hopes that these conditions will inspire breakthroughs.

Without further ado the specific rules will be as follows.

The year will be divided up as follows:

– Winter (Jan-Mar): Sherry Matured Whisky – a personal favourite which bears further exploration. Building up my fortitude for what lies ahead!

– Spring (Apr-Jun): Speyside / Highland Whisky – a region & style I’ve struggled to appreciate

– Summer (Jul-Sep): Blended Malt Whisky – the “lesser” brother of single malts. Does it deserve a kinder reputation?

– Fall (Oct-Dec): Peated Whisky – Peated, not necessarily Islay…hearty drams to warm the soul & close out the year

Every month I will seek out & purchase a new whisky in the designated profile, and at least one selection for every profile must be entirely new to me. This means that at the beginning of the season I’ll only have one bottle to work with, and by the third month of the season, I’ll have three. For every profile I’ll be limiting myself to a budget of ~$150. In order to meet my budget I will have to be resourceful and hunt down the best value for my dollar (not necessarily in terms of volume). I will gladly look into any recommendations sent my way.

That will be it for my whisky purchases this year. I’ll remain a full participant in Liquorature related debauchery and I expect that I’ll come to value those evenings even more as a result of my experiment. I’m sure that there will be ATW tastings, social get-togethers, and lovely evenings spent chatting out in the communal backyard. For these, I’ll draw upon the remains of my humble collection – about 50 oz total if I’m being generous – which I must now jealously guard. I don’t fancy that I’ll be a strictly devout pilgrim, but I’ll do my best to stick to the pilgrimage ethic!

Two nights every week I will pour myself 1.5 oz in whatever combination I choose from the seasonal profile. The only rule is to do whatever strikes my fancy. If this means a straight up dram, comparing one against another, exploring Glencairn vs. Riedel, blending several together, marinading a steak, trying chilled vs. room temp, a cocktail (god forbid!)…ANYTHING is up for trial.

This experiment certainly lends itself to creativity. Directly relevant to ATW I will writing about what happens all along the way. I’m currently enjoying a dram of my January sherry selection while I type this, and the next time I sit down with a dram, will be typing up a little piece on my selection.

Until then, cheers!

 

– The Whisky Pilgrim

 Posted by at 6:22 am
Jan 022012
 

Happy New Year, all!

 

 

The end of 2011…

Just a quick note.  Sincere thanks to pass around.

First to the readers whose visits to the site continue to climb.  I appreciate your comments, thoughts and emails.  If I am slow to respond occasionally…please do be patient.  I’ll get there.

Cheers to all of my mates who join me in frequent drams and discussions.  These are the things memories are made of.  Thanks for pouring me drinks and drinking what I pour.  You guys (and occasional gals) make it interesting.

Huge thanks to the Maltmonster who never ceases to amaze with his brilliant pieces and tastings for ATW.  On top of the wicked wit and far reaching imagination, you’re one of the good ones.  Our chats (in person, phone or email) add a lot of lightness to my life.  Slainte!

To Andrew, Dave and all others who work hard coercing my dollars from my pockets…you’re doing a helluva job.  You guys are the reason Alberta is the best place in Canada to have the vices we do.  Thanks for all of your help and generous time.  It is not unappreciated.

To all in the industry (be they reps, bloggers, writers, distillery folk, etc)…keep it up.  The fact that we do what we do speaks volumes about what you do.  If you’re doing it right…well…we’ll be trumpeting it here.  If you’re not…smarten up!  😉

Finally…thanks to my ever-patient wife.  Beautiful, smart and infinitely patient in a non-condescending way.  Love you.

Cheers, all!

 

Looking into 2012…

You can expect a little more vitriol and a little less…er…moderation.  C’mon…who doesn’t like to mix it up every now and again?

Look forward to some more details on the SMWS in Canada.

Islay 2012.  A few members of the collective (myself included) are heading back to peat mecca in September.  Many commented on (and wrote to me about) the last trip/blog.  This time there will be many more (and much better) photos, full-on distillery features, more tasting notes, and an even more fully-realized blog.  Islay is a place of pilgrimage for many malt lovers.  Hope all of the jottings for this trip help out a few of you planning your own excursion to Islay.

A return of the interviews ATW frequently featured.  As I said…you can expect a little more fire here on the site.  First target…Jim Murray.  Repeated attempts to corner the author of the Whisky Bible for an interview have failed.  Initial responses from his team led me to believe this would happen.  All subsequent email direct to Mr. Murray has gone unanswered throughout the year.  Come on, Jim…I don’t always agree with your ratings, but you’re a helluva writer and a lot of people out there would like to hear from you.  What say?

Many more reviews (up to 100 now!)…tastings (vertical, horizontal, whatever)…updates, etc.

A few more opinion pieces.  What is the point of blogging if not to share opinion, right?

A few more tutorials (and not all will be mine) for those out there who may be new to the intricacies of whisky.  A lot of questions sent this way are from advice-seekers.  When you see these posted on the site, gang, jump in and share your thoughts.

Much, much more.

 

Enough rambling.  I wish you all the best for 2012 and many more years to come.  To your health, wealth and happiness.

 

Glasses high!

– ATW

 Posted by at 10:12 am