Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wine for the Holidays

Wine for the Holidays. This is an article we published last year. I have made a few updates. Everything after the next *** is vintage. So I went and bought my usual three bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau this year (2010) and I was kind of disappointed. My daughter thought it was pretty good but it was lacking to me. Here I have been telling everyone how great it is and I was not enjoying it. Why ? Well, I think maybe that after discovering how much I really love Red Bordeaux , maybe I love that more than I used to love the Beaujolais? I dont know for sure and I think 2010 was probably as good as most years for the B.N. I did hear that they had some shipping problems and it arrived late and not as much as usual due to the political and economic strikes in France maybe that was it, but I just did not enjoy it as much as usual. I have one bottle left after Thanksgiving and it is December 5th today so maybe I will get it out and drink it before it gets any worse. Enjoy the 2010 holiday season. ***Here are some ideas for a couple of wines for the holiday season. Thanksgiving is a great time to have wine. Sometimes in the 1990’s I was listening to a talk radio show and they had a gourmet on that was suggesting wines for thanksgiving. He suggested a Gewurztraminer as a perfect Thanksgiving wine as it really picks up the flavor of the stuffing and other holiday foods and complements them. We tried a couple of bottles that year and the guy was right on the money. It was great! While there is no spice in the wine, it does seem to pick up the flavors from your dinner and frames them with a great fresh tasting wine. Try it for your next holiday meal especially if stuffing is involved. There are many makers of Gewurztraminer both European and domestic and so far, they are all good. Just choose one in your price range and enjoy. Beaujolais Nouveau is a fresh young red wine bottled at the very beginning of the Beaujolais season. Originally it was bottled (or in casks) and trotted out to parties and street festivals for people to try this year’s Beaujolais and get some feedback before mass bottlings of the remainder were made. Perhaps if the taste was not so good the grapes could be blended into other things and if it was good then make more Beaujolais. A lot of wine snobs will turn their noses up at this wine and that’s just too bad for them because it tastes really good. There is one problem with the nouveau though and that is it goes bad really quick. Beaujolais Nouveau is sold starting about November 17th each year and thousands of cases are shipped from France to the United States and many people have Beaujolais Nouveau parties and try out the few brands that come out each year. If you drink it for Thanksgiving it will be wonderful and the quicker you consume it the more you will enjoy it. It will still be good for your holiday season parties and remains very drinkable through the 25th of December. New Years Eve is about the last time I can drink it as it is quickly turning to vinegar. So if you see a bottle of 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau on the shelf for sale after January 1, 2010 just say no. That is, unless you want to use it for cooking or a vinaigrette. My personal scale of drinkability for Beaujolais Nouveau is in this list. This is just from my personal experience over about 15 years or so. November 17 to November 27 Wonderful, top of its form, delicious (10) November 28 to December 15 Really good, quite enjoyable just a little less good than before, still worthwhile (9) December 16 to December 25 Still good, but noticeably degraded from its November peak goodness(7) December 26 to January 1 You have to be a big fan to stick with it this long as it is just starting to really turn South (3) January 2 and on If you still have any just use it for cooking or to make salad dressing, it is no longer drinkable. (0) Just my personal opinion and yours may differ one way or the other, just do what suits you and makes you happy. This is why unless you are prepared to drink it up quickly or have a lot of friends to help you drink it, buying a whole case or two on November 17 is probably not a good idea, just get a few bottles. I have dumped out more than one bottle in mid January. For us about 4 or 5 bottles is enough but I do often buy a case and give bottles out as Thanksgiving presents to a few friends and relatives. All is not lost though as if you really love Beaujolais then you can still buy Beaujolais Villages (called that because each little village has its own) and there are several brands to choose from. You don’t have to drink the Beaujolais Villages quickly it will last quite a while. I don’t love it like the Nouveau but it is very good. Champagne for the holidays is always a good idea. Personally I like French Champagne. Is it better than American sparkling wine? Well allow me to explain. My wife and I took a really nice 11 day trip to France in 2002 and spent a couple of days in the Champagne producing areas. So my preference is French wine in all cases, not because it may or does taste better than American wine or any other but because drinking it reminds me of our really great trip and our time together in Paris and some of the country side of France. I have no clue which is better but when given a choice I buy the French simply because of the memories and the sentiment. So my choices for Champagne are Moet et Chandon Nectar Imperial which is sweet like Asti Spumonti but not nearly that sweet it is most enjoyable. Second is Moet et Chandon Imperial Brute, followed by Piper Heidsieck Brute, and Veuve Clicquot. Dom Perignon is good but too pricey for our pocket book. I know there are a lot of others but that is really about all I have tried that I really liked and there remain many left to try. So please share with us what wines you like for your holiday seasons. The Whisky Warrior.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Talkin bout Vodka

Ok lets take a little detour from Whiskey and discuss Vodka for a little bit. Vodka is grain neutral spirits, or just plain alcohol. It is not aged or put in a barrel or anything else. The cheaper ones are either barely filtered or not filtered at all and thats why they taste like rubbing alcohol. The middle grade and uppershelf ones are filtered. So for the most part the difference between a crappy bottle of vodka and a good one is how many time and how well it is filtered to remove all the impurities which makes it taste much better. Now if you are going to mix it with juice or most anything then it really doesnt matter which brand you choose. If you drink that most American of inventions, the Vodka Martini, then you want something that tastes good. Some are Grey Goose, Three Olives, Absolute, and several others. If you are paying over 30$ a bottle chances are its highly filtered. I recently read a book about the marketing and introduction of Absolute Vokda and it was most entertaining talking about the shape of the bottle was poo-pooed because "they" said that it looked like a plasma bottle. In fact when they were trying to sell it to the ad agencies in New York City, they couldn't even bring the actual vodka into the country and it was sold mostly on the bottle. It took a while but they did it. The book also said that it costs about 12 cents to make a liter of any brand of vodka. All the rest is profit.

Nice gig if you can get it. I do like Grey Goose, its rated 96 on the taste scale of 1-100 while Absolute is rated only 86 but honestly I can drink both in my martini.

For a good vodka martini you need good olives so use the Giant Spanish Queens and I recommend 3 of them in your martini and a cap full or slightly less of dry vermouth for what I consider the perfect vodka martini. You can experiment with other types of olives, stuffed with almonds, stuffed with pearl onions, stuffed with jalepeno, or other exotic items but I prefer the plain old pimento stuffing in mine. If you are just going to have a screwdriver (vokda and orange juice) or a bloody mary (vodka and tomato juice or V8, or BM mix) then just buy cheap vodka, there is no need to waste money on expensive really good tasting vodka just to mix it up with a mix. If you are having a Vodka martini then by all means at least buy something middle shelf or above. I prefer mine on the rocks. I dont drink gin ever since I got sick on it back in high school. The smell of juniper berries is enough to have me reaching for the tums even now.

But with all drinks its important you drink what you like no matter what the price is and no matter the hype. After all its pretty amazing they got us to pay 30-50$ a bottle for something that costs 12 cents to make isnt it? Its hype and good filtering that makes a good vodka.

Oh yes, there are still a few made from potatos and try it and if you like it by all means drink it.

But most is simply grain neutral spirits. Experiment and find what you like and stock up.

Remember one martini is never enough and two is usually too many so as always use caution and obey the law.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Ant and the Grasshopper stock up the bar

Time to prepare for winter!
August 2010 is quickly coming to a close and it won’t be long before the cold winds of winter come bearing down on us folks here in Central Florida. Well ok maybe it will be a few more months but the point is that it is never too early to start preparing. In short it is time to take a good hard look at your wine rack (or cellar if you are very well off) and your bar area in your home. Around here thousands of people are losing their jobs at the Kennedy Space Center and while some are relocating there are some hearty souls among us that are determined not to give up our homes just because some politicians don’t understand very much about the American Space program.
I did a little inventory and I have about 8 bottles of wine, 2 bottles of Irish, 3 of Bourbon, 2 vodka, 1 Canadian, and about 10 bottles of various types of Scotch. Oh there are some remnants of tequila and rum lounging about on an extended vacation but the above list is the important stuff. Now while that list will indeed keep me well for quite a while I feel that while I am in my last 6 weeks of “good paying” employment I should take the time to invest some of those final funds received just before my semi-retirement into some good hooch. I have a wish list and here it is:
2 bottles Mccallan 18 (25 would be better)
4 bottles Bushmills 16 year single malt Irish (21 would be better)
2 bottles of Compass Box blended Scotch
2 bottles of Long Morn Scotch
2 Bottles of Talisker Scotch
2 bottles of Sheep Dip Scotch (just recently ran out)
1 bottle of Michters Bourbon (because I have never tried it)
1 Bottle of Jim Beam Rye
4 bottles of Canadian Mist (Club would be better)
1 case of Red Bordeaux
1 case of White Bordeaux
1 case of Red Zinfandel
4 cases of Moet et Chandon Nectar Imperial Champagne
4 bottles of Grey Goose Vodka
1 bottle of Martini and Rossi dry vermouth
2 bottles of Meyer’s rum (and some planters punch mix)
24 jars of Spanish Queen Olives
2000 toothpicks (round colored party picks)
1 case of highball glasses
10 cases of Guinness
A new acoustical guitar and 10 sets of strings and 12 rock and roll (and traditional Celtic) fake song books
That should see me safely through the next few years at least.
No I won’t really be buying all that but this will be the list I pick from as I do my stocking up for this long hard winter of unemployment and semi-retiredness.
Donations would be most gratefully accepted just comment to this article and I will send you my email address. :-)
But the point is not wealth or ability to buy all of the things one wants, it is the ability to know what you want and to acquire enough of what you want to be happy and failing that to be happy with what you are able to acquire.
Furthermore be not the lazy grasshopper starving by the roadside when the hard times hit, rather be the industrious ant storing away liquid treasures enough so you and your friends and family will have plenty to enjoy while you beat the taxing wolves away from your homestead door with your empty bottles. Stock up, live long, be happy, and enjoy life every chance you get.
The Whisky Warrior

Friday, June 18, 2010

Glen Keith...its like an old friend

Glen Keith
Glen Keith distillery was started in 1958 out of an old mill building. It was the first distillery to be started in the last century. Their product was a triple distilled single malt scotch. Originally the Chivas Brothers opened the distillery but in 2001 it was sold to Pernod Ricard where it remains today. I believe that Glen Keith is used as one of the components in the making Chivas Regal. Glen Keith is what I call a true Oak Scotch having one of the strongest oak flavors of any single malt that I have tasted. They also put out several other versions but I have only had the pleasure of trying the Glen Keith 10 year. There used to be a seafood restaurant in Cape Canaveral Florida that had a nice little bar upstairs and they put in “The Malt Collection” back in the 1990’s. Longmorn and Glen Keith were in that collection but I don’t recall the others. There was a really nice wooden holder that sat on the bar with one bottle of each of four Speyside single malt scotches. So it was fun to go into the bar and watch the cruise ships sail in and out of the port while getting to try new whiskies. Of these Glen Keith and Longmorn became my favorites. I enjoy the woody taste of the Glen Keith as it seems to give it a good clean dignified taste. A taste to be valued, enjoyed, and treasured either by the ocean side or in front of a roaring fire place shrugging off a deep winter blizzard. Is it the best scotch in the world? No but then I am not the best person in the world but like me (and you) this scotch has real value. We don’t all like or enjoy the same things and you can ask a non-scotch drinker if you don’t believe me on that one. Glen Keith is like an old friend with a few faults. You over look the faults and just enjoy the friendship. It is like your favorite shirt or pair of pants that are hugely comfortable but you wouldn’t be able to wear them to a fancy affair. Glen Keith is like a child’s favorite worn out toy, not the best toy but if the house were on fire it would be the one you would grab as you hurried out the door. (Then go back in and get the wife!)
I read the tasting notes of other folks and all I can say is phooey. Some folks are so intent on telling you why they don’t like something they forget to tell you what they do like about it! “Disappointing nose” one fine fellow says…..well amigo I don’t pour the scotch down my nose so no scotch has ever disappointed my nose. My nose doesn’t really care what scotch I drink, but my lips, tongue, and throat care a great deal and they agree that Glen Keith is a winner and a great comfort scotch that will never ever let you down and will always be there for you just like a good friend….unless you drink it all of course but then old Glen will be right back as soon as you trip out to the liquor store and back. Try Glen Keith and see if you can strike up a bonnie friendship with this amicable barley boy from Scotland. It is a great go-to Scotch or what some would call an everyday Scotch. Enjoy
The Whisky Warrior

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Laphroaig 10 Year

Laphroaig 10 year
Laphroaig is called by some the most flavorful scotch in the world. I received two or three bottles of Laphroaig 10 as Christmas gifts from relatives a few years ago and that was my second introduction to the brand. This is an Islay scotch and like most of its kin has a strong peaty taste. This taste is not for everyone. Those that like it seem to really love it and those that don’t care for it avoid it. For most folks the whole world of scotch is an acquired taste and I am still trying to acquire the taste for Laphroaig. I am not saying it’s bad whisky I am just saying that most smoky tasting scotches are not high on my “to buy” list as I am a sherry or other wine finish and/or oak finish fan in a huge way.
Laphroaig tasters have reported an iodine taste with the smell of fresh new band-aids mixed with smoke, sea air, and occasionally some oak flavors. As I taste it I certainly smell the often reported medicinal smell and of course the whisky’s overwhelming smokiness comes through like a freight train. Actually my very first contact with smoky scotches was in October of 1997 when I was snowed in at a Double Tree Inn in Colorado Springs. A blizzard had interrupted my business trip and I barely made it to the hotel before several feet of snow struck in a hellatious blizzard that raged all night. The power kept going out and the fire alarms kept going off throughout the night but no fire, just lots of wind. 8 people lost their lives that night in that blizzard so it was not a fun thing. The next day there were 15 foot snow drifts and I was to spend the next three days at the hotel before the airport could be plowed and flights could resume. I had hit the snack bar/ souvenir shop right after I arrived as I suspected I would be stuck a few days. I bought up chips, crackers, sodas, and an armload of cookies and such.
Well the good news was that some of the great staff at that hotel made it in or never left so I got a hot breakfast the first morning and the bar was opened later that day with huge TV screens showing the World Series. This bar had a huge selection of scotch and I got to try probably 20 different ones over the three days I was there as well, there wasn’t anything else to do. Laphroaig was one of the memorable ones and I tried hard to wrap my mind around the smoky flavor. I wanted very badly to enjoy it and embrace the smoke but in the end I went back to my sherry based favorites. It is an interesting flavor and I think after a big meal would be the best time to enjoy a smoky scotch. I have a hard time trying to understand why anyone would purposely make a scotch that tasted or smelled like band-aids and smoke and I guess that just shows my lack of sophistication. I am still learning and trying new whisky whenever possible. I will even go back and try Laphroaig again as I still have a bottle at home. People’s tastes change over the years and I know my tastes definitely change as some whiskies that I thought I did not like 5 years ago when tried today I find I greatly enjoy. Love of whisky is a journey down a long and winding road that is well worth taking and sometimes determination and the refusal to give up on that journey are greatly rewarded in the end.
So if you have tried something and did not like it try it again at some later date and see if your tastes have changed as well. I should mention that Laphroaig has several other varieties including its “new” quarter cask in which at some point the whisky is transferred from its old Maker’s Mark Bourbon barrels into ¼ sized oaken casks. This process is supposed to speed up the later part of the maturation as more of the whisky is in more contact with the oak. I will take their word for it. I have not tried the quarter cask yet, only the 10 year version but if I get the chance I will try the quarter cask soon.
As a side note I do enjoy Talisker which is an Island of Skye scotch that has a smoky flavor. If you find Laphroaig too smoky but still enjoy the smokiness then try Talisker as a less smoky but full flavored alternative.
If you love a smoky scotch then Laphroaig is definitely for you. If not then try it by all means but buy it by the glass before you go buy a whole bottle.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Canadian Mist

Canadian Mist
This Canadian blended whiskey has been around for quite a while and at least as long as I have been of drinking age. Folks used to say that the only difference between Canadian Club and Canadian Mist was that Club is bottled in Canada and Mist is bottled in the USA after being shipped over in bulk. Well, that and the price as Canadian Club cost more than Canadian Mist. In fact Brown-Forman imports and bottles Canadian Mist so that much of the scuttlebutt is true.
Canadian Club has many varieties and ages to choose from and Canadian Mist really is a one product line. We drank Canadian Mist way back when I was in my 20’s because it was more affordable and we enjoyed it. That is what this blog is all about, enjoying what you drink, not being an uppity snob and only drinking very expensive whisky (ey).
Yes most expensive liquor is good but a lot of the less expensive liquor is also most enjoyable and should not be counted out simply because it’s cheaper to buy.
People are people and I guess snobbishness is just a human characteristic and people will often buy products because of price or fame not just because they really like it better. I used to prove this to my Budweiser drinking friends. I would take 7 different American beers all at the same temperature and put them in small glasses for them to try. I would put the brand names on little card and hand the cards to my friends and they would taste the beer and place the name card by the beer that they felt it went with. 9 times out of 10 my hard core Budweiser drinking friends not only could not pick out Budweiser from 6 other beers but in almost every case they chose Old Milwaukee as being the Bud!!
Now back then Old Milwaukee was as low as 88 cents a 6 pack and Bud was about 3$ a sixer but did my little taste test get them to switch? Nope, they still drank the Bud even though they more often than not thought Bud was Old Milwaukee and vice versa. I will be honest the only American beer I have been able to pick out of that kind of a line up time after time without fail is Falstaff which has a unique taste in my opinion. I can’t pick out any of the others either.
So people will drink a brand name or something they are familiar with or something with memories attached or something expensive over something that just plain tastes good and is less expensive to buy.
Canadian Mist accompanied my friend and me on a camping trip once in Indiana. We set up camp one Saturday morning and started drinking wine and beer and about noon switched over to the bottle of Canadian Mist we brought. Back in those days most everyone had a prescription from their doctor for some type of amphetamine which was still legal back then. Like now, no one wanted to be overweight and we were taking these pills daily. Now they are illegal so don’t do this!! Also you could die so don’t do this! We drank the 5th of Canadian Mist and were still stone cold sober so we went to a local bar/package store and bought another 5th of the Mist. We took that back to camp and drank that and were still sober so back to the liquor store we went and got a 3rd 5th of Canadian Mist and drank that back at camp. We never got so much as a buzz even though we enjoyed the taste of the whiskey immensely. Normally one fifth would have been way too much for us for one day but this was a lesson in chemistry. Also some would say it’s just a waste of good whiskey not to get any buzz at all from it.
I have enjoyed Canadian Mist every now and then since that day and I do like the taste. So try it and if you like it then drink it and if you don’t then you can try Canadian Club or one of the other good quality Canadian Whiskies. It has been said that Canadian Whiskey as a group are the smoothest and most drinkable whiskies in the world and while some might argue they are incredibly smooth and very drinkable. Canadian Mist does come in all sizes of bottles some glass and some PET plastic for ease of travel and safety. If nothing else I would encourage you to buy a miniature bottle of Canadian Mist as that is a great way to try lots of different whiskies without a huge investment.
Then you can always go back and buy what you like later. I do that all the time to try to find new and interesting whiskies to drink. Then I do go back and buy the large size of the ones I truly enjoy. Try the Mist I don’t think you will regret it.
The Whisky Warrior.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Glenmorangie (and the 16 men of Tain)

The Glenmorangie:
Whisky or some type of alcoholic beverage has been distilled in and around the lovely little Scottish town of Tain since the Middle Ages. Glenmorangie (pronounced Glen-More-Angie, Rhyme it with orangey) is the latest and many would argue the best of those efforts. Still it would be fun to hop in the old time machine and go back and try all the various libations available for the last 1200 years or so. But alas while that is not yet possible as all our brilliant young minds are eaten up with texting and yakking on cell phones all day instead of applying themselves to developing a time machine for my drinking pleasure. How terribly selfish of them to deprive me of this glorious drinking dream! Just as well with my luck I would arrive just as the Black Death hit and get burned at the stake as a witch for not speaking with the proper accent or being able to speak middle English or Scots Gaelic at all. Damn!
I had the great pleasure of visiting the Glenmorangie Distillery in June of 2009 along with my wife, two daughters and niece as we toured Scotland and deposited my father-in-law’s ashes in a place of great honor near a battle field in our ancestral home. The young lady that did the tour was Scotland gorgeous and an absolute delight. I mean well hell, a beautiful young lady that knows all about scotch and is articulate and friendly what could be better? It was a lovely tour and while a still is a still is a still, the tasting and sales room was very well done and the folks running the place were very nice to all of us while providing our dram at the end of the tour.
We even got to see a tanker full of scotch leave the compound headed for one of the big cities for bottling. Now there is a drinkers dream, a whole tanker of scotch. As Homer Simpson would say, “Scotch….Arrrggghhhhhhhhhaaa.”
On the label of a bottle of Glenmorangie one will find reference to the 16 men of Tain. This refers to an epic battle long ago that 16 men of Tain took part in and at the end of the battle only one man of Tain was left alive to tell the tail. Some believe that the TV and Movie series “Highlander” is based loosely on the story of the 16 men of Tain.
Tain is the home to the Ross Clan Museum. We have been there three times since 1996 as my wife’s Scottish heritage is that of Clan Ross. Ross in Gaelic is the word for peninsula so that is probably where the clan name came from way back when.
The production of beer started at the Morangie Farm in 1738 and in 1843 William Matheson bought out the place and converted the brewery into a distillery using two second hand gin stills and later renamed the distillery Glenmorangie. So while I have no great love for gin (it reminds me of nothing but evergreen trees doused with alcohol) I must say this was the best idea for the use of gin stills in the history of the Earth. I promise to give gin a try again in the near future just to be sure that I still don’t care for it, just to be fair.
The quality of the water is upper most on the ingredient list for top quality scotch and the Tarlogie Springs supply that good clean water for Glenmorangie.
All that hard work and dedication has paid off as Glenmorangie has a full 6% share of the single malt scotch market worldwide and produces around 10 million bottles a year selling around 65% of that in the UK.
It is not a smoky scotch and does come in several age groups and there have been some double and triple woods produced. I love the 15 year that spent 5 years in bourbon barrel oak, 5 in sherry oak and the final 5 in Madeira barrels. They don’t make that anymore as the lovely young lady explained to me people in Europe are not drinking Maderia as much so there just aren’t enough empty barrels to go round.
Whether you choose the single malt or one of their other fine whiskies you won’t be disappointed in any Glenmorangie product. If you are in Scotland the tour is worth the time and also visit the Tain museum in the little town anyone there can direct you. Stop by Harry Gow’s for some good pastries they are just a couple of blocks from the museum in the downtown section and there are 2 or 3 banks there you can change your money or use your credit card to get more. Lots of ancient Pictish standing stones are in this area too with one of them actually in the museum. It’s a really nice place with wonderful people and great world class scotch. You won’t be disappointed.
The Whisky Warrior

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Singleton

The Singleton
I have been promising a taste test of The Singleton single malt scotch whisky for a few weeks now, so here it is.
Last night we were watching a movie on TV followed by a couple of comedians (Black and Titus, very funny) so it seemed to me like the perfect time to try out that bottle of The Singleton that I bought a couple of months ago. I will be honest, I thought it was a blend when I heard of it and I think one of my friends told me that but it is a single malt aged for 12 years in bourbon and sherry casks. I love the sherry taste in a good whisky so this is right down my alley. Diageo imports this whisky into America and after my tasting I definitely will buy this again. I guess I really haven’t found a sherry aged scotch that I don’t like, at least not yet. This is another Speyside product meaning it comes from East of Inverness in the area by the Spey river along with a lot of heavy weight top quality scotches. The water from the Spey and its burns (creeks) is really quite good and good water and good barley are the main two ingredients for a top notch scotch. It is made at or near Glendullan. If you are of a mind to do the whisky trail and visit lots of distilleries in Scotland Speyside is a great place to do that. Dozens of great whisky houses to visit and a very interesting cooperage where they make and repair casks that is also open to your touring and the cooperage has a nice little tea room/eatery out back that was a lovely place to have a snack.
Tasting notes?...............well I don’t really do that like the “experts” do but here are a few things I noticed. This whisky has a good clean smell, an honest here-I-am-love-me-or-leave-me smell and of course a whiff of sherry comes through. I do smell spun sugar, maybe some vanilla, and the smell of good quality candy is also there for me. I think people smell things that are usually individual to that persons likes and dislikes but that’s just me. Good smooth sherry taste comes dashing out of this very attractive bottle. I tipped up the bottle and drank an ounce or so right from the source at first and was very pleased at how smooth and delicious this scotch is. Then I poured some in a glass and had another sip of straight whisky. Again, I loved it. Next step for me is to add a splash of water and smell and taste again. The water did not drown it but like those rascally experts say “it opened the bouquet to me.” Next since a lot of people do drink their scotch with ice I added some ice and drank about 3 glasses in this manner effectively killing off between ¼ and 1/3 of the treasure at my first sitting. Not too heavy, not to light, just right. Perhaps a little less heavy than Glendronach (another sherry scotch see article dedicated to it elsewhere in this blog), and maybe a bit heaver than Glenfiddich (a very popular scotch also discussed elsewhere in this blog). No smoky taste or smell to this scotch and while that is probably greatly disappointing to your smoky bears out there I promise we will rate some more smoky whiskies later this year. We did a few already please do go back and look at our older articles they stand on their own and we would love your comments to any of our articles. My drinking was done at home and no pedestrians were harmed in the making of this article . While I’m pretty sure Diageo is not interested in talking to me and probably the good folks at The Singleton aren’t clamoring to tell me how much they appreciate my thoughts on their product……… I must rate this a top notch scotch in the 30 to 40 dollar a bottle category. One of my friends has been drinking this regularly for quite a while and continues to marvel at how good it is at such a reasonable price and I have to agree. Buy this scotch next time you want a good one. It will stand up to ice and water and is really good straight up or right out of the bottle for you folks who care about as much for sophistication as I do.
Remember life is very short, make the most of every moment. The meaning of life is very simple. Be warm in the winter, cool in the summer, have plenty of good things to eat and plenty of good things to drink, someone to love, comfy clothes to wear and a roof over your head. Everything else is just crap. All the best, stay safe and do your drinking at home or with a designated driver at the wheel. Try The Singleton, I think you will really like it. I know I do.
PS. Saw another article on this scotch and they said (have no idea if its true or not) that The Singleton will be making a whiskey in America releasing it later this year…….let me know if you see it or try it.
The Whisky Warrior

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Clos de la Siete - A Malbec from Argentina

The following is from guest wine enthusiast Carlos de Sud.

He is quite fond of Spanish and Argentine wines and has introduced us to several varieties over the years.
“Since I have been down here in Argentina I have been learning about the local wines. I would like to recommend that you may be interested in an outstanding red wine called "Clos de la Siete" it is a Malbec and is grown in Mendoza Province, Argentina near the Andes Mountains. This wine is a mixture of wines from several bodegas (Wineries). It was started a French wine grower that is why the first name "Clos" which means "Closed of the Seven". Anyway the Malbec grape was imported to Argentina over 100 years ago from France and has begin to become very popular in the USA. It is not grown in France because of the blight that killed French Malbec. It is a bold wine that has very dark red color and is notable for its fruity delicious taste.”
You can find this wine on the Internet
So enjoy

Saludos Cordiales
Carlos de Sud

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Wine Muse!!

A big Flask and Cask happiest of birthdays to our very own

Wine Muse.!

Hope you enjoy this low calorie Castle Cake!

Many happy returns of the day and why not enjoy a good bottle of wine eh?

All the best!

The Whisky Warrior

Sometimes it all gets blurry

Sometimes it all gets blurry
We are now into our 4th month of article writing, product tasting, and decision making about whisky and wine. Please always remember we love whisky and wine we do not proclaim to be experts we just enjoy drinking them. There have been some really great surprises and I have learned things I never knew before. I also discovered that some products that I was just barely aware of are outstanding. The Barons de Rothschild 2005 red Bordeaux was just shockingly amazing and the Compass Box Hedonism blended scotch was so delightful I thought maybe I had died in the bar and had been transported to a more heavenly venue. (The story from the bar patron setting to my right that night explaining that he did not drink scotch because it made him angry and last time he drank it he threw his boss through the wall in the bar quickly made me realize I had not yet achieved heaven). At any rate, I might never have tried those except in pursuit of information on the subject so that I might share it with you. I look forward to many more undiscovered treasures but I do need your help so please write in and tell us what you like. It may point us toward something wonderful we just have not had a chance to try yet.
I have noticed that 3 or 4 of the blended whiskies I tried with a splash of water and a little ice all kind of tasted the same with very little to recommend one over the other. I have my own little 4 step method to trying a whisky. Step 1 is the nosing of the whisky, a good inviting aroma is important to the remaining steps (color is fun but not important to me as colors can be artificially modified). Step 2 is to try some of the whisky straight and here any individual differences in blends or single malts should stand out loud and clear. In the cooler months of the year Step 2 is my final step so from about November through March I pretty much drink only straight whisky. Step 3 is to add just a splash of spring water and this is (not surprisingly) where tastes start to blur but not completely. Strong differences still stand out but the more subtle ones sort of wash away. Actually on some of the really excellent whiskies a drop (just a drop) of water does open up the “bouquet” of the whisky even the experts will tell you that is ok. Step 4 is to add ice and as explained when it’s 90+ degrees here in Florida I do add ice April through October because you see 90 degrees is hot (50 for you Celsius folks). Ice drives away all the remaining subtle differences and leaves only the screaming taste of smoke or possibly the softer taste of the sherry barrel. I like it just about any way one can drink it but have not developed a taste for whisky based cocktails but perhaps I will try some later this year just to see if my tastes have changed. I don’t care for lemon in my tea or lime in my beer I just like things straight and find more personal joy in the experience of a more pure experience than from concoctions. Tea is tea and not lemonade and beer should not have fruit in it. That is just my personal feeling about it, I don’t care if you put a bushel of fruit in your tea or your beer as long as you enjoy it that way it’s all good. The whole lime in the beer thing started with bartenders cleaning the rusty steel residue off of the tops of the old Mexican beers with a lime which they had handy from the margarita makings nearby on the bar. In those days the caps rusted and some folks liked the lime taste and even started stuffing limes down in their beers. If that’s what you like it’s ok with me I am just saying it’s not for me. When I drink Beer I drink Guinness 90% of the time but I also like Newcastle Brown Ale (sometimes called the Brown Dog), Sam Adams, and a few others. I don’t care for light pilsners and most lightly brewed American beers although they are good and refreshing while doing yard work and light enough not to have much effect on you. I like a beer with a lot of body and a ton of taste. Hops, hops and more hops please.
I digress. I am getting really good at digressing. So my thought for writing this was to explain that many blended whiskies tend to taste a lot alike if you add water and ice. This is my somewhat scientific observation over the last three months. My taste of Old St. Andrews 8 Yr. and my taste of Dewar’s were really quite similar. That is not to say that is a bad thing rather quite a good thing I would think. Point being if you want to really taste a whisky drink it straight and use this as your decision point for which brands you like the best. Then add water and ice as you like. This is true for the blends as well as the single malts and for whisky as well as whiskey. I also tried the Old St. Andrews clubhouse and their 15 year old a couple of nights ago. Now I have said I don’t taste all those foo foo things that the experts talk about. I have an exception to report as the 15 year Old St. Andrews offered up an aroma and a taste of spun sugar. No it did not taste like exactly like cotton candy but there was something there, something I had never noticed before in a whisky. Neither the 8 nor the clubhouse versions had that same spun sugar taste. That is not to say it tasted super sweet, but damn it was really good and that spun sugar thing really added a nice twist to the experience, most enjoyable. Next up is Chivas Regal and Johnny Walker Red Label for me to try along with The Singleton. Kindly remember I do own stock in a distributor of Old St. Andrews albeit just a few hundred dollars worth but I am trying to sell that stock today which has nothing to do with the quality of the Scotch.
I have bottles of Pig Nose, The Singleton, and Tobermory all unopened and awaiting just the right time for sampling. Wish you were here to share it with me. Alas the Sheep Dip is no more (moment of silence).
Happy drinking and remember to try a little straight first before you pour on the water and ice. Enjoy
The Whisky Warrior

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rye Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Rye Whiskey I cry

Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry Rye whiskey, once the red-headed step child of the whiskey world has had a rebirth as of late and is enjoying a new found followership among whiskey fans. There used to be one or maybe if you were lucky two selections of rye whiskey at our local liquor stores. You could choose Jim Beam Rye or if you were fortunate the alternative selection was Old Overholt. Not that I like either one better than the other, but I do like choice and two selections are better than one. Every once in a while I would be in the mood for something different and I would usually get a bottle of Jim Beam Rye distinguishable (at least back then) by its yellow label which diminished any confusion between it and its big brother Jim Beam Bourbon. To me the rye is a good sipper and leaves a pleasant aftertaste that lingers a while. Its popularity has never been that of the other whiskeys (at least not in the 20th or 21st centuries) but it is rising up the whiskey world. Today you can find other brands or rye like Hudson Manhattan, Michters, Templeton Rye, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, and Wild Turkey Rye along with several other good ones too numerous to mention. I had a scotch tasting party a while ago and as something fun to do I had a “mystery whiskey” which was Jim Beam Rye. Everyone tried the secret whiskey and guesses ran from scotch to bourbon to Canadian with one whiskey fan finally guessing Rye and claiming the prize of a nice bar towel. Now most of these folks were not hard core whiskey drinkers which probably explains why only one of them actually guessed correctly. Rye was immortalized in the old cowboy movies with John Wayne, Hop-a-long Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Gabby Hayes. As the good or bad guys came into the saloon they often said simply “whiskey!” or “Gimme a shot of Red-eye!” or “Bar keep, shot of Rye!” all of these usually followed by “and leave the bottle!” Most of us have heard the old song about rye. “Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry If I don’t get rye whiskey I surely will die If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck I’d swim to the bottom and never come up.” The question is simply this; is rye whiskey worth a try? The answer is a resounding yes! While rye is my change of pace whiskey and I probably only buy a bottle about every other year, many people are trying it today and judging from the increasing of volume of sales and the growing shelf space in liquor stores it is finally getting a foot in the door of the whiskey drinking world. Rye tastes just a little different and it might take a time or two to really be able to appreciate its unique taste (and to me its unique and quite enjoyable aftertaste). So give it a try and if you don’t want to buy a whole bottle just order it up next time you are at your favorite bar. If nothing else get a shot and pass it around the table to let your friends try it or see if you can find a miniature 50ml bottle. Who knows maybe one or more of you will like it and will become of the new rye drinkers. Be sure to let us know what you think and if rye is really for you or just something you would rather not do. Tell us what your favorite brand is as I would be particularly interested in knowing that to give me leads on what to try next! The Whisky Warrior

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This article is just for fun; First a Scottish story is built with as many names of brands of Whisky as we could fit in. Simply read the story and see how many brand names you can pick out. This is followed with some foolishness based very very loosley on Jeff Foxworthy's comedy routine.

A Scottish Story:

Local hero Johnny Walker was summoned to appear before the Haig to answer charges that he was caught performing Knockdhu with Ladyburn near her Littlemill home located in the very shadow of Ben Nevis. Fearing to fly, Mr. Walker booked passage aboard the Cutty Sark to be present at the trial. The trip was difficult as Captain Long John had difficulty steering the ship through rough seas off the Isle of Jura. The ship had to stop in Port Ellen and Port Charlotte before passing the Arran Islands. Fellow travelers Glen Keith and Glen Grant were seen heaving over the Hankey Bannister on the rough tip on several occasions as the ship’s Bells tolled the hour. It was a Longmorn for Mr. Walker as he was roughed up a bit on the trip and appeared to have a bad case of Monkey Shoulder which dimmed the normally jolly Dimple of his smile. He obtained legal council from William Grant & Sons to represent him in this matter and was seen at North Port withdrawing funds in Morriston Gold from the Rosebank near Highland Park. He could not use the Springbank as that bank had been closed by its owners McClelland and Fettercairn when they bought out the Strathmill on Speyburn and turned it into a golf course that they named the Gran Old Parr.
Mr. Walker was seen near the Church of St. Magdalene in his Black and White riding outfit carrying a Black Bottle of Bunnahabhain to Bell’s and Son’s where his long time friends Glen Moray and Dallas Dhu worked. The old sign read J&B just overhead as Mr. Walker entered the building owing to the building having once been occupied by Bailie Nicol Jarvie who was partnered with Mr. Buchanan’s son. Glen Flagler was tossing Linkwood on the Millburn and welcomed Mr. Walker warmly. They got caught up on such topics as the Old Inverness Teacher’s problems with Pittyvaich the green grocer and Stewart’s Cream of the Barley crop failing this last harvest season. Then they had a drink of The Macallan and toasted Mr. Walkers luck with the upcoming trial. Johnny jumped on William Lawson’s White Horse and rode down the coast to visit an Old Smuggler who supposedly had Something Special for him from the time of Queen Anne. It started to rain and since any port is good in a Pinch he rode into the abandoned Ballantines distillery where he stood near Vat 69 which was the only place the roof was not leaking. Finally the rain ended and Mr. Walker rode past Loch Lomond and Dufftown only to find that the Old Smuggler had not bothered to show up. Johnny yelled to his horse whose name was Old Pultney to giddy up and soon arrived at court for the trial. The Grand Macnish yelled for order in the Glenury Royal Imperial court and bade all present to give the Royal Salute to Lord Grants who was a Famous Grouse and complainer known throughout the land.
Glen Turner was the prosecutor and Ben Riach was up for the defense. Mr. Walker was asked to show his Passport the trial then went started. The case was soon thrown out of court as Judge Glenlochy ruled no evidence was presented to support the case.

With Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy

I have discussed at length how this is a snob-free site and we really try to keep it that way. I do admit that everyone has their own opinions on things especially when it comes to spirits and one’s personal likes and dislikes. So this is to cleanse my system from my personal stereotypes and prejudices and hopefully is a little fun even if you recognize yourself somewhere in here.
If you love dollar long-neck night at your local bar, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you just have to use the “e” when you spell Scotch whisky, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you believe single malt means that they made it with one scoop of ice cream, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think beer should be pale yellow and liquor should be clear, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you order a glass of Cutty Shark, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think Canadian Club is a fine scotch, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you drink your whisky with copious amounts of Coca-Cola, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think scotch is made by scotch people in Scotchland, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think that Pete gives some scotch its smoky taste, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you believe that William Grant & Sons is a law firm, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you believe that Speyburn is some kind of carpet burn, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think that The Famous Grouse is a Saturday morning cartoon character, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you believe that Highland Park is a horse racing track, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think that Glen Keith is someone you can’t quite place from high school, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think that Dufftown is where they make Homer Simpson’s beer, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you think that Johnny Walker is a portable toilet for hikers, you may not be a scotch drinker.
If you believe that Monkey Shoulder is a side effect of rheumatism, you may not be a scotch drinker.

We hope you enjoyed a wee bit of fun, we promise not to do this sort of thing too much.

The Whisky Warrior

Red Bordeaux

I want to preface this article by restating that I am not now and never have been and probably never will be a wine expert. I am a person that really loves a wine that tastes good to me. Price is not a consideration for two reasons. First I am not wealthy and cannot afford hundreds of dollars for a bottle of wine. Second if a $5.00 bottle of wine tastes good, then that’s fine with me. If you want a wine-snob’s opinion on wine then stop reading here and go find a wine snob blog or website, there are lots of them. This blog is more about what you like and when you tell me what you like I may find after trying it that I like it too. In addition, by me telling you what I like maybe you will try something new and find that you like it as well.
Some years ago my wife and I stumbled upon a White Bordeaux and it was very good, clean, crisp and not bitter or bitey at all. It was just a good wine and we enjoy it often. The brand was Barons De Rothschild [Lafite] and it sells in my local liquor store for anywhere from $8.00 to $13.00 a bottle which is within my budget. Last night my youngest daughter (over 30 in case you were thinking I was drinking with a minor) came over and wanted some wine so I pulled out a bottle I had bought a few months ago of Barons De Rothschild [Lafite] Red Bordeaux 2005 and served it.
I had a glass mostly just to be sociable but upon the first taste I was taken aback by its smooth delicious taste. No bite, no bitterness, none of the nastiness that sometimes accompanies various red wines. The only other red wines that I can even kind of compare it to for smoothness is a Red Zinfandel or the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau drank on the first day after it arrives in the USA. Not that Bordeaux tastes like either one of those exactly, that is not the case. The comparison I am making is on smoothness and the lack of bitterness or bite. The Red Bordeaux was so good it probably lasted all of 15 minutes with my daughter and me downing it in between sessions of heaping praise of upon it. We both really loved it.
This family of wineries produces some great wines and Bordeaux ages well with some of them costing many thousands of dollars a bottle dependent upon vintage, rarity, etc. I am very happy that there are at least some versions of this wine that are in my price category and I don’t pretend to understand what makes one vintage worth thousands and another $8.00 a bottle. I’m sure there is some business reason that I just don’t know. The bottom line is both the red and white Barons de Rothschild [Lafite] wine really tastes good and I cannot recommend it enough. You should be able to find some well under $20.00 and I feel sure the more expensive stuff is wonderful but I can’t afford much more than $20-30 for a bottle of wine with most of my wine purchases being under $15. If you go to their web site you can see all kinds of brands that they produce and in all sorts of price ranges. For fun sometime do a search on wine auctions and just see for yourself how much some of these wines can go for. The prices are astounding.
Try a Red Bordeaux soon, I think you will really enjoy it. In central Florida the ABC Liquor store chain carries the lower end ones and I usually buy them there. Note that while the bottle in the picture is from Barons de Rothschild it is not exactly the same one I tried but the closest picture I could find. The one I tried looks 90% like this one with only minor differences , just want to be upfront and honest with you.
I wish you a very enjoyable drinking experience.
The Whisky Warrior

Monday, May 3, 2010

Old Saint Andrews

Old Saint Andrews Scotch, and a new liquor store for the Space Coast:

I advised our readers that I would tell you when I owned stock in a company. I do have a very small position in the company that distributes Old Saint Andrews in America. So feel free to take this article with a truckload of salt if you wish. I got my Old Saint Andrews a few years ago at my local liquor store and I bought it because it came in nifty little miniatures that were packaged in tiny plastic scotch casks. They came three to a package with one simply called St. Andrews with no age, another with 8 years of age on the end of the tiny barrel, and finally one with 15 years of age on the end of the barrel. The mini is upside down inside the barrel with the twist off cap sticking out below the barrel (which is on a tiny stand) and you don’t have to open the barrel to open the scotch. So they sat as a decoration in my home office near the computer for the last three years or so and finally I figured I had to try it because I had seen the name in three or four places as I did research. One place was the information on my stock which was interesting at least to me. Then another in an article about independent bottlers, and finally just someone saying that they liked it. A few days ago I tried unsuccessfully to open the little cask to remove the mini but finally just opened it normally and poured it over some ice. Yes ice, I know…but it was 96 degrees and I do a lot of ice with my scotch this time of year. What was my impression? The 8 year old that I tried was not bad. I could easily see golfers enjoying this after a round of golf in their 19th hole bar at the club. Maybe I am too easily pleased or maybe I just like a lot of different types of scotch but this was good and if you like a blend I don’t think you would be disappointed. I have been to Scotland 4 times but never have laid eyes on St. Andrews the golf course mainly because I don’t go to Scotland to play golf. I am not a golfer but I have played for fun in the past. It is an expensive hobby and takes up a lot of time that I could be using to research or drink whisky so probably not going to be a golfer any time soon. One round of golf = One bottle of scotch, that is math I understand. In spite of my owning a dab of stock in the supply chain that brings this brand to your local liquor store I do recommend this scotch. If you try it please confirm or deny that this is pretty good by posting a comment or even a full article.
Speaking of Liquor stores; I must give a shout out to the whisky drinkers of the Space Coast of Florida as to the quality of a new little liquor store in Titusville Florida. It is an unassuming little place in a strip mall on the South-West side of Titusville where the Marshall’s and Petco are located. It is off to the North end of that shopping center. I suspect it is owned by one of our local successful Doctors or Lawyers (I have no ownership in the store nor have we received any funds or discounts for mentioning it) but all that aside they have a really nice selection of whisky. I was only there a minute and I purchased a bottle of “The Singleton” a Speyside blended scotch (About $35.00) that I have been looking for and had so far been unable to find. They had several varieties of Macallan, Balvenie, Glenlivet, and others. A really nice selection and many good blends as well as a nice lot of single barrel Bourbons and a lot of interesting Canadians. So check it out next time you are looking for whisky as the store is clean, neat, and has a fine selection. The name of the place on the building simply says “Liquor” so try it next time you are out and yeah they have everything else too. The prices were not out of line at all with other stores in my area.
The Whisky Warrior

You Don't Know Jack?

You don’t know Jack?
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey is probably the most famous whiskey in the world. It is celebrated in song and legend and has popped up in movies many times. Most everyone who ever drank whisky has tried Jack Daniels at some point. It is made in Lynchburg Tennessee and that is a dry county so although you can go there and take the tour you can’t buy alcohol in that county. Seems a real odd situation doesn’t it? It just is the way it is and people just have to get used to it. The distillery has been in operation since 1866 and every drop of Jack Daniel’s is slowly filtered through about 10 feet of charcoal that they make right there at the distillery. This tends to give it the smoothness of what folks like to call a good sipping whiskey. It is called sour mash whiskey because the mash tastes sour(The mash, not the whiskey). Well now that makes perfect sense. Of course starting with great tasting spring water doesn’t hurt. In addition they only use their charcoaled oaken casks one time and then ship the old casks off to Scotland to be used in the production of Scotch whisky.
You are just as liable to find folks enjoying Jack Daniel’s at a hunting lodge as you are in the board room on Wall Street. It appeals to hunters, stock traders, NASCAR fans, sports fans, and astronauts alike. Just about anyone who enjoys a good sour mash whiskey will have a bottle of Jack in their home bar or liquor cabinet. It is a universal whiskey enjoyed by millions.
I had not tried Jack Daniels old #7 (the standard black label Jack), in many years. I guess I have been too busy trying all the single malts and I am not done with that pleasant chore yet. In fairness to the product I thought I owed it to myself and the folks at Jack Daniel’s to try it again so I could fairly write about it. I did have some last night, straight out of the bottle and my first sip was pretty good and the rest was even better. It was very smooth, much smoother than I remembered and had almost a sweet taste to it, not sugary just nice. I tried it with a water chaser and also with a little cola. Both were good. I will be honest, I had not had Jack in many years and my recollection of it was that I did not like it. I was wrong. I really loved it and will drink it again soon. It really is a fantastic sipping whiskey. This revisiting of Jack turned into a pleasant surprise so now I guess I need to revisit all the whisky (ey) that I thought I did not care for in the past and give it another shot. Damn! Well it’s a tough job but as they say, someone has to do it and I’m up in the batter’s box. More reports in the near future.
The Whisky Warrior

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Highland Park Scotch

Highland Park Scotch

If you are looking for a really good scotch that can become your own personal scotch, the one you reach for to celebrate, commiserate, or just plain enjoy, Highland Park is an excellent choice. Distilled in Kirkwall in Orkney which is an island off the Northern coast of mainland Scotland this award winning scotch is a keeper. Orkney is a wonderfully historical place with its Neolithic village remains of Skara Brae, standing stones, and other Neolithic treasures. HP is available in 12, 15, 18,21,25,30, and 40 year old varieties and they use bourbon and sherry casks for the aging process. They are one of the few distilleries that actually does their own maltings although I did read that they do mix their malt with other malt bought from the mainland which I believe is done to cut the smokiness component owing to the fact that they do their malting over locally dug peat. Highland Park is not a super smoky scotch it is much more in the sherry cask family. I have only enjoyed the 12 year old but look forward to getting to try one of their older varieties in the near future.
The Highland Park distillery runs a scotch boot camp that I saw them talk about on Single Malt TV and it is reported to be a vigorous intensive experience described as enjoyable of course but a lot of work and effort as well. I would love to do that, just imagine the knowledge and experience one would gain, it must be incredible!
You-Tube is chock full of Highland Park videos where they taste each vintage and provide a ton of great material. I highly recommend that you take some time when you can and watch these videos. They also explain in the absolute best way I have ever seen how to nose and taste whisky and they aren’t shy about cutting out all the crap and doing it 100% correctly. They give you hints and instruction on tasting that can serve you throughout your whisky enjoying lifetime. Please do take a look, just go to You-tube and do a search on Highland Park and that should hook you up. I cannot imagine a more enjoyable or rewarding life than making whisky at a world class distillery like Highland Park. I think I would leap from my bed each morning and speed to work every day with a huge grin on my face! Just think how wonderful it would be to really love what you do for a living every day and looking forward to going to work instead of dreading it like so many folks do. If they would hire me at the most minimal of living wages and I could get the papers to work in Scotland, well….that would just be wonderful.
Highland Park does not bottle on site but ships in bulk to mainland bottling facilities like most of the other distillers do. Macallan and Highland Park are two fine whiskies that go into The Famous Grouse blend (which probably explains why a British citizen once told me that The Famous Grouse is the nominal choice for a really good blend in Scotland and the rest of the UK !) HP also supplies top quality whisky to other blends but I do not have a complete list of them to share with you otherwise I would have done so.
I must admit when watching the tasting video for the Highland Park 40…..I have never been so envious of another person as I watched and listened to their expert tell me as he tasted (chew, chew, chew, chew ) {that will make sense to you after watching the videos}, how wonderful the 40 year old whisky was. He stated that color is not a good indicator of anything and gave complete details on how one should taste whisky pointing out that it is a quite different process than tasting wine. Please watch the videos, your education level will soar and your enjoyment of whisky will be enhanced as mine was. They do make most if not all of their whiskies in a miniature version and feature a variety pack of mini’s although here in “Dogpatch” where I live I deeply regret that my local liquor stores do not stock such wonderful things. ARRRRGH! I shall find them eventually, probably in the Orlando area.
In summary, Highland Park is an outstanding award winning whisky that is distilled by fantastic people in one of the most wonderful places on Earth. You should drink it because it tastes good. Try it and see if it doesn’t become your go to whisky. If you are a whisky lover (and yeah I know, not everybody is), I think you are really going to love this one.
The Whisky Warrior.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Glassware for your whisky

So you are moving into the wild wonderful world of whisky (ey) and want to know what the best thing to drink it from is? Or you are a seasoned veteran of whisky and just need a memory jog about which glass is the right one to use. The snobs will not like my answers for this but here goes. Being a lover of whisky (ey) I have been known on occasion to tip up the bottle and drink straight from the source, hell if I could get my mouth to a tap on the actual cask I would probably drink it right from there on occasion. This is of course not recommended behavior while at a bar or eating establishment or at an office party or friend’s dinner party… no! Honestly though there is something really freeing and satisfying about hoisting a $70.00 bottle of Macallan Fine Oak 18 year old and just taking a grand swig right from the bottle. It feels great and it tastes great and yes if you have never done this you should do it as soon as you have the time and the proper mood descends over you. There are of course times when we must pour our whisky into a container and drink it from the container. A good flask is another great way to enjoy a swig of whisky and folks have been known to bring such things to sporting events or concerts use judgment any time you drink and consider any consequences such as having your flask confiscated or being tossed out of a game or event.
That is all well and good but what other alternatives are there? First and foremost if at all possible never ever drink whisky from a paper cup, plastic glass, or from anything made out of any material other than pure plain glass. Crystal is ok too and many prefer it but it is pricey. Several manufacturers make a wide selection of glassware and a highball glass is a pretty good choice for enjoying whisky. Highball glasses are the shorter glasses, no stem, just about 4 inches or so tall and are more than adequate for straight whisky, whisky and spring water, on the rocks or with spring water and on the rocks. There is nothing wrong with buying some really good heavy shot glasses for those times you just want a wee dram or two. These days you can get what I will call a large shot glass which holds 2 or 3 shots but retains the shot glass shape with a thick glass bottom that reduces chances of spills.

There are special nosing glasses that look pretty much like a tulip shaped wine class and these are used by experts and novices alike to “nose the whisky” and these are the folks that come up with the words like “hints of vanilla, toffee, honey, with a light caramel finish loaded with hints of dark chocolate.” If that is you and you enjoy that sort of thing then that is wonderful. I have yet to taste any of those things in any scotch or other whiskey but I fully admit that is probably my fault for some arcane reason. As I have stated before I do pick up oak, sherry, Madeira, smoky, and maybe a few times a slight sea saltiness but never any of the candy store flavors or shoe polish (an actual taste that some report – who the hell would want to drink shoe polish???), banana oil, or a host of other tastes that I regret to report I have never tasted in whisky. I would even admit to maybe…..maybe picking up a bit of vanilla extract….maybe. At any rate to nose the whisky and seek this carnival of tastes and smells one would use a nosing glass and there is even a small glass disc that one may obtain to place over the top of the tulip shaped nosing glass that is supposed to hold in the bouquet and concentrate it so that when you lift the glass disc you get the concentrated blast of aroma and then you use your nose to “nose” the whisky. As you may guess I don’t really do this much. If you like doing that, then that is wonderful, enjoy. This blog is all about what you like and I know some folks really want to learn to do that sort of nosing and tasting and for them I suggest Single Malt TV, a web TV channel that one can watch shows about whisky, or a magazine (paper or online) called “ The Malt Advocate”, or a magazine called “Whisky Magazine”. I love both magazines and the web TV channel and I read and watch often. They are great!!! They can take you further down that path of enlightened nosings and tastings. I am here as a simple whisky loving man to discuss whisky (ey) with you and revel in the glory and pure enjoyment of it through discussions and us helping one another find new and different whiskies to enjoy.

While I want to share my experiences and likes with you I really am serious about wanting to know what you like or don’t like. Please comment to any of our articles often and let us know what you think. We do care (for real – no kidding) about what you think and what you drink. So highball glass for nominal whisky drinking or go visit Crate and Barrel or Bed Bath and Beyond or any store that sells glassware or look online and pick out some glasses you like and get 2 or 4 of them and take them for a test drink (I won’t say test drive for obvious reasons) and use what is comfortable for you. Recently I was served a glass of Compass Box blended scotch (excellent stuff) in what I believe was a brandy snifter as the bar keep (publican to you British and Irish folks) noticed I was trying to nose it and that worked great. I’m sure the authorized, venerated, and official nosing glasses do it best but sometimes you have to make do with what you have. One note of exception to all this, if you are going to enjoy your whisky around a pool area of at the beach then maybe it would be ok to either use a good quality plastic glass or your metal flask as to avoid injury from broken glass to you or others. My whisky glasses used to be Flintstone Grape Jelly glasses that used to come with your Welches brand grape jelly and they work but once we started making over $20K a year I splurged and bought real highball glasses. After all, friends and neighbors, it’s all about the whisky, everything else is just foo-foo. Enjoy!

The Whisky Warrior

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So you want to start drinking scotch?

One of our readers commented with a question recently stating that they wished to start drinking scotch as they were trying for a low carb diet and wished to switch away from beer. The reader asked which ones were good starter scotches and in the reasonable price category. I did reply directly via comment box but thought this topic might lend itself to a more in depth discussion in an article so here we go.
First you dieters will be pleased to note that scotch only has 80 calories per serving which is the lowest of all the hard liquors so selecting scotch as a diet aid is a good start. In general scotch comes in several categories depending on which part of scotch you are discussing. There are single malts which are all bottled from the same lot from the same distillery and there are blends where master scotch blenders take various barrels of scotch perhaps from several different distilleries and blend them to get a particular taste they are looking for. For taste there are oak, sherry, Madeira, peaty (smoky), and multiple barrel selections (where they put it in oak a while, then sherry, then Madeira, etc.). There are younger whiskies and older whiskies with usually 12 year and younger being less expensive than 15 year and up and of course 25, 30, and 50 get really expensive.
Today we will address the more reasonably priced scotch that would be most likely to taste good to the beginner. Remember please that there may be some scotch we don’t mention that you might think is wonderful and we don’t mean any disrespect but we can only recommend what we have actually tasted. If you see a scotch that costs less than $16.00 a bottle for a fifth or a liter just put it down and slowly walk away. Stay away from the bottom shelf at first. You can try those selections later on and you may find one you really like but not for your first go as it might prejudice you negatively against all scotch and we are trying to get you into the hobby not discourage you from it. So let’s stay with the middle shelf for you beginning experiences. First the blends should be considered. Ballantines, The Famous Grouse, Grants, and Dewar’s are four that I have tried on several occasions and I feel these would be a great starting point for your journey into scotch. You should be able to get these from around 18$ up to the mid 30’s depending on the bottle size, state taxes, etc. Remember it’s better to have one bottle of something you will enjoy than a whole case of undrinkable swill. For single malt whisky we almost have to go to the top shelf; The Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Glenmorange, The Glenlivet, The Macallan (10 or 12 year, Glen Keith, Long Morn, Tobermory, and Highland Park are all good but will cost you a bit more than the blends in most cases probably between $28 and $45 is a good estimate. None of these are the Peaty flavor which in my opinion the novice scotch drinker should wait a bit on the smoky ones until they have sampled the non-peaty scotches for a while. Some folks love the smoky scotches but they may be a bit overwhelming to the beginner. Any of the ones listed here should provide enjoyment to the drinker and remember you can add a bit of spring water or even ice at first if you wish. Mastering scotch takes a while for most beginners and scotch and spring water on the rocks may ease you into the hobby and later you can remove the ice, then the water and get down to just plain scotch and glass. Take your time, it’s not a race and you have plenty of time to try different brands and ages and flavors to find what is right for you.
A word of warning is offered at this time to you all. I have spent a bit of time this week looking at some of the other writings about scotch out there. Some are quite good especially those affiliated with magazines and distilleries. I was appalled though to see people recommending Crown Royal, Makers Mark, and Canadian Club as being really good scotch selections. Crown Royal is good but its Canadian not scotch, Makers Mark is good too but its bourbon not scotch and Canadian Club……..gee can you guess where it’s from???? I have enjoyed all three of those products and they have their own special place in my liquor cabinet but they are not scotch. To be scotch the whisky must be distilled in Scotland!!! So use care where you get your drinking related information. I might make an honest mistake once in a while and when I do I will be glad to retract and apologize for it but damn some of these folks don’t really seem to know anything about the subject. You are the best judge of what you like to drink and we will offer suggestions and welcome your ideas and suggestions in return. We don’t claim to be experts or whisky snobs but we are huge fans of whisky and have our own experiences to share with you and look forward to reading yours as well.
What am I drinking these days? Well I just bought a bottle of Tobermory 10 from my local liquor store and I am enjoying that and a bottle of Sheep Dip and Pig Nose.
All three are really good and by the way, I did buy some stock the other day so I really do have an interest in a few brands of scotch but I have not written about any of them in any articles on this blog to date as I have not tried them yet. When I recommend anything I own stock in I will tell you. Happy drinking and let us know what you are trying and what you like we are always looking for new ideas.
The Whisky Warrior

Monday, April 19, 2010


One of my favorite scotches is Glendronach. They produce their original and a 12, 15, and 18 year and are supplier of quality scotch for blending with Teachers blend. They have a couple of versions of the 12 and the one I like has a good sherry finish (but I haven’t tried them all so I don’t know if they all have that or not). The 15 year old is the best for me and it is 100% matured in sherry barrels and I guess it is no big secret that the sherry finish is my favorite version of scotch in most cases. I really enjoy the wonderful aftertaste that the sherry finish offers. I have not yet had the pleasure of being introduced to the 18 but look forward to it with relish. I cannot say enough about how good this scotch tastes. It is really a joy to drink. Please try it soon and no I don’t own stock in the distillery I just love their scotch.
Glendronach produces about 1,400,000 liters a year so there should be plenty for both you and me to enjoy. They use coal fired stills and floor maltings. For anyone who doesn’t know, the process of making the barley moist and then heating it slowly to get the sprouting started is what malting is. As it has been explained to me on various distillery tours the malting is simply a method to get the grain to its highest level of sugar content which best supports the distilling process to follow. Often on tours the guide will allow the huddled masses of scotch fans to sample a few grains of the malted barley and it does taste sweet. Once upon a time all distilleries malted their own barley but today many just buy it from other sources. From what I have read Glendronach does their own. The peaty or smoky flavored scotches get that smokiness by the grain being malted over peat fires. Peat of course is pre-coal dug up from bogs around Scotland and dried and is still used today in fireplaces to heat homes although one can buy a compressed version today that looks more like coal than field peat. Peat started forming in about 800 BC or so and before that Scotland and Ireland had a very different, warmer, and dryer climate. I digress a bit since Glendronach is NOT a peaty flavored scotch it has no smokiness at all to my taste and as stated I love the sherry finish that Glendronach does so well.
The distillery was started or should I say legally started in 1826 with more colorful distilling occurring pre-1826 by persons who will remain nameless in this writing. Suffice it to say that by 1826 the folks in the area knew how to make good whisky. The distillery was bought out in 2008 by the Benraich Distillery and remains under their good guidance to this day. Glendronach is a Speyside Distillery which simply means it is located in the area of the Spey river in North Eastern Scotland just a few miles East of Inverness and Loch Ness. There are many distilleries in this area and it has the whisky trail that one can wander and visit many of the distilleries. Remember not all distilleries are open to the public so look them up online before you go so you know which ones to visit and what the touring hours are for each. One can also book a guided tour for a few days complete with bus and driver and first class accommodations so one can enjoy all the whisky they wish without worry about driving duties. I have not used the tour services to date but would imagine that would be fun and I hope to try it either this year or next. There are also many bed and breakfast and hotel locations throughout Speyside so just use your computer to find exactly what you are looking for and enjoy touring and pick up a bottle of Glendronach at your local liquor supplier to try out in the meantime as not to suffer too much thirst while setting up your tour. Enjoy!
The Whisky Warrior

Monday, April 12, 2010

Alcoholic Friends

I have been enjoying alcoholic beverages for many years now and in that time I have enjoyed the drinking company of many fine people. I am not an alcoholic and as much as I enjoy a good quality drink I actually go days or even sometimes weeks with no drinks at all. When I do drink I usually limit myself to between 2 and 4 drinks in one day partly because I don’t really like being totally drunk and partially because I am not fond of throwing up and having terrible headaches. I have had my share of horrible morning afters and they used to happen several times a year when I was in my 20’s and 30’s and then I got a bit wiser (I won’t call it smarter) in my 40’s to where I only had a bad morning after maybe once or twice a year. Now I rarely have any negative occurrences from drinking but that is wholly due to limiting my fun. 2 drinks are always ok for me, 3 on occasion, and 4 for major celebrations. I think I owe this mostly to coming to the conclusion at about age 38 that having one drink of something I really like that is very expensive is much more enjoyable than 10 times that much liquor of doubtful quality. Or to put it another way a little of really good booze is better than a whole ton of lousy tasting booze. My stomach would never allow me to be an alcoholic and that is that.
I have had many alcoholic friends. Back in college there was one fraternity brother who after just two beers got mean and very violent actually throwing real darts at people and another brother who I never saw without a can of PBR in his hand except maybe in class. I don’t know but I suspect at least the violent one was an alcoholic, the PBR brother probably was not but damn he sure did put down the beer but then in college a lot of people do that. I lost touch with all those folks and I hope they are happy and well.
I was once invited to a party at a friend’s home in Indiana when we lived there back in the late 70’s and I brought the drinking board game “Passout” to the party. We had played the game before and it was usually fun with the point of the game to roll dice, move your little avatar, and end up reciting tongue twisters such as “Betty Blue Blew Big Black Bubbles” and that sort of thing. Upon failing to perform the tongue twister correctly one was “forced” to take a drink. Now a drink is whatever you want it to be, a sip, a gulp, or a whole beer and we always left it up to the player what portions they personally wanted to partake of when the time came. We had played 20-30 minutes and I noticed that (I will call him Roy – not his name) Roy was slamming a highball or ½ of one at least on every failed reading which of course there were many in a short time. This went on for a couple hours and Roy said “I gotta go to the bathroom” and got up ostensibly to take a piss. The rest of us watched as Roy stumbled into our host’s daughter’s bedroom (the daughter was staying at grandmas that night and was not there). Roy was just about to relieve himself in the closet when the host rushed in and ushered him in to the bathroom where upon Roy locked the door and passed out on the floor. This was about midnight and we stayed for a while longer while the host and Roy’s wife tried to wake him with no luck and there was no key for the bathroom. We left about 1 A.M. I found out later that while Roy was gainfully employed and never missed work, he drank a fifth of whisky every night and passed out on the couch but rose and showered and shaved and made it to work every day. Roy was an alcoholic.
Back in the very small town we were living in Indiana there was an older man I believe in his 70’s and I will call him Mr. Judd (not his real name). He used to go to the little tavern in the town and play euchre with the guys most evenings. I saw him go outside to pee and puke several times coming back in with soiled overalls on more than one occasion. A very nice man but his son Bob (not real name) told me that Mr. Judd drank a case of beer and a fifth of Seagram’s VO every day of his life for the last 37 years and attributed the fact he was still alive to the fact that he drank very good whiskey. Mr. Judd had a bum liver and was an alcoholic.
I have let it be known far and wide to my circle of friends that we have this whisky and wine blog and please to visit and make some comments. One friend emailed me to say he really liked the blog but had been sober now for 7 years and had gone through the whole 12 step process and all the good things that AA can do for a person. He had quite a story to tell about how his life was really turned around.
So my point to telling you these stories is simply that when we drink, even if we can handle it, some of those around us may not be able to handle it. I’m not talking about the occasional over indulgence or a slip of the tongue when someone is loaded. What I am asking is that you observe your friends that you drink with and when they are sober broach the subject to them and find out if they even know they have a problem. You and I may be causing others harm or enabling them to harm themselves and others. Let us be aware of what our enjoyment of liquor may be doing to others who should not be partaking.
I know that you and I saying something to an alcoholic may just get us rebuffed or worse may get our friends angry with us and there is a limit to how much you can push it as many people struggle for years with this problem. I don’t think it hurts to at least let them know you care and you are there for them if they need you. Their families are the ones that really need to intervene and they know the issue better than we friends do.
If you suspect you are an alcoholic please try to get some help and if you have a friend or relative who you believe is an alcoholic please try to help them. There are resources on the web you can Google “alcoholism” and find tons of resources.
Whisky, wine, liquor, and beer are wonderful things for most of us who don’t overdo it but can kill you if you abuse them. If you are an alcoholic, less than 21 years of age, get mean or violent when you drink, or insist on driving drunk, you do not need to be drinking alcohol at all. Getting help doesn’t make you weak; it shows how strong you really are. Waiting until you are 21 to drink is really tough but you are breaking the law if you drink before 21 and it is really not worth it. Booze usually brings out ones inner or real personality so if you are funny or loving when you drink that’s cool, if you are mean or violent you need to stop drinking and/or get some help. There is no excuse for violence ever. Finally driving drunk is the dumbest thing that any of us do. Just don’t do it, get a designated driver or call a cab. Plan ahead and save yourself a lot of grief. Not only can you kill some other innocent people and maybe kids but when you get arrested for DUI you are in for a very expensive world of hurt and many companies today will even fire you so it is just not worth it.
If you are a responsible drinker of legal age, then by all means enjoy the hundreds of choices that are out there for us to sample today and please write up your experience as a comment to one of the articles on Flask and Cask we would love to hear from you and all about your latest find. The Whisky Warrior

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to throw a wine tasting party

This weekend I threw my first wine tasting party.

Food recommendations:
French bread, grapes, lots of cheese, veggies, dip (spinach artichoke), and some mini quiches.

Have a good variety. Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Muscat, and perhaps a bottle of Chocovine! Dont' forget to let your reds breathe, if you dont have an aerator on hand.

Grape vines, small plastic grape clusters, wine corks in bottles or glass jars.

These wine cookies:
from Baked on Etsy

I also made some cupcakes with icing grape cluster on them:

You can actually give your guests pads of paper and pens so they can take notes and write down a wine if they fall in love with it.

I also had custom wine glasses made with some wine appropriate art work on them! Adorned with hand made wine charms from Sunmoonstars on etsy

Also, I designed my own invitations. Now, as far as invitations go, you can spend as much or as little as you can afford. I ended up ordering mine in "extra large postcard form" from (glossy with rounded edges). Super cute and inexpensive. If you want to go more fancy, try to have a custom message placed inside a mini wine bottle. Too cute!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Personal Fantasy

My personal fantasy a work of complete fiction:
The following story never really happened but oh how I wish it were true!

I was seated by the fireplace one late December Saturday evening enjoying a dram of Tobermory Scotch while staring at the coals in the fire watching them twist and turn and pop when the phone rang. It was Angus McDonald my good friend who works at the Mccallan distillery and he was franticly delirious. Angus could barely speak and he was bubbling over like cheap champagne in his excitement. His Highland brogue was thicker than normal and his voice a full octave higher than I had ever heard it before.
“Angus!, Amigo!, slow down man I can barely understand every third word, what the hell has happened are you and your family alright?” I asked. “Aye..were all fine…you must get on a plane as soon as possible and make your way to my house.” He replied. “ I can no say more over this phone suffice it to say a bloody miracle has happened and you must get here in person and NOW!” I said “Ok guy, I’m pulling up the airline schedules on my computer now and I can be there around 10 am day after tomorrow and I trust you implicitly are you sure you can’t tell me more on the phone or in an email?” “I wish I could but it would be dangerous to say more just trust me your trip will be worth it 1000 times over…trust me man trust me!” Angus said. “Ok partner I will see you soon, I gotta go pack and call work to take some time off.” I hung up the phone and was still reeling from this surprise call but now I was getting excited for Angus would never call and insist I fly to Scotland in Winter at once unless something really amazing was going on and when a friend asks for you to fly to their aid you do it….it’s the Celtic way, honor and all that and besides my curiosity was killing me so off I went to make my arrangements. I caught the 7PM flight out of Orlando which flew me directly into Edinburgh landing about 6:30 in the morning. After about an hour of finding baggage, getting some strong tea to wake up and walking the very long way to the car rental area I procured my rental car and was off for Angus’ home. Of course the Highlands are always beautiful and this time of year with lots of snow capped mountains making it all the more enjoyable. Traffic was light except for the skiers I saw heading for Ben Nevis near Fort William. It was cold in a way that is only found in Scotland. A winter wind that could cut you in half and a spit or two of snow every now and then forced me to manually turn the windshield wipers on and off just often enough to be aggravating. I finally saw the antique lantern decoration at the end of Angus’ driveway that was my clue as to where to turn off the main road. A short drive up the lane and I was standing outside the McDonald household’s door knocking away in the middle of their evergreen holiday wreath. The door swung open and Diana, Angus’ wife greeted me with a warm hug and a mug of hot tea. We exchanged pleasantries and I said hi to the kids who were playing a video game in the living room next to their roaring fireplace. Diana said “ye best be gettin down to the cellar, Angus has a great surprise for you and I am pretty sure you are gonna love it and I’m also sure Angus will explode if he has to wait much longer! “ She laughed which made her beautiful green eyes sparkle with mischief making her look like some fairy princess from a Tolkien book. “Ok, Ok I’m off to the cellar…wouldn’t want to be scraping Angus off the walls now would we! “ I joined in the laughter, tossed my bag in the corner, and dashed down the stairs. “Angus!” I shouted. “Thank God you have come! I am so glad you made it. “We shook hands and Angus motioned for me to sit in a large soft chair facing an old rug covering something in the center of the room. “Ere ye ready lad?” He said with that same twinkle in his eye that Diana had just a moment before. “I am ready amigo, I am very freaking confused but I am more than ready!”
“All right then… we go..!” Angus reached over and like a magician performing before a packed house he flung the rug off into the corner revealing his treasure.
Before us was the oldest looking whisky cask I had ever seen. It must be at least 50 years old I thought to myself. My heart was beginning to beat way too fast and I had trembling feelings like one has on their very first date. Yes I was excited! “What have you got here Angus!” Angus had a grin on his face that must have been close to a foot wide and had almost every tooth showing and it was easy to see that he too was very excited about whatever this was. “Well let me tell you how I came by this great treasure. As you know I have been in the employ of The Macallan for quite some time now and it is my task, among many others, to manage the warehouses where the whisky sleeps. We have many warehouses spread out around the area and one warehouse in particular has very old stone walls. Recently a forklift accidently smashed into the stone wall in warehouse number 11and of course it fell to me to get it fixed. I got some concrete and plaster and went in to fix the wall. As I was looking at the wall I thought I saw something behind that wall, something that looked very much like a cask of whisky! I took my hammer and tapped out a little larger hole large enough for me to get my head and my torch in so I could see what the hell was going on in there. Well it took me about an hour to knock out the hole big enough to actually get into the wall. It was a cask!! I rolled it out into the warehouse and started examining it and that is when I noticed the date on the end, the date when this cask was filled and stored in the warehouse. That date as you can see before you is 1909. This cask was filled one hundred years ago man! 100 years!!!” All I could say was “Oh my….God!!” Angus continued…”well I got it loaded into my truck and slipped out the side gate and here it is…..100 year old cask strength Macallan man….100 years old! Now I know it’s worth a fortune but it is worth much more to drink it than to sell it wouldn’t you agree? “ I nodded in agreement but had to then ask….” But aren’t you worried about your job being at risk over this Angus?” “Well frankly yes but then there are some things in this world that are worth a bit of risk and this treasure was sealed up 100 years ago and there seem to be no records that it ever existed and believe you me..I looked long and hard for anything in our archives that would point to this cask either ever existing or missing or any reference at all and there is no bleeding record anywhere!” Angus replied. It was then I notice the cask had been recently tapped and Angus was kneeling beside the cask filling two crystal classes with deep brown liquid.
He handed me a glass and said “Slanite!” “Cheers” I replied. I slowly brought the glass up to my lips and let the rich brown liquid pour into my mouth. I swear I could hear a heavenly choir of angels singing backed up by 1000 Highland Pipers as the ancient scotch reached by taste buds. “So…what do ya think?” said Angus smiling ear to ear. “ohhhhhhh..damn that puts all the scotch I have ever tasted to shame, its nectar of the gods, its manna from heaven, it’s…it’s….it’s wonderful!!!!!” I exclaimed. The angelic music and pipers were still ringing in my ears. There is no way to put into words how wonderful this scotch tasted. It was like I had been sick all my life and was finally well. It was so smooth you could pour a pint down your throat before you even knew your tongue was wet! We sat and just enjoyed the next few hours drinking way too much but it was cushioned a bit by the huge Scottish breakfast that Diana brought down to us exclaiming…”I thought you boys could use a bit of nourishment while you savor your treasure!” Angus poured her a glass and we all sat there in silence a long while savoring every delicious drop of this once in the lifetime treat. After a while I had to ask ….”Angus, I thought casks were only good about 50 years and they started to go bad after that time how can this cask even exist?” He said…. “Well all I can say is that it is a bloody miracle…a bloody miracle… you are right it should not be here, it should not have rolled into a wall and it should not have been sealed up and I should not have found it and the cask should have rotted long ago but here it is and here we are enjoying the treat of a lifetime.” “I can never thank you enough old friend, words are woefully inadequate for thanks for this glorious experience…thank you !” I said.
“Achhh you would do the same for me….you would do the same for me.”
I stayed a week with the McDonalds and we freely enjoyed the 100 year old treasure. At the end of the week Angus handed me a case of 12 hand filled bottles drawn from the miracle cask and we said our goodbyes and I was off to my home in Florida. I opened up a large safety deposit box at three different banks the next day after arriving home and put part of the treasure in each one least disaster or thievery deprive me of this irreplaceable booty. Of course I kept a couple of bottles at the house and even invited a couple of my good friends over to try it but would not reveal from whence it came even under intense questioning.

That concludes my fantasy and of course it never really happened……...did it?
Come over sometime and I will share with you my best.
The Wisky Warrior