Nice one, couldn't make it myself but I appreciate reading your lines on the event. Has given me a thirst, too...
I am reminded of a quote attributed to the English poet, John Keats who I had previously thought rather effete ...
His remark, on first tasting whisky, was
"this is smart stuff".
It's something Lumsden and his team have to work on every day, even if, technically, they won't see the true fruits of their labour until a good decade afterwards.
Must be difficult to employ a distiller.
Q: So, you've been working at Joe Bloggs Distillery for eight years now. How's that going?
A: Dunno yet.
Ah, but Kyle, you get to sample the whisky's progress for its entire life in the cask. That must be satisfying.
Very young good whiskies (and there are more of them about) can be fun: no complexity, but quite a bit of clarity.
I went and had a great time, and yeah it was nice to see young people (although I guess I was one of them) and even shock horror.... women! on sunday, it made a nice change from all the fat rich men on saturday and the oddness of the "do" on friday.
also my advice compass box canto cask.
it's from a single cask! and every country has a different cask, NZ's one is very good!
Author Ian Banks loved the drink enough to travel the whole of Scotland in search of the perfect "dram".
And apparently lost an i in the process...
I relish whisky (and the occaisional dram of Irish whiskey aint too bad either.) While I'm a serious Islay single malt fan, I'm not an age-worshipper (I've found some excellent drops in Michael's lesser-known deliciousnesses) and I'm not a whisky snob: I keep a couple of good Islay malts for those I know appreciate them; an NZ label (tends to be Milton, but some of the stuff sitting in Oamaru is exciting - I'll just have to win Lotto!) and a Jamieson's or Tullamore Dew or Blackbush
for the whiskey fans. Lastly, not least a cheap good blended Scotch ("Famous Grouse" or equivalent) for those that like sparkling sweet stuff* and/or ice with their dram.
The idea is that fellow-drinkers gain pleasure from their drams, whatever the dram maybe...I hope to make a future Dramfest (a couple of unexpected events intervened this time) so, many thanks Matthew for this report! Slainthe!
*The number of Edinburghers & Glaswegians & Paisley & Aberdeen folk I saw sloshing gingere ale or lemonade into their glass was - an eye-opener!
Banks's book is a crock of sh*t. There is hardly anything about the whisky in it just how much fun he has drinking it with his friends. He tells you how many bottles of Glenfiddich he puts in his boot to drive home but not how they taste.
Kyle, and 8yo is a youngster. At Lagavulin their standard single malt is 16yo and it's caused them some problems predicting demand.
@Islander, the Scots aren't as precious about the stuff as everyone else is, though most bars here have a jug of water always on the bar for those who want a dash with their dram. Also don't just eyeball the malts behind the counter, ask if they have a whisky list including the ones not on display.
Oh and you can cook with it too. My wife's pan fried salmon with whisky cream sauce:
Pepper well a salmon steak per person then fry quickly in butter. Remove and keep warm then to the pan add some double cream and mix in with the butter and bits. The splash in at least two tablespoons of a good smoky malt, Lagavulin or Talisker are our choices. Heat to blend but do not boil. Serve spooned over the fish with a salad.
Peter - 3 things:
I am obliged for your wife's salmon & whisky cream recipe! The salmon run (in at the lagoon mouth, up through Zala's Creek, into MacDonalds where the redds are constructed) is just about over but I know there are some fresh steaks around-
my Nanna, Orkney Islander tho' born here in the 1890s, was a sworn teetotaller & a Wee Free Kirker, and never drank above a shandy BUT whisky was always in the house, and as a kid, I remember being given a mix of lemonjuice, honey, and -yep - whisky for colds. For flu', you also got an aspirin...it wasnt a drink you see, it was a medecine.
You & family may have a chance to try her venison stew:
"2 backsteaks m'td (which I take to be 'marinated') in w. (which I know to be whisky) for 2 hours: drain, flour, briskly fry in butter w. onions until browned;bring to a simmer with barley, carrots, and later, peas (dried suff.(ice - I assume.)) until tender."
She's cheating - I know she used marrow as well, and there were definitely pot herbs. But I have fun trying to recreate her stew (red deer are both vermin & sought after here - they literally come into the settlement.
Yep, I noticed the water jug: sometimes it was outadetap/chlorinated, and at least twice it had ash floating in it. But I loved the total lack of pretension over whisky!
Uh, highly tech. query Peter - maybe better addressed to your wife?
That's *white* pepper?
(And a really good Lagavulin or Talisker - just having heard screams of
disagreement & "Waste!" in the background - is a perfect enhancment to such a good rich fish like salm n...)
I can recommend an excellent book on whisky: Peat, Smoke & Spirit by Andrew Jefford.
The book uses whisky as an axis to look at the history, geography, culture, flora and fauna of Islay - essentially it is a very good piece of travel writing. Chapters on each distillery are interspersed through the book, which go into the history, style and production in some depth, down to the shape of the lyne arm atop the still and how this influences the character of the spirit.
The book also makes an excellent guide for a visitor to Islay, and is so enjoyably well written that even a non-whisky person such as my girlfriend didn't feel like she was doing me a favour by reading it...
just having heard screams of
disagreement & "Waste!" in the background
What, you could hear me from here? - even though I'm a fan o salmon too.
To my taste, Port Ellen is the dram I've loved the most so far - more than Springbank 25 and the lovely Lagavulin.
I found Bank's book quite useful when I was in the Western Highlands last year, but that was perhaps more for the non whisky related tourist information. I would have never gone to Fort William or Glenfinnan or even hired a car to tour about the Highlands without his sales job.
Thank you Raffe Smith - that is now on my 'to obtain' booklist.
And Sacha - Port Ellen is now top of my list of new joys to try - thankyou both!
I have to warn it is not a cheap drop. Sublime though if you like te Islay.
S'ok Sacha - I'll sell - o another nephew or my axolotyl or the neighbour's iconshelf or - "blinks in surprise" - why! I could buy *2* bottles!
Yep, I noticed the water jug: sometimes it was outadetap/chlorinated
Nothing wrong with that. I remember when the Scotch Malt Whisky Society opened its member's rooms in London they said a dram would cost more than in Edinburgh because the London tap water was not suitable and they had to use Highland Spring bottled. In the Edinburgh rooms the jugs are filled with Auld Reekie tap water and I water my cask strengths with Dundee tap water. There is a lot of pretentious twaddle talked about the water you water your whisky with, the rule is: if it works, use it.
When you drink your Port Ellen be aware that every sip depletes our stock of it since it is closed and has been redeveloped so will not be doing a Bladnoch.
Peter - yeah - but I draw the line at chlorinated water (I'm highly allergic to chlorine ) or other people's cigarette ash (I didnt smell any cigars - I've never experimented but I think tip-ash from one of my really good cigars might be - an interesting addition.) Home here, good old Big O water is what everyone gets (no chlorination, and *very* few contaminants . OK, the occaisional drowned possum but-)
I've kepy special bottles for years&years - sounds like it will be that way if I can lay my tentacles on a bottle of Port Ellen-
(sometimes sniffing - or a tiny sip - is enough...)
I could buy *2* bottles!
On my way. :)
Whisky Galore has a few of the many variants. As Peter notes, it's one of the closed distilleries so they will never get any cheaper or more plentiful.
I liked the Banks book too, because it talked about the places and people and didn't wank on too much about how the whiskies tasted. He gave a vague impression, but left it for you to want to experiment. I spent $500 bucks at the whisky shop by Covent Garden when I was over last year, and I blame that book (no time to nip up to Scotland).
As for the festival, sounds like oodles of fun. It might be enough to drag me to Chch one day, but if it were in Dunedin, I'd be there in a shot.