Thursday, July 26, 2012
Today, some colleagues and I had reason to drink most of what remained of my bottle of Bruichladdich 12-year-old Second Edition. So, as it turns out, I celebrated a bit early. :-)
As with most pre-2012 Bruichladdich's, this expression is no longer available (it was a limited edition, as were most of their expressions before 2012).
I can recommend it (if you can find it). My buddies loved it. This whisky is remarkably dark in color for a whisky aged exclusively in ex-Bourbon barrels. It is quite smooth...and fruitier than you'd expect from Bourbon wood.
Monday, July 23, 2012
The transaction is now imminent...Bruichladdich Distillery Company is to become part of Rémy Cointreau. I imagine that Bruichladdich will retain a fair bit of independence, simply because Rémy has no extant spirits properties in the Scotch space.
People know I'm a big fan, not just of Bruichladdich's products but of the way they are made - it's about being local, and being built of, by and for Islay. Great job getting the distillery back to life, and now you'll have the resources to take it to the next level (and the one after that!). Good job...well done, you!
Thursday, July 12, 2012
I always loved Bruichladdich's products, and their swagger and "do whatever the hell we feel like" and "they're our stills and we'll use them as we damned well please" attitudes (note: not exact quotes). I hope that Bruichladdich's new corporate overlords deliver the financial stability so the distillery can last for centuries, and will refrain from interfering in what has made Bruichladdich special these last 10 years.
I'm drinking a shot of 3D3 in celebration of their good fortune! Slàinte mhòr!
Sunday, July 8, 2012
This is the second year in a row that this event has occurred, and it's bigger this year. They expect perhaps 5000 visitors: One reason might be that admission (which includes a souvenir glass) is only $5 (beer and food are extra, of course!). I'm going to try to make it down there. I'll take Caltrain to San Jose Diridon station then light rail to the event. No driving necessary!
There is a special "Zythophile pass" for $50 that includes lots of goodies. BTW, zythophile (pronounced zeeth-o-file) is Greek for beer lover.
I was having dinner yesterday at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Mountain View, CA (Fiesta Del Mar, Too). My wife was seated facing the street. Knowing that I like beer, my wife figured I'd be interested in a new store called "Jane's Beer Store." (Note: The store is open now, even though its site is still not saying that.)
Well, I wasn't 100% sure about the store (though that name is certainly, um, unambiguous!) so I had to investigate. It's everything the name promises. If you are in the area, go there NOW. To quote Jane's web site:
Jane's Beer Store is a locally owned specialty beer store located in downtown Mountain View. The store offers a wide selection of artisanal craft beers, from smaller local, domestic and international breweries. Beers are sold by the bottle, as well as in larger quantity packs including kegs. Tasty root beers and hard ciders are also featured along with handmade and unique beer accessories, such as cards, bottle openers and coasters.
I found their prices to be very reasonable and the selection to be excellent. I managed to find a beer that I have never had before, and Jane told me a story that made me know that she knows her stuff. I got this Belgian ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company (and I thought it was a steal at $7.99 for a 22 oz. bottle...and since it's 9.0% ABV) -- Brother David's Double Abbey Style Ale:
I happen to love that brewery ever since I accidentally drove past it (and stopped for a visit -- really nice people) on a road trip in 2010. I used to get kegs of their beer for my last job whenever that beer was available at BevMo (usually the Boont Amber Ale). I have never seen this ale, though, and it was a perfect choice for me because I am really enjoying Belgian-style ales lately. I will update this after I try it.
Special extra bit of news from Jane: The David in the name of this beer is David Keene from the Toronado pub (a beer mecca in San Francisco). If you have never been to the Toronado, you must go. Also, Jane tells me that Anderson Valley Brewing makes a Triple. The Triple is dedicated to David, and David is pictured on the labels of both the Double and Triple.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
In short, Ardbeg has placed some Scotch to age in microgravity, and identical samples are aging here on Earth. Actually, it's not really Scotch; it's some molecules that are part of Scotch, in particular some that interact strongly with the oak in which Scotch ages, and it is this interaction which is the subject of the experiment.
The photo above is from the interior of Beltramo's in Menlo Park, CA. You may well be wondering: How did I know that this poster was in the store? There was a rather conspicuous vehicle parked out front. You don't see a Scotch-themed missile every day. Apparently, it's been driving around the Bay Area for a few days now.
Here are the pictures:
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I had to personalize this event somehow (and, really, I never need an excuse to buy whisky), so I looked at my whisky collection and realized that I had single-malt Scotch whisky from four out of the five regions: Campbeltown, Highland, Islay and Speyside, but I didn't have any Lowland single-malts. I never noticed this omission before, and today seemed like a great excuse to complete my set. :-)
I stumbled upon the entry for Littlemill on my old blog in a search for Lowland distilleries. I chose this particular expression because it is unique and no one is making any more of it: A fairly rare 21-year-old private bottling was available near me at K&L Wines in Redwood City, CA. It was distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2011 at cask strength (57.1% ABV) under their private "faultline" label.
Lowland malts are unusual for Scotch whisky in that they are typically triple-distilled (in other regions, double distillation is used). Sadly, many of the Lowland distilleries have not fared well over the last 50 years. For the record, I could have gone with Auchentoshan, Bladnoch or Glenkinchie if I had wanted something from a still-operational Lowland distillery; sadly, those three are the last of them.
How did I ever hear of Littlemill? My friend Joshua is an expert in Littlemill and I'm embarrassed to say that, before tonight, I had never had the pleasure. I find it to be a very subtle whisky for one so strong. The light citrus and spice notes are blended such that nothing really is disproportionate. The color is very pale, indicative of its aging in ex-Bourbon casks. You really have to concentrate to pull out pepper (I can't tell if it's black or white), and the undertones of vanilla and caramel from the ex-Bourbon casks are present, but muted, which surprised me for a whisky that is this old. I would have expected the oak to have taken the front seat by now.
I also picked this expression of Littlemill because the dates resonated with me. The distillery ceased operating around the time I moved to the Bay Area. Also, this expression was distilled the same year I was married. Here are pictures of the front and back of the bottle:
If you want, you can get a bottle from K&L. They have locations in California and they may be able to ship to you. I recommend it!
Finally, to Michael Jackson, I raise a glass in your honor and thank you for the fine writing you did to popularize beer and whisky. I wish I could have met you.