Monthly Archives: September 2011

Laphroaig Live Coming to Sydney

As any Whisky lover worth his (or her) salt would know, Laphroaig Live is coming to Sydney on Thursday 6th October.

For the uninitiated, Laphroaig Live is an event that has been put on by the Lophroaig Distillery each year since 2007 in various locations around the globe. Streamed live across the internet, it is an opportunity for Whisky lovers to watch (and possibly taste in simulcast with) Distillery Manager John Campbell and a panel of guests work their way through some great Laphroaig drams.

Laphroaig Live 2011 will be held on the foreshore of Sydney harbour in the Rocks district.  This is sure to set an amazing backdrop of the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the beautiful harbour in all it’s glory.

This years panel will include:

John Campbell – Distillery Manager

Robert Hicks – Master Blender

Rebecca Varidel, Author,

Lin Johnston, descendent of Alexander Johnston

Just announced is that television personality Simon Reeve will be hosting the evening as the tasting line-up is unveiled.

I imagine what most would like to know is what Whiskys will be rolled out for the event.  As I understand the list this year will be:

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Laphroaig Triple Wood

Laphroaig Cáirdeas 30 Year Old

The star of the show will undoubtedly be the final bottle which John announced on twitter earlier in the month.

Laphroaig 10 year old – distilled in the 1950s- the last production by the Johnston family

I have setup a page to stream all the action live from so I am planning on linking to the live stream from so you will be able to come back to this site on Thursday 6th October at 8pm EST (GMT+11) to view all the action.

To add to the evening I am starting to hear that many of Sydney’s food and booze community will be at the event so it will be a great opportunity to see many of you all again in the flesh.

More information including voting on the BBQ for the evening can be found at the Laphroaig website.



Posted by on 29th September 2011 in General, Scotch Whisky


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Kozel Premium

Date: 25th September 2011

Alcohol: 4.8%

Volume: 500mL

Price: $3.99 / bottle (Dan Murphys)

Manufactured: Velké Popovice, Czech Republic

I was doing a little ‘research’ for this review this afternoon which involved (amongst other things) watching beer commercials on youtube.  I highly recommend it as a way to kill an hour or so.  The outcome from this exhaustive journey was; that no matter where in the world you are beer is still sold the same way.  It either involves sexy girls on the beach, some funny incident in a bar or, as in the case of the Kozel commercials ‘honest men doing a hard day’s work’.  In this ad’ I don’t understand a word they are saying but clearly a couple of guys are mowing their lawn and at the end of the job deserve an ice cold Kozel.  This could have been set to the Australian VB commercial jingle and end with the tag line “ ……. matter of fact I got it now”.  I love it, and that’s what makes beer a globally approachable drink.

Velkopopovický Kozel is a major brewery in the Czech Republic that has (similar to where Fosters is heading) been taken over by SABMiller.  They commonly produce four beers all of which are exported (to Australia) and today I am tasting the Premium. Oh, I nearly forgot, Kozel means ‘goat’ hence the kid with a huge beer on the label.

Appearance (3.5/5)

Before I start on the beer I need to comment on the packaging.  I love the caricature goat on the label drinking a huge beer.  The bottle is clearly a bit of fun but they manage to hold the premium/ export appeal.

This is a classic golden amber beer that screams pilsner.  A perfectly clear (no sediment) beer with a nice white foamy head.

Nose (3/5)

You will probably not be surprised to hear that this pilsner does not have a lot to offer on the nose.  There is a rather soft hop nose and some graininess but you have to go looking. Ho hum.

Flavour (3.5/5)

This beer is definitely at the dry bitter end of the spectrum but it does still have room for some (I hesitate to say) fruit.  There is a very brief showing of soft fruit in the centre of the tongue but most of the time it is about grains, hops and those classic dry pilsner flavours.

Finish (3.5+/5)

I quite like the finish on this beer as it has two very distinct stages.  At first you get some classic bitterness from the hops on the tongue and after about 10 seconds you receive a surprise at the back of the throat consisting of some warm maltiness leaving a straw finish in the mouth.

Rating: (13.5+/20)

The world needs beers like this.  I have recently reviewed quite a few Belgian beers which are really lovely.  The problem with this type of beer is that after one (or two) you are either on your ear or your palate is clagged.  That’s where the humble pilsner comes in; you can have quite a few in a session while still keeping it together and don’t feel like you’ve just had a four course meal.  This beer is not a superstar but it has no obvious faults and most importantly has a cool goat on the label. Grab some and let me know what you think.


Posted by on 25th September 2011 in Beer

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Leffe Radieuse

Date: 10th September 2011

Alcohol: 8.2%

Volume: 330mL

Price: $4.95 (bottleshop), $12.50 (pub)

Manufactured: Belgium

Leffe Blonde must have been one of the first Belgian beers that I ever experienced.  To me it’s a bit of a ‘standard’ that you know if there is nothing else interesting behind the bar, that the Leffe Blonde will keep you interested.  I am pretty sure that I have also tried the Brune from time to time but I have never really noticed the Radieuse (Radiant).

Appearance (4.5/5)

At a passing glance you would describe this beer as cherry red in colour.  Well not quite, but it does have some bright redness to it.  It is pretty clear to see where the radiant title came from.  The clarity os clear as a bell.  The head is thick and creamy giving great ‘whipped egg white’ foam with a colour reminiscent of one of Richie Benaud’s famous sports coats (off white). An all-round great looking beer.

Nose (3.5/5)

The nose is very light.  Nothing offensive just not much notable till you really get your nose in the glass.  There is light yeastiness and some sweet fruit that I can’t really place.

Flavour (5/5)

I immediately like the flavour of this beer.  It is fruity, in a Belgian kind of way; dark fruits and sweet caramel with classic Belgian spiciness.  There is hoppy bitterness up front but this is lightened by some great effervescence.

Finish (5/5)

There is a very big finish on this beer similar (in length) to a substantial red wine.  You get a lovely warmth from the alcohol (8.2%) but most notably is the sugary bitterness that lingers on.  On the pallet I am left with sour cherries and bananas and I am not talking about ‘hints of’, I mean I’ve just finished mashing bananas and cherries into my face.  It is slightly unusual and I understand that it might not agree with all but I love it.

Rating: (18/20)

I can’t figure my scoring system.  Drinks that I think are good rate poorly (overall) and others do surprisingly well.  What do I mean in this case?  Well the flavour and finish are really fantastic but do I really think this is one of the best beers I have tasted (18/20)? No, but it is particularly enjoyable.  I would definitely recommend picking one up and taking it for a ride.  The bold flavours would work well with a powerful meal.  I am thinking a starter plate with Stilton cheese and walnuts.  For the cigar guys out there, this would go well with a big Cuban no problems at all.  Either way, give it a go.


Posted by on 10th September 2011 in Beer

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Sydney Cigar Event (6th Sept 2011)

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the first of the Spitbucket Sydney cigar events.  The evening was organised by Elie (from and his mate Kent who did a superb job of giving us the best of hospitality.  I wasn’t taking numbers but guess there was about 15 in attendance which was an awesome effort.

The event was held at Fix St James who were incredibly generous with their venue and provided two (plus) courses of great food that suited the evening beautifully.  The antipasti course was a cracker and highly recommend you drop in for a meal next time you’re in the city. Thanks Stuart.

The evening was composed of two cigars on offer while working your way through a tasting of six single malts supplied by Max from Al-dente wines.

I must say that I had all good intentions of taking a few notes on the tastings (cigars and whiskys) but this was a social situation so just the bare minimum is all I have.  Below are my raw notes purely for completeness.  You may notice that things thin out to the end.  No explanation required I am sure.

Cigar 1 (pre dinner) – Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo du Dauphin

Size: 38RG 152mm

Box Code: ??? 2001

  • very light aroma at cold
  • good draw (to the end)
  • Floral smoke given off. Beautiful.
  • 1st third – light body, some leather, very fine boned
  • 2nd third – a little cream, leather and wood, some sweetness a patch of pepper/ spice.
  • 3rd third – picked up to medium, more leather + cedar box
  • Very delicate all round.
  • Burn was even to the end.
  • Great pre dinner cigar


Whisky 1: anCnoc 12 year old

  • Very light dram
  • Nice legs.
  • Pale colour, light straw
  • Subtle vanilla nose
  • Sweet palate. no great length.
  • Enjoyable.


Whisky 2:GlenDronach 15 year old

  • light caramel colour
  • citrus/ orange nose with alcohol
  • Full of sherry on the pallet that fills the mouth
  • some warmth down the throat
  • coats the mouth well
  • no peat to be found.


Whisky 3: Tobermory 15 year old

  • light caramel colour
  • long legs
  • a little sherry and raisins
  • good length and warmth


Cigar 2 (post dinner) – Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro

Size: 49RG 192mm

Box Code: ??? 2008

OK, I don’t have any notes on this one as I was having a great chat with a couple of guys and notes seemed of second importance.  It was a big stick, even wrapper and a great burn to the end with barely a touch up required.  Flavours ……. ahhh I’ll get back to you.


Whisky 4: Old Pulteney 17 year old

  • light colour – similar to chardonnay
  • floral nose with some caramel
  • liqueur velvety mouth feel
  • honey and oaky sweetness


Whisky 5: Kilchoman Summer 2010 Release (3yo)

  • Light colour
  • Amazing whisky for 3 yo
  • Definitely an Islay, peat on the nose
  • ‘sprightly’ smell (I don’t even know what I meant by this comment, it was getting late)
  • salt and seaweed profile
  • some controlled peat


Whisky 6: Bunnahabhaim 18 year old

Again it does appear that by this stage the notes were a bit thin on the ground.  This was definitely one of the great dram’s of the evening.  The colour was dark amber like an aged rum and it had huge length. Most enjoyable.

That’s about it for the details of the evening.  Thanks to all the guys for being so welcoming and I look forward to the next event.




Posted by on 7th September 2011 in General

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