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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, insidecusine.com

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 smokeandbooze.com so I am planning on linking to the live stream from smokeandbooze.com 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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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 Spitbucket.com) 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.

Mitch.

 

 

Posted by on 7th September 2011 in General

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Balvenie Double Wood 12 yo

Date: 21st August 2011

Alcohol: 43%

Volume: 1000mL

Price: $???

Manufactured: Speyside, Scotland (Highlands)

I know it’s childish but every time I see the name of this whisky I giggle like a school boy.  I mean, what sort of moron would name their whisky after some B grade porn movie.  In fact it may well be the sequel to a B grade porn movie. OK enough said ….

Balvenie is somewhat unique (as the bottle bumf informs me) it is one of the only remaining distilleries that grows and malts its own barley.  I am not sure if this makes a difference to the quality of the product but I like the idea that they have control of the whole process from seed to bottle.
So why double wood (hehehe), well the spirit spends time in both classic bourbon casks before being transferred to sherry casks for finish. The only other point to note is the bottle I purchased a few months back ‘duty free’ in Sydney is bottled at 43% alcohol.  Why this is unusual is that all the other reviews I have seen note that they are bottled at 40%.  I am nearly sure there will be a tax/ duty reason for this but does it make a flavour difference?  Don’t know, nor will I likely ever get an opportunity to compare.  Anyway, on with the notes.

Appearance (4/5)

The Whisky displays a bright burnished amber colour that makes you feel warm just looking at it.

Nose (4/5)

The nose on this dram is not intense but worth investigating.  The most notable aroma is the deep caramel with a subtle vanilla oak backbone.  Cutting through the warm caramel is a light citrus highlight. This Whisky is subtle in nose but still quite layered.

Flavour (4.5/5)

I could tell before the spirit hit my mouth that it was going to have the slightly oily mouth feel.  It was growing legs and trying to climb out of the tumbler while I was taking notes.  The first flavours to hit me were sultanas, caramel and sweet (burnt) toffee.  These warm flavours were highlighted by a spicy pepperiness that tingled the tongue.  At first I thought this was just the alcohol but I believe it is a real flavour note. Very enjoyable.

Finish (4/5)

If this was a wine (red) I would use the descriptor ‘ a little flabby’ to describe the finish.  It clearly spent time in sherry casks that gave it a porty/ sherry ending on the tongue.  The flabbiness comes from a slight out of balance nature of the sherry.  The positive of this is the real richness that comes from the fruity caramel flavours.  The length is also excellent and with a long lingering warmth from the alcohol.

Rating: (16.5/20)

Of late I have been all over the big peat monsters like Ardbeg and it has been a great change to try one of the Speyside whiskies like Balvenie.  Looking at this score I think it probably deserves another half point (at least).  Either way, don’t be put off.  If you like a smoother spirit with a little spice this one will be right up your alley.  Enjoy.

 

Posted by on 23rd August 2011 in Scotch Whisky

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Laphroaig Quarter Cask Whisky

Date: 4th April 2011

Alcohol: 48%

Volume: 700mL

Price: $??? (mine was a gift :-))

Manufactured: Islay, Scotland

I gotta admit straight up, I don’t think I have come across an Islay whisky I don’t enjoy so you might need to take what I say with a grain of salt.  That being said of all the whisky’s that I normally have on rotation, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be a bottle of Lophoaig 10 year with the foil broken in the cupboard.  I love the stuff.  It is a great balance of peat and caramel that I think is right up there in bang for buck.  So when I unexpected received a bottle of Quarter Cask from the in-laws when they visited from ol’ blighty I thought ‘bring it on’.

BTW: That reminds me I should put up a review for Lophroaig 10YO.

From my detailed research (reading the back of the bottle), I understand that the name comes from the fact that the spirit spends some time in oak before being transfered to quarter casks that give it its sweetness.  I’m convinced.

Appearance (4/5)

Golden amber in colour.

Nose (5/5)

Sweet creme caramel with a lovely balance of peatiness.  This glass is over 2 feet away and I can clearly smell that beautiful peat.

Flavour (4.5/5)

Coating, slightly oily mouthfeel. There is an unmistakable campfire peatiness that won’t let you forget it’s Islay. Burnt caramel an dark malt are the stand out flavours.

Finish (4.5/5)

This dram has a warmth that sticks to the top of your mouth. It starts out in a powerful way and slowly develops into sweet raisons and dried fruit.  This one isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Rating: (17.5/20)

 

Posted by on 4th April 2011 in Scotch Whisky, Spirits

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