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It's all happening again...

It’s all happening again…

It is that time of year again where people gather to celebrate whisky, queueing and complaining about the lack of Karuizawa at the London Whisky Show. This year’s show promises to have something for all serious whisky lovers to enjoy. However, these shows can be myriad and complex, with this in mind Whiskysponge has compiled a handy guide to the show to help those attending better navigate their drunkenness and to sufficiently frustrate all those unable to attend.

Masterclasses

Masterclasses are an essential part of the London Whisky Show experience, all the ones worth going to this year are totally sold out so here’s what you’re missing if you didn’t manage to get a ticket…

Ambulances will be on standby.

Ambulances will be on standby.

Three Legends Of Whisky

Jimbob Paterson, Richard McEwen and David Stewart will be laying down some face-melting beats in a midnight whisky rave before crowning the event off in the small hours of Sunday morning with an epic blenders themed rap battle. Richard has already promised to “Bring the lyric down hard” on his fellow blenders. Each legend has been asked to select three of their personal mixes, one they created specially for the rave, one they consider legendary, and one that is suitable just for getting a ‘bit off your tits to on a week night’. David Stewart – or the ‘Dubmaster’ as he’s known in Dufftown – said attendees can expect “Shit to really fly when I get in my groove and totally work those decks! Shit be like coaxing honey from a sweet lady-bee.”

Generations With Gordon & MacPhail

Attendees will have the opportunity to sit in a room and watch Stephen Rankin drink an entire bottle of the new 75 year old Mortlach with Eastender’s hard man Danny Dyer. Stephen said attendees can expect “Plenty of righteous banter and good few japes. At one point I’ll probably slosh about two grands worth of Mortlach down Danny’s front, I recon he’s the sort of rascal who’ll be well up for that sort of tomfoolery!”

Danny plans to use the empty bottle to make flavoured oil in.

Danny plans to use the empty bottle to make flavoured oil in.

Laphroaig 200 Years Of Peat

Distillery Manager John Campbell talks attendees through his collection of old peat bricks – some of which hail from the early 19th century. There is likely to be a surprise screening of his old audition tape for the role of Begbie in 1994’s Trainspotting at the end as well.

Karuiazawa Nepal Charity Tasting

At £6000 a ticket you’re probably not going to this one but given that most of the people who did get a ticket will turn up, collect their bottle and then immediately fly back to Taiwan and Singapore it’s probably worth hanging around outside to catch a few spare sets of drams.

Gone But Never Forgotten

Colin Dunnage gives us a glimpse into his extensive archive of holiday snaps from years gone by. Includes such classics as the trailer tent holiday to the cornish coast from 1978 and the Berlin sex series from the late 1980s. (Please note: due to the age and complexity of these photos there may be a few images of Colin’s recent loft conversion amongst them)

Other ticketed events include: 

The Arran Bar Mitzvah – Arran Distillery faces up to its actions and accepts responsibility for silly packaging.

The Balvenie And La Fromagerie – Charlie MacLean reads extracts from his sexually graphic new erotic thriller about a young French cheese maker who spends a summer working as a tour guide for William Grant & Sons in the early 1990s.

Dalmore Cigar Pairing – Attendees get the chance to mix up various Dalmore single malts with old cigars in blenders to see if it does anything to improve the whisky.

Might as well give it a shot.

Might as well give it a shot.

Dream Drams (Highlights)

1 Token:

3 year old Glenlivet Experimental Cask ‘Visitors Edition’

Glenfiddich 1991 ‘Selfie Edition’

Berry Bros Caol Ila 1983 new ‘LoL Price’ series

Parkmore 1927 Gordon & MacPhail for Poundland

Bowmore 25 Year Old – Douglas Laing Moderately Aged Perpendicular Faux-Victorian Try Too Hard Edition

Amrut Heat Death Edition. Single cask, bottle number 1 of 1.

2 Tokens:

Some of the old Ardbegs from back when it was good.

Bowmore 1980 Queen’s Bubble Bath

Queurizawa 1980 Show Exclusive

Port Askainahabhain 45 year old

Yamazaki Jim Murray Finish

3 Tokens:

Glenfarclas 1956 (Note: Served only as slammers in a head to head drinking battle with George Grant)

Glenmorangie Shame

Highland Park 1968 Orcadian Spillage

Tobermory 42yo Bovril Finish

4 Tokens:

Auchentoshan Triple Wood

100 Tokens:

Speyburn 12yo Flora & Fauna

Guests Of The Show

Each year the Whisky Show attracts some of the biggest and baddest names in Whisky. This year they’ve pulled out all the stops:

Noel & Joel: The Whisky world’s answer to Bert and Ernie from Sesame St will be wandering around giving interviews to their imaginary childhood friends.

Jim Sweep: You can find him over on the Pina Colada stand. Why not pose for a punch in face and some traditional, indecipherable Scottish abuse.

It's best to keep at least five feet away at all times.

It’s best to keep at least five feet away at all times.

Charlie MacLean: When he’s not reading from his new erotic thriller he’ll be on the floor.

Professor Jill Bumsden: She’ll be mopping up at the end of the show with her patented ‘White Paper’

Liam Buxton: Liam will be giving a demonstration of live bear wrestling while wearing a 1940s scuba suit full of wasps at about 3pm on the Sunday. Popcorn provided.

Colin Dunnage: The inimitable raconteur will be catapulting bottles of 1972 Brora from the roof of the building from 11pm on the Saturday night until 8am on Sunday. Why not sleep in the carpark for your chance to sup the precious liquid from between the razor sharp shards of broken glass.

Allwind Kilt: Allwind will be smothered by a sweaty smog of fawning, drunken, sexist buffoons. Why not join in and further bring masculinity into disrepute?

Ian Logan: Ian will be teaching you how to use Falconry to avoid ever having to drink Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve.

You'll never have to taste it again. Guaranteed!

You’ll never have to taste it again. Guaranteed!

Dr Nick Morgan: Dr Nick will be lashed to a crucifix behind which the entirety of Diageo’s whisky marketing team will be quivering like pigs at a Tory conference.

Frank McHardy: Frank will be proving his name by beating everyone at the show at arm wrestling.

Ingvar Ronde: Ingvar will drinking the blood of virgins and attempting to evade natural light. Bring some garlic!

 

 

 

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The continuing debate surrounding NAS whiskies and age statements has now been going on long enough that if it were a whisky it would be old enough for Diageo or Dayglo Retard to print an age statement on the label. The nauseating repetition of online debates on twitter and facetube is now expected to last well into the next century and is currently clogging up about 27.9% of the internet; 13.8% of which is related to people loudly attempting to warp the debate around their own strange opinions about single grain whisky.

It doesn't grate as well as parmesan but the flavour is undeniably good.

It doesn’t grate as well as parmesan but the flavour is undeniably good.

Moomin Fairweather, a gelatinous, free-form gathering of molecules, ladled from Diageo and Dayglo Retard’s cosmic marketing cauldron and set in the mould of an autonomous opinion communicator said while grating a live puppy over a bowl of kitten pasta:

“If people would just acquiesce and allow us to pump out increasingly insulting and nauseating bottlings that, at best, insult their intelligence and at worst feel like you are being forcibly upended in a porta loo that has just arrived back from a month long tour of Peruvian Chilli Festivals. If they would just accept that our pricing structures are decided by HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and that demanding higher amounts of money for a vatting of 4 year old casks named something like ‘Stillman’s Hipflask’ or ‘Manager’s Nectar’ is here to stay. If they would just get on board with all that, accept it and then continue to trudge towards the cold earth of their grave while emptying their bank account as often as possible along the way then I think we’d all just be a little happier don’t you? Would you pass me another puppy please?”

"I'm sorry Dave, the NAS Clynelish will be £500. I'm afraid I can't do trade discount Dave. "

“I’m sorry Dave, the NAS Clynelish will be £500. I’m afraid I can’t do trade discount Dave. “

Roddy MacSporran, a Drumguish collector from Glasgow living in a chip-scented human shaped cage of passive aggression said:

“NAS is pure bollocks like! How come things are no like they were when Peter Purves used tae present Blue Peter and it was ok tae say ‘Nignog’ tae the Queen and you could walk down the street without having to buy a bottle of Ledaig NAS from Morrisons? What’s happened to the world? These companies are bastards like! I remember yous could buy a bottle of 25 year old Ardbeg for £3,99 in 2002 and now it’s all like fuckin Nae Age Statement Pish. Pishy Pants that’s what it is! All a bunch of fannies wie their ‘Talisker Wind’ and ‘Glenlivet Founder’s Dessert’. All pure dead baw rot if ye ask me! I recall you used tae be able tae get aw juiced up on Balvenie 30yo for 50p a dram before knocking shite out a few Celtic supporters of an afternoon! It’s aw pure arse badgers! NAS can get tae fuck, it’s a fucking conspiracy every distillery has pure hunners o 50 year old casks, they just dinnae want tae tell anyone! Every bottle of whisky should be £20 and nae less than 18 years old!” 

Godrick Massey, a flatpack word dispersion unit for Shedringtone Distillers said:

“We actually laid down some casks of Highland Park when this whole NAS debate thing kicked off. If there’s anything left in them by the time it cools down we’ll sell it for about £50,000 a bottle.” 

Here are a selection of upcoming NAS releases to look forward to including their official tag lines:

Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve: ‘Not as shit as you might expect’.

Arran Balsamico: ‘Italy comes home.’

Laphroaig Select II : ‘Just when you thought it was over…!’

Ledaig Ta Ra Ma Salata : ‘Gaelic for “Jings I’ve got crabs” ‘

Auchentoshan Bland : ‘All the usual lack of flavour and less’

Highland Park Chunder : ‘The anorexic Orcadian’s choice’

Karuizawa Kerrrrching: ‘Money the easy way’

Speyburn Bradan Oral : ‘Your Dentist’s favourite’

Dalmore Apprentice : ‘Paterson’s Protégé’

Clynelish Waxwork : ‘Madame Tussaud’s in a glass’

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It is time...

It is time…

With the publication of The Whisky Bible 2015 only weeks away the deadline for whisky companies to get their sealed bids in for an award is rapidly approaching. Awards up for grabs this year include:

Best Ardbeg or Glenmorangie Of  The Year

Best Other Whisky In The World

Best Whisky Made In A Yurt In Moldova That Is The Only Company Who Want Me To Come And Do A Tasting

Best Blended Whisky That I Was Hired To Create

Best Bourbon That Is Actually Identical To Another Bottling With A Wildly Different Score

Best Whisky To Drink While Wearing A Panama Hat

Best Whisky That Is About To Get A Completely Coincidental Re-Packagin & Marketing Campaign

Speaking while queuing at the bank to transfer large sums of money to several anonymous Swiss bank accounts, Jock Underback, head of bribery at Inverhouse said:

“Obviously it would be nice if we could repeat the success of the Old Pulteney 21yo from a few years ago but I hear there’s some pretty stiff competition this year. Apparently someone from the Shedringtone Group has offered him one of those motorbikes with three wheels that Billy Connolly drives on the telly!” 

He gave Arran Devil's Punch Bowl 82/100

He gave Arran Devil’s Punch Bowl 82/100

Genghis Batbayar, a nomadic Mongolian goat herder and part time co-author of the Whisky Bible said:

“It’s getting more and more difficult each year, there’s a team of around seven of us and Jim says we have to write about 1000 different tasting notes each in his ‘inimitable style’; he’s very precious about his ‘inimitable style’. The trouble is the amount of retro-editing depending on what bids are coming in. The other day we had the new Balvenie Single Barrel on 95 points but then someone from Highland Park rang up and offered Jim a set of comedy fridge magnets and free tickets to see Michael Bublé. We had to downgrade the Balvenie and put the Loki up to 96 but then William Grants rang up and said they’ve got an original complete VHS set of the Spike Milligan sitcom Curry And Chips with extra racist bits. It’s a bloody nightmare. We’ll have to introduce quarter points this year I think. Not to mention the fact that I’ve got to move a whole herd of goats from Bulgan to the Orkhon Valley by next Wednesday. Bloody typical!” 

He's always going on about how it's better than Fawlty Towers.

He’s always going on about how it’s better than Fawlty Towers.

Pierre Pringle, CEO of Dayglo Retard said while gazing longingly at a picture of a dead badger:

“He doesn’t know it yet but I’ve managed to secure Jim the part of Peter Dinklage’s stunt double in the next series of Game Of Thrones. Just you wait and see; this year will be Glenlivet’s year. Soon the world will know just how special and traditional our lovely Glenlivet 12 year old really is. They will all know the flavour of damp grass.” 

The producers say Jim has the requisite build but he can't do any of the sex scenes.

The producers say Jim has the requisite build but he won’t be allowed to do any of the sex scenes.

When asked by Whiskysponge journalists about the secret to her whiskies continued success in the Whisky Bible; Professor Jill Bumsden of Glenmorangie said while reclining in her chair and slowly crossing and uncrossing her legs:

“Jim knows he has to play ball if he wants the sugar…” 

It was just like this only with more pubic hair.

It was just like this only with a LOT more pubic hair.

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015 will be available from Xhamster, Woolworths, Scientology, Marvel Comics, The Great British Bake Off, Al Jazeera, Dave’s Chip Shop in Doncaster and Gregg’s sometime before Christmas.

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JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!!!!!

JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!!!!!

The continuing row over the merits and detractions of No Age Statement (NAS) whiskies today finally reached ‘Scottish Independence Referendum’ levels of utter tedium as yet more secondary tier, industry flunkies accused anyone who dared to voice criticism of NAS whiskies of being hopeless amateur idiots who had no idea about proper whisky things and should just keep their silly, ignorant mouths shut.

Barry Compost, head of the ‘Blended Together’ campaign that supports NAS whiskies said whilst drinking Macallan Gold through a straw from a bucket:

“I’m sick of all these fucking people banging on about how ‘age’ or ‘maturity’ are somehow important to whisky. I tasted Glengoyne 40 year old yesterday and it was exactly like a 10 year old Glenmorangie, in fact, if you drink them side by side, upside down in some pulsing nightclub hellhole then it’s incredibly difficult to tell them apart. All these idiots who go on and on about how NAS whiskies are potentially misleading or a cynical excuse to charge more money for something younger, cheaper and easier to produce are just rank amateurs with zero comprehension of how the modern whisky industry works. Just because part of my income rests upon me saying all the nice things that the industry wants/tells me to say, it has no impact on my impartial and rock solid independent stance on these matters!”

'I can't believe it's not NAS'

‘I can’t believe it’s not NAS’

Tom Simonson, a part-time, self-confessed whisky commentator and head of the NO campaign against NAS whiskies said:

“I don’t work in the industry but I have tried a LOT of whiskies of all kinds of ages, cask types, eras and distilleries and I find that the greatest whiskies exhibit a degree of balance and complexity with numerous tertiary aromas and characteristics that just cannot be derived from anything except real maturity in a good cask. There are terrific whiskies at 5, 8 and 10 years of age but these tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule. I find the best whiskies tend to be aged between 12-25 years, I don’t want to drink old whisky all the time, nor am I deluded enough to think that is possible, some are far too old indeed, but I like good whisky, I want to taste distillery character and maturity in harmony. I don’t dislike NAS whiskies, I think the basic concept can lead to great experimentation and potentially great drams, Aberlour A’bunadh, Balvenie Tun 1401, Ardbeg Uigeadail, these are all great, but their greatness lies in skilful use of mature stock in balance with the vibrancy of some younger casks. It’s sad that so many companies are increasingly relying on NAS to use young spirits brought up to speed with over-excessive wood technology that lack subtlety and elegance and is really a cynical way to sell an inferior product at a higher price. Of course it’s not all of them, but it is an increasing trend. It seems to me that with whisky, as with all things in life, the key is balance, as is the case with this argument, there is no clear cut definite answer over NAS whiskies, they have positives and detractors like all things, we should celebrate the great ones and lament the ones that do whisky a disservice. But then what do I know, I don’t get paid by the industry to create second tier, falsely independent commentary on a paid for brand platform masquerading as a blog, I’m just an amateur.” 

The row about NAS whiskies is anticipated to intensify over the next few months until everyone votes to have all participants from both sides lured into a vat of Loch Dhu by Scarlett Johansson from whence their pickled brains will be harvested to make a rudimentary soil fertiliser used to grow a special strain of barley which will form the basis of a new NAS Bruichladdich Valinch in anywhere from 3-11 years time.

That last bit is only funny if you've seen Under The Skin, which is in cinemas now so you've no excuse.

That last bit is only funny if you’ve seen Under The Skin, which is in cinemas now so you’ve no excuse.

 

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A new poll by the Scotch Whisky Arseociation has revealed that an increasing number of casual whisky consumption units have successfully brainwashed themselves into enjoying grain whiskies. Derek Bleak, head of sad-eyed revelations at the SWA, said while gazing mournfully out of his office window at a once proud but now solitary and dying beech tree, eking out its final years through the asphalt belly of an Edinburgh car park:

“Apparently there are people who enjoy whisky that tastes like fake banana foam washed down with sawdust liqueur. I had some of those really old Clan Denny things and they were alright I suppose, but then I tried a 12 year old Girvan. It was like drinking angry little goblins armed with hot pickaxes.” 

So far the trend has not reached epidemic levels, the SWA has identified it as being mainly confined to whisky geek types 1 and 2. Usually classed as those who see fit to post pictures of Speyburn 12 year old on the Malt Maniacs facebook page with the tagline ‘My Collection’.

A very rare rotation for the Ethiopian market.

A very rare rotation for the Ethiopian market.

This worrying new trend was controversially egged on recently by comments from William Grant & Son’s Beat Master Da8id ‘Phat Vat’ St3wart who, whilst speaking to the Scotch Default Whisky Society’s in-house magazine Unfettered, had this to say about grain whiskies:

“I luv grain whisky right, it’s like, well wicked, speakin personally right, as like, a blender n shit, I can lay dow a massive fat vibe with a low streak of grain, everyone is like ‘single malts fuck yeah’ right, but I’m like, check this one guv, it’s a grain innit, it’s full of funky flavour, like you gotta think of dem malts as like a rich trance beat but without dat grainy drum n bass underneath then you got zero moves like. Lota time, like, in da summer n shit I have ma home boys come on at me like ‘Da8id, try some of that 40 year old Balvenie, it is like pussy honey yo!’ an I’m like ‘cool bruv, I don’t need no aged single malt, it’s like 15 degrees out, it be Scottish style hot yo, pour me like a whole fist of sweet grain on ice baby’. Anyway, this has absolutely nothing to do with our new, very reasonably priced, expression of Girvan…check dat shit yo!” 

Da8id 'Phat Vat' St3wart leading a tasting earlier this month. Seen here spinning one of his most popular whiskies 'Doublewood Deconstruction'.

Da8id ‘Phat Vat’ St3wart leading a tasting earlier this month. Seen here spinning one of his most popular whiskies ‘Doublewood Deconstruction’.

Freddie ‘Kruger’ Laing, the evil mastermind behind Douglas Laing said while looking wistfully over one of his company’s price lists from 2002:

“I remember when we used to sell Brora 1970 for £80 a bottle…I liked those days.”

Ronnie McSpillin, a stress saturated brand ambassador for Jelly Brothers & Scudd said while simultaneously crushing two stress balls in each hand:

“We’ve just bottled a new 12 year old Invergordon, it’s really great, it gets those really thick chunks of grease and dirt of my bicycle chain, sometimes methylated spirits just aren’t enough. I’ve got forty five cases to shift by March. I might just shop it around branches of Halfords, tastings seem like a dangerous option.” 

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