Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Irish Distillers Monopoly?

It has recently come to my attention, that most of my hard earned whiskey money has been going to the same company. Some of the most popular Irish Whiskey brands - including Bushmills, Jameson, RedBreast, Green Spot and Middleton - are all produced by the same parent company.

In 1966 Irish whiskey distillers John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and the Cork Distillery Company merged into what is now known as Irish Distillers Group. In 1972 Bushmills joined the fold essentially giving one company controll over all whiskey production on the island of Ireland. Popular brands like Powers, Paddy are also created by this same group. What waht?

The older distilleries in Cork and Dublin were closed off and production was moved to a new facility right next to the Middleton distillery. The Old Middleton distillery (that used a 30,000+ gallon single pot still)  was eventually converted to a museum.

Now, after some reading it seems that Bushmills has since been sold off and is no longer under the control of the same company, but still, this is crazy!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Middleton Very Rare - Irish Whiskey done right.

People may use fancy pants words like maturated aromatics, and confectionery complexity to describe Middleton Very Rare whiskey - I have a new word for you. Yummy!

Housed in a handsome wood case, Middleton will look sexy sitting on top of any bar. This is another fine example of a single pot still whiskey that I am a fan of. Made at the Middleton Distillery, this whiskey shares its birthplace with the well known Jameson, and lesser known GreenSpot and Red Breast whiskeys.

Aged in bourbon barrels gives it a lighter sweeter and fruitier taste, this is a whiskey that easily passes the WAF (wife acceptance factor) - we both enjoyed a nice pour this last St. Patrick's day. What a perfect way to toast the Irish.

Most guys 9 times out of 10 can't tell the difference between the $50 and the $200 bottle of whiskey, but let me tell you, you can tell the difference in Middleton. Its not cheap, but in this humble reviewer's opinion it is well worth the money if you have it on hand.

Cost is most likely driven by rarity, as only 50 casks are released a year. Each release can have a very different taste. The end result is a blend of multiple triple distilled whiskeys aged from 12 to 25 years. While I hope to someday sample enough of these vintages to confirm their uniqueness, I must confess I have only had the one (2011 blend).

Recommended: Yes, if you have the where-with-all.
Notes: Sweet and smooth, little bit of fruit
Price: $140 for 750ml

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Whisky Advent Calendar

This is one of the most awesome ideas I have ever heard. Kinda wish I thought of it. The Advent Whisky Calendar. Every day, for 24 days, you get to open up a new little door, revealing a new small bottle of whisky!

It is being made and sold by the Master of Malt website for about $240 usd. They also sell/ship to other countries. Wife, are you reading this? December starts in only 21 days!

It _IS_ beginning to look alot like Christmas :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Best Whisky for Hurricane Sandy

I know everyone is talking about the super-storm now starting to hit the east coast. And if you happen to live in one of the many areas affected by this awe-inspiring concoction of wind, water, and bitchiness: do what you need to do to stay safe!

But, included in your end-of-the-world shopping list should be a few good 'ol bottles of whisky. And here's why:

  • First Aid. A quick splash of whisky or any other hard alcohol can help clean cuts and scrapes and reduce infection. A splash in the mouth wont hurt either...
  • Pain Relief. Dosage should be about 1 to 2 ounces. Repeat as needed. Or just drink until you cant feel your face. No one wants to drive in this weather anyway.
  • Bug Bites. Alcohol will dry out bug and mosquito bites to help reduce redness, and itchiness (my spell check says its a real word, honest). Might even make you smell so bad they wont bite!
  • Recycle. Buy your hooch in large, impact resistant plastic bottles. In the event of a water landing, empties can be used as a flotation device. Do your part, Reuse!
  • Entertainment. When the power goes out what do you do? I find that people become much more interesting intoxicated. Have a get together! People feel safer in groups anyway.
  • Trading. In the old frontier days, whisky was used as a form of currency. Trade it for clothes, food, or a ride!
  • Drinking!!! No further instructions needed :)

As for brands, I would go for the tried and true whisky that you can easily find at your local liquor store in large quantities like Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker, or Makers Mark. Extra points for 1.75l bottles made out of recyclable plastic.

While sitting here in California, its easy to belittle the impact of a natural emergency like a hurricane. I toast everyone affected, and wish you all the best luck. Stay safe, and stay dry!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Whisky Tango Foxtrot #1 (WTF) - No alcohol in Disneyland?!

WTF posts are a chance for me to
rant about anything I find annoying
Youve been warned.
Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth, is dry. No alcohol is served within the park no matter your age. While I understand the intention (imagining a headline of "another drunk patron fell into Tom Sawyers lagoon") it seems that once again, the stupidity of the few ruin it for the rest of us normal people who know when to say when.

Now, I'm not suggesting that they distribute tequila shots while waiting in a line for a ride, (but God knows it might make the critters in Splash Mountain more entertaining). What I would love is the ability to sit under the (fake) stars in the Blue Bayou restaurant eating a nice steak with a whiskey in hand watching the unwashed bloated masses float by as they start the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Ok, that might have been a bit graphic.

It seems that they are going to try something new in DisneyWorld. Currently they are building a new section to the park, and in the name of "keeping to the theme" a new Beauty and the Beast upscale restaurant will offer beer and wine. Well, its a start anyway. (read up here) The new section is scheduled to open near the end of the year.

I have heard rumor from the Disnleyland fan-atics that there is one place to get a drink in town. Club-33 is a near-impossible-to-gain-access restaurant that does indeed serve booze. But at a rumored $27,000 initiation fee - who can afford it? Old Walt himself had it built for dignitaries and the like, and I am sure it is quite posh. Unfortunately I am sure I will never see its interior.

My wife loves Disneyland, and we have gone many times. Now with a little girl in the family - I am sure we will go even more often. I enjoy it, but at the end of the day I partake in what I like to call the "best ride of the day". That would be the bar ride. No waiting, and no angry mothers trying to shove their stroller up your bum. If your like me, I suggest the nice leather and boulder decorated bar at the Grand Californian. Its within walking distance right along the shopping strip, and gives the whole day a happy ending. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Single Malt for under $16?

Lismore single malt scotch normally retails for about $35 to $45, but while shopping at the local Trader Joes I found they had made a special purchase of the scotch and are selling it for only $16!

Even though I had never heard the brand, I picked it up to give it a shot, and I'm glad I did. (notice the bottle in the pic is already almost empty) Now, true, this bottle does not have the sophistication and complexity of a 21 year old, but it is good with a little ice. Sweet with a little bit of oak, this one would be popular with the wives too.

After a little internet research I found that its aged only about 5 years in oak, made in the prestigious highlands speyside region of scotland. It seems the company changed hands recently (Lundie was bought by Glenfarclas, but still seems to operate independently  which may account for the seemly recent drop in price of existing stock. If you have a Trader Joes near you, buy one before its all gone!

Recommended: Yes, especially for the price.
Notes: Sweet and smooth, little bit of oak
Price: $16 for 750ml