Jul 212010

…Or do you?

Do you have a snazzy backlit set of glass shelving?  A gorgeous deep mahogany bar?  A dusty cupboard above the fridge?

I have 45 bottles right now.  Some I am nearly done and hoping to get rid of soon, but others will always be stand-bys.  I don’t really see myself being content with much smaller of a selection than I have. 

That being said, I am looking for the perfect way to display my scotch selection/collection. 

Care to share some thoughts on how you display yours now, or how you would like to?

Jul 202010

Though we all love those 18 year old malts…cask strength monsters…and bold pricey Ardbegs…it is fairly reasonable to assume that it is a little byond most of us to kick the hell out of one of those bottles on a daily basis.  Ahem…not that we’d be daily sippers or anything though, right? 

So, while we await a bottle of the mysterious McCutcheon’s to become a reality on our bar (come on, folks…what’s the reference here?), we must settle for something a little less refined.  My aristocracy has bounds. 

That bottle, that daily dram, for me is Highland Park 12. 

Not very original, I know, but originality for the sake of originality is something I have foregone since high school (maybe university).  This is simply the most palate-pleasing whisky for all moods and cravings. 

The important things to consider are 1) price and 2) drinkability.

So what are your ‘go-to’ bottles?

Jul 182010

Lads and Lassies,

After a final discussion with our friend, David Michiels, at Willow Park…

The Calgary Whisky Club is finally a reality!

To any who do not know me yet…my name is Curt.  I, along with David, will be spearheading this adventure.

The inaugural meeting of this exclusive little enclave will be on the first Sunday of September, 2010.  This rather informal gathering will be at Willow Park Wines and Spirits in Calgary South.  Details regarding time, agenda and directions will follow in the coming days.

If you are interested, please confirm with me, Curt, at antihero7@hotmail.com in order to ensure a spot.

Membership will be limited to 40 people.  When our maximum is met, we will have a wait list.  Annual dues are yet to be determined.  Your input at the first meeting will help decide many details about this club, including (but not limited to):

  • Member costs
  • Dates and times
  • Format
  • Products
  • What you want to put in/get out of this club

While there will be a nominal fee associated, the benefits will far outweigh anything you put in.  Exposure to many new products, access to industry persons and their knowledge, discounts and exclusive opportunities at products…and most importantly…a social circle of like-minded individuals out to have fun.

To all involved thus far, thanks for your help.  To those I have yet to recruit into supporting roles…uh, sorry…and again…thanks for your help.

To any reps and industry persons…if you are interested in being involved in hosting tastings, providing samples for review or simply sitting in…please do not hesitate to contact me.  Once a month you will have a captive audience of 40 whisky drinkers just itching to sample and purchase your product from Willow Park.

Please hang tight for more information.

Until we meet in September…Slainte!

Jul 092010

As you may have read here (or listened to, if you are one of the Liquorature core) Lance and I have occasional volleys regarding our views on reviews.  Topics include, but are not limited to:  subjectivity, assignation of a numerical rating, format, etc.  One of the topics that has cropped up a few times is my lack of reviews for those truly awful whiskies out there.

The observation itself is valid.  A quick perusal of the whisky reviews here will attest to exactly Lance’s point.

So…should my integrity be doubted?  Should be nosing/tasting abilities be questioned?  Should a high degree of skepticism be employed when reading these reviews?

Short answer…absolutely.  These reviews ARE subjective.  They are comprised entirely of my personal evaluation and will continue to be so.  You, as a reader, should always question what is put in front of you.

So, why are the reviews seemingly universally high?  Simple, really.  Whisky is expensive.  I, and we, buy it to enjoy it.  A low end rum may only gouge you for $15-$20, while a low end single malt will still cost somewhere in the low $30’s.  Of course, we all pad our cabinets with a few of those buffer bottles that help preserve the good stuff (or to offer guests you just…don’t…like), but the secret is to find those affordable bottles that are actually really good so we never have to drink rotgut.  More on this in a future post.

The moral however is that we in the whisky world are spoiled by choice.  There are thousands of exceptional malts on the market (and more to come as the world stage is being shared with many new distilleries in far-flung corners of the globe).  When shelling out our hard-earned ATM-dispensed food stamps should we buy a clunker just for the novelty of writing a review of an inferior product?  I don’t care about creating a bell curve based on my reviews, so this becomes incidental to me.

Lance’s point hits home more on his side of the fence.  Being a rummie, he is at the mercy of the liquor outlets and their prejudices.  A tour of almost any outlet will show a vastly more expansive Scotch whisky section than rum selection.  It is quite feasible for our resident caner (and his newfound disciples – notably Robert and Bauer) to exhaust the choices rather quickly.  Lance has, in exasperation, mentioned this challenge many times.  We whisky anoraks on the other hand are still overwhelmed by the available choices and future prospects.

This brings me back to the point.  I have not found many bad whiskies yet, because there are too many good (or at least promising) ones to try.  I tend to have an idea (through other reviews, distillery history, local industry resources and whisky forums) as to the quality of what I am buying before presenting plastic.  Further, many of the whiskies reviewed are from tastings, where an ambassador is highly unlikely to present anything less than the best of his/her line, or are Liquorature club selections.  The Liquorature selections are always chosen with a view to impress, not shock.

Alas, fear not…for I have tried some really…not good drams.  I will not mention names here as future reviews will cover them when I am brave enough to re-pop those corks.  Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad whisky is lying to you.  Fortunately for us though…there aren’t that many.  Relatively speaking

A final note…

I recently picked up the latest edition of Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion.  The introduction to this edition speaks to the character as well as the integrity and expertise of this sorely missed whisky legend.  It mentions Michael’s adherence to the ‘if you can’t say anything nice…’ idiom.  While I do not necessarily agree to this philosophy, I will admit I do not go out of my way to review what I feel is an inferior product.

Thoughts, folks?

 Posted by at 8:19 am
Jul 072010

You’re about to be marooned on a deserted island, and can take only ten books with you.  These books may be all you have for a lifetime of reading and re-reading.  What would your ten books be?  Drop in a line or two after each to say why. 

Oh yeah…and one more thing…if you can buy it as one bound volume it is fair game as one entry.  If not, something like ‘The Dark Tower’ 1 through 7 is not a valid single choice.  That is seven books.


 Posted by at 12:51 pm
Jul 072010

Lads n’ lassies of the swillin’ sort,

There was a similar post here a while back asking what was on your wish list.  Here I want to simplify that, as your wishlist, if anything like mine, is just that…wishes.  Some on my list are far beyond these shallow pockets.  For now anyway.

So instead I ask…what is your next bottle going to be?  Why?

 Posted by at 12:43 pm