Whisky Review: @HighlandPark

I was surprised when I planned my whisky week blogs that I haven’t reviewed Highland Park before. It’s a regular resident of the Monk’s Bench, and except for a short period in the last few years, I’m never without a bottle.

There’s a good reason for this: It’s the first favourite of mine that I discovered for myself, rather than something I was introduced to by Dad. In fact, after I introduced him to it, he, too, was never without a bottle.

It’s the only one of my permanent top scotches that isn’t an Islay whisky. It’s still an island single malt, though, coming from Orkney.

Again, as is a theme with my favourites, it’s very easy to drink. You get a real sense of the heather, the peat, and (helped along by the colour) the honey. The smokiness has the edge taken off by a sweetness that the mainland malts just don’t seem to be able to emulate. It is simply delicious.

My bottle isn’t the shape of the one in the picture, and that’s one of the things I like about this scotch. The neck is wider than most bottles. It used to be wider still, but in narrowing it, the distillery have kept the very satisfying baritone glugging sound it makes as it pours. The bottle sits well in the hand as you pour, so all told this becomes a wonderfully complete experience: tactile, the sound, the aroma and the taste. Why would anyone ever want to be without it?

This or the Bunnahabhain is what you buy me for a happy christmas.

whisky review.highland park

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Whisky Review: @Bunnahabhain (25 Year Old)

My second extravagance of the week. A more reliable gamble than the 28 year old Singleton, too. Yes, it really did come in its own box, just like the picture (although, as with all the reviews, I’ve used a sales picture: why would you want a dark pic from my iPhone when there are lovely professional shots available?)

Unboxing it was rather special, too. Finding the bottle resting snugly in its bed, just tempting me to take its top off and drink it in.

What’s a man to do?

Bunnahabhain is, as regular readers will know, my favourite whisky. That’s why I was prepared to take the risk of buying this. I was far happier with this purchase than the Singleton 28, and it was a little cheaper at under £200. Not that pricing information is any good for you because all 400 bottles have sold now.

And I have one of them.

I don’t know whether to put the emphasis on “I have one of them” as a brag or “I have one of them” to show how foolish it was not to buy a case. How I wish I had more. It’s a truly great scotch, and at that price, it’s one I could justify drinking often – but not with just one precious bottle. I’m going to ration it out to myself until more become available (please, oh please).

whisky review.Bunnahabhain25

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Whisky Review: Lagavulin 12 year old

Lagavulin was my Dad’s favourite whisky. It’s the one he most often lifted from the old Monk’s Bench when he trained me to drink whisky through my late teens and early twenties. So it’s no surprise that I inherited a love of this beautiful Islay malt.

It’s consistently in my top 3, and consistently good, even at only 12 years old. I’ll state the obvious and say I prefer the 16, the 18 and the 21 year olds. Which was a big factor in choosing my most obscenely expensive whisky of the week (review coming on Friday).

But if you’re a whisky drinker and you don’t have a bottle of Lagavulin in your Monk’s Bench (or whatever it is you keep your bottles in), then that’s a serious gap in your offering.

It’s an Islay, so it has a lovely smokey aroma, the peaty flavour you expect, but neither assault you like the heavier tones of, for instance, a Jura.

It’s eminently drinkable, you can sit washing it around in your glass as you chat, filling your head with the warm fireside, woodsmoke aroma. You can sip and let the flavour spread over your tongue and the inside of your cheeks – and just a small sip will fill your mouth with flavour. Or you can take good solid mouthfuls and swallow it down, heating your throat without any risk of pulling a whisky face (unless you’re a big girl’s blouse, of course).

The best part is in the morning, when you come downstairs, clear headed and see how little is left in the bottle. That’s how easy Lagavulin is to drink – you don’t notice how much your drinking that evening, and you don’t get reminded in the morning.

Buy. Never be without it.

whisky review.lagavilin12

 

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Whisky Review: Singleton 28 Year Old

Let’s start Anthropith’s Whisky Week with one of the three expensive bottles I bought.

The last 28 year old I had started out well, but was ultimately disappointing. One of the keys to a great bottle is duration. Is the end of the bottle just as satisfying as the first taste?

That’s not a question I can answer yet, not having finished the bottle.

But, how was it to start? Was it worth the hard-to-justify-in-advance sum of money I gambled on it? Well, the description coming up is pretentious, so I think that’s a yes.

It was ripe, with just a shadow of smoke in the smell, almost something softly citrus, even though I can’t imagine an orange grove anywhere near a scottish distillery. The light smokey aroma came through in the flavour too. Nothing citrus-y though. It was sweeter than that.

Although I’m a long way from the bottom of the bottle – and I’ll take my time drinking it, courtesy of its price – this was a very drinkable bottle. I’m told there were only 3,816 bottles drawn from the oak casks. I rather hope there’s a few left.

whisky review.Singleton28

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Anthropith’s Whisky Week

The week around the 22nd of October is a big whisky week for me. I like to buy in a few bottles – some of my favourites and some I haven’t tried before.

For one reason or another I’ve not done this for a few years, so this year I went a big, I really splashed out. Not only did I buy my favourites, I bought some expensive ones, too.

So this week, I have a Whisky Review a day. I’ll update this page as the week goes on with a contents list to add to the reviews that are already on here.

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Sweetie Review: Natural Confectionary Co. Spooky Treats

Just a quick note about Hallowe’en sweets: These are great. No added rubbish, lots of flavour in the shape of skulls, vampire teeth, pumpkins, gravestones and old hags.

Why not disappoint kids this hallowe’en by giving them these instead of chocolate bars and repackaged sugar?

Followers, Lurkers and Stalkers – A Short Rant

Social media is a funny old thing. It opens your life up to others in a way that was never possible before. We actively encourage people to connect with us, even though we know little or nothing about them.

These people become followers, friends.

But there are many ways people can connect with us without us even knowing. For instance, over my twitter accounts I have over 5,000 followers. Although some follow more than one, mostly they are unique to the account. Of course I have the accounts for different reasons, so that’s what you’d expect. But in any month I interact with maybe only 100-150 of them.

What are the rest of them doing there?

Although my ego would like to think otherwise, most of them are probably ignoring me. My tweets come up in their timeline and they might glance at them or just pass right over them. Why do I think this? Because it’s how I treat most of the people I follow.

Some though, are ‘Lurkers’. They follow me, read my tweets, and say nothing. They stay well off my radar. Gradually they get to know me a little better and maybe one day they’ll reply to something, retweet something or start a conversation with me. Great.

Then there are the stalkers. These people might not even follow any of my social media, but they regularly read my tweets, my blogs, look at my last.fm, my pinterest, and anything else they can find of mine.

Why? Curiosity perhaps? Maybe something I once said or did piqued their interest, maybe they’re an old friend or an old girlfriend and they just want to see how I’m getting on, or maybe they’re someone who once crossed me and are paranoid enough to think I still give a crap and want to see when I’m plotting their comeuppance.

I put a lot on the internet. Not everything. I haven’t updated my LinkedIn for a long time, for instance. Mostly because my current client needs confidentiality, and the project I’m working on in what’s left of my own time isn’t something I want anyone I’m not friends with to know about just yet. I don’t put up anything online about my relationships, because they’re no ones’ business but my friends’. Even when I had facebook, I didn’t want to put up any kind of relationship status: the important people all knew, why would anyone else care – and if they do care, isn’t that a bit creepy?

But what’s there online is open for anyone to see. And if it isn’t open it’s none of my ‘stalker’s’ business. Earlier this year one of my protected twitters was hacked, and read by a few people. Because they weren’t part of my life, they didn’t know what I was talking about on there, and they ended up making prats of themselves by misconstruing it in the most egocentric and paranoid way possible.

The lesson is: Know me or don’t. If you know me, that’s great. Hello. If you don’t, then read whatever you like that’s out there. Draw whatever inference you like, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that anything I write is about you. That’s a little like hearing me talk on the phone while I walk past, and thinking I’m talking to you! Why would it be about you, and isn’t that just incredibly egotistic?

The other lesson is, whatever anyone puts out there, I might read. Although why I’d bother is an open question.