Whisky Gift Guide

December is here, and that means you’ll be thinking about presents. Not necessarily for me, although that would be nice. But you know someone who’d like a bottle of whisky. No, you do.

No whisky lover, none of them, want to get a novelty hip flask, okay?

So what should you get them? Bells, Teachers or Johnnie Walker? Well you could if they’re alcoholics and don’t really care what they’re drinking, so long as they’re drinking. Or they have always expressed a particular liking for cheap blends. Or you could show them that you gave it a little thought.

If you’re thinking if a bottle of whisky, but want to spend less than £20, don’t. But between £20-30 there are lots of good standard 8-12 year old bottles. What would I like to open? Glad you asked….

Up to £30

Perfect for someone who’s really helped you out this year. A teacher for example. Or maybe your osteopath, (cough). Let me point you to a 16 year old Lagavulin. Easily available, but not something you’d have chosen just because you saw it during an ad break. Usually found at £30, if you keep your eyes open it’ll often be had for £25.

£30-60

For around £35 you can pick up my favourite 12 year old: Bunnahabhain. If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ll know its merit well. I’ve seen it sold for as much as £55. If you see that, leave the shop.

If you want to spend that much: Thank you. Try finding a Bunnahabhain Ceobanach. It’ll make the lucky recipient think you’ve really done your homework. (And I’m dying to review it!)

£60-150

You want to spend more? What, is it for your new girlfriend’s dad? If you like you could try an 18yr old Highland Park at £75-90. He’s going to hate you anyway, but at least he’ll love the scotch.
Top end of this price bracket, though and you could get a 21yr old Balvenie matured in Port Wood. He’ll hate you even more, simply because now he’ll feel so mean spirited to hate you at all. We’ve all been there.

Pushing the boat out

Unless you have more money than sense, you really shouldn’t spend more than £150 on a bottle of whisky for anyone but yourself, unless you already know it’s a favourite. So you’re off the hook spending more than that.

Merry Christmas. Mine will be if people get the hint.

Mmm, I wonder what it is!

Mmm, I wonder what it is!

Thoughts On Burned Bridges

Sometimes, when we move on in our lives, we lash out at the thing we’re leaving behind. It’s a childish thing to do, but there are reasons why.

Perhaps we’re so vehement because we’re still trying to convince ourselves it’s the right thing to do, when deep down we know better.
Perhaps we’re trying to make the people around us happy.
Perhaps we’re trying to make going back such a humiliating climbdown that we could never countenance yielding to the temptation.

Whatever the reason, there are the times that we feel the need to burn the bridges and trample the charred remains underfoot. We burn the bridges to stop others following us over, and we burn them to stop ourselves crossing back. And we do it because we think we’re too weak to stick to our decision, one we often know to be wrong.

But every bridge had to be built in the first place. So no bridge can ever be burned so badly that it cannot be rebuilt.

…ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough…

After such a petulant, charged departure who can say what’s the other side of the bridge you could rebuild? And isn’t it always better to build than to burn? Stronger to discover what may be waiting than to hide from the fear of it? More courageous to acknowledge the mistakes and learn from them, than to angrily pretend no fault?

If you’ve burned a bridge you should take the brave, the courageous, the strong path and rebuild it – however hard it may seem. Cross over, find out what’s there. The worst that can happen is there’s nothing for you. But how is that worse than what you have now?

It’s out of character for me to burn bridges, to turn on something in my life. As you know I often choose the path that’s harder in the short term, to secure a less stressful long term. But I’ve burned a bridge, now I’m rebuilding it. It’ll be fascinating to discover what’s on the other side.

Do It Now

Whisky Review: Talisker, 10 Years Old

I think it’s fair to say that although I’m a fan of mainland whisky, I have a particular liking for island drinks. So after the oily nightmare of Jack Daniel’s when I wanted to restore my faith in oily whiskies, it was a natural choice to turn to a youthful Talisker.

A light smoke covers a fruitiness to the aroma. It’s worth spending time on the vapours before taking a sip. wait until the sweet apply scent comes through. Then take your sip. The oil is there, but unlike the brash american, this is a light oil. Rather like the difference between petrol and virgin olive oil. In fact, taste them side by side and that’s just what comes to mind.

There’s more in the Talisker, though, again unlike the one note american. There’s a few stereotypes of a whisky – as you’d expect with a young bottling. Hints of heather, seaweed and moor come through at different times in the mouth, leaving you with a warm pepper over the tongue, stopping just at the top of the throat after you swallow.

But throughout there’s the slightly slick comfort of that virgin oil, smoothing the way.

Lovely.

whisky review.talisker

All Whisky Reviews >>

New Threads

The blog has been an interesting experience this year. I started out blogging diligently at least once, but often twice a day and you read it in your droves. But as time has gone by and I’ve blogged less often, you’ve kept reading just as much.

As the date of publication for the guidebook approaches, I’ve pulled the posts directly associated with it (don’t want to cannibalise my own sales too much!) so along with the whisky, sweetie and ad reviews, I’ll be launching a new thread of blogging in the next few days.

Before I do, I’m going to tweet out lots of links to existing posts, just as a catch up.

(I’ll see how many people unfollow me on twitter when I do – current followers: 1407)

Whisky Review: Lagavulin 37 Years Old

This was my great extravagance of the week. It was between this and a 34 year old Port Ellen.

A 37 year old Lagavulin. The 12 year old is always so reliable, that when I decided what to splash out on, this was an obvious choice. That said, it was an insane amount of money to spend on a bottle of whisky, and although it’s very, very good I wouldn’t buy a second even if I had the disposable income! I don’t suppose there are any left, anyway. The great sadness is that most people who buy one of the 1800 bottles probably won’t ever open it. What’s the point of that? If you’re going to buy a bottle – whether it’s a regular off the shelf or a special bottling, drink it (slowly, maybe – but drink it), or let someone else buy it who’s going to enjoy it as a drink, not an ornament.

I opened it. It didn’t disappoint.

37 years old is the oldest bottling Lagavulin have ever done. The distillery isn’t usually given to aged bottlings, perhaps they found an old barrel at the back. Lucky for us.

That said, it wasn’t cheap. It’s not an everyday bottle (unless you’re in a very different financial league to me!). Now I’ve bought it, it’s not so much better than the ‘everyday’ whiskies to be able to justify drinking it, apart from on special occasions. So it’s a bottle destined to be in my Monk’s Bench for years, giving up a glass or two a year.

But the idea of enjoying this for the next half decade suits me just fine. I hope it’ll have equally good (and obscenely expensive) company by then.

Ultimately, though, as good as this is I could have had ten bottles of the 25 year old Bunnahabhain for the same money. And – if I were buying again that’s what I’d have done. Sorry, Dad.

whisky review.Lagavulin37

Whisky Week 2013 >>

All Whisky Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

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

 

Whisky Week 2013 >>

All Whisky Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

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

Whisky Week 2013 >>

All Whisky Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

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.

Whisky Week 2013

All Whisky Reviews >>

All Reviews >>

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.

Coming Up Next Week

This week has been great. Both here on the blog and personally.

I know, you’re wondering what you’ve missed. Here’s a quick recap…

The most popular of these? Whores Of The Soul – A Note About Ad Reviews  A lesson in eyecatching titles, I think!

Next week, along with a few reviews (sweeties, Ads and Whisky) I’ll be posting Rule 4.3 – Know Your Short Term Goals

See you then, have a great weekend.