Spirit

Glenfarclas 1978 Family Cask

It is a rare and special thing to experience something from the time of your birth. Newspapers, music and, for the younger among you, television and video evoke a very special sentiment. It is an even rarer thing to be able to consume something from that time with such a finality as drinking a dram. When it is gone, it is gone forever.

What a wonderful way to cap off a year at work, sitting on my balcony, overlooking Sydney, nursing a dram of Glenfarclas 1978, the third release of the family cask.

Glenfarclas is a Speyside malt, from a town called Ballindalloch. Purchased by John Grant in 1865, the truly independent distiller is still run by his descendants.

The distillery has been putting down hogshead barrels since 1952, with some years having a second release too. These family casks provide a wandering record of the seasons in the Speyside, and their effect on the whisky that’s made there.

The whisky itself is light on the nose, like many Speyside examples. I think it smells nutty like rye grass when it’s cut, sweet and fresh. The Glenfarclas site does a much finer job with their prosaic description:

For a refill cask, this whisky has a lovely copper colour.

A light fragrant nose of earthy notes mixed with fresh dew on a summer day.

It’s definitely a summery whisky with fresh herbs and fresh grass cuttings coming through. Quite floral.

The finish is elegant and surprisingly long. Just when you think you have lost the flavour, it reappears again. A great whisky that’s probably preferable before, rather than after, dinner.

As I enjoy it in Sydney’s sunny heat, the summery references feel right on the money. The taste is boozy toffee apples and perhaps due to its proximity, Christmas.

The finish is indeed, Epic. Spicy grass and lemon pepper. The 57.60% carries the taste a long way back, the caramel carries on too…

At a couple of hundred quid, it is for most, a fairly decent investment. If it isn’t buy a few and really check things out. You can buy it here, and they’ll also do you a dram to enjoy for a more achievable 12.25, of those slightly weakened Pounds Sterling.

There’s something very special about drinking fine old spirit.

Whisky, like most spirit at their origin and in their native tongue, was called by a name made up from a set of words that carried the meaning – Water of Life.

Over long periods many things change, but life perseveres in the most vibrant and touching ways.

Merry Christmas.

Again, this was one of the samples the team at Master of Malt sent me. Their twitter is also worth a follow.

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Spirit

Miyagikyo 1990 Single Cask (Nikka)

So first things first. Remember the days when every social network and even group email promised cases of Champagne, sincerest help transferring a few million out of an impoverished African country. It was with more than a little skepticism that I read a tweet offering tasting for review on single malt.

The Master of Malt website and Twitter account made some interesting reading. I got in touch and they sent me a few gems to write about. I like the site because with our currently performing Australian dollar, buying in the UK starts to make a bit more sense.

The site is filled with incredible gems, special bottlings and masterful expressions. The Nikka can be yours for one hundred and fourteen English Pounds and a mere ninety five of those shiny English Pence. There are some more affordable bottles on there too, and the real genius of their model is that they’ll sell you a 3cl sample of selected whisk(e)ys. They’ve sent me three, and this is the first.

If you’ve wondered what makes a whisky six to ten times more expensive than your average 12 yr old, like I have, this is a nice way to get your tongue in a glass.

Which is where my tongue is now, in a glass of Japanese whisky out of cask 36385. Bottled at 61%.

The nose has sweetness and vanilla, a hint of spice.

The touch to the tongue and it’s electric. The high proof, coupled with what is a typically maniacal focus on making things in a way that is not so much perfect, but better than perfect makes this an utterly intoxicating experience.

The sweetness of the nose lingers, manifesting as honey. You can almost taste the raw vanilla beans, spicy cinnamon maybe even some peel. It lacks some of the malty body I’m used to perhaps, but it’s not as though it’s not there. The smoke is elegant, restrained. Sultanas and caramel too. Yum.

Massive fan. Get into it.

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A connection with the old country

laphroaigqcThe guys over at Luxist have just covered this story.

Laphroaig Scotch Whisky have launched a new idea as part of the website they have just taken live. By registering the purchase number of your bottle of Laphroaig online, you are granted lifetime ownership of one square foot of land on the island of Islay.

Go to http://www.laphroaig.com/plot to check it out.

Landowners are encouraged to make a visit to the distillery to collect the ‘rent’ on their property, a wee dram of the good stuff.

Smart idea that works well with a brand loved by its drinkers.

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