My favourite single malt – Laphroaig

June 13, 2011

Today we take a break from fermented grape juice. It’s single malt time. My favourite single malt whisky comes from Islay, it’s Laphroaig!

I would never have thought that I could be converted to whisky. My friend Rainer Heufers did the trick. He also gave me the Michael Jackson “Malt Whisky Companion”, and from there on I was on my own to explore the wondderful world of single malt whisky. It’s worth it. The rich flavour come from the islands peat, and, of cause, it’s pure water. I just love the earthiness, the barley and peat aromas. Beats many other drinks for sure.

A loud cheers on Pentecostal Monday. And thanks again Rainer.


Cragganmore: Best Speyside Malt Whisky

May 31, 2010

Cragganmore

I find that Chinese airports are good places to buy fine single malt whisky. I was lucky to pick up a bottle of 12 year old Cragganmore from the Speyside, North-east Scotland. In Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion this whisky is given 90 points which is quite remarkable. And this at the costs of only 328 Yuan (Shanghai Airport).

The 12 year old Cragganmore

According to the Malt Whisky Companion the 12 year old Cragganmore is one of the finest Speyside malts. Is is of golden colour, has a very complex aroma, is fragrant and delicate. It is a very smooth drink indeed. When I tasted my newly acquired treasure, my heart made a huge leap. How lucky I was. Next time I will bring the book with me to make informed choices. This time was pure chance. Cheers

Address:
Cragganmore Distillery
Ballindalloch, Banffshire AB37 9AB
Tel: +44 (0) 1479 874635
Cragganmore.Distillery@Diageo.com


Bowmore – what a lovely whisky

December 12, 2009

Whisky bottle and book

It was a pity that I did not have my “whisky book” with me (Michael Jackson’s ‘Malt Whisky Companion’ which my friend Rainer gave me) when I was shopping for “a drink” at Beijing International Airport. I just remembered the Islay island somehow but as a wine drinker I am not too familiar with the whiskies of Scotland. In fact this is only my second blog entry on whisky.

I picked up a bottle of 17 year old Bowmore (43 % vol), leaving a 15 year Bowmore behind. Later I learned from the above book that the younger whisky scores higher than the older one, but best is a Bowmore Darkest and a 40 year old, earning each 91 points.

Exposed to westerly winds, Bowmore Distillery is located in the village of Bowmore on the western coast of the Isle of Islay, a small island off the Scottish coast. The distillery was founded in 1779 not long after the village, the first planned village in Scotland, was set up in 1768 by Daniel Campbell.

The Bowmore label

The whiskies of Bowmore are distinct in their character. The water used shows some iron-tinged mineral and some peat aromas on the palate. The malt is of the intensity of the south shore and is malted at the distillery. About 30% of the whisky is aged in old sherry casks.

The Bowmore has a nutty taste, is smoky and shows some peat. It is firm and dry. I like its taste on my palate; it’s an awesome drink. Next time I will explore some more of the Islay distilleries (there are 7 on ths island). Stay tuned and look out for this superb whisky.


Single Malt

June 1, 2007

What happened, you might ask yourself? Single malt, that’s not wine! Has Rainer finally left the so much loved and appreciated result of grape fermentation behind and turned to harder drinks? Well, on a recent trip to Bangkok, my old friend Rainer Heufers, who has earlier introduced me to the amazingly complex and enjoyable world of whiskies, gave me a copy of one of the bibles for whisky connoisseurs, “Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion”, 4th edition.

What a marvellous book this is. Michael Jackson must be to the whisky world what James Halliday and Hugh Johnson are to the wine drinkers. Wine and whisky do have commonalities. For both wood is important. Vintages are clearly identified. The rating system consists of a 100 points scheme. And finally, the verbal description of the liquid as provided by the tasters show similarities with wine too. I give you some examples:

Colour: very full gold with orange tinge
Nose: fresh, soft, very aromatic, with rich malt dryness
Body: light to medium, creamy
Palate: clean, grassy, fruity, becoming cookie-like and nutty
Finish: long, firm dry, malty, restrained, dessert apple

malt-whiskey-small.jpg

The book cover: Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion

Hundreds of different whisky brands are listed and described in this beautiful book. Of some of the distilleries, photos are added. Short histories provide the readers with another kind of “bait” to explore the world of whisky on their own. Maps and detailed descriptions of the various locations, products, vintages and the distillery process invite the reader to engage and appreciate the world of single malts. Because water is so important for whisky production, many distilleries are located in glens, valleys with streams. My home in Australia is located in Glenburn, family and friends live in Yarra Glen, both places have their water and clear mountain streams.

But the whisky world is full of “Glens”. Names such as Glen Albyn, Glenallachie, Glenburgie, Glendronach, Glendullan, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, and Glenugie sound exotic to my ear. I decided on the spot that our next trip to Europe would include a visit to Scotland and some distilleries there, probably in the highlands or on the Spyside.

Being of Celtic extraction myself (remember the Treverer! Of the Mosel river valley), I have a soft spot for everything Celtic, as you probably know. I could combine the whisky exploration with some sightseeing. I always wanted to see Edinburgh. Among others I could fulfil one of my dreams: buy a Scottish kilt, probably a young designer item by Howie Nicholsby. They are really cool. Ever since I saw some examples of his art in an airline magazine, I hedged this idea of acquiring a kilt for myself. Tonight there is another Scottish highlight waiting for me. On the eve of the Jakarta Highland Gathering, the Java St. Andrew Society (www.javastandrewsociety.com) is organising Scotland in Concert, a splendid presentation of Scottish music. They will certainly also offer whisky, maybe even a single malt. See you there.