27 June 2008

The Scotch report: Edradour

This months tasting at Regional Wines was Edradour, probably my favourite distillery. There's an earlier blog (Nov/Dec last year) with pictures of the place.
Expectations were high for this tasting, the 24yo I have is divine, and the 13yo I tried last year at a tasting was exceptional. So here's the list of what we had, my notes, scoring and comments.

10yo 40% natural colour: this is their bottom of the range which I hadn't tried. Light nose, butterscotch, sweet, white wine notes. Taste: sweet, liquourice, smooth, clean, very short finish. 5/10
Ballechin 46% Series 1 2002-2006 50ppm phenol Fresh red Burgundy casks, no chill/colour: Nose: smokey, bacon, rubber, phenol, big!! Taste: salty/phenol Finish: peaty, very long 7/10
Straight from the Cask 11yo 58.6% Hogshead 21/1/96-4/5/06 Cotes De Provence 4/5/06-30/4/07: Nose: red wine, big, high alc., older more complex Palate: cask str., gorgeous, sweet, caramel, sherry Finish: sherry, long 9/10
Straight from the Cask 10yo 58.8% Sherry butt #84 25/2/97 - 15/1/08: Nose: red wine, caramel cream Palate: interesting, sweet, inc alc, spicey, Finish: big long smooth 8.5/10
Edradour Cream Liqueur: I'd had this at the distillery with Neil, as we figured we'd be hitting the tasting room for the 'good stuff' later, so why not try something different. And it's very good. I prefer it to Bailey's, it's got more going on. Bit hard to rate in comparison with whisky, but on it's own 7/10? It is very very drinkable.
Ballechin 46% Series 2 2002-2007 50ppm phenol Fresh Madeira Puncheons no chill/colour: Nose: rubber, peat, bacon, smokey, cask str. Palate: phenol, very light taste Finish: nothing 5/10
1994 7/6/94-17/12/07 cask 272 56.3% decanter 510/774: Nose: caramel, dark, sherry, dusty, age Palate: caramel, red wine, gorgeous, buttery, very complex, muscatels,   incr alc. Finish: long so very long 9.5/10

Definitely worth the cheap entry price ($50) mainly as they didn't have any of the 24yo's which are the expensive buggers. I was very disappointed with the Ballechin's which have been hyped a bit. Nick and I chatted about it and we both felt they lacked age, the phenol was too dominant and overpowering any complexity that may be hidden in there. Given they are only 4 and 5 years old it might be worth waiting til they release a 8-10yo? the SFTC range is, as usual, wonderful - and a bit cheaper as they come in 500ml bottles, in an attractive wooden box. I've had a couple of them before (Neil? what ones were they?) and was more than happy :) 
Their 10yo, as you'd expect from the bottom of the range, was an adequate scotch to give people who don't know better. 
It was the 13yo that hooked me last year, and the 13yo this year (the 1994) was something else. Its like drinking syrup, and yet still cask strength. Ooohhh baby. All the complexity and interest of the 24yo, but with more ooompphh. Oh and half the price. Bottles at the tasting were being flicked off at NZ $135.  
I'm interested in spinning the 24yo and the 1994 to compare the taste, I suspect the 24yo will provide more subtlety but that it will be very very close as to which is my favourite...
Actually I think Nick is wandering in tomorrow avo, something like that may happen, watch this space boozehags...

Slainte, b

18 June 2008

Orson would be proud

The bears are coming.
And they have camo.

Apparently polar bears (I keep writing beer, i want a beer, not a bear) have been spotted in Iceland. Some considerable distance from their natural territory. Actually bears is exaggerating, a polar bear has been spotted in Iceland. I think it's time for a rename, the bear formally known as polar, or TBFKP.

B x

17 June 2008

Lets have a positive blog - food and beer

I was going to rant about what a pain in the ass I am currently. But those of you who know me will already know that, so let's go for a positive spin. I apologise for the copious amount of offence I'm currently causing.

I decided not to do any work this evening after realising during a phone call from S that I'm in no frame of mind for anything.

So dinner tonight consisted of paua, green tea soba noodles, kiwifruit and dressing which I stole from the Sunday Star Times. The recipe went something like: cut crap off paua, rub off most of the black and chop very finely, cook noodles, drain, rinse in cold water, flick sesame oil through noodles. Peel and thinly slice kiwifruit and dump on top of noodles. Mix lemon juice and soy sauce. Fry paua in soya oil (hot) until slightly brown. Dump on top of noodle + kiwifruit mix, dribble sauce over. Eat.

I washed it down with a very very good Indian Pale Ale from Three Boys. Very refreshing, strong citrus notes from the hops, lovely after taste tang. I could drink this stuff a lot. Very refreshing summer drink, even if it frickin freezing out there.

In a tip o the that to the prog-brigade, I'm watching the DVD to Trick of the Tail.

Hahaha a friend just pointed out if I'm having beer then it won't be soba noodles. Thats awesome!


6 June 2008


Well top marks to the Salmond lad for his sense of timing - oh and to Alex as well :)
Whilst over in the UK for their forthcoming nuptials I shall get to see:
* Spocks Beard - supported by Frost*
big ups to the Psychochicken for organising that and I get to have a couple of beers with the chicken and HippyDave, who I haven't seen for a long time.
* The Pineapple Thief
ups to HairyPatrick for organising that one. One of my favourite bands, and new album, Tightly Unwound, could quite easily be my album of the year. For anyone who hasn't heard them which is most of you, think Coldplay but with originality.
* Tom Waits
Thanks to the Salmond lad himself for this one I cannot overestimate how pants burstingly exciting this is. Waits has been on my 'must-see' list for years, but I'd pretty much given up seeing him - as he hardly ever tours, and never to my neck of the woods. So I get to drink beer in Dublin and then meander to a gig by Tom. Woohoo.

there's a chance I'll get to see Marillion as well, but I'm less worried about that, as Ive seen them a few times now.

Otherwise I'll sink some beer and see what else I can find to listen to. I'm hoping a trip can be organised to the whisky society (go on N ...!!!).

Having the day off with the flu so I've been listening to music all day, currently have Frans' Rogues Gallery on (thank god for the internet). Thinking about dinner now, although might just quit on cooking and have some fruit salad. Tasty!!!

I probably shouldn't have some whisky, but the temptation is certainly there. For health reasons of course...


4 June 2008

Speaking of Keith

here's a video of Thru and thru from VoodooLounge.

Scorsese and the Stones

I think the biggest question concerning the new Scorsese movie about a Stones concert (Shine a light) was why it took so long to make it. As every other reviewer of the movie has noted, the Stones have been a staple musical choice for Scorsese movies for years.

A packed Embassy theatre was an ideal venue to watch it, and they'd turned the volume up so it felt like a rock gig. Great stuff. The gig itself was in the rather nice Beacon Theatre in New York. Scorsese wisely choose to not interrupt the gig too much using the occasional old (rare or amusing) interview footage between songs. Beginning with a long discussion about what the set list would be with little Marty getting upset cos he couldn't plan shots as the Stones (well Jagger) wouldn't tell him what they were playing. Nice touch that. I'm sure you can find the set list out there in web land, so I won't bother about it. But it was good, nice collection of the tracks they *have* to play and some rare stuff. The guest spots were excellent, Jack White (white stripes) was a perfect choice and Buddy Guy was fantastic - allowing Jagger the opportunity to play his harmonica - which he should do more of... If there was one aspect of the music that really came through it would be the blues side of the Stones is very much underrated. Given the level of Blues fanaticism within the band, it's not surprising, but most people call them a rock band whereas Blues might be more appropriate. Even Christina Aguilera was good. Not stunning, but good.

Scorsese does do music gigs rather well doesn't he?! He'd obviously decided the band were the focus of the show and therefore the audience were hardly shown at all - which given the number of celebs presumably there, was a nice touch. Although in true rock n roll style, the entire front row consisted of hot babes which came across as a bit cliched, but still funny. The cameras were well placed, with many of them at crowd height so peoples heads would occasionally float across the lower portion of the screen. All adding to the feeling of a real gig.

Music: it's the Stones. It's good, dirty blues rock. I've always been a fan of Keith's singing so thoroughly enjoyed the two tracks he sang on. And it's worth going for his intro... The band appeared to be having a lot of fun, which came through in the playing too.

All in all, great movie, I loved it and the brunette I went with, who later admitted she's not a big Stones fan but went cos Scorsese was involved, came out of it more a fan of the Stones than she went in as.
Recommendation: see it 9/10 (although I have no idea wot a perfect 10 for a music movie would be...maybe The devil and Daniel Johnston or Scott Walker: 30th Century Man).

2 June 2008

Ironman, 21 and other movies

Ironman: definitely a cut above what I thought it would be. Robert Downey Jr is excellent as Ironman, and given how much the film revolves around him - he had to come through. Character driven movie, with even some emo issues explored without being sappy. I came away impressed, relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed it - 7/10

21: based on the book of the MIT students who were counting cards - the book is better. The movie limps along, it's not bad, but it's lacking a focus. Aspects of the book were left out, which meant the psychological drive for the characters was never really explained. It's not a bad movie, just not a good one. Kevin Spacey is good, but again his drive is not really explained. the book, from memory, wasn't that well written, but it was better. Rating: 5/10 - wait for video.

In the name of the King: Dungeon Siege 2 directed by Uwe Boll, well known for his 'quality' straight to video releases. Now this one has a particularly steller cast, god knows why tho', the script, story, acting, directing etc are hammy beyond belief. We loved it. Nothing made sense, people with their eyes open and in the process of sitting up were asked 'Are you awake?' Ray Liotta is the bad guy, and awww he's adorable! Smiling all the time, making hammer horrors look well acted - he almost stole the show from King Burt Reynolds - who we suspected was drunk for most of the movie. John Rhys-Davies - of dwarf tossing LOTR fame - was a magi, it was a tribute to his Shakespearean acting skills that he managed to deliver *any* of his lines without losing it - respect! Jason Strathem 'Farmer' is the hero, and for a turnip farmer (yeah you couldn't make this stuff up!) he weilds a mean sword. Go Jas!!! All the chicks were hot, so there were some positives ....
The movie is painfully long (2 hours) but excellent entertainment value, presuming you like hammy crap 7/10

Shaolin Dolemite Rudy Ray Moore (Dolemite) over dubbed some kung-fu movie and inserted himself into it. The big question, why? The fight scenes were slow, repetitive, unconvincing and badly overdubbed. great! Rudy popping in occasionally to make racist comments was priceless, as was the dub where the Wu Tang and Dolemite monks were going for each other, oh and there was a character called Tupac. Too much!! Certainly not a great Dolemite, but enjoyable. Sadly too long (again!), but worth spinning if you like RRMoore. Although he's not in it much. 6/10

me x

Weekend Beer Review

Been a reasonably sober weekend, in contrast to the week. But a couple of British ales. First up: Badger Tangle Foot quite a nice wee ale this one. not too heavy, nice tang (kinda citrus flavour) light colour, reasonably well hopped and very drinkable. Would be very keen to try this off tap - so might have to keep an eye outl

Next was bought on name alone - Cornish Knocker, another champion ale. I liked it, very malty nose, quite a zesty flavour - possibly not as drinkable as Tanglefoot, but it was nice. I'd be keen to drink more.