29 April 2012

Whisky tasting - somewhat impromptu

Countryfile was on, and somehow that inspired me to taste some whiskies - or rather drink the miniatures I had lying around.
Oh for regular readers, Loch Fyne Whiskies have a new website, mmm pretty booze.

Glencadem OB 15yo 46% - a freewee sample from LFW

Nose: fresh cut grass, hint of salt, manuka honey
Body: warm, manuka honey, full mouth feel, hint of salt, lemon
Finish: med-long

7/10, ok so 5ml isn't a lot to do a decent taste with, but on sample i'd say it's worth checking this whisky out. sweet but with a hint of bitterness, quite full in flavour for a 46%. Seemed damn good to me.

Clynelish OB 14yo 46% - a freewee sample from LFW

Nose: salt, turps,
Body: warm, tangy, liquorice, honey, full,
Finish: tangy, but short

6/10 Clynelish frustrate me. So close to Brora, and yet so far away. Why?! Admittedly this one seemed quite interesting, and the 5ml didn't give me enough to really judge, I suspect I'd like this one if I bought it - so maybe the older Clynelish get, the better they'll be? They're certainly getting up to the age of some Brora's so fingers crossed.

Glengoyne Single Cask 21yo Sherry Butt cask: 1391; 52.2% miniature

Nose: sherry, lemonade, light
Body: sherry, almost over-powering, honey, tang, pepper
Finish: very warm, but oddly light,

7.5/10 Ok, so it's a sherry monster, but it's also a lot lighter than expected. I've got a bottle of 21yo SC, which I may taste after this, but his is too much sherry, too little complexity. If you want a sherry monster, which had wonderful flavour, go for the Glengoyne TeaPot Dram (see review - search for scotch on my blog).

and in the spirit of research, I've dug up my 21yo Glengoyne for comparison.

Glengoyne Single Cask 20yo Spanish Oak Sherry Butt; Cask 1384; Bottle 426/592. 54.2%

Nose: sherry, smooth, polished wood
Body:  smooth, sherry, honey (bitter), complex, warm, hint of musty [in a good way],
Finish: long, very long, warmth which grows, honey, lovely.

9.5-10 /10 Incredible the difference between the two really, more evidence of the variety between casks. And why you want to bottle at the right time, was that one year too long?


22 April 2012

Comparative Genetics or Why Science Is Cool

This could become a much longer post, if I go hunting for some references and think about it, but since I'm on a train you can have the abbreviated version.

Bacteria and stuff are known to be able to do very little for a long time. Think of them as road workers/Ministry of Works etc (as an aside, I saw 9 of them the other day, two were working, the other 7 were doing valuable work holding up shovels and their obviously exhusted bodies). But even for bacteria new research concerning melting Antartic glaciers is pushing it.
Read the summary here.

One of my biggest annoyances when doing comparative DNA work between tuatara populations was the inability to use ancient DNA sequences to see how island isolation had affected the populations. Admittedly using turtle/croc DNA was an OK substitute in some cases, but it didn't give much info on recent (1-2million year) evolution of the species.
Potentially the DNA from these glaciers will allow just that. How F'ing cool is that?!

It's not exactly the same as what I wanted to do, as bacteria evolve much quicker - they can tolerate sequence change better - and have much shorter lifetimes, and so more generations in which to evolve change.


12 April 2012

Of Gigs and Exhibitions

Been awhile since I blogged about stuff, and as usual there's been a fair number of gigs/exhibitions involved. This is unlikely to be all of them, but briefly:

The main exhibition I've seen in this period was the Hockney at the RA. I really did not like this. I couldn't manage to engage with any of his pictures, they struck me as boring. Sure, strong colours, but they suffered, for me, from the problem painting of scenes often does - take a f'ing picture instead. I want paintings to challenge perception, stretch things.
This was the first time I've had such a feeling of almost physical revulsion to paintings.
I did love what he did in the multimedia section, I thought that was quite clever. Although a more mixed approach could have been better, for example different screens showing differing seasons, which in a composite display would have been quite cool.
I think what really struck me was the lack of creativity, it's all very samey, very mass produced. Or at least, it felt like it to me. Soulless.
I know there's a couple of artists who read this who've been, what did you think?

SeYes - The Musician, Leicester
A Yes tribute band, weren't too bad, vocalist was excellent. Seemed a bit rough in places, but enjoyable - and I can't complain at £7 entrance... I can complain about the fucktard who stole my bike tho'...

Tinderbox and Little Johnny England
I don't know if I should admit this, but I appear to be going through quite an English folk phase. In some ways, Paul T is to blame for reawakening my interest in Fairport Convention. Viewers of my last.fm page may have noticed repeat plays of John Babbacomb Lee. Frank Turner's most recent, from last year, has strong folk elements, at least lyrically so blame can be pushed at him too. Obviuosly I'm too weak to resist these two strong influences.
Tinderbox are a duo from Bournemouth (according to their website) on guitar and vocals. Very delicate, and very very good. The superlatives in the reviews on their site keep using the word 'gorgeous' and that's about right. There's sound samples on the site...

Little Johnny England I really enjoyed them. I'd had some beer, but as I'm writing this to the sound of the most recent CD, and enjoying that too, I think my beerview was still right. Electric folk? story based lyrics, and more importantly melodeon solos. They all seemed very good at what they do, and seemed to be having fun - which seems a good sign for a band... English folk seems a bit more subdued than Irish, less bitter, for some reason ! Oh and they even had reels and hornpipes, which didn't me angry, so they must be good!
Here ,have a video

Polar Bear described as avant-garde jazz worried me slightly, as I've been to a couple of those and hated them. Especially as this was led by two saxophonists. I shouldn't have worried, I thought it was all pretty safe - obviously those years of listening to King Crimson etc have made my avante-garde antenna a bit stronger. Very musical, lyrical jazz. And their album is out on vinyl, which I didn't pick up. But may yet...
Here, another video;

Ssshhhh don't say it too loud, but the new album is rather good. I went along to the gig for the cheesy prog factor, and came away a teensy wee bit impressed. The new (again?!) vocalist has a rather impressive set of pipes on him. And any band with the John's (Jowitt and Mitchell) will always get my vote (yes Jowitt is back in). All seemed to be having fun and the sound was superb.
As mentioned, for those of you who have slipped from the Arena fold, I know I had. It's worth picking up the new album, typically OTT subject matter, but musically very enjoyable.
here's a teaser video for the album.

The Watch - Genesis cover band
Fantastic. Want to hear Gabriel era Genesis? The Watch deliver.

Yes, a prog double-header. How happy was I !

Love B

Winning coolest kid in school competitions

I'm sure I'll blog something more worthwhile shortly, but in the meantime...

5 year old brings step-fathers heroin in for show and tell.