24 August 2021

Whisky Tasting: Crazy Casks

 Another month, another tasting. I write this the day after we should have been at a tasting. That's been postponed thanks to a pesky virus.

Auchentoshan Bartenders Malt No.2 50% 

  • N: dry, fruity, banda reel copy paper, salt, chalky, meth spirits
  • P: sherry, incr alc., peppery, manuka, lemons
  • F: hot, long, bitter

 7/10 interesting, but not great

Ardnamurchan #2

  • N: peat, oaky, sweet, wet wool, dry
  • P: smoke hint, fruity, tangy, liquourice 
  • F: medium

Arran Sauternes Cask 50%
  • N: watery, coconut, lemon meringue pie, newsprint
  • P: coconut ice, oily, sweet
  • F: warm, medium tannic

Benriach 1992 25yo Port Cask #979 53.9%
  • N: sherry, sweet, sticky, dusty, old, dates, port
  • P: sherry, very smooth, xmas cake, incr alc, butter
  • F: med, long
8/10 yeah bit lower than I'd have expected from an aged benriach. 

Glenallachie 11yo Moscatel Wood Finish 48%
  • N: makeup remover, toffee apples, very sweet, cheese 
  • P: warm, light bubblegum, disappointing
  • F: medium, peppery
6/10 didn't like this, very washed out taste

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique 54.8%
  • N: PVA wood glue, strong, meths, blue cheese, vinegar
  • P: hot peppery, sherry, paint stripper
  • F: peppery, long
8/10 enjoyed this quite a bit. 

Kilchoman Px Sherry Cask 47.3%
  • N: salt, peat, ash, oily, soap, smokey
  • P: peat only smoke rubber bacon
  • F: long, warming
9/10 oh my. 

Longrow Red 10yo 52.5%
  • N: apples, toffee, marmalade, salted caramel
  • P: watery, peppery
  • F: medium, peppery
7/10 bit dull overall

Interesting tasting, certainly diverse. Normally I'd have picked up a bottle of the Kilchoman, but really I have a large number of them already, do I relaly need another (don't answer that).

14 July 2021

Pumptatus : The Restoration, Part II

 Staining of the organ is coming along well, about 75% there. The main body is finished (bar touchups) and the rest all has one coat of three or four complete. 

Few more pictures, and once the staining is finished (next week or two), it'll be cleaning and fixing the innards.

8 July 2021

Recipe: Beef Bavette

 Been playing around with a recipe (can't remember where I found it) but this works very well:

Made this last night, a lot of win for very little effort. I downsized spice mix for less meat, but otherwise I almost followed a recipe!

Spice Mix
2T coriander seeds; 1T fennel seeds; 2T sea salt; 2T peppercorns; 1 lemon zested; 3T seaweed; 1t cayenne; 1T thyme; few shakes of tabasco; 200ml vege oil
1 beef bavette or flank - around 1Kg [actually, I just used a steak]

Toast coriander and fennel seeds until fragrant and cool; grind with salt and peppercorns. Add remainder of ingredients, add oil and mix. Rub sensuously into the meat.
Marinate overnight. (you can get away with doing it in the morning and cooking in the evening, but let's give you a relaxed day eh)
Cook on hot bbq or frypan until well coloured surface, cook the other side until well coloured on surface
Remove from heat and let stand for 10mins. (meat will be about medium-rare, or mine was)

24 June 2021

Pumptatus, the restoration Part 1

 I recently bought another pump organ. I was pining for the one I sold in the UK and restoring another one over winter was the obvious solution to all my problems. This one is bigger, more gothic, than the last one (which just looked like a mid sized standing coffin when shut). I sense candlesticks and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in Dmin in my future.

Pumptatus: well it's obvious really, Sphenodon punctatus....

Pickup involved a ute. In Hamilton. I felt very at one with my testosterone. Here's a picture of my newly acquired strops + ratchets, tarp, and rope. A recipe for BDSM success!

First job was to get it into the garage and assess it for woodworm (a little bit, nothing concerning). 

By that point I'd removed the recent-ish addition of a music stand with light. Next came testing keys/reeds, pumps, and stops. Generally good, there's about 10-12 keys or reeds which need work, there's even a spreadsheet...

At that point it's a slow process of deconstructing it, rather than go through every step, here's a few shots to show what's inside a pump organ/harmonium.

Currently state: lying on it's side, very naked. The varnish has been removed, and a medium sandpaper applied, next up is a fine sandpaper and beginning to restain it. Once that's finished, I'll spend some time fixing the reeds - as I'll have the room on my table.

Luv, your organ Pumper.

24 May 2021

Whisky Tasting: Whisky of the Isles

 Back in the peat, skipping over the ocean waves... this time we visit the islands, not just Islay.

One down in our cabal this time, although we felt getting an ankle in plaster was going a bit far to avoid our charming company...

Highland Park Valfather 47%  [Orkney]

  • N: salt, watery, citrus, black tea, sherbet
  • P: orange, raisins, salty, citrus, not cask strength, 
  • F: med-long, sweet, warm
7/10. Good enough whisky, nothing outstanding about it and probably overpriced. 
This came 3rd on the night with 8.29.

Lagavulin 12yo 2017 Cask Strength 56.5% [Islay]

  • N: ash, bacon, smoke, sweet,  medicinal, iodine
  • P: paint stripper, ash, medicinal, phenol, cask-long, sweet, warm
  • F: long, hot
8/10 I liked this, good strong Islay whisky. Not as complex as I might have wanted, and I prefer the 16yo standard Lagavulin. Came last (8th) 6.88

Arran Machrie Moor Cask Strength Peated 56.2% 20ppm [Arran]
  • N: light, ash, bourbon, apple, pear, coconut, solvent/pva glue
  • P: empty, hint of ash 
  • F: med, grows on more sipping
6/10 Pretty weak and boring (sadly). Not a favourite of the group either, 7th with 7.23

Lagavulin 12yo 2019 Cask Strength 56.5%  [Islay]
  • N: ash, medicinal, oily, iodine, citrus, seaweed
  • P: water, ash, peat, medicinal, sweet 
  • F: med
7.5/10 Ok, but not hugely complex. Having said that, came 1st with 8.38

Caol Ila 15yo 61.5% unpeated style [Islay]
  • N: sweet, sherry?, fresh green apples, citrus hint, pear, soapy
  • P: delicate, buttery, citrus
  • F: aniseed, hot, peppery, short
8/10 liked this a lot. Came 2nd, 8.31.

Lagavulin 12yo 2020 Cask Strength 56.4% [Islay]
  • N: strong, ash, medical, oily, peat, strong
  • P: peppery, ash, medicinal, sweet
  • F: med-long, salt
7/10 this was the mystery whisky, it had very Islay characteristics. Came 4th, 8.19

Talisker Port Ruighe 45.8% [Skye]
  • N: water, light, bourbon
  • P: hint of peat
  • F: what finish?
5/10 disappointing and dull. Having said that it came 5th with 7.66.

Ledaig G&M Hermitage 12yo Wood Finish 46% [Mull]
  • N: interesting, port, ash, 
  • P: tasty, interesting, ash, medicinal
  • F: med
7.5/10 quite liked this, thinking about grabbing a bottle. Came 6th with 7.57

Interesting tasting, but nothing really stood out. I liked the variety of not just Islay, 

29 April 2021

Whisky Tasting: Glenallachie

Cabal (or half of it, one had skivved off on holiday and the other wasn't drinking?! leaving Blair and I to insult other patrons all on our lonesome) was back to Regional for this one where we drank lots of Glenallachie. First built in 1967 the distillery worked until the mid 80s when it was mothballed (more detailed on their website), kicked off again in the late 80s, and more importantly for this tasting, was bought by a consortium including Billy Walker in 2017.

GlenAllachie 18yo 46%

  • N: dry, lemonade, spritzic, apples, bourbon/oak
  • P: sweet, apples, tangy, spritzic, fruit sours
  • F: med, sour

8/10. Excellent start to the evening. 

GlenAllachie 12yo PX finish 48%

  • N: sweet, pale, citrus, bourbon, musty, solvent
  • P: sweet, sherry, honey, very warm
  • F: long, tart/dry
7.5/10 Interesting and previously a sherry finish :)

GlenAllachie 15yo 46%
  • N: sweet, sherry, muscavado sugar, hazelnuts, aged?, musty
  • P: not long, sherry, xmas cake, sticky
  • F: med, sour
8/10 still good. consistently good actually

GlenAllachie 10yo Batch4 Cask Strength 56.1%
  • N: muscatels, sherry, sweet, muscovado sugar, musty, woody
  • P: big, sherry, spicy, coriander, caramel
  • F: long, spicy
9/10 maybe 9.5/10. look i like sherry monsters...

GlenAllachie Dramfest [mystery whisky]
  • N: sweet, marshmallow, creamy bourbon, acetone
  • P: sweet, not complex, spritzic, sherbert
  • F: med, warm
7/10 not great, pretty bland given the company it was in

GlenAllachie 10yo Batch3 Cask Strength 58.2%
  • N: sweet, parma violets, strawberry
  • P: spritzic, citrus, coffee, spicy
  • F: long
8/10 good, but not great like the Batch4.

GlenAllachie 10yo Batch2 Cask Strength 54.8%
  • N: sweet, apples, toffee, butterscotch, musty, bourbon
  • P: lemonade, spicy
  • F: long, spicy hot
7/10 apparently the older, less Billy'd Batch's are not as good as the new ones. Huzzah !

GlenAllachie 10yo Batch1 Cask Strength 57.1%
  • N: apples, light, tangy, bourbon, 
  • P: spicy, 
  • F: med-short

Overall, well I'm liking where they're heading. All the newer ones, with bonus-Billy, are great. Definitely worth keeping an eye on them....


9 April 2021

Whisky Tasting: The Casual Dram - Library 02

 The usual tastings have franchised with a spin off being run at the Library bar in Courtney Place. This is a far more informal tasting, there are some notes, and you can drink whenever you want. Organised by John from Regional, there's no real theme other than interesting/good whisky. Oh and we tasted blind.

Hazelburn 13yo Oloroso Cask Matured 50.3%

  • N: sulphur, eggs, PVA glue
  • P: tangy, xmas cake, buttery, sweet, heat, toffee, sticky
  • F: salt, med-long
8.5/10 - this was the mystery, and just reconfirms my love of Hazelburn. Definitely recommended.

Highland Park The Dark 17yo b.2017 52.9%

  • N: light smoke, coastal
  • P: low alc, complex, warm, sweet, spicy, salty
  • F: warm, hot, long
7/10 lacked a bit of interest, but as usual HP deliver a good whisky.

Springbank Madeira Cask Finish 17yo 47.8%
  • N: sweet, coastal, pineapple, watery, no salt
  • P: light, parmesan
  • F: short
6/10 Dunno I seem to have gone off Springbank, or rather the ones I've had recently. Seemed flat and one dimensional.

SMWS 10.188 New Acquaintance Bunnhabhain 14yo refill ex-sherry butt 489 bottles, 62.5%
  • N: dusty sweet muscatels, ginger
  • P: big, sweet, madeira?, sherry, high alc, spicy
  • F: long, hot
8/10. Thanks to Neil I've become more of a fan of Bunnhabhain, and this was a very nice whisky.

Good night, relaxed atmosphere, nice venue, excellent whisky. All win from my perspective.


25 March 2021

Whisky Tasting: Macallan

 The Macallan has a reputation as the Rolls-Royce of scotch, something probably perpetuated by Macallan. It's been a long while since I had some Macallan so this was always going to be an interesting tasting. Given the cost of Macallan, hopefully a good one.

Macallan Gold 40%

  • N: watery, sweet, bandacopy paper, chemical, citrus
  • P: citrus, very light, a little spikey, buttery, sour
  • F: short, disappears like $5 hooker
6/10 not very interesting

Macallan 12yo Double cask 40%

  • N: sherry, interesting, older, sweet, cedar, vanilla
  • P: sour, sherry, quince
  • F: short,
5/10. very low complexity whisky. boring.

Macallan 18yo Triple Cask 43%
  • N: weak, older, dusty ash, prickly, caramelised apples
  • P: lemonade, light, incr alcohol, hot
  • F: what finish?
5/10 again, very disappointing, lack of complexity or interest

Macallan 12yo Sherry cask 40%
  • N: brown sugar, aged? ammonia, apples, sweet
  • P: lime, smooth, sweet, sherry, sugar, vanilla
  • F: medium, warm honey
7/10 although light this was more interesting. 

[Mystery] Glendronach 12yo
  • N: PVA glue (woodglue), fruit, lychees, sharp
  • P: citrus, light apples
  • F: medium, spikey apple
6.5/10 even as a mystery it fitted well in the lineup, low complexity, and light in flavour

Macallan 15yo Double Cask 43%
  • N: caramel, eggs, smooth, low alc, sherry, liquorice, teriyaki
  • P: warm, peppery, complex and integrated
  • F: medium
7.5/10 this was more interesting and my whisky of the night. Not worth the money, but at least there was a bit of complexity happening.

Macallan Rare Cask 43% 2020 Release
  • N: liquorice, caramel, light cigar, honey, sherry, well integrated, very nice
  • P: watery mess, sour, astringent
  • F: nothing
5/10. So this saved me NZ $750. rubbish. 

On the plus side I liked the beer we had, kereru Silverstream Pale Ale. 

Fair to say, not impressed. All very bland and over priced. Daniel was explaining they'd managed to run out their stocks 20 ? years ago, so were having to rebuild. But certainly not the sherry monster they were known for years ago. Disappointing, but ultimately saved me money.


25 February 2021

Whisky Tasting : Blind Whiskies

 New year, more whiskies. First tasting at Regional this year was blind. No info on the whiskies, just cost. So we had NZ $90, $115, $130, $140, $150, $200, $450 [or roughly] and no other info. Our usual cabal assembled...

Benriach 24yo 54.5% $450
N: bourbon, lemons, citrus, banana, sweet, medium age
P: very strong, high alcohol, bourbon, sweet/dry, peppery, manuka honey, 
F: long
8/10 for me. 
This came 4th (8.1) on the night, and we learnt it was a bourbon barrel and was the most expensive of the evening. But no-where near the best.

Tamdhu Batch Strength #5 Cask strength, 59.8%, $140
N: dry, older, raisins, sherry, vinegar, bitterness
P: nutmeg, lower alcohol, sherry, very hot, honey - strong
F: long
7/10 Came 5th (8.06). Not particuarly interesting as a whisky.

Ardnamurchan Batch 1 46.8% 5yo $90
N: salty, bacon, peat, pears, chlorine, buttery, light
P: salt, bacon, light, low alcohol
F: med-short
7/10 Came 7th (7.66) no real complexity and not sure on the chlorine smell. If you want peaty and low cost, there are better.

Glenrothes Whisky Makers Cut 48.5% NAS $115
N: egg, sulphur, caramel, sour, matchsticks, weak, popcorn
P: not a lot? boring, sharp?
F: hot
5/10 Yeah this one polarised the group. I didn't like it, but it came 2= (8.28) really boring and weak whisky, but some (misguided) people loved it

Octane Glenallachie 52.4% 6yo d2011 b 2017, 5 month in octave $130
N: custard, apple, dry, bourbon, marshmallow
P: light fruity, bright
F: long hot cask strength
7.5/10 interesting, i liked it, and it's very good value. Came 6th (8.03)

Glengoyne PX (travel) 46% NAS $150
N: heater dust, not complex?
P: warm, honey, salt, chocolate lemon, blue cheese, lemonade
F: med-long old
9/10. Oh yes, this was a winner. 2= (8.28) and finding it was a Glengoyne made the purchase easy :)

Signatory Cask 6 Strathmill 13yo 61.2% d24/10/06 b31/08/20 $200
N: leather, sherry, caramel, vigorous
P: marmalade, incr alco, chocolate, sweet
F: long, hot
9.5/10 Came 1st (8.72). Yeah this was all win, superb value - although there were none to buy. 

Fun tasting, and interesting how the two best were not the most expensive

1 January 2021

Alec and Bruce, Beer-off update

 Every-so-often, when I remember, I compare untappd records between Alec and I. Who has the most beers, badges, etc. 

So in the spirit of erratic updates, here's where things stand between us.



Still damn close, I'm ahead around a 100 total beers, but Alec's had more unique beers (just). I've got a commanding 200 extra badges. Which in this world of gamification, is what it's all about. 

I think the reason the badges totals don't agree relates to some badges being closed (particularly venue based ones).