Since moving to Oregon there have been two beers that I’ve consistently missed, and curiously enough, neither are from Massachusetts. For someone who is a fan of bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts, each is an iconic beer that sets the bar for others of its type: Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout and Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout. As a result, I’ve been mighty stingy with the few bottles of these that I had with us when we moved cross country. In the case of KBS that amounted to 5 bottles, and even fewer for Bourbon County Stout, of which I had only 3 bottles.
Here we are, nearly 3 years later, and I’ve been ever-so-slowly making my way through those few bottles. Let’s face it, beer is meant to be drunk, and even better is when you have the chance to share it with someone who’s trying it for the first time. The best part of having these bottles in the cellar… (read more)
I don’t quite know what to make of Bruichladdich. I’m really not sure that I ever have. The first time I tasted Bruichladdich’s whisky was back when I began drinking scotch, at a time when I only drank smoky whiskies. Back then, it was all Islay, all the time. In that context, Bruichladdich was completely out of left field. Instead of being oily and smoky, it was light and sweet. I was dumbfounded, and it would be a while before I tried Bruichladdich again.
Over time, as my palate developed and I tried more whiskies, I came to appreciate Bruichladdich more. And I came to understand that the diverse array of bottlings that they were producing was partly due to the distillery’s history. It was purchased by its current owners in 2000, but before that had been shuttered for several years, with uneven production before that. Thus, the stock that the new owners inherited was a mixed bag. Alongside… (read more)
In my last post about the Society, I discussed my curiosity about why Pip Hills, founder of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, left the organization in 1995, as well as some of the other changes that have taken place within the Society. The post was motivated by two things: 1) my sheer interest in the Society’s history, and in knowing more about its growth and development, and 2) my disappointment at learning that the members’ flats at the Vaults were being closed down. Ultimately, at the core of it all is the fact that I very much enjoy being a member of the Society, and so take a keen interest changes that are introduced, good or bad. I think the fact that I am a member in the U.S. and have not yet had the opportunity to visit the Society’s true home in Edinburgh only heightens this.
So while enjoying a dram or two, it’s… (read more)
We recently took a flyer on a wine from Washington state which I ended up enjoying immensely. Every time you strike out into a new wine region or style, it can be somewhat of of a crapshoot as you select a bottle and hope for the best. You may conduct some research beforehand, but chance quite often plays a great deal in whether you happen upon a special bottle or a run of the mill one.
In this case, we were both lucky and had some good guidance in the process. We were perusing the Washington wines at one of our favorite local bottle shops, and asked the owner for a recommendation. He actually gave us a few recommendations, and left it to us to make the final selection. Here is where the luck part came in. Perhaps we could have selected any of the bottles and thought they were excellent, perhaps not. But we chose this Syrah from Pomum… (read more)
Scotch whisky distilleries can be famous for many things. For their history, their iconic status, their smokiness. But only one is famous for being the home of one of the most notable invention to ever grace a whisky distillery – the Doig Ventilator (see an example here). Dailuaine, a distillery that you may have never heard of, can lay claim to this honor.
In the early 1890′s, Scottish architect Charles Chree Doig redesigned Dailuaine’s kiln building to include a pagoda roof. The objective of the pagoda was to more efficiently draw heat and smoke out of the building, thereby cooling the malt more quickly, requiring less fuel and producing a less smoky malt. It was Doig’s first design work for a distillery, and he would go on to design 55 more distilleries during his career, with the pagoda roof/Doig Ventilator being his signature mark. To this day, the pagoda roof remains a classic element of Scotch whisky… (read more)