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Whisky News

This news comes from the BBC:

I have never tried the 21 year old dram but readers with a good memory may recall this article from April 2009.

To be honest, I’m quite ambivalent about such awards. One of my favourite all round drams is Jura 10 year old which Jim Murray has criticised on occasion. Sometimes I wonder how these things are decided……

Anyway I’ll see you later I’m just off to scrape up £75.


Music – The Highs and Lows

Why do some us love listening to sad music, while others loathe it?

David Huron (Author of The Science of Sad Music) has a theory. People who enjoy sorrowful music are experiencing the consoling effects of prolactin, a hormone that is usually associated with pregnancy and lactation but that the body also releases when we’re sad or weeping. People who can’t bear listening to sad music, Huron conjectures, don’t get that prolactin rush when they hear Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings or Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. They just feel blue.

The complete article is here

So if you have a few minutes, lets put it to the test (Best viewed in full screen and heard on headphones):

I’m getting the prolactin – how about you? (I can confirm however that I’m neither pregnant or lactating)

This is very listenable indeed IMHO but the video, a typical late 80’s job, may be an acquired taste:

There is another interesting link and hypothesis on the subject here

The interesting wider point is that every experience we have brings out a reaction in us.

That’s the various chemicals, hormones and endorphins whizzing around our brains.

If our interpretation of and reaction to the world around us is as much, or more what is happening in our brain lab rather than what we learned in school or by experience, then what can we do?

It’s that old nature v nurture thing. I don’t have the answer other than, in my own case at least, I suspect nature and nurture are fighting out a tense 90 minutes and heading for extra time and penalties.

I’d like to know what effect malt whisky has in the mix.

Could I save a lot of money by simply listening to music?

It’s a thought…..

But where did it come from?

Thanks Tam for the link

Bigrab’s Whisky Recommendation – Springbank

At one time, Campbeltown in Kintyre, Argyll had more that thirty distilleries and was considered the whisky capital of the world. Now there are just three of which Springbank is the best known and last night at our whisky tasting group we had the pleasure of sampling some of their varied and interesting range. Those tried were the 10 year old, 15 year old, claret wood 12 year old, a cask strength 12 year old and a product called CV which doesn’t have an age statement. We also tried the 18 year old which may be a bit pricey at over £60 per bottle but awfy nice!

Usually at these tastings there will be one or two whiskies perhaps not up to the standard of the others but this wasn’t the case last night. Each and every dram had a great complex flavour and the quality was consistent whether from sherry, bourbon or wine casks or a combination.

If I had to choose one I think my preference would be for the 18 year old which has a sherry flavour vying with the traditional Springbank elements of smokiness and brine.

HOW MUCH?????!!!!


One of the members of the whisky group last night asked about a particular bottle of Springbank on sale at Loch Fyne whiskies. If you go to their website and scroll down to the Springbank OB WB 1919 / 51yo 46%alc, it might put the price of the 18 year old into some perspective!

Bigrab’s Whisky Recommendation – Glenfiddich Rich Oak

Haven’t had a recommendation in a while.

Released in Spring 2010, this Glenfiddich Rich Oak has spent 14 years in ex-bourbon casks in the traditional way, before two separate finishes of 12 weeks in new European oak and six weeks in new American oak before bottling.

Bottled at 40% ABV with a RRP of £30.99 (but currently available on special offer at £22.00 or thereabouts in various outlets)

Nose: Initially spicy oak notes and rich vibrant vanilla. Hints of freshly sawn wood and dried fruits, raisins and apricots. With time, some softer toffee notes appear, caramelised pear and gentle fragrant floral aromas.

Taste: Very lively. Mouth tingling and spicy on first tasting. The rich vanilla sweetness is followed up with zesty fruit flavours and some wood spice.

Finish: The finish lingers for a long time with warming, oak notes.

This Whisky Tastes Like **ss!

Ken Fitlike brings me news of an exciting new whisky . I do wonder what all the fuss is about mind you.

Anyone who has tasted the Co-op’s five year old own brand blend will have more than a working knowledge of what this stuff will taste like.

It’s Official! Whisky Is Good For You! (2)

I wrote here a couple of years ago about a survey which had said that whisky had been found to contain an antioxidant which protects against cancer. A slight note of caution was that the advice was delivered by a consultant to the drinks industry.

However today we hear that drinking alcohol can reduce the severity of arthritis.

“Drinking alcohol can not only ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis it appears to reduce disease severity too, research suggests.

Scientists at the University of Sheffield asked two groups of patients with and without the disease to provide details of their drinking habits.

They found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently experienced less joint pain and swelling.”

Rather bizarrely this is followed by the advice:

“Experts say this should not be taken as a green light for drinking more.” apparently because of an interaction with arthritis drugs which could be harmful to the liver.

However the study also noted that those who drink alcohol more than ten days per month are four times less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who abstain from drink completely.

The sting is in the tail though. The final line of the article reports that:

“The patients in the study did not drink more than the recommended limit of 10 units of alcohol a week”.

Bigrab’s Whisky Recommendation – Mortlach 1957

Mortlach was the first distillery to be built at Speyside’s whisky capital Dufftown and, until Glenfiddich got going in 1887, it was the only one. It was licensed practically before the ink on the 1823 Excise Act was dry and the distillery built around a well that had been previously well drawn-upon for illicit production. The distillery was a stop-start operation for some time and when J. & J. Grant of Glen Grant bought it they removed the distilling equipment and left it silent. During this time the barley store was used as a place of worship by local members of the Free Church of Scotland until their new church was built in the town. Next, it became a brewery, then finally a distillery again with fine new equipment, and the whisky was given a brand name, ‘The Real John Gordon’, referring to the owner.

For more info click here

Let me say that there is no way I would buy a bottle of Mortlach 1957 50 year old. There were 514 bottles drawn from the cask in 2007 and there are very few left. If you can get one it’ll set you back the best part of £400.

Yours for a mere £400

However last night at our occasional piss up whisky tasting group, the nice man from Gordon and McPhail who was speaking to us last night produced a bottle and cracked it open. This was incredible. Here was a whisky that had been distilled before almost anyone present in the room last night had been born and had lain for fifty years, in a succession of casks.

The Mortlach Distillery

The “taste” turned out to be 10ml (a typical pub measure is 35ml) and if we wanted another 10ml it cost £2 but even at that it was subsidised!

Quite an experience to savour and this was a typical Speyside malt with a sherry character. I am familiar with the Mortlach 15 year old and really if you’d like to try Mortlach Whisky and save yourself about £360 then that’s the one to go for.

If you believe the guff, the 50 year old tasting notes are as follows:

Nose- Sherry with fruity elements – soft fruits and wine gums. Slight sweet liquorice note.

Palate :Rich sherrywood, spices -treacle and a touch of smoke.

With water:

Nose _ More fragrant with a subtle sweet toffee aroma – pronounced sherry character

Palate – Smoky – charred wood and bonfires – rich fruitiness with hints of liquorice and cloves.

Finish – Spices and sherry.

Just to emphasise the age of this whisky, it was distilled in the same year Elvis made his third and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show , Ghana became the first independent ex colony in Africa, Sputnik 2 was launched by the Russians and John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time.