Entry #301 - 01/04/2007 - It's Alive! (Hurray, after a silence of six months by Liquid Log is alive again.)
Welcome to the first 'post-reconstruction' page in my Liquid Log. Everything is still rough around the edges and still needs a polish, but at least the Liquid Log itself is surfable again. Enjoy
Entry #301 - It's Alive! Alive I Tell You!
April 1, 2007
- Wowee!!! It's not a joke - Malt Madness is alive again!
During the long winter my Liquid Log was frozen. Because I used the log on the site to keep track of my malt mileage, my 'madministration' has turned into a complete chaos over the recent months. I'm not even sure about my 'Hamstergeddon' progress (my quest to sample at least six different expressions from each distillery) - but more about that later on... To tell you the truth, I had actually planned to wrap up this Liquid Log altogether and just write E-pistles for Malt Maniacs.
Now that Serge's WhiskyFun site has become an integral part of our worldwide whisky community I had my doubts about the added value of two different whisky (b)logs on MM/MM/WF. What's more, I'll never be able to match Serge's daily pace and these days there are dozens of other whisky (b)logs in the web anyway. So, why bother? Well, strangely enough, reading some of those other blogs actually inspired me to continue with a skimmed down version of my my own log. A few of them proved that it's still possible to find fresh perspectives on the wonderful world of whisky - while many others did little more that offer microwaved versions of press releases and PR material. I know I can be overly critical and 'Calvinistic' in my views, so Malt Maniacs isn't always the best platform to express my personal opinions. The Malt Maniacs Manifesto specifically states that nobody can 'speak for all the maniacs' - so I shouldn't use the pages of Malt Maniacs to vent my own spleen either.
So, back to the malty matters at hand - in this case tasting notes on a dozen malts I recently sampled;
Glenury Royal 12yo (40%, G&M Licensed, John Gillon & Company, Btl. Early 1980's, 5cl) - sample from Michel
Tullibardine NAS (40%, OB, 'Painted Label', +/- 1995, 5cl) - no age statement on the miniature bottle.
Pittyvaich 12yo (43%, Flora & Fauna 'OB', +/- 2000)
Cragganmore 15yo (57.8%, Cadenhead's, 35cl, Bottled +/- 2006)
Lagavulin 1990/2006 Distillers Edition (43%, OB, PX finish)
Ardbeg 1981/2005 'Kildalton' (52.6%, OB, 5ml from 'The Peat Pack')
These were just a handful of the malts I've sampled over the past few months.
Grant MacPherson from Cadenhead's HQ had come over to the store in Amsterdam to pour a dozen cask samples of upcoming bottlings to a 'select' group of +/- 20 people. Michel van Meersbergen (who has just passed the 2000 malts mark) will write a full report on that session, so please watch the pages of Malt Maniacs for that. Unfortunately, those are cask samples as well, so Michel can't count them for his malt mileage. During my end sprint to the 2000 malts mark last year I had a funny feeling in the back of my head. Now I realise that must have been Michel breathing down my neck. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he beat me to the 3000 malts mark - in fact, Serge already arrived there last year and so did Olivier more recently...
That's almost 'it' for this report - but how about 'Hamstergeddon'?
That leaves just Fettercairn (1 expression) and Mosstowie (2 expressions), if I'm not mistaken.
Entry #302 - McTears In My Eyes
April 6, 2007
- Some maniacs are fairly active on eBay and
That price wouldn't be too bad if this whisky was indeed
Well, that sort of proves that browsing around the MM site
Ah well, serves him right...
Johnnie Walker Blue Label was made for that type of customer...
That would have been a funny (albeit wry) little whisky story on itself, but as it turns out
One would think that in return for their 15% commission (and to protect their reputation) McTears would jump on this like the proverbial rooster on a chicken. Well, apparently not. Martin Green replied on March 19;
'Thank you for your email,
I don't know how long and hard that discussion was, but the end result was... nothing.
That really got my brain boiling again - especially because we published an interview with Mr. Green in Malt Maniacs #17. The interview was conducted by foreign correspondent Ralf Mitchell and it provoked me into doing something I had never done before - add an 'editorial comment' explaining that some maniacs might have something to say about the views of Mr. Green as penned down by Ralf Mitchell. One remark in particular that surprised us was the claim by Mr. Green that he 'hadn't seen anything of a dubious nature in recent years'. Just when we had collected over a dozen fakes on our 'Fake Alert' page within a year...
In the light of what we've learned recently, part of the interview becomes particularly funny;
RM - What is your view on the recent appearance of fake whiskies ?
MG - 'Well basically, to sum it up, Auction Houses are always on the look-out for any item that appears not to be authentic, whether it be Whisky or it be anything else ! Ehm.... if I had any doubts whatsoever about stock coming in, by the sheer fact of where it was coming from, or what it appeared to be, ...... and I wasn't sure, ..... I would instantly reject it ! Without any question and doubt, and if there was any further concerns, I would advise the client to go ahead and have the spirit, label and glass analyzed before we would take it, and even then, if there was further doubt, there would have to be a report with it to confirm that it was authentic.''
RM - Have you seen any fake whiskies yet ?
MG - 'Not recently, no, I've not seen anything of a dubious nature in recent years.'
RM - You are aware of the Macallan situation ?
MG - 'Yes, very much so !'
RM - And I believe there is some turn-of-the-century Longrow surfaced as well, and may be fake !!
MG - 'I haven't seen any of that. No one has approached us with that. Certainly, there are possible sources, but they would probably not approach me because they know that within the industry I have taken a very strong stance !'
RM - Right, right, that's grand! Thank you, emn.........
Indeed - what to say to the 'strong stance' taken by the self-acclaimed 'whisky consultant and specialist'?
When Olivier Humbrecht shared the news of the sale with the other malt maniacs there was quite some
discussion, as you can imagine. The rumour mill was spinning like crazy and Dave Broom even sent a message to McTears. After a few days he received a reply which basically said: 'the bottle has been added to our list of fakes -
although it's technically not a fake'. The collective response of the maniacs was 'Huh?'. They knew that a week before the auction and did nothing! The reply from McTears finished with this curious line;
'I have today cancelled the sale of the above to protect the buyer.'
Well, that's something. But isn't 'protecting' the buyer something one should do in advance?
Well, I'm not sure 'justice' is the right phrase - but I guess we can mark this case as 'solved'...
Entry #303 - The Kindness of Strangers
April 26, 2007
- When I dropped by the woods last week, I was surprised
In the 1990's, 'Singleton' used to be a name reserved for the malt whiskies
USA: Glendullan 12yo - I haven't seen the 8yo OB from the 1990's for ages.
So, now I have the opportunity to try the 'American' Singleton - thanks
In fact, it's one of the few newly designed bottles & labels that I do actually like. I LOVED the new Macallan bottle design they introduced along with the 'Fine Oak' series a few years ago (more so than the whisky inside), but I'm not that crazy about the new Highland Park design. But at least the Edrington Group learned their lesson and focused their PR efforts on the newly designed bottles instead of the whisky inside those bottles. They still release the occasional old beauty, but the 12yo 'workhorse' malt isn't the affordable stunner it once was. Well, as a consumer I don't like the development, but I guess it makes perfect business sense. Why pay a lot of money for an 18yo if the 12yo is almost just as good - and costs only half the price of that 18yo?
And speaking of business sense...
But I lack any business sense when it comes to my personal passions. And that was no problem whatsoever
during the start of the internet boom because enough people felt they needed advice about e-business and internet communication to keep my little internet consultancy business running smoothly, simply based on 'word
of mouth'. However, these days a fresh young generation of managers has emerged on the corporate scene. Most of them seem to think they understand how the web works because they've used it for years. By the time
two different clients expressed a desire to 'do something with YouTube' (without the faintest hint of a clue WHAT they wanted to show their aging customer base on the web) I knew I had to find a regular job
In fact, my own 'reserve stock' (which wasn't too impressive to begin with) has been dwindling over the past three years. My 'Stock List' hasn't been updated in over a year, and I see little point in reviving it at the moment. I've hardly bought any fresh bottles over the last few years, so I think the number of bottles in my reserve stock may have dropped below 100 by now.
Fortunately, there was another surprising addition to my stock a few weeks ago - but I'll tell you about that in another entry...
Entry #304 - XXXLnt Shirts
May 11, 2007
- Well, after three years I finally had
If you're looking at the picture and think that Dave
I got to meet Dave (along with Michael Jackson
And indeed, Ireland turned out to be just as I expected - rolling green hills with tree- and brush lines and drizzly
weather. And the Irish accent turned out to be just like you hear in the movies, with the rolling 'R' and everything.
Interestingly enough, my own gritty Dutch accent was mistaken for a Welsh accent by two Irish ladies that had heard me ranting on and on about this or that for a while. They came up to me to ask about my accent because
they were not sure - and then apologized when I turned out to be Dutch.
We Dutch have to torture our throats and vocal chords from very early on in life - our mother tongue is a health hazard. As a result, I think English spoken with a heavy Dutch accent is torture to the ears as well. I've been trying to get rid of mine for over a decade now - but so far with fairly limited success, I'm afraid. The conversation with the Irish ladies gave me an idea for a brand new approach, though. If I can't get rid of my accent, perhaps I could at least transform it to resemble a less painful accent. And as less painful accents go, I think I could do far worse than Welsh...
The Kilbeggan dinner itself was an interesting experience as well for anybody with a keen interest in accents.
But I'm getting side-tracked now - and far ahead of myself to boot...
There's just one last little tidbit of news I'd like to share for now.
Together, Malt Madness, Malt Maniacs & WhiskyFun reach more than 5,000 unique and whisky loving visitors each day . That means that we've created our own little global village on the web - with the actual size of a medium sized village...
Hip, hip.... Hurray! Next stop: Global World Domination!
Entry #305 - Kilbeggan (I)
May 12, 2007
- The spirits must have been
For the first chapter of the Beginner's Guide to single malt whisky I used a picture of a distillery that somebody sent me many years ago. And I've been curious about which distillery it actually was ever since.
As I visited more and more distilleries in Scotland, I could tick them all off my list of potential suspects, so I grew
ever more curious about which distillery could be depicted in the picture. And my suspense grew even further
when I had to collect pictures from all distilleries in Scotland a few years ago for the 'Distillery Data' section. None of the thousands of pictures I worked through showed the charming little distillery with the water wheel and square chimney from the picture. I slowly started to fear that it must have been one of the distilleries that was
demolished and lost in the 1980's. I was very pleased to learn that this was not the case.
However, thanks to Cooley, Kilbeggan is coming back to life again in the year of our laird 2007.
That's all for now - much more about Kilbeggan in the next few log entries...
Entry #306 - Feis Ile 2007
May 28, 2007
- Things are very hectic here in Holland
As I already mentioned, these are hectic times for me. I've recently started at a new job, I'm busy writing for my very first book AND I'm still very busy with the reconstruction of both Malt Madness and Malt Maniacs to restore them to their former glory. To top it all off, we should start our preparations for the Malt Maniacs Awards 2007 in a few weeks. All in all, it will be quite a while before I have the spare time to pick up my regular tastings and reports again. Another effect of the hectic times is that the rest of my Kilbeggan Report will have to wait until next month. So much for on-line information spreading with the speed of light ;-)
Which reminds me... I've just uploaded what should be the last and final version of the Beginner's Guide.
But that's it for now - gotta get back to work on Malt Maniacs #104...
68 - Ardbeg 18yo 1975/XXXX (43%, Signatory, Decanter, C#2464-67) - very medicinal nose, bitter palate.
This is my first 'new style' Dram Diary. From now on I start working on a fresh dram diary as soon as Serge has finished a new version of the Malt Maniacs Monitor and Malt Maniacs Matrix - tens of thousands of scores for thousands of whiskies. We'll try to publish a new version of the MM matrix and MM monitor every two or three months. The brand new 'Specials' section on the Malt Maniacs home page offers tasting notes for a few dozen recently released single malts. As far as my personal 'Track Record' is concerned; the last time I checked the total tally was +/- 2150 whiskies seriously sampled & scored...
If you're not bored
yet, you could also
check out these
other sections of
you could take a
closer look at
the whisky map
or check out the
details of one of
Allt A' Bhainne
Isle of Jura
Last but not least:
my Liquid Log will
continue as my...