Special Report - The Raveling

This special report is one in a series of six to wrap up this Liquid Log.
I've mantained the log for a decade and now it's time for a major overhaul.
This report is dedicated to the tying up of several unraveling 'loose ends' of
my log. With a major reconstruction of MM coming up I've decided I should
use the opportunity for a re-structuring of the website. Apart from this last
log entry there are five more special reports dealing with these five topics;

300A - Past, Present & Future (thoughts & ideas about the future of MM)
300B - Hamstergeddon 2006 (updates on our 'search & destroy' mission)
300C - Festivities (Reports about various meetings, festivals and tastings)
300D - Vox Populi (Some interesting single malt questions from the public)
300E - A Beginner's Guide to Amsterdam (Yeah, I know it's off-topic...)
 
And let's not forget the Distillery Profiles - I hope to finish the profiles for all
active distilleries in Scotland this year. In the mean time, the other maniacs
are working their way through the silent distilleries and they'll probably reach
the finish line before I do. But we'll see about that during the rest of 2006...

This page contains the following entries;

April 1, 2006 - First Things First (My first priority: sample the six malts I need to reach the 1500 mark)
April 7, 2006 - Distillery Profiles (Erm, yes... I said I'd put those on a sperate page. Last time, I promise)
April 29, 2006 - Walpurgisnacht 2006 (Not really about 'wrapping up', rather a long standing tradition)
May 28, 2006 - Fame & Fortune (Wow... The malt maniacs have received quite a bit of 'press' lately)
July 12, 2006 - Malt Maniacs Awards 2006 (Yes, it's on: the fourth edition of the Malt Maniacs Awards)
August 1, 2006 - Government Conspiracy? (Once again I found myself hurt in mysterious circumstances)
August 7, 2006 - Vacation Time (After 'the incident' I needed some time off to recover - please stay tuned)
August 13, 2006 - Malt Maniacs Awards 2006 Update (Just a month after kicking things off we're 'loaded')
August 15, 2006 - Unraveled (Ah, yes... Unforeseen circumstances forced me to wrap this page up early)
 

APRIL 1, 2006 - FIRST THINGS FIRST

BunnahabrainI have many loose ends to wrap up this year, but
first things first. After Serge's latest barrage of ads
on WhiskyFun I decided I had to publish at least one
little ad to show that I was still 'in the fight', so to
speak. So, here it is... Given my busy schedule this
month, this could be the start of another unofficial
'cease fire' at my end for the next few weeks...

But I really shouldn't be thinking about the next
few weeks tonight when there's a more immediate
deadline to worry about. I had planned to sample
my 1500th dram tonight, but with the counter on
my Track Record stuck at 1494 since last week I
will have to try six new single malt whiskies today.
Time to delve into my sample cabinet to find a few
fresh 'Glens' that I haven't actually tried before.

On today's menu: two Glen Elgins, two Glen Grants and two Gariochs, mostly from Ho-cheng's shelves.

I started with the Glen Elgins because they made the lightest pair, both in colour and ABV.
And I suspect they are the lightest in 'style' as well - most Glen Elgins I've tried were fairly light and not too expressive, with the notable exception of a Glen Elgin 16yo 1985/2001 (56.7%, Bottlers) that Serge sent me. That one very nearly made it to the 90's - none of the other expressions even made it into the 80's. But then again I've only sampled seven expressions so far, so the statistical weight of my conclusions so far is limited. Let's see how these two perform...

Glen Elgin 12yo 1991/2004 (46%, Whisky Galore / Duncan Taylor, Sherry cask(s)
Nose: Sweet and a little grainy. A bit 'bourbony', but with a fairly solid malty undercurrent.
Faintest hint of glue - no obvious sherry influence. Starts to lean towards the fruitier side later.
It never becomes terribly complex, but it clearly benefits from time. Give this one at least 15 minutes.
Taste: Round and sweet start, growing bitter and a tad chemical in the centre. Good but a bit bland.
An odd little feature that earned it an extra point: a distinct camphor / eucalyptus taste on my lips.
Score: 76 points - a great whisky as a blend-beater, but a tad too generic for my personal tastes.

Glen Elgin 22yo 1978/2000 (53,3%, Signatory Vintage, Cask #4589, Velvet Box, 298 Bottles)
Nose: Quite similar in style. to the 12yo 1991 from Whisky Galore, but a tad more sour and fresh.
This one also has the sweetness and the glue, but some more depth. The glue / aceton grows stronger.
Very faint christmas spices in the background. Quite a bit of character compared to the 12yo from DT.
Taste: Oy.... Here the camphor / eaucalyptus is much more obvious. Molasses sweet in the centre.
Based on the nose I could go for the 80's, but the palate is just a little too hot and harsh for me.
Score: 79 points - I can't bring myself to put this sample from Thomas in the 'recommendable' 80's.

Glen Grant 32yo 1970/2003 (53.6%, Peerless, Cask #810, 98 Bottles)
Nose: WOW! It smells just as heavy as I expected from the colour - like cough syrup. Oh boy!!!!
This is so brilliant. Sweet with all sorts of 'dark' smells - dark chocolate, coffee beans, smoke.
I needed to double-check to see if I hadn't poured myself a Glen Garioch by mistake... No, I hadn't.
I don't know if it's the colour association, but I actually smelled cough syrup. Leather too.
Taste: Wowie. Smoked fruits at first - if that makes any sense. Then a sweeter fruity centre.
Too bad it has a touch of perfume in the finish, something I'm not too keen on myself.
Score: 88 points - Based on the nose I was ready to go for 90/91, but it loses points in the finish.
I'm guessing this was the sort of profile they were going for with Loch Dhu - this one pulls it off.

Glen Grant 1970/2001 (55%, Berry Brothers, Cask #1035)
Nose: Lovely!!! Very similar in style to the 32yo Peerless again. Both are heavily sherried and smoky.
This one seemed to have a little more organics. It was a touch sweeter as well. Meaty notes emerging.
Over time it gains an extra layer of complexity with spicy and organics notes. Very enjoyable stuff.
Taste: Notably sweeter on the palate as well. A very long centre with lovely fruits. Smoke as well.
Minty freshness without a hint of perfume. The smoky component grows stronger with time.
Score: 91 points - this has all the good stuff of the last one without the perfumy component.

Glen Garioch 15yo Bordeaux Finish (50%, OB, 7yrs Finish, Bottled 2005, 1800 bottles for Taiwan)
Nose: Ah... Much more subtle than I expected. Sweet at first, then the wine effect comes forward.
After I found sake on the palate I thought I detected it in the nose as well. Power of suggestion?
Taste: Velvety smooth. Fruity and creamy. Clearly a 'new style' Glen Garioch. Hint of gooseberry.
Towards the finish I detected the faintest touch of oiliness, reminding me a bit of sake. Funny...
Score: 81 points - Given the 'new' Glen Garioch style the 15yo age statement must include the finish.

Glen Garioch 29yo 1968 (53.7%, OB, Cask #627, Hogshead)
Nose: Ooooh... Lovely deep, sweet sherry notes. Polished oak. Pipe tobacco. Organics. Magnificent!
It grows 'dirtier' over time - which is a good thing here. Sweaty socks. Altogether it's right up my alley.
Taste: Fabulous sherry on the palate as well, with the distinct smoke that betrays an 'old' Garioch.
This one almost takes a medicinal direction but also has a minty freshness to balance the smoke.
Score: 91 points - a very suitable 1500th dram, if I may say so. Thanks a lot, Ho-cheng!

Woeheeeeh! I've now sampled 1500 different single malt whiskies!
What does that mean for my 'maniacal rank'? Well, 'MaltMaster And A Half', I guess.
And most of tonight's malts turned out to be just perfect to celebrate this special occasion...
I'm really wondering where to go from here. The next milestone would be 2000 malts, but I'm quite sure I won't be able to pass that mark this year. I know I've come a long way from the time when I considered sampling 52 different malts in one year to be a notable achievement but 500 more malts in the nine remaining months would be nigh impossible - especially because I'll be missing events like Feis Ile 2006 and the Limburg Whisky Festival.

And speaking of the Limburg Whisky Festival....
The event will be this weekend and needless to say some maniacs will be there.
What's more, there will be some PLOWED people in Limburg as well and they will drop by here in Amsterdam after that. Of course, fate has farted in my face once more... I was really looking forward to organising a little tasting session here in my apartment, but as luck would have it the builders have just started a three week renovation of my apartment and at the moment it's a war zone and I don't even have a kitchen or toilet. Hardly suitable conditions to set up a proper tasting session, so it looks like I'll have to show them around town instead. Should be no punishment either...

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

APRIL 7, 2006 - DISTILLERY PROFILES

Stills at EdradourPhew.... I've managed to upload a few fresh distillery profiles.
As of now, the distillery data section is enriched with profiles for
Dailuaine, Dalmore, Dalwhinnie, Deanston, Dufftown, Edradour and
Fettercairn. I'm afraid that the next stretch (22 active 'Glens') will
break the camel's back (well, MY back actually) because the other
maniacs only have to worry about 9 profiles for the inactive Glens.

Because I have to check all the data in the profiles they take up
quite a lot of my time, but the bright side is that I learn a lot about
the various distilleries in the process. Even after taking the tour at
Edradour in 2003 it hadn't really sunken in how unusual the smallest
distillery in Scotland (or at least one of the smallest) actually is.
Only after checking the data for the Edradour profile did I find out
about the connection with the Glenforres name and the distillery.
Another interesting thing I failed to notice earlier: the considerable
difference in size and shape of the wash and spirit still at Edradour.
Just another reminder that each distillery in Scotland is unique...

I've now finished 32 'active' distillery profiles. If I'm not mistaken
that leaves 55 other distilleries - I'm now well past the 1/3 point.
Of course, this would be the perfect opportunity to sample a few
drams from these distilleries, but as it turns out there isn't a single
bottle from any of these distilleries in my drinking collection or my
reserve stock. I could have dropped by De Still what they had on
offer but at the moment I'm a tad preoccupied. What's more: I've
just enjoyed a very spicy dinner, so I'm not really in an acceptible
sampling condition anyway. That means no tasting session tonight.

However, if you're aching for fresh notes and scores, check out Luca's latest E-pistle in MM#17.
It's a combination of a short interview with Wilson & Morgan's Fabio Rossi and Luca's notes and scores from some of Fabio's latest releases. Unfortunately, Fabio's bottlings are not yet available in many of the major whisky markets.

And that's it for today... From now on I'll keep track of my progress on the distillery profiles page.

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

APRIL 29, 2006 - WALPURGISNACHT 2006

Actually, Walpurgisnacht is tomorrow, but I want to finish this month
with a comprehensive list of 'hamstergeddon' malts. So, I've decided to
have my traditional April 'Walpurgis' session a little early this year.

For those of you that just tuned in: on Walpurgisnacht I deviate from
my usual menu of single malts to look into the world of blends, vatted
malts and 'international' whiskies (i.e. whiskies not made in Scotland).
All the non-Scottish whiskies I've tried are listed on a special addition
I've added to my Track Record years ago: the Deviant Drams page.

But first a few words about the picture at the right.
Canadian maniac Lawrence Graham sent it to the other maniacs when
we were discussing the possible positive effect of sampling single malts
in an environment with a lower air pressure than normal.
 
Hmmmm- food for thought...
After someone suggested that many whiskies tend to smell 'better' when consumed in an airplane I proposed this might be explained by the fact that the aroma particles would arguably escape from the glass more easily when the air pressure is relatively low. That seems to make some sense, doesn't it?

Well, it has to, because somebody confirmed that some airlines buy their wines especially 'for altitude'.
So, I proposed that the maniacs should do an experiment and completely seal off one of our tasting rooms so that it could be de-pressurised. That way, we could 'simply' test the theory. However, that was the point where Lawrence chimed in. He sent us the picture above and argued that these experiments had already been performed a long time ago. Hmmmm.... I'm not sure if the wood cutting represents the exact same experiment, but I suppose it would indeed be easier to borrow a large church bell somewhere and lower it underwater than trying to hermetically seal your tasting room.... So, does anybody know of a church bell (or perhaps a space capsule?) the maniacs could borrow? It's all in the name of science, you know....

Alternatively, we could start our very own 'Mile High Club'... Many whisky clubs have their own rituals (the Keepers of the Quaich prance around behind a haggis, the PLOWED people 'dram their age' and 'lip the Local Barley', etc. Maybe the maniacs should come up with some rituals of our own - strive to sample their favourite single malt 'in flight' to see if it tastes even better than on the ground, for example....

Anyway, that's neither here nor there - I have some Walpurgis sampling to do.
So, here we go, starting with a blend that's made for the Dutch market, I think: Glen Talloch.
If I'm not mistaken, it's even the biggest selling blend here in Holland, surpassing big brands like Johnnie Walker. They have to main expressions on the market; the standard 'rare & old' (yellow label) on the table and a 'pure malt' version (green label).

Glen Talloch NAS 'Rare & Old' (40%, OB, Bottled +/- 2005, 100cl).
Nose: Sweet. Quite grainy. Faintest hint of coffee in the background. Slightly metallic. Restrained.
Taste: Metallic as well. Drops off in the bitter and slightly vomity finish. Not worth its 15 Euro's a litre.
Score: 27 points - slightly more pleasant than the expression sold in the early 90's but still below par.

I received a bottle of the Barnheim Wheat Whisky (45%, OB) from PLOWED's 'Port' Alan.
Nose: Indeed, bourbony in style. Sweet. Not especially complex, but very pleasant and accessible.
Taste: Quite bourbony in the start as well. Sweet and ultra smooth. None of the usual 'harshness'.
Score: 59 points - but that's a very preliminary score. Alan gave me a sample bottle beside the big bottle. I had to sample the sample very quickly (I needed the empty sample bottle for another sample) so these results are not quite 'solid'.

I finished this 'Walpurgis' session with a Wilson & Morgan 2000/2006 'Peaty Five' (43%, W&M) that Wilson & Morgan's Fabio Rossi brought me last week. If I understand it correctly, this vatted malt is available only in Italy (mostly restaurants) and offers an even more affordable alternative to W&M's 'house malt'. So, let's see how much I like it...
Nose: Indeed, plenty of peat. Chloride. Hint of smoke. A little bit dirty with a sour twist. Very nice!
It's just a tad restrained compared to other W&M bottlings, but certainly smells mature enough to me.
Taste: Not as peaty as the nose would suggest. Feels a tad flat. Extremely dry in the finish.
Score: 78 points - just a little too rough on the palate to make it into the 80's for me...

And that's already 'it' for tonight, I'm afraid.
With the chaos of the past month (new job, renovation apartment, Hamstergeddon, etc.) I had completely forgotten about Walpurgisnacht, so I hadn't properly prepared. I hope to assemble a more impressive selection of foreign and alien material for my traditional 'mirror' Walpurgis session in November this year.
By that time Hamstergeddon should be (almost) over...

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

May 28, 2006 - Fame & Fortune

Wow... I've always wondered what it would feel like
to step into the shoes of somebody rich famous - and
now I know... Well... at least about the famous part;
in a short period of time I received news about loads
of free publicity for this website.
 
First of all, Malt Madness will be mentioned in the
September issue of Maxxim magazine (US Edition).
I have to admit that I was quite shocked to learn
that even in this digital day and age they need to
prepare a magazine three months in advance.
 
Anyway, you won't hear me complaining; even
stale publicity is good publicity - or something along
those lines... Furthermore, there's the Malt Whisky
Yearbook 2007. Maybe the positive review I wrote
for the 2006 Edition helped to land me an interview
in the upcoming edition of the yearbook ;-)

Which reminds me of one of the many unfinished projects on my mind...
In january I promised that I would write reviews for all books in my whisky library.
And not just that - I also vowed that I would not buy any new whisky books until I had finished my reviews for all nine books that were on my whisky shelves at the time. Now, some five months later, I must admit that I haven't finished one single book review. And, even worse, two more books have been added to my library. In all fairness, I couldn't help the first. I received Robin Brilleman's 'Schotse Malt Whisky - De Gids' as a review copy during my visit to Van Wees with the PLOWED people. Since that was some two months ago, it's high time I got to work on that. The other fresh book on my shelves is 'Whisky Classified' by David Wishart. That one I bought myself because I needed it for my own research into 'classification'.

But I'm drifting off again... The topic was 'free publicity' and I want to mention two last bits.
The Dutch whisky magazine 'Whisky Etcetera' wanted to do a profile on the malt maniacs - and I got to write it myself! And finally, fellow malt maniac Davin de Kergommeaux will write an article about the maniacs for the Scotch Whisky Review.

Ha! That'll teach Miss Wiggers (my 5th grade teacher) who always told me I would never amount to anything because I couldn't focus on anything for more than three seconds. Well, Miss Wiggers, if you're reading this: together with my fellow maniacs I have been focusing on this site for a decade now and these statistics show that many people actually enjoy their time on this site - which is more than can be said about the time I spent in your classroom, I can tell you! Also (and I'm not afraid to admit it now): I never really liked you. What's more, the esteemed audience of this site consists of suave and sophisticated people from all over the world, not a bunch of bored ten year olds... Well, at least I hope not - if you happen to be a ten years old kid, please leave the site immediately and come back in eight years...

Ooops... look at the time.... Time for my medication...

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

July 12, 2006 - Malt Maniacs Awards 2006

Just a few days after we sent out the invitations for the Malt Maniacs Awards 2006 over a dozen
sponsors confirmed they would participate in this year's competition. Excellent; if our experiences
in previous years are anything to go by, there will be many more to follow in the weeks to come.

For those new to this site and the malt maniacs: for the Malt Maniacs Awards, (at least) twelve
certified malt maniacs from all over the world will sample the submitted whiskies, usually over the
course of 4 to 8 weeks. Each whisky is sampled and scored blind to make sure the taster is not
influenced by any possible bias towards brands, distilleries or bottlers. All whiskies will be rated on a 0-100 points scale by the jurors on the tasting panel. From all the individual scores an average score is calculated, which determines if a submitted whisky earns a medal or not. All whiskies scoring 90 or higher will receive a gold medal, 85-99 means silver and 80-84 means bronze. All medal winners are elligible for a 'best in class' award in one of the different special categories. The winner of each of the categories below will receive an award, which means that an especially outstanding whisky might receive both a medal and an Award. Since the 2004 Awards, each submitted whisky can win a maximum of one award.

Here's an overview of the fifteen different 'standard' Awards we handed out in 2005:

- Non-Plus-Ultra Award (Overall top scoring whisky out of all Awards entries)
- Bang-For-Your-Buck Award (Entry with the best performance/price ratio)
- Daily Dram Award (Best affordable, widely available, all-round single malt whisky)
- Pressure Cooker Award (Entry with the best performance/age ratio)
- Internal Combustion Award (Entry with the best performance/ABV ratio)

- Single Starlet Award (Most exciting new release this year)
- Top Sherry Cask Award (Best whisky matured exclusively in sherry cask(s)
- Top Bourbon Cask Award (Best whisky matured exclusively in bourbon cask(s)
- Warped Whisky Award (Best whisky matured or finished in 'special' wood)
- Gentle Giant Award (Best un-peated, un-sherried and un-finished whisky)

- Highlands Award of Excellence (Best Highlands single malt whisky this year)
- Speyside Award of Excellence (Best Speyside single malt whisky this year)
- Lowlands & Kintyre Award of Excellence (Best Lowlands or Campbelltown single malt whisky)
- Islay Award of Excellence (Best Islay single malt whisky this year)
- Islands Award of Excellence (Best Islands single malt whisky this year)

Sometimes we feel a whisky is so exceptional that it deserves special recognition next to the 15 'standard' awards. For example, 2005 saw the conception of three special awards to properly reward three exceptional whiskies:
 
- Aeneas Coffey Award (Best grain whisky submitted in 2005)
- Multiple Personality Award (Best blended or vatted whisky submitted in 2005)
- Dark Horse Award (Ahead of the pack, off the beaten track)

This means that the number of awards varied between different years.
However, that might change this year. With an ever growing number of submitted bottles (both well-known 'off the shelves' bottlings and hard to find single cask bottlings), we feel that we may have to invent a few new awards to do justice to the variety of bottles that we receive. At the same time, we don't want to 'dilute' the value of a MM Award by giving away too many of them. So, we're now thinking about defining a total of 24 awards - probably two 'sets' of 12. Some years not all 24 awards may be handed out; this will depend on the bottles the sponsors submit. I'll try to come up with a list of the 24 awards for my next log entry; feel free to contact me if you have any bright ideas ;-)

On a related note... The president of the Taiwan Single Malt Tasting Association (our very own Ho-cheng Yao from Tapei) also confirmed they would be bottling something special for the awards within a few weeks. Excellent. Unfortunately, the full name was a bit long, so I had to shorten it for our overview of sponsors on the MM Awards page. It took me a few minutes to realise that the abbreviation I came up with could be perceived as somewhat naughty by dirty minds. I came up with:

Taiwan SM Tasting Ass.

When I mailed Ho-cheng that he might want to consider changing the name of his club to a less offensive one, he came up with a much more practical solution: Just abbreviate it to Taiwan SMWT Association.
Yeah, that could work too, I guess...

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

August 1, 2006 - Government Conspiracy?

Phew... When I write this I'm slowly recovering from a shaken brain...
 
Last weekend I joined a few collegues for a Friday night on a boat to
catch a concert of Acda & De Munnik, Van Dik Hout and a few other Dutch
bands. Something must have gone wrong during the trip home after the
concert, because I found myself in the hospital on Saturday night, covered
in some nasty bruises and unable to recall what happened exactly during
the evening. I felt the results, though... A heavy concussion and a broken
cheekbone... The wounds are healing swimmingly, but my memory is still
a little bit dodgy.
 
Hmmm... Uncannily like a Tina Turner concert my brother and I visited in '97.
We both ended up in the recovery room of the same hospital, but only when
we woke up there and recognised eachother did the staff find out that we
actually belonged together. We had arrived in the hospital via two different
ambulances and nobody there knew that we had begun the night together.
We felt like the vicims of a government conspiracy - or maybe Tina Turner.
 
Weirdly enough, now I suffered the same fate as in 1997: a heavy concussion.
I'm delighted that most of the damage seems to have wore off by now, but I still notice some weird lingering effects. The most 'urgent' of those as far as Malt Madness and Malt Maniacs are concerned is probably the fact that I still make much more typing errors than I used to, and I can't sit behind a computer screen for days on end like I could... My memory wasn't razor sharp to begin with, so all in all it could have been much worse...
If only I remembered what happened - so I could learn from it...

Bugger - just when something interesting happens my memory fails me...
Anyway; thanks to the care of my dear old mum I'm on the way to full recovery again and the neurosurgeon should hopefully give me a clean bill of health in a few days. With the tropical heat we've been experiencing over the last few weeks, I have little taste for extra work, so I think I'll have myself a little 'vacation'. Not from work, though... The afternoon before 'the incident' I signed a contract with a new boss, 'Panthera'. I can start work on September 1, just when I'm finishing up my current projects with my current boss. A few weeks of very heavy 'work' work ahead (my new boss already wants me to start thinking on some projects), so don't expect any news for a few weeks to come...

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

August 7, 2006 - Vacation Time

Ooooh... Already I received some 'complaints' (don't worry,
they used sophisticated language) from readers that they'll
have to wait for a few weeks for fresh 'MM' material here.

Well, I've decided to apply a saying of my grandfather.
He said: Always try to give people what they want, but
never give them EXACTLY what they want... All the more
so, because I warned you I'd need a little VACATION! ;-)

Since the vast majority of the complaints came from the
English speaking part of the world now, here's something
I could give them - a nice picture of lake Como, Italy & the
text of a nice virtual postcard I received from a fellow writer
for Weird Planet Magazine, a.k.a. 'Ruud uit Het Instituut'

Oh yeah... Did I mention it's in Dutch?
And, as such, probably not exactly what most complainers wanted? Woehahahaha!

'Ziezo, we zijn terug van vakantie. Het was geweldig. We hebben twee bestemmingen gehad, een in Zuid Frankrijk en daarna in Noord ItaliŽ, tegen de Zwitserse grens. We zijn begonnen in Aix-en-Provence, Zuid Frankrijk waar we een simpele camping hebben opgezocht zonder zwembad, want anders dobber je toch alleen maar rond in de kinderurine. Voorwaar een heerlijke tijd aldaar gehad. Lekker rustig tot rust gekomen en lekker gegeten, diverse plaatsen bezocht totdat we een tripje maakten naar Marseille aan de Middellandse zee.

Zodra je daar je kont op een terras parkeert komen ze eraan, de straatorkesten uit oost Europa.
Oost-Europese straatorkesten zijn er namelijk in gespecialiseerd om toeristen geld af te troggelen met slechte muziek. Het wordt helemaal erg als ze westerse melodieŽn gaan bewerken naar hun eigen etnische staccatoritme waarbij vals gestemde instrumentaria niet worden geschuwd. Ik bedoel, een neger gaat toch ook niet staan jodelen in de Alpen? En toch is het schijnbaar lucratief want er is altijd wel ergens een simpele seniele toondove op het terras te vinden die zich waant in andere sferen bij het zien van een saxofoon, accordeon, viool en een contrabas waar grijnzende mannen met snorren in exotisch aandoende kostuums aan vergroeid zitten. Maar buiten de de toondove zijn er ook legio toeristen die zich kriebelig voelen en gelaten de portemonnee trekken om van het gezeik af te zijn. Dat moet maar eens afgelopen zijn. Als aangenaam tijdverdrijf heb ik de volgende methoden uitgeprobeerd, in oplopende mate van onbeschoftheid.

   1. Ga met de pet rond tijdens dat ze spelen maar zorg wel dat ze het zien, dan houdt het heel snel op.
   2. Zodra een muzikant met de pet rond gaat en roept 'pour la musique' hou dan je hand op en zeg pour la ťcouter'
   3. Ga dwars door de muziek heen zingen, het liefst met een groep.
   4. Zeg: Zoals u speelt lijkt het mij voor u succesvoller om een autosloopbedrijf te beginnen.
   5. Spreek met iedereen af om de stoelen om te draaien en met de rug naar de muzikanten te gaan zitten.
   6. Werp bierviltjes en natgemaakte servetjes naar de muziekanten.
   7. Je moet hiervoor met een groep zijn op een terras en zeg: Ik spreek namens het terras. Ik heb hardvochtig en oprecht geprobeerd uw muziek te begrijpen en te doorgronden. Dit is mij niet gelukt. Ofschoon uw instrumenten visueel blijkbaar in orde zijn moet het ons van het hart dat we nog nooit maar dan nog nooit in ons leven zulk een pandemonium van bizarre, angstaanjagende klanken hebben gehoord. Gaat u alstublieft weg want de satan is in u gevaren. Waarop het hele terras roept 'Jezus Redt!'.

Maar de beste methode is deze:

Loop naar een speelgoedwinkel en koop een paar dartpijlen om gipsydart mee te spelen. Gipsydart moet met een groep worden gespeeld. Iedereen krijgt een dartpijl en het is de bedoeling om in de accordeonbalg of op de contrabas te raken. Het is niet de bedoeling om de zigeuners zelf te acupunctueren want dat doet zeer en levert fikse strafpunten op. Wie het eerst de accordeonbalg raakt heeft gewonnen, loopt vervolgens naar de accordeonist op en zegt 'pour la dart'. Gipsydart heeft vele voordelen. Het is leuk voor iedereen, het houdt de muziek voorlopig stil en wie een accordeon of een contrabas ziet waar een stuk ducktape op geplakt zit ziet dat deze sport inderdaad succesvol is.
In Marseille lopen er al een paar rond.

Maar voor de rest was het echt heel, heel leuk...

Ruud - ervaren hurktoilet kunstenaar'

 
Erm...
Now that I've worked it into this log entry I'm suddenly thinking I should have put it with the Vox Populi entries.
Well, never mind - it's gibberish to more than 90% of the people reading this page anyway ;-)

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

August 13, 2006 - MM Awards 2006 Update

Wowie... It's a good thing that I had already taken care of most of the messages regarding the Malt Maniacs Awards before 'the indicent'. With the official deadline of August 15 just a day away, we already have some fifty sponsors 'on board' and I'm now guessing we're approaching 200 bottles this year. Excellent...

The bad news is that I'll have to close this 'old' site even sooner than I thought in order to get the new site - or at least the part about the awards - ready by the time we publish the results of the Malt Maniacs Awards 2006 on December 1 2006. What that means for this Liquid Log and in particular this last log entry shall all be explained in my next entry on this page - first I'd like to inform you that it looks like we'll have eight or nine maniacs together for the 'Awards Filling Party' in September. So far, it seems Olivier and Serge will play host to Ulf, Martine, Davin, Krishna, Michel, Robert, Luc and myself - which would be aaaawesooome!!!

As great as that news is, the fact that I'll be on the jury means I am going to need every second of my time.
That calls for strong measures, I'm afraid... But you can read all about that if you just scroll down a little... Right now I need to focus my attention on a little 'hosting' problem we have. When Sukhinder Singh from The Whisky Exchange switched servers a few months ago we couldn't transfer to his new hosting provider because they used a different sort of technical set-up. Sukhinder's old provider kindly offered to keep hosting us for a while longer free of charge so we could find another solution. Well, as it turns out this would seem like a relatively minor problem.

Even though the really cheap hosting packages won't do for us (we generate hundreds of gigabytes of traffic these days) I'm guessing we'll be able to fulfill our hosting needs for a few hundreds of Euro's a year. I guess that's manageable, especially because many maniacs have already offered to pay a 'membership fee' for being a malt maniac. Still, I have to say I'm more than happy with the EFFORT they put in. If we have to gather some funds to pay for hosting or software, I'd much rather that our sponsors or viewers cough up ;-)

When it dawned on me that the sponsors of the Malt Maniacs Awards 2006 will send us some 10.000,- worth of whisky to sample (a conservative estimate) I think it shouldn't be too hard to find a sponsor for the 'hosting' part either. But I'd beter focus on 'salvaging' the old website first, I suppose...

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

August 15, 2006 - Unraveled

The infamous incident in July was actually just one in a string of
misfortunes that plagued me during the summer of 2006. My old
PC started showing signs of serious metal fatigue and I lost some
pretty crucial data (including many 'loose thoughts' I wanted to
turn into log entries or E-pistles), I quit my cushy job because I
was offered a 'better' one - but two weeks before I was set to
actually start my new boss let me know that they had actually
been losing money for a while, so he'd have to fire me again on
my very first day, etc. Fate really seemed to have it in for me...

It seems that 40 years of good karma has finally come back to
bite me in the ass... I knew I was having too much good luck ;-)
Fortunately, my physical and mental recovery is coming along
nicely. It took me some two weeks to get back to my usual self
(+ a few fresh scars) but now I'm able to work on the site again.

Not too much, though.
The incident also left me with some troubles with my hip that
seemed minor at the time, but now give some problems when I'm
sitting behind a computer screen for too many hours on a day.

And that's where we're running into a problem now...
My original plan wasn't just to launch an all new Malt Madness site, I also wanted to preserve all the work the other malt maniacs and myself had put into this website since 1997 - preferably in a 'pristine' state. The problem is that that would take a LOT of work. Earlier this year I thought all problems could be solved if I only spent enough time and brainpower on them, but now it looks like I'll have to 'cut some corners' if I want to indeed publish a brand new site on January 1.

So, I'll have to accept the fact that the best I can hope for is 'rescuing' all our data in this ADHD archive.
Most of the navigation and design will have to be 'broken up', I'm afraid. Unfortunately, that means you won't be able to browse through these 'archive' pages quite as comfortably as before. Sorry, that can't be helped...

Oh - and last night I discovered another little problem...
The MM mailing list is apparently 'maxed out' right now. I was forced to split the list into several sub-lists when my old e-mail client said it became too large, but now it seems the volume has grown so huge (I lost count about three years ago, but I'm guessing 5,000 members) that my ISP's mail server simply won't accept the messages. Bugger... That's another fresh little problem I can add to my list. I'm looking into more 'professional' solutions, but they all cost money.
 
 
Anyway, all the more reason to 'wrap up' this old
site a.s.a.p.  There are just a few tiny things I'd like
to share before I start work on the new websites.
The first topic is the infamous but not very famous
underground artist 'Ronnie van Hilversum'.
 
Please note that the pictures at the top and to the
right are faximilies, the first one produced by Nick
Morgan when he sent me a lovely little CD last year.
It contained 17 nuggets from the bad boy of clog
rock's extensive & varied repertoire.
 
The psychedelic sleeve of 'My Acid Daze' suits the
music on it. The material mostly covered the fifties,
sixties and seventies though - compositions from
Ronnie's impressive rebirth as a mixer, producer
and Electric Boogie artist was not included. That still
left me with gems like 'A WindMill in Old Amsterdam',
and other timeless classics, but I still felt I missed
something. So, as soon as I finished enjoying the
album I started working on 'My Acid Daze II' - a
PROPER reflection of Ronnie's career. And, a novelty:
100% MP3. So, that's over 10 hours of Ronnie!
Oh, Serge and Nick will just loooove it ;-)
 
And that may be the last reference to 'musical' matters on MM for a while.
I've experimented with adding just a few pieces of music to the site, but now that Serge and I are discussing our 'peaceful co-existence' in the future I have to admit that WhiskyFun is probably a far better place for all musical matters...
So, expect the music on MM to stop working after december 31, 2006 - we desperately need the bandwidth...

Let's see, what else?
Oh yeah... Book reviews... I'm happy to report that Davin is already hard at work with a brand new 'Book Reviews' section for the all new Malt Maniacs website. I may still get on with my own 'project' to write at least a review for the less than a dozen books in my collection. That will probably take quite a while, though - just as the planned revival of Weird Planet Magazine. That's probably a half-baked idea, but I've already been working on 'Local News from Global Village' (an international version of the original 'Plaatselijk Nieuws uit Ons Dorp') and I should be able to finish at least one international issue in a few sleepless weekends.

All that - as well as the hundreds of other 'micro-projects' I have planned in my mind - will have to wait for my two main priorities at the moment, though; 1) reconstructing the entire old website and 2) the MM Awards edition for 2006.

So, for the very last time in this format, I say to you:

Sweet drams,

Johannes
 

(Check out Log Entry #300 for an overview of 2006 log entries dealing with other topics.)
 

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Liquid Log Entry #300-F (Spring-Autumn 2006)

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