Monday, February 8, 2010

A trip to Islay! The Motherlode

A nice article in The Independent travel section this weekend about the Hebredean island of Islay, you know, where they make Laphroiag! And other good stuff, too, but the Laphroaig distillery makes the appearance as the quintessential Islay malt house. Floor malting! Stacks of peat!

Really, there is one quibble we here at Whiskey Break might have with the article, at least its title, anyway. "Simple" pleasures? Maybe the rest of the island, but, nay, there is nothing "simple" about Laphroaig!
The Scottish isle of simple pleasures

An afternoon sparking with salty sunlight and in Port Ellen, a trim, white Hebrid-ean village hugging a sandy bay, a Jack Russell is barking excitedly at something – or someone – beneath the shifting waters of the harbour. I follow the terrier's gaze and there, just below the surface, is a set of eyes, saucer-like and dark, peering straight at me.

To see a seal on Islay, one of the jigsaw-piece isles cast off from the raggedy coastline of western Scotland, is not unusual. In fact, at Loch an t-Sailein (Seal Bay) you are almost guaranteed to find grey seals doing their onshore stretches. But to be close enough to shake a flipper is a fresh experience. And I don't need to be Doctor Dolittle to see what it wants. "If only I had a fish," I remark to a local on the quayside. (On Islay, the habit of talking to strangers is soon acquired.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2010 First Light: Bunnahabhain 12

Well, folks, a first gathering of Whiskey Breakers in this new-ish year finally launched after holiday travels and the attendant resettling phase. In celebration of a WB! member's vault up the professional ladder, the Wise man divested interest in a bottle of a Whiskey Break! favourite; the nectarean Bunnahabhain 12.

As the distillery's own "tasting notes" inform us,
The nose offers a fresh and aromatic experience with a subtle whiff of smoke floating through the air. The taste starts with a light fruit and nut appeal that leads to a spectacular malty sweetness, finishing into a beautifully rich full-bodied, lingering experience.
Yes! That seems to have hit the sweet spot. Or, at the very least, it's a description we here at Whiskey Break! would be hard pressed to refute. Indeed, we fully concur.

Whiskey Breakers took note of the latest news on Pluto and decided to check out reports that the now former planet is getting redder, some 20% redder. "Seasonal changes," we are told. Or Pluto's reaction to it's 2006 demotion finally making it's way earthward, an expression of clear anger at humanity's fickle nature?

Not to fear Pluto! Note the colour of the enraged surface of Pluto and the glorious Bunny-12. This is not a coincidence. Whisky Break! stands in solidarity!

News Flash! Major Antarctic Find: Shackleton's Whisky Stash Unearthed

Exciting news, people. Exciting news.

It's just like when they find a Van Gogh in an attic somewhere, only better. Because it's Whisky!
Five crates of Scotch whisky and two of brandy have been recovered by a team restoring an Antarctic hut used more than 100 years ago by famed polar explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Ice cracked some of the bottles that had been left there in 1909, but the restorers said Friday they are confident the five crates contain intact bottles ''given liquid can be heard when the crates are moved.''

New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust team leader Al Fastier said the team thought there were two crates and were amazed to find five.

Current distillery owner, drinks group Whyte & Mackay, launched the bid to recover the Scotch whisky for samples to test and decide whether to relaunch the defunct spirit made by distiller McKinlay and Co.
The question now becomes: how does the WB tribe get our trembling hands upon some of this Mackinlay’s “Rare and Old”?

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