Islay Whisky Classics No.53 – Bruichladdich Valinch “Ghost Ship”

The 24th Valinch released , this one to celebrate the appearance of an oil tanker at Bruichladdich Pier – it’s a long story , local council rebuilds Pier at great expense , the oil tanker it’s built for can’t use it due to some cock up…………  so Laddie release a Valinch to celebrate…….

Bruichladdich Valinch 'Ghost Ship'

This one is a 1990 16yo from a Bourbon Squat Barrel – No.525 – Bottled at 54.5% abv producing an outturn of 350 50cl bottles . In the glass it’s a beautiful bright gold going on golden syrup colour , the initial nose isn’t as lively or fresh as some Laddies at this age and vintage .  Eventually a strong lemon citrus emerges followed by exotic green  fruits , then a sweetness which i can’t quite put my finger on . The palate is more in line with your classic Laddie ex-bourbon taste , green fruits , creamy fudge , sea air , lemon and vanilla . The finish is long and lemon citrus .

It takes a wee while to open up but when it does it’s a great Laddie , just as a Laddie  should be straight from a Bourbon Cask and in it’s teens ! 

The Whisky Lounge and Blackfriars Restaurant Whisky and Seafood Meal

Once again as part of the Newcastle Eats Festival , The Whisky Lounge and Blackfriars Restaurant joined forces to give us another Seafood and Whisky extravaganza ! Eddie served up the Whisky Selection and Dan served up the food…….

1st  Course…….

1st Course

(click on pictures to see larger version)

North-Sea Clam Chowder, Ham Hock , Soft Boiled Quails Egg

Kavalan Classic 40% (Taiwan) 

A great start to the meal , all the ingredients went together perfectly (mind you i think quails eggs could go with anything !) , the whisky was the surprise of the night , haven’t tried Kavalan before but both myself and Mel were both well impressed with this 3yo whisky , superb and looking forward to it’s availability in this country . For a 3yo it’s as smooth as a babys bum and goes down well ! As Eddie said pretty close to Glenmorangie 10yo and i agree . 

2nd Course……

2nd Course

North-Sea Cod & Smoked Mackerel Ceviche, Lemon, Tomato, Tarragon

Hakushu 12yo 43.5% (Japan)

A nice mixture of two fishes from the North Sea , they went very well with the lightly peated Hakushu , which , to me , is quite costal and actually reminds me of Glen Scotia in a way (but without the strong Fishermans Friend kick of some releases) . Another good match of seafood and whisky .

3rd Course…… 

3rd Course

North-Sea Scallops, Home-made Black Pudding , Ardbeg & Paprika Butter

Connamara 12yo 40% (Ireland)

Probably one of my favourite Seafood meals , i love Scallops and when served with Black Pudding….. This Home-made Black Pudding was one of the nicest i’ve ever had and btw that is a brown sauce next to it…… The Connamara wasn’t one of my favourites of the night , i don’t like the nose on any i’ve tried , always smells rubbery and almost artificial , thankfully it tasted slightly better but i still prefer my peat from islay……

4th Course…… 

4th Course

Home Smoked : Smoked Salmon, Smoked Haddock Paté, Smoked Rainbow Trout Mousse,

Boisdale  Bowmore 2000   46% (Islay)

Now if you’ve ever had the Old Kilns Fantastically Fishy Salad this one is right up your street , superb smoked fish beautifully served , only criticism , needed more croutons ! With all the smoked fish , a nice smoked whisky was needed and this one matched the credentials , not overly peated and quite fresh on the palate , a very nice combo !

5th Course……

5th Course

North-Sea Monkfish, Gateshead Bacon Floddie, Pea Purée, Scottish Girolles

SMWS 76.89 57.1% (Mortlach, Speyside) 

This was the dish with perhaps the strongest of flavours , The Floddie (a sort of rosti) and the Girolles ( hand foraged ) were incredible with the meaty Monkfish . Eddie managed to hand forage some Mortlach to go with the Girolles , it need a strong meaty dram to go with this ensemble , now i’ve always been wary of SMWS Mortlachs , i’ve had too many really meaty Mortlachs (meaty on the SMWS tasting notes usually had one meaning to me – sulphured ) . This one was meaty in the right way and was quite a nice dram .

6th Course……. The Pudding !

6th Course

Crème Brûlée, Tynemouth Garibaldi Biscuit

Balvenie Single Barrel, 15yo 47.8% (Speyside)

A cracking way to end the meal . the Crème Brûlée was beautifully smooth with a lovely thin crust on top , the biscuit was delicious and melted beautifully on the palate . What has Tynemouth got to do with Garibaldi biscuits , have a look at where he was in 1854…… The Balvenie was a nice way to finish the meal off .  

We had to leave before the Coffee to catch our bus , another fantastic meal , we look forward to the next one…… Hopefully in November ! 

And Melanies Thoughts ? “Absolutely Fantastic , didn’t think they could improve on last year but they did ! Wonderful !!!! “

Islay Whisky Classics No.52 – Bruichladdich Valinch “Grandpa John”

The 13th Valinch released , this one is from 1990 (distilled 7th February ) and was matured in a Refill Sherry Hogshead No. 451 for 14 years (Bottled 11th November 2004 ) . 350 bottles were produced at an abv of 56.3% . 

Bruichladdich Valinch 'Grandpa John'

A deep Mahogany colour , this is somewhat of a Sherry monster that isn’t actually too over-powering . The nose is yer actual ‘Christmas Cake’ in a glass , cake dough , dark spirit laced fruits – currants. raisins etc – marzipan , sweet icing , brown sugar and a hint of dark chocolate . The palate is of dry sherry and the aforementioned christmas cake , it is extremely well balanced , no nasties , a perfect sherry cask . The finish is dry and long , christmas spices , sherry and marzipan .

This must have been an exceptional cask  , it has produced a really good , sherried Laddie . My wife Melanie absolutely loves this whisky , which , for my sake , makes it a good job i bought more than one bottle ! 

WalkHighlands guide to walks on Islay and Jura

Just found an interesting new page on the WalkHighlands Site , a guide to walks on Islay and Jura . Only Islay ones listed at the moment but well worth a look if you’re heading to the Queen of the Hebrides and are interested in doing a few walks . The direct link to the Islay page is Islay Walks

Hey , That’s Mine !

Recently i went , for some unknown reason , to another bloggers page , where upon clicking on their Ardbeg Distillery profile page i found one of my photos……..

Ardbeg Distillery

Evidence ‘A’ M’Lord……

Now normally i would be pretty chuffed that some one has thought something of mine is good enough to use ( borrow / lift /pinch *choose as you think appropriate) but this seems to be getting a regular regular thing in 2012 , earlier this year a whisky shop “used” my write up on the Geordie Laddies PC to “promote” the sale of some of a fellow shareholders bottles , what annoyed me was (apart from not asking my permission) that it looked like I was selling the bottles ! Which anyone who knows me well enough would know i’d never do….. Especially with  such an excellent whisky !!!

This problem isn’t new to me , back in the Good ‘ol days of the spirit of Islay site it was something of a regular problem , i had one site ask if they could use something and when i said no , they took the info thing anyway . If ever i got a heads up on an Ardbeg release i could put money on it would be lifted and appear elsewhere , usually a swedish forum…… Now people used to do this on my warehouse no.4 forum but i always reverted to what was an unwritten rule in internet etiquette , Post a link to the original site  NOT lift stuff ! and i’d always delete things that didn’t happen in this way .

If  i saw something i thought was of interest  to my site visitors i’d always ask the owner for permission to use it , if they agreed to it’s use , i’d always give credit and post a link to their site , perhaps i was just too honest……  

So where does this leave me now ? Well i’m going to have to stick a watermark on my photos which i don’t want to do as (a) it spoils the look of them , even discrete watermarks  (b) it means a bit more work on the actual process of the photo which can mount up if i’ve had a fruitful photographic day on Islay ! 

I’ve sent an e-mail to the offending blog but i’m not expecting a reply as i’ve since learned that i’m not the only one they’ve “took” photos from , they’ve also raided Armins Islayblog  . Another question now arises  , do i give permission in the future for someone to use any of my photos ?

Islay Whisky Classics No.51 – Bruichladdich 1984 Vintage

This 1984 Vintage Bottling released in 2002 is vatted from 20% Fino Sherry , 20% Oloroso Sherry and 60% Bourbon Casks . The abv is 46% , it is non-chillfiltered , uncoloured  and is a limited release of 6000.

Bruichladdich 1984 Vintage

The colour of polished copper , the nose has quite a sherried smell to it at first , then lemon emerges followed by the Laddie green fruits , creamy fudge , sea air and malt . The lemon and sherry seem to dominate the others though , it is silky smooth over the palate , lemon and honey with a sherry dryness , green fruits and fudge  . The palate is extremely well balanced , The finish is . long , dry and sherried , with more than a hint of mint humbugs .

When this was released it didn’t go down as well as the 1970 it was released with , which was a shame as i thought this was a very good Laddie , i thoroughly enjoy it’s company when i revisit it !

Islay Whisky Classics No.50 – Port Charlotte Private Cask R23

Yes i’ve included my own Port Charlotte Bottling in this list , why ? Because it was my first Cask , because it’s the best Port Charlotte i’ve tasted (so far….) and Jim Murray really liked it ! 96/100 in the Whisky Bible !!! From a Bloodtub , a 32 litre cask , it was bottled at 4 and half years old and at 61.4% abv . It produced 39 bottles . The label comes courtesy of that well known Scottish Artist and good friend of ours , Ian Gray . You can read the story of this cask at the Bottling Casks Page on this Blog .

3 Bottles

Mel described this colour as Topaz , a Goldish brown , i said polished Mahogany , whichever it is , it looks good ! On the nose the maltiness strikes you first , a strong dryness (the sherry) , a lingering peatiness almost earthy , there’s also a slight dark fruitiness to it . Very complex for such a young Malt . On the palate it is again  very dry and very malty , the peat eventually comes flooding in , a peaty smokiness covers the palate after a while…… The finish is long and dry , peaty , bitter dark chocolate , it does goes on and on and on…….

This Malt is 4 and a half going on twenty , it is incredibly complex for it’s age , definitely not a session malt more of a special occasion one ! My first bairn , so my favourite and one i’m so glad i bought this cask in 2001 !