Ok, so yesterday was a day of ups and downs. I have divided the entry for points of interest.


I just began a class in Kundalini Yoga on Monday mornings, I’m loving it, it’s better than any of the other yoga classes that I’ve done. If you ask me though, this is yoga for the left hand path! It’s all about getting the kundalini snake at the base of your spine to rise and it’s about doing it right now. So far I’ve had yogi tea, done yogic breathing – very interesting for an asthmatic, made me realise quite how much control my asthma has given me over my lungs. The asanas that I’ve done are by no means as gentle as the hatha yoga stuff I’ve done. But I’ve managed pretty damn well as far as that goes.

My New Job

Started my new job in the afternoon, I’m working for the NHS co-ordinating deliveries. Technically I agreed with the boss today that I ought to be titled his PA, I think he’s kind of tickled about having a PA. But I’m on the phone all day talking to drivers, and I get to talk on the radio! Yeay! Must remember not to give out my callsign! I’m really enjoying it so far, and they haven’t fired me yet!


So, last year I heard about an operatic performance given at The Castle, open air and I cursed that I missed it (I think I was out of town at the time). I was determined that this time I’d go and see it, so when there was advertised The Magic Flute by Heritage Opera I grabbed tickets, two because frankly given that both FJ and I like opera we really ought to see one together. Then yesterday I got a postcard through the letterbox…
It’s not outside this year. Also, and maybe this is me being a snob but it really made my heart sink, it’s sung in English. Ok, I’ve never actually heard an opera sung in English but it was written in one language, why can’t we hear it in that language? Yeah…anyway, I haven’t seen an opera in four years and I was really, really looking forward to this one and so after the postcard I felt really disappointed. Then I got to break the news to FJ. Great.


But the day was not over! For The Sun was holding a Whisky tasting evening. So this was the first proper whisky tasting I’d been to, the evening I organised with FJ, Lexy, Ex-Gardnerian, Nordic Lady and the Jellicle was a strictly amateurs plus book affair this time I got to listen to a guy who knew his stuff talking about six Islay whiskies.
I was excited because FJ on the whole is responsible for my appreciation of whisky and of course he’s directed me towards the peaty Islay but I don’t really feel I know anything about it despite his, FFG’s and Ex-Gardnerian’s lovely tutelage and pointers.
Anyway, turns out the Whisky Guy was the one Mother-In-Law was using a little while back to source Caol Ila so she was down in the Sun to say hi to him and of course he persuaded her, the non-Whisky drinker to join in. I was quite glad he did so as her palate is a lot more sophisticated than mine, though I wish she hadn’t mentioned cheap bacon flavour crisps in reference to the Port Charlotte!

So, the format of the evening was blind taste three whiskies, enjoy a superbe buffet dinner and then blind taste three more whiskies and then listen to Whisky Guy (who had a nice run in interesting stories throughout the evening) describe what they all actually were. And then yours truly got to choose a bottle to take home with her – you know who you are THANKYOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s my rundown of the whiskies of the evening in the order tasted:

Bunnahabhain 12 Years Old

It looked like overboiled sugar in my opinion, The Whisky Lounge reckons ‘golden straw’. Smelt quite nice sort of cloudy heather on a breeze whilst eating cornflakes or something, The Whisky Lounge thinks ‘toffee and cream’. I thought the initial taste was overly sweet and a bit flowery, The Whisky Lounge thinks ‘sweet but well-balanced, quite floral and herbaceous’. The finish was too sharp for my tastes, a bit like grapfruit and The Whisky Lounge reckons ‘sweet all the way’.
This one is a non-peated Islay and you can tell – which I don’t think is a good thing by the way, it was ok but not really my cup of tea. Pretty part of the island though.

Caol Ila 1982, Berry’s Own

The sound of Islay
This was my favourite of the night and the one I went home with in the end. I restrained myself from asigning it a lighting gel number but basically it did look like Pink Gold. It smelt warm, kind of like cherry blossom out of the window whilst you’re in a BMW showroom, The Whisky Lounge reckons ‘enticingly sweet with grapefruit and dark chocolate as well as light peat-smoke’. The taste was beautiful, just, so warm, a little sharp but nicely so, it lingered and it swelled in my mouth, The Whisky Lounge agrees and puts in ‘pepper and spice’ and says it finishes ‘light and spicy’.

Port Charlotte PC06

This is a new distillery on the island, well it’s an old one reopened recently. I wasn’t a big fan to be honest, it looked like heavily watered down burnt sienna or ‘Golden amber’ according to The Whisky Lounge. Tasted of bacon – though that could be the ‘rapey’ (don’t ask) influence of Mother-In-Law – and woodsmoke or ‘peat embers, pineapple and a hint of sea-breeze’. Frankly the taste made me jump, just too much of a wide open POW of a shock and then it was horribly sweet to finish honey-like or watery toffee.

Lagavulin12 Years Old, Cask Strength

Before the tasting I’d probably have said that of the Islay whiskies this was my favourite. As it was it was so damned difficult to choose between this and the Caol Ila. It looked like gold tarnished with weathered copper (I was getting very pretentious by this stage) and it smelt like lawns being mowed on a warm evening – or ‘leafy and sweet with a healthy whiff of smoke’. It tasted like the juice of pearskins alcoholed up to the nines or ‘showing off it’s coastal characteristics with saltiness and oiliness’. It lasted and lasted, though not as long as the Caol Ila and ended with a flourish of nuttiness, or a ‘hint of lemon’ for those professionals amongst you.

Laphroaig 12 Years Old, Cask Strength

So this is the famous one. It’s supposed to be able to convert non-whisky drinkers, not by Mother-In-Law’s reaction it doesn’t. This one was Straw coloured and smelt flowery… the Whisky Lounge says ‘typically ceyline and punchy with bags of wood and peat smoke’ and I’m actually not sure what that means. Ceyline anyone? It was strong with a slow build and a very smokey finish. Or according to The Whisky Lounge ‘at full strength this is as intense as they come. Medicinal, tar-like, war-museums, dental surgeries, seaweed and all the other classic Laphroaig attributes’… sorry but medicinal does not make me any more enamoured of this, nor does ‘dental surgeries’ for that matter and as for the description of the finish ‘fresh, numbing and long’ nope, not going for that either, maybe it’s a mark of my extreme unsophistication.

Ardbeg Renaissance 10 Years Old

I really didn’t like this one, it was my least favourite and it’s described as the peatiest so maybe that’s why, I’m a mild peat freak not a complete? I felt that this one looked kind of like ditchwater…well lightly muddy anyway, The Whisky Lounge reckoned ‘golden straw’. To me it smelt like autumn piles of wet leaves (which I found encouraging), others thought ‘ cinnamon and aniseed along with juicy citrus and smoke’. It tasted though, like seawater burning and finished with a campfire on the beach and I felt it was just too salty, I got the distinct impression from the Whisky Guy that this was proof of my unsophisticated whisky palate, but as I remarked to my Whisky Friend earlier today I need to add tastes in a palette to my palate! Well, I thought it was clever. In anycase The Whisky Lounge describes this is ‘ Full and bold with a restraint and complexity lacking from earlier bottlings’ with a ‘long and minty’ finish.

Anyway to round the evening off I made a new friend, my Whisky Friend was attracted by my ‘I’m Blogging This’ t-shirt and is (of course) part of the computer science department at the uni. We’ve been nattering over LJ and Fb today. It’s been fun.

11 thoughts on “Whisky

  1. "Ceyline" == Saline?
    At first I thought it could be a typo in reference to tea from Sri Lanka, but now I realise his spelling can be a bit shit.

    And the Laphroaig he put on offer was not the normal, over-the-counter, commonly loved 10-y-o single malt, but a more intense specialist bottling, as is typical of the Whisky Lounge offerings.

    Great writeup, though. Mine’ll take a lot longer to post, as usual.

    In any case, I’m damned glad I asked for your URL.

  2. What-ho flower,

    Could you send me details of the kundalini yoga class? I’m intrigued, and could actually make some Monday mornings!


  3. Ahh saline…yes, yes that suddenly makes sense.

    Glad to have a new reader! Can’t wait to read your write-up of the night.

  4. Out of that listing, I’d jump for the Lagavulin with both hands – and I love Laphroaig. Lagavulin’s just miles beyond it.

    My father’s currently waving around some fantastic first-pressing sherry-cask stuff the Whisky Society noised abroad – a lovely little thing, but probably impossible to get hold of more of. When I have the finances to make it reasonable, I’ll be subscribing.

  5. "…her palate is a lot more sophisticated than mine…"

    Now I know you’re taking the piss.
    It all tasted like varying degrees of burnt pain, to me. The bacon rashers and Marmite was quite prevalent in some of the samples, however.

  6. I think it must be. It strikes me that getting to love and know whisky is about getting used to, and learning how to distinguish between the sensation and physical presence of it in the mouth – on the tongue and lips. It’s not a feeling I particularly enjoyed and my stomach took a bit of a lurch every time it burnt its way down my gullet. My tastes for alky-ma-holl tend to run down the cheap-and-sweet line.

    And Marmite is proper classy! You can even get the stuff with champagne in these days 🙂

Leave a Reply