Archive for the 'Booze' Category


Superlative Whisky

For now, this may very well be the oldest, available single malt one can by. The fine folks at Master of Malt seem to be able to work wonders and this is likely no exception.

Mortlach 70 Bottling Note

What can we say – this is now officially the world’s oldest whisky at a barely believable 70 years of age. Stunningly presented, immaculately matured – this is the absolute epitome of all that old whisky can be.

Mortlach 70 Tasting Note

Appearance: The colour of sun-bleached polished mahogany.

Aroma: A mellow nose, at once waxy and fruity; candlewax to the fore initially, which becomes snuffed candle (a thread of smoke), with Maraschino cherries in Madeira cake behind, and after a while an orangey citric note – fresh and juicy, becoming apricot jam. Flaked almonds and whin flowers, becoming light coconut oil.

Taste: Surprisingly lively tasted straight. A smooth, waxy mouthfeel; a sweetish start becoming moderately dry, but not overly-tannic. Dried fig and tobacco notes, and an intriguing light smokiness. A long finish and, for the first time, a hint of planed hardwood in the aftertaste. With a teaspoon of water, the smooth texture in enhanced. The fresh, light sweetness becoming pleasantly sour (‘Soor Plooms’), with sooty smoke in the finish.

Comment: Remarkable! No trace of damp wood or must or bung cloth – a delicate, fresh, vital, fruity whisky, but with unusual attributes of waxiness and smokiness – uncommon today, more usual before the 1960s.

A mere £9999 per 70cl bottle…


Service Industry Lessons

The epic movie Lonesome Dove had its moments. One of the best was this little lesson on customer interaction in the food service industry…


Drunken Ingenuity


Halt Your Malt

I’m a big fan of single malt whisky. So much so that I can seriously count the several waves of popularity and indifference this libation has received over the years… all as I keep on with my amber addiction. I’m proud to say that I have had the good fortune to enjoy many 100’s, if not 1,000’s, of expressions of Scotland’s finest (and not so yummy) malts. While the selection that is available in the US (and the Houston area in particular) is pretty good, there are significant gaps between what I would like to try and what I can get my hands on. Enter Master of Malt. Brora’s and Mortlach’s and birthyear Scotches… Oh My! And the prices are pretty darned good, too. I urge you to browse their site. If you find something you like, order it! And tell ’em Jeff sent ya…


Summer Slacking

I’m a Scotch kinda guy. But it’s summer, and it’s Texas, and it’s hot and humid. So I was looking for some lighter fare. Now I do like to experiment with exotic rums. Lot’s of interesting flavor to be found if one is willing to stay away from cola during the process. Most cheap rum is made from molasses or other syrupy goo. The real thing is made from cane sugar; all cane.

It begins with pure sugar canes. Each bottle is crafted with the finest handpicked canes, grown from rich Trinidadian soil, water and beautiful sunlight. Created from the first pressing of Virgin Cane. Individual canes handled ever so carefully, then double distilled to bring out their natural flavor. A decadence unachievable with molasses. Pure sugar canes, in one bottle that finds its way to you. 10Cane is the most extraordinary rum earth has ever seen. Untouched, light, smooth. It’s how rum was supposed to be.

Not a bad label hype, eh? The stuff does taste different than the cheapo rum and Coke of your youth. This stuff stands on its own with a few cubes but doesn’t weigh too heavy in the heat. Oh, and it makes a fantastic Mojito.


A Confluence of Aroma

“You smell that? Do you smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” Wav file.

Mmmm… Latakia.

So I was watching Apocalypse Now last night on the new TV thing. I was going for the full on effect. I finally was able to display the movie in a widescreen format that was big enough to view with comfort, I had the surround sound thing engaged (sub-woofers on stun…), the comfy chair centered, a double Caol Ila poured, a pipe stoked and ready, and the rest of the family banished to other parts of the house while Daddy watched his “war movie”. The pipe was by Jody Davis and the tobacco was something that would only invite jealousy, so I’ll not paint with that much detail.

So, I’m settled in and it sounds like the helicopters are buzzing me and I can hear rocket fire and small arms going off, and I’m sipping and puffing. There’s a thin blue haze that you can see through the light thrown off by the TV in the darkened room. Lt. Colonel Kilgore is squatting on the beach in Vietnam, chaos surrounding him. His cavalry stetson is pristine and perfect and he is establishing his love for the smell of burnt gasoline. At that point, my fragrant pipe sours just a bit. The Latakia and Virginias that have been marrying for several decades turn sour and I could have sworn that *I* smelled and tasted gasoline. In a flash, it was over. HD is really good…


Garden & Gun Magazine

Why didn’t I find this magazine earlier???? “Garden & Gun is a Southern lifestyle magazine that is all about the magic of the New South – the sporting culture, the food, the music, the art, the literature, the people, and the ideas. It espouse a strong conservation ethic that grows out of its connection to the land, and it revels in the beauty of the South as no magazine ever has.”

Any magazine that can combine flowers, sporting clays shotguns, whisky, barbeque, coastal culture, and the importance of charm will get my subscription!


A State Cocktail?

The Sazerac cocktail is one of those quintessential New Orleans experiences. A freight train wreck of flavors that is just dang good. You shouldn’t have them all the time, though. Save them for special occasions. They are that good. So good, in fact, that there was legislation pending in the state of Louisiana to name the Sazerac as the state cocktail. It did not pass.



Look like anyone you know?


Bring On The Terroiristes

Borrowed emphatically from The Economist

An oenological wish-list for the drinking season
For the beleaguered winemakers of France, threats come in many guises. One French grower complained that each bottle of New World wine that lands in Europe is a “bomb targeted at the heart of our rich European culture”. But few things agitate French winemakers more than other winemakers’ unspeakable irreverence towards the terroir, the mix of soil and climate found in the place where a vine is grown. The strength of feeling is so great that the country even has its own breed of, er, terroiristes. A group of masked, militant French winemakers has attacked foreign tankers of wine, bricked up a public building and caused small explosions at supermarkets.

Now France’s balaclava-clad winemakers have a new horror to see off: transgenic wine. Scientists have unpicked the genetic secrets of pinot noir, the grape that produces some of the world’s finest wines and also contributes to some blends of champagne (see article). It turns out to be the offspring of two very different parent varieties—they have less genetic material in common, in fact, than humans do with chimpanzees. The researchers’ findings, which cast light on the origins of pinot noir’s subtle flavours, will make it easier to engineer new varieties that can grow in places where cultivation is impractical today. Efforts to create transgenic grapevines are well advanced, and transgenic wine yeasts are already starting to appear in American winemaking.

Alas, those working on transgenic vines have failed to heed the lessons of earlier GM-food fiascos. They are creating what the producers want (disease-resistant grapevines) rather than making tweaks that also appeal to consumers.

What sort of traits might consumers want, you ask? More reliable flavours for one thing. No longer need you doubt whether a wine truly does possess flavours of exotic coffee, chocolate, Asian spice, roast duck and blackberry and prune liqueur. Genes from those very animals and plants could be spliced straight into the grape’s genome. Forget hours spent swilling, swirling, sniffing, gurgling and spitting—it will all be there in black and white, in the sequence data.

From Saint-Amour to Viagra

Why should sauvignon blanc be stuck with boring old gooseberry and cabernet sauvignon with cassis? Genomics could beget some novel wine flavours and combinations to ensure the wine really does go with the food: pinot noir with cranberries, pork, and sage and onion stuffing, perhaps.

And why stop there? It would surely be wise to boost the levels of wine’s beneficial ingredients and add a few more for good measure. Consistent amounts of resveratrol, quercetin and ellagic acid will help improve cardiovascular health and may even confirm what the French have known all along—that drinking red wine is good for you.

A gene for producing acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin, would help to prevent heart attacks and blood clots. You could get your doctor to supply your daily half-bottle by prescription. The aspirin’s analgesic effect would head off hangovers before they even started. Caffeine could be added to keep drinkers awake during boring dinner parties. And it may even be possible to insert a gene to produce sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra. For many men that would help to prevent the ultimate wine-induced humiliation.

The possibilities are endless—all that is needed is a little imagination. Too bad if all this leads to an outbreak of militant shrugging among the good vintners of Burgundy. Times have changed. Scientists have a clear duty. Following the lead of many world leaders, they must make it clear that they are not willing to negotiate with anyone who supports terroirisme.