Compedium of Scottish events

Posted by Leo | Posted in | Posted on 23:45

OK, here is a compedium of photos from my whisky tour so far that may or may not be relevant.

Here I am at Kilchoman with the malting room and kiln in the background. The malted barley is taken up to the kiln by series of buckets attached to a conveyor belt. I never did get up to the kiln floor!

Here is the kiln floor at Laphroaig. The malted barley is spread over the floor and dried with peat smoke first and then heated air to stop the malting. A very interesting room! Lets just say, I bet the Germans felt uncomfortable!!
(Don't mention the war!)

Interestingly, here is a closeup of the kiln floor. It has elongated slits that allow the lovely peat smoke and hot air to dry the malted barley but they are narrow enough that the barley doesn't drop down into the kiln. Now you just don't see that sort of thing every day!

This is outside the Bruichladdich distillery, relaxing on one of my afternoons off.
Behind me is off the old spirit stills that has been retire. I wonder if I can send it back home. I might come on hand for my home distilling operation I want to set up. Now that I have the insider knowledge, it's only a matter of time before I set up my own operation. Properly! Not with some dodgy wood chips!

Here I am at Machrie golf club on Islay have a little bit of Bunker troub. Made an excellent recovery I must say. I bought 8 balls thinking that would be enough and Laura from Kilchoman had an Aunt working at the club so they got me free clubs.

Unfortunately by the 17th I lost my last ball. On the tee of all places. The rough in this case is not it's ironical name. Even if you saw the ball go in you could not find it. And there were so many blind tee shot it was impossible though still great fun. I hired an electric cart for speed and sheer entertainment value, especially as I was one of only 5 people on the course!!

As a side not there is also an excellent selection of whiskies at the clubhouse.

I planted a New Zealand flag for my godson and I on our plots of land at the friends of laphroaig peat field.
(More like just a paddock really) The main tennants of the field seem to be swedish. Something about Laphroaig and the Swedes seems to gel for some reason.

Still who cares!

More follow later!!!

What in the WWF is it??

Posted by Leo | Posted in , , | Posted on 09:31

Saw this out the window flying 10500m above the Gobi desert (Mongolia\China). I had to tweek the colors a little as it was a liitle bland at that height. Beats the hell out of me!! I just have to know. TELL ME!!

Activities at Kilchoman

Posted by Leo | Posted in , , | Posted on 07:18

Well day two on Islay saw me turn up at Kilchoman in the morning to see what interesting tasks they had in store for me. As it turns out we were straight to the malting floor! It was time to send the malted barley to the kiln to be dried with the lovely peat smoke. I spent the morning shovelling the barley into the chute that carries it up to the kiln. We used special wooden shovels that make the job a bit easier apparently!

Here is a picture of the malted barley. It is quite damp at this stage and tends to clump together making it a little difficult to evacuate.

After the malting floor was cleared, we grabbed a single barrel (232), distilled in 2006, loaded it into the trailer and took it to Bruichladdich for bottling. Yes you heard me, I was involved in a single cask bottling of a Kilchoman whisky barrel!! Bloody marvelous! Bruichladdich has a bottling machine that fills 4 bottles at one time. I worked that for a while and corked and labeled bottles as well. On the right you can see me wheeling a huge tub of tasty 3yo whisky to fill up the bottling reservoir. I can tell you it took all my willpower not to strip nekkid and go for a swim in that tasty amber liquid. All in all we got 252.5 bottles of salubrious whisky that are headed to France somewhere.

Did I mention I love whisky?

The eagle has landed!

Posted by Leo | Posted in , | Posted on 07:30

Well so begins my pilgrimage to the home tasty tasty whisky!! I flew in to Islay airport at 15:10 today. It was a gloriously sunny day, as befitting my illustrious presence on the Island ;-)
It took 28 hours in the air and many more waiting around but in the end it was well worth it

Flying in was fantastic we flew in a big loop around Jura and the south coast of Islay and I plainly saw each of the southern distilleries from the air. Awesome!!

I picked up my poxy little automatic Ford fiesta :-( from the airport and drove for 10min into downtown (or village) Bowmore. I checked into the Bowmore hotel and went out for a stroll round the village. The distillery was closed as it is Sunday but the whisky store was open. They have a lot of fine whisky, but I held off buying any bottles as I wanted to see what was available at the distilleries.

I start my work experience at Kilchoman tomorrow at 9:30am. I am still not 100% sure how to get there but I'm sure it will work itself out. Then off to Bowmore distillery and Lagavulin. I can't wait to taste that lovely whisky.

Also as a side note, it seems hard liquor is available in Islay supermarkets. The above bottle is 'cooperative' brand premium scotch whisky. Yes you heard it here first!! Supermarket brand whisky. Yay for Scotland and yay for Islay!!!

Dramfest Islay!! - Regional Wines & Spirits

Posted by Leo | Posted in , , , | Posted on 22:18

What : Whisky Tasting - Dramfest Islay
When : Wednesday 26th August 2009

Where : Regional Wines and Spirits, Wellington
Who : 27 crazed Whisky fans including my friends, Ian and Donna and of course, yours truly
Why : To sample some of the finest Islay whiskies ever made.

Dramfest Islay, mmmm.. makes me thirsty just saying those words. As you will recall, in May we attended 'Dramfest Obscura'. Dramfest Obscura celebrated some of the standout non-Islay whiskies from the Bi-yearly 'Dramfest' whisky festival in Christchurch New Zealand.

As you have no doubt already deduced, this followup tasting includes the standout ISLAY whiskies from that glorious event. Why would you dedicate a "Dramfest tasting" to single region like Islay??? SHUT UP!! The best whiskies in the whole world are made on that small island off the west coast of Scotland. There are none better!

Possibly why am travelling there on the 13th of September to work at a distillery for a week.

As per usual it was a blind tasting, with 7 whiskies including one mystery malt.

The Malts were as follows:

Malt : Bruichladdich Octomore 01.1, 63.5% ABV, 131ppm peat, (6000 bottles) , 5yo
Score: 8.13

Malt : Port Charlotte PC7, bottle 12460 of 24000, 61% ABV, 7yo, non chill filtered or coloured
Score: 9.16

Malt : Bruichladdich 2001, bottle 5223 of 24000, 46% ABV, non chill filtered or coloured
Score : 7.18

Malt : Kilchoman New Spirit, 61% ABV, 50ppm peat, 2yo, sherry cask, Optic barley
Score : 8.65

Malt : Ardbeg Supernova, 58.9% ABV, 100ppm peat, non chill filtered, Limited release
Score : 8.44

Malt : Duncan Taylor - Bowmore 25yo, 55.8% ABV, cask 85063, bottle 88 of 166
Score : 7.94

Malt : Lagavulin 16yo, 43% ABV, MYSTERY
Score : 8.51

Highs and Lows

Find of the night - Kilchoman, New Spirit. So tasty at only two years old! Beautiful!

Surprise of the night - Not picking the Lagavulin as the mystery.

What a wonderful selection of whiskies! Definitely the highlight of the year so far. I love the cask strength Islays and especially the Kilchoman (not technically whisky). I just want to drink them all!

I picked well on the evening, getting 5/7 correct, especially since Ian only picked 1/7. And I must say I was feeling somewhat superior until Donna picked 7/7. Ok, yes my ego was a little bruised given all the research hours I have put in tasting whisky but I think I'm just about over it (maybe). As the only attendee to pick 7/7 she won the remainder of the bottle of Octomore. Great prize!

All in all a damn good whisky related activity.

Roll on Best of the Best in November!