I just took a look at the March edition of “Coming Soon..” and man, that’s from another universe. It was business as usual; no sign of what was coming. In addition to whisky reviews I was going to finish up my reports of restaurant outings in Goa and Calcutta in January and post a bunch of Twin Cities reports as well. A month later, I’ve barely left the house in the last three weeks and I have no idea when we’ll ever eat at a restaurant again. We have hit up a couple of our favourite places for takeout but at my most paranoid—or it it my most responsible?—I wonder if even that will seem untenable in the near future. And while I posted the usual number of whisky reviews in March, most of those were notes taken before the virus hit the fan. Since the middle of the month I’ve been finding it difficult to summon the energy to write tasting notes. And with the entire family working/going to school from home for the foreseeable future, things are a little chaotic all around. But routines preserve us, I guess and so I’m going to try to keep getting back on the blog horse. I hope to have the usual complement of whisky reviews this month. I am going to try to finally finish up with the Goa and Calcutta reports—if only to remember a time when going out into the world seemed normal. I’ll have more recipes too, as well as some more things that will further alienate my whisky-only readership. You’re welcome! Continue reading
This month I might finally finish up my endless series of the K&L exclusive casks I seem to have been reviewing for the last three years. I also have a few bottle splits of some Whisky Barrel exclusives on hand, as well as a few others I’ve been threatening to review for a while now. Not sure if I’ll get to all of the K&L and Whisky Barrel casks but there are a few bottles in the list below that I will be writing up for sure: a few whiskies that I opened the week I turned 50. Everything else is up for grabs so if there’s something that interests you, please write in as usual. On the food front I’ll be finishing up my Goa reports and hopefully my Calcutta reports as well. In between there’ll be some reports from the Twin Cities as well. Continue reading
As our time in India comes to an end here is a look ahead to February on the blog. On the food front there will be a lot of reports from this trip. I still have about five reports to come from Delhi, about eight from Goa and then a few from Calcutta. I do have a few in the backlog from the Twin Cities but it’s entirely possible we won’t eat out for at least a month after we get back home—this has been an excessive four weeks of eating. On the whisky front I will try to finally finish up with my reviews of the recent run of K&L exclusives. I’m sure K&L staff—who seem to have a lot of time to spend on policing reviews of their whiskies online—will be very pleased with my opinions. Other than those, the long list of possible reviews includes mostly a bunch of things that have been on the list for a few month and some bottles that I’ve been planning to open for a while. And there are a couple of brandies and a rum on there too. Let me know if there are any you’d like to nominate to the shortlist. Continue reading
In last year’s version of this post I noted that 2018 had been the busiest year thus far on the blog by some distance with both page views and the unique visitor count going up over 2017. Well, 2019 was busier still: page views went up by 24% over 2018 and unique visitors rose 13%. The chief interest of those new visitors, however, I suspect was different than in years past. I suspect that 2019 was the year in which this became more of a food than whisky blog, at least from the point of view of the majority of visitors. Yes, there were more food than whisky posts in my year-end top 10 rankings by page views last year as well but in 2019 there was only one whisky post in the top 10 (the perennially popular discussion of Glendronach’s “single cask” shenanigans) and only eight in the top 50! Given that this coincided with the number of unique visitors rising as well, I suspect it’s less the case that the whisky readers have gone away than that there are just a lot more food readers now. For what it’s worth, I still think of this as a whisky and food blog, in that order, and the number of whisky reviews per week/month/year has remained constant for a number of years now. If that’s what you’re most interested in, that’s not going away. Continue reading
Here is a brief list of things that I think you could give people that they would be very happy to receive. Only some of these things were published or produced in 2019. Why restrict yourself to strict novelty when what you want to do is buy people things they will like? The list includes things to listen to (children’s music); things to read (cookbooks and more); things to cook with (knives and pans); and things to drink (whisky mostly) . Some of these things are made by friends of mine (and are marked accordingly). The things that are linked to Amazon will make me a small commission if you purchase them there. I feel dirty about this as I am not a fan of Amazon’s business practices, but I also have no other way of trying to generate a little bit of money to support the web-hosting costs of this blog. Nonetheless, I have not linked the recommended books available from American publishers to Amazon—if you have an independent bookstore in your town, I am sure they would be happy to order it for you. Or you can click on the links below and get them shipped to you from our town’s excellent bookstore, Content Books, who ship cheaply all over the United States and to Canada, and apparently also to Hungary. Continue reading
Well, the year’s almost over. It’s the end of a decade as well, I guess, but I don’t have a month of reviews of 10 yo whiskies planned. (Or should it be a parade of 10-19 yo whiskies?) Instead, I have my usual grab bag. Less usually, I have a fair number of actually available and/or recently released whiskies in the mix. Through bottle splits I acquired a large parcel of K&L’s recent exclusives and seven of them show up on the list this month. There’s also the new batch of the Springbank 12 CS, which is doing the rounds in American stores and this year’s Ardbeg Day release, the Drum. The rest are mostly my normal mix of irrelevancies. Let me know which of these catch your eye and I will try to get to them. There were some nominees from November’s list that are still un-reviewed—those will probably get priority. Beyond the booze I’ll keep to my schedule of weekly Minnesota restaurant reviews and recipes. There’s even a chance that a certain book review I’ve been threatening for the better part of the year will finally get written. Let’s see how it goes. Continue reading
October, 2019 may have been the month when this finally became a food blog more than a whisky blog. I don’t mean in terms of how I see it or what I post but in terms of what the blog’s readership indicates. The top 10 most-read posts this past month were food posts, either restaurant reviews or recipes. In fact, 15 out of the top 20 most-read posts were food posts. (Which were the five booze-related posts that snuck into the top 20? Port Charlotte 13, 2001, Millstone 100, Ben Nevis McDonald’s Traditional, Glen Scotia 12, and Longmorn 36, 1976.) And, of course, there are fewer and fewer comments each month on my whisky reviews. This is not very surprising. If I take my own reading habits as representative it would appear that interest in reading about whisky online has flagged considerably in recent years. ScotchWhisky.com announced its shutdown in October; I was disappointed but not shocked. I barely read any whisky sites these days—a far cry from a time just a few years ago when my morning routine involved checking in on a number of whisky blogs. Frankly, the state of the Scotch whisky industry makes it hard to stay excited—rising prices and high concept whiskies seem to be the only constants these days. I’m going to keep on doing what I do: three booze reviews a week but whisky readers, if you’re still out there and still interested, send me a sign. Continue reading
Another month, another look ahead to reviews and such on the blog. As the king of empty promises let me lead by saying that this will DEFINITELY be the month when I will finally get around to that review of Indian-(ish) that I’ve been threatening since May. Look for it any day now or maybe in December. Of 2020. But seriously, I am going to do it: I’ve begun to draft it in my head and only need to find a couple of hours in a row to sit down and type it up. Speaking of finishing things, I posted the last of my DC meal reports last month. I was hoping to get done with the New York reports this month but there are still quite a few of those to go and so they’ll likely trickle into November. They’ll be interspersed with Twin Cities Metro reports as usual and maybe a recipe or two. And, of course, booze. Though I’m not sure if I really have much of a booze following anymore—does anyone still read whisky blogs?—I will be keeping up my usual schedule of three reviews a week: mostly whisky, some brandy.
We’re back home in Minnesota after a couple of weeks on the East Coast, and gearing up for the start of the busy season at work. Life on the blog will continue as normal. I have a lot of food reports yet to come from DC and New York—those will probably spill over into October. Alas, I did not have the opportunity in either city to visit any whisky bars, so no reports on anything like that: we were too tired every evening after full days of museums etc. We walked an average of five miles a day on the trip (the boys slept very well each night and so did we). I will, however, have the usual complement of spirits reviews: three per week, mostly whisky, some brandy. The long list of potential reviews is below, as per usual. Take a look and if anything catches your eye please nominate it to the shortlist. I was hoping to get to the new Laphroaig Cairdeas in August but didn’t have time to look for a bottle. I still don’t have my hands on one but expect to rectify that shortly. So that will be coming for sure(ish). Everything else is up for grabs. Continue reading
August is here, summer is almost over. It’s going to be a busy month for us, however. We’ll be spending most of the second half of the month on the east coast, visiting first DC and then New York. The agenda is mostly to take the boys to the major museums and other big tourist sites but I’m not averse to checking out a whisky bar or two if the opportunity presents itself. So if you have any recommendations reasonably close to the Convention Center in DC or within easy reach of the Upper Westside in New York, please make them below. Please also, as usual, look at the long list of potential reviews below and nominate to the short list any you’d particularly like to see reviewed. On the food front I will be wrapping up my reports from Canada in June and the North Shore in early July and maybe I’ll have another Twin Cities report or two before we leave town as well. And, who knows, I may even get around to posting my review of Priya Krishna’s Indian(-ish). I checked and I’ve actually been threatening that since May…
The summer is the slow season on whisky blogs but a) I have a lot of samples to get through and bottles to open and b) I’m not sure if this is really a whisky blog anymore—my food posts seem to get a far larger readership these days. Be that as it may, I will be posting the usual schedule of three whisky/spirits reviews a week in July; I will, of course, also have a lot of food-related posts: I’m going to power through my remaining Montreal and Toronto posts this month. And I’ve just discovered that I actually have a couple of restaurant reports left over from our trip to Scotland last June (from Orkney and the Highlands)! There’ll be some Minnesota reviews too, as we’ll be taking advantage of the free babysitting provided by my parents who are visiting from Delhi. And I promise that I will finally post my long-threatened review of Priya Krishna’s Indian (-ish), if only to get those of you who keep asking me about it off my back—yes, I know I promised it last month as well, what’s your point? Continue reading
The best part about June is that Game of Thrones is over and I no longer have any of Diageo’s Game of Thrones malts to review. I liked some of those but, on the whole, the set was underwhelming and I grew to regret having announced that I would review them all. Yes, I know, no one is going to hold me to a contract but I do like to honour the constraints I place on myself. There were a few requests from last month’s long list that I did not get to, and I’ll try my best to cover all of those this month. If there is anything else in addition that grabs your fancy please write in below.
On the food front, I will be done next week with my Los Angeles reviews from our trip in December. I’ll have some Twin Cities reports in the next couple of weeks. After that I’ll be in Toronto and Montreal for a week on work and you can expect some more Canadian entries. Beyond restaurant reviews my long-threatened review of Priya Krishna’s cookbook, Indian (-ish) will be up soon and I hope to get as well to a piece I’ve been mulling for a while on the place of so-called “ethnic” food in the mainstream foodie ecosystem. And maybe I’ll have another recipe or two as well. Continue reading
Another month, another look ahead to what’s coming on the blog. Game of Thrones comes to an end this month and so too will my reviews of Diageo’s Game of Thrones malts. I’ve already reviewed three of them (Lannister, Stark and Greyjoy) and will have reviews of two more after each of the next two episodes and then the final three to close out the series after the show’s finale on May 18. I’ll have other whisky reviews too, of course, and probably another couple of brandy reviews—and you can, as usual, nominate to the short list things you’re particularly interested in from the long list below. On the food front I will finally close out my Delhi and Los Angeles restaurant reports from late December and early January, sprinkling a few Twin Cities reports among those. And I will finally post the third installment in my series of posts reviewing the coverage of Indian food writing in the American media. The topic: the seemingly renewed currency of family-based narratives in talking about Indian food. I’ll also be reviewing Priya Krishna’s new cookbook, Indian (-ish), which has been getting a lot of coverage recently. And I may once again post a recipe or two of my own. Continue reading
Be careful, people: today is April 1, the day every year that comedy goes to whisky blogs to die. It’s also the day when I tell you what might be coming on the blog in April and ask you to nominate booze reviews you’d particularly like to see from the long list to the shortlist. I got to almost everything that was requested in March and will get to to the leftover requests for sure this month. As you may recall, I lied terribly in last month’s version of this post. I said there’d be a lot of brandy reviews and then I reviewed only one. I’ll probably have another couple this month and maybe some rum too. But I will definitely have some Game of Thrones whisky reviews. I went in on a bottle split of the entire lineup and am planning to review one each week, starting with the premiere of the final season. While it’s a given therefore that there’ll be three Game of Thrones whisky reviews this month you can still help me decide which three I should do first. On the food front, I will get done with my reviews of my December meals in Delhi month and make a big dent in the Los Angeles reports as well. Continue reading