Touring Talisker, Summer 2017

As I said on Wednesday, our trip to Scotland was not centered on whisky. We spent most of our time out and about, on and by lochs, up and down hills, on beaches and roads, and inside and outside castles. But I’m not going to be posting about that stuff on the blog. What you’re going to get here is going to be strictly whisky and food, giving you the impression that the trip was in fact very whisky-centered. I’m going to start with Skye even though it wasn’t our first stop. Nor was Talisker the first distillery I visited in Scotland; but it was the first I toured.  Continue reading

A Map of Scotland

If you’re like me there’s nothing you enjoy more than hearing stories about other people’s vacations and looking at their photographs of the things they saw and did. Well, you’re in luck! I just got back from a 10 day trip to Scotland and over the next few weeks I’m going to go on about it in nauseating detail. And so that you can plan your life accordingly, I am going to first give you a sense of what to expect from these posts; a road map, if you will, or more in keeping with our trip experience, a bit of Sat Nav guidance (generally, but not always, accurate).  Continue reading

Street Art in East London

There is no denying that I am a lazy bastard. I am not a fan of exercise. This is because exercise is boring. When at home (which is most of the time) I take my dogs for a walk every day—a mile or so at a time—but if not for them I wouldn’t be likely to do it. Nor, unlike some of my friends, am I drawn to walking through the woods or prairie landscapes in/around our little town. But put me in an interesting city and watch me go. I’ve walked miles in Montreal on my two visits (see here, for example) and in London I’m averaging somewhere between 3-4 miles a day and often not in sensible shoes. In fact, I’ve been going out of my way to walk. Such, for example, was the bit of extended perambulation—or flaneurie, if you will—that led to the rather haphazard collection of images of street art in this post.  Continue reading

London Whisky: Berry Bros. & Rudd

Here is the third in my deranged series of reports from this extended trip of some of London’s best known whisky stores, and the fourth overall (the two previous reports covered the Whisky Exchange and Royal Mile Whiskies and the Vintage House). The first entry was made last August. That gallery focused on Cadenhead’s, Milroy’s of Soho and Hedonism Wines. I had in fact also gone to Berry Bros. & Rudd on that trip but due to an unfortunately timed water pipe leak their spirits section was closed at the time. And so I was resolved to go back on this trip. I’d expected to go in earlier and do a lot of my shopping there for the bottles I am drinking while in London but for one reason or the other didn’t make it in till yesterday. Herewith my discoveries.  Continue reading

London Whisky: Royal Mile Whiskies + The Vintage House

Allow me to continue with my series of deranged posts filled with images taken in London shops. A few weeks ago I posted a large number of pictures taken at the Whisky Exchange store in Covent Garden (this followed a post from last summer that featured a number of other prominent London whisky stores). And a week and a half ago I posted a large number of pictures of Paxton & Whitfield, a major London cheese shop. This week it’s back to whisky and this time I have a twofer: pictures of the London outpost of Royal Mile Whiskies in Bloomsbury and of the Vintage House in Soho. Continue reading

London Whisky: The Whisky Exchange

Last summer I visited a few prominent whisky stores in London (and wrote them up). Thanks to stupidity I did not make it to the Whisky Exchange. For some reason—probably the fault of Florin, Prince of Persia—I came to believe their store was closed on Sundays when it is not, and so I didn’t stop in even though I was right in Covent Garden for lunch on a Sunday. That omission is now being set right with a dedicated photo collage of their Covent Garden store. Located right off the Strand on Bedford St., this store is dangerously within walking distance of our flat and I’ve already contrived to walk by it twice and stop in. On both occasions I have purchased a bottle (Glenfarclas 15 on the first occasion and a bottle of their own Elements of Islay Lg6 on the second) and on both occasions I have confused the staffers by taking many pictures of the store: they either think I’m mad or casing the joint or both. Thus do I sacrifice my dignity for you, my ungrateful readers.  Continue reading

London Whisky

Milroy's of Soho
I’ve been in London for little over a week. By the time most of you will read this—Wordpress stats tells me that most of my readership is in the US—I will be in a plane flying back to Minnesota. Instead of putting up another London restaurant review—believe me, there’ll be quite a few more in the coming weeks—I thought I’d put up a gallery of images of and in some of London’s major whisky stores. If you’re like me before this trip you may have wondered what these stores whose names we know actually look like. If so, here’s a peek at Cadenhead’s, Milroy’s, Berry Bros. & Rudd, and Hedonism Wines. Continue reading

Scenes from Some Whisky Tastings, 3rd Ed. (Sketches by Stephanie Cox)

I am very pleased to be able to once again feature some sketches by my talented friend, Stephanie Cox. Stephanie is a core member of our local whisky tasting group and while the rest of us chatter idly between sips she usually sketches us on her iPad, or when battery runs out, on paper. These are very informally made sketches but they capture the atmosphere of our tastings quite well, I think, if not my inner beauty. (If you haven’t seen her other sketches click here and here–the first link also has a detailed description of how our tastings work.)  Continue reading

Scenes from a Whisky Tasting

And now for something completely different. When my blog was very new I posted a gallery of sketches made by my talented friend, Stephanie Cox at our local group’s whisky tastings. These sketches were all made on Stephanie’s iPad and do a wonderful job, I think, of capturing the atmosphere at our tastings–though I think they fail to capture my inner beauty or the soothing effect I have on others. Here is another set of sketches. These were all made at our most recent tasting a couple of weeks ago. In case you’re interested, these are the whiskies we drank that night (1 oz of each, blind for everyone but me): Hibiki 12, A.D. Rattray Glen Ord 12, Signatory UCF Glenlivet 15 and Laphroaig Cairdeas 2013, Port Wood. The Glen Ord was the consensus favourite on the night.

Here is what we looked like while drinking them. Continue reading

Of Weddings, Birthdays and Whisky

The road of excess, I quipped the other day to my old friend William Blake, leads to the palace of wisdom. He looked at me resentfully and jotted something down in his little notebook. I assume he was being a dick because he didn’t have an invitation to a gathering in St. Paul on Friday that featured a lineup of whiskies that would have cleansed anyone’s doors of perception and made everything appear to Man as it is, Infinite (that’s a reference to another little gem I tossed off a few weeks ago). Where was I? Right, the road of excess leading to a gathering in St. Paul this past Friday.

But let’s back up a little first.  Continue reading

Scenes from Some Whisky Tastings

In lieu of a fresh tasting note today (I have a long day and then a long evening ahead) here are some sketches by my friend Stephanie Cox of our local whisky tasting group. All sketches are used with permission of the artist and of those represented in the sketches. Use of these images without permission of the artist is forbidden and will lead to the disintegration of the corks in your most prized bottles.  Continue reading