Showing posts from November, 2015

[Review] Caol Ila - 19 year old Old Malt Cask 50%

As my birthday was last week, I decided to treat myself on Saturday night with a ticket to the Whisky shop Old and Rare tasting session. £40 (members' discount included) sounds a bit steep, but we ended up trying whiskies I would not buy or if I did, I'm not sure I would dare open. I will write about it in more detail in a future post but the reason why I mentioned it is that I didn't leave the evening empty-handed... I have been looking for an independent single-cask bottling of Caol Ila for a while. I looked into some of the Gordon and MacPhail bottling including the 2004 cask strength but decided to wait and see what else was available, particularly for slightly older Caol Ila. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Caol Ila is one of my favourite distilleries and when I realised the Whisky shop had just received a new addition to their stock, I thought I had to give it a try. It wasn't on the list of the Old and Rare we tried and looking online, there isn't anythi

[Review] Bunnahabhain - 12 years 46.3%

Bunnahabhain is a distillery I came across whist pursuing my Islay investigation. It isn't amongst the first bottles of single malt I bought as it never came up on my "peat radar". Of course, the distillery is found on Islay, but the Bunnahabhain taste is far away from the peat-monsters from the South.  I remember calling in at the Whisky shop Manchester last year and talking to the people there about Islay distilleries and other higher-than-average ppm producers before mentioning my desire to expand the range of flavours I was exposing my palate to. Bunnahabhain is one of the first names which came up in the conversation. I had read about their whisky but never tried it. The guys at the shop didn't have the standard 12 -which they recommended I tried- but they treated me to a small dram of the 25 year old... and boy what a treat! A lot of dried fruit richness, sweet raisins and spices. Incredible! I thought I definitely had to try the 12, which I found a few days

[Food] Laphroaig Quarter Cask salmon spaghetti

Being French, wine has always been around as I was growing up, particularly at mealtime and I learnt from my parents a few simple rules regarding the pairing of food and wine: red with meat and cheese, white with fish and seafood and rosé with salades. Obviously, you must go a step further with the type of wine you choose depending on the type of dish you are planning on serving. Wine -both red and white- was also involved in cooking, as well as some spirits, in cakes particularly (Kirsh, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Cognac are amongst the few names which spring to mind) However whisky has never been part of the list of alcohol I ever associated with cooking or even food in general. The first time I realised it was something that could be done was during my visit of the Dalwhinnie distillery about 9 years ago now. I remember vividly asking our tour guide at the end of the visit, in front of the sign detailing the range of the "Classic Malts", what is your favourite Whisky to dr

[Review] Kilchoman - Machir Bay 2014 46%

Another post for peat lovers today. I was recommended this distillery by Rowan in the Whisky shop Manchester after a long chat about Islay peaty drams a few months ago. At the time, they didn't have it on the shelves but I ended up coming across the bottle in Marks and Spencer a couple of weeks later and decided to give it a try. Kilchoman is located on the western part of Islay. It is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, one of the most recent as it was only founded in 2005 but most importantly one of the rare which produces its whisky 100% on site, as they say on their website: "from barley to bottling". This means that they grow their own barley which is then malted on their own malting floor before being transformed into whisky. A true "Islay farm distillery"! Their whisky also remains authentic until the end as they bottle it un-chill filtered and without the addition of E150a colouring. Machir Bay it the name of bay down form the distillery a