August 2010 Archives

Whisky from urine? Enjoy a wee dram.

| 0 Comments | 0 TrackBacks
Gilpin-Whisky.jpgJames Gilpin, a British art student is making whisky from his grandmother's urine. Gilpin Family Whisky was started as a project to utilize the sugars excreted in diabetics urine.

While the urine itself isn't distilled, the sugars are removed using a process similar to water purification, and then used during the fermentation stage of the whisky production. This author would definitely be interested in sampling said whisky, but there are no plans to market it.

Battle of the Blends

| 4 Comments | 0 TrackBacks

Expensive whisky be damned! The serious Scotch drinker needs to have a go-to bottle that suits both the budget and the palate. Since most blended Scotch whisky is cheaper than single malts it's best to have a bottle one can turn to for piggin', flasking, and offering to whisky-curious guests.

ScotchBlog will host a tournament of 16 entries to determine the most enjoyable blended Scotch available in the LCBO in Toronto, Ontario. The winner will be endorsed as our "House Brand," and shall be well represented at our meetings.

Edit: Click to see completed battles


All blended scotch whiskies of no specified age, SWA regulations notwithstanding, were put into a list and then seeded into a bracket of 16 based on 3 criteria: preconceptions, preseason performances, and outright guesses.


Battle_of_the_blends_bracket grouse winner_rs.jpg

Matches will proceed as follows:

1. Two blends face off in a blind taste test, neat.

2. The winner is determined based on majority vote. The loser is eliminated and the winner moves on to fight another day.

3. Overall impressions are recorded for posterity and context.

May the best blend win.

Completed Battles:

Round 1, Part 1: J&B vs. Ballantines, Catto's vs. Grand MacNish
J&B's peaty musk defeats Ballantine's muddled character (vote: 5-2)
Catto's solvent nose comes up short against Grand MacNish's sour citrus (vote: 6-1)

Round 1, Part 2: Te Bheag vs. Whyte & McKay, Grant's Sherry Cask vs. Bell's
Te Bheag's landslide victory over Whyte &McKay's solvent-rich nose (vote: 7-0)
Grant's Sherry Cask's refined nature defeats Bell's hot and grainy palate (vote: 6:0)

Round 1, Part 3: Johnnie Walker Red vs. Dewars, Grant's Family Reserve vs. Teacher's
Dewars triumphs Johnnie Walker Red in a battle for bottom billing (vote: 6-1)
Grant's Family Reserve decimates Teacher's muddled heat  (vote: 7:0)

Round 1, Part 4: Grant's Ale Cask vs. Cutty Sark, Famous Grouse vs. Black Grouse
Grant's Ale Cask bests Cutty Sark on nose alone (vote: 5-1)
Black Grouse gives Famous Grouse the tar and feather treatment in BotB's only first round family feud(vote: 4:2)

Round 2, Part 1: J&B vs. Grand Macnish, Te Bheag vs. Grant's Sherry Cask
J&B and Grand Macnish get to jostling in a stinky affair (vote: 4-3)
Te Bheag makes a valiant attempt to knock off one of three strong entries from Grant's (vote: 5-2)

Round 2, Part 2: Black Grouse vs. Grant's Ale Cask, Dewar's vs. Grant's Family Reserve
The Black Grouse flaps its wings and knocks Grant's Ale Cask from the running. (vote: 5-0)
Grant's Family Reserve barely squeaks through as Dewar's thin mouthfeel contribute to its undoing. (vote: 4-3)

Round 3: J&B vs. Grant's Sherry Cask, Grant's Family Reserve vs. Black Grouse
J&B, crashes out in the semi's to Grant's Sherry Cask. (vote: 5-1)
Black Grouse makes another open and shut case, dropping the gavel on Grant's Family Reserve. (vote: 7-0)

The Final: Grant's Sherry Cask vs Black Grouse
A shockingly definitive conclusion to the tournament.

Whisky 'petrol' for cars developed by university

Edinburgh Napier University has developed a new biofuel made from whisky by-products.

It is the result of two years work by the universities biofuel research centre.

The £260,000 project was funded by Scottish Enterprise's Proof of Concept programme. It has been welcomed by WWF Scotland's director Dr Richard Dixon who said it would help a "clean environment" industry to reduce transport emissions.

As part of the research, the centre was provided with samples of whisky distilling by-products from Diageo's Glenkinchie Distillery in Edinburgh. It uses the two main by-products of the whisky production process which are "pot ale", the liquid from the copper stills, and "draff", the spent grains.

Continue reading here.

Source: BBC News.

Highland Park 16 yr

| 0 Comments | 0 TrackBacks

On my way to North Carolina, I discovered this sweet liquid in the Toronto International Airport Duty Free Shop. Matured in old bourbon and married in oloroso sherry casks, Highland Park created this expression strictly for the "global travel retail market."

Had I known at this little tidbit at the time I would've picked up an extra bottle! 

Regrettably, the 1 litre bottle lasted me about a week and if you're fortunate enough to find it during your travels: buy two and squirrel one away.

highland park 16.jpg

Nose: Citrus peel, cereal, hints of smoke.

Palate: Soft and almost creamy mouthfeel flavoured by honey-sweetened malty cereal and tingling citrus with smoke arriving just before the finish.

Finish: Delicate smoke and peat are wrapped in a long-lasting, sweet and mouth-filling sherry finish.

Overall: Pleasantly light, well-balanced and smooth this whisky did me wonders on the veranda at Holden Beach, North Carolina, this past week. Terrific with pecan pie, this "Island-infused" dram kept me company on long walks on the beach at night and, of course, it is best enjoyed with a tiny splash of water to really bring out the aromas.  

Highland Park discontinued the 16 yr in April of this year, so if the notes above pique your interest, act fast.


Recent Comments

  • Ryan commented on Old Pulteney 12 Year Old:

    One of our favourites for sure!
    Personally, I'm always a little sad when I finish a bottle of Old Pulteney.
    I've got a Gordon & MacPhail bottling of 21 year old OP that is simply magical. The standard OP 21 was named Whisky of the Year in 2012 but this one is less sweet and more refined IMO. Matured in a re-fill bourbon barrel, it's loaded with peach, tropical fruits, beeswax and honey, ending with milk chocolate tones and a hint of brine...and now I'm salivating.

  • Blair Conrad commented on Old Pulteney 12 Year Old:

    I buy this whisky over and over again. Best value out there.

  • Gerald Eddy commented on McClelland's Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Islay:

    I've read many reviews if this whiskey that condemn it as an unfavorable dram. I agree that as a peated Islay it can't compare to a Laphroig or an Ardbeg. However, despite the lack of complexities of those great single malts, at a third if the cost it will do nicely if your a Scotch whiskey drinker. It is a bit sweet, but it has peaty overtone to their other malts and has a nice vanilla and banana flavor as well.'s not a great whiskey, but it is palatable on a budget and is better then a lot if blends at a lower price. I would rather spend my money on this the a Johnny Walker Red which lacks any complexity and is far overrated.

Whisky Wheel

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID