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Whisky Nirvana on a Cricket Tour | Blog # 127

G’day everyone,

That time of year already the the annual Glenmore Cricket club tour to Vancouver and Victoria is well under way. Instead of whisky reviews out of paper cups and pictures of dodgy bedspreads this year I had the opportunity to crank it up a notch.

Have you ever been on vacation thinking that you would just love to relax with one of your special drams that sits safely in your bar 100’s or 1000’s of kms away? Well now you can with a product produced by a good friend of mine Ken Jaremco of Whisky Connoisseur.

Leather Deluxe Travel Kit Leather Deluxe Travel Kit

I received a deluxe travel kit for my birthday (thanks Ken) and quickly put it to good use picking out 6 delicious drams for this trip to British Columbia. One of the guys from the cricket club Chris Williams shared a room with me and also got in on the dram sharing thanks to the 2 Glencairn glasses that are part of the kit.

6 one ounce bottles all marked with bronze numbered neck tags correlate to the entries you make in a whisky ledger. Fun to be able to offer a friend their pick of a diverse range of whisky. Half the fun was in choosing half a dozen drams and filling up the wee bottles with the amazing funnel that is designed to never blow back. Ken really did think of everything including a couple of tiny water droppers. Of course if you really want to delve into your whiskies the deluxe edition also comes with a Whisky Journal so you can write your own tasting notes.

“In amongst the obvious sporting tour pints of beer it was great to be able to sit and relax sharing a really good dram.”

The whiskies I chose this time around

*Whisky Jewbilee Chicago Bottling of MGP American Light Whisky aged in an IPA beer barrel – you may remember this from blog #

*Tipperary 11 Year Old Irish Single Malt – Blog to come soon on this whisky it’s delicious

*Glenglassaugh 41 Year Old Sherry Cask – You can read the blog here #

*A.D. Rattray Craigellachie 16 – you may have read the review here as it came on tour a few years ago if not here it is #.

*A.D. Rattray Macallan 17 – one from the dark past and definitely unobtanium now. Malt Whisky Company Tobermory 21 – part of the 2nd edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar check out the blog here #

This little kit is going to become part of my getaways from now on.

If 6 wee drams is just not enough then you can always add a masterclass or share a dram kit as well to get in another dozen selections. Either way it is just amazing to be able to take a selection of whisky away with you and have everything you need to enjoy it at your fingertips.

I’m off to crack that Macallan!

You can buy Whisky Connoisseur kits HERE

Cheers!

Cricket Tour – Dram Tasting Second Edition | Blog # 76

So here I am again on the annual Glenmore Cricket Club tour of Vancouver and Victoria. 

Sneaking along a delicious bottle of unique whisky adds a touch of the civilized to the mostly rudimentary fun of beer, cricket, darts more beer and really good mates.

This time around the hotel in question is right in the heart of English Bay in Vancouver and I got to use a glass tumbler instead of last years plastic cup. Way to step it up!!

The whisky of choice that I grabbed out of my basement before jumping into the car with 3 other guys and heading off on this years cricketing adventure is a 16 year old Craigellachie from A.D. Rattray.

Bottled at the cask strength of 54.7% in a first fill ex-bourbon barrel, there were only 320 bottles available of which a mere 60 came to Canada. This whisky was distilled in 1989 on the 9th of October and bottled in 2006 on the 10th of August, the second year that A.D. Rattray whiskies were available in Alberta. Cask number 3881 and 16 Years Old.

It was apt that this particular whisky was chosen as my last day on tour was spent at the 3 Valley Gap resort a short distance away from Craigellachie, British Columbia. made famous by the driving of the last spike in the Trans Canada Railway. It was named after the president of CPR Sir George Stephen who traveled to Britain to source desperately needed funds. After success Sir Stephen telegraphed a message back “stand fast Craigellachie”.

The CPR heritage train food and beverage manager has at times thought about an exclusive cask of Craigellachie and one day there may well be a CPR bottling. Something to look out for if you are a history buff or just love trains and the gorgeous Rocky Mountains.

So onto the whisky tasted in a Best Western Sands rock glass while overlooking English Bay.

Colour: Burnished gold
Nose: Plenty of oomph there even in a big open tumbler, waxy spring blossom honeycomb.
Palate: Far more savory on the palate with herbaceous notes of fresh soft hay bail tinged with an undercurrent of sourdough garlic bread fresh out of the oven. Really interesting whisky and quite different to other Craigellachie casks that I have tried.
Finish: Long and even more savory leaving a lingering whiff of garlic which is really cool. Vampires beware of this dram. Through it all the sweet little slab of honeycomb weaves its way adding a great layer of complexity.

If you can find this dram I would suggest nabbing one. Try Chateau Louis in Edmonton who have a remarkable library of A.D. Rattray bottlings.

Just when I thought I had a handle on whisky I get this little beaut that expands my mind yet again.

A fabulous dram to take on tour and one that some of the cricket club boys readily agreed was worth bringing.

Until next year when I pop another cork on the cricket road trip have fun drinking great whisky under any circumstances.

Cheers!

It’s Just Not Cricket! | Blog #18

This week finds me basking in sunny Victoria on the annual Glenmore Cricket Club tour to Vancouver and the island.

Not normally a whisky focused time for me, with beer flowing profusely, darts and billiards the order of the day at the Sticky Wicket after a hard fought game of cricket. This year I decided to pack something a little special to tempt those whisky lovers in the group.

1997 Cragganmore Octave from Duncan Taylor bottled at Cask Strength 53.6% and only 48 bottles for the lucky few all exclusively available at J. Webb Wine Merchants (author’s note: this whisky is now sold out). Cask number 426431 – 16 years old from this well known Speyside distillery.

The concept of Octave’s is not new and many bottlers and distilleries have been playing with smaller barrels for decades. Smaller barrels create a far bigger impact on the whisky with a much bigger barrel surface area to whisky ratio. For their Octave range Duncan Taylor cooper up only sherry casks and this has a big impact on the whisky in a relatively short period of time.

Sherry casks have become much rarer with Sherry sales dwindling over the past 100+ years and the popularity of Single Malts aged in those barrels soaring. By breaking larger barrels up and coopering them into octaves Duncan Taylor is able to create lovely sherry cask affected expressions of many different distilleries and styles. Each Octave is a completely unique whisky and with only such a small haul for whisky lovers to purchase they don’t last long on store shelves.

Tasted after a Thornbridge Wild Swan cleanser in my hotel room in Victoria.

Instead of one of my many whisky glasses this dram was tasted in an individually wrapped plastic cup (the best kind).

I didn’t bother doing a water comparison. This is a no fuss quick take on this yummy whisky without any bells and whistles.

Nose: Even in the tall plastic cup the sherry absolutely bursts forth promising rich fruitcake and spice with not a hint of sulphur anywhere.

Taste: at 53.6% it hits the palate softly with lovely dried fruits and a touch of glace cherry.

Finish: Lingering with dry balanced tannins, I’m sure that a little water would do something good to this whisky but I have to head off shortly for a round of golf 🙂

Lovely rich ruby colour which shows how much the octave impacts the whisky with only 6 extra months of aging.

Next week I’ll be back in civilization talking about one of my favorite Summer drams over the past 5 years.

Write in and let me know about your best down to earth whisky experience. Maybe it was on a camping trip or out fishing. Sometimes whisky drunk rough and ready can be an awesome experience.

Have a great week!

Cheers,

Jonathan