IMG_20200403_204019[This post harks back to the halcyon days of April, when we were so young and naïve, and our Prime Minister couldn’t even imagine it would last long enough that saying “it’ll be over by Summer Autumn Christmas Easter” could possibly be to leaving himself hostage to fortune. Anyhow, I’ve now got some of the 2020 calling out to me, so best to get the series up and running.]

I sometimes felt that I was fated not to have any of Fuller’s Vintage Ale. At various points over the last twenty years, bottles have swum into view, only to be cruelly taken from me. The pub quiz prize THAT WE WERE DEFINITELY GOING TO SHARE that slipped down a team-mate’s gullet when I wasn’t looking. The one time I’ve been asked for ID in a supermarket in the last decade. That other time, where I fancied picking one up, but I’d gone in for eggs and flour, so it seemed a touch undisciplined.

You know, soul-scarring episodes that mark you and your future. Not just a few unimportant incidents, oh no.

Fate finally determined to right this world-historical wrong a while back, when I was very kindly given a bottle of the 2015 release by a friend. So, taking events by the scruff of the neck, I built on that foundation and boldly picked up a couple of 2019’s crop from a local supermarket (when they were still about – the 2020 has taken their place on the shelves). (more…)

[So, this is definitely not a throw-away piece that was sitting around for in my draft folder for far too long, oh no. Just assume I’m really up-to-date, but you’re reading this no later than August 2018 and the coronavirus is just a bad dream]
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As it became clear that we were all facing down the barrel of weeks, if not months, of self-isolation, I got to thinking.

The first thought was,”Oh good, this is a chance to sort out the drinks cabinet, paint it up, finally unpack all the boxes and put out the bottles.”
The second was, “Well, won’t this be a good chance to shake up my drinking habits and try a few unloved tipples? Oooh, I can also work through the beer collection, and have at any that have been sat about too long?”
And the third was, “If I don’t watch that second thought carefully, I’ll be dead drunk for the entire lockdown and I think I’d rather avoid liver cirrhosis, thankyouverymuch.” (more…)

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As someone who spends more of their time at the smaller end of the drinks industry scale, you have to take a step back when thinking about the big players. Chivas Regal is the fourth biggest-selling Scotch brand in the world, and producing at that volume is mind-boggling. At four and half million cases a year, they’re making about enough to sling a bottle at every individual in the UK. The logistics alone are beyond me, even before thinking about how to maintain your targeted consistency and quality. Then again, when you’re a brand big enough that you can just give away $1m a year to social entrepreneurs and partner up with Man U, it probably stands to reason that you can take the odd risk, or at least diverge from the straight and narrow. So, while I can’t tell if this Chivas Extra 13 collection is more than a stretching of the blending muscles and an excuse for some exciting limited-release packaging, I’m not going to turn down a look-see at a new angle on a trusty blended scotch like this. (more…)

First things first – merry Christmas! Hope you’re all in good spirits and the holidays are treating you well.

So, due to a combination of poor time management and poor health, there have been a few events that I really wanted to write up from the last few months that got left out in the cold. What with this being the end of the year and a time to reflect on things, I thought I’d partway rectify this sin of omission with a little Boxing Day round-up of some cracking booze I had the pleasure of sampling.

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