Tag Archives: Brexit

Cockland Gold, Blend, 38.1%

Despite the comic name – this is a genuine whisky from Brazil.

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Brazilian whisky in an Irish glass. c/othewhiskeynut

It can be read as a cheap wordplay on ‘Escócsia’  – the Portuguse for Scotland.

Or perhaps a wry dig – depending on your point of view – regarding the latest incumbent of 10 Downing St & Brexit affairs.

Scottish whisky is so dependent on export sales that when Brazil sneezed due to an economic downturn – Scotch sales worldwide dipped.

Cockland – like many similar products – probably contains Scottish whisky in it’s makeup – along with locally produced spirits.

There wasn’t too many surprises when I cracked this one open.

The golden colour is resplendent of added caramel – noted on the back label.

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Enough information? c/othewhiskeynut

A soft caramel nose with a hint of butterscotch malt.

A smooth, easy, light – even honeyed palate – slipped down gently with a slowly growing pleasant heat.

The roll out of Brexit has more depth & complexity to it than Cockland Whisky – although both display the interconnectivity of the globalisation of trade within their make up.

And whilst I can enjoy the gentle heat at the end of Cockland – I’m not sure if the finale of Brexit will be as delightful.

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Roll out the barrels!

When stripped back to basis – all whiskey is made the same way.

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A grain c/oJack Teeling

A vegetable grain is processed to allow the starch within to be converted into sugar.

The sugar is eaten by a yeast to produce a mild alcoholic liquid.

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A distillery c/othewhiskeynut

The liquid is distilled – ending up as new make spirit.

The spirit is aged in wooden barrels.

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A distiller with wooden barells. c/othewhiskeynut

The wooden barrels are emptied, filled into bottles and labelled.

It’s now whiskey!

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A Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Each step in the process – from the choice & quality of grain used – to the length of time & type of wooden barrels used for maturation – ultimately alters & influences the resultant flavour.

Yet it’s all whiskey.

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A whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Different countries have different rules governing the whole production methods used. What can be done in one country may not be allowed in another.

Yet it’s all whiskey.

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A Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

A distillery can make new spirit in one country – mature it in another – ship it out to a third for final blending – perhaps bottle it in a fourth – and sell it in a fifth.

Yet it’s all whiskey.

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A whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

Whether it is labelled Bourbon, Rye, Single Pot Still, Blended, French, German, Chinese, Irish – by the distillery itself – the blenders – the bottlers – the third party brand makers.

It is all whiskey.

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A Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

I drink whiskey.

I enjoy exploring the huge variety of styles, flavours and experiences brought about by the myriad of options available both within one country – as well as the countless choices around the world where whiskey is produced.

I enjoy the never ending innovation, experimentation and technical adaptation that constantly evolves what we know of as whiskey.

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Whiskey from the barrel. c/othewhiskeynut

Roll out the barrels – of whiskey!

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All distilleries featured & whiskeys photographed have been visited, sampled & written about previously on this site.

The Scotch Whisky juggernaut is running out of road.

All is not well in Scotch Whisky.

The fastest growing whisky making countries in the world do not include Scotland.

They do include Ireland, Japan and Canada.

So Scotch Whisky chooses to attack these countries in a series of articles and posts across various media platforms.

The common thread in all these articles revolves around the fact these countries manufacture and market their own whiskies in a manner not compliant with Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) rules.

Now I don’t know about you – but I must have missed the meeting when it was decided SWA rules applied worldwide. It shows a complete lack of respect for those countries indigenous rules, customs and practices.

The fact customers are seeking out those countries whisky products obviously means it has nothing to do with the rules – it must be something else.

Whisky from it’s very inception has never been about the rules.

Whisky has a long tradition and rich historical vein of tales involving illicit poitin & moonshine distillation, smugglers avoiding the gaugers on Highland trails and bootlegging during prohibition to name a few. It’s in the very DNA of what whisky is and has shaped the development of the spirit to this day.

Perhaps it’s about the taste?

Perhaps Scotch’s strict adherence to the rules comes at the expense of new and exciting tastes?

Perhaps those customers boosting non-Scotch making expression sales are seeking out those new tastes and the rules are not as important as they are made out to be?

I know I certainly am.

But there is an even larger threat looming round the proverbial corner. It’s a threat not of Scotch Whisky’s making.

Brexit.

Now the Scotch Whisky juggernaut needs a lot of space to manoeuver. It’s a cumbersome beast with it’s own inertia and inflexibility. It may not be able to negotiate the tricky corners ahead.

The Irish, Japanese and Canadian vehicles are smaller, more adaptable & nimble. They might be better equipped to handle the twists and turns thrown up by Brexit – as well as the US tariff fiasco.

The irony of Britain leaving Europe – and Scotch Whisky’s biggest market too – as it did not want to be dictated to by Brussels whilst Scottish Whisky tries to dictate to some of it’s competitors.

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Brexit Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

I think I’ll have to have a glass of Brexit Whiskey – a proudly non SWA rule produced very tasty Austrian Whiskey – and ponder over Rabbie Burn’s famous words;

‘O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.’

From where I’m sitting it isn’t looking pretty.

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Brexit Whiskey, No Single Malt, 43.3%

Brexit is more of an aspirational idea rather than a clearly thought out plan for Britain to leave the European Union.

No one knows what the future will be like in this new Europe – with or without the UK.

Meanwhile in Austria – Gölles Distillery had a clearly thought out plan.

They grew and harvested 5 types of grain in fields around their distillery. Barley, wheat, rye, corn and spelt.

They double distilled the mash in copper pot stills which they have been using since the 1980’s.

And they matured the spirit in a variety of  casks for 4 to 13 years.

They brought their plan to fruition and delivered.

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Brexit Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

I give you Brexit Whiskey.

They make no bones this isn’t a copycat Scottish style of single malt.

They make a big play of the differences. This is a European whiskey. Scottish Whisky Association rules do not apply here.

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No Single Malt c/othewhiskeynut

This whiskey has provenance & terroir in abundance. There is no chill filtration and no added caramel. Something sadly lacking in many big brands.

So what does it taste  like?

Well – Austria really.

It’s very earthy.  There is a complex mix of aromas from the grains used – but for me a soft rye spice rises from the sweet corn & wheat base to entice me in.

A barley smoothness greats you on tasting – where again that dry rye presence makes itself known. Quite what the spelt adds to the mix I don’t know – I’ve never encountered it before in a whiskey – but there is an earthy almost grounded quality to the taste.

A lot of time can be spent musing over the nose, taste & finish of this delightfully complex whiskey trying to figure out which grains adds their own distinctive notes to the final mix.

Kind of sums up what the European Union project was all about. Trying to harmonise together variety & difference in an enjoyable mix.

That’s an admirable idea which certainly has been captured in this bottle of Brexit Whiskey.

Some people might see Britain’s Brexit as a rejection of the European Union – they in turn might also reject Scottish Whisky.

If Brexit Whiskey is anything to go by – I’ll be saying Goodbye Johnny!

 

Sláinte.

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F for French Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is F for French Whisky.

I first got a taste for French whisky back in 2015.

Who could have resisted a champagne finished single malt from the wonderful Guillon Distillery which has been actively making whisky using locally grown barley cut with locally sourced water since 1997?

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Champagne finished French single malt c/othewhiskeynut

A gloriously sweet floral hit of champagne mixed with more earthy malt greeted you on first nosing.

Sadly the floral notes seemed to evaporate on tasting. Whilst you were left with a perfectly agreeable soft single malt – you were still expecting more from that initial delightful nose.

Their Cuvée 46 offering was a more traditional expression and also enjoyable.

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Guillon Cuvée 46 c/othewhiskeynut

Aged in French wine casks – the nose didn’t dominate the tasting experience and an overall more balanced & fruity single malt got the thumbs up.

I’d be very happily ‘Lost In France’ checking out their whiskies!

Now the French enjoy a whisky or two.

It’s a big market.

Quite how Brexit is going to change this situation is unclear.

But when I pop over for a holiday later in the year I’ll certainly be looking forward to exploring the output from some of the reported 40 French whisky distilleries operating or opening in the country.

Tres bon, n’ect-ce pas?

Sláinte.

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Merci to Distillerie Guillon for the header image.

Coleraine Irish Whiskey, 40%, Brexit in a Bottle

As I sit tasting a whiskey, relishing it’s flavours & relaxing in the warmth of the brown spirit – my mind often wanders to the stories contained within the glass.

You could say it’s the ‘Message in a Bottle’ that often excites me.

Coleraine Distillery used to produce first class whiskey. Opened in the early 1800’s – Coleraine made triple distilled malts of distinction before struggling during the two world wars eventually coming under the ownership of nearby neighbour Bushmills. It was converted to a grain distillery in it’s latter years before falling victim to Irish Distillers rationalising plans in the 1970’s when grain production was moved to the New Midleton Distillery & Coleraine closed for good.

This is the Message in a Bottle.

So I took a sip.

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Comes with an E & House of Commons logo c/othewhiskeynut

The current incarnation of Coleraine is a budget priced blend trading off it’s past glory. The nose has that e150 caramel characteristic of an entry blend – the taste is rather muted but approachable – the finish is slightly harsh but not unwelcoming – overall no strong flavours, no surprises, but for the price point – it’s grand.

This is the Message in a Bottle.

So I took another sip.

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There is no distillery by the name of Coleraine anymore. c/othewhiskeynut

Brexit – for those that don’t know – is the name given to the process by which Britain will leave the European Union after the historic vote in 2016.

Northern Ireland is part of Britain – along with Scotland, England and Wales.

Depending on how the talks go – Northern Ireland will be out of the European Union (EU) by 2019.

As ‘Irish Whiskey’ is an EU definition – Regulation 110/2008 – I’d argue that definition no longer applies post Brexit. I cannot see how a non EU country will be allowed to label itself the same as an EU country.

This is the Message in a Bottle.

So I took another sip.

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Neck detail c/othewhiskeynut

Now initially this means whiskey collectors will have a field day. Just think – all the whiskey producers in Northern Ireland will no longer be able to label their produce as ‘Irish Whiskey’.

At present these producers are;

Bushmills,  Echlinville,  Quiet Man,  Boatyard  &  Rademon Distillery 

To the best of my knowledge they are all engaged in making, planning or building a whiskey distillery. After 2019 they will all be out of the EU – and if you click on the names you will be guided to their websites.

Do you think the 27 remaining member states will allow a non-member state to trade under an EU registered label?

I think you will get a resounding non, nein, nie, ne ………… and so on.

This is the Message in a Bottle.

So I continued to sip and ponder.

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Post Brexit is Bushmills non-Irish? c/othewhiskeynut

But it gets more complicated.

There is no grain distillery in Northern Ireland.

At one fell swoop all blends produced there will now become whiskey made in an EU country – Ireland – as well as a non EU country – Northern Ireland.

That will go down well with the Brussels bureaucrats!

It was beginning to wreck my head too!

This is the Message in a Bottle.

I needed another sip at this stage.

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Ring ring, Brexit calling! c/othewhiskeynut

But wait a minute. Doesn’t Bushmills export some of it’s liquid South for other bottlers & blenders to use?

Won’t that be subject to import taxes & customs control?

Won’t the resultant whiskey become a non EU product or a hybrid whiskey at least?

This is the Message in a Bottle.

And it was all getting a bit too much for me – and another song popped into my head.

What is the message in your bottle?

Sláinte.

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Diggers & Ditch, Double Malt, 45%

Australian whisky doesn’t do blends – as yet.

Single malts are their speciality.

In my brief visit down under I only found one blend that contained Aussie whisky.

Diggers &Ditch could be more accurately called a blended malt.

It’s a mixture of an unnamed Tasmanian single malt with a Dunedin Distillery malt from New Zealand.

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Spirit Of The ANZAC’s c/othewhiskeynut

The collaboration is to honour the ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – who fought and died in World War 1.

The antipodean relationship with the former colonial master and royalty is still very much in evidence today. Perhaps a vote to finally break all ties would be as divisive as Brexit.

What is not divisive is the quality of this spirit – nor this lovely New Zealand songstress –  Lorde.

Bottled at 45%, Diggers &Ditch has a welcome heavier rich malt feel than the generally lighter Tasmanian whiskies I tried. It may be the ex red wine French Oak influence or simply the New Zealand style. Either way it certainly tickled my tastebuds and opened up a new country for me to explore whisky wise.

Lovely to see New Zealand re-enter whisky production.

Sláinte.

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Scots Club Blended Scotch Whisky 40%

St Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland.

November 30th is St Andrew’s Day and Scotland’s National Day.

Some say that the Scots are known for their meanness.

There are even suggestions that for an extra tuppence in the pocket they rejected independence from the UK to stay with The Queen.

Now Brexit has reared it’s head – that tuppence may have been better spent on a bottle of Scots Club Whisky.

At only 16 euro and hailing from a postcode – G2 5RG – identical to that of Jura, Dalmore and other renowned Richard Paterson whiskies – who could resist?

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Common whisky address c/othewhiskeynut

Surprisingly smooth, softly sweet & grainy there is not much going on in this non-peated blend, but at that price? I’ve paid more for worse.

A rather apt whisky to celebrate St Andrew’s Day – and the continued struggle for independence.

Sláinte.

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