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October 21, 2009 - The packages for the Malt Maniacs Awards
are arriving with jurors around the world at the moment, so over
the next few weeks half of the maniacs will be too busy with the
sampling of more than 200 blind samples to do a lot of writing.
So, I felt it would probably be smart to publish a new issue of
the Malt Maniacs E-zine before dramming takes over our lives for
the next five weeks or so - until the final results are published.
After the results of the MM Awards are published on December 1,
I hope to be able to publish one more issue of MM this year. And
Malt Maniacs #115 may also be the last traditional 'issue' of MM.
In 2010 we may publish our E-pistles as separate PDF files.
Sweet drams,
Johannes van den Heuvel
Editor Malt Madness / Malt Maniacs

E-pistle 2009/23 - Truths & Observations about Scotch Whisky

A Few Truths, Observations & Questions about Scotch Whisky - You decide which is which...

1. Your palate is not a straight line. It will not be the same 24/7 or after a heavy garlic laden meal, for example.
Protect your palate!

2. Whiskies made outside of Scotland are not supposed to taste like Scotch Whisky; they are supposed to taste like the whisky of their origin. Judging them as Scotch is ignorant.

3. Your whiskies are not carbon guilt free. It took fossil fuels during the entire process from growing the barley to delivery to your local store. Organic and natural on the label are only part of the story.

4. The person who distills the whisky is rarely the person who matures, blends or bottles it, even more so in the larger companies.

5. Never judge a whisky by the color although if it is a natural and honest color (no monkey business with spirit caramel) then color can give you some clues as to the cask type used for maturation.

6. Ardbeg is not the only distillery on Islay or in Scotland.

7. There's a good chance that the whisky you love so much because it is so Scottish was made using Australian barley (or Swedish or English etcetera) and was matured in an ex-American cask.

8. In the United States the whisky industry can by law, only use a cask once for maturation.
Some say this came about because the US timber lobby had more influence than the whiskey lobby.
Whatever the reason it's actually worked out rather well.

9. In the USA sometimes it's whisky and sometimes it's whiskey. Just deal with it.

10. You're not a scotch whisky expert (neither am I). The experts are in the distilleries right now running the stills, managing thousands of casks, blending prior to bottling etcetera . You're just a gifted and reasonably well funded purchaser.

11. Does 43% taste better than 40%? Yes Martha it does.

12. Why do whiskies taste straight for the cask in the warehouse that are quite cool, served without water and in a dirty glass invariably taste better than the finished bottled product when tasted later at home?

13. To be male and write about scotch whisky you must have lots of facial hair.
(It doesn't hurt if you're from England either).

14. We'll always miss Michael Jackson.

15. 90% of Scotch Whisky is matured in ex-American (bourbon) casks yet most scotch whisky lovers would never nose a bourbon to identify the flavours that later pop up in  scotch whisky.  Odd...

16. Those distillers that make the effort to meet their customers face to face while pouring them a dram often do very well in the sales department. Actually talking to your customers; what a concept!

17. A naked woman on a Scotch whisky label has been described as a bit of a cheap trick however cheap is not reflected in the price of the whisky. Kind of shameful actually. Sort of like telling everybody that sherry casks... oh never mind.

18. Batch variation; it exists and there fore it follows that sometimes, over time, that your favorite distillery will be great and sometimes, not so much.

19. Funky, quirky and cantankerous little distilleries can often produce some great whisky. Go on, try something different this weekend.

20. Your taste buds will, over time, loose their ability to taste.
There fore you'll be looking for stronger and stronger flavours to compensate.
Enjoy those delicate single malts now while you still are able to.

21. Crap whiskies can be amusing and they give you perspective; don't box yourself into one corner of the whisky world.
And crap can arrive at any age……..

22. Chill filtering; what the hell is that all about? Just stop it. It just robs the whisky of flavour; if you're concerned about the whisky becoming cloudy then put a wee sticker on the bottle explaining that's its natural and it won't affect the flavour of the whisky.

23. Don't judge a distillery by one single cask bottling especially if it's a poor one.
Every distillery is capable of producing some real crackers. It's fun to go looking for them.

24. Super expensive single malts... not sure it's such a great idea (even if the bottle is made from Islay sand ((chuckle & snort)); it just forces your formerly loyal customers into the arms of the competition when they can no longer afford to buy your product. Ironic how a global economic downturn can suddenly make a pigs breakfast of your carefully laid plans to take your distillery "up market" (Always be nice to people on the way up because you're sure as hell going to meet them on the way down).

25. A dram shared with friends is invariably better than solo.

Lawrence Graham, Canada

E-pistle 2009/24 - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Wine Tasting

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Wine Tasting" - by Jessica and Peter Silver

On a recent trip to the Napa Valley, Jessica had asked a neighbor who works for Cliff Lede Winery to recommend some others. 
When Jessica mentioned that I had an interest in whisky, our friend booked us a tour and wine tasting at Domaine Charbay, which Jessica was planning to keep secret and spring on me as a surprise.  She didn't know that I had tried their first whisky, "Charbay Whisky Release I" back in 2006.  Our neighbor noted that we would not be able to taste the spirits, per California law, but Jessica knew that for me as a whisky writer, things might change for us when we got there. Run by Miles Karaksevic, a 12th-generation distiller, and his son Marko, Domaine Charbay ("Charbay" = an amalgam of 'Chardonnay' and 'brandy', their initial offerings) has branched out into an artisanal enterprise that creates multiple handcrafted spirits, including vodkas, for which they are justly famous, rum and grappa, and will be releasing its first tequilas in the near future.

When we arrived at the top of the mountain for our tour, the first thing we saw was a small collection of pot stills outside the cottage that serves as workshop and sales center.  Our guide, Marko's wife Lara, told us they were alambic pot stills they had accumulated from all over, and that all Charbay spirits are distilled in an Alambic Charentais pot still, as opposed to the more common column still.   The tasting room was a rustic space with exposed beams and wood shelves, displaying nearly all of the Charbay offerings, including a live Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar, a black walnut liqueur (more on that later) and nearly a dozen flavored vodkas.  Conversation turned to the spirits, and before we knew it, I was being invited to try them.  Jessica is a vodka maven, so she was in her element.  It was a fortuitous turn of events for us both.

Lara poured me a sample of their newest whisky, the Charbay Whisky Release II.  I had sampled it late in 2007, and was looking forward to trying it again, this time, at the source!  The first thing I got on the nose was hops, which is not anything I have ever gotten from a whisky before, but in this case, makes perfect sense, since this is a most unusual whisky.  This is distilled directly from pilsner beer with Nugget, Eroica and California hops additionally added right before distillation.  After the hops, I noted leather, horses, log cabin, fireplace, cinnamon, honey and wood spice.  I am sure it has nothing to do with it being 'pot' distilled, but to me, there was a clear scent of marijuana.  The palate brought more honey, leather and cinnamon, dark chocolate and had coated the tongue with its mouthfeel.  With water, grapefruit notes were evident as well.  The finish was long and warming and felt deep in the chest, feeling more like a 15-20 y.o. whisky than its actual age of about 9 years old.  All of the flavors were well integrated and balanced.  The Charbay Whisky retails for $325 a bottle.  Miles' goal was to make something different from any other whisky in the world, and he and Marko have.  This unique whisky is not for everyone, but for those who are looking for a new point of view, made by true artisans, it is a wonderful experience.

Miles and Marko use only American corn and rye for their clear vodka, which they distill to 192 proof for purity.  They don't use any filtering agents, but the vodka has a smooth, sweet character with rich body and a full mouthfeel, a clean, grainy finish, and no harsh alcohol smell.   Their flavored vodkas are more than mere infusions.  The 100% organic fruits themselves are crushed whole, and the flavors extracted in a method they keep highly secret.  No trip to a NJ flavor factory for Master Miles, this.  We tried several of the vodkas, each with its own personality.

The nose of the Ruby Red Grapefruit vodka was exactly like fully-ripened, juicy red grapefruits.  It smelled just like my fingers do after I peel a grapefruit.  Flesh, pith, rind and all, it was everything you expect from a grapefruit.  Upon tasting, you can almost taste the individual nodules of the grapefruit flesh—it is that nuanced and perfectly balanced.  Refreshingly bitter, slightly sweet, sour and earthy, it encompasses all that grapefruit should be.

The Red Raspberry vodka nose has ripe berries, black earth, summer sunshine and is totally evocative of youth, but less raspberry than I expected.  The taste is the absolute essence of raspberry flavor profile but without the cloying sweetness you sometimes find in raspberry flavored things.   It had a ripeness and warmth about it that made it truly unique.  A small amount of water brought more berry to the fore.  I would not use this in a complicated cocktail, but alone, to let the berry voice shine.

Miles is a fan of pomegranate, and also makes a pomegranate liqueur.  The Pomegranate vodka had a grainy, sweet, 'red' nose, with the pure pomegranate really making itself heard.  The taste has a wonderful balance that the Karaksevics have mastered so well, just perfectly mixing the sharpness of the alcohol with the sweet tartness of the pomegranate, and a finish of slightly wet grass on a hot day.  The Blood Orange vodka had the most complex nose of those that we tried.  Sunlight, warmth, roast pork, ginger, orange blossom honey, freshness, an energetic sweetness like chocolate covered orange peel , and perhaps a hint of soy sauce.  The tasting presented all of those qualities, with a candy-cocoa burnt sugar taste punctuated by a sharp, pithy bite at the end to balance the sweetness.  The texture is thick and the overall result is a perfect, incredibly complex drink that would be a welcome addition to anyone's spirit collection.  We could not get enough of it.

The Green Tea vodka is, to my mind, and Jessica's, one of the best vodka expressions we have ever had.  The nose is a clean, grassy, herbal /floral scent, with hints of jasmine and sage.  The taste of the vodka is straightforward: delicate green tea, nuanced, clean, earthy, and ethereal, with the essence of the Japanese "cha" that is so prized.  It is simply a masterpiece of construction and skill.  There is no cloudiness, nothing murky, just simply pure green tea with a hint of smokiness from the tea itself.  Miles and Marko use four green tea varietals to strike this perfect chord and the care and effort is present in every aspect of this masterpiece.  It finished clean and strong, with no alcoholic burn at all.  We would rate it 100 if we were there to rate them. 

All Charbay vodkas are affordable and well worth trying.  Most retail for around $32 a bottle.  Without question, Jessica and I feel everyone should try to find the Green Tea and Blood Orange vodkas and add them to your cocktail repertoire.  On their website,, you can order them directly or find out where they are available near you as well.

We also had an opportunity to taste some other spirits.  We tried the vanilla rum (delicious, with the balance between heat, sweet and fire that the family has perfected and that I was beginning to expect from all their expressions); a green tea liqueur aperitif that was pure poetry (Chinese vegetables, lemon, honey, ginger—would be perfect and refreshing over ice with some club soda); the live Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar that simply sang of wine—oaky grapiness with a hint of syrupy sweetness akin to a balsamic (Jessica bought some of that to bring home); and another masterpiece, the Black Walnut Liqueur.  This is just the essence of a black walnut in liquid form—dark, earthy, meaty, sweet, slightly bitter.  At over $80 retail, it is not cheap, but would be a wonderful gift or a wise investment for anyone who loves unusual spirits.  We loved it. 

In such a stunning setting, with our terrific guide Lara, we had such a wonderful time being walked through all the spirits that we never got around to tasting any of the Domaine Charbay wines!   Oh well.  Now we have an excuse to return.  Not that we needed one!

Jessica and Peter Silver, USA

E-pistle 2009/25 - Matching Dogs With Whisky

Whisky Family TreesTesting the Miller-hypothesis: Matching dogs with whisky

In the editorial of issue 20 of Whisky Magazine, Marcin Miller
asked whether there is a link between pure dog breeds and
single malt whiskies (with mongrels being equivalent to blends).
Marcin contemplated that his dachshund would be a Tamnavulin,
because of the 'short legs', the 'lightly scented and floral nose',
the 'notes of drains, brackish water and farmyard' and the 'very,
very, very long finish'.

When I first read this idea of matching the characteristics of dog
breeds with those of single malts, I felt it was a light-hearted
joke. But the matter sort of kept nagging at the edge of my
conscience until I saw an article in Science. In this article, the
authors investigate the origin of dogs and present evidence
that suggests that dogs evolved from wolves more than once
and that this may have happened much longer ago than
previously thought: over 100,000 years ago instead of 14,000
(for anyone interested, the full reference of the article is: Vila
et al, 1997. Multiple and ancient origins of the domestic dog.
Science 276: 1687-1689; a pdf-file of the article is available from
me in case people are interested). Included in the article is
information on the genetic relationship between 67 breeds of

A thought suddenly struck me. I can look at Marcin's hypothesis scientifically!
I can compare the genetic similarity of dog breeds from this Science article with the taste similarity of single malt whiskies as calculated by David Wishart in his cluster analysis! In biology, you do this by drawing up relatedness 'trees' and see how well they match, how similar their 'branching' is. If you see a close match between two 'trees', that usually means there has to be some sort of link or connection, because the chances of a close match occurring by coincidence are slim...

OK, so I got to work extracting the necessary information from the Science article and drawing up the genetic 'tree' of the 67 dog breeds.
That finished I put it next to the taste similarity 'tree' I had drawn up earlier from David Wishart's cluster analysis of 86 single malt whiskies (see www.whiskyclassified/classification.html or Whisky Magazine issue 14, page 44). A shock went through my spine: the 'trees' were perfect matches!! Whether he knew it or not, Marcin was on to something big...

So here it is: the connection between pure breed dogs and single malt whiskies, backed up by what is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most thorough scientific investigation of the subject. David Wishart's 'tree' on the left, the dog 'tree' on the right, with each of the whisky or dog clusters represented by one or two single malts or dog breeds, respectively.

Let's pick out a few matches and see whether we can understand the links. First of all, look at the top cluster in David Wishart's 'tree'. Called cluster A, this cluster contains some of the most heavily-sherried singe malts (such as Macallan). And it appears that heavy sherry is linked to the xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican hairless dog. Why? No clue, but that's what comes out. The more honeyed malts such as Scapa and Balvenie are linked to dog breeds such as the Airedale terrier and the German shepherd. I don't see the honey in either breed, so another baffling link. A few clusters down, it gets a bit clearer: malts like Glen Moray and Bunnahabhain are linked to dogs like the greyhound and the dingo. Dingo's are a very primitive breed of dog and greyhounds are also very old. Does that say something about Glen Moray and Bunnahabhain being similar to a very early style of whisky? Very interesting possibility...

Linked to the cluster with Glenmorangie and Oban, characterised by spicy notes, we find a dog cluster with several oriental breeds such as the shar-pei and the shiba inu. Obviously, we're looking at oriental spices here. The peat monsters are all included in the bottom cluster (J in David Wishart's analysis). Linked to them is for instance the English bulldog. Not hard to see this link between two heavy-weights; obviously, bulldogs are the peat monsters of the dog world! And I can also see the match between the less peaty malts in this cluster, such as Clynelish, and an elegant breed as the Afghan hound. And what about Marcin's dachshund, which started all this? The dachshund is in the dog cluster which links to a whisky cluster with sweet and floral notes (such as Glenfiddich and Speyburn). So yes, Marcin was right about the floral notes of a dachshund (!), but not about the link with Tamnavulin which is clustered together with the more spicy malts.

Obviously, more genetic work is needed to get to the bottom of this very intriguing link between single malt whiskies and pure dog breeds. First of all, the 67 dog breeds in the Science article make up less than 10% of all dog breeds in the world. The genetic code of the dog has been sequenced and I think the biological world is in for a shock. Marcin, and those who have read this article, will not be surprised that, very soon, it will be discovered that dogs have genes in common with barley, yeast, peat moss and oak. I'm off to do the necessary research...

Thanks to Marcin Miller for providing the inspiration for the research presented in this article.

Lex Kraaijeveld, UK

E-pistle 2009/26 - Pairing Whisk(e)y with a Great Meal

Over the last several years, a private club in Los Angeles has been quickly moving up the charts of amateur whisky ratings sites.  The Los Angeles Whisk(e)y Society (LAWS for short) is currently, according to my research, the second largest database (Malt Maniacs being the first) with over 800 whiskies described and rated.  This small club of 21 members (including myself by the way) includes a number of serious whisky enthusiasts who travel to find rare and superb bottles of anything in the whisky world.  The Society Reserves are impressive but the main focus is on drinking the good stuff rather than collecting.  Some fabulous bottles are often 'kicked' at the end of a night's meeting.

The Society meets on a regular basis and tastes six to eight bottles blind while taking tasting notes and providing ratings. 
The members are also able to post ratings and tasting notes on the website for review.  The ratings are in the form of a letter grade which allows more …. erm …. general impressions rather than a number score out of 100.

This last May, LAWS planned a trip to Las Vegas, the adult playground of world-wide fame and only four hours by car from Los Angeles, for a meeting and a special whisky pairing dinner at one of Las Vegas' amazing list of world-class restaurants.  The trip was dubbed LAWS V(E)GAS and the dinner was planned at Craftsteak.  Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, head judge of the television cooking competition show TOP CHEF, is the owner of Craftsteak and from the looks of things, he is also a whisky enthusiast.  The restaurant has a terrific line-up of rare and exquisite bottles and many celebrities are known to hang-out in the bar for a dram or two. Although I was personally unable to attend the event, a full report was provided by one of LAWS' founding members and Keeper of the Reserves, Adam Herz.  His report follows:

Pairing whisky and food is a challenging idea -- if not an entirely foreign one -- to most people. 
And it can be quite tricky.  But as a foodie, I (Adam) have been paying close attention to the relationship between whisky and food for a long time now, experimenting extensively, examining why some pairings work and others don't.  I'm happy to report that I've nailed it down to a few basic guidelines. You'll get a good idea of them within.

The meal was planned for ten LAWS members and each pairing is described in depth along with some comments on results – good or bad - so that the reader might understand why those combinations were chosen.  To note, for the sake of our livers/brains, each pour was 15ml (1/2 ounce) as we had 12 whiskies with the meal.  Of further note, given the amount of food to be consumed, the portions were sized accordingly.  Our final recommended menu is featured in the box below.  While this menu is specific to Craftsteak, we hope it will help the reader plan and try their own whisk(e)y pairings either at home or when dining at a restaurant with a solid whisk(e)y lineup.

To begin, we sat down to a decadent glass of Macallan 35 year 1966/2002 (55.5% OB Cask #7878). 
At 35 years, this elegant but still powerful whisky epitomizes the classic Macallan style, and sherried whisky in general. As anyone who's spent time in Spain will tell you, sherry makes a great apertif -- so the choice of a highly-sherried whisky to whet your palate is a good one.  Plus, highly-sherried whiskies are difficult to pair with food in general, so this is a good place to put one (others may tell you differently, but that's my experience).  As a basic guideline, try to reserve your rarest and/or most expensive whiskies for before or after a meal.  One reason for doing this is that very-aged whisky (generally over 20 years, and almost definitely 30) is often oaked to the point that the whisky will conflict with most foods. Super-aged whiskies on their own can be delicious; paired with many foods, they'll usually taste "off" and bitter.  Without getting into detail, this has a lot to do with the comparative sweetness of older whiskies vs. the sweetness of most foods. And, another reason to start with an apertif is that there are just some whiskies so special that they shouldn't be paired with food.  Treat yourself to a tasty stand-alone whisky before and after any such meal if you can... even if it's just "special" to you and not the next guy. 
You owe it to yourself to try something fancy.

First up were shellfish samplers for the table -- succulent pieces of crab, lobster, oysters, clams, and shrimp, along with 4 different sauces. 
If you've ever paired whisky with shellfish before, the first thing you learn is that the whisky virtually negates any sauce.  A juicy chunk of lobster eaten right before or after a sip of appropriately-paired whisky can be bliss. To that end, we paired the shellfish with Highland Park 30 year (48.1% OB +/- 2008) and an Old Pulteney 18 year 01.89/04.07 (58% Duncan & Taylor Cask #10260 198 Btls). 

The Old Pulteney was chosen for its maritime, briny notes, and the punch of spice it delivers (plus the characteristic fruit notes of the distillery) and it was a bulls-eye pairing. Just as you might add some horseradish or cocktail sauce to cold shellfish for some extra sweetness and "zing ," the Pulteney both "synced" with the sweet seafood flavors and delivered that extra spice boost that we were looking for.  And the shellfish itself was amazing -- just super-fresh and super-good -- it really couldn't have been any better. Highland Park 30 is an amazingly delicious, lightly peated treat that stands up incredibly well for its age. We hoped that with the lighter, salty flavors of the shellfish the whisky would shine all the more -- but it sort of did and sort of didn't.  Neither hurt the other, and neither helped.  Since HP 30 is so good on its own, most of the guys ended up enjoying it as an "aside."  It's worth noting that Clynelish 14 year (46% OB) pairs exceptionally well with shellfish, for an easy go-to (well, at least it's more likely to be found than the Pulteney).

Crafsteak's lobster bisque is one of their signature dishes -- we found out why with our first spoonful. 
It's deliciously creamy, full-flavored without being overly-rich, and mmm-inducing.  The whisky accompanying the bisque was chosen to exemplify how an otherwise average-tasting single malt can blossom with the right pairing.  On its own, the Rosebank 11 year 1989/2001 (50 % Lombard - Jewels of Scotland) is rather "vanilla" and essentially unremarkable -- but against the bisque, it becomes a winner.  The bisque made the whisky sweeter and more luscious -- and, a sip of whisky before the bisque just made the bisque... indescribably good.  But it already was.  The key to this pairing is choosing a whisky that won't overpower the bisque's creaminess, and that won't kill the subtler aspects that round out the dish.  A Lowland whisky like Rosebank is a "stage" for the bisque to present itself on.  And the cream in the bisque likewise readies the palate to appreciate the subtler flavors in the Rosebank -- there's something about milk/cream (probably the fat and proteins coating the mouth, plus the fact that it's basic as opposed to acidic) that allows many "flat" whiskies to blossom, becoming bigger and sweeter.

We paired beautifully-shaved slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele with Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve 2007 (46% Irish Blend). Given the delicate, sweet, creamy flavors of prosciutto, Irish whisky tends to pair very well here due to... well, the delicate, sweet, creamy flavors that are characteristic of most Irish whiskeys.  Like the bisque, but to a greater extent here, the idea is to pair a delicate food with a delicate whisky -- as long as the sweetness levels are compatible, almost any cleanly-fruity whisky can work well in this pairing.  Think of melon and prosciutto and you'll get the idea.  (To note, the Jameson's also went incredibly well with the bisque... and given the lighter but still flavorful nature of the whiskey, it probably goes pretty darn well with anything).

Time for some veggies -- and Craftsteak's roasted red peppers hit the spot. 
Cooked to the point of tenderness without a hint of being mushy, these red slices of heaven both combined and contrasted with Longrow 10 year 1996 (49% OB +/-2006), resulting in another perfect pairing.  The smoke in the Longrow stood out nicely against the sweetness in the peppers, even bringing out smoky flavors in the peppers themselves.  And, given the sweetness of the peppers, we needed a younger, sweeter whisky to compete -- it worked beautifully.  Try this one at home. To emphasize a point, the sweeter the food, the sweeter the whisky; likewise, the bigger the food, the bigger the whisky.  Easy, right?

Folks love Craftsteak's Persian Cucumber Salad -- the simple flavors of vinaigrette, cucumber, and arugula mesh well together. 
But those same qualities -- particularly vinaigrette combined with bitter greens -- make a whisky accompaniment tricky.  We paired this with Glenfarclas 21 year (43% OB +/- 2007) -- while some thought it worked okay, the consensus was that it wasn't a good choice for pairing.  I'll tell you later what we found goes best here.

We had to try Craftsteak's two signature meats: the Kobe Skirt Steak and the Short Ribs.
For good measure, we also had the New York Strip (domestic prime) and the Australian Wagyu Ribeye.  Not to mention the Mushroom Mix, Cipollini Onions, Risotto, Asparagus, and Potato Puree. The steaks were, honestly, as good as they can get.  By preparing and presenting them simply -- with no complicated rubs (just salt and pepper), and no fancy sauces slathered on -- the rich, full flavors of the beef burst with every juicy bite.  Steak simply doesn't get better than this.  Different, maybe, but not better. 
And the short ribs... ridiculous.

Pairing whisky with steak is actually quite tricky -- you'll hear many experts tell you that the big flavors of steak should go with a big peated whisky, like an Ardbeg or Laphroaig. But I've found that advice more academic than practical -- the peat often just doesn't work.  In fact, many such whiskies don't pair well at all with juicy steaks -- and though we had Ardbeg 16 year 1990 'Airigh Nam Beist' (46% OB) here, it was more of a whisky that we drank "aside" the meal rather than one that actually meshed well with it (though some of the guys thought it made a good contrasting pairing with the short ribs).  To note, we'd kept that Persian Cucumber Salad hanging around, just to see if we could find something that went well with it -- and surprisingly, the Beast was the winner here.  The smoky notes played well off the bitter greens and tangy, vinaigrette-covered cucumbers.

What did pair excellently with the steaks was Bowmore 25 year (43% OB +/- 2007). 
Now, this is already an excellent whisky to begin with -- a Bowmore that's full of rich flavors, but with a smooth elegance to it. 
It's that not-a-monster quality that made the steaks and whisky blend together effortlessly.  The juicy, savory steak flavors swirled perfectly with Bow 25's spice, salt, and pepper, all carried by the whisky's light sherry sweetness, and wrapped up in wisps of light smoke.  Yeah, it was really good, and another super pairing. As an example of a more economical pairing, we also had Glenmorangie NAS 'Nectar d' Or' (46% OB 2008 Sauternes Finish).  The high level of honey-sweetness in the 'Morangie lends it to pairing decently with almost anything, and these delicious steaks were no exception.  This is another easy one to try at home.

Opps, almost forgot - the sides.  They were all good, but the onions deserve special mention.  We'd never had onions quite like these before, they were truly surprising, bursting with rich flavors, and tender while still having good texture.

With the main meal concluded, it was again time to sample some super-rare, unique whiskies on their own (same rationale as the apertif).  Sitting in Craftsteak's locked glass cabinet were two Celtic-looking MacPhail's decanters, one distilled in 1937, MacPhail's 50 year 1937 (40% Gordon & MacPhail +/-1987), the other in 1938, MacPhail's 50 year 1938 (40% Gordon & MacPhail +/-1987) and each 50 years old.  Since MacPhail's is a bottler and not a distiller, the source of the actual whisky in the bottles will likely always remain a mystery -- but as we've learned, it's not where it's from, it's how it tastes.  And, wow, were these tasty.  And unique!  Though our guess is that they're both from the same distillery, the whisky in each was quite different.  We spent a lot of time discussing the two, comparing and contrasting the flavors, and arguing over which was better.  I was the only one at the table who preferred the '38 to the '37, but we're talking about the difference between A and A- at the very worst.

The meal was capped off with Craftsteak's own version of chocolate lava cake and sticky buns, plus assorted berries (a classic pairing choice).  It's my feeling that sugary-sweet desserts don't go well with whisky -- the excessive sweetness, which is great on its own, tends to make almost all whisky taste bitter in comparison.  Thus, we went with a separate digestif, followed by sweet dessert. Regarding the desserts themselves, I'm predictable, so I'll spare you the superlative adjectives.  I want more sticky buns.

Let's just say that we're already thinking of planning a return for more decadence...

If you're thinking of trying something like this yourself, I'd suggest that you take an "experimental" approach.
With each course, order smaller pours of two different whiskies.  It's more fun to see what pairs best, and play around with your own pairings a little.  Or the next time you are in Las Vegas, you can just take our advice, go to Craftsteak, and order the final menu in the box above. 
In our opinion, you will not be disappointed.

David Wankel, USA and Foreign Correspondent Adam Herz, USA


E-pistle 2009/27 - Summer Means Tequila!

It's summer and that means Tequila! - by Noel Buckley – Malt Maniacs Foreign Correspondent

Tequila is a spirit grown, distilled and (when high quality) bottled in Mexico.  While agave spirits come from many locations, Tequila itself comes from GI (Geographical Indication) regions and is restricted to being made in specific areas in Mexico from only one specific type of agave plant.  Wine and brandy drinkers are familiar with French AOC regions as this is the same for Champagne (sparkling wine made within the Champagne region of France) and Cognac (brandy made in a specific region as well). Most tequila spirit is distilled near the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco in Mexico, though there are other counties specified in the GI in which blue agave can be distilled and bottled into Tequila.


As a whole, distilled agave spirits are normally referred to as Mezcals and may be found in many different regions of Mexico from several different types of agave plants: tequila is a subset of the broader Mezcal category and must be made from the Tequilana weber blue agave plant (weber azul).

However, just as there are excellent whiskies from outside of Scotland, there are some AMAZING mezcals from outside the tequila GI regions, though they are often hard to find compared to good tequila.  Del Maguey mezcal products in general are of extremely good quality:  Don't miss the chance to pick one of these up if you see them in a US liquor store.  Some of them have fantastically smoky tastes while maintaining a certain sweetness as well.  Unfortunately, there are also many poor quality mezcals as production is somewhat less regulated than tequila.  And – avoid the worm (!) as it is strictly a marketing gimmick. OK – on to tequila!

Tequila Types:

The first and absolutely most important thing to know about tequila is that there are two general groups:

Mixto: this is tequila that is made from a mix of distilled agave juice and whatever else can be fermented and distilled.  By law it has to contain 51% fermented agave sugar, but the other 49% can be fermented from anything else (this is typically cane or corn sugar).  The different sugars have to be fermented together though, so this prohibits alcohol from being added to the tequila after distillation.  Many well known products such as Cuervo Especial (Gold) typify mixtos and are many people's introduction to tequila: either in a margarita or in a shot glass with salt and a slice of lime.  Mixto is considered by default to be lower quality and the other congeners in the tequila (caramel colouring, glycerin, sugar syrup) are often contributors to many college hangovers.

100% Agave: like the name says, this is tequila made from only agave sugar and has to be bottled in Mexico.  This is where good tequila (and mezcal) starts.  As a tequila aficionado, it's generally not worth considering a bottle if it doesn't explicitly say 100% agave on it!

Tequila is further divided into five broad age classes – the first three classes are what most 100% agave tequila drinkers will find commonly available:

- Plata or Blanco (commonly called white or silver) is typically clear and is taken straight from the still, diluted down to 40% ABV, and then bottled.  It may be slightly aged for up to 30 days in oak (or "rested" in stainless steel for up to 60 days) before being bottled, but the resting process is not required or considered to be "de facto".  While essentially un-aged, many aficionados like the un-muted flavour of plata tequilas and some 100% agave ones are amazingly good and easily drinkable neat.

- Reposado translates to rested or relaxed and among the age classifications is considered to be "middle aged tequila": it is aged in oak for a period of between two and twelve months and hence picks up some of the wood influence in nose, taste and colour.  Reposados are very popular with 100% agave drinkers as they maintain some of the young tequila agave tastes, but the aging helps to smooth it out and imparts some of the wood flavour to the spirit; the large majority of tequila consumed in Mexico is Reposado.  Reposado tequila is often aged in first fill bourbon casks to impart maximum flavour and colour, though the legal limits on cask size are quite large (20,000 liters!) so obviously larger casks will reduce the spirit / wood contact area and hence reduce the influence of the wood.

- Anejo means aged and this tequila is aged for more than a year.  Like Amrut Indian single malt whisky, a relatively highly aged tequila is 4 or 5 years old.  This is due to environmental and climatic conditions which cause rapid ageing and evaporation.  Whereas Scotch whisky's annual volumetric evaporation is about 0.5 – 2% per year, tequila might hit 10% or more per year, meaning that after 5 years of aging, the cask might be 40% empty (not to mention the risks of the spirit dropping below minimum ABV)!  Anejos are quite desirable to tequila enthusiasts because of the high complexity of the spirit due to aging and the wood influence.  Accordingly, they have a price to match and are typically anywhere from roughly one and one half times the cost of reposados and plata tequila to much more if they have been aged for more than a couple of years.  Due to the longer exposure to wood, second or third fill casks are popular when aging Anejo tequilas because the wood influence can be too powerful when using first fill casks.  Cask size is limited to 600 liters maximum, though like whisky, ~200 liter used bourbon casks are common.

The two remaining classes are:

- Oro (Gold, though sometimes called Joven which means young):  This is essentially blanco tequila to which have been added colouring and flavouring agents.  Oro tequilas are almost always (but not quite always) mixto tequilas and the additives are designed to make the tequilas look more appealing to the general consumer (i.e. darker).  This is hugely popular for cheap mixed drinks and tequila "shots", but is usually not of interest to the aficionado.

- Extra Anejo: recently in 2006, NORMA (the official government regulations concerning tequila, which are enforced by the CRT or Tequila Regulatory Council) introduced a new "Extra Aged" anejo class.  Tequilas in this class have to be aged for more than 3 years and as with regular anejos barrel size is limited to 600 liters, but again 200 liter casks are common.  It's important to remember that before 2006, many tequilas were still aged well over 3 years: it's just that they were all called anejo: it didn't matter if the tequila was 14 months or 8 years old, it was simple classified as anejo tequila.  Now, tequila that is aged for over 3 years can use the "Extra Anejo" designation.  Due to physical limitations when aging spirits (evaporation, barrel wood influence, etc…) most anejos are considered best in the 3-5 year range (and there are of course some fantastic younger ones in the 1 – 2 year range as well).  However just as an exceptional whisky cask might live on to be 30, 40, or even very rarely 50 years old, so can a cask of tequila age to seven, eight or even ten years old.  These can become the ultra-premium of the premium tequilas, though in many cases, age does not necessarily mean quality – just a very high price.


My personal tastes tend towards anejo tequila and these comprise the bulk of my personal stock.  One of my favourites is San Matias Reserva – a fantasic Anejo available at a very reasonable price (and even in 375ml bottles as well).  However, due to limited production, it is often hard to find.  I find that most reposados are a little too light on the wood and lose a little too much of the original agave "wet cement" taste for me, though there are some excellent Reposados, in particular Casa Noble's; also Corrolejo's reserve triple distilled reposado is quite decent and a good value.  I also enjoy many plata tequilas, in particular El Tesoro's Platinum (perhaps one of the best pure "tequila" tastes available) and Asom Broso's stunning El Platino!  Of course, everyone's tastes are different and just like some people like Islay whisky while others prefer Speysides or even Lowlands, there are tequilas and mezcals to match anyone's preferences!

One must remember that the 100% agave "world" has a range of products in it and seeing "100% Agave" on the bottle is not a guarantee of a quality tequila – it's just ensuring that you're not getting mixto tequila (and if it doesn't say 100% agave on the bottle, you can be SURE that it IS mixto!).  A few 100% agave tequilas are bad, most are decent and some are obviously amazingly good.  Like anyone exploring a new – um, er – hobby (!), it will take some time to find out what flavour profiles you like and then more exploring to find which brands you really like (or at least offer you a new experience).

NOM Numbers:

In the Tequila world, navigating through brands is made more challenging by the fact that there are approximately 100 distilleries but several hundred brands.  That means that many different brands are made at the same distillery.  On every bottle of tequila you will see the word "NOM" followed by typically a 4 digit number.  This number is assigned to the distilling facility by the CRT and you'll find that several different brands can share the same number.  For a better understanding of NOM numbers, open a new browser tab and surf to the following site:

The NOM number identifies the distillery so if you like or dislike a particular brand, searching out the NOM number may help you find something similar.  A well known example is Cuervo: type in 1122 into the link above and you'll see all the products that are made at Casa Cuervo: this includes Cuervo brand products, the 1800 brand, Gran Centenario and Reserva La Familia.  Of all the brands and products that Cuervo makes, Reserva La Familia is Cuervo's highest end product worthy of serious drinkers.  And, while Cuervo is mainly known for the entry level Cuervo Especial Gold, Reserva La Familia is a very fine tequila that has on occasion been an amazing tequila.

Enthusiastic tequila hunters looking for particular bottles will know what years or batches were made under which NOM numbers.  Sometimes, a brand may switch distilleries due to limited production capacities, cost or ownership changes and there is a marked shift in product taste / quality.  The "good NOM" bottles can become quite sought after.  This is the case with producers such as Casta Weber and especially Porfidio, who have had products produced in at several different distilleries with noticeable differences between these products.  Another excellent example is Patron: it used to be made by the well regarded Siete Legaus distillery, but (as the rumours go) when they could not meet the production demands that Patron needed as their brand grew, Patron switched distilleries and the quality dropped noticeably.  Now, it's not that Patron is "bad" tequila, but it is highly marketed and considered way over priced for its quality.  Patron is a great example of the "premiumization" that is happening throughout the global spirits market.

Popular Distilleries and Brands:

Some distilleries have achieved something akin to cult status: probably the closest thing to Ardbeg in the tequila world is Distillerie La Alteņa which is one of the few traditional family run distilleries still using a stone flour mill like tahona stone to crush the cooked agave instead of a more efficient mechanical shredder (this is the tequila world's floor malting vs. drum malting battle, with mechanical shredders replacing tahona stones in all but the most artisanal distilleries).  Distillerie La Alteņa has NOM 1139 and their two main lines – El Tesoro and Tapatio – are both highly revered products (though the distillery was bought out recently but the product quality has remained high).  Their products are in general of excellent quality and El Tesoro Paradiso tequila in particular is a noteworthy bottle as it is one of the original double matured tequila products: in Cognac casks.  Other high quality distilleries include La Cofradia (distiller of Casa Noble) and Tequilena (distiller of Don Fulano, Asom Broso, Tres Cuantro & Cinco, and early Casta Weber Azul) among others.

Some well known high end brands are Casa Noble, Asom Broso, Siete Leguas, Los Abuelos, Fina Estampa, Don Fulano, Don Julio (the regular range is OK, but the 1942 in particular is excellent), San Matias (Reserva and Orgullo in addition to the stunning Rey Sol, but which has a price to match), Herencia, Milagro (mainly their higher end bottles – the rest of their range is considered to be average), Cuervo (the aforementioned Reserva La Familia being their only really decent product) and a few others like the extremely good (but very expensive) Herradura Sellecion Sepruma.

Premiumization and Luxury Brands:

Unfortunately for the consumer, the tequila world – like many other spirits – is now full of "premium brands" including the aforementioned Patron along with other products like Cabo Wabo, El Mayor, Dos Lunas and the frankly ridiculously expensive (and short lived) Ley .925.  The big issue is that there is a LOT of tequila that is made by "Brand Marketing" companies: they hire out a distillery to make tequila for them, and then essentially stick their own logo on it.  Some of these tequilas are quite good, but most are slightly better than average at best, but with premium prices.

Most of the "high end" brands that you see advertised in food, wine and men's magazines fit in to this category. 
Being the largest player in this market, Patron is obviously one of the worst offenders: average tequila trying to justify a fairly premium price.  Even distilleries are cashing in on the luxury market, as distilleries that are known for producing "not bad" tequilas are now offering super premium bottles at exorbitant prices: the pricing is mainly due to perceived rarity and the cost of the decanter and packaging, not the actual cost of the liquid inside the bottle.  However, one thing that is interesting is to notice how prices in the market eventually stabilize: often "premium brands" will come out with a high price; however, when sales slide because marketing is not as effective as was hoped (and the product quality is only average), the prices are forced to drop and the product now fights it out in the middle market with the majority of exported tequila. However, it does make things confusing for the consumer.

Sauza and Cuervo are the two production giants, and you'll see a lot of their products around.  Most Cuervo products are not worth buying for tequila enthusiasts apart from the Reserva La Familia as there are much better products available for equal or lower prices.  Sauza has put out the occasional quite good bottle (i.e. Triada), but it's the exception, not the rule.  For decent tequila at a reasonable price, you will probably want to check out Herradura as they are the only large tequila producer whose product is all 100% agave tequila.  Their products aren't amazing, but they are decent and pretty cost effective (the Seleccion Suprema being the obvious exception here: a truly fine tequila but with a $$$$ price to match).  Another brand worth looking at with large distribution in the value category is Corraleo, especially the triple distilled version of their reposado.

Drinking Tequila:

There are very few spirits as well suited to summer time as tequila!  The two most popular ways to drink decent tequila are neat and mixed in a margarita (and no, a shot glass, throwing salt over your shoulder and sucking on a lime is not the best way!). Tequila can be drunk neat just like any other high quality spirit: traditionally it's common for plata and reposado tequila to be served in a caballito, essentially a tall two ounce glass.  However, good tequila deserves to be served in a snifter glass or ISO style tulip glass so that it can be nosed and tasted that same way as any premium spirit (Riedel actually makes a tequila specific glass but any snifter will do fine).  When ordering in restaurants though, you should make your request very specific as you do not want your tequila to come back with ice or lime in it, or with a salted rim on the glass if you've ordered a margarita.

You may also find sangrita ( served with neat tequila at higher end restaurants: this is a spicy citrus tomato chaser / palate cleanser and often comes with tequila or mezcal flights.  Whether it enhances the spirit or not though is a matter of discussion in the tequila world. There are very few mixed drinks that can match the freshness, intensity and purity of a well made margarita.  Unfortunately once you have a proper margarita, you'll realize that most of them are poor sugary imitations.  A proper margarita typically consists of only three ingredients in a 1:2:3 ratio: lime juice, an orange liqueur such as Cointreau, and – of course – tequila!

Mixing a really good margarita is actually a fairly serious challenge: like a properly prepared gin martini (with a splash of vermouth) it seems easy to do, but few do it well so that you taste only the botanicals and very little of the alcohol.  In theory a margarita is a simple drink containing only three ingredients; however the reality is that it's almost straight booze and additionally the quality and type of the lime juice is very important.  It is pretty common for simple syrup, or some other sweetener to be added to the drink to "help" and mute the alcohol.  Salted rims look cool on the glass, but the salt is actually there to help mask poor quality spirits.  If you're serious about tasting the ingredients in a margarita, order one on the rocks and without salt.  Plata tequilas really shine in margaritas as the agave's fruity "wet cement" taste is highlighted by the other ingredients and it can be a lot of fun to order three or four different tequilas and taste them head to head in margaritas.  Of course, reposado and anejo tequila can make great margaritas as well, and often premium margaritas (featuring premium tequilas) will be made with aged Grand Marnier, but at a substantially increased cost.

Tequila has enjoyed a coming out over the past decade: unfortunately while availability has become a lot better, it's still quite expensive in Europe and hard to find outside of North America. However, I'm sure that we'll be seeing increased availability as distribution spreads globally.  I for one look forward to discovering more of this fantastic agave spirit in the years to come!

More information on Tequila can be found on and on Ian Chadwick's excellent tequila site:

Noel Buckley, USA

E-pistle 2009/28 - Where Does a Specific Taste Come From?

Where Does a Specific Taste Come From? (With Laphroaig in focus...)

Cask of LaphroaigLet me start to say that this e-pistle unfortunately not
gives you all the answers out there, maybe not even one.
But I hope that it will start some activity.

Laphroaig has, for me, a very special taste. Of course it's
smoky as the most Islay whiskies but in a different way.
What is it that make Laphroaig different and where does
that specific taste come from?

Well, let me begin with a description of the specific taste
that I find in the nose and mouth. To explain a taste can
be very difficult to express. Sometimes the right words
are hard to find, and it can also be some disagreements
between two persons use of the same word.
But I'll give it a try.

Here is my explanation of the taste in some words:
citrus fruit not lemon but grape and orange, apple but not
the red sweet ones more the green apples that have
some kind of bitterness. It also has some salty/briny notes.
If that is the saltwater, the seaweed or something else
salty is hard to say, but let us call it a salty tone. Of course
there are more tastes to find, at least a lot of peat smoke
and it differs from Laphroaig to Laphroaig. But that citrus
and apple bitterness is very rare in other smoky Islay malts.

That's why I think that Laphroaig very often is the easiest one to find in a blind tasting.
Are you with me? This, for me, very special Laphroaig taste, isn't always there, to make it even more complex.
Most of the independent bottles haven't got it. The new Laphroaig bottles also, in some way, have lost some part of this special taste. The new Cask Strength batch 1 is almost ok but the new 18 year old has not much of it. The young Cāirdeas bottles also have lost most of this special taste. How come? Different use of their own malted barley, less yeast or use of more refill bourbon casks or combinations of this? The new Laphroaig taste is getting more and more like the other smoky Islay's. It is a pity, because Laphroaigs unique taste is slowly disappearing. So folks if you like the old Laphroaig taste, its time to buy OB 15 year old, OB Cask strength 55.7% and the other older ones.

So when we speak about where to trace this special taste we can jump to maturation.
Or can we not do that? Ok, let me explain it if I can.

First we have the malted barley. Most of it is made by Port Ellen Maltings.
But how does that malted barley differ from Lagavulin and Ardbeg?
I am not thinking about the phenols level, because we know that it differs.

One question is from where Port Ellen Maltings get their peat. Do they use the same peat for Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg, or do they collect the peat from different areas and with different levels of moisture? I have heard that Laphroaigs own peat area has more moss in it than most of the others. But can that explain the special taste? Let us say that Port Ellen Maltings use the same peat for all the distilleries, but Laphroaig self uses their own moss peat for its own maltings. If it is like that, is the only possible way to trace the special taste concerning the peat, Laphroaigs own malted barley (about 20-25% of the total used). What I am trying to say is that Laphroaig uses some parts of their own malted barley in all their OB bottlings. At least I think so. But the whiskies they are selling for blending or to independents just have malted barley from Port Ellen Maltings. This is just a wild guess and not a fact. Most truly Laphroaig uses a mix of the malted barley for all their batches. But in 2003 Laphroaig made 100.000 liters with just their own malted barley. We'll see in the future what taste that one got.

But if this is totally wrong we can forget about the malted barley as a way to trace this special taste.
What have we got then? Water of course, but I do not think that it has the answer.

Do you remember, back in the old days? It was this bitter dispute over water rights, between Laphroaig and Lagavulin when Lagavulin tried to let the water take another way, for 100 years ago. Unsuccessful with that Lagavulin established a micro-distillery at their site called Malt Mill which attempted, though unsuccessful, to duplicate Laphroaig itself. Water can for sure taste different, but not enough to explain this different taste. So let's leave the water.

Then we got the yeast. The Kildaton distilleries use almost the same yeast (Mauri), but I think that Laphroaig use quite a bit more yeast than the others. Can that be a part of the answer? Yes, maybe a part, but I suppose that isn't more than just a part. Laphroaig use distillers yeast and to get fruitier tones you need to use brewers yeast.

Still, most often the independent bottles and Laphroaigs own bottles differs in taste. Of course the equipment, the use of it and the people who run it can differ from distillery to distillery but that can not be said between the Laphroaig IB and OB bottles.

Does Laphroaig make two different single malts in different batches, on for their OB's and one to sell for blending and to IB's? Maybe they run small hearts for its own bottles and larger ones for all the others? On thing to be said about the distilling is that Laphroaig has for example a much longer forshot run than Ardbeg, giving Laphroaig a different and maybe fruitier taste.

So what is then left? Maturation! But why do IB's and OB's differ in taste so often when we speak Laphroaig? The only answer I can find is that Laphroaig don't sell any whisky to IB's that got the 1st fill bourbon casks from Makers Mark or the other 1st fill bourbon casks. When we speak about maturation, can the storage place help us? No, I don't think it can. Laphroaig isn't unique in that, so the answer is no. Some whisky is matured on site but some elsewhere, as all the other distilleries. Recent articles/studies say that the place of maturation doesn't matter, just as long as temperature and humidity is at the right levels.

Most of Laphroaigs whisky is not matured on Islay. All the whisky that will end up as blends is matured on the mainland. I suppose that we are near the right answer when we say that all the whisky matured on the mainland is matured in refill casks. That whisky is for blends but also for sale to IB's/brokers. What that whisky then lacks is that special taste. But can just the casks used cover the whole answer? The whisky matured on Islay is for Laphroaigs own bottlings, and it is matured in 1st fill bourbon cask (and some others). But why is the new 18 year old that different? Has Laphroaig started to use refill casks also for their own bottles?

What is then left to say? Right now this is a little mystery. There are a lot of questions to be made and answered and maybe someone out there is able to help me solve the mystery. Maybe it has an easy answer or more surely it has not. The main track is for sure the casks, but I think it is a combination of causes.

I have emailed John Campbell, Master Distiller at Laphroaig, containing some questions about their peat, malted barley, casks, maturation places and their cask sale to IB's/brokers. But when this e-pistle had come to printing, I had still not got any answers.

If I can solve this taste issue, I just can't drop it. So I suppose it will be a part two story next spring, but only if the source of the special taste then is elucidated or at least in the right direction.

Benny Ingman, Sweden

E-pistle 2009/29 - Why Whisky is better than a Woman

Here's a whole list of why whisky is better than a woman:

You can enjoy a whisky all month.
Whisky stains wash out.
You don't have to wine and dine a whisky.
Your whisky will always wait patiently for you in the car.
When whisky goes flat you toss it out.
Whisky is never late.
Hangovers eventually go away.
A whisky doesn't get jealous when you grab another whisky.
Whisky labels come off without a fight.
When you go to a bar, you know you can always pick up a whisky.
Whisky never has a headache.
A whisky won't get upset if you come home with whisky on your breath.
You can have more than one whisky a night and not feel guilty.
A whisky always goes down gently.
You can share a whisky with your friends and enemies.
You always know that you are the first one to pop a whisky.
A whisky is always wet.
Whisky doesn't demand equality.
A whisky doesn't care when you come.
You can have a whisky in public.
A frigid whisky is a good whisky.
You don't have to wash a whisky before it tastes good.
Whisky always comes in multiples of six.
Whisky doesn't mind being in the "wet spot" that IT left.
You can't catch anything but a "buzz" from a whisky.
After you have a whisky, you're committed to nothing other than dumping the empty bottle.
When your whisky is gone, you just pop another.
Whisky looks the same in the morning.
Whisky doesn't look you up in a month.
Whisky doesn't worry about someone walking in.
Whisky doesn't worry about waking the kids.
Whisky doesn't get cramps.
Whisky doesn't have a mother.
Whisky doesn't have morals.
Whisky doesn't go crazy once a month.
Whisky always listens and never argues.
Whisky labels don't go out of style every year.
Whisky doesn't whine, it bubbles.
Whisky doesn't have cold hands/feet.
Whisky doesn't demand legality.
Whisky is never overweight.
If you change whiskies, you don't have to pay alimony.
Whisky won't run off with your credit cards.
Whisky doesn't have a lawyer.
Whisky doesn't need much closet space.
Whisky can't give your herpes or other nasty things.
Whisky doesn't complain about the way you drive.
Whisky doesn't mind if you fart or belch.
Whisky never changes its mind.
Whisky doesn't tease you or play hard to get.
Whisky never asks you to change the station.
Whisky doesn't make you go shopping.
Whisky doesn't tell you to mow the grass.
Whisky will never make you go to a Swedish movie.
Whisky is always easy to pick up.
Big, fat whiskies are nice to have.
Whisky doesn't pout or play games.
Whisky NEVER says no.
Whisky is easy to get into.
Whisky never complains when you take it somewhere.
Whisky doesn't need to go to the 'powder room' with other whiskies.
Whisky doesn't wear a bra.
Whisky doesn't mind getting dirty.
Whisky doesn't complain about insensitivity.
Whisky doesn't use up your toilet paper.
Whisky doesn't live with its mother.
Whisky doesn't blow you off.
Whisky doesn't care if you have no culture or manners.
Whisky doesn't bitch, yell, or cry.
Whisky doesn't mind football season.
A whisky won't make you go to church.
A whisky is more likely to know how to spell "carburetor" than a woman.
A whisky doesn't think baseball is stupid simply because the guys spit.
A whisky doesn't think DOS is pronounced "dose".
A whisky doesn't give a toss if you keep a bunch of other whiskies around.
A whisky will not insist that those odious Michelin commercials with the babies are "cute".
If a whisky leaks all over the room, it smells kinda good for a while.
A whisky will not call you a sexist pig
A whisky will never make you see its parents
A whisky won't claim that the Three Stooges are shitheads.
A whisky won't raise a fuss about a little thing like leaving the toilet seat up.
A whisky will never stop you from watching Playboy.
A whisky won't whine that seatbelts hurt.
A whisky won't smoke in your car.
A whisky never watches opera.
A whisky will never buy a car with automatic transmission.
A whisky will never complain when you disobey nature.
A whisky is always ready to leave on time.
A whisky never fishes for compliments.
Whisky tastes good.
A whisky will never accuse you of rape.
A whisky won't raise any objections to an evening of watching.
An ice-cold whisky will nonetheless let you have your way with it.
A whisky won't make you pick up some tampons when you go to the store.


Paul DeJong, Belgium

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