Shadows In The Fire

This was a test shot for a new lens.

Shadows In The Fire

It turns out that if you want to buy a new lens, you should do it in autumn. You get some really nice things to take photos of...

SMWS February 2015 Outturn

Has there ever been a bad outturn from the SMWS? Not that I recall...

This one brings us some less frequent visitors to the Society in the form of a Rosebank, a Caledonian, a Glen Ord, and an Inchmurrin.

There were also two Glen Morays - not unprecedented, but unusual - and a Highland Park.

My favourites were the Rosebank, Highland Park, and the Caledonian - the Rosebank predictably sold out quickly, as did the Highland Park, but the Caledonian lingered as grains seem to do.

The only oddity was the Port Charlotte, which was peatier on the day of release than it was on the following day... My taste buds, or a change in the whisky? More research is required!

Map Geekery - The Undated London Map

Being a geek is an odd thing. Geeks aren't just about computers, science and engineering. We often find interest in the oddest areas.

I quite like maps.

Maps are a wonderful invention. A handy way of representing the world around us, we take them for granted every day. Yet there can be interesting decisions in making the map - like what to include, how to represent it, and so forth.

Some time ago, I was visiting friends and they gave me a map of London as a gift. This was a kind, thoughtful gift, which was much appreciated as it combined history and maps - two of my favourite things!

And when I got back to my hotel room that evening, and spread it out on my bed to examine it, I couldn't find a date on it at all. Which is why a kind, thoughtful gift kept me awake until two in the morning...

SMWS January 2015 Outturn

A larger than expected outturn for January, made special with an old Macallan and a new grain distillery - Dumbarton.

Quite a few drams that I felt were a little too light for these cold days - better suited to summer's evenings - but that merely provokes conversation and brings back fond memories, so it's no bad thing. The Dailuaine in particular proved popular amongst everyone who tried it, but was surpassed by the Linkwood in my opinion.

And there was a decent selection of three peated drams, none of which will disappoint - but the best was definitely the Bowmore. I hate camping, but a bottle of that could make it tolerable!

My Whisky Ratings

The Old Man of Huy wrote recently about whisky ratings, and I got mentioned.

I thought that this was a good time to talk about how I rate whisky.

The basics, first of all - I rate out of 5. And I use half points. Some people don't like that. That's fine - they can use their own rating system! :-)

I use 2.5 as "average", and try to arrange my ratings around that.

0 is technically "no rating". I try not to regard 0 as a usable part of the scale, but more way of recording that I'm not capable of categorising this whisky, and wouldn't want to. It does usually translate into "undrinkable", but might not always do so... If I could only nose the whisky due to medication and someone forced me to give a rating, it would have to be 0 even if I liked the nose!

I want two things from my ratings system. I want it to be easy, and I want it to be useful.

Let's look at easy first.

Expiration of an old domain...

Way back in 2005, at about three in the afternoon on the 6th of January, I registered a domain.

That domain was, and I was going to use it for blogging. (I picked the name because I wasn't sure I'd be able to have a rapid rate of updates.)

SMWS 90.5 - "Kola Kubes and Lilt"

Pittyvaich is a very curious distillery. Built in 1975 and closed in 1993, it ran for less than 20 years and didn't get much of a reputation. Almost all its produce went for blending, with a little going to the a Flora & Fauna expression. I've had the occasional independent bottling that wasn't to my taste, but on the whole I've generally been quite impressed.

I must admit to a little bias in favour of Pittyvaich - it's one of the first "off the beaten track" distilleries I ever tasted. Having tried everything that the local off-licenses offered, I eventually found myself in the Milroys bar (so this was some time ago!). I was asked what I'd drank and what I'd enjoyed, and promptly offered a Mortlach and Pittyvaich (both Flora & Fauna). I therefore have fond memories of both...

This is the third SMWS Pittyvaich that I've been luck enough to try. The others were 90.1 and 90.10 - the latter being the last Pittyvaich we ever saw from the SMWS (in the UK, at least). This makes for a curious pattern - almost as if I'm attempting some kind of half-arsed binary search through the Pittyvaich SMWS bottlings. One can but hope!

10 years old, distilled May 1992, bottled October 2002, 59.4% abv

Typographical Notes

Some may have noticed that my little corner of the internet has become more individual.

And for those of you who aren't British, "individual" is our polite way of saying "ugly".
        Him: "What do you think of my new tie?"
        Her: "Very individual, dear... "

Why does my website now have an "individual appearance"? Typography.

All I've done is change the typography of the website. And my only regret is that I didn't take a "before" screenshot to put here...


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