SMWS Celestial Nectar Outturn

SMWS C1 - Nectar célesteThe December 2015 outturn caused a stir with its young, heavily sherried Ardbeg and an old sherried Springbank. Not to mention the Society's first ever Cognac! Oh, and let's not forget another Society bourbon!

Whilst they grabbed headlines, there was plenty of action elsewhere. My favourite of the list was the Arran, which was yet another superb dram that punched well above its weight. The Ardbeg was a close second.

Honourable mentions go to the Glen Elgin and the Springbank, but there was truly something for every palate in this outturn. A fine way to end the year.

Sign of better times

Sign of better times

This sign was on the St Alphage's High Walk on London Wall. Now long since gone, as a new high rise takes its place, but this photo reminds us that the old buildings were not exactly loved.

The humans may have moved out, but the spiders remained until the last!

Lighting the Forbidding

An awful title, but a photograph I just like.

Lighting The Forbidding

This building - on the north side of London Bridge - always seemed grim and forbidding to me. This shot was taken whilst walking around with a new lens, and so was more of a snapshot than anything else.

It's not perfectly aligned, but the lighting made this building much more palatable.

I believe this building is now gone, so I thought it was about time someone memorialised it. I doubt anyone else has a decent photo of it!

SMWS Feel-Good Moments Outturn

SMWS 5.46The big list in November 2015 was marred by some organisational cock-ups - it arrived the week before Greville Street was refurbished!

With one weekend lost to the refurbishment, and the rooms smelling of paint the weekend after that, I only got a few tasting notes done. A pity, as there were some great drams in there.

My favourite was the Auchentoshan, which was a very drinkable dram, evoking the warmth of summer. Thrill seekers would be satisfied by the Rock Town bourbon, which was creditable - if a touch less wonderful than the previous bottling. And I should also mention the Bladnoch, which was elegant and refined.

I wish I could have drawn up tasting notes for more than these 17 whiskies, but the Greville Street refurbishment meant that they'd all be highly suspect, tainted by paint.

Crane Colour Contrast

I am a sucker for cranes.

Crane Colour Contrast

This particular flock is over near Holborn, but their lovely red colour really struck me. Combined with a clear blue sky and a hint of low-lying winter's sun, they make a striking scene.

Incomprehensible Numbers

Incomprehensible Numbers
Incomprehensible Numbers - A view of the 2014 Tower of London installation "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red", by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper.

The sheer scale of the installation was very affecting - I have plenty of photographs of it, and when selecting one today what I wanted to get across was that scale. This one seemed to do it best.

Every one of those poppies represents a life lost. Worse still, there are yet more poppies - 888,246 of them - and they are all just for the losses from one war.

And for just one of the countries fighting.

On the 11th of November, we should remember those who lost their lives in conflict for us.

Every other day, we should work to ensure no more will have to lose theirs.

Lamp Post

Lamp Post

I just really like this photograph. As I walked towards the lamp post, my eye was drawn more towards it. Then the lamp shade nestled on the treeline, and was framed by the clouds - which seem to almost skirt the top of the lamp, as though it had dipped into the waters of the sky and pushed them aside.

Yes, the bottom of the scene is busy. But there are lovely vibrant colours, and the eye darts down into them before jumping back up to the sky for relief - where the alignments all just work.

It's a very satisfying scene.

This is also quite a rare photograph for me... I did nothing to it.

Usually, when post-processing, I do something to the photograph. I maybe crop it just a little. Or have to rotate it a degree or so. But not this time.

With this one, I looked at it momentarily - and decided to just hit "export". I just felt that any adjustments wouldn't be worth the time. And that is a very unusual feeling for me. I usually at least experiment a little...

But this time, I'd taken exactly the photograph that I wanted.

SMWS Fireside Joys Outturn

SMWS 28.26This is the list before the "big list" in November - which will have around 30 whiskies. Accordingly, this is a 13 dram tease arriving just at the very end of October, when nobody expected it.

Two of the drams (72.28 and 9.95) are online only. There's still some 72.28 at the London Rooms bar, but I skip it as it's a repeat. I'd also like to note that owing to some family matters, I have to do all of these in one mammoth 13 dram session, during which two kind souls buy me further whiskies. It was a long day and hard work to keep a fresh palate. You'd cry to see the drams I had to have poured down the sink half finished - I know I almost did!

There are no sherry casks, but there are some good first-fill bourbon casks to make up for it. The list also has a fairly high level of alcohol, so some caution is advised.

My favourite was, by a clear margin, the Tullibardine. It's a real whisky enthusiast's dram, that's a joy to explore as it gives up its flavours. I was also fond of the Benrinnes, the Glenfarclas and the Bowmore.

If this is the warm up act, then the main event should be superb!

Incoming Clouds

Another skyscape, this one a little flat.

Incoming Clouds

I like clouds, and am on record as liking clouds.

I was recently just wandering around on a Sunday, and really liked the sky. There's a nice texture and flow to the clouds here, with a little break here and there to keep it interesting.

Even better, as I looked up and took photos of it, others in the park also looked up and saw it. So this was very much a worthwhile photo to take...


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