Ardbeg Kelpie: A thoroughly Modern Malt

Ardbeg Kelpie

Here’s the latest limited release from Ardbeg a thoroughly modern Scotch for the New World Order.

Firstly, no age statement. Judging by the pale colour of the whisky I assume it is between 6 and 10 years. Distilleries are increasingly edging away from the traditional statement of age on the bottles. This if you haven’t been paying attention has been going on for at least a decade. It is driven mostly by a need to keep whisky in the distribution pipeline. The stuff is now so universally popular the production is not fast enough to support ten years in a barrel.

Secondly, the choice of barrels. This is the first whisky I’ve sipped, which to my knowledge hasn’t seen time in a used Bourbon barrel, the traditional aging vessel. The reasons are the same as the last paragraph. Cooperages in the US are hard pressed to keep up with the demand from bourbon distilleries, who in their turn are still dwarfed by the massive needs of say a Glenlivet or Johnnie Walker.

Instead the barrels are from the Circassian Hill country of the Adghye Republic. There is some back story to the oaks involved here which I haven’t tracked down yet. They may be particularly tight ringed old oaks, but I don’t know. In any event they’re Q. robur, the species made famous by the French in wine barrels.

Okay so what does it taste like? The nose is full of seaweed, iodine and smoke meats? Say what? There is a definite aroma of smoked or roasted or barbecued meat there. The box claims bacon, which I think is a bit off, but over to you for comment. I found the palate to be peaty, full of the sea and surprisingly herbaceous. Definite chocolate/earth there, with some fruits. A surprisingly delicate whisky given the powerful peaty nose. 

And for the nerds in the audience, a Kelpie isn’t an Australian sheep dog but a sea monster (also a fresh water monster, but in Scotland that difference can be slight.) It usually had the front of a horse and the rear of a sturgeon. Sometimes the horse was a bull. Supposedly the creatures could take on the shape of a human to lure you to your watery end. Their give away was hair tangled with seaweed. The pre-Raphelites preferred painting nubile young women (and who can blame them?), and gave Kelpie something of a siren spin.

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Solons and Colons

“…Part of the problem is the hot wine phenomena, which lives on, particularly in the US. Malbec is a product of the high plateau sunshine, and can easily attain 15 degrees alcohol and a sugar content that would make Mrs. Claus add them to her shortbread.
In recent years, the current government decided to tax such awful stuff – well sort of. Not all of it of course. Just some we notice is over 14.5 per cent. Think of it as a random tax on Argentinian wine lovers. Hurrah for Big Brother. Next time you buy wine in Alberta hoist a bottle to Brad and the other the solons running Wally World. Your tax dollars are not going to work in Saskatchewan, but darned if our government isn’t full of the nicest guys anywhere.”
StarPhoenix, Wine column March 18, 2017

As regular readers will know I have a problem with table wine that runs over 15 per cent ABV. Dessert wine or cocktails, sure. (Both are drunk in smaller quantities than a typical 150 ml. glass of table wine.)

In any event I have been asked repeatedly what a ‘solon’ is. So here’s a quick definition.

Solon, n., Law maker, giver of wisdom. Pr. Rhymes with “colon” Like your colon, a solon is also often stuffed with shit, and given to making burbling noises signifying nothing, other than the presence of a bad smell.

ex. The Premier of Saskatchewan is a large and friendly solon, given to thoughtful rejection of sensible liquor sales regimes, and tax systems because he’s just so damn wise none of us understand.

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CTV Noon and Eggnog

As I said on the air, I can’t convince some people to make their own eggnog from scratch. If you’re going to play around with the commercial stuff the two best liquors to use are dark rum (or substitute brown liquor of choice) and Kahulua. The Kahlua will add the vanilla and sugar. The rum the booze. I use them pretty much 1:1

If you want to try to make a real eggnog, it takes all of about 3 minutes, and a one-litre plastic container.

Here are all the recipes. You can adjust the sugar and sweetness to suit yourself. As you can see I use 1/3 of the sugar, and skim milk and it still tastes fine. And the Kinsmen of P.A., doubters to a man endorse this recipe.

The Christmas Passion Eggnog, all versions

And if you didn’t get a look at the beers I brought on, here they are.
Bullrush Barley wine (Mano’s on 22nd)
Innis & Gun Bourbon cask (widely available)
Momus Dark from Italy (Coop)
Heartstopper Christmas Stout (Paddockwood)

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Wine Stain Removal

wine-stainHow do you take out red wine stains?

This is a question that comes up all the time, and I like most people am just an amateur with experience. I decided to do the logical thing and ask a fabrics person, Ms. Arlene Skull who knows everything there is to know about dying and fabric. (Okay maybe not everything, but more than enough to satisfy my needs. She’s got a degree in fabric science from university.)

Here is her official response.

“Spray with oxiclean and rub in. Let sit. Rinse. If not successful, make a paste with the [oxiclean] powder and rub in and let sit. Wash. Don’t put in dryer unless stain is gone as the dryer sets the stain.

Repeat as necessary.

The most important thing is “speed” – dilute fast. Then proceed.”

I assume OxiClean is available outside N. America. If not, you need to find a similar product.

In Stately Dr. Booze Manor, the carpets I am reasonably sure are acrylic fibre and pretty stain resistant. I use a Bissell spot stain remover with the recommended detergent. I used to use the Little Green Machine before this machine and it was great, so when it started wheezing, I bought this one.

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Sloe Gin Rickey & a Negroni

For those listening to John Gormley live on June 7th Here are the two drinks I served him.negroni and haskap gin rickey

Haskap Gin Rickey
50 mls LB Distillery Haskap Gin
1/2 Lime, juiced
Club Soda to taste

30 ml Sweet Vermouth
30 ml Campari
30 ml Black Fox Wooded Gin

Serve over ice with an orange slice. (I used a slice of Meyer lemon for the drink I made John.)

The other three drinks I served were:
– Dusty Boots Hard Root Beer (Available at the SLGA and elsewhere)
– Sleeman’s Railside Session Ale
– NZ PURE Lager

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