The Whisky Tasting Club

English Whisky Co., Chapter 9, St George’s Distillery

Dom visited St George’s distillery on Monday 7th June 2010. Apparently he had a marvellous time raiding their casks and will blog about the experience later. He did remember to bring us back a sample of the new expression, Chapter 9, so Michelle, Pat and I went into Norwich to taste it. All comments should be qualified by the fact that we tasted it in tiny plastic glasses!

English Whisky Company, Chapter 9. 46% ABV, retails at £39.99. Cask: American Bourbon 1st Fill. Age: 3 years. On the bottle it says “Peated/Smokey” It is peated at 32 ppm.  

Dominic says:

Nose: A shy and retiring nose with wispy smoke and summer hay.

Taste: First wave is creamy honey and sweet apple with a delayed healthy hit of peat. This gives way to a Liquorice Allsorts flavour, the round blue and pink bobbly ones, you know the ones I mean (ed: is there a specific name for these?).

Finish: Surprisingly and amazingly well integrated, the finish gives toffee apples, a bit of pepper and a touch of wood. It’s short to medium long and very pleasant.

Tony says: Very light nose, not much going on there, but it has a lovely light peat taste without any of the barley aftertaste you get in other young whiskies. As you would expect, it’s not massively complex, but its very drinkable and high quality. I liked the chapter 6 (bought two bottles), but I think this is a step forward. The peat mitigates the youth of the spirit without compromising the fresh, lemony taste that seems to be becoming the St George’s signature. I think they were right to not go the whole hog with higher levels of peat, it is balanced as it is and seems to work well.  I think it’s a bit expensive at £40, but there is no denying it’s a quality product, and after the prices we saw on our Islay Festival trip it seems to me that everyone is trying to up the price for premium whisky (err, thats why it’s premium I guess?)

Pat: Nose: light with a touch of stewed fruit, merest hint of peat. Taste: apples and late peat. Finish: slightly woody/oaky finish.

Michelle:  Nose: roasted sweetcorn, a bit of diesel and demerara sugar. Taste: peppery wood. Finish: yes I have, want some more!  

Overall, I think its safe to say we are all very impressed by it, Tony and Dom more so than Michelle who likes her whiskies loooong. Whereas the chapter 6 was young but full of promise, the chapter 9 is a more complete, rounded whisky. The mystery of where chapters 7 and 8 are is explained on their website. You can buy it direct from them at £39.99

http://www.englishwhisky.co.uk/acatalog/english-whisky-co-liqueurs.html

The local paper has an article on this here:

http://www.pinkun.com/content/edp24/news/commentary/story.aspx?itemid=NOED07%20Jun%202010%2016:46:19:610&brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tCategory=News&tBrand=EDPOnline

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Bottles

So we think a key component of our product is that the tastings can go through the letterbox. We want to avoid those annoying “we missed you” notes that can involve a trip to the sorting office. This gives us two problems: firstly we need to get the tastings into small letter sized packages; and secondly we need to make sure they cannot break. The maximum depth for small letter is 25 mm. Most 5 cl bottles are over 30 mm deep.  Also glass bottles offer a much greater risk of breakage. We have found some plastic minature bottles that fit the bill. Our worry is, does plastic effect the whisky? We will be doing some extensive testing over the next month. I hope that as long as we make up tastings regularly (rather than bottling up large numbers and having them sit around for ages) things will be ok, but if you have any opinions on this please let us know.

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Cutting corners

This web stuff is pretty silly, they make a big play of involving proper software engineering, but ultimately like everything to do with interfaces it decends into dirty hacking. I thought it might be nice to have round corners on my div sections. One minute of Googling reveals the normal way to do this is to draw four corners as Gifs then to include them in an extra div for each, resetting the padding and width. FFS! Some then wrap it in a javascript method to make it more structured which just over complicates it.

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Blogs and the Law

I figured out how to add our banner to the blogs and have integrated all three blogs with the rest of the website. The main site still needs significant redesign, but it’s all a work in progress. I fixed the header by hacking the theme header.php files, but unfortunately I will need a new theme for every blog if I want to keep the secondary menu. Still, it’s linked in now, time to drive some traffic to Dom’s blog, not sure anyone will ever read this!

The other thing we are doing is getting an alcohol licence. For the business property (i.e. our house), you have to draw a diagram of the premises (i.e. our spare room), put an ad in the local paper and also put up a notice outside the house in addition to filling out a form more appropriate to nightclubs (I don’t think we need a plan for late night drinkers for example, unless it’s a plan for me to drink less). One of us then has to get a personal licence. Michelle is doing  this, she has to go on a day long course and confirm she hasn’t got a drink problem…. get through that and cough up a couple of hundred quid and we should be there. If we get rejected we have a problem, but I think it should be ok.

After that, the next task is to get the forum up and linked in and find someone to post there. Next is to tidy up and add to the content on the main page, everything is just dumped there at the moment.

Still looking around for online info. Amazing how many whisky websites there are. www.connosr.com is a whisky social network! Excellent site. All this online stuff is vital, but I don’t think it will drive that much business our way. Although I hope we get a lot of young uns, our real target demographic is 40+ men. A lot of blokes that age (i.e. my age) hate facebook/twitter/blogs. Word of mouth and direct selling will I hope get us to our first 100 punters. We aim to be selling 100 tastings a month after one year of trading. However, who knows, it might take of. This is really a part-time project for all of us, I’m enjoying it though. Tony

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Tony`s Technical Traumas

Hi, I’m going to use this blog to moan about the technical hassles I’m having setting up this website, no doubt I will get millions of followers :) I might make my students follow and answer, muhhaaaahhh, the abuse of power!

Update so far. WordPress and phpBB fantastically easy to install. Concentrating on getting Dom’s blog set up correctly, and although Wordpress is used by millions who presumably don’t have two degrees in computer science, it seems hard to configure. How I wonder do I change the banner to insert a picture? Do I need to edit the theme? And how do I put my menu bar along the top?  Sure I’ll sort it soon when I get some time, day job quite busy at the moment, must be easier than my fun with writing raw html with css. Next up to learn php.

Anyway, I’m trying to come up with a logo for the club. Being a computer scientist, this is not my strong point! My first effort is on the left. We will remove that line, make the font bigger and bolder and tweak it a bit, but I like it, although it is just writing on a warehouse wall!

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First Post

Hello, this is the first post on the WTC blog. This blog will contain updates and news relating to the club. For whisky opinion, see Dom’s blog.

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