Jack Daniel’s and The Miracle Fruit

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The beads of sweat on my brow were a constant reminder of the tropical heat. I was in far north Queensland. An Aboriginal healer named Mooksie had shown us poisonous bush plums earlier that day, which, according to my untrained eye, were indistinguishable from the edible kind. So, while I was happy to leave native Australian fruit firmly on their trees, the day was all about fruit. I’ll get to the fruit shortly.  Continue reading “Jack Daniel’s and The Miracle Fruit”

The thing about No Age Statement (“NAS”) whisky is…

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While perusing the aisles of my local Aldi supermarket, a bottle of Highland Earl Blended Scotch whisky caught my eye. On closer inspection, the label on this bottle had an age statement – “aged 3 years” the label read. I felt a mixture of emotions. First, I was pleased. I was pleased that Aldi was being transparent and freely admitting that its Highland Earl whisky is a 3 year old whisky. Rather than simply not state an age on the bottle, and thus make the whisky a No Age Statement (“NAS”) whisky, Aldi chose to let consumers know the age of the whisky. Second, I was surprised. I was surprised that Aldi, of all companies, was bucking the trend – which is increasingly present in the whisky industry – of releasing NAS whisky and which disclose almost nothing of value to consumers – not the age, nor the proportion of whisky matured in certain cask types, nothing. Just a catchy, usually Gaelic, name. 

Continue reading “The thing about No Age Statement (“NAS”) whisky is…”

Is your taste in “good” whisky subjective and are whisky awards reliable?

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A tasting of Laphroaig, Bowmore and Ardmore single malt whisky (copyright, Maltmileage)

Living in Victoria in Australia, I have access to an abundance of world leading wineries to visit. One afternoon I visited two large wineries: De Bortoli and Yering Station. At Yering Station, I opted to be guided through a tasting of Yering Station’s premium wines. One wine was the Yering Station 2013 Shiraz Viognier. On tasting it, it was balanced and palatable but it did not strike me as being much better than any other decent red wine I have tasted. I was then surprised to learn, moments after tasting it, that leading wine critic James Halliday had scored the wine a hugely impressive 98 points. This made me wonder about whether scores which “wine experts” and “whisky experts” attribute to wine or whisky are subjective, or whether there are any good reasons to believe these scores are reliable indicators of the quality of a wine or a whisky.

Continue reading “Is your taste in “good” whisky subjective and are whisky awards reliable?”