Hi, you're in the Archives, November 2004 - Part 1
REVIEW: NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
Academy, UK - Friday November 12th
tera-deluxe guest writer Nick Morgan
a balmy Friday night in Brixton,
and outside the Academy the ticket
touts are moving silently like wraiths
through the early-doors crowd, each
face a testimony to a thousand punches.
But it’s not a beauty show,
and for the third night in a row
they are doing brisk business.
the last sell-out night of Nick
sojourn in the Capital, and everyone
there knows it will be some time
before we see him again.
There’s nothing to say about
Cave that hasn’t been written
already. The ‘post-punk prince
of Goth’ (I’m sure I
read that somewhere), lauded by
London’s chattering classes,
whose lyrics stumble from sublime
(and usually dark) poetic imagery
to occasional painful contrivance.
Lean, lank and mean he moves around
the stage like Scott Walker’s
‘singer with a Spanish bum’
(from ‘Jackie’ on Scott
2), carefully lit so that his shadows
dance on the balconied walls like
a possessed Javanese wayang kulit
puppet. His presence, like his voice,
is commanding and intimidating.
He spits and spews his lyrics (occasionally
assisted by a song sheet) with venom
– even at his tenderest (and
most ironic) moments, such as ‘God
is in the House’.
Cave the Bad Seeds exude a barely
restrained menace. In the absence
of Blixa Bargeld only violinist Warren
Ellis offers any real movement, and
even he Stuart Sutcliffes his way
through most of the night with his
back to the audience. They provide
sensitive and sometimes deliberately
discordant accompaniments to Cave’s
more sensitive songs (‘Babe
you turn me on’), and power
and drive when the tempo is raised,
with Jim Sclavunos and Thomas Wylder
playing the drummer percussionists’
version of good-cop, bad cop, on songs
such as ‘Supernaturally’,
‘The weeping song’ and
‘Get ready for love’.
But when they are unleashed, with
Cave gesticulating wildly in their
faces like conductor Valery Gergyev,
they prove that they are, to paraphrase
a recurring theme in Cave’s
oeuvre, the meanest of all the mean
motherfuckers of rock and roll.
Parts of ‘Hiding all away’
and ‘Stagger Lee’ are
delivered with such shock and awe
that the audience are, well, …awed.
From ‘Abattoir blues’
to ‘There she goes’
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds deliver
sixty minutes of almost overpowering
rock, returning to work through
a selection of their bad catalogue
before a final encore of ‘The
Mercy Seat’, by which time
– to be frank – they
were a bit past it (as were the
audience). But when you know you
will still be revisiting a show
in your mind months later then it
has to be very special. This was.
- Nick Morgan (top photo: Nick)
- TWO NEW ZEALANDERS
12 yo 1990/2003 (46%, OB)
Colour: amber. Nose: smells like
a fruit eau de vie (tutti frutti).
Lots of pineapple, kiwi (eh?), overripe
tangerine. Another one that doesn’t
really smell whisky… Goes
on with ‘chemical’ fruit
products (Fanta, Gini). Even Smirnoff
Ice! Very bizarre…Hints of
cooked apple and caramel. Mouth:
very weak attack, quite indefinite.
Plain flat, with just a little black
toffee, wood and apple juice…
And some fruity notes (overripe
apple). Almost no finish, I’m
afraid. 35 points.
10 yo (48.6%, Cadenhead’s, bourbon
barrels, 228 bottles, bottled 2003)
Colour: straw. Nose: powerful attack
on nail varnish and flowers. Pineapple
sweets, pear drops, lily from the
valley, fructose, light honey. Develops
on some heavy bubblegum and pink grapefruit.
Rather interesting! Mouth: nice and
powerful attack, again on varnish
and acidic fruits (kiwi, gooseberry,
not too mature pineapple). Glue. A
little grassy and bitter, but it’s
really interesting. Gets a little
bourbonny (vanilla, oak, caramel).
The finish is long, rich and bold,
on dark rum. Okay, maybe the heavy
notes of varnish would scare some
tasters, but I feel it’s a very
interesting, if not highly enjoyable
malt. Let’s give it 84
points. I’m happy I
could taste this one – thanks
TO HEAD - OLD AND NEW GLENFARCLAS
15 yo OFFICIAL
15 yo (46%, OB, circa 1997)
light gold. Nose: quite restrained
at first nosing. Hot butter and
caramel, not much else, I’m
afraid. After deeper nosing some
cooked apple, cider and wood do
appear, but that’s all. A
rather simple nose. Mouth: bold
and rather powerful attack, but
rather drying. Quite simple and
mono-dimensional, on caramel. Hints
of wine and wood… Not much
else. Long finish because of the
rather high alcohol level, just
getting a little peppery. Well,
not a stunner at all, although it
hasn’t got any flaw. A (silver)
hipflask malt. 80 points.
15 yo (46%, OB, 2004)
Colour: light gold – slightly
lighter than the older version. Nose:
fresher and livelier than the old
one, but in no way a stunner. More
fresh apple and ripe gooseberry, plum
and milk caramel. Okay, this one is
slightly better on the nose…
Mouth: ah, it’s better and less
simple than the old one, yet not too
complex. Starts on rum, sweet wine,
fruit jam (quince, apricot)…Gets
soon quite bitter and rather spirity.
Curiously, I think it would have been
better at 43%, rather then 46. Develops
on light honey and some oaky notes,
with a funny pinch of salt on the
tongue. The finish is bold and long,
but simple, on apple compote, caramel
and white pepper. Now, it surely is
a little better than the older version.
Just a little… 81 points
- Recommended listening
for a rainy autumnal Sunday - Indonesian
in Paris (mp3). Sure that's easy
listening, but isn't this tune nicely
crafted? And who's playing the Fender
Rhodes? He's good! Please buy Anggun's
CDs if you like her - I mean her music.
- Did you ever try the Whisky
Basin Whisky Flavored Barbeque Sauce?
It's made with Jalapeno Peppers, right
in Kansas. Cowboys and moonshiners
are said to have invented the recipe...
I bet it's a little harsh, but I'd
love to taste it one day!
listening: young sonwriter Edie
Carey sings Disco
Ball Heart and Violently
(both mp3) As a Boston journalist
once wrote: 'Just when you think
you've figured her for a fragile,
soulful songstress, she cuts into
a subject... with a diamond-edged
blade.' Her singing makes me
think of Tori Amos. Please buy her
music if you like it. (Photo Brad
– THREE OFFICIAL GLENROTHES
12 yo (43%, OB Berry Bros &
Rudd, circa 1990)
Colour: yellow gold. Nose: fresh
and clean, light – but not
weak - and balanced. Apple juice,
flowers (buttercup), nectar, light
honey. Very elegant, the light side
of Speyside. Develops on cider,
bitter orange, pink grapefruit.
Gets a little buttery. Very nice,
a perfect Sunday afternoon malt.
Mouth: very nice, fruity attack,
with quite a lot of oomph. Apple
pie, cooked apricot, tropical fruits…
Very nice indeed. Develops on herbal
tea (camomile) and honey, getting
quite citrusy after a while (freshly
squeezed orange juice). Some caramel,
hints of oak just to underline the
whole, and a dash of white pepper.
Really good! A medium long but very
balanced finish, on cooked fruits
and oak. I like this one very much.
1992/2004 (43%, OB)
Colour: yellow gold. Nose: less fresh
and playful, and more spirity. Caramel,
oak, nuts, some sherry… Less
complex than the older version. Gets
flowery after a minute or two, and
fruity as well (apple compote), but
the whole is somewhat restrained.
Some winey notes take control after
a while. Mouth: quite a lot of sherry,
but somewhat restrained. Much less
complex and interesting than it’s
older brother. Gets a little watery
and fragmented, with some bitter orange
on one side an some wood on the other
side. Gets quite honeyed… Rather
short finish, on honey and oak. Not
bad, sure, but nothing special either.
to right: old 12 yo , 1992/2004 and
1987/2002. Colour consistency...
1987/2002 (43%, OB)
Colour: yellow gold. Nose: lots of
fresh apple and cider. Again not too
complex, the younger one still was
fresher and livelier. This one really
needs some time to open up. Develops
on some oaky notes, getting a little
sour (yoghurt). Mouth: more balanced,
and somewhat bolder than the one we
just had. Good news! Oakier and drier
too… Cooked fruits (apple again),
caramel, honey, chocolate, and lots
of pepper. Gets woodier and woodier,
but in a rather nice way. Having said
that, it’s not very complex.
Rather long, somewhat drying finish,
on pepper and cocoa powder. 82
years after Jean-Paul Gaultier's famous
kilts for men (around 1985), great
news, we non-Scottish boys shall soon
be able to wear kilts again, as this
recent photograph of Chanel's
stylist Karl Lagerfeld might testify
(left). Even Burberry
had one (right). Ambiguous? What do
you mean? And why not also order some
'non-folkoric' kilts at Utilikilts,
Seattle? As they claim on their website,
they sell 'Utility kilts for every
occasion... Except bungee jumping.'
But what do the Scots think?
– TWO SHERRIED
Ellen 23 yo 1979/2003 (46%, Wilson
& Morgan, butt #6769)
Colour: deep amber. Nose: lots of
sherry at first nosing, but the
peat is soon to arrive. Wow, what
a superb balance! Cooked strawberries
with pepper, strawberry jam, blackcurrant
liqueur, gluehwein, caramel. Smoke,
burnt tyre. What’s fantastic
here is the fact that all aromas
are perfectly melted. Burning wood,
breadcrumb, ashes… An endless
development, yet a ‘compact’
whisky. Gets more maritime after
a moment. Mouth: bang! Strong and
nervous attack, on peat, pepper
and sherry. Lots of cocoa, dried
fruits, smoke… And a huge
array of various spices. Even chilli!
It’s really strong, and very
dry. A malt for big boys…
Gets more and more peppery and tannic,
until the finish, which is extremely
long and peppery. I had it at 95
points, but I’ll down-rate
it a bit just because I found it
was a little too dry. But what a
superb whisky! 93 points.
Ellen 21 yo 1982/2004 (50%, Douglas
Laing OMC, cask #DL 414, 420 bottles,
Colour: dark amber. Nose: wow, here’s
a strong challenger! A little bolder,
with again lots of sherry and peaty
aromas. And again, the balance is
perfect. Lots of special aromas like
soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, parsley,
marc, high gamy pheasant meat. Lots
of white pepper, strawberry jam, rubber…
Wow! It’s much less sweet than
the Wilson & Morgan. Hard to say
which one I like best! Mouth: incredibly
bold and rich, starting with tons
of pepper, loads of smoke, bunches
of cooked fruits and again these strange,
but very interesting meaty notes.
Very tart – but in a nice way.
A genuine monster of a whisky, exactly
the one you should never serve to
a newbie (more for us, right?) It
gets smokier and smokier, with some
added extra-strong liquorice, tobacco
quid, herbal liqueur (Jägermeister).
Stunningly rich and bold. The finish
is extremely long – perhaps
too long if you have to meet somebody
within the coming hour. Fudge, that’s
malt! 94 points.
Drake died thirty years
ago, at the age of 26. Virtually unknown
during his lifetime, he's now revered
by three generations of listeners.
It's nothing but justice, as Northern
Sky (mp3) should testify.
- FOUR NEW BATCHES OF BALVENIE
12 yo DoubleWood (40%, OB, 2004)
Colour: gold. Nose: fresh and nicely
sherried. Lost of honey, caramel
and vanilla, as usual. Some nice
notes of sweet wine (gewurztraminer
of oak and pepper. In short, it’s
nice and rather sweet, and of course
flawless. Some gingerbread after a
few minutes. Mouth: sweet and creamy
attack. Quite some wine, apple compote,
honey, with a dash of white pepper.
Rather long finish, on sweet wine
and oak. It appears to be much bolder
than what I’d have expected
since it’s a 40% version. I
like it, although it lacks complexity.
1989 PortWood (40%, OB, 2004)
Colour: gold. Nose: a little more
closed and more restrained than the
DW. More floral too. The DW appears
to be really big when compared to
this one. Some caramel, light honey,
vanilla creme. Gets quite winey after
a few minutes – and a little
sour. Mouth: much closer to the DW
than the nose was. Perhaps a little
pricklier, with more tannins. It also
gets a little fragmented after a moment.
The finish is medium long and rather
tannic. 81 points.
21 yo PortWood (40%, OB, 2004)
Colour : gold. Nose: big, bold honey,
beehive, beeswax. Quite spectacular,
extremely smooth and fragrant. Again,
it makes me think of a sweet white
wine. Trockenbeerenauslese? Quite
feminine, in a certain way. Mouth:
ah, beautiful attack, again on honey
and beeswax. A lot of oaky notes too,
with lots of tannins getting really
drying after a while. Lots of pepper
appearing towards the finish, which
is medium long. It’s good whisky,
perhaps too oaky, but the ‘beehive’
notes are really spectacular. Perhaps
more a recipe than a malt? 86
15 yo Single Barrel 1989/2004 (47.8%,
OB, cask #7581)
Colour : straw. Nose: much more
restrained than all the others.
Slightly spirity and oaky. Hints
of hot milk, flowers (dandelion),
tannins, pepper. Much more austere…Develops
on apple skin (cider apples) and
hops. Perhaps a little more complex,
yet cleaner than the wine-treated
Balvenies. Mouth: powerful attack,
on lavender, oak and vanilla. Fudge,
butter creme… Some fruity
notes developing after a while (pear,
apple). Not too complex again, but
I like this ‘straight shooter’
style, which is quite unusual at
Balvenie’s. Rather long, but
slightly spirity finish. 83
- Recommended listening
-because it's well made and I'm not
sure Sir Yehudi Menuhin would have
disapproved it: Mexican electronic
haus session which uses lots of
samples of the great violinist and
humanist. But where have all the humanists
IT YOURSELF - If crafting
your own chairs with some genuine
oak barrels has always
been one of your secret dreams (?)
why not buy some used butts (£95),
puncheons (£95) or hogsheads
(£65)? Just look here.
Furthermore, as they say: 'it
would be impossible to describe in
detail all the things that you can
create with barrels. Suffice it to
say that they are versatile, easy
to use. Here's a list of what some
people have used them for: rainwater
buts, ice buckets, water features,
fountains and ponds, flower planters
and shrub tubs, seats and armchairs,
tables, and furniture, kennels, childrens
dens and play areas, litter bins,
ornamental signs, tool holders, brewing
and wine-making'. Err... and
TO HEAD - OLD AND NEW GLENFARCLAS
105 (60%, OB, circa 1997)
Colour: gold. Nose: curiously not
too bold at first nosing, yet some
bold burnt cake and toffee are soon
to appear. Sherry, apple, caramel…
It’s simple and straightforward.
Some cider apple skin, beer (Guinness)…
and some funny seawater notes. Its
good, it’s simple, it’s
the ‘105’. Mouth: ouch,
how powerful! Yet it’s very
balanced… It really invades
your mouth and coats it with lots
of caramel, dried orange and oak.
Bang! Not much else, I must say…
The finish is long and rather burning.
This one is just a gentle monster.
105 (60%, OB, 2004)
New livery! Colour: full amber. Nose:
very different, for it starts on soy
sauce, cooked meat (game) and black
toffee. It’s not that it’s
any more complex, but it surely is
more special. Lots of sweet’n’sour
notes (Chinese cooking). Develops
on tropical fruits (guava). Really
a great whisky, not too far from the
stupendous and long discontinued old
Macallan 100 proof. It seems to have
become to Speyside what the Laphroaig
10 yo C/S is to Islay. Gets quite
winey after a few minutes. Mouth:
wow, again, it’s much better
than the older version. Less spirity,
more balanced… Always some caramel
and dried orange, but with more depth,
and more fruits (apricot, quince,
mirabelle…) and much more sherry,
it seems. The finish is long but less
burning and more balanced. A great
whisky – no wonder many aficionados
do pour a few centilitres of this
one in any so-so new bottle of whisky
to improve it dramatically. Yes, try
that, it works! Anyway, 88
points for this Bang-for-your-buck
- Another good band
I didn't know of is Nickel
Creek. Their website
claims that 'though originally created
as a bluegrass band, their music expands
on those influences by incorporating
Beatles-flavored psychedelia, left-of-center
alt rock, pop, folk and more'. That
says it all, I guess. Why not have
a listen to their very nice song 'Natural
Kind of Love' (mp3). Thanks
again for the tip, Peter! (Photo
- Dram Raider? It
seems that Angelina Jolie's got a
soft spot for whisky. Maybe she'll
join the Malt Maniacs one day? We
could give her some good tips as for
the most suitable glasses...
notes of butter caramel. Goes on with
some acid fruits like kiwi or green
gooseberry. Some hints of oak. A very,
very nice nose, with a lot of freshness.
Mouth: strong, starting with coffee
and loads of tannins. Rather burning,
lacking a little softness at first,
but everything settles down after
a while. Lots of sweet wine like if
they had poured twenty litres of Port
into the cask. Lots of cooked red
fruits (strawberry, redcurrant). It
gets really drying and peppery, though.
Long, peppery finish. Perhaps more
a curiosity, but a curiosity that
works. 83 points
10 yo 1993/2004 Burgundy Finish (57.4%,
OB, cask #04/13/3, 458 bottles)
Colour: gold-salmon-apricot. Nose:
much more ‘sherryish’
than the 21 yo , which is quite funny.
Lots of red wine (a little sour),
butter, overripe apple, redcurrant
wine. Really sweet and sour (Chinese
dim sum sauce). Develops on wine vinegar…
Gets a little toasted. Rather a curiosity,
not really whisky anymore, I’d
say, but the result is enjoyable –
this time. Mouth: very sweet attack,
with again lots of tannins. You can
really feel the wine (pinot noir).
of strawberry, cooked apricot, balsamic
vinegar. Gets a little meaty –
interesting! Long, but rather spirity
finish, with just a little salt. A
very good, but anecdotal malt. 83
10 yo 1993/2004 Sauternes Finish (56.8%,
OB, cask #04/11/2, 445 bottles)
Colour: white wine, obviously. Nose:
again, very winey but much sweeter
than the ‘red wine’ ones.
Caramel, flowers from the fields (dandelion),
cooked apricot, fresh banana. Some
obvious sulphur. Develops on pear,
apple juice, quince. It gets sweeter
and sweeter. Again, I feel it’s
not really whisky anymore, but it’s
nice. Mouth: nice, sweet and strong
attack, but the wine makes it quite
rounded. Lots of light honey and mirabelle
gets quite burning after a while,
though. Some strange grassy notes
do appear (hay jelly?) Some oaky notes,
getting stronger and stronger. Long,
hot finish, on oak and apricot. Funny!
- Recommended listening:
if you're into Irish 'folk rock drinking
songs', excellent German (!?) band
Godiva sings One
Whisky (mp3). Pub ambiance, anyone?
Please buy their CDs or attend their
gigs if you can!
- Yet another crazy,
but funny website by the Church
of SubGenius. Lots of interesting
computer-art works, sometimes gothic,
sometimes barrock. Now, as for the
'Whiskey Uber Alles' motto... Sounds
a little too fascist to my ears ;-)
What, I should sometimes look below
the surface of things? You're so right!
- I tried to improve
this website's navigation a bit by
putting all internal links - except
the archives - on the left column.
No more 'intermediate' pages: you
now have everything at hand! It's
still a little rough around the edges,
but I hope you'll like it...
- THREE SINGLE GRAINS
1969-1990 (47%, Humbrecht, single
A cask fellow Maniac Olivier got
in his cellar after Moffat distillery
went bankrupt, which means it’s
been matured partly in Alsace. Colour:
light amber. Nose: fresh, slightly
spirity and quite oaky, but in a
nice way. Develops of cold coffee,
rum, sultanas, and whiffs of lavender
perfume. Some winey notes. Quite
meaty (ham), soy sauce. Very interesting.
Keeps developing on forest smells,
fern, humus. Quite complex! Mouth:
quite thick and tannic attack, on
rum and wood. Lots of dried fruits
(Christmas cake) crystallised orange,
raisins and burnt caramel. Very
nice! Develops on American restaurant
coffee at the end of the day. Long,
oaky and slightly bitter finish
with some resinous notes. A very,
very good single grain, that’s
for sure! 85 points
38 yo 1965/2004 (51.6%, Peerless,
cask #15537, 254 bottles, single grain)
Colour: light amber. Nose: similar
attack, a little spirity and woody,
but bolder, and then it goes in a
completely different direction: lots
of pine resin, varnish and turpentine,
which I always like. Lots of camphor
too. Hints of rum, and like in the
Garnheath, deep forest after the rain.
Very special, I like it. Gets a little
toffeeish – burnt cake. Mouth:
how special! Rosewater, Turkish delight,
Grand Marnier, pine syrup, fir honey.
Develops on praline, caramel, raisins,
rum. Some strange perfumy notes strike
after a minute or two (eau de Cologne).
Mint liqueur (Get 27), Dantziger Goldwasser,
Chartreuse, tar… Really crazy!
Even chorizo, salami… Long,
complex finish. Special indeed. Not
a classic, that’s for sure,
but I think it’s well worth
89 points (I had
cask #15539 at 91 points).
British 18 yo 1979/1997 (43%, Signatory,
Colour: light amber. Nose: much simpler
and more restrained than both the
Garnheath and the Invergordon. Cheap
rum, raisins, vanilla, brunt cake,
coffee. Lots of caramel, black toffee.
Rather nice, that is. Hints of parsley,
hay, and even dill.
rather weak and somewhat dirty attack,
on rum again, plus some hints of sherry.
Coffee, burnt caramel, toasted bread.
Gets quite dry and a little bitter,
and a little meaty (dried beef). Again
it’s interesting, but not as
thrilling as the two other ones. The
finish is medium long, on rum (Stroh).
82 points (unchanged).
Now, I know what you think: I should
have tasted this North British first
– and you are pretty right.
- Another interesting
young American indie singer and composer,
Ledoux. Listen to The
Entertainer (mp3), a nice song
that's got nothing to do with Scott
Joplin's famous ragtime. There's also
Mr President', which is great
although more... hem... political.
In the fine old tradition of the greatest
American protest singers?
WORLD - I've just
learnt that UK-based Internet provider
Broadband is testing
a system to let people send aromatic
e-mails over the internet,
through a 'scent dome'. That dome
works with a cartridge containing
20 basic aromas, which can be combined
to produce up to 60 different smells.
A 'scented e-mail' - but I guess
that should work on the web as well
- will contain electronic signals
that will tell the dome which smell
it must realease.
now I'm dreaming of some 'illustrated
tasting notes'... I'll write Telewest
Broadband asap and ask them whether
they couldn't make a special version
with peat, smoke, sherry, mango, turpentine
or caramel. Would be great, don't
you think? Oh, last but not least,
the plug-in device for the PC should
cost around £250. Well... (via
just got a report on a very interesting
vertical tasting session of six
SMWS Caol Ilas by Pär
Calendby. Just click here
to read Pär's
REVIEW: JIM WHITE - Bush Hall, London
Thursday November 4th - by giga-deluxe
guest writer Nick Morgan
White walks onto the
small stage beneath the Versailles-styled
plasterwork of London’s Bush
Hall, dressed in baggy jeans, an
uncomfortable brown jumper and a
Du-Pont branded baseball cap (could
he have worked for Seagrams in the
good old days ?) and announces that
he lives in a peripheral world.
Then, only a few bars into creating
his first song of the evening his
Byzantine complex of cables and
effects pedals falls over –
failed, ironically, by a Duracell
Battery. Lesson number one of the
evening. Never trust the everlasting
pink drumming bunny.
Jim’s world is a sepia coloured
road movie, driving past the blank
billboards of an endless highway
that leads to the darker corners
of the American psyche; girls, lay-preachers,
perverts, lonely motel rooms, railroad-tracks,
Jesus, child-abusers, girls, lonely
motel rooms, angels, murderers,
God, gas-stations, girls (from Brownsville
Texas), motor-homes, lonely motel
rooms, angels, girls, God, Jesus
… Get the picture ?
no mistake, Jim is a lovely guy. Honestly.
He loves his daughter (I’m sure
that’s her in the passport photo
taped to his Telecaster – yes,
another Telecaster artiste!); one
of his prettiest songs, which he sings
tonight, is ‘Bluebird’
(from the must-have album of the year
– Drill me a hole in that substrate
…), about the pain of missing
her when he’s in …, well
you guessed it, a lonely motel room.
And he thanks us sincerely for being
there – because gigs help pay
for her education – and we all
know he means it. So how can he take
us to those dark places?
new song, performed with astonishing
accomplishment (I’ll get on
to that later) is ‘Take me away’
– a mentally ill (or is he?)
man’s cry as he runs towards
the overpowering lights of an oncoming
train (on a railroad, needless to
say) – or is he running to that
stranger on the other side of the
track, who must be …. (don’t
be lazy- you should be able to guess
by now). Either way- it’s a
don’t be fooled by all this
southern white-boy zeitgeist baloney
and the hardly deserved banal alt.country
tag that Jim often gets. He skilfully
paints a musical vista just as dense
and enticing as his lyrical landscape.
A few months earlier in London he
played with a four piece backing band
an almost studio-perfect set, largely
of Drill me a hole … Tonight
he’s solo, and he rocks, rolls,
raps and grooves through thirteen
songs, laying down voice, keyboard
and guitar loops (nothing pre-recorded)
over which he picks the Telecaster
and his lovely banjo-style electric.
‘Take me away’ –
it deserves to be mentioned twice
– is a virtuoso performance,
as is ‘A perfect day for chasing
Tornadoes’ (a song, he tells
us in a surfing reminiscence, about
walking towards your fear, not away
from it), ‘Alabama Chrome’
and ‘If Jesus drove a motor
home’. And we’re with
him in that (lonely motel?) room where
(we were told) he spent twenty years
playing songs that no-one wanted to
hear – except us.
So Jim ends the gig, as he did last
time, by simply raising the lights
and sitting on the edge of the stage
to talk to his (hugely diverse) audience.
He doesn’t do encores. In June
he played the encore halfway through
the set – ‘just to get
rid of it’. And Kate shakes
his hand and hands him a note, with
Serge’s website address on it
– “Have a look Jim, there’ll
be a review there”. “I’ll
look just as soon as I can”
So as you read this, Jim just might
be somewhere out there on the lonely
super-highway of life, reading this
review as he eats a few waffles at
the wheel of his recreational vehicle,
his best little girl by his side …
- Nick Morgan (photos by Kate)
a bunch, Nick. An excellent mp3 of
Jim White's very
nice Static on the Radio
- with Aimee Mann - can be downloaded
- Glendronach 1990/2004 Port Finish
(46%, Wilson & Morgan)
Colour; blush wine. Nose: blush wine
(yes, true!) Ashes, dust, old wine,
wood… Getting dirtier and dirtier.
Schweppes, vodka, gin… Yes,
it somewhat smells like gin-tonic.
You guessed it; I don’t like
this nose too much… It gets
really farmy after a while (horse
stable, wet hay). Mouth: sweet attack,
even a little sugarish. Hints of wine.
Lots of alcohol. It gets quite grassy
and fruity (ripe apple). Well the
palate is nicer than the nose, but
I feel the alcohol’s doing the
whole job. Medium long, spirity finish.
- Recommended listening:
innovative and eccentric Riki
Michele sings She
Said (Grandma's words) (mp3).
'Dynamic electro-soul, trip-hop, chill-out
and ethereal pop', that's what her
music's supposed to be. Well, all
I know is that I like this simple,
yet nicely produced tune quite a lot!
Please buy her music if you like it.
1987/2003 (45%, G&M for La Maison
Colour: white wine. Nose: lots of
smoke right at the start. Ashes, burning
fir wood. Really austere! Malty, grassy…
Hints of smoked tea, pepper, fermenting
grass. A love it or hate it nose.
Mouth: bold and punchy, much fruitier
(cooked apple, peach). Nicely peaty
and smoky. Lots of body! It gets quite
spicy (pepper, clove) and dry. Again,
quite austere and ‘serious’.
I really like it! Long, grassy finish.
An anti- dull-and-sweetish malt. Brora’s
successor on the mainland? 87
- THREE BUNNAHABHAINS
12 yo (40%, OB, 2004)
Colour: amber. Nose: quite winey
at first. Lots of liquorice stick,
a little sour. Cooked wine, wet
leaves, humus. Cooked sour cream.
Hints of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce,
ham. Quite unusual, much less rounded
and sweet that the latest batches
I had. Whiffs of smoke, parsley.
The smoke gets stronger with time.
Mouth: nice, balanced attack, quite
smoky. Again, not as ‘gentle’
as expected. A little winey and
slightly woody. Malty. Roasted peanuts,
with a pinch of salt on the tongue.
Hints of pepper. Rather long finish,
on cooked fruits and soft tannins.
Wow, this one’s got more body
than its previous versions, it appears.
36 yo 1967/2003 (40.1%, Peerless,
cask #3327, 203 bottles)
Colour: straw. Curiously, the older
one is the lighter in colour! Nose:
astonishingly fresh, on marzipan and
lavender. Develops on sweet white
wine (sauternes), wet wood, mushrooms
and humus. Hints of petrol. Quite
a lot of camphor and eucalyptus arise
after a while. Lots of cider apple
too. Very interesting. Keeps developing,
on quince jam this time. Really beautiful.
Mouth: soft and slightly woody –
no wonder at 36 yo . Quite spicy (nutmeg),
with some tropical fruits (guava,
banana). Not too complex, slightly
flat but the nose is so spectacular!
It’s become a perfume, rather
than a whisky! Medium finish, on tannins
and cooked apple. 89 points
– the nose itself is worth 94
points I think.
6 yo 1997/2003 (59.4%, SMWS 10.56,
fresh sherry gordas)
Gordas – I think it means 'fat
people' in Spanish - are large sherry
butts, containing 600 litres. Colour:
light amber. Nose: lots of caramel,
vanilla crème and milk chocolate,
before the sherry itself takes control
– but not overwhelmingly. Butter
crème, hot cake, cappuccino,
praline. Lots of oomph, but no brutality.
Hints of smoke. Develops on rum and
bold, powerful and very winey attack.
Lots of sherry! A little sour. Some
sulphur, quite salty. Gets quite tannic
and spirity. Bitter orange, crystallised
orange peel. Not too complex but again,
a lot of oomph. Hints of smoke and
peat, but that could well come from
the wood. Long and rich finish, on
raisins and rum. In short, a very
interesting heavily sherried Bunnahabhain,
especially when considering it’s
only 6 yo . 85 points.
- I don't know why
the Korean started to play and sing
some brasilian music, but I must say
they do it pretty nicely. So, if you
want to listen to what's apparently
up in Soul, have a listen to Clazziquai's
(mp3 - picture above) or Altogether
the voice (mp3, very nice!) Sorry,
I can't tell you much more about these
bands or their CDs, all the websites
I've found are in... Korean. (thanks
- FOUR NEW BATCHES OF GLENFIDDICH
12 yo Special Reserve (40%, OB,
Colour: light gold. Nose: rather
light and flowery. Lots of dandelion,
buttercup, daisy (nectar). Light
breakfast honey. Hints of apple
juice, milk, broiled cereals. Fresh
and rather clean. Feint hints of
smoke (ha ha!) Rather enjoyable!
rather weak attack, somewhat fragmented.
Soft tannins on one side, apple juice
on the other side. Still better than
the good blends, though. Gets a little
sugarish. Short finish, on sweet cider.
Well, not a winner, sure, but it’s
rather drinkable – for breakfast?
15 yo Solera Reserve (40%, OB, 2004)
Colour: light gold. Creamier, with
some added notes of cake, apple compote,
grape juice. Nice freshness and smoothness,
which make it very enjoyable. Some
nice honey. Mouth: much more body
than the 12 yo , with lots of caramel,
white pepper, apple compote, dried
orange. Very nice, especially its
balance. Some burnt cake, toffee,
charred wood. Medium long finish,
on apple pie. A very nice heavy seller.
18 yo Ancient Reserve (40%, OB,
Colour: light gold. Nose: less fresh
than his two younger brothers. Ripe
apple, butter sauce, cold camomile
tea. Nice but it somewhat lacks
the youngsters’ playfulness.
Hints of sweet nice, honey. Mouth:
quite weak attack, that’s
too bd. Some sweetish notes, honey,
oak (or should I say old plank?)
Some winey notes. Gets a little
drying (the tongue sticks to the
palate). Well… I’m sorry
to say I don’t like the mouth.
The finish is rather long but again,
de-structured and a little watery.
I like the ‘Solera’,
and even the 12 yo better. 76
21 yo Gran Reserva (40%, OB, 2004)
Known formerly as Havana Reserve.
It’s not the first time I
have this new batch – I had
it at XX points in my book. Colour:
light gold. Nose: this time there’s
much more wood influence, although
it’s nicely creamy and honeyed.
Apple and creme pie, orange juice,
sour creme. Hints of old wood (empty
wine cask). Feint hints of rum,
but that might be my mind’s
ah, this is more like it. Rather bold
attack for a 40% malt. Rather woody,
but also quite spicy (mostly cinnamon).
Apple compote, pear juice, crystallised
fruits, caramel… Nice! It gets
curiously metallic after a moment
(silver spoon) and even a little salty
– or is it me? The finish is
rather long, on bitter orange and
herbs (certainly from the rum cask).
By the way, a flyer in the presentation
box says 'Rum distillers from
Sancti Spiritus near the Sierra Escambray
in the heart of Cuba, were instrumental
in the creation of the rich Cuban
Rum Finish' Quite elliptic, will
that work with the US customs? Anyway,
the malt is really good! 84
- Highly recommended
listening: beautiful song Nadia
(mp3, from 'You had it Coming', 2001)
by the great Jeff
Beck, playing his guitar
almost like a sitar. Wowie!!! Please
buy Jeff Beck's music.
- Never late at a
tasting session again! Seen on eBay,
this superb (?!?) Laphroaig
alarm clock. The clock
has a small light to check the time
at night, a 10 minute snooze function
and an alarm that gets louder and
louder and then constant, to make
sure you get up - and don't miss
your dram! It also has an insert
with World Time Differences to help
you adjust - and dram on-line
with your web friends?
- TWO NEW CASK STRENGTH ARRAN
1996/2004 Single Cask (58.7%, OB,
Colour: straw. Nose: quite spirity,
on full freshly cut apple mode.
Hints of wood, cider. Lots of freshly
cut grass developing. Hints of caramel
and flowers – some honey.
It’s clean, it’s fresh,
and it’s enjoyable. Mouth:
punchy attack, on lots of fructose,
apple, pear… Alas, it’s
soon to get very tannic and extremely
peppery, almost burning. Let’s
add a few drops of water: some caramel,
cooked apple, praline develops.
Vanilla fudge? Quince jelly. The
finish is long but spirity and tannic
(when undiluted). A good malt that’s
just hasn’t got enough aromas
to stand such a high ABV. 82
1996/2004 Single Cask (59.3%, OB,
Colour: white wine. Nose: very similar
to the other cask, just a little more
discrete. Again lots of freshly cut
apple, freshly mown lawn, flowers
(buttercup). Clean and fresh again.
A nice malt. Mouth: burning, with
lots of old wood, cold coffee, pepper…
Ouch, this one just needs some water.
Let's add some: ah, so much better!
Lots of fruits coming through: melon,
peach, even litchi. Very nice! Some
caramel. Undrinkable when neat, getting
nicely fruity with some water…
Okay, let’s just give this one
82 points too.
- Recommended listening:
Echo sings Loosing
Oxygen (mp3). Austin Echo are
John Austin and Erin Echo, and the
songs on their debut joint album are
simply beautiful. Please buy it or
purchase their downloadable music
- it's really worth it, as 'Loosing
Oxygen' should testify.
ADS - Funny new Glenfiddich
2004 'Brock Savage' campaign
Does a malt need humour, or even self-derision?
While the maniacs are debating behind
the scenes on important topics such
as 'is a single malt whisky a brand?',
some, like Glenfiddich,
launch some Mr Magoo (or The Party's
Peter Sellers)-inspired campaigns,
with a new character named 'Brock
Savage'. Brock Savage,
Brock Savage... wait, couldn't he
be Mr Jenkins younger brother? You
Mr Jenkins, an 'old white male' saying
rather scandalous and/or absurd old-white-male
things about just anything - and in
any situation. Good ideas never die,
it appears... Okay, next debate on
whiskyfun: is 'pastiche' better than
'collage'? Nah, joking... See both
Brock Savage and Mr Jenkins campaigns
below. Click on the ads to see larger
images (will open a new window)
2004 Brock Savage campaign
"Did I coin the phrase,
'Do you come here often?' Yes. Does
it work? You bet - As long as you're
me." - Brock Savage
"I have one thing to say
about about me inventing the string
bikini: You're welcome" - Brock
"Was I suprised the Prime
Minister offered me the use of his
limo for the evening? No. Was it
a good idea to keep it for a week
in the South of France? Probably
not." - Brock Savage
1990's Mr jenkins US campaign
"In his next life, Mr Jenkins
hopes he's... Mr Jenkins."
"Mr Jenkins finds that deep
olives tend to bruise one's olives."
"Mr Jenkins denies all rumors,
whatever they may be."
NEWS: The new Peerless
Brora 1981 (cask #1426) has finally
been bottled on Friday! Duncan
Taylor's Mark Watt just sent me
his first impressions: 'Colour:
Light Pale Straw. Nose: Fruity, creamy,
sweet smoke, rich drying - black berries
and peaches. Taste: Rich, little bit
of peat but balanced with rich fruit
and maltiness. Finish: Soft but long
with a slight saltiness that lingers.
Comment: A brora that relies on more
than just peat - top notch.'
Thanks Mark - but was that before,
or after the 'bottle shock'? ;-)
- THE BEST OF LEDAIG?
29 yo 1974/2004 (50%, Dun Bheagan,
cask #5477-5478, 396 bottles)
Colour: dark straw. Nose: fresh,
vibrant and powerful. Wow! Starts
on tropical fruits, mainly mango,
before some whiffs of peat, eucalyptus
and turpentine emerge. How beautiful!
Very complex, with kiwi, seawater,
cappuccino… What a nice array
of various aromas! Yet, it’s
not boldly expressive – even
a little understated. A malt for
good ‘noses’! Develops
on apple juice and fern, fennel...
Wow! Mouth: very special again,
on peat, liquorice, Japanese grilled
tea, chicory, malt, toffee. Some
spices (clove), some soy sauce…
Yes, very special. I like it a lot,
for it’s so special. Smoked
ham… It’s not unlike
some old Taliskers. The finish is
long and warming, on coffee and
pepper. Taliskerish, indeed, and
just superb. Wow, Ledaig! 90
31 yo 1973/2004 (54.8%, Chieftains,
sherry hogshead #1710, 114 bottles)
Colour: deep amber. Nose: very, very
special, almost meaty. Varnish, nail
polish, smoke, old books. Lots of
tar developing, rubber, burnt tyre.
This Ledaig smells like a Port Ellen!
The sherry arrives after three or
four minutes, accompanied by some
bold camphor and eucalyptus. Really
stupendous! Goes on with wet bonfire,
dill, balsamic vinegar. It’s
just endless. Superb! Mouth: incredibly
bold, on peat, smoke, ashes, tar,
overcooked vegetables (French beans).
There’s a great fight sherry
vs. peat happening here. Lots of salted
liquorice, soy sauce, burnt caramel…
A little extreme, but soooo special…
You feel like if you just smoked three
Partagas Lusitanias in a row after
a few minutes. How bold! A stunning
Ledaig, easily in the same league
as the best Ardbegs, Broras or Taliskers.
The finish is endless… Majestic,
like Beethoven's 'Imperator'
(mp3 - stunning Alessio Benvenuti!)
93 points –
well earned. Ledaig, you say?! (Thanks
- Highly recommended
Drexlers play Glass
Head (mp3). Superb harmonies,
fantastic writing, marvellous blend
of rythms, high-class drummer, hyper-dynamic
bass-player... And Annie Drexler's
voice! Wow! Surely this month's greatest
discovery. So special! And oh, no
need to say that you must buy their
new record 'Social Honey'.
- What's that, you
may ask? Easy, it's a handbuilt porcelain
whisky decanter by
contemporary potter Scott
Dooley. I must say I like it very
much, even if I wouldn't pour my best
Broras into it. Scott also made some
funny porcelain stills.
REVIEW: RON SEXSMITH AGAIN - Central
Bar and Grill, Victoria BC, Canada
- Friday October 29th - by mega-deluxe
guest writer Nick Morgan
Friday night in rainy Victoria on
Vancouver Island. It's the Central
Bar and Grill, where courtesy of maestro
distiller - retired - Mike Nicolson
(the racoon-skin hats tell me that
Mike and Anne haven't yet totally
settled into the Canadian way of life
- or maybe they have) we're waiting,
along with a packed house, for Rockin'
Sexsmith to take the
stage. Oh yes - and as Ron is a bit
of a star in these parts now ('Whatever
it takes' from the new album Retriever
is a radio hit in Canada) there's
an alarming number of female admirers
crowding us diners at the front of
the stage. Like Ron and his band,
they come in all shapes and sizes.
Maybe it's the girls who make Ron
a little nervous, despite the fact
that he's on home ground - he lived
in Victoria for a few years - and
pauses through the evening to acknowledge
old school friends in the audience.
So although the first half of the
set is good - more tunes from Retriever,
the marvellously possessive 'This
song', and the quotidian heartache
(to quote a companion) of 'Strawberry
blonde', plus some excellent Fender
Telecaster (the acoustic guitar players
axe of choice) work from Ron on 'From
now on' - there are a few musical
and vocal wobbles. Particularly when
Ron moves to the clunky and badly
amplified Yamaha keyboard and nearly
loses it altogether on 'Foolproof'.
supported by his excellent band ("nine
and a half out of ten", says
Mike) he recovers well with a solo
'Tomorrow in her eyes', sung in anticipation
of a reunion with his sweetheart ("sweetheart"?
- well we are in British Columbia
I suppose) and then cracks into a
top form home run, including 'Dandelion
wine', 'Cheap hotel', 'Sacred heart',
'Lebanon Tennessee', and a three song
encore finishing with 'Riverbed'.
We counted 25 songs in almost two
hours, perhaps only half of which
he played a few weeks ago in London.
The girls were wild - Ron dashed for
cover, no doubt thinking of the imminent
arrival of the sweetheart, and his
by the way, Ron had lost the suit
and raised the sartorial stakes with
a de rigueur rock and roll shirt.
Altogether then, a most satisfactory
evening.- Nick Morgan (concert
phograph by Kate)
again Nick. I've found another good
track by Ron Sexsmith: From
now on (mp3). There's also a great
video of Wheterver
it Takes (Quicktime - beware,
it's a 21MB file) on Ron's website.
- TWO OLD 'FRESH' SPEYSIDERS
29 yo 1973/2003 (52.5%, OB, Special
Edition, 6000 bottles)
Colour: white wine. Nose: very flowery
and very fruity, which is incredible
considering its age. This one is
not for the sherryheads! Lots of
tropical fruits: pineapple, guava,
tons of light breakfast honey. Extremely
fresh! Develops on melon and peach,
freshly squeezed oranges…
A nectar. Whiffs of white pepper
from the wood. What a perfect balance!
Hints of peat?
stunning attack on fresh fruit salad
and white pepper. Bold, rich, yet
clean and fresh. Lots of honey, fresh
fruits (melon, pear)… Some oaky
notes too (tannins, pepper, vanilla,
cinnamon). This one really proves
that there’s life without some
heavy sherry in Speyside. Long, beautifully
balanced finish on pollen, and white
pepper. An old ‘straight shooter’
that, once again, shows that there
isn’t only sherry and/or peat
in life. I like it a lot! 90
Grant 1969/2004 (46%, Berry Bros,
Colour: deep amber. Nose: wowie! Lots
of ‘fresh sherry’ mixed
with some tropical fruits. Great freshness
– not the kind of dull heavy
oloroso at all. Loads of freshly cut
apple, overripe orange, orange marmalade,
pineapple syrup. Whiffs of eucalyptus,
mint. Really beautiful. Gets very
flowery after a moment, lilac, lime…
Very clean. Notes of Mandarine Impériale
liqueur. Incredible freshness, just
like in the Cragganmore. The fresh
apple notes keep developing…
Crazy! Mouth: again, a superb balance
between the sherry (chocolate, crystallised
orange) and the fresh fruits (pear,
It gets perhaps a tad too woody and
drying (heavy nutmeg and cinnamon
on the back of the tongue). Bold,
rich, mouth coating… Alas, the
heavy tannins really invade the mouth
after a while, and prevent me from
rating this one above 90 points. Okay,
90 points then…
the index of all entries:
malts I had these weeks - 90+
points only - alphabetical:
29 yo 1973/2003 (52.5%, OB, Special
Edition, 6000 bottles)
Grant 1969/2004 (46%, Berry Bros, cask
29 yo 1974/2004 (50%, Dun Bheagan,
cask #5477-5478, 396 bottles)
31 yo 1973/2004 (54.8%, Chieftains,
sherry hogshead #1710, 114 bottles)
Ellen 21 yo 1982/2004 (50%,
Douglas Laing OMC, cask #DL 414, 420 bottles,
Ellen 23 yo 1979/2003 (46%, Wilson
& Morgan, butt #6769)