Friday, August 29, 2014

It is that time again - Laphroaig Live 2014

Laphroaig Live 2014 Stockholm
Yes it is that time of year again where Laphroaig Live happens somewhere in this world. For some members including myself we were lucky enough to attend the Sydney Live event back in 2011. It was fantastic to say the least. If you want to know more read about our experiences attending the event held in Sydney: Colour me Laphroaig – Laphroaig Live Sydney 2011.

In short, for those that don't know, Laphroaig Live is a live broadcast event put on by Laphroaig for all to enjoy. Initially created as a binding agent for the FOL (Friends Of Laphroaig) it is now recognised as one of the big dates in the world whisky calendar. Laphroaig Distillery Manager John Campbell heads up a select panel of guests to discuss, nose, and taste various Laphroaig whiskies new and old. Hosted in front of a live audience and backed up by a live webcast, Laphroaig fans can chime in to ask questions during the tastings sessions and or taste along with the panel (if your lucky enough to have those bottling's on hand) for a full experience (that is if your not lucky enough to be one of the chosen few audience).

This years live broadcast event will be held in Stockholm, Sweden at 8.00PM on the 24th September. Why Stockholm? According to official press material Laphroaig is no.1 selling single malt in Sweden. Not a bad warp at all. To be hosted at the Rökeriet restaurant (I have no idea about this place mind you) a paring of 4 Laphroaig whiskies are to go with a smörgåsbord of smoked Elk, Reindeer, Baltic Salmon - all smoked over Laphroaig infused wood. Nice!

The current line up of whiskies tasted by the panel is: Laphroaig Select (just released this year); Laphroaig Cairdeas 2014 (the yearly bottling for FOL); Laphroaig 12yo Special; and either the Laphroaig 18yo (replacement for the legendary 15yo) or Laphroaig 10yo depending on votes prior to the night. My vote is on the 18yo for sure.

If your not a FOL and don't get the emails then keep and eye on the Laphroaig Live page for webcast details. We here at D.T.W.C. will endeavour to keep fellow members and visitors informed but the best method is always to become a FOL member and watch your emails.

Laphroaig Live Stockholm bring it on.

The Baron

This is a non-sponsord promotion. For any further details please defer to the Laphroaig Live website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Art of Giving - Suntory Whisky and Akira Isogawa

Akira Isogawa and his furoshiki creation
Suntory Whisky is making inroads into Australia in a big way and I am personally ever so grateful Japanese whisky is easily now so accessible. The reality is though Japanese whisky and Suntory have always been there and have for a log long time always made great whisky. Unfortunately it is just not something we could get out hands easily. If you have not explored Japanese whisky yet then get your head out of the sand and do so as I don’t think you will be disappointed. It is just a pity genuine Japanese beer has not seen the same expansion. That is ‘real’ Japanese beer brewed in Japan and not that other stuff brewed under licence.

Earlier this year The Proxy and myself were invited to share in the launch of Suntory Whisky on a national scale here in Australia. Launched at NSW Art Gallery it was a night not to be missed and wrote about that experience in: Bringing The Swagger Back - Suntory Launches into Australia. On that evening I was nearly in heaven. Nearly because if I got any closer I would have been dead. The whisky was great, the people were cool, and the food was excellent. As part of the night we had an exciting tasting experience, led by Mike Miyamoto, Suntory Global Brand Ambassador. Laid out before us during the tasting was a fine selection of Suntory whiskies while standing and dramming directly across from me was the dapper fashion designer Akira Isogawa. Unfortunately with the height of the table and the noise of excitement in the room it was pretty much impossible to have a few words. Curse you Time For Whisky for choosing the spot nest to him!

The placement of Akira Isogawa is not completely obscure to the point and no I am not name dropping for the sake of it. The House Of Suntory now continues to celebrate its position in Australia hosting a collaboration with no other than Akira Isogawa. This collaboration has seen Akira fashion a very limited edition luxury furoshiki bottle wrap just for Suntory Whisky. Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese linen wrapping very often used when giving wine, whisky, or sake bottles and or other personal gifts throughout modern Japan. Originally used for wrapping and transporting personal items the use of the furoshiki for gift giving goes back countless generations. This particular limited edition Akira Suntory furoshiki will be available mid August 2014 leading into Father’s Day with a  further availability coming into Christmas. This limited edition furoshiki wrap will be available as a gift with a purchase of either the: Yamazaki 12 years old; Hakushu 12 years old; or Hibiki 17 years old. Only available through listed retailers and with only 300 available these truly are limited. It will not cost you anything extra for the furoshiki as part of the bottle purchase but I would inset you hasten your ambitions in grabbing one.


Akira is noted as drawing upon his own upbringing as inspiration while paying homage to the importance that water plays in the creation of Suntory whisky by creating a unique scarf that signifies the passage of water in nature.

“I remember my father drinking Suntory Whisky when I was growing up in Osaka. My partnership with Suntory Whisky goes beyond fashion; it is celebrating a part of Japanese culture.”
If you are of course keen to grab one for yourself or as a gift here is the current list of the exclusive retailers Australia wide:

New South Wales: Oak BarrelWorld of Whisky.

Queensland: Cru Bar + Cellar.

Victoria: Nick’s Wine MerchantsThe Wigs Cellar;  Sea Breeze Cellars.

South Australia: Fassina Liquor MerchantsParafield Airport Liquor Store.

So if your anything like me the first thing you going to do is unwrap the bottle, even if it is for a gift, and then wonder how to put it back together again. Rest assured we won't leave you in the lurch and have you rewrap the furoshiki  like a Mr Gumby handkerchief from Monty Python. This is the need to know on how to wrap the Suntory Whisky limited edition furoshiki:

Step 1.

Step 1. Spread the furoshiki in a diamond shape and lay the bottle slightly above the centre. Fold the furoshiki from corner a and then from corner b to cover the bottle.
Step 2.

Step 2. Hold the right and left ends of the furoshiki (corners c and d) in your hands, and pull them to the front side.
Step 3.

3. Wrap the bottle by crossing the two ends held in your hands and bringing them to the back side.
Step 4.
4. Make a knot at the position of your choice.

I for one don’t want to miss out so the hunt is already on. Good luck in your quest and wear your furoshiki with pride.

The Baron

Information quoted in this post has been provided to us as an official media release by ICON International Communications on behalf of Suntory Whisky. This is a non-sponsord promotion. For any further details please defer to the Suntory Australia website.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Johnnie Walker Blue Label - A Gentleman's Wager

'The Gentleman's Wager'
I like Jude Law. I like what is does on screen. I like his panache, his style, his swagger. You may have a different opinion and that is fine. For me, ever since I recognised him as a standout in film for the first time in the late 90's movie Gattaca (also one of my sit back whisky movies), I have enjoyed the work he has done. Needless to say seeing him feature in 'The Gentleman's Wager' makes it hard for me to ignore the shear enjoyment of it. You may also recognise the face, if not the accent, of Giancarlo Giannini an man of extensive acting experience and swagger of equal measure. A team up made in heaven.
The story of a man on a quest for a rare experience; ‘The Gentleman’s Wager’ tells the story of a wager between two men which results in a truly rare experience as part of their quest for personal progress. Filmed in the British Virgin Islands and London, the beautifully shot film sees Law in the role of a man who, despite having it all, proposes a wager as an opportunity to challenge himself to create an original performance in order to win a money-can’t-buy experience.
So without further ramblings sit back and enjoy 'The Gentleman's Wager'.



If this does not make you want to hang out in a dance hall drinking Johnnie Walker Blue Label I am not sure what will. Maybe a loaded bank account will do it too...

The Baron

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Whisky Consumers View - Tasting Jacob's Creek Double Barrel

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
We hear a lot about finishing whisky in wine barrels but we don’t hear a lot about finishing wine in whisky barrels. Jacob's Creek, one of Australia’s largest wine producers has taken this step into a rather uncharted realm. I am guessing this is not the first attempt but it is certainly one of the more recent and the marketing surrounding it is lending itself more to hype than what true virtues the whisky barrels have imparted. Still I think it is worth noting in a review here as I know there is many a keen wine buffs in our midst.

Jacob's Creek is part of the Pernod Ricard conglomerate. It would seem only natural in having access to so many spirit and wine brands it is worth mixing things up a little. Enter the Jacob's Creek Double Barrel. Australian wine aged in oak then finished in either Scottish or Irish whisky barrels. At the time of writing this there has been 2 particular releases of the Double Barrel: Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012; Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Barossa Shiraz 2012. I have only been able to taste the Cabernet Sauvignon to date and so current thoughts will be reflected below. Recently I wrote about the release of the Double Barrel range: Wine finished in whisky barrels - Jacob's Creek Double Barrel.

Before I go on I would like to say, as in my previous post, I did try to make contact with the PR responsible for the release materials and then also with Jacobs Creek directly but was delivered no responses. That may not be a bad thing though as going in blind is always good in my books. It just would have been nicer to discover more about the barrels themselves and what drove the making of this wine in the first place. What can be said is that the wine has seen wood prior to finishing and these finishing barrels are classified as ‘aged’ barrels. Aged can be assumed to mean old barrels at the end of their useful life for whisky production. Having been refilled many times with whisky generally speaking a barrel will see 3 or 4 refills at most. There is no clear indication though how many times these barrels have used prior to finishing this wine. As we know though with the oak exhausted evaporation is intense for whisky so there will be a lot of spirit still pushed into the wood. I am guessing it is more the spirt that gives the influence and not the wood itself. Talking of spirit saturation, this is a note it seems the wine writers are tending to miss in the detail.

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon
Producer: Jacob's Creek
Region: Coonawarra, South Australia
Alcohol: 14.5%
Barrel Finish Type: Irish Whiskey (Distillery unknown)
Year: 2012

Colour is near opaque with a claret halo at the edges. Its a young one no doubt about it and you don't need to read the label to know it.

On nosing there is immediate tomato vine wavering to spicy tomato sauce and a bit of mint. Think of when you have just eaten a meat pie with sauce and you have had residue on your fingers and lips. That is the tomato spice effect I am talking about. A little chalky, sweet fresh grape juice, and the tell tale signs of american white oak. Is the oak coming from the whisky barrels or the oak ageing prior?

Taste is slight across lips and tongue before settling all in the mid palate. A warming spice prickle grows towards the upper back palate then the chalk tannis begins to dry the sides of the tongue while a oak sweetness lingers almost fighting with the spice. After a while the sweetness eventually overtakes everything but not is a sticky sugar way. I need food to cut this and create an interval between the sips.

Finish is clear but a bit tart and rough. The green tomato vine just keeps on going and going and going. I want it to end. A nose of sour socks builds after the last sip.

Straight up this wine is over priced. At $22AU I think there is much better wines out there for that price. It is not a bad wine, and holds a fair level of developed complexity but as you are probably guessing what has the finishing barrels done for it? I have failed to pick it. I can understand the difficulties of experimenting with casks like this and the failures that went with it. You are paying for the unique experience more so than the enrichment of the product.

Don't buy this expecting strong whisky influence because it just is not that kind of thing. Certainly there could be good things to come from this. If I was to give a dram 4 out of 7. Different wines have different effects on wood so maybe a Cabernet Sauvignon is not the wine type that reaches in and pulls the rabbit out of the hat. I am hoping to taste the Double Barrel Barossa Shiraz 2012 soon.

The Baron

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wine finished in whisky barrels - Jacob's Creek Double Barrel

Double Barrel label with the new Jacob's Creek branding
1st of July 2014 has seen a product hit the market here in Aus that has pretty much flown under the whisky radar. Did someone forget that whisky drinkers actually do drink wine as well? When the mention of whisky barrel and wine was mentioned my ears pricked up. Enter the the Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel range.

Jacobs Creek, subsidiary to Pernod Ricard Australia, has release 2 wines, a Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon finished in ‘aged’ whisky barrels. Aged will generally mean no much flavour. Asking around the local whisky social community virtually no one I know has heard of this. A bit of searching reveals many drinks channels got the pickup but never made it has not made it much further out. Does this reveal that these are sleepers just waiting to be discovered by the unsuspecting public, or creepers slipped in quietly because they just aren't ready yet?

The Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel range comprises of:
Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Barossa Shiraz 2012
Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

In short these whisky barrels are sourced from both Scotch and Irish distilleries obviously coming form the Penrod Ricard stables. That is a pretty wide range of distillers at that so no guessing which distilleries they are except maybe Jameson for the Irish. It is a real pity that they are not using Australian whisky barrels but then this is the first release so I hope a good deal of experimentation and support to our local whisky market is going to happen.


Some official words from the PR release we found:
JACOB’S CREEK™ pushes new boundaries with the launch of Double Barrel –
a range of premium red wines finished in whisk(e)y barrels. 
JACOB’S CREEK, the iconic Australian wine brand, is pushing the boundaries of modern winemaking with the launch of JACOB’S CREEK Double Barrel – a range of premium red wines finished in whisk(e)y barrels. 
Driven by a culture of wine innovation and a desire to craft a unique new wine style, the winemakers at JACOB’S CREEK sourced aged barrels that had cradled premium whiskies for up to 20 years, and started experimenting. 
“We started with high quality fruit from selected Barossa and Coonawarra vineyards, from which we crafted premium red wine. We then matured the parcels traditionally in French and American oak barrels, before finishing 100% of the matured wine in old whisk(e)y barrels.”
For the official PR release material these quotes were sourced from find it here.

OK so you get the idea of what is going on here. Is it hype or is it truly a revelation? Clearly not the first time this has been done but certainly the first time I have seen such a high profile wine maker take the chance here in Australia. Through a friend we managed to secure 1 bottle of the Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon from our local Dan Murphy’s priced at $23. Expect a review soon on our thoughts about this bottle.

The Baron

This is a non-sponsord promotion. For any further details please defer to the Jacob's Creek website.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Good Get Got - Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask Sydney Launch

The many Buntin's and The Balvenie
Yesterday evening, Monday 28th July, now in retrospect, was a good night. Here in Sydney, Australia we saw the public launch of The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask. Without a doubt this is one of the more excitable Balvenie's I have seen in some time and holds up to the standard expected of this brand. I must confess at this point I actually got to try it a few months back on a unofficial level and was remarkably impressed with it, so knowing this evening was on the cards certainly made for additional anticipation. William Grant & Sons know how to look after there brands and The Balvenie sees that care and attention at launches like this.

The Parke Davis
This particular launch was held at The Cuban Place aka Parke Davis (P.D.) on 125 York Street Sydney City. I don't know why it was called The Cuban Place, maybe I should have asked.Like many of Sydney's small bars you really are not even going to know this one is there unless someone tells you. Well here is the telling. The P.D. is clean and spacious with a darkened ambience not suited to improvised photography (curse you Whisky Ledger and your 1.4 canon lens). The the food is great and the mood swinging, especially when there is a steel drum bad beating out some tunes just off left of entry. Descending the stairs on your way into the basement bar your path is lit by a rather impressive bulb lit P.D. sign. I had to stand and marvel at for a time. The galley style bar runs the length of the right hand wall allowing for easy movement in and around the bars public spaces. Nooks can be found to gather and chat whilst an entire anti chamber running off to the left delivers are much more casual sit down experience to enjoy. Personally I was not getting too far away form the cocktails and bottles of The Balvenie rocking' the bar top.

Many a familiar face could be seen in and around the room and it was clear this was a crowd selected for the celberation of all things Balvenie and not your duck out of water PR scrum. No Balvenie would be the same without the man of hour, master of ceremony, Whisky Specialist for William Grant and Sons Australia, James Buntin. Also going by the name The Whisky Ambassador you know anytime this man is on the stage or even near an event with a sniff of whisky in the air your up for a good time. It came as a bit of a sad moment though when James announced he is moving back to the motherland to become the UK’s brand ambassador for The Balvenie. We can hold Sam Simons, the Global Brand Ambasador for The Balvenie aka Dr Whisky responsible for this poaching but we know he is staying in the company so only good things can come. On questioning Sam (that night over twitter) about this devious plot his response was simple “Haha... indeed. The good get got. We're happy”. In saying that I think James was more proud of the car he gets to drive than the step up and move back to the UK.

Mark Little photo bombing again
Serving at the bar was: The Balvenie 12yo Doublewood; The Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask (on display at first and for dramming later in the evening); The Balvenie 17yo Doublewood; The Balvenie 21yo Portwood (on special request). If you were not up for straight Balvenie (lord knows why) then there were 2 cocktails being served throughout the evening. These cocktail’s created by Dick Blanchard, used combined The Balvenie 12yo Doublewood with various other ingredients into either a sophisticated take on the Dark & Stormy, and or why not go for The Balvenie Beachcomber. Now I use the term created a bit loosely as Dick mentioned one too many times throughout the evening that he did not really remember creating them let alone if they were going to taste any good. Well lucky for him they turned out just cracking.

Steel drums, whisky, and chow
A steel drum band was playing in the corner making the most of the limited space available while creating a very amazing sound as it reverberated throughout the brick walled spaces. The theme of the night of was all about artisan craftsmanship so as expected a presentation was later delivered by one of the few steel drum builders in Australia, Charles Moller, on the history and specialised techniques required to build a steel drum. Never to be a night without a laugh several times when Mr Buntin made the link between the Caribbean rum casks and artisan craftsmanship ie. the steel drum construction, Charles would interject and insist the steel drums came from Trinidad, NOT Cuba. You just could not plan for something so humours. I distinctly remember someone to my right shout "tough crowd" causing a good old laugh at our presenters expense.

Cocktails and presentations
Amongst the drams came James’s presentation and short that normal tasting of The Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask. Well we did get to the part about the whisky and some of the story behind it then at some point James we skipped any official level of tasting for us whisky nerds and concluded with a one off bottoms up. But, but, but… what about my notes. Bugger this I thought. In dash I confirmed with fellow partakers I did not somehow miss the sordid details of the tasting and so I pulled James aside for a quick one on one to hastily draft up some extra details. I am sure he just took the time to come over to hit on my wife (again) but what can you say to a man with a beard like that? Word is Master Blender David Stewart has first sourced the barrels before creating a blend of several rums (David is a bit of a rum fiend when not blending whisky according to James) to then go into the barrels and season the wood for an undisclosed time. Later the rum is removed to make way for the already aged 14yo Balvenie to be finished in these barrels for an additional undisclosed amount of time. To me the profile is really delicious with a taste that was exceptionally west and smooth. Honey cream nose with a peanut spice scent. Taste of white sugar, honey, caramel oaks and a lingering spice followed by a long warming finish. I will leave a more detailed analysis for a separate post.

Closure to the night saw my 2 finger thick dram of The Balvenie 21yo tipped down the sink by the over eager bar staff while I was in converse. A tragedy in itself I was consoled by a couple more drams of the 14yo. We should be seeing The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask in stores very soon if not by the time this post is live so I certainly implore you to take a leap of faith and by it before you try as it is an delicious single malt. As Sam says “the good get got” and I certainly will be getting some of this sweet booty.

Thanks to The Balevnie, William Grant & Sons, and Weber Shandwick for the opportunity. Hope to see you again soon.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was invited as a guest this event. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Copper Giraffes & Naked Twister - Touring Old Hobart Distillery

Casey & Jane Overeem
On my recent Tasmanian Whisky Extravaganza I made it out to the Old Hobart Distillery, aka the Overeem family shed. And what a nice shed it was too. Unbeknown to me at the time it was to be one of the very last public tours Old Hobart Ditillery was to be running at its current standing facilities. In the coming week following my visit the stills were to be broken down and moved to their new home over at Lark Distillery's Mt Pleasant site. I am so glad I got to meet the original makers of Overeem Whisky while catching a glimpse room this famous whisky was born out.

Waking early from a previous evenings impromptu cider tasting, I hopped a bus to shoot out to the Old Hobart Distillery in Blackmans Bay from Hobart with an approximation of where to be. Old Hobart Distillery was not on the map, it made sense, it literally was a purpose built distillation shed on the Overeem family property. Really who wants crazy whisky aficionados rocking up for a tour and a cup of coffee at the family diner table? Calling Jane Overeem (head of Marketing & Distribution, sometimes distiller, and always daughter to Casey Overeem) I noted exactly where I was on the map right down to the house number. Curiously only moments before this call I swear I could hear Janes voice in close proximity. "Keep going up the road to number X, we have a long driveway. It was to be a classic case of accidental misdirection (or was it). I kept walking up the hill, I kept walking along the road, I walked until the houses stopped and the paddocks began. When horses started appearing out of the scrub I thought it was time to call Jane just to make sure where I was. "I think I sent you the wrong way, I'll send mum up to get you "Janes says. "...he's just laughing" was one of the last comments from Jane to an obvious listening audience before the sound of the phone clicked. So that is how my tour at Old Hobart Distillery began: local fauna and flora; horse paddocks; and a ride in the family car. "She's so blonde sometimes" quoted Jane's mother as we trundeled back down the road an up the drive way I was literally standing in front of when I made the initial call. Thanks Jane your the best! I needed a work out. Really it could not have been a better start for the day as the ice was broken and morning atmosphere was relaxed while chatting over coffee at the Overeem kitchen table. Other guests had arrived by the time I made my appearance, all of whom I would later see that night at the Overeem Malt Vault event.

As mentioned, what was the Old Hobart Distillery, was in fact Casey's shed on the family property. Purpose built for the task it was painted typical Australian generic garden green with 2 large burgundy doors, with a foot print at a maximum size of 35sqm that was legal for a hobby distiller. As small as the space was in turn this dictated the size and height of the stills to be installed which ultimately has influenced the flavours we so admired from an Overeem whisky.

Upclose with the copper giraffes
Walking into the distillery was like discovering 2 giraffes in an awkward moment of naked twister. Standing silent with necks craning to the roof, the wash and spirt stills were intertwined to make the most of the small space. Around the room were all Casey's tools of the trade creating an extremely lived in ambience. I found it to be a pretty typical view of Australian's current golden golden era in whisky distilling. Something to be cherished. Casey and Jane were clearly proud of their space making us all feel like part of the family. With space at a premium the chairs that could be found offered some seating, where benches cleared some leant or like me stood amounst the dwarf copper wildlife. Cosily crammed in Casey and Jane then took us through a run down of the ins and out of Old Hobart Distilley.

As the tour progressed, we turned our heads left, we turned our heads right (because if you swung a cat you would probably break something), drams from various Overeen expressions were offered for tasting including some exciting new make spirit. Casey was all to open to discuss any questions posed and we found our discussions diverging into all manner of discussion about whisky production. Probably one of the more interesting items of discussion related to how Casey mentioned he add a lot of water to the spirit run to slow down the distillation process noting that this was one of the characteristics that improves the spirit. At this point of the tour now knowing the distillery was moving I asked about water source. Casey simply pointed to the filters on the wall noting that it did not mater too much about the source on this site as their water was getting filtered prior to the distillation run. Also you should note Lark Distillery has always done the mashing of the malted barley for Old Hobart Distillery. This basically means there is no change to the malting and mashing for Overeem Whisky even with the site merger. Good news indeed.

The ins and outs of Old Hobart distillery
In the corner of the room was a steal drum containing the fores and faints of the distillation process. This is cuts before and after the pure spirit has completed distillation. It is an important part of the distillation process as this is the stuff that makes you go blind, poisons the blood stream, causes comas, and ultimately death if you drink it in any considerable enough quantities. It needs to be cut out of the process. The contents of the barrel was green from the copper stills and smelt somewhat harsh and astringent. Casey asked if anyone wanted to taste it. "I will" was my reply with just a finger dip at that. I still recall a bit of a look of horror on Jane's face as she questioned Casey about should we really be doing this. I can confirm it was pretty nasty stuff with a nose and taste of heavy copper, apples, and barley. Rub an old penny or 2 cent coin on your fingers then lick your fingers as they is pretty much what it tasted like. I won't be doing that again any time soon as it left the mouth instantly dry and metalic. I had always thought these cuts were simply dumped but amazingly it goes back into the still on the next run and will continue to be recycled several times until it gets a bit too nasty.

Proud parent Casey Overeem and going into details about his product  
In finishing up a few photos were posed for before Jane had said this was the last official tour. Was there a tear in the eye and sob in the voice? I think there was. Casey seemed nonchalant to the moment which to me simply says they have achieved what they set out to do and proud of the fact. I am so glad to have been there for this tour as I really do believe that these kinds of 'hobby' distilleries (as Casey called it) are going to be a thing of the past very soon for Australia. Money, tourism and investment are key words when talking about the growing whisky industry Australia wide. As the newer distilleries come online it is clear they are being built for the tourism factor as much as to make whisky. The same thing happened with the Australian wine industry back in the 80's as interest grew in discoveringand visiting the source of what was in the bottle. It is a natural progression for whisky to do the same thing. Still these are the places were legends are born and dreams come true. Old Hobart Distillery is proof that great things really do come from small things.

It was not the last I would see of the Overeem's that day, the Malt Vault Bourbon in the Bond Store event was only hours away, but let us leave that post for another day.

Thanks so much to Casey and Jane for the time. It was a swell time.

The Baron

Friday, July 25, 2014

Distill Your Feelings - Jack Daniel's & Fathers Day 2014

Father's Day 2014 is fast approaching. In Australia we see it celebrated on the 1st weekend of September each year making the 2014 festivities on the 7th September. For me whisky is always on the list and I guess if your reading this and a father then your probably the same.

These days it is becoming more common for distilleries to be offering personalised engraving services as a way of enhancing a gift. Jack Daniel's has now opened it's internet doors for engraving this year on bottles of Gentleman Jack. With 3 lines of 18 characters each I am sure a you can figure out something to say like "Remember who gave you this", "Sharing is caring", "At this line, tides out, call for a lifeline" and or "Don't open this without me".

Ordering will be found on the official Gentleman Jack Australia Promo website www.jackspromo.com.au or on the official Gentleman Jack facebook page. Get in quick as the first 500 bottles ordered online get free shipping also.

The Baron

Information quoted in this post has been provided to us as an official media release by Gentleman Jack.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Glenfiddich's 2014 Fathers Day Competition


Glenfiddich have a Fathers Day comp for Australia! It is not often we see exclusive competitions in Australia for whisky so when there is one you need to know about it.

The rules are basic and simple to follow. Use the link below to get started. If your not a Glenfiddich Explorer (on the email list ensure you check the box), in 25 words or less explain what knowledge you would like your dad to share (presumably at the exclusive whisky tasting), and fill in your contact details.

The official line for the promotion is as follows form the Glenfiddich site:

Join us today and tell us what knowledge and skills you would like to learn from your father for your chance to earn tickets for you both to an exclusive Glenfiddich Whisky Masterclass. There will be 50 winners in each state. After all, knowledge passed down through your family deserves a whisky passed down through ours.

Enter the Glenfiddich competition here

Good luck!

The Baron

This is a non-sponsord promotion. For any further details please defer to the Glenfiddich website.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Whisky Touring Tasmania - Where To Stay in Hobart

Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse. You look forward to seeing this sign everyday.
Warning: You will be wanting to stay at the Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse by the time you finish reading this.

It is a hard choice traveling to a new city or country and not knowing where to stay. Ensuring access to food, transport, facilities, and local culture is imperative. Sure budget can be a big thing but who wants to stay in stale, sterile, unsparing hotel room that delivers nothing but 4 walls and a bed with a hefty price tag with an attached restaurant you would not even take your mother-in-law to. So you want quality, class and style? You need inspiration? You insist on location location location? You want access to bars, pubs, restaurants that serve 1kg steaks, gourmet delis, weekend markets where whisky distilleries even have stalls, night life, and some of the beast coffee and breakfasts Hobart has to offer all within a stones throw? You like the authentic heritage old town feel in every glance? Off street parking, that is if you actually just don't walk everywhere which you can? Want a social environment to retreat too after a hard days touring and tasting? Expect the owners/managers to be friendly, open, and share a cider or four or just happy to hang and chat at every moment? Enter the Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse. Located in the heart of old town Battery Point just off Salamanca Place, everything you need for a short or long stay is delivered with little more you can ask for. For me I needed a place I could stage my whisky tours from over the 4 days in Hobart and seriously there could not have been a better choice!

Some of the rooms in Montacute
Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse, as the name suggests, is a bunkhouse with shared rooms and facilities.  No more than 4 persons per room, priced at the time $40 a night per person, you will find custom made king size single double bunks that have a comfort factor you wish you had at home. No single rooms are available but there are some doubles with queen sized beds for couples priced at $100 a night for the room. Everything is provided for including heaters, linen, pillows, reading lamps, ample power points, towels, and privacy screens. Let's not forget wifi throughout of course. Chillaxing rooms are found all over Montacute with very very very comfy chairs, as well as a large dining area, and an extra large kitchen with fridges plus storage cupboards if you want to cook or grab takeaway instead of eating out. Hopefully by now you will realise this IS NOT a hostel/back packers, so don't write it off because you need to share. Contrary to what you may initially assume luxury is the key word at every step.

It tasted as good as it looks.
Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse is perfect for the single gourmet traveller but if you travel in couples or plan to do a group tour of Tasmania, especially if your planning a whisky tour, then this is the place to stay. Owners Antony and Rose have a background in food, beverage, and marketing with a keen interest in the sailors old devil Gin. Of course don't that stop at talking Gin to impress your new found family away form home. I am sure you will be discovering (as I did) an urge haul back to the bunkhouse bottles of cider, beer, wine, cheese, cold cuts, curries, bread, spreads, sausages and even oysters (yep I ate those before I got back) as this bubbly couple will be all to happy to assist in it's partaking while shooting the breeze all afternoon long. Take this time to grab any advice you need on where to eat and drink as Rose and Antony have the all digs on what's what in the neighbourhood.

Just some of the action in a moments walk from Montacute.
I chose Montecute based on price and locality to access the Lark Cellar Door as that was where my whisky travels with Tasmanian Whisky Tours would begin. I was completely unaware of what else was around Montacute but I knew I did not want to stay in a shady hotel room with no social aspect. I firmly believe there would be very few other locations in Hobart that could provide what you can get from Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse for the dollars spent.

Now I am not saying that you should stay here but if you don't then expect a knuckle sandwich when you least expect it from me if you pass up the opportunity. If I was to give a dram then it is a clear 7 out of 7. I could go on about how great an experience I had here but really you just have to try it for yourself. I loved it so much I booked aroma for next years 2015 whisky trip. Get on it now!

The Baron