Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Whisky Festival F.A.Q.

Q:  How much does this year's whisky festival ticket cost?

A:  A lot!  But, don't worry.  If your spouse asks, you just say "honey, my love for you is priceless.  The Whisky Festival ticket?  Meh!  I can put a price on that."  Needless to say, don't mention the exorbitant price at the door (drink tokens not included).  Consider using a Jedi mind trick by steering the conversation toward how your mother-in-law is doing or what about that recently retired neighbor?  Is she still doing tai-chi across the street in the park every morning?  Hey!  Look at the time, let's go get a pizza.

Q:  Can I bring a friend?

A:  Absolutely!  Bring your ponytailed hipster landlord, the gray bun librarian neighbor (just have her leave the fifty cats at home), your sister's triathlon competitor turned playwright friend, and of course your significant other, even if he or she is only 'significant' for this evening, regardless of your making their acquaintance on Tinder or Grindr.  We want everyone here (no matter where they are located on the rainbow), so long as they pay our outrageous entrance fee (drink tokens not included and some other conditions apply).

Q:  How much do drink tokens cost?

A:   A lot!  But, hey, fun has a price.  So, buy as many drink tokens as you can unreasonably not afford and if you get too out of hand we will ask you to leave.

Q:  Beware of the Drunken Selfie!

A:  We will not be liable for embarrassing photos you take of yourself or worse: the group selfie!

Those career killing, date prospect limiting pics that will end up on Instagram will haunt you forever and assure the remaining days of your life are spent in everlasting bachelor/spinsterhood, while 9 to 5ing it in a flickering flourescent light lit basement call centre/boiler room where you make outbound life insurance sales pitches.  Yes, this is hell, and you have arrived all because of that stupid group selfie!

Q:  Is theft a problem at the whisky festival?

A:  Yes, so guard your purchases made at the on-site liquor store.  Plain clothes whisky police are constantly sweeping the ballroom for unattended shopping bags.  Such stranded and orphan bags of whisky pose a serious risk of harm in the form of obstacles that patrons may inadvertently trip over.  Worse, some patrons have been known to smuggle tallboy cans of beer, concealed in LL Bean knapsacks.  These cans if kicked by patrons can explode.  We liken them to improvised explosive devices (IED) and treat them accordingly.  Security will seize all unattended shopping bags, knapsacks and hipster male purses (murse).  To avoid this happening to you, just pretend you are in the Ben Guiron airport.  That will set the mood and atmosphere we are aiming for.

Q:  Beware of whisky bloggers!

With their smart phones photographing drinks and food as fodder for their blog cannons these negative nellies are nothing but trouble.

If you see one, point him out to our head of security (he will be wearing a kilt and a dark blue armband with the image of a Glencairn glass sewn in silver thread).  The security head will put the suspect under surveillance and at the first stupid question asked of an ambassador, we will hustle this Fifth Estate poser to the nearest exit and strip him of his festival ticket, badge and cell phone.

Q:  Do brand ambassadors keep the 'good stuff' under the table?

A:  Yes, some whisky brand ambassadors keep a special, extra old bottle under the table for VIPs, hardworking security personnel and Maxim Hot 100 List Finalists.

Q:  Can I keep the festival Glencairn glass?

A:  Yes.  A small token of our appreciation.  Actually, a very small token.

Q:  Can I keep my friend's Glencairn glass if he gives it to me?

A:  No.  Sophisticated Glencairn theft rings have operated at past festivals.  Accordingly, be very wary of friendly, smiling criminals posing as whisky enthusiasts.  Avoid being baited into conversation about how good the whisky is or what is your favorite distillery?  We recommend you keep chin wagging to a minimum with strangers and walk away from any opportunity for friendly banter, unless you happen to encounter a VIP, Maxim 100 Hot List finalist or a member of our security detail.  If you encounter such a person, then you can fetch them a drink at the same time you get yours.

Q:  Who are the VIPs?

A:  David Beckam (in his role as brand ambassador for Haig Club whisky), Gerard Depardieu (in his role as bon vivant for all alcoholic beverages including whisky), Vladimir Putin (because he is pals with Gerard and martial arts master Steven Segal), Prince Andrew (because he is royalty and innocent of the outrageous allegations of late) and Boris Yeltsin (because he is a law and order guy with a passion for whisky).

Q:  I thought Boris Yeltsin died in 2007?

He did, but lives on in our hearts.  We have also not updated our list since 2005.

Q:  I thought vodka was Yeltsin's drink of choice?

A:  This is the type of insolent question that if uttered aloud will result in you becoming a suspected blogger.  Judge yourself accordingly.

Q:  How do I volunteer for a security officer role at the festival?

A:  Better question!  Please submit a detailed curriculum vitae with two boy scout or Target store security references to:


Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2015. All rights reserved. Any and all use is prohibited without permission.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review: Buchanan's 18 years Blended Scotch Whisky

This is my review of Buchanan's 18 year old blended Scotch whisky.


Nose (undiluted)
Sherry, oak, very floral, orange zest.  Very nice!

Palate (undiluted)
Smooth entry, window pane smooth, orange, almonds, brazil nuts, some smoke and spiced sherry.

Finish (undiluted)
A wee graininess, citrus notes, graphite, malty, plums, black pepper, table salt, accompanied by acrid, stale cigarette smoke.

General Impressions
I paid around $85 for this bottle and I am not impressed.  At that price point, I expect some complexity.  None really here.  There is some concentrated red fruit and citrus notes, but that is not complexity.  At the same price point or less, I could be enjoying any number of entry level single malts that exhibit a more pleasant sherried flavor profile.  I am thinking Balvenie Doublewood 12 yrs or GlenDronach 12 years.  Both are cheaper and better.

I suspect that this blend was designed for that segment of the blended Scotch whisky market that enjoys smooth, totally inoffensive whisky that can be enjoyed with ice or as a mix.  I do not think at the price point I paid that this should be used as the base of a whisky cocktail, but that probably is a more suitable use than to be enjoyed neat.

A much cheaper alternative would be to pick up a bottle of Black Grouse blended Scotch.  You will get pretty much the same flavor profile at a fraction of the price.


Jason Debly