I’ve been blogging for just over a year now and yet in that time I’ve never got round to reviewing a single bourbon, an unconscionable dereliction of my drinking duties, for which I can only fall upon my knees and beg forgiveness dear reader. It is my hope that this review will make amends for this. So what makes a whiskey bourbon? There are quite a few stipulations but the two main ones in terms of flavour are as follows. Firstly, it must be made from a grain mash containing no less than 51% corn. Secondly, it must be aged in new charred oak barrels. The result generally speaking is a whiskey that is far sweeter than its Scottish cousins, which has only a hint of smoke, and often some delicious spicy notes due to the further addition of some rye in the grain mix. Or to put it another way, absolutely splendid stuff!!!
For me Four Roses Small Batch is the quintessential bourbon, it is highly affordable and guaranteed to go down real smooth, a whiskey staple if ever one existed. So, let’s get down to some tasting. Small batch has a vibrant floral nose along with subtle hints of rye spiciness, oak, and orange peel. It is a captivating whiskey siren that entices you into taking a sip. The drink itself arrives with possibly the best vanilla note I’ve ever tasted, then a bitter sweet cherry develops only to quickly fade, next we find a warm ginger emerge with butterscotch and cinnamon soon following. The finish is fairly long; it sees more wondrous vanilla with a dash of black pepper and a most unexpected but highly welcome lapsang souchong tea. In my opinion, at just under £30 a bottle this is the best introduction to Bourbon available in the UK. If you haven’t got a bottle sitting on your shelf right this instant then I would urge you to procure one at your earliest convenience.
There are now quite a few pubs in London with a video game theme, but my favourite by a considerable margin is The Four Quarters in Peckham. For the simple reason that it is a no frills no nonsense classic arcade. Other pubs I’ve been to let you play games with your friends on flat screen monitors, undeniably fun, but The Four Quarters invites you to play with friends upon the mystical cabinets of awesome that robbed an entire generation of their precious pocket money during the 80s and early 90s.
As a very small child the bright dazzling lights and the odd beeping sounds of these gaming monoliths beckoned me to partake in an otherworldly adventure. As a teenager I eventually got to join the legions of zombified gamers that huddled around these magnificent machines in neon lit rooms. I had an absolute blast wasting my life away in this manner. Unfortunately by this stage in time there were barely any arcades left in London and I only very rarely got to visit the Trocadero (now closed) for some gaming fun. Despite this the Arcade left a lasting impression on me and I always felt it was more exciting than sitting around the house and just playing games on a console. What can I say I’m a sucker for some glitz and glamour! Thus my imagination has continued to hold on to the magic of these retro gaming machines with some reverence.
It came as a fantastic surprise then when I randomly came across a low key pub filled to the brim with classic gaming machines. I was on my way to visit a friend and was a little early when I walked past a rather tatty looking bar with an odd name. Noticing the video game theme I couldn’t help but have a quick look inside. I instantly beheld so many classic gaming machines, there was Pac Man, Time Crisis 2, Golden Axe, Street Fighter 2, and good lord is that the legendary Simpson’s arcade game. I never stood a chance!!! To make matters worse they had an extensive range of whisky to boot, the owner being a big fan of the amber nectar. Suffice it to say I met my friend a good deal later than intended. As an hour plus of button smashing went by in a minute. A return trip is definitely on the cards this week, as I had a super nostalgia infused whale of a time. If you live in South London and are in the mood for a mellow night of classic gaming The Four Quarters is where it’s at.
Last week this Blog turned one!!! And in typical fashion I’ve only just got round to celebrating this momentous event. Started on a diabolical whim, I certainly would not have predicted that one year on I would still be writing for this fine publication. Let alone that some people would have actually bothered to read it. To all you wonderful people that have read commented and seemingly enjoyed my random musings, I truly cannot thank you enough! It has been an absolute joy to witness this half-baked idea rise to the lofty heights of a fluffy Victoria sponge. Admittedly in the last six months my posts have become rather sporadic but I solemnly swear that in the coming months I’ll pull up my socks and get back to blogging form. In the meantime I hope you will join me in celebrating this anniversary dear reader and by spontaneously breaking into dance to this awesome tune from Kool and the Gang. Now that I’ve finished getting my groove on around my living room, allow me to present…
My Top 5 Moments of the Blogging Year
I think it’s safe to say that epic feats of daring do have been few and far between this year. Nevertheless I think I made up for this in one fell swoop, by falling out of a plane in the most awkward manner imaginable. Against all odds I loved every second of this experience. Read on here!
The Harry Potter studio tour quite simply set my imagination ablaze this year. From the moment I found myself standing in the great hall of Hogwarts I was off in a world of my own. I left pretending to ride an invisible broomstick, which says it all really. Read on here!
I had a delightful moment of Zen in the Kyoto Garden this year. Located within Holland Park this Japanese garden may be tiny but it is absolutely stunning and I’m very pleased with some of the photographs I got on my trip. Read on here!
I love those random moments in adventures that you could never have predicted beforehand. I was dumbfounded this year, when swimming in ice cold waters on Hampstead Heath I suddenly found myself being lapped by old age pensioners. However my absolute highlight of the year came when some lovely people ensured I had a blooming marvellous time playing crazy golf. Read on here!
A surreal neon dreamscape where you can sip a coffee, I was truly blown away by the spectacle that is God’s Own Junkyard. Located in the back of beyond (Sorry Walthamstow), this is the very definition of a hidden gem. Read on here!
So that in a nutshell marks the end of my first year of Blogging. Here’s to many more years of London, Whisky, and Adventure.
Oh and to talking even more Bollocks!!!