In the hustle and bustle at the very heart of the city, one finds the Geffrye Museum to be a peaceful haven in a world of its own. This magnificent museum focuses on the history of homes and gardens; what’s more it’s completely free! It offers a spectacular journey across the ages, with eleven different rooms that take you through over three hundred years of history. I have always been fascinated by the odd and startling fashion trends which people bring to life by collectively mimicking one another. It is amazing how disparate developments in fashion can slowly come together to form a set of style laws, only for the particular formulation that has arisen to suddenly wane as something utterly different enters the scene from the wings. In this museum we find a lively series of rooms, that together display the sets of style laws, that have arisen, waned, and in the process fashioned London. The attention to detail within each room is remarkable. One can see that painstaking effort has been placed in selecting the items used in each room with all the elements involved combining beautifully.
In January 2018 this museum will close as part of a redevelopment project and won’t open again until early 2020. It really makes for a wonderful day out and thus I would implore you to visit before then.
For the last four months I’ve had a serious case of writer’s block, which goes some way towards explaining the sporadic output of this blog of late. Try as I might the words have only been coming out a few at a time. The mad ACME firework factory of my mind has for reasons unknown ground to a halt. It is a most bothersome and weary set of circumstances, which has been exacerbated by a procrastinating frenzy, precipitated by the online availability of a bazillion self-help guides that offer simple steps for beating writer’s block. I’ve gone for long walks, brainstormed like a boss, and listened to the awesome jazz of Mulatu Astatke. All to no avail! Finally when one article suggested I talk to an imaginary friend I decided to stop reading the articles. It was with a wry smile then that I greeted the bottle of Writers Tears that sat alone upon the top of the drink shelf at my local newsagent. On noticing the extra gimmick that this was the Red Head, I knew it had to be mine. I’d love at this stage dear reader to impart the knowledge that this proved the cure to my ailment, but sadly that would be complete balderdash. What isn’t complete balderdash is that this is an utterly delightful wee dram!!! On to the tasting notes…
Writers Tears Red Head is an Irish whiskey and a fantastically sweet and spicy sherry cask dream. The nose makes for a congenial welcome; there is a considerable oak spiciness present, a glorious nuttiness, some orange marmalade, not to mention the fruity plum. The drink itself, arrives with a creamy hazelnut taste, a great deal of ginger spiciness then builds, with dates, and with a little water some coffee notes following. The finish is a fiery affair combining an orange peel after taste with ginger some cinnamon and clove. This is a whiskey that wonderfully combines bombastic spiciness with fruity intermissions. My imaginary friend particularly enjoyed it.
Verdict: A Fiery Lass
We’ve had some absolutely resplendent and sweltering weather here in the UK of late. Outside is a stunning day that promises to be a cracker, it’s a pity then that I should be so ill-suited to hot weather. Incidentally I’m equally ill-suited to cold weather, alas many people mistake this condition of double ill-suitedness for a personal disposition to moan. Getting back to the matter in hand, it is hot today in London! This problem is compounded by the fact that where I live, is fitted with some serious insulation that has turned my room into a tinderbox that is slowly baking me alive. I don’t want to crack my head open to find out but I believe that with this incredible heat my brain has turned to maple syrup. It is most amusing then, that today of all day’s I should be reviewing a whisky called Bacalta which is Gaelic for baked. It’s always a bad idea to drink whisky on days like this, but in the interests of my readership I shall persevere, quit my jibber jabber, and get on with the review.
Bacalta is the latest offering from Glenmorangie’s limited edition range. Aged in Madeira and Bourbon casks this is a wonderfully sweet and occasionally lively drink of considerable quality. Unfortunately it’s a tad pricey for a non-age statement whisky (£80), despite this I do think it is well worth seeking out for a tipple. On to the tasting notes! The nose is powerful but not forceful, opting to arrive in a gentle fashion. I get vanilla, honey, plum wine, and a delicious hint of mango. To be honest it’s quite intoxicating all by itself. On hitting the taste buds one suddenly gets all the fruits, there are simply so many different fruit notes here!!! If I were to list them all you’d think me quite mad for believing so much could dwell within one glass. Predominantly I get peeled orange, dried apricots and a little plum. There’s also a delightful crisp menthol mint that lingers through it all. The finish makes for a most excellent juxtaposition from all these sweet flavours. Out of nowhere dazzling pepper emerges, a dash of cinnamon, some clove, and a moreish tang of bitter oak. A sweet invigorating and varied dram, this is something rather spectacular.
Verdict: I think I’ll have another
Astute eagle eyed detective that you are, you may well have noticed that I haven’t bloody well posted a new article in five weeks! I do sincerely apologize for this dear reader, but my arch nemesis Darth Real Life has once again been snapping at my heels with the essential and oh so boring side of existence. Not to be melodramatic or anything. Still the waters have calmed and I declare that once more I shall prove an outstanding citizen and upholder of all that is light hearted and whimsical. This glittering citadel of foolishness is once again open, hurrah! To this end, please find below a most splendiferous St Patricks whiskey special, which has arrived but a month late. One can only assume it took the scenic route.
The Irish make some of the finest, most incredibly unique, and wonderfully complex whiskeys in the world. It thus astounds me that people celebrating St Patricks day around the world, usually honour the Irish by dumping green dye in their beer. God forbid that they might try some culturally significant, knock your socks off whiskey, which will get them drunk twice as fast. Thus let me bang the drum for one of Ireland’s greatest achievements, honestly it’s up there with Joyce and Beckett. Irish whiskey has two unique defining features. Firstly it is triple distilled which makes it incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Secondly it is made in pot stills that mix malted and un-malted barley, this practice came about as a means to keep costs down when the English introduced a tax on malted barley in 1785. The result is a whiskey which can have a great deal of complexity at a young age. Generally speaking Irish whiskeys are lighter and less bombastic than their Scottish cousins, but at their best they offer an incredible array of delicate flavours which are positively mind blowing. As introductions to this style go, you can’t go wrong with Green Spot and Redbreast 12. However in this instance I’ve opted to review Jameson’s Gold Reserve as it’s more widely available and a personal favourite of mine. Enough with the history lesson, let’s get on with the tasting notes!!!
Jameson Gold Reserve has a pleasant gentle nose, with honey, vanilla, green apple, and a majestic menthol mint. It’s an odd thing to say but it smells smooth. Upon hitting the taste buds, this whiskey springs to life, first with vanilla and sweet honey, then a brief toffee banana that somehow seamlessly blends into green apple and bitter gooseberry. The finish has some more gooseberry, incredible virgin oak tannins, and a subtle black pepper. It’s crisp and dry, which makes the whole experience feel refreshing. Ultimately I think this blended whiskey is a master class in perfectly combining bitter and sweet notes. If you’ve never had an Irish whiskey before you’re in for a treat and personally I think the Gold Reserve once acquainted with is sure to become a lifelong friend, Sláinte.
Verdict: The Wild Rover