Thursday, March 13, 2008
Lowland Single Malt Whisky
You might not believe it, but after 268 whiskies it IS still possible to have a 'first' on the Malt Mission. Yup, 268 whiskies and this is our first Auchentoshan. Crazy. But cool. There is a wide and wonderful world of whisky out there. Absolutely delighted that I am still able to explore it one dram at a time.
Yes, a wonderful world of whisky, 41,000 Scottish jobs in the industry, 65,000 across the UK, and worth well over £2.5 billion per annum to the economy... yes, wonderful.
And the industry has seen more excise duty fairness over the past 10 years, years which have coincided with great growth for the industry with many distilling companies launching new bottlings, new packaging, and some even building new distilleries. So things are good for the most heavily taxed alcoholic drink in the UK. Wonderful days.
Well, darlings, not for long.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling (a Scotsman!) announced his first budget yesterday and although much of what it included was expected, there remained a small hope that the impact wouldn't be too drastic. And I suppose it isn't. Whisky received a 6% increase; it's nothing. But it IS considering beer and wine were much more gently hit, and, I would argue, hit in the wrong way. There must be discretion between a pub pint tax and a can of strong lager tax, in my mind. Unless even the holy institution of the pub is falling below the status of drinking and social areas like curb, square, or alley. Is this a reaction against irresponsible drinking? A reaction to all the underage-drinking/rise in female alcoholics/24-hour licensing crises propaganda that has been stirring for the past year? Perhaps.
Now maybe I am crazy, but I don't see folks on the streets and loitering in parks drinking bottles of Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or or Balvenie Rose. Or even Bell's for that matter. Does Tennents Super (also known as 'purple court appearance') have an equivalent of the SWA that spreads the responsible drinking message? For goodness sake, they're called winos for a reason, no?
Now while it could be argued that the industry made a knee deep jump a bit enthusiastically with raising prices, rebranding, building new and reinvesting, etc., this tax hike could hurt whisky's world-wide momentum a great deal. Worst of all, it could hurt hard working people who farm the grain, malt the barley, make the spirit and spread the joys of responsible enjoyment of the spirit. Please remember folks, a cheap bottle of scotch whisky costs £10.70. That is an expensive buzz when there is £2 8% beer, £3 wine, or £4 sherry. AND that £10.70 BEFORE this new budget broke down into £5.48(excise duty), £1.59 (VAT) and 3.63 (whisky). That is 66% tax. And raising it will help British society? Keep hunting foxes, consolidating and deepening public and private debts, and putting up CCTV cameras. Some of us will just have a dram and hope it's all a bad dream.
Read more about the budget and whisky at BBC or wherever else you'd like to.
Fresh dough, gristy and yeasty. Chinese food element, starchy lemon chicken, cornflour and soy, ginger. Pleasant sour notes of lemon and soft red peppers.
Sweet and sour. Lemon cake with lemon icing. Yeah, very cakey. Vanilla. Cherries. Rounded and beer-like in it's sweet maltiness.
Good mouthfeel and quite a complex young whisky, although quite unbalanced. I know it is 10 years old, but it seems younger somehow. Could be the gristy element but there is something undercooked about this, half-baked. There is lots to be found in the nose, and although some of it isn't that pleasant the overall experience is quite refreshing. Great citrus sweetness on the palate with a real distinct maltiness. Probably excellent after a curry or something rich and spicy.
Malt Mission #266
Malt Mission #267
Malt Mission #268
Malt Mission #270
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