Wednesday, November 25, 2009

beer and whisky makes you frisky

A couple of drink-related things for you. Firstly, I purchased a four-pack of Brains SA from Tesco the other day. Nothing very unusual in that, except that I noticed that the plastic thingy that keeps the cans together seems to have been changed - your classic four-pack beer-can harness sits around the top of the cans, just below the top lip; this new one sits about two-thirds of the way up.

So one has to ask: why the change? What does the new one deliver that the old one didn't? It's not that the cans are any easier to carry; the old design allowed the whole four-pack to be picked up by just hooking a finger into the central hole at the top. The new one does come with a flap of plastic that looks as if it's meant to be a carrying handle, but I can't see that this makes things any easier. And getting the individual cans out of the packaging is more difficult that it used to be - before you just had to lift and tilt a can and it would effortlessly come free of the plastic; now you have to grip the rest of the cans and slide the one you want out vertically, with inevitably a bit of a jerk as it comes out. And jerking of cans can lead to trouble when you come to open them, as you know. Basically what I'm saying is that I fail to see how this is an improvement in any way. What's going on?

Secondly, more whisky. I don't go to Waitrose very often, but I did take the opportunity of having a nose around their whisky section when I was at the one in Newbury the other day. It turns out they have some unusual stuff at bargain prices, including a bottle of 12-year-old Royal Lochnagar for £19.99, which I bought.

Here's a couple of Royal Lochnagar facts for you:
  • It's one of the smallest Scotch whisky distilleries, having just two stills. By contrast Macallan has twenty-one, and back when it was the biggest distillery in Scotland in the 1970s Tomatin had twenty-three. I daresay Glenfiddich has quite a few as well.
  • The "Royal" prefix dates back to the time of Queen Victoria, who granted it to the distillery when she first visited nearby Balmoral in 1848. There are only three distilleries in Scotland which are allowed to use the word "Royal" in their name; the other two are Royal Brackla (which is still operational) and Glenury Royal (which isn't).
  • The nearby mountain after which the distillery is named is one of my 273 as-yet-unconquered Munros; in fact according to my Munro bible it is the 21st-highest mountain in Britain. I'll get to it in due course; don't rush me.
Anyway, as far as the actual whisky goes, this is from the Highland region, the same as Glenmorangie, and also the same as Highland Park, if you don't hold with the heretical notion of "Island" being a separate region. Broadly speaking Highland malts tend to be a bit more rugged than the very civilised Speyside ones (like the Aberlour, for instance); this one just about conforms to that by having a light smokiness to it. It's relatively light - less chunky and smoky and outdoorsy than the Highland Park, and certainly less so than the Ardmore. It starts off very butterscotch-y and quite sweet, and finishes surprisingly smoky and dry, all of which encourages another mouthful. I like it a lot.


The Black Rabbit said...
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The Black Rabbit said...

Wouldn't suprise me if the Welsh had resorted to cornershop protocol with their cans of beer, and tethered loose cans together with a botch job, halfway down the can...

electrichalibut said...

No, it can't be that, as all four-packs of SA are now packaged in the same way. And this latest batch was from that nice Mr. Tesco, anyway. There's always the danger of meeting those coarse tradesmen fellows in the corner shop, don't you know.