Sunday, January 17, 2010

they'll never take me alive

A word to the wise: Tesco currently have a special offer on whereby you can get yourself a bottle of the legendary Talisker for a bargain £22 (down from about £29). You'll have to get there before the end of this month, and you may find stocks are a bit thin. There was one single bottle left in the Tesco branch I went to yesterday, so I snapped it up. In the trolley, over to the checkout, pay, job done. Or so I thought.

As I went out of the store I heard the alarm bleep a few times. As there were lots of other people coming and going at the same time as me I thought little of it; certainly no black-clad security goons jumped out and started furiously tazering anybody in the immediate vicinity. However, when I got home and took the bottle out of the box I noticed that it still had the magnetic security tag on it. Oops. I mean, not my fault, obviously, but still.

Now, for obvious reasons these things are designed not to be easily removable. Certainly the average shopper is not going to be able to do it with his or her bare hands, and carrying the tools required with you and deploying them in-store is going to look a bit conspicuous on CCTV. However, in the comfort of one's own home, as long as you are in possession of a decent hacksaw then a couple of minutes is all you need to remove the evidence and provide unfettered access to the contents. Well, actually the security tag is no hindrance to opening the bottle, but a bottle with a tag on it is not quite the thing to be offering your guests at your next sophisticated soirée, so it's best to get rid of it.

Anyway, once inside you can have a butchers at the contents. And a big hairy-chested brute it is too. There's plenty of peat and smoke here, but it's not the really nose-stinging TCP-esque smoke you get with the Islays like Ardbeg and Laphroaig (Talisker is distilled in Carbost on the Isle of Skye). In terms of similarity to other ones in this series, it's nearest to the Highland Park in terms of the sweet/smoky combination. It's also similar to the Royal Lochnagar in the slight peppery dryness at the end that makes you want another sip. Some beers are like that - Timothy Taylor's Landlord is the one that springs to mind. I reckon if you distilled a vat of Landlord (and lobbed in a bit of E274 Essence of Peat Smoke) you'd end up with something not unlike Talisker; someone should try that and let me know how it goes.

Speaking of comparing whisky to other whisky, you might find this interesting - this is Diageo's whisky map. Now clearly this doesn't include all the hundreds of different ones you can buy, but it gives you an idea of what to expect, and commendably includes several which aren't Diageo's own brands (Talisker is, as it happens). Click to enlarge if you can't read it.

Ones that have featured in this series are circled in red, others I've tried are in green. The idea (as I'm sure you've worked out by now) is that whiskies close to each other on the map are broadly similar. So, for instance, if I conclude that I like the Talisker (which I do, very much) and the Highland Park (ditto) then I might conclude that there's a good chance I'll like the Bowmore as well. Time will tell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to me when I bought a bottle of Black Bottle. haven't tried to remove the tag yet, but will try with some pliers to stretch it over the top.