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Distillery tour of Scotland (May 2018)

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WhiskyDad’s Guide to Father’s Day

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WhiskyDad’s Guide to Father’s Day

Father’s Day is almost upon us (In Australia, it’s on the first Sunday in September) and if your father or husband is a WhiskyDad like me, look no further than my Father's Day guide for the WhiskyDad in your life (not just my own wishlist).

Whisky

The most obvious gift could also be the hardest to choose because you want to buy something your dad will like. My suggestion is to raid his whisky cabinet and find out what he drinks. You could either play it safe and buy what he already has or you could buy him something similar that he may not have tried before. The easiest way to do this would be to talk to the proprietor of a specialist whisky bottle shop and tell them what he drinks and ask for a recommendation of something similar. But if that isn’t possible, allow me to give you some loose rules.

He likes all whisky

By far the easiest dad to buy whisky for since you could buy him just about anything and he would enjoy drinking it. That said, I would look at what he usually drinks and buy something around the same price point.
This WhiskyDad knows what he likes, but what about what he doesn’t know he likes? 
He only drinks Jack Daniel’s

This WhiskyDad knows what he likes, but what about what he doesn’t know he likes? Jack Daniel’s and all its many special and limited editions, is a Tennessee whiskey. What’s a Tennessee whiskey? It’s bourbon, with an extra charcoal filtration step. A great alternative to Jack Daniel’s is another readily available Tennessee whiskey, George Dickel. George Dickel comes in No.8, No.12 and X varieties and my pick would be George Dickel No. 12 as a legitimate (and in my opinion, superior) alternative to Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7.

He’s a Peat Freak

This WhiskyDad loves his whisky smoky. Chances are he will drink anything from Islay but that isn’t the only peated whisky available. Look for any of these, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Bowmore, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Laphroaig; or outside of Islay, Springbank, Longrow, Kilkerran, Talisker, Ledaig or Highland Park. Failing that, anything with ‘Peat’ in the label like independent bottlers Douglas Laing’s Big Peat or Compass Box’s Peat Monster should be fine.

He only drinks the cheap stuff

There’s nothing wrong with drinking whisky that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but chances are if it’s cheap, it’s a blended whisky. Not all blended whiskies are equal and some are quite expensive. One of the most famous and popular blended whiskies is Johnnie Walker. Johnnie Walker comes in a number of varieties that get progressively expensive of which Johnnie Walker Black Label and Double Black are a good balance of reasonable price and quality.
This may sound a little controversial, but most Irish whiskey is no different to Scotch whisky. 
He likes Irish Whiskey

This may sound a little controversial, but most Irish whiskey is no different to Scotch whisky. If you look at the ingredients and the way both are made, there really isn’t a lot of difference between Scotch and Irish Whiskey other than the country of origin. There are a few exceptions but if you are going to buy an Irish whiskey, buy a Single Pot Still Irish whiskey like Redbreast, Green Spot, Yellow Spot or Powers. These are quintessentially Irish whiskeys and are quite different from any Scotch whisky.



He likes the burn

Does your dad like a whisky that burns in his chest and warms his insides? Then you should get him a cask strength whisky. Cask strength means the whisky is bottled at or near the ABV% it was straight from the cask. Most whisky is diluted with water before bottling to reduce the ABV% to a standard figure such as 40%, 43% or 46%. My pick for a cask strength whisky would be Aberlour A’bunah.
The older the whisky, the more influence the cask has over the flavour and often colour. 
He likes darker coloured whisky

If you dad drinks whisky that is generally darker and more amber than your average whisky, chances are it is ex-sherry cask (barrel) matured. Most whisky is matured in either ex-bourbon or ex-sherry casks. The older the whisky, the more influence the cask has over the flavour and often the colour. Ex-bourbon cask matured whisky usually has a vanilla dominant flavour whereas ex-sherry cask whisky has a dried fruit or Christmas Cake dominant flavour. Oh, he likes traditional Christmas Cake? Then ex-sherry cask matured whisky is a safe bet such as the excellent BenRiach 12 Year Old Sherry Wood Matured.

Something Australian

There are plenty of very good Australian whiskies on the market. Obviously, these are much easier to obtain from within Australia. Most are quite expensive, around $200 for 500ml, but not all are, such as Starward Wine Cask Edition which can be picked up from Dan Murphy’s for around $80-$90 for a 700ml bottle. Being originally from Tasmania myself, it would be remiss of me not to recommend a Tasmania whisky so how about a Lark Cask Strength from the distillery that started the recent whisky boom across the island state.

Something unexpected

There is nothing quite like surprising a Scotch snob with a great-tasting whisky from an unexpected region of the world. Did you know that India produces some amazing single malt whisky? I guarantee your Scotch-loving dad will enjoy either the Paul John Classic Select Cask or Amrut Fusion if they prefer a peated whisky.

Whisky gifts other than whisky

There are plenty of gift ideas for the whisky-loving dad other than whisky; consider some of these.

Something edible

Fancy yourself a bit of a cook? How about making some whisky fudge, some whisky cured bacon or whisky jerky? You could even ‘borrow’ some of your dad’s whisky to flavour it. Just don’t borrow the really expensive stuff.
The world of specialist whisky glassware can be a load of wank, but not all glasses are equal when it comes to drinking whisky. 
Whisky glasses

The world of specialist whisky glassware can be a load of wank, but not all glasses are equal when it comes to drinking whisky. In my opinion, the pinnacle of shape (performance), weight (comfort) and value (some glasses cost upwards of $50 each) is the Glencairn glass. These can be picked up for as little as $10-$17 each and are a great choice for a whisky-loving dad. There is even a more expensive crystal version of the Glencairn glass if you want something a little fancier.

If your dad drinks his whisky with a mixer, go for a nice crystal tumbler instead.

If you want something a little different, how about a quaich? A quaich is a shallow Scottish two-handed drinking cup. They can be made of metal such as pewter or silver but are traditionally carved from wood.

Artwork and accessories

A map of the whisky distilleries of Scotland by Manuscript Maps is an excellent gift for a WhiskyDad and looks great on any whisky fan’s wall. Factor in extra for postage and framing to get the best out of it.

Angel’s Share Glass make some great whisky themed accessories such as Glencairn shaped cufflinks.



Books

There are stacks of great books on whisky that would make excellent Father’s Day gifts. The World Atlas of Whisky is an excellent and hefty coffee table book whereas Whisk(e)y Distilled is more portable by no less detailed.

Pens

Check out these awesome pens, made from ex-bourbon barrels. They can even be personalised – I would love a couple of these myself. Hint, hint.

Image © bourbonpens.com 

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Bruichladdich PC12 Impressions

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Bruichladdich PC12 Impressions

What is it?

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Name: Port Charlotte 12 Year Old PC12 "Oileanach Furachail"
Make: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Extra Info: Bruichladdich was established in 1881 on the Scottish island of Islay. It was closed in 1994 before being refurbished in 2001 and reopened in 2013, with much of the original Victorian-era machinery still in use to this day.

Why did I buy it?

This particular expression from Bruichladdich is only available via travel retail outlets. I happened to be travelling overseas so I took the opportunity to purchase this bottle duty-free on my return.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Most Bruichladdich expressions are bottled in the same stout bottle with modern looking sans serif typeface lettering. The exception being the heavily peated Octomore range which use distinctive taller bottles. I quite like the Bruichladdich design language and it is definitely one of the more modern looking whiskies available. The PC12 is bottled at 58.7% ABV.

Appearance: Dark gold approaching amber in colour, this whisky is bottled at 58.7%ABV in non-chill filtered and has no added colouring.

Aroma: On first nose, it smelt like it could get you drunk on fumes alone. There was some smoke and alcohol at first and not much else. Some whiskies have more of those nose-burning volatile compounds than others and I have tasted higher ABV whiskies that do not smell as alcoholic as this. Perhaps surprisingly then, the PC12 got the 'Wife of WhiskDad Tick of Approval' i.e. she did not hate the smell of it.

With a subtle change in nosing technique, the quite pleasant aroma of alcohol soaked sultanas is revealed more easily. The addition of water cuts the alcohol fumes and allows the dried fruit notes to come forward.

Flavour: Very smoky but with a distinct sweetness. Plenty of heat that may present a challenge for a palate not accustomed to cask strength whisky. The burn can be tempered with water without diluting the dominant smoke flavour, although it leaves the whisky tasting a little flat. The flavour benefits from the high ABV but it creates a more prickly mouthfeel rather than being smooth on the palate.

Finish: Long bitter smoke finish leaving a slight warming in the chest. Lingering aftertaste of smoke that stays in the mouth long after the drink is finished. Better brush your teeth after this one if you don't want your breath to smell like a log fire.

Would I buy it again?

There's a certain segment of whisky fans (and I think I used to be one) who believe that for whisky to be good it has to slap you in the face and your ability to take it makes you a 'real' whisky drinker. This is one of those face slapping whiskies, but I am not one of those believers anymore.

Bruichladdich PC12 is not a bad whisky; in fact, it would no doubt be highly regarded by the segment of whisky fans I mentioned above. But, I can't help thinking it lacks finesse. It's a little rough around the edges and perhaps that brashness is exactly the charm this whisky will have to some. Personally, I think I would rather try another Bruichladdich expression next time, rather than buy the PC12 again. The Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest is a more balanced example of the marriage of sweet sherry and smoky flavours.



Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.
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WhiskyDad Makes Whisky Jerky

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WhiskyDad Makes Whisky Jerky




So my wife bought a dehydrator. “What’s a dehydrator?” I asked. “It heats up and dries out food,” she said. “Like an oven?” I replied. “Yeah, but it doesn’t get as hot.” I pondered her response for a moment, “So, like a shit oven?”

Every appliance has a silver lining

I’m used to my wife buying things that are supposed to make our lives healthier, but I didn’t really appreciate the ‘shit oven’ until I asked if it could make jerky!

Jerky, is meat cut into thin strips, often marinated, and then dried to prevent spoilage. It is super tasty and fairly good for you since it is a great source of protein without much of anything else. The shop bought variety is also very expensive considering what it is and how much you get in a packet.

I already had the dehydrator (you can also use a smoker) so I figured I would give making my own jerky a go and since I’m a WhiskyDad, I planned to marinate it in whisky.

Sriracha & Starward Bacon Jerky

First up would be bacon jerky. Why bacon? Because bacon, of course. I settled on making a spicy bacon jerky with a light and sweet, non-peated whisky. The spiciness would come from Sriracha sauce, store bought since I didn’t have the time or energy to make my own. I have only recently discovered Sriracha sauce (found in the Asian food section of your local supermarket) but this sauce made from Jalapeños, sugar or honey and garlic is freakin’ delicious. Where has this sauce been all my life? It is not what I would call a hot sauce, it's spicy, but it is a near perfect mix of spice, savoury and sweetness.

The whisky of choice would be Starward Wine Cask single malt Australian whisky.

Sounds expensive, but it really isn’t. Difficult to find outside of Australia but it’s one of the best value local whiskies commonly available. I often recommend it as a gateway whisky for anyone new to whisky or new to drinking whisky neat. It’s light and quite sweet so I thought it would pair with the bacon nicely.

I bought some smoked streaky bacon from Costco and prepared the following marinade in a ceramic dish:

90ml of Starward Wine Cask single malt whisky
90ml or 6 x Tablespoons of Sriracha sauce
2 x Tablespoons of Manuka honey (any honey would do or substitute perhaps half as much brown sugar)
3 x Cloves of fresh crushed garlic

I mixed all the ingredients in the dish and added 500g of bacon. Next, I sprinkled salt and pepper over the top, covered the dish with plastic cling wrap and put it in the fridge.

The bacon needs to marinate for three days, being turned in the marinade half way through with some more salt and pepper added.

After three days, I removed the bacon from the marinade and placed it on a chopping board. I sliced the bacon in half and then the widest part in half again so that all the pieces were roughly the same size. Next, I placed the cut pieces on some paper towel and gently removed some of the excess marinate with more paper towel. I didn’t want to remove it all but I also didn’t want it dripping with liquid when I put it in the dehydrator.

Finally, I laid the pieces of bacon onto the dehydrators removable trays making sure the pieces were not touching each other and gave them a last sprinkle of salt and pepper.

I set the dehydrator to 70˚C and the timer to five hours.

Half way though I rotated the shelves and after five hours I removed the jerky and laid it on pieces of paper towel. I placed alternating layers of paper towel, a single layer of jerky, then more paper towel onto a dinner plate. This removed a lot of oil from the surface of the jerky since bacon is much fattier than the meat you would generally use for jerky. Once the jerky had cooled to room temperature, I removed it from the paper towel and placed it in a plastic zip-lock bag for storage in the fridge. Jerky can last for a while, but I wouldn’t keep bacon jerky for as long as you would leaner beef jerky for instance – But let’s face it, bacon jerky is going to be eaten pretty quickly.

So how did it taste?

It tasted awesome! The texture was quite good. You want the jerky to kind of bend and tear. If it snaps, it’s cooked too much. If it bends without tearing or is floppy, it isn’t cooked enough. The Sriracha Starward Bacon Jerky had a savoury whisky flavour at first with a sweetness coming out as you chewed. Lastly, there was a spicy finish that was just the right amount of spice and not too hot; pretty much damn perfect for a first attempt, if you ask me.

It actually reminded me of tasting a whisky (although a bacon flavoured whisky) since the flavour developed as you ate it rather than hit you all at once. 

Peat Monster Beef Jerky

Next up, I decided to make a more traditional beef jerky. I chose a corned beef silverside, also purchased from Costco. Roughly shaped like a loaf of bread, this cut of meat was already quite lean and having already been cured in a salt brine it would dry quite well in the dehydrator. All I had to do to prepare the meat was to remove the thin layer of fat from one side and cut out a couple of fatty parts before cutting it into roughly one inch thick steaks. You need to cut across the grain for this step. The steaks were about the size and thickness of café-style slices of bread. Next, I placed each steak in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.

This time the marinade would be soy sauce and smokey whisky based. I chose Compass Box Peat Monster as the whisky. The marinade was a mix of the following:

½ Cup of soy sauce
60ml or 4 x Tablespoons of Peat Monster whisky
2 x Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 x Teaspoon of garlic powder
1 x Teaspoon of smoky paprika powder
1 x Teaspoon of chilli powder
½ x Teaspoon of ginger powder
½ x Teaspoon of cayenne powder
1 x Tablespoon of Manuka honey

Once partially frozen, I removed the steaks I wanted to use and sliced them (with the grain this time) into 3mm thick strips. This made approximately 600g of beef strips that I then placed into a bowl of the marinade, covered it with plastic and put it in the fridge for three days.

I followed the same dehydrating process for the beef as I did for the bacon; five hours at 70˚C

So how did it taste?

The beef turned out great, as good as any packaged jerky you can buy and much cheaper to make yourself. It had a great chewy texture that almost melts in your mouth and while it didn’t have the same evolving flavour like the bacon jerky did, it delivered a nicely balanced savoury hit from first bite to last chew. The whisky flavour was quite subtle so you could probably use more if you wished. I have plenty of meat left over in the freezer so I may experiment with different whiskies for future batches but my first attempt was a hit.

So do yourself a favour and buy a ‘shit oven’ to make yourself some tasty whisky marinated jerky. It is super easy to do and the results were surprisingly amazing.
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Whisky Weight: Can Drinking Whisky Make You Fat?

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Whisky Weight: Can Drinking Whisky Make You Fat?

What a time to be alive when‘low-carb’ potatoes are something you can actually buy – I’m not kidding. Carbs and calories are being discussed more than ever but do you know how your drinking is affecting your waistline? Here are some quick tips to help keep your calories from alcohol intake in check.

Know your units

In dietary terms, 1 Cal (big C) is actually 1 kcal or 1 kilocalorie. This is commonly referred to as a food calorie and is approximately the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius at one atmosphere of pressure.

From now on, when I refer to Calories (Cal), I am referring to kilocalories.

In the metric system, 1Cal equals approximately 4.2kJ or 4.2 kilojoules.

Alcohol by volume or ABV is expressed as a percentage (%) and is a measure of how much alcohol is contained in a given volume of an alcoholic beverage.

When referring to alcohol proof, US 100-Proof is the equivalent of 50%ABV whereas UK 100-Proof is the equivalent of 57.15%ABV. Whisky can be any ABV from 40% to as high as 70% (rarely higher). Typical whisky ABV is 40%, 43%, 46% or >50% for cask strength.

The Metric unit of measurement for the volume of a liquid is ml or millilitre. Whisky bottles are typically either 500ml, 700ml, 750ml or 1,000ml (1 litre) if bought at travel retail. A standard alcoholic shot volume is 30ml.

The Metric unit of measurement for the mass is g or gram; In Australia, a standard drink refers to 10g of alcohol (a US and UK standard drink are 14g and 8g respectively). A single 30ml measure of a 40%ABV whisky equals 1 Australian standard drink.

How do I calculate the number of Calories in my whisky?

1ml of alcohol weighs approximately 0.787g (0.787 is the specific gravity of ethyl alcohol at 25˚C) and 1g of alcohol contains approximately 7Cal. 

First, work out the amount of alcohol in grams (g):

   (ABV% x 0.787 x volume in ml)/100 = Alcohol in grams (g)

Therefore, the amount of alcohol in a single 30ml measure of a 40%ABV whisky would be:

   (40 x 0.787 x 30)/100 = 
= 944.4/100
= 9.444g

Then, multiply this figure by 7 to determine the number of Calories (Cal):

   9.444 x 7
= 66.1Cal or 278kJ

Likewise, the Calories in a single 30ml measure of a 60%ABV whisky would be calculated by:

   (60 x 0.787 x 30)/100
= 1,416.6/100
= 14.166g

Then, multiply this figure by 7 to determine the number of Calories (Cal):

   14.166 x 7
= 99.2Cal or 417kJ

If only it was that simple

What you have just calculated above is the calories of alcohol in your whisky. What this doesn’t take into account is any additional energy from residual sugars, mixers or the physiological effects of alcohol on the way your body processes energy. Let’s look at each in turn.

Residual sugars

Whisky, like beer, is produced by fermenting sugars from grains. Grains such as malt are used because they contain concentrated stores of energy in the form of starches that can be easily converted to sugars. The majority of sugars are consumed by yeast during fermentation but depending on fermentation methods and added ingredients, the residual sugars within the finished beer or whisky wash will vary. Most of the residual sugars in whisky are lost during distillation which means whisky contains very little energy from sugars; but it does have some, just a negligible amount when calculating Calories.

Mixers

If you drink your whisky with a mixer other than water, you are most likely adding plenty of Calories from sugar (unless the mixer is artificially sweetened). Refer to the mixer packaging for details but for example, 100ml of Coca-Cola contains 76Cal. But beware, the sugar content of your favourite mixers may vary depending on country of origin.

The effects of alcohol on your metabolism

When it comes to whisky and weight gain, the following is the kicker. Most people don’t consume huge amounts of whisky in a single sitting but even if you drank half a bottle (350ml) of 40%ABV whisky, you are only consuming 771.5Cal (3,239.5kJ) from alcohol. But, half a bottle of whisky is a significant amount of alcohol, just over 11 Australian standard drinks.

On average, it takes your body one hour to process one standard drink or 10g of alcohol.

Why is this important? Your body will always metabolise alcohol before it metabolises anything else. Why? Because the primary product of alcohol metabolism is acetaldehyde, a toxin, which must be processed by your body before more alcohol can be metabolised in order to avoid poisoning. Your body makes this process a priority, essentially halting the metabolism of any other energy source until it is complete. That means that any Calories consumed other than Calories from alcohol, will be converted to fat until all the alcohol is out of your system. So, anything you eat in the 11 hours after consuming half a bottle of whisky, will be converted to fat stores rather than metabolised by your body. Beware, this is the trap that most of us fall into when combining alcoholic beverages and food.

The bottom line

In most cases it isn’t the whisky making you fat, it is whatever you eat or drink with it, while alcohol remains in your system. So, rethink that drunken late-night kebab or just don’t drink half a bottle of alcohol in one sitting. In fact, if you are concerned about your health, probably do both.
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From Loss to Blog, How I Became A Whisky Dad

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From Loss to Blog, How I Became A Whisky Dad




Six years ago today, I became a Whisky Dad by welcoming the birth of my beautiful twin girls with a glass of Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt. Tragically, Molly Jean and Freyja Elizabeth were not born alive.


This post isn’t about whisky, so feel free to skip it if that’s all you are looking for.

It was expected. They had a difficult but thankfully short life, developing twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and a series of debilitating chromosome abnormalities; all results of random chance, not genetics or other factors. Because they died quite late in their development (at 25 weeks) my wife had to be induced after they passed. The birth of our first children was both incredibly painful, and surprisingly joyous – at least at first. To this day I still regard the moment Molly and Freyja arrived into the world, not screaming but sleeping peacefully, to be the happiest moment of my life. I can’t explain why, it just was. I was apprehensive leading up to the birth, concerned only for my wife; but when I saw the look of pure love on her face as she held our sleeping angels, nothing else mattered. Our entire world was reduced to a single hospital bed and I will never forget it.

But what does this have to do with a whisky blog?

If it wasn’t for that day six years ago, I probably wouldn’t have started a whisky blog in the first place. In the time since, my wife and I have welcomed another two thankfully happy and healthy children into the world, but both of us have had to deal with the repercussions of that day in our own way. On this sombre anniversary, I choose to remember those few moments of joy I found at the most unlikely time.

My wife and I grieved differently, which was difficult for me to understand at the time but we had plenty of support from both family and professionals. The wonderful staff of the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney were particularly understanding and supportive; as were the counsellors at SIDS and Kids (now Red Nose). We were surprised by how common losing a child suddenly became. People we knew and even family came forward to share their own losses which were previously unknown to us. It was like we had joined a secret club of pain and it wasn’t until we had suffered our own loss that others felt comfortable to confide in us. It shouldn’t be like that.

As a man and a husband, I took it upon myself to be a rock for my wife.

I ignored any warning signs or cracks in my own armour so that I could be strong for my wife. In doing so, I denied her the opportunity to help me deal with my own feelings, which I now know was also denying her an important part of her own grieving and healing process. Although we had lots of support, we were both the parents of Molly and Freyja and no one else shares that unique perspective and connection.

I eventually reached a point when my suppressed emotions began to manifest as anger. It scared me and it motivated me to get help. That was a really hard thing to do, but asking for help was the hardest part; it only got better from there.

I was diagnosed with depression and I eventually took extended time off work. During this period, I had to motivate myself to do something engaging and meaningful and for some reason, I decided to start a whisky blog. Writing the blog turned out to be quite a cathartic experience and it really helped me on my way to becoming well again.

If you have read this far, thank you and if you are a man, please listen to this advice; one bloke to another. If you are ever in a situation like I was in, you will know something is wrong even if you do well at keeping it to yourself. Men, husbands and fathers in particular, fall into the role of the ‘rock’ quite easily. It’s comforting to be relied on. It gave me the strength to be strong. But, I am glad I reached out when I did. Don’t go past that point in yourself. Recognise it and act, if and when that time ever arises in your life.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

So, I will raise another glass of Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt this day and remember how wonderful it felt when I became a dad for the first time. The six years since haven’t been the easiest, but I am a better husband, father and man because of it. Sláinte.



If you think you may need help and can't ask a family member, close friend or your doctor, there are help services that can provide you with advice or at the very least, someone to talk to.

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Paul John Peated Select Cask

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Paul John Peated Select Cask

Original photo provided by Tim Grant and used with permission.

What is it?

Distillery: Paul John
Name: Peated Select Cask
Make: Indian Single Malt Whisky
Extra Info: The Paul John distillery is situated in Goa, on the west coast of India. This is my last review of the standard Paul John range which consists of the expressions: Brilliance, Classic Select Cask, Edited, Bold and the subject of this review, Paul John Peated Select Cask.

Why did I buy it?

I didn't. This is a review of a sample bottle kindly provided by Paul John. I usually only review full-size bottles since I can take my time and drink as much as I need to finalise my impressions. That is more difficult to do with a sample bottle, but I have done my best.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Paul John whisky has an unusually uniform design language across their entire range. In fact, it can be difficult to distinguish between expressions from a distance, since the label differences are very subtle and the colour of the whisky look very similar. Bottled at 55.5% ABV.

Appearance: All the whisky in the Paul John range looks the same golden hue to me, but Paul John proudly claim their whisky contains no artificial colouring and are non-chill filtered. I can only assume that some form of distillery wizardry must take place to achieve such a consistent colour across the range.

Aroma: A beautiful combination of sweet fruits, caramel and faint smoke; less smokey than you would expect an expression with 'Peated' in the name to be.

Flavour: Powerfully spicy, not for the faint hearted. Beneath a strong cooling menthol hides a sweetness that reveals itself if you hold off swallowing. Chocolate coated liquorice, black coffee and woodchip smoke.

Finish: A long lasting smoky slap on the tongue.

Would I buy it again?

Yes, Paul John Peated Select Cask is a great single malt but it may scare off drinkers not used to a particularly lively cask strength whisky. It has a pleasant nose, a dramatic flavour, a nice long smokey finish. I would pick a bottle of this up for myself or recommend it to a sceptical peat whisky fan. So which Paul John expression is my favourite?

My pick would have to be the Classic Select Cask, it is a little more balanced than the Peated Select Cask but both higher alcohol expressions from Paul John are excellent. A special thanks to Paul John Whisky for providing the samples for these reviews.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.
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Help Me Plan My Trip To Scotland In 2018 - Part One

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Help Me Plan My Trip To Scotland In 2018 - Part One


In a little under a year, Dad-of-WhiskyDad (i.e. my Dad) and I, will be travelling from Australia to Scotland for a 28-day whisky adventure!

We will be arriving in the UK around May 21st, next year, flying in and out of Manchester Airport and hiring a car to get around. There are a few things we really want to do, but for the most part we are open to suggestions for the must see, must do, Scottish whisky experiences.

In order to maximise enjoyment and minimise the need to stick to a strict schedule, of the Scottish Isles we will only be visiting Islay. As much as I would love to visit them all, I would rather spend a few days on Islay and save the others for another visit. We will also be spending a significant amount of time in Campbeltown since the timing of our trip is intentional to align with the Campbeltown Malts Festival and hopefully a five-day Springbank Whisky School as well. I imagine we will spend some time in and around the Highlands and Speyside in the second half of the trip and visit Edinburgh on the way back south.

Dad-of-WhiskyDad spent his childhood in an English town called Corby, after my grandparents moved there from Scotland; so we will finish our trip in Corby and have a few ‘Where Did I Come From’ moments along the way.

How Can You Help?

If you have been to Scotland before, what are your must-see whisky experiences? Distilleries we must visit, tours we must take, places we must go, people we must meet and sights we must see. Or perhaps you know a few whisky secrets you are willing to share? This will be an ongoing process and I will keep you abreast of the plan leading up to the trip itself and of course, I will blog my experience whilst over there.

If you would like to make suggestions to help shape our Scottish whisky adventure, please do so either using the comments at the end of this post or via the WhiskyDad Facebook page or Twitter.


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Paul John Bold Impressions

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Paul John Bold Impressions

Original photo provided by Tim Grant and used with permission.

What is it?

Distillery: Paul John
Name: Bold
Make: Indian Single Malt Whisky
Extra Info: The Paul John distillery is situated in Goa, on the west coast of India. In the hot and humid weather of Goa, whisky ages three or four times faster than in your typical Scottish storehouse. This means a young Indian single malt can look, smell and taste comparable to a much older Scotch single malt. Unfortunately, the rapid ageing also means that far more whisky is lost to the “Angel’s Share” in India; in the case of Paul John, around 6% to 8% of the volume of a cask is lost per year of ageing. In comparison, an ageing Scotch whisky cask usually reduces in volume at a rate of less than 2% per year.

Why did I buy it?

I didn't. This is a review of a sample bottle kindly provided by Paul John. I usually only review full-size bottles since I can take my time and drink as much as I need to finalise my impressions. That is more difficult to do with a sample bottle, but I have done my best.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: Paul John whisky has an unusually uniform design language across their entire range. In fact, it can be difficult to distinguish between expressions from a distance, since the label differences are very subtle and the colour of the whisky look very similar. Bottled at 46% ABV.

Appearance: All the whisky in the Paul John range looks the same golden hue to me, but Paul John proudly claim their whisky contains no artificial colouring and are non-chill filtered. I can only assume that some form of distillery wizardry must take place to achieve such a consistent colour across the range.

Aroma: Quite a restrained nose, faint clove spice, not smokey at all, a little fruity.

Flavour: A very pleasant smooth and balanced spicy mix with a smokiness that builds as the whisky warms in your mouth.

Finish: A bit of a nothing finish, a brief spicy pop that fades quickly.

Would I buy it again?

No, in my opinion, Paul John Bold is a little one dimensional; by saying that I mean Paul John Bold definitely stars on the palate but fails to impress on the nose and in the finish. I am sure that a lot of people would like this whisky since it excels in flavour without overpowering the drinker but personally, I like a little more going on regardless of how tasty it may be. Paul John Bold is an inoffensive single malt that tastes great but is just not as involving as I would have liked. It would make an excellent introduction to Indian single malt whisky or as an example of a lightly peated malt for someone new to a peated style. Perhaps it could have been better if it was bottled at a slightly higher ABV.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.
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Mackmyra Ten Years Impressions

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Mackmyra Ten Years Impressions

Original photo provided by Mackmyra and used with permission.

What is it?

Distillery: Mackmyra
Name: Ten Years
Make: Swedish Single Malt Whisky
Extra Info: Mackmyra was founded in 1999 by a group of eight like minded whisky-loving friends studying at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. Their first whisky, Preludium 01, was released in 2006. Mackmyra source all of their ingredients from within Sweden. Mackmyra Ten Years is the brand’s first age statement single malt whisky.

Why did I buy it?

I didn't. This is a review of a sample bottle kindly provided by Mackmyra. I usually only review full-size bottles since I can take my time and drink as much as I need to finalise my impressions; that is more difficult to do with a sample bottle, but I have done my best.

What did I think of it?

Presentation: If Mackmyra Ten Years was IKEA, it would be called 'Giant catalogue maze that you can't escape without buying a side table with a silly name, when all you want is a hotdog.' It pretty much says it all on the label. Bottled at 46.1% ABV.

Appearance: Um, yellow? It's not pale like straw or darker gold.

Aroma: Smells like a freshly opened box of IKEA flat-pack furniture, with tinned fruit in syrup and some grass. 

Flavour: Fruity with a slight sweet smokiness - not peated, more like a smokey spice, paprika perhaps?

Finish: Quite long with a strong spicy fade.

Would I buy it again?

Yes, I only had a measly 50ml to taste and that was enough to pique my interest. I have tried a number of Mackmyra whiskies in the past and the Ten Years is definitely one of the better ones. An excellent choice for an introduction to Scandinavian whisky. 

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the nose and palate of a Master Sommelier, however, I am working to train my senses to better identify whisky aromas and flavours. Consider all my whisky 'Impressions' to be a work in progress and I hope to come back to each of them in the future to see if I notice anything different. Most importantly, I'm not just throwing around random aromas, flavours and adjectives for the hell of it; I am trying really hard to critically describe each whisky I taste - WhiskyDad.
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Interview with Joel Hauer of Whisky Loot

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Interview with Joel Hauer of Whisky Loot



I’m joined today by Joel Hauer of the new Australian-based whisky subscription service, Whisky Loot. For those who are not aware, a whisky subscription service is a service that sends subscribers a regular package of whisky in exchange for a fee. This operates similarly to a wine club but since whisky is usually much more expensive than wine, you may only get smaller sample bottles rather than full-sized retail bottles.

Hi Joel, what is your background and why start your own whisky subscription service?

My background is in marketing & startups, and I've always had a passion for whisky, although I also want to ensure people don't make the same mistakes and have the same frustrations I had when I tried to learn more & taste more of what's out there. I acknowledge that I'm definitely not the most knowledgeable in the world of whisky, so we have plans to get an expert ambassador onboard to help curate the themed boxes each month, as this will add a level of trust and transparency to the offering.

What makes Whisky Loot different to other whisky subscription services on the market?

We're focusing on premium whisky at a reasonable price, with 3 x 60mL bottles at $60/mo. including delivery. In order to achieve this, we're partnering with the distilleries directly and forming relationships to make this mutually beneficial and passing on the reduced costs to consumers. We've been talking with a lot of Whisky lovers, distilleries, bar owners and business people to try and ascertain pain points that we can solve. There's a lot of heritage within the industry and established practices which we think are somewhat outdated and could be done a bit better.

What do subscribers get for their money?

We're focusing on education first and foremost, by proving consumers with relevant tasting notes and allowing them to form their own opinion about the Whisky. Each bottle is presented in a premium monthly box, which comes along with a tasting booklet allowing people to write down their thoughts as they taste. Our site will also double as a shop, showcasing recent tasting boxes' full bottles, at a member only discount.

Are subscribers committed to buying even if they are not interested in a particular month's selection?

The subscription system allows people to skip a month they may not be inclined to taste, and even pause for up to 3 months at a time. 

Do you sign up for a particular number of months? Can you cancel at any time?

Cancel anytime on a monthly recurring delivery.

Is the Whisky Loot service restricted to addresses within Australia? What about our neighbours in New Zealand?

Not immediately, we have plans once launched to push into different markets.

Can you order a single sample box to be sent to someone else as a gift?

Yes, 3, 6 or 12-month gifts.


From how many whiskies will you be choosing your sample boxes from and can you give any examples of future selections?

Themed boxes, to be released online 7 days prior to the billing date - giving customers ample time to skip that month if they don't like the sound of that themed box.

So when does Whisky Loot go live and how can someone sign up?

It is live now for pre-orders, just head to whiskyloot.com.

Thanks for your time Joel and all the best for the Whisky Loot in future. 
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