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Whisky and Tonic 30/06/2005 (TNB)

The Oddbins Fine Wine Extravaganza was a pleasant evening, with wines, cheeses, music and even some art. I was in a dilletante mood, having had a brilliant dinner at Martin Wishart the night before and tasted rather selectively. Having sampled this and that, including the rather good (and good value at 23) Champagne Fleuron 1er Cru 1999 from Gimmonet, I pottered over to get a taste of the Grange only to find it had run out and another bottle was not to be opened until after the time when I had intended to go home.

I was amazed to discover that I didn't really care. Was I still on a high from the night before? Was it fine-wine fatigue? Was it just that I have always felt it is a bit over-rated? Anyway, I happily wandered off to the Gin and Tonic stall instead. The Gin from Millers seemed pretty damn good although I don't feel competent to judge it in detail, partial though I am to occasional G&T's. The tonic though was a revelation. Fevertree Indian Tonic Water is much drier than the big brands with more appetising flavours. This may be partly down to its containing real quinine while the big brands make do with some sort of artificial imitation - handy too if one is at risk of malaria.

And so to the Whisky table where I tasted through some Bowmore 12-year olds finished in different casks (port, sherry and Bordeaux, if I remember correctly). Interesting, but the 17-year old had (not surprisingly) more depth than any of them. I tend not to drink much of the stuff, I like it but my liver capacity is usually used up by the port. Friends have been telling me that this notion of making a lot more of finishing in different casks has revolutionised the Whisky business of late and I can see the appeal of the subtly different flavours that arise. On the other hand, having three different versions of the same whisky might be a bit confusing and hence undermining in the long run.

And finally to Mellis the Cheesemonger where I discovered something I think my extensive campaign to clog up my arteries has so far overlooked: Strathdon is a rather lovely, creamy-textured blue cheese. I must give it a go instead of my usual favourites.

Tasting report added to Fine Wine Diary 05/07/2005   Return to top