Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
I have just returned from the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Havana Club International. Standing in a huge hall with more than 1,000 people – mostly employees but also people associated with the company and the eponymous Cuban rum brand – it became obvious what a force for good an alcoholic drinks brand can be.
Last night I was at the London Gin Summit, which, contrary to its lofty title, was a relatively low-key meeting of drinks commentators and producers bound by a common craft, encircled by a common road (...the M25). The premise for the summit was the question: ‘should London-distilled gin be protected?’ and this is what happened...
Steffin Oghene talks tequila at El Fortaleza, one of the distilleries visited on a tour of the region
Brokeback Mountain: Ardbeg runners show the love for Saddle [sic] whose back hampered progresss over Islay's hills
Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould takes a look at the great age debate that’s aging in the whisky sector.
Listening to BBC Radio 4 this morning (July 31), I heard the voice of the new chief executive of Diageo. Ivan Menezes coped well with the busy, bustling questions from the Beeb’s city correspondent in the minute or so allotted to the interview.
Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould enjoys cocktail innovation from Cognac and Japan
You don’t often go to a whisky tasting and get given raspberry sorbet, half way through. Sniffing strawberry and getting a vanilla stick stuck up your nose, isn’t common either.
Standing listening last night to The Macallan’s brand ambassador, Joy Elliot, who was conducting a tasting of the new 1824 Series at the Whisky Shop in London’s Piccadilly, I could not resist a feeling of déjà vu.
I became an honorary Gin Rectifier last night (May 9). I took an oath and now I am duty bound to promote the best interests of gin.
I went to two whisky launches yesterday (May 8) – Bacardi’s Glen Deveron, the Royal Burgh Collection and Pernod Ricard/Chivas Brothers’ The Glenlivet Alpha. Both interesting for different reasons and very much a case of ‘chalk & cheese’ when it comes to the brand and what they are doing with it.
So, London Wine Fair organisers have bowed to the inevitable and announced that the new UK-only show will return to Olympia in 2014. It was always a bit of a gamble shifting the old war horse out to London Docklands, even if it was to a purpose-built exhibition complex.
I attended the Worshipful Company of Distillers’ City Debate on Gin last night. I have to say I think it was an opportunity missed.
Another great food and wine matching event at the Cinnamon Club in London last night (April 29). This time hosted by Wines of Germany with master of wine Jeannie Cho Lee leading the charge for Riesling and Spatburgunder (or Pinot Noir).
Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould gets a bee in her bonnet about honeyed whiskies
Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould finds the trend for reducing alcoholic strength can compromise the spirit
Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould ponders Diageo’s approach to gin as it follows the flavoured route
Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould looks at the wacky world of flavoured drinks as Baileys nears 40
On Monday night I became a ‘Keeper of the Quaich’. For those of you who do not know what that it is, The Keepers of the Quaich is an “exclusive, international community of people recognised for their outstanding commitment to Scotch whisky”.
Last night (February 13) I sat through another Diageo master class on the art of blending and the importance of blended Scotch Whisky to the overall whisky and spirits market.
I vividly recall a conversation, over lunch, with a one-time publisher, who will remain nameless, and my utter astonishment when he pronounced that, up until said lunch, he had always thought blended whisky was a mix of different malt whiskies...
In the doorway in the soft, Mexican early afternoon, sitting on the floor against the wall is a figure that in most other settings is a pariah. He is a Mexican man with down syndrome. In this place he is accepted, welcome as is everyone. I am again in La Capilla.
India has huge tax tariffs and a labyrinthine bureaucracy. At the moment most Indian whisky drinkers have to raise a second mortgage to get their hands on a decent bottle of scotch...
Going to the airport is a generally depressing experience these days. We only do it because either we have to for work, or we’re off on holiday to somewhere far, far better...
I may be on holiday but that doesn't mean I have stopped sampling and tasting.
At this time of year, the books start thudding in. This week I got the third tome from whisky man, Dominic Roskrow. Boy, has Dom been a busy boy. The latest is ‘The World’s Best Whiskies – 750 Unmissable Drams from Tain to Tokyo’, published by Jacqui Small, price: £20.
I’ve seen the beginning and the end of a lot of eras. That says it all about ‘King Cocktail’, Dale DeGroff. The great man is in London to co-host ‘The World’s 50 Best Bars’ event which was held in London last night (Oct 10) near Trafalgar Square...
Top bartenders, a ticking clock, 80 dubious drinks and the piss-taking Paul Mant. Rematch Beeyatch!!! arrived in Berlin last night in its usual riotous fashion.
Last night Indian whisky producer, John Distilleries, unveiled its first single cask whisky in London recently.
What makes this job interesting is going out, meeting, interviewing people and finding out what makes them tick. That along with visiting vineyards, wineries, distilleries and, to a lesser extent, breweries to find out what they are up to, is what makes the likes of me get out of bed in the morning.
It was a swish affair at the Artesian bar in London’s Langham hotel last night. Drinks International and The World’s 50 Best Bars contributor Tom Sandham, was launching his World’s Best Cocktails book.
You have to hand it to Wines of South Africa. They know how to organise an event. To say Cape 2012 is just another trade show, would be a great injustice and understatement.
Georg Riedel is the Frank Sinatra of the stemware business. Selling glasses should be a fairly mundane business but the 63-year-old Austrian is a showman, more like ‘ol blue eyes’ than possibly he would care to admit.
The Great Sherry Tasting took place yesterday at the Cinnamon Club in London yesterday. I would say that it was one of the best food and wine/spirit/beer matchings I have ever attended.
William Grant is doing a job on Tullamore Dew, the Irish whiskey brand it bought a couple of years ago from C&C, owners of the Magners cider brand.
I think anyone who met Patrick Ricard will be saddened by the news that he has passed away. I can't speak about what he was like to work with but I met him several times and I liked him.
There’s something quite transfixing – almost hypnotic – when it comes to looking at the latest brand figures for spirits around the world. You cannot stop. More particularly so as there seems to be so much cause for celebration in the 2011 round-up. There’s Johnnie Walker scotch whisky on an incredible 18 million cases; the Irish whiskey Jameson’s posting a 20%-plus increase and now nudging the 4 million case-mark, well I could go on, and on. But one result has really warmed the cockles of my heart – and that’s William Grant’s single malt scotch whisky Glenfiddich.
It’s been something of a month in gin terms. It kicked off with the International Spirits Challenge gin tasting. Chaired by Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne this was indeed something of a ‘challenge’, with no fewer than 58 gins to slurp, taste and rate...
Saw Snow Patrol last night at the Bushmills distillery on the far north coast of Northern Ireland. There was a delightfully intimate atmosphere in the 'Cooperage' (no coopers present thankfully) with plenty of loyal fans mouthing the lyrics as the band went thru its paces.
One of South Africa’s best and certainly most controversial winemakers, André van Rensburg, was in London yesterday for the unveiling of his new wine, DNA.
It was a glitteirng evening at Jamaica House in the island's capital, Kingston. A balmy evening in a superb setting. The Jamaican prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, more than played her part in launching Appleton Estate Jamaican Independence Reserve, which coincides with the island's celebrations to mark ithe anniversary of 50 years of independence.
The Jamaican prime minister will launch Wray & Nephew's 'Jamaica Independence Reserve' at a special unveiling tonight at Jamaica House in the country's capital, Kingston tonight (June 7).
Credit to Pernod. The company has done a fine job this week in extolling the success of scotch whisky around the world and in telling important opinion formers that the company is best placed to capitalise on that thirst and in doing so earn lots of money for the company, its suppliers, customers, not forgetting its investors.
Irish Distillers launched Yellow Spot, ‘son of Green Spot’, last night in London. The great and the good of whisk(e)y’s fourth estate crammed into a bar in the sumptuous Connaught Hotel for the unveiling and tasting.
Hands up who was watching The Apprentice last night on BBC? The teams had to promote awareness of English sparkling wine.
Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould is puzzled by scotch that’s marketed to women like perfume
Fred Noe is approaching 57 and he’s just had his first tattoo.
Drinks journalists tend to hunt in packs. We might prefer to do our interviews alone but for everything else, we enjoy the company of other drinks journalists. One journalist in particular was always a source of great entertainment. I’m talking of course about Alan Lodge.
It is not every day you get to try a whisky that is going to cost a punter £100,000, plus VAT. Today I got to try the Diamond Jubliee by John Walker & Sons, which has been produced by Diageo for the 60th anniversary of the Queen ascending the throne.