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Sunday, 3 January 2010

New for 2010

Hello folks, - we're back in the land of the living now, after a tremendous Christmas and new year. Before we commence with our glad tidings for 2010, I was going to post details of a New Year's Eve whisky cocktail which went down well at our festive celebratory party, but I completely forgot, so here's the recipe:

Based on the premise of a baked apple, I fancied trying to get that fruity, buttery, boozy, aromatic flavour into a glass, reminding me of a great childhood dessert. Have a go and see what you think - I was calling this the 'Baked Winter Apple', for lack of a better name!

50ml Clynelish 14 yo, infused with butter. (basically, heat the whisky gently in a pan, adding a small nob of butter) Chill and then filter off the extra fatty bits with a mini sieve when making the cocktail.

30ml pressed apple juice (cloudy style)

25ml quality English cider

15ml maple syrup (for an extra-sweet treat, try making a rich Muscovado sugar syrup to use instead!)

15ml fresh lemon Juice

3 dashes of Boker's or similar cardamom bitters

1 dash of Aromatic bitters (Bitter Truth or Angostura)

2 Bar spoons of egg white (to give you a lovely froth)

Shake with lots of ice and serve in chilled Martini glasses, garnished with a thin slice of apple on the side (which you've pre-rubbed around the rim of the glass) and a grating of nutmeg.

The bitters, syrup and the butter-infused whisky all combine really well with the aroma and flavour of the apple. After a couple by the fire, I was definitely transported back to the Ridley homestead and my mother's baked apple dessert!!

Anyway... Happy New Year! hope you had a great Christmas and are now preparing for a productive 2010- here at Caskstrength we certainly are.

This year, will be endeavoring to bring you even more new whisky reviews, interviews and a couple of new sections- as well as some guest posts from several friends of ours (more to come soon!)

Also stay tuned for a special Bruichladdich tasting special, as well as some super releases from Berry Brothers & Rudd and, (with any luck) a feature on the first English whisky for 100 years, St Georges. As soon as we can get the horseless carriage running, we'll be taking a trip out to Norfolk to see for ourselves just what all the fuss is about!

Until then, we'll leave you with something we got to grips with over the festive period. Having rated the 1989 and 1990 editions highly, we were eager to try this, the most recent bottling.

Lagavulin - Distillers Edition - Distilled 1993 - bottled 2009 - 43%

Nose: Classic, sweet Laga smoke, with a hint of carbolic soap and some stewed apple (perhaps another whisky to try in the above cocktail, eh!). The finishing hasn't dominated the whisky at all, adding a little musty PX sherry cask notes but it remains extremely well balanced.

Palate: Demerera sweetness enters the palate first, which definitely indicates how active the sherry has been, but this soon subsides into some menthol, then a wonderfully fudge'y peat flavour, some cereals and a little fruity note- again baked /stewed apple. Really festive and simply delicious.

Finish: Apple and demerera/muscovado notes, lead into a full flavoured and lengthy finish.

Overall: I picked this up at duty free on the way back from edinburgh before Christmas and have waited patiently for the right time to open- it was a perfect wintry, holiday dram and is certainly helping me ease into a new year, which holds much promise.

Anyone got any resolutions? This year, I only have 2.

1. To master the Flugelhorn
2. To try more whisky like this....

Have a great 2010 readers and here's to a year of stupendous whiskies!!