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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Arts for Arts Sake

I'm a big art fan and part-time collector, when the funds allow. Some of my personal favourite artists are Banksy, Jamie Reid and Eric GIll; all three of whom I am proud to own. One of my first forays into the art world was way back as a teenager; aged just 17, I had been working at Toys R Us in Oxford. Having saved up all my hard earned pennies (£3.20 p/h if I remember correctly), I faced a tough choice: Go with the rest of the lads from my football club to Magaluf for a week of sun, sangria and, well, you get the point... or purchase a couple of pieces of art I had seen at an auction preview in London a few weeks previously. 

After much deliberation, I decided that my heart was in the art, so I got the train down to London to bid in my first ever auction. Thankfully, the lot came in lower than expected and I walked away with two original Jamie Reid posters; One promotional poster for God Save The Queen. The other was a very limited edition poster that came with the first pressing of Never Mind The Bollocks... Now I was a proud owner of my first original pieces of art! Since then, I've made some further ventures into the art field, most notably buying a Banksy print for £30 in 2002 (the art equivalent of the Port Ellen Feis Ile from 2008). 

The God Save The Queen poster has long gone, used to fund various excursions and my University degree (any Scottish reader who studied in Scotland wouldn't understand the concept of paying for Further Education, not that we're bitter down here in England at all...!) but the NMTB poster is still with me, a reminder of all that hard work in the Toys R Us warehouse and a marker as to my first ever art purchase.

I was reminded of these fond times when a press release and sample dropped through my doormat this week. It was for the Dalmore Mackenzie. A limited edition whisky from @the_nose himself, Richard Paterson. If you purchase one of these 3,000-only bottles, you are given the option to send away for a complimentary print of a famous Scottish painting; ‘Fury of the Stag’ painted in 1786 by Benjamin West. The bottling has been done to raise money for the The Clan Mackenzie Society of Scotland & The UK and will retail at around £100. 

Not art-for-art's sake, but art for a good cause. Hats off all round.

The Dalmore Mackenzie - 17 Years Old (11 in ex-Bourbon / 6 Years in fresh Port Pipes) - 46% Vol

Nose: Quite a fresh nose, with some plum-like notes, dark chocolate truffles & mint. A touch of other green herbs, such as basil and thyme. Very pleasant indeed.

Palate: Coffee notes, more of the dark chocolate truffles and lemon / lime zest as it sits for a while on the palate. Warming and tasty.

Finish: Toffee, oranges / mandarin. Long with hints of spices. Very nice indeed.

Overall: This is a really nice dram. Sometimes I find Dalmore can drown with a little too much much sherry finishing, but the port pipes used in the creation of this dram have done an excellent job rounding the whisky and adding just enough fruit and spice to the palate. Good work.