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Thursday, 1 April 2010

Read All About It! A new Feature

We've started a new feature here on As you may have guessed, we tend to write tasting notes; our raison d'ĂȘtre is to try whisky, write up some notes and wrap them in some irreverent rambling and then get on with life. The "Three P's" we call it: No politics. No promotion. No press releases.

However, we've decided that there is so much interesting news going on in the world on whisky, outside tasting note alone, that we are going to start up a monthly round up of interesting whisky-related news. Choosing the finest press releases and stories from across the globe we start our round-up on April 1st:

Whisky Nose Best

Imagine if you will, the scene from a popular TV advert below:

We open the scene on a romantic restaurant- candles and a bottle of chilled Bollinger '78 are on the table, the lights are dimmed.

In walks a handsome, dashing fellow. He is well-dressed, well-groomed and has a suave sensibility about him. He turns heads where ever he goes and is clearly at the top of his game.

Sitting at the table, a glamorous Brunette in a long flowing dress. Tonight, she has hungry eyes, as well as an appetite for the gourmet meal they are about to enjoy together.

As she stands to kiss him on the cheek, a wave of delight resonates through her body.

" smell divine tonight, what is it??"
"It's my new aftershave. I chose it especially for you."
"You know me sooooo well..." she purrs, "Tonight's going to be very special indeed."

They embrace and the camera zooms in to a close up on the man's face- he whispers gently....

"Eau de Port Ellen... for those, intimate moments"

Of course, no actual adverts like this exist, but from what we recently discovered, it may not be long until men and women all over the world are having this very conversation before sharing an 'intimate' moment together.

Water Of Life Scents is a new company that have turned the frankly ridiculous into something pretty spectacular. They claim (despite recent aborted attempts by a few others) to be the first fragrance company to actually take the aromas from some of our classic single malts and produce bespoke, heady and aromatic fragrances for the male and female whisky lovers out there.

It has long since been acknowledged that the wonderful Vanillins, Tannins and fruity aromas found in single malt can cause endorphin levels to rise as the nose detects them. It was only a matter of time until someone found a way to extract them in great concentration and produce a 'ready-to-wear' fragrance.

As well as the bespoke range, Water Of Life produce a 'light, grassy and fruity' fragrance (citing the Lowland distilleries as influences) and also a much heavier, 'spicy and aromatic' Speyside collection - no doubt exhibiting slightly more sherried notes. However, no heavily peated variety exists...yet.

Company Directors and former chemists Trevor and Georgette Fanning have been lifelong single malt fans and actually met over a few drams.

"It seems absurd to those who don't like the smell of whisky” explains Trevor “to wear it as a aftershave or perfume. But when you extract the various aromas and combine them in the right quantities, the result is quite spectacular."

The company is also discussing a limited edition range fragrances based on rare malts and closed distilleries, which should see huge international interest in the collectors markets.

Anyone interested in having their very own unique fragrance can send in a small measure of their whisky of choice for Water Of Life to develop into a powerful 30ml cologne or slightly more economic 50ml 'Eau de toilette'.

See for more details

Mind The Gap!

One of the most useful development in the world of whisky over the past few years has been Diageo's flavour map. When I have newbie whisky drinkers over for dinner, I often look it up on the 'net to show them how peated whisky sits against sherried casks and these against a delicate lowland malt matured in ex-American oak. If you're new to these flavour profiles, it can provide a birds-eye view of how these different single malt whiskies relate to one another.

But hot on the heels of the Flavour Map comes the new Flavour Gap. Taking their inspiration from Yahoo's translation website Babelfish, the Flavour Gap has been developed by some of Scotland's most experienced professionals. The press release states that:

"a new website demonstrates that, when it comes to flavour in a glass of whisky everyone has their own interpretations of "flavour". Created by the renowned whisky experts Chris Peacock and Justin Hale (pictured) it’s an innovative way of comparing and assessing single malt tasting notes from distillery marketing departments, compared to ones you may actually get; to plug the gap between our flavour notes and your own.".

A big claim! So Neil and I headed over to to see what all the fuss is about. Our results proved so good, we had to write about them on here

At first, I picked up a bottle of Islay Single Malt whisky. The notes on the back label read "heavily peated". So what does this mean to the average punter in the street? Entering the words into the Flavour Gap, we got this translation: "Like snogging a 98 year old chain smoking granny".

Wow! Thing really works!

Next up was a classic: "Light and Delicate". The result: "flavourless".

This thing is awesome!

One final go: "Salty / Maritime". Sadly, we can't publish the result of that; it wouldn't make it through your fire wall...

I hope you enjoyed our round up of news this April.

Neil & Joel