Suntory time: Japanese whisky named world’s best in sour dram for Scotland
World Whisky Bible gives highest mark to Yamazaki single malt while spiritual homeland’s ranking is dramatically watered down
Scottish drinkers could be forgiven for crying into their drams after a single malt from Japan was named the best whisky in the world for the first time.
Whisky expert Jim Murray awarded a record-equalling 97.5 marks out of 100 to Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013, hailing it as “near indescribable genius” in his comments in the forthcoming 2015 World Whisky Bible.
Murray’s tasting notes described the whisky, from the company’s distillery near Kyoto in western Japan, as possessing “a nose of exquisite boldness” and as “thick, dry, [and] as rounded as a snooker ball”.
It is the first time since the guide was first published 12 years ago that the top award has gone to a whisky from Japan. The country’s whiskies were once the butt of jokes but have won a slew of awards and widespread critical acclaim in recent years.
To compound the pain felt in the spiritual home of the “water of life”, this is the first time that not a single Scottish whisky made it into the top five in Murray’s respected guide.
Suntory’s winning whisky is aged for 12 to 15 years in casks previously used for Oloroso sherry, giving it what Murray described as a “light, teasing spice”.
Ayr Brewing Company Ltd
“Rabbie’s porter is brewed using Challenger & Pioneer Hops from the U.K. With Crystal and Chocolate Malts to produce this robust, full bodied Ale.” – Home page
SIBA Silver Medal 2011 Bottled Beers – Rabbie’s Porter
The Ayr Brewing Company is a 5 Barrel Micro Brewery situated in the heart of Rabbie Burns’ country.
Thousands of litres of whisky have been flushed down the drain by accident at a bottling plant in Dumbarton.
It is understood the mix-up happened at Chivas Brothers during the night shift on Tuesday while equipment was being cleaned.
Instead of draining away waste water, the workers on duty somehow flushed out thousands of litres of bulk whisky.
The smell was so strong that sewage workers reported it.
Chivas Brothers – which employs 600 workers at the plant and produces the world’s second biggest-selling brand, Ballantine’s – said it was investigating an accidental release of spirit.
Bafflingly, for many people Scottish cuisine remains something of an oxymoron, little more than a cholesterol-laden punchline. – The Guardian
I have never eaten haggis, although I have heard a lot about it, and should I ever be close to one, I would try it.
The idea of haggis is intriguing. I like most offal foods, with the exception of tripe, so I see no reason for not liking haggis.
Traditionally, “Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours.” – Wikipedia
But there are many many things you can do to haggis.
If you look around the net, you can find haggis balls, deep fried haggis balls, vegetarian haggis, haggis puffs, haggis crepes, haggis toasted sandwiches, haggis and chips.
Then there’s the fast food and international influences… haggis pizza, haggisburger, haggis pakora, haggis nachos, haggis burritos, haggis and onion bhajis… You can stuff chicken with it, you can get it in a can or in sachets.
The list is endless. Haggis has to be amongst the most versatile foods.
And… you can feed the scraps to the cat.
Then there’s haggis for dessert chocolates.
Scotland-based chocolate maker, Nadia Ellingham, just invented a horrifying new desert: Haggis-flavored Chocolate. It’s chocolate with a hint of sheep’s liver, heart, lungs, oatmeal, onions and spices boiled in the animal’s own stomach. It’s amazing no one thought of this before.
In Ellingham’s defense, she has stated that she avoided including any haggis ingredients that would clash with the taste of the chocolate. But still, when the clashing ingredient in haggis IS haggis, it’s hard to understand what she left in.
There is much humour about the haggis…
The Haggis – An Endangered Scottish Species
The Haggis Hunting Season
As winter approaches, a crime against Scottish wildlife looms. From 30th November (St. Andrews Day) to 25th January (Robert Burns birthday), a small, defenceless furry creature is chased and killed to provide the Scots with their traditional feast.
Read more on: HubPages
Not only Scotland, but the world.
This week there has been a furore created by a nine-year-old girl from Lochgilphead Primary School in Argyll, Scotland.
Some weeks ago Martha began a blog, little did she know that this blog was to become famous, so famous in fact that it’s infamy lead to the local council banning Martha from taking photos of her school lunch.
What began as a writing project with the help of her father spread across the globe within a week with 100,000 hits. I can only dream of such success. The blog was intended for her family, but it went viral.
What did Martha write about?
Simply her school lunches. Each day she took a photo of her school lunch and wrote a report on it; detailing number of mouthfuls, presentation, likes and dislikes, rating the meal on a scale of 1 – 10 and noting, tongue-in-cheek, whether or not she found ‘a hair in her soup.’
The project was not derogatory nor offensive, although the meals at times appeared a little skimpy, it was never intended as a political message to change things. She had the consent of her teachers and staff to photograph the meals and enjoyed a good rapport with all.
The project escalated, and expanded as people from all over the world began to send school lunch photos from all corners of the globe.
Each day featured one of them along with notes. They came from America, Canada, Japan, Finland, in fact all over. Some meals were better, some meals were free (Martha’s school lunch wasn’t), some meals were less appetising than others, some came in little bear or brightly coloured plates rather than the sterile white prison-like plates at Martha’s school. But there was always goodwill.
Along with the blog went a charity project. Mary’s Meals fed school children in Africa and Martha’s hope was to raise £7,000 to provide a new kitchen.
The big ugly politicians raised their ugly heads!
The Argyll and Bute Council took umbrage at a newspaper report and attacked the girl with heavy artillery; they banned her from taking photographs of the lunches.
A sad post appeared, simply, “Goodbye.”
That was when the poop hit the oscillating ventilation mechanism. It flung poop far and wide, the poop flew across the globe and landed square on the on the council’s own lap. They had literally pooped on themselves.
Martha’s blog had previously gone viral, the English language doesn’t have an adjective to describe the resultant backlash from the ban, it went viral on steroids. Angry e-mails to the council, newspaper reports, blogs (inc my own political rant blog), the works were thrown in anger from the world.
This caused so much embarrassment to the council they had to recant and remove the ban within hours.
The adverse publicity created by the council only served to highlight exactly what they were trying to hide. The blog counter added 1 million hits by lunchtime on the day after the ban.
The £7,000 Marta was trying to raise shot from £2,000 to £11,000 within hours, and now Martha reports £45,889.46 has been raised.
The spinoffs from this farce have spread wide. The Scottish Falsetto Puppet Show has written and performed a song, and while I can’t find it on YouTube, here is an image.
So if you are in need of effective publicity, go and visit the guys at Argyll and Bute Council, they seem to be the experts.
A strong dark chocolatey beer from Scotland
How to cook the perfect scotch egg
The scotch egg needs no introduction – their English origins (they were created by Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly in 1738), metropolitan modishness and comedy potential having already been thoroughly chewed over, digested, and the crumbs left out for the wasps on these pages. It’s got to the point where one can judge a pub’s level of culinary ambition by its attitude to scotch eggs.
The scotch egg, being robust, conveniently hand-sized, and utterly, ridiculously delicious, fits the bill nicely.
The Perfect Scotch Egg
Whatever you’re celebrating this weekend, a scotch egg will do you proud (vegetarians, if any of you are still reading, check out this recipe). Pulchritudinous, portable, and eminently patriotic, it’s the best thing never to come out of Scotland.
- 6 eggs
- 200g plain sausagemeat
- 200g pork mince
- 3 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (I like chives, sage, parsley and thyme)
- A pinch of ground mace
- 1 tbsp English mustard
- Splash of milk
- 50g flour
- 100g panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil, to cook
1. Put four of the eggs into a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes, then put straight into a large bowl of iced water for at least 10 minutes.
2. Put the meat, herbs, mace and mustard into a bowl, season and mix well with your hands. Divide into four.
3. Carefully peel the eggs. Beat the two raw eggs together in a bowl with a splash of milk. Put the flour in a second bowl and season, then tip the breadcrumbs into a third bowl. Arrange in an assembly line.
4. Put a square of clingfilm on the worksurface, and flour lightly. Put one of the meatballs in the centre, and flour lightly, then put another square of cling film on top. Roll out the meat until large enough to encase an egg and remove the top sheet of clingfilm.
5. To assemble the egg, roll one peeled egg in flour, then put in the centre of the meat. Bring up the sides of the film to encase it, and smooth it into an egg shape with your hands. Dip each egg in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, then egg and then breadcrumbs.
6. Fill a large pan a third full of vegetable oil, and heat to 170C (or when a crumb of bread sizzles and turns golden, but does not burn, when dropped in it). Cook the eggs a couple at a time, for seven minutes, until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper before serving.
What’s your favourite variety of scotch egg – and has anyone come up with a decent vegetarian alternative? And which other perfect picnic foods will you be indulging in this weekend?
Source: The Guardian Red more about the desired characteristics of this delight
Serve them, alongside the crayfish….
Loch Ken crayfish business plan hatched
“If you can’t beat them, eat them.”
As mottos go, it might sound a bit gruesome, but it sums up a business enterprise being contemplated in south-west Scotland.
An economic opportunity has been spotted in an “invasion” of non-native North American signal crayfish in the region’s waters.
It could end up with them being served on dining tables up and down the country.
The crayfish have been the source of environmental and economic heartache for some time.
They were imported to the UK in the 1970s with escapes from fish farms or illegal releases thought to be the reason for their spread to other water ways.
First found in Scotland in 1995, they have been blamed for eating young fish and destroying habitats and now affect a large number of rivers and lochs across the country….
…The idea would be to trap crayfish and land them by boat at a disused fish farm next to the loch.
Former owner Graeme Gordon said it would have the facilities needed to get the fish ready for sale.
“I think there is very considerable potential because they are quite a high price food,” he said.
“At the moment they are imported from Holland or Thailand and various other places.”
He said it would be a “bit ridiculous” if they were not able to use the commercial opportunity to “employ local people and make use of a local asset”.
It is a product that Caroline Lawrie, who owns a restaurant a few miles from Loch Ken, would be only too happy to use.
She currently imports crayfish from Denmark or Thailand and said that something produced on their doorstep and providing local jobs would be “wonderful”.
However, there are a few obstacles to be cleared before the plan could progress.
Trapping is illegal without a licence and they are not easily obtained because of the danger of spreading the crayfish to other waters.
Source: BBC News Read more
The bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve was sold at auction in London to an anonymous telephone bidder.
It is the second of 11 bottles to be released to the public.
The first sold at Bonhams in Edinburgh in December for a record breaking £46,850, topping the previous world record of just under £30,000 for a bottle of single malt.
The 11 bottles of the 1955 tipple are being released to honour Janet Sheed Roberts, the granddaughter of William Grant who founded the Glenfiddich distillery.
Mrs Roberts, who celebrated her 110th birthday in August, is the oldest living person in Scotland, a spokeswoman for the distillery said.
Source: The Telegraph Read more