Friday, November 28, 2008

Lagavulin wins ultra premium award

Just announced - the Lagavulin 21 year old has won the Malt Maniacs 2008 Award. Malt Maniacs is a truly independant organisation that has some of the most knowlegable whisky people on its panel.

Click on the link or type into your browser for more information.


Non-Plus-Ultra Award 2008 (Ultra Premium)
(Overall top scoring 'ultra premium' whisky out of all 2008 MM Awards entries)
Lagavulin 21yo 1985/2007 (56.5%, OB, 6642 Bts.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A seriously good Irish Whiskey

I recently tasted the Bushmills 1608 at an educational whiskey tasting I had the pleasure of presenting. I had not tried the whiskey and enjoyed it tremendously - as did the audience.

I generally enjoy the Irish - the Bushmills range, particularly the Black Bush and 16 year old, The Tyrconnel, Jamesons 18 and the new Wild Geese single malt.

If you can find a bottle of this very special Bushmills 1608, grab it.

It is a triple distilled blended Irish whiskey, with exceptionally high malt content. There is Crystal malt whiskey at the heart of the blend. It is bottled at 46% ABV. is only available on general release across Bushmills markets until the end of this year, and then only available at Duty Free and at the Distillery.

Official Tasting Notes

An impressive combination of depth and smoothness; Bushmills’ trademark aromatic
nose and soft mouth-feel delivered with an impressive depth of character.

Nose: Rich, dense, concentrated and enticing. Raisins, fir honey.
Taste: Distinctly sweet but balanced. Reveals great depth and weight behind a soft mouth-feel. Touch of vanilla, toasted almonds, gentle spiciness.
Finish: Long and lingering on toffee and dark chocolate.

“Bushmills 1608 was distilled using crystal malt, a special type of malted barley selected to deliver exceptional smoothness. Its name comes from the barleycorns’ crystallized appearance when gently toasted before the distilling process. This enhances the natural sweetness of the malt, giving our whiskey a unique toffee-like smoothness. We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we enjoyed creating it" explains Colum Egan, Bushmills Master Distiller

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blow me

Ever looked at a patron lurch across your floor, car keys in hand, firmly of the opinion that he is sober enough to drive? Ever wanted to prove him wrong? A UK company does. The staff of ‘Blow Me’ will attend an event and offer an alcohol breath-testing service, giving customers sometimes unexpected results.

People are invited to blow into the tube and read their blood alcohol level on the display. The testing is done in a non-threatening way, so it is still up to the patrons whether or not they decide to turn the ignition key. However, the moral ramifications could prove tricky: if you know that someone is over the limit and you don’t stop them from getting into their cars, how much guilt do you bear if they have an accident that you could have prevented?

Many indulgers seem to be under the impression that if they feel ‘fine’, they are capable of driving after a couple (or more) drinks. The law, however, is not that vague and subjective. Blow Me tries to educate and warn customers of the risks they face.

The company can be booked for private functions and will also do their thing at restaurants and club venues. The Blow Me crew recently accompanied drivers on a week-long segment of a racing event, doing breath tests every morning before they set off. Some were shocked to discover that their blood alcohol level was many times over the legal limit, hours after they had stopped drinking the night before. They, of course, had to organise alternative transport.

As a liquor retailer, you don’t want to discourage your customers from drinking, but you do want to stop the irresponsible from risking themselves, the lives of their passengers and other road-users. Blow Me’s services are not available in this country yet, but you can promote safe driving at your business. Encourage intoxicated patrons or colleagues to call a taxi or use one of the companies specialising in drunk driver call-outs.

This article appeared in TOT magazine earlier this year.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Drunk drivers beware!

Metro police have introduced a one-stop shop for drunken drivers aimed at increasing their conviction rate to 90 percent over the festive season.

Motorists who are planning a tipple this weekend will be among the first to experience the new 24 hour, seven days a week Intoximeter Alcohol Evidential Test Centre, a processing centre located at the Johannesburg Metro Police Department's officers in Village Street in the CBD.

Anyone caught in the swoop - set to take place in Randburg, Soweto and Johannesburg CBD - will be taken to the new "boozer factory" and holding area, the infrastructure alone costing R500 000, a donation from Business Against Crime with the new Drager breathalysers costing R75 000 each.

Metro police chief Chris Ngcobo said this morning at the launch of the new device that his force had caught almost 4 000 drunken drivers over the course of the year but that 95 percent of the cases never get prosecuted successfully, many not even making it to court.

"Drunk drivers just aren't taking us seriously," admitted Ngcobo.

In recent roadblocks in Hillbrow, police arrested 48 people for drunken driving in just one hour. Over the same period a roadblock in Moroka, Soweto, yielded 30 drunken driving arrests.

"If you look at (Pretoria High Court) Judge (Nkola) Motata's case, look how long it took for that to go to court. At least it went to court," he said.

Judge Motata is currently on trial for drunken driving in the Johannesburg magistrate's court after smashing through a Hurlingham, Johannesburg, wall with his Jaguar in January last year.

In 90 percent of cases where people are killed in accidents, alcohol is involved.

The new system will start off with 40 mobile breathalysers. If someone is suspected of drunken driving they will be taken to Village Street and required to blow into the Drager machine.

The result, which will give an accurate blood alcohol reading, will be used as evidence in court, which would negate the need for a blood test.

Suspects often refused to cooperate with a blood sample being taken and the results take between 12 and 18 months.

Other than the delay in prosecution, the delay in receiving the test results also means those waiting for an insurance claim to pay out have to wait up to two years.

Other than the Drager, the entire Intoximeter Test Centre will be monitored by CCTV cameras which will also help with circumstancial evidence against a drunk driver. This would also prevent any flouting of the law by metro officers.

The centre will see two dedicated full-time prosecutors who will often be in attendance for the initial arrest and follow the case through to the courts.

Holding areas with open cells will be used to house suspects with additional specially adapted trucks on hand to deal with the massive number of arrests expected over the festive season.

Those convicted of drunken driving will also be "named and shamed" in the newspapers with their blood alcohol level handed over to the media.

Ngcobo said his officers would not abandon some of the tried and trusted methods, like making a suspected drunk driver walk on a white line and holding up a number of fingers for them to identify.

As part of the metro police's efforts to create awareness of the affects of alcohol, they are staging an office party this weekend where the participants will have their blood alcohol tested every hour.