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Callooh Callay - Bar Review

by Michael Orson     11. April 2014 11:56

Callooh Callay

The streets of Shoreditch are roamed by tight-chino’d packs of hip London youth, gyring and gimbling in the wabe like those slithy toves in Lewis Caroll’s brilliant work of nonsense, Jabberwocky. Fitting, it will transpire, that cobbly little Rivington Street’s Callooh Callay should be named after the poem. I must confess I remember little of my first visit (an ill-fated absinthe tasting some years ago), and thinking up preconceptions at Callooh Callay is nigh-on impossible.

In the main bar there’s that kind of Victorian chic thing that a lot of cocktail bars go in for, only, not quite. And then you walk through the wardrobe at the far end (I promised myself I wouldn’t use the term “Narnia-esque”), and you’ll find a hidden secondary lounge area, replete with gaudy Vegas-style leafy centrepiece, barbershop sign, and bathroom bedecked with old tape cassettes. And then there’s the Oyster Card-themed menu, which is something else entirely.

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Taste The World’s Rarest, Most-Expensive Whiskies… For Free

by Michael Orson     1. April 2014 09:46

Joculus Snift

Imagine a world where you could taste any whisky you wanted, instantly, for free, and in the comfort of your own multi-million-pound caravan-home or luxury yachts-vessel. And just picture yourself, if you will, browsing an immense digital library with fine single malts flashing majestically before your very eyes like that bit in Minority Report.

The time is 9pm, the day is today, and you’re sitting in a wingback chesterfield armchair. It’s slightly old – still maintains its shape, but the burgundy leather has become softer and more forgiving. In essence, you’re the mayor of comfort city. It’s liquor o’clock, and Mrs Hammersworth, the nice lady who looks after you, is strapping a slightly cumbersome though thoroughly modern-looking headset onto your face. The device, pictured below, is the groundbreaking “Joculus Snift” – a unique multi-sensory media experience which stimulates four of the five senses with state-of-the-art (SOTA) technology.

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Categories : News | Old | Rare | Whisky


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The Whip - Bar Review

by Michael Orson     26. February 2014 11:30

The Whip bar

The Whip at The Running Horse Pub
50 Davies Street, London, W1K 5JE
Tel: 020 7493 1275
Nearest Tube: Bond Street
Monday to Saturday, 12-11pm

Hunter S Thompson’s famous Kentucky Derby inkings were in my mind last Saturday as I climbed the stairs to The Whip in Mayfair – a newly opened bar which carries on the equestrian theme of partner operation, The Running Horse (located downstairs). Brandishing some serious bourbons, the menu is a mouthwatering selection of Derby classics – Mint Juleps were in order, and The Whip’s elegantly styled confines were a suitable location.

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Breaking News: A New Distillery to be Built on Skye!

by Michael Orson     21. February 2014 16:38

Skye Distillery

Townspeople – I bear exciting and groundbreaking whisky news.

It’s not often we see the launch of a new malt whisky distillery, what with the tremendous setup and operational costs, and the sheer difficulty of actually doing the thing, but, as of yesterday, it was announced that there will be a new distillery on the Isle of Skye, named Torabhaig.

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Categories : News | Whisky


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Glenmorangie Companta

by Michael Orson     28. January 2014 16:09

Glenmorangie Companta

Glenmorangie’s Private Edition range really took the spotlight this year when Jim Murray named the 19 year old, Ealanta, World Whisky of the Year 2014. Jim claimed Ealanta stole the show “because it went out and did something very different: not only did it blow [him] away with its deftness, beauty and elegance, but it gave an aroma and taste profile completely new to [him] in over 30 years of tasting whisky”. High praise indeed.

Soon after, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Dr Bill Lumsden, faced the unenviable challenge of creating a follow-up. After such a coveted title, any successor malt would surely pale in comparison, or at least one might think. We were expecting intensity of flavour, perhaps a big dose of sherry this time? Well, rather that playing it safe, Bill took the somewhat risky decision of releasing a red wine finish – something we’ve seen a lot of over the years, but very rarely done well. In fact, put bluntly, most of the time red wine ruins whisky. I won’t name names*, but we’ve all had an “experimental” whisky buggered up by overdosing with wine casks that have perhaps unnecessary pedigree (aside from marketing purposes, why anyone feels the need to finish in First Growth casks is beyond my understanding!). So – how would Bill’s latest fare?

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Macallan in Lalique "The Spiritual Home"

by Michael Orson     3. January 2014 17:54

The Macallan Lalique

More or less every time I write a blog post, I ask management for permission to use the phrase "hells-a-poppin'"...

I get shot down mercilessly every time.

Well, the renowned whiskym'n at The Macallan have only gone and released part five in their legendary Lalique Six Pillars Collection. Each single malt in the ultra-super-deluxe-premium range is made from exceedingly rare old stock, and bottled in decanters designed and created by the famous French crystal house, Lalique. If ever there was a time for the term hells-a-poppin', surely now is it.

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For Christmas this year…

by Michael Orson     4. December 2013 11:02

Dear Santa

With plans to make Christmas 2013 closely resemble a night out with Charles Bukowski during his downtime, I’ve been thinking hard about what booze I want. Historically, I would have written to Santa Claus, but I recently read a thought-provoking essay by biologist Dickie Dawkins and now no longer believe in his existence. This, then, is an open letter to anyone who knows me and wants to get me the boozes.

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And the Winner of the Bowmore Glasstorm Glasses is…

by Michael Orson     28. November 2013 12:38

Parrot

On Thursday last week, I posted a full review for the soon-to-be-released £16,000 Bowmore 50 Year Old, here. Any of you who read my account of the Bowmore evening at the Park Lane Hilton will know it was a jolly good whisky. To précis my thoughts, if you’ve recently saved the money for a Fiat Doblo 1.6 MPV, I urge you instead to buy a fixie bike, and spend the difference on the new Bowmore 50. I think that’s the sensible choice.

That night, during the unveiling of the record-breaking single malt, speakers talked us through the manufacture of each aspect of the finished package: the whisky, the presentation case and the decanter. First up was Bowmore Manager, Eddie MacAffer; followed by acclaimed carpenter woodsmith, Peter Toaig; and finally Nichola Burns and Brodie Nairn from Glasstorm.

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Categories : Bowmore | Competitions | Whisky


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Bowmore 50 Year Old 1961

by Michael Orson     21. November 2013 15:15

Bowmore 50 Year Old 1961

Hello, my name’s Mike.

If you remember me at all, you’ll probably know me as the chap who wrote tasting notes and things, and used the word “soupcon” too much. If you work at Master of Malt, you may know me as “the bloke that did that thing at the Christmas Party” or “the terrible man who did that other thing in Sales Director Ben’s office which Ben still hasn’t found out about”.

Regardless of whether or not you know me, you better learn something, punk: I’m back from Africa, I’ve just tasted a £16,000 bottle of whisky and now I’m going to tell you all about it.

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Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin

by Michael Orson     28. January 2013 15:50

This week, through thick snow and in the picturesque undulations of Northamptonshire, the Warner Edwards team has been busily bottling up their brand new Harrington Dry Gin – a debut spirit from old Uni pals Sion Edwards and Tom Warner. We’re going to give the gin a road-test shortly, but first some history and background…

Sion and Tom met at university and became good friends from the very beginning, bonding over a love of rugby and the fact they both came from family farms. After graduating, they took on steady jobs and a few years later, feeling slightly bored, decided it was time to embark on a project together, utilising their farming backgrounds.

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Categories : Gin | Review | News | Tasting Notes


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