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richard
Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2005 - 07:50 am:   

right - first question - how many people do you think we'll get? if news of this gets out, of course, it could be the most packed panel all week - maybe best get some of those tiny plastic tasting cups?
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2005 - 08:56 am:   

Richard: When I saw this on the con schedule my first reaction was, "This is my kind of panel. Hang out with Richard and Steph and get loaded." Is that what's going on here? If so, I'm in. I did write back to the guy and said that if I needed to actually be knowledgeable about this stuff, they might want to find something else, but if it was just drinking and talking, I'm a past master. What do you know of it?
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richard
Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2005 - 10:23 am:   

well, about the same as you - just got hit with the duty. Since the whole and entire title is "Whiskey, Whisky, Bourbon and Rye" I figure we can do what the hell we want. My protagonists all tend to drink the stuff in one form or another, and I could bore for Britain on the applications of hard liquor in noir fiction. Beyond that, I really haven't had any ideas - but I think Steph's point (that watching three writers talk about and even imbibe whisky is going to be a bit dull without actual participation) is well made. Maybe we can give a masterclass in how to knock back a shot, grimace manlily (?), and drill your opponent with wisecracks and .45 slugs.

Or....?

btw - does whisky feature a lot/at all in what you write?
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2005 - 03:22 pm:   

Richard: I don't write a lot about whiskey or whisky but I'll be willing to buy a few bottles for the crowd, etc. and drink the stuff and talk about how I would use it in my fiction if I were to. How's that?
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richard
Posted on Saturday, May 28, 2005 - 04:32 pm:   

sounds cool - in fact, if we brought a bottle each, that ought to be enough to go round - unless, like I said, word gets round and we pack the place. Steph?
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Steph
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 05:03 am:   

I would consider bringing a bottle for ourselves and the audience. I think a bottle each would be a great sacrifice for three poverty-stricken authors to make. Also some water and paper cups. Before I commit, let me talk to the organisers and get back to you. There may be jobsworth rules or possibly even funds.

If you bring Ardbeg I'll bring one to contrast.

I can chat about:

1. Scottish single malts (and one or two blends). I lived/worked on Islay for a month, driving a flatbed truck (and learning how to fly-fish, badly), so I know Islay malts quite well. In fact, it _used_ to be my party trick to tell them apart by taste. That is no boast, it was ten years ago and I doubt I could do it now. I can talk a bit about the other regions/recommendations:
e.g.
Caol Ila
http://www.discovering-distilleries.com/caolila
Te Bheag
http://www.gaelic-whiskies.co.uk/html/pages/TeBheag.htm
Tullamore Dew (Irish)
http://www.tullamoredew.com/about.htm


2. Pieces of lore, odds-and-ends to do with whisky. For example, in an Indian language whisky is called 'kuchh nai' which means 'nothing' so if they ask you what you want to drink and you say 'nothing' you get a whisky. Sweet.

Also there are anecdotes aplenty, like the time Bruichladdich distillery lost a whole vat into the loch because they opened the wrong tap. Expensive error but it kept the kelpies happy.

Surprises - the ones that sound like an old man's drink but are really exciting, buzzing tastes that we should try out.


3. Whisky in literature. Ian Banks's books spring to mind. There must be loads more.


4. Whisky in our work. Rhydanne drink it all the time but it's not like our whisky. It makes poteen look like Dom Perignon. None of the other Fourlands cultures drink it, and Rhydanne don't export it because they'd never let it out of their sight.


5. How the stuff is made. By this time the audience should be:
a. pissed
b. bored to sleep
So I will get off the hook.


6. How fantastic Scotland and Ireland are. Unless forcibly silenced I can continue on this topic long after the event and well into the Gollancz party.


7. Things I don't know: Are all Irish ones blends? I don't know much about US and Canadian but the audience might educate us.
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richard
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 05:40 am:   

there are Irish singles - Bushmills do one that's pretty good - but I think the whole triple distillation thing tends to short circuit the market - a good Irish blend is often as smooth and flavourful as any single malt. When I couldn't afford single malts or designer bourbons, I got by on Jamesons,which was an eminently decent substitute

the water's a good point - real experts claim you should always dilute a single malt to open the flavour (and it'll certainly eke out our supplies)

I'm thinking we should bring a bottle of Laphroaig - strongest flavoured of all single malts/tastes like fucking medicinal iodine, depending on how you react personally - I'll take care of that, if you like, in addition to the Ardbeg (though I wonder if they're too close enough in taste to bother with both - I'll go off and test this now)
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Steph
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 07:00 am:   

Slainte.

Bushmills - oh yes, very nice it is too but I've only had the 10 year old. The blends I liked were Paddy and Tullamore Dew. Connemara is the only peated Irish but I have no idea what it's like.

Ardbeg beats Laphroaig hands down but you can use Laphroaig to make a point in tastings, as you say.

Bye for now.
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richard
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

after careful consideration, I think I'll bring both - if there's anything left, it can always go to the Gollancz party.

any more ideas for what we're going to actually *say*, lit refs etc....keep me posted
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John Klima
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2005 - 08:25 pm:   

Jeff,

You should bring a bottle of Woodford's Reserve to represent the States single barrel. :-)

JK
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Nicolai Sanders
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2005 - 01:02 pm:   

"any more ideas for what we're going to actually *say*, lit refs etc....keep me posted"

hey Richard, dont be hasty!
First you must discuss your choices of liquor in great detail, how much to bring etc...
Only afterwards is it appropiate to make up the excuse for drinking it.
Remember your priorities.
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JKS
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 - 08:37 am:   

My Dear Richard,

I've taken the liberty of slandering you and your revolting choise of tipple on Steph's TTA board :-). See you there!

Best,

Jonathan K. Stephens
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Phyllis Hood
Posted on Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 04:20 pm:   

I have a question , if anyone can help. We have a bolttle of Long John scotch whiskey , it says pregnum 70 proof glasgow scotland never been opened with a special reserve lable on the seal. Can anyone help me is this anygood Mum says its a least 40 years old ,and how much is it worth. From Phoenix AZ u.s.a.
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richard morgan
Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 04:15 am:   

Hi Phyllis,

I'm afraid I'm far from an expert (as anyone who attended the Worldcon panel will know by now) - but as far as I know, Long John do not make single malts, so your whisky is a blend (nothing wrong with that as such, but it does reduce the likelihood of it being a "find"). The Special Reserve label is essentially a marketing conceit and can mean anything or nothing, but certainly doesn't guarantee quality. Proof is an old way of defining alcohol content, through some arcane measuring system details of which I've forgotten, but 70 proof is a pretty standard strength (about 40%, I seem to recall), so there's nothing special there either.

Most important of all, the fact your whisky is at least 40 years old unfortunately means nothing at all - whisky age is defined by the time the whisky spends "ageing" in the cask, before it's bottled. Ie, a ten year old malt has been in a wooden barrel for ten years, soaking in the flavours of the wood, before it's put into a bottle. You could leave said ten year old malt on the shelf for a further fifty years and it would still be a ten year old malt.

None of this means your bottle might not have some antique value in and of itself (rare bottling, discontinued label design etc...), so it's probably worth talking to an antique dealer anyway - but to be honest with you, I doubt it. And in terms of drinking, you're probably better of springing for a bottle of Jack Daniels black.

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