Category Archives: Objects of desire

Cask & Still not impressed

I don’t think I like Scotch Whisky. There I have said it, the ultimate sacrilege that a Scotsman can commit in his country.  As we speak, torches are being lighted and pitchfork tines sharpened.  My reputation lies in tatters and with the nights fair drawing in, I will have to watch my step lest the whisky police scoop me up and carry me away.

I don’t think its all my fault though.  I mean god knows I’ve tried to fall in love with the water of life on numerous occasions and have failed every time.

I do love the mystique and the excitement that comes with whisky, I see passionate exchanges in every pub and club that stocks a drop of the hard stuff. I have engaged in endless debates about what makes a great single malt and even argued about the rights of the individual when it comes to adding water (you should) or ice (you shouldn’t unless you are very brave or a little bit crazy).  But all the time there is a voice in my head saying “but you don’t really like it do you?”.

There have been one or two sublime moments when a whisky has been just right for the occasion, but they are few and far between.

A lunch with friends, where the hotel graciously rewarded our gluttony with a complimentary drink on the house that turned out to be a Balvenie Portwood, aged 21 years  (If you haven’t tasted it then shame on you). Great dram but a tad expensive for a night in at home.

Or the time that I was introduced to Glenglassaugh and their Chosen Few Mhairi McDonald 1978, a 33 year old whisky. (‘Just like a warm hug’ according to a friend).  Sadly not available in the shops as far as I know, but a real treat if you can find a bottle.

In my desperation to join the ranks of whisky lovers across the globe I even decided to visit The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.  Surely if anyone could help me then they could…

If you haven’t been then go! The journey begins with a fantastic barrel ride through a replica distillery teaching the basics of the whisky making process and finishes with a glimpse of the  Diageo Claive Vidiz collection of over 3500 individual bottles.

Suitably impressed I asked if I could do more to find my goal.  Of course they said, why not sign up to The Scotch Whisky Training School ?  I was intrigued. This one day course supplies you with all the tools you need to become a bit of an ambassador for Whisky in the hospitality trade and it is excellent.  There is even a forty minute exam at the end (no conferring) and a proper mark and certificate  (I got a distinction).

So why don’t I jump for joy every time someone produces a bottle of Scotch? Why does my heart sink if I am asked to try a dram or two? I genuinely don’t know. It is not for the want of trying.

Which is why I am going to make it my goal over the next few months to try and discover my ultimate perfect drink, hopefully it will be Scottish, but I am not going to stop at the border. I will start by sampling from around the world and will aim to have the answers by the 31 December in order to toast the New Year. Please feel free to send me suggestions, samples and anything else that takes your fancy. It can only help!

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In praise of watches

My Metal Banded Watches

(Photo credit: alexkerhead)

I’m an affable kind of guy, I don’t want for much and I generally feel quite content. Put me in front of a roaring fire with some decent food, a nice bottle of wine and leave me. I will be more than happy.

At the weekend take me out for a wander along a beach or to grab a coffee and a look around the shops and I feel equally at ease. Which is fortunate as my wife is also very keen on both, perhaps leaning a bit more towards the retail spectrum as the winter approaches. So imagine the scene, there I am poking about in various shops (books and clothing mainly) and just about ready for a visit to Starbucks when I am stopped in my tracks by a window display. I was lost.

You see I am addicted to watches. Big ones, small ones, cheap ones and some not so cheap, I just love them. Which is why you should never leave me alone too long in a shopping environment. (I also love jackets but at least there is a single-minded aim there  – to find the ultimate jacket – something I have come close to on a number of occasions and a vice which is then largely under control for the moment).But watches on the other hand are always there, singing their siren song on web, in stores, brochure, magazines and newspapers.

Men don’t really wear a lot of jewellery and a watch provides us with a bit of individuality. They are also my favourite accessory, I have daily work watches, weekend watches, I even have evening watches. I have straps of rubber and straps of titanium, stainless steel and plain old canvas. Traditional watches, digital affairs, G-shock, diver, military, surfing, chronograph and LCD. All shouting “pick me, pick me”.

I have been known to buy a watch instead of food and go hungry in earlier years, I’ve also found myself hanging around the same jewellery store week after week gaping at a particular prize and desperately fighting the inner voices that want me to get “the preciousss, get it now”.

My favourite watch is probably a Breitling Avenger Seawolf with a yellow face, which at over £2500 is not on my Christmas list. For the smaller budget there is a bit of a look alike called the CX Swiss Military Watch SEAWOLF I Scuba NERO which retails for about £450. But to be honest I enjoy wearing different watches so much that I just can’t bear to spend that level of money on something that doesn’t involve a plane and a passport.

So with feet firmly on the ground my latest object of desire is a Tokyoflash Kisai Maze Watch which disguises the time in the spaces of a LCD maze, making it very difficult to the untrained eye to read, but easy for the end-user. I mean how cool is that? It is also a more palatable £87 and is water-resistant to 3ATM’s (whew).

I’m also quite taken with the Timex Ironman watch, which was on special offer during the Amazon Black Friday sale. An absolute bargain at £20 against the normal £65 price tag. Similar in many ways to the Casio G-Shock but if anything slightly more rugged. Sadly I missed out this time but will keep looking!

I’ve making every effort not to feed my addiction, but I did recently purchase two watches from Avon (long story), one which I love and one which I prefer not to talk about. So with Christmas just around the corner I really don’t know what is going to happen, but if you feel the need to intervene just remember that I want the silver strap and the blue face please.

Watch this space (if you pardon the pun).

Timex Ironman 20th anniversary watch

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)).

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