In just over 5 weeks, Whiskies of the World, San Francisco will be underway. Like years past, the 3DC have made a commitment to attend, though a bit late on the draw this time around. Because of that, we expect our numbers to be a bit less than last year.
Adrian and Jason (Fergus and Seamus) are working behind the scenes now to figure out lodging for the weekend, so if you are interested, please contact us to join in on the fun. (Commenting here will be sufficient if you don’t have our contact info elsewhere.)
If you’ve never been to Whiskies of the World before, don’t miss this opportunity to attend. Only General Admission tickets are available, as VIP and DramClub have sold out. GA tickets are $110/ea, but rest assured you will get your money’s worth!
Saturday, March 26th, 2011 is the date of the Grand Tasting, but the 3DC tend to make a party weekend out of it. We begin arriving Friday morning and don’t leave until late Sunday/early Monday, playing around the city when not at the Grand tasting. It really IS a great time to reconnect with friends and let loose for a bit. We hope to see you there with us this year!
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The godfather and his helpers have arranged a deal with Compass Box Whiskies to provide a few cases of unlabeled 10th anniversary Flaming Heart for the 3DC to use for our own 10th anniversary this year.
While all bottles are now spoken for (9 cases worth at last count), I thought this a good opportunity to highlight this momentous occasion as we can firmly say we are committed to the whole deal. And I can also say this is likely the single most exciting thing the 3DC have pulled off to date. Check out the preview with the original Compass Box labeling:
The only downside here is that we have to wait until November to take delivery of the bottles. But my, oh my, what a great way to celebrate the 3 Drunken Celts’ 10th anniversary but with a bottle especially made by Compass Box for their own 10th anniversary in the same year and month!
Of course, our bottles will come without the front label, where we will be applying our own custom 3DC labels to commemorate the combined anniversaries. We’ll be sure to post pictures of those in November once we have them in our hands. Until then, let this server to whet your appetite for a new and amazing bottle of some truly special whisky!
As you may know, the 3 Drunken Celts have a close affinity for John Glaser and his company, Compass Box. We met nearly 4 years ago now, and have been supporters of his efforts… and by supporters, I mean we not only drink his blends, but preach the quality of Compass Box to any and all who will listen! So, when given the opportunity, you KNOW we will do what we can to spread the word… so go check out their Facebook Fan Page now!
Sadly, it seems John won’t be at Whiskies of the World this year. Luckily, in his stead the brand ambassador, Robin Robinson, will be representing the team. I, for one, am looking forward to meeting Robin (as we have spoken via Facebook messages once or twice) and toasting a tipple to all who couldn’t make the event.
If you will be attending any of the events where Compass Box is making appearances, be sure to stop by and introduce yourselves to Robin (or John Glaser, or Chris Maybin, or any others representing the brand); let them know how you heard of them and that the 3 Drunken Celts say hello… after all, there ARE more than just 3 of us!
You’ve seen us using them at Whiskies of the World in San Francisco, and other tasting events we attend, now get your own so you won’t forget what you’ve tasted and more importantly, what you thought of the taste! Simply said, these are essentially blank notebooks designed to guide tasters through their own note-taking while tasting various whiskies. The notebooks include free-text sections as well as basic rating scales to capture your own reactions to the whiskies you are tasting.
There is more information about this new offering below… I’ve a personal beef with tasting notes and ratings as are currently done by the whiskey world at large; eg: Would I like a given “98” rated whiskey? Would it be good on a hot summer afternoon? Is it thick and warm or thin and refreshing? Is it complex or curt in its story? The “98” really doesn’t mean anything to you unless you were the one who tasted the dram or at least know what scores in each of the individual categories the reviewer has used that then where added up to the 98. I’m pretty sure we, the 3DC, can do a damn site better than that. I find that some whiskies that rate highly I don’t like while others that do not rate so highly, by the experts at least, are rather enjoyable and visa versa on both these statements.On the most rudimentary level what I’d like to know about a bottle of whiskey I’ve never had is how thick the dram is, how strong the taste is, how long the story is. I find that I prefer a stronger, thicker dram in the winter and a lighter more complex one in the summer so knowing the viscosity, boldness and length of story goes a long way towards picking out a dram I’m not familiar with. Additionally, these are categories that can be reviewed with far less subjectively. We’ll use a 1-5 scale. For example, if it drinks like a 10W40 motor oil, as far as viscosity is concerned, you’d give it a 5 and if it was thin as water you’d give it a 1. The same scale will be used for Boldness and length of story.
From there, more traditional tasting notes regarding descriptive verbiage of the nose, flavor and finish can come into play when deciding between drams I already know to be appropriate to my mood’s general requirements at the time. I should be noted that the evaluations, 1-5, in the categories above are not indicative of quality or approval. A 1 is no better than a 5, just an empirical take on the dram’s properties. This is what makes our system drastically different from the status quo as well as makes the future database a much more useful tool.
The last category, and notably the least important, is an indication of how much we liked the dram based on own personal taste with an A-F scale. This is simply intended to be a reference or reminder of our overall impression of the dram as time passes and also a means for others to get to know our individual preferences while reviewing the database. For example, Seamus really likes the Balvenie 21, and so does Fergus, so Fergus looking over Seamus’ favorable review of the Edradour 10 cask strength would lend Fergus to think he may well want to try it too. Simple huh?
We are also, in time, going to be able to start logging these tasting notes onto our web site for others to reference. The idea here is that you can try things that others have tried and get to know each other’s tastes and preferences. Once you get to know the others preferences you may be inclined to try something you’d not normally have tried simply because someone with similar tastes as your own rated it favorably regardless of what the late M. Jackson or J. Murray has said about the dram. Not that they don’t know their business. As Fergus and Seamus will tell you, I’ve nothing but the highest admiration for Jim but his tastes have developed far beyond my own and his sophistication of pallet is also well out of my current personal reach. He has highly rated things I don’t care for and has panned some of my favorite drams as well so as much as I like the man, I can’t rely on his ratings to determine whether or not I’m going to like what’s in the bottle in front of me. I just know if Jim liked it.
For those not familiar with the concept of Twitter: it is a website which allows users to update their current status with what they are doing right now, in 140 characters or less. The 3DC will be utilizing this social media outlet to post tasting notes on various drams, links to new blogs and news articles, and other random whiskies related content.
You can also join in the fun if you are on twitter by following us and entering your own content stream related to the 3DC by using the hashtag: #3DC
This day is called the Reverence of Friar John:
He that outlives this day, and comes drunk home,
Will stumble a-tiptoe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Friar John.
He that shall see this day and drink t’old age,
Will yearly on the vigil toast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Friar John’s Reverence Revel”:
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars
And say “These wounds I had on Friar John’s day.”
Drunk men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What drinks he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Raz the Reaver, Seamus and Fergus,
Fair Siobhan and Sean, Odran and Gulliver,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good Celts teach their sons;
And Jon John shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we inebriated happy few, we band of drunken brothers;
For he today that sheds his whiskey with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in Ireland now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That drank with us upon Friar John’s Reverence Revel day.
For those who don’t read enough books; the first written record of making whisky is attributed to Friar John Cor who was recorded on June 1, 1496 as procuring supplies for the making of copious amounts of whisky for his Majesty, Jimie the IV. Not particularly an event of note excepting that this is the first known record of whisky production and indicatory of a healthy and long established tradition of distilling whisky in Great Briton, else wise he’d not been making 1500 bottles of the stuff.
In honor of this, the 3DC has decided on mass to start honoring this man and this recorded event for the first 3 days of June. I myself will have at least one different dram a day for the 3 day festival and record the results in my tasting book. I think with some thought and planning we may have to set up some event going forward to do this properly, but this year at least we are flying by the collective seats of our collective pants.
Now for the bitching part of this: the British do not deserve to have anything to do with the history of their own country as they are evidently criminally negligent and painfully ignorant of anything that doesn’t wear either a toga or a horned helmet. It seems that the collective British citizens are so jaded by the history all around them that they disregard it like Las Vegas does 10 year old casinos or Hugh Grant does a lady of the night in the back seat of his car.
Back to Friar John. He did his distilling in Lindores Abbey (http://www.darkisle.com/l/lindores/labbey.html) along the Tay in Fife. An abbey that has through neglect(well and a crippling attach in 1559 by John Knox) been allowed to crumble and ruin. The significance of the Abbey was lost some time after that until the early 1990s. The owners (For the last 100 or so years) didn’t know or care about the history of the abbey and only discovered it by a chance web search. Now to their credit they have have gone out and tried to contact the governmental powers that be to ask for some assistance in restoring or at least preserving the site and received typical indifference. They even went so far as to go directly to the whiskey industry itself and also found no one cared.
Since the Mid 1990s the owners have in attempt to spread the word, and make a buck too I’m sure, started bottling blended whisky that is a rare dram out there on the market. Now this would be nothing like the whisky Friar John made but at least they are making an attempt at getting the tradition going again. Hey it’s a start, right?
Well, you’ve got a year to make your plans. Mark it down in your calendar; June 1st-3rd = Friar John Cor’s Day.
Well plans are getting finalized for the Whiskies of the World Expo 2009 (Date:3-28-09). Heck, I’ve already bought my plane ticket. As to event tickets, if you plan on attending, please contact Fergus directly. He is our ticket coordinator for this event and is intending on negotiating with the event staff directly on our behalf. If you are intent on getting your own ticket you can do so on the event’s site. The official 3DC hotel this year is the Hotel 480 as recommended by our Local 3DC rep theJamez. Thanks for the leg work James.
We’d love to have as many of you attend as can make it. This is after all the end all be all of whisky events. It makes our wee little shin digs look like nap time at the preschool. Even Mathias thought he’d seen it all until last year and he was blown away at what he saw and learned. Ask him yourself if you like.
VIP Ticket Price: $120.00 ($115.00 General Admission so just pay the extra $5)
As an alternate places of lodging I’d suggest either that the Hotel Des Artes (http://www.sfhoteldesarts.com/index.php) or Hotel Triton (http://www.hoteltriton.com/). We have 3DC members who have stayed at both of these hotel on prior trips and they are also very close to the Irish Bank, our “bar away from our home bars” and each has something good to be said about it.
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