Movember Whisky Squad tasting session

And we’re spent! After 30 days, it’s time to say goodbye to your hard-grown, furry friend. But before we get all emotional and nostalgic, let’s take time to reflect on an event that brought a suitable close to this year’s effort: the Movember tasting hosted by the Whisky Squad.

WhiskySquad-MovembertastingL-R: Billy, Jason, Darren & Andrew

 

The tasting was held at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in London and facilitated by The London Distillery Company’s commander-in-chief, Darren Rook. Darren talked us through the 6 whiskies – which were generously donated by the SMWS  and Master of Malt – as we all tasted each dram blind and tried to guess age, cost, region and, even, distillery. Here’s a round-up of our tasting notes:

35.72

The first on the list was a 23 year old Glen Moray, distilled in 1988 and christened “Vinyl Revival” by the SMWS tasting panel. It came in at a cool 63.5% abv – quite high for a whisky of that age.

Nose: Very hot on the nose (!) with lots of nutty, malted notes. Honey roasted pistachios, tobacco, wax and some glue. After breathing, the whisky really opens up and comes into its own, releasing butter, marzipan, vanilla, Amaretto and pineapple aromas.

Taste: Again, plenty malty notes which coat the mouth. Porridge and tiramisu followed by figs.

Finish: A looong finish with hints of wheat and malt.

(Glen Moray’s big stills  definitely gave this whisky notable alcohol elements, producing a dram full of hot and malty goodness. Glen Moray as it should be!)

 

G4.2

Second in line was an “Attractive spirit in a cloak of oak”, a 28 year old Cameronbridge grain whisky, which was selected for bottling by SMWS earlier this year. The whisky was distilled back in 1984 and matured in refill ex-bourbon hogshead.

Nose: Sweet! The aroma was somewhat predictable for a grain but with plenty rum-like complexity, offering up banana, caramel and coconut milk followed by Jamaican ginger cake. Very Caribbean!

Taste: Initially a hint of burnt tyre followed by banana, cane sugar and honey. A great, easy-going whisky.

Finish: Long and sweet.

 

26.89

For us, this was the highlight of the evening: a rather magnificent 27 year old Clynelish. It was distilled in 1984, matured in a refill sherry butt and selected for bottling by the SMWS (for obvious reasons). Their panel describe it as “an exotic tearoom experience” and we simply cannot disagree.

Nose: At first we get a not entirely agreeable hint of cut grass and wet hay. After a short rest in the glass it becomes more refined and fragrant and really takes off, adding spice and a touch of mint. We found it highly addictive and kept going back to sniff the glass after it had long been drank.

Taste: Lovely – farmy and waxy. Some furniture polish and hints of cream candles.

Finish: Lingering finish that you never want to end. Sweet with a touch of salt and charcoal.

 

66.34

The fourth SMWS bottle was a young Ardmore named “Hornby Double O”. The whisky had a fantastic coppery rooibos colour thanks to the ex-sherry butt it called home for over 9 years.

Nose: A bit sulphury. Pipe-tobacco, barbecued meat, wood smoke and a blue cheese saltiness.

Taste: Dry on the taste but really opens up with water. More wood smoke, sun-dried tomatoes and tannic astringency.

Finish: Long, dry finish with plenty black tea and sun-dried tomatoes.

A glorious bang for your buck (under £38!)

 

53.173

This was the last of the SMWS whiskies, and it didn’t disappoint: A 16 year old Caol Ila appropriately named “Glowing embers on the tongue”.

Nose: Still young and fiery on the nose but quite floral and minerally underneath. Oily and hints of charcoal.

Taste: Medicinal, charcoal and maritime.

Finish: The only significant flaw of an otherwise fine whisky. The finish is short and practically lacks.

 

Macallan by That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Batch 2

The sixth and final whisky was kept a secret from everyone, including the organiser and facilitators. When it came time for the big reveal, we discovered it was a Macallan from That Boutique-y Whisky Company via Master of Malt. But the big reveal revealed little else. It has no age statement and no record of what type of cask it was disgorged from. The ABV – 41.2% – was pretty much all the information given.

Nose: Vanilla, honeycomb, golden syrup and your Granny’s old silverware.

Taste: Fresh baked bread, caramel and honey.

Finish: Sweet and decently long enough to savour.

 

Shaving Accessories

For those of you who are already looking forward to shaving their Mo’s (itchy!), here’s some top tips on how to do it in a sophisticated and gentlemanly manner.

Fancy some fancy shaving cream? Look no further than D.R. Harris, one of London’s oldest ‘pharmacies’ on St. James St. The company, who have been looking after the city’s grooming needs for over two hundred years, is still family-owned and holds a warrant from HRH The Prince of Wales – so you know it’s good. Most of their products are still produced by traditional handmade methods and they’re individually packed right in the back of their shop. If we had a choice? We’d probably go for something like the triple-milled Marlborough shaving soap, beautifully presented in a Mahogany bowl. Apply with a shaving brush and voilà!

Marlborough-shave-soap

To suitably spread your shaving cream or oil, we recommend you choose a brush from Kent Brushes - preferably one made from badger hair (apparently the most succulent yet functional of all the animal hairs). The brushes are assembled meticulously by hand in Apsley, Herefordshire, and, like D.R. Harris, they also carry the all important Royal seal of approval.

shave-brush

And, of course, your routine wouldn’t be complete without aftershave and whisk(e)y… so why not combine the two?! We present to you WHISKEY After-Shave Splash from the Portland General Store. Made with sea minerals without the drying alcohol (!), and infused with the scent of our favourite spirit, this smooth operator is guaranteed to leave your skin nourished and the ladies tickled.

Whiskey-aftershave 

Last call

That’s it gents – we’re round the bend and into the final straight! Only a few days of Movember 2012 left on the calendar.

What a month! We’ve had a ton of fun, attracted a few stares and tried to be the best Mo’ growers possible – be it a faint, wispy number (damn you genes!) or a thick, furry mass (Darren Rook, you beast!), you’ve earned our unwavering respect.

The end is nigh – but it’s not quite here and there’s still time to make a difference. So dig deep into your pockets or down the back of your sofas and donate a few of those lost pennies to charity.

And, to top the month off, remember that there’s still a great Whisky Squad Movember tasting to look forward to.

Good times ahead…

Cheers,

Team Whisky 4 Movember

 

 

Week three: Whisky 4 Movember update

Shorter days and dropping temperature can only mean one thing: we’re into the third week of Movember! Fortunately, our upper lips have the warm comfort of a furry Mo, but make sure to wrap up the rest of your bod and stay cosy.

Now, time for a team Whisky 4 Movember update…

After a great start in week one (ranked #429 in the UK), we had a minor setback in the second week as we slipped down the league table to #552. Sadly, the slide has continued and we’re now down to a still respectable #684.

With a mere nine days left, time is running out – but there’s no point in dwelling. Donate now by sponsoring us here and help stop the rot in the name of charity!

P.S. If you’re particularly proud of your Mo – and goodness knows you should be, dammit – then take a snap and hit us up on Twitter or Facebook. (C’mon, share the love.)

Second week of Movember

Hey folks,

We’re (almost) halfway through Movember and it’s time for another quick Whisky 4 Movember round-up.

After 14 days, Mo’s are finally starting to take shape and we’re pleased to announce that the team has raised a very respectable £980 thus far. Having said that, we’ve dropped down over 100 places in the rankings since the last update, falling to #552 out of 26920 teams in the UK…

If you can, please sponsor the team and help us stop the slide and climb back up the ladder! Alternatively, both The London Distillery Company and our friends at The Whisky Exchange are donating a share of their profits to Movember; so, buy a small cask or a bottle of something, support this great cause – and get some deliciously conscientious do-good whisky in return!

Bad ass shaving technique

It’s halfway through Week 2 and Mo’s are blooming around the world. To help keep them sharp and trim, here’s some advice about a long gone shaving technique…

Wet shave

Before wet shaving it is vital that you need to prep your face with warm water to open up your pores to stop the hairs from pulling. The preferred method is to apply a hot, wet towel to the bottom half of your face but if you’re stuck for time (or a towel!) then just splash some warm water on your cheeks and chops. Now, it’s time for foam or shaving cream. Massage your selected medium in a thin, even layer over then entire shaving area to help the razor glide smoothly and prevent cuts or burns. We recommend trying to limit the number of shaving strokes to one or two as this will stop the skin from irritating. You can always go over any missed spots later.

Straight razor

Most men use a disposable or a ‘safety’ razor and there’s no shame in that. But we feel it necessary to address the straight razor for anyone brave enough to give it a bash. It’s the classic shaving tool, the macdaddy razor from the good ol’ days, and, of course, it commands respect. For a modern example of the straight razor in action, go see Skyfall (great flick, btw!).

The conception of the first ‘proper’ straight razor dates all the way back to 1740 when an English inventor named Benjamin Huntsman devised a blade that could be folded into its own handle and was shaped to fit the contours of the face. This style of shaver was all the craze until the beginning of the 20th century, when King Camp Gillette designed a safer, disposable razor that would eventually go with troops deployed to fight in the first World War (3.5 million razors and 32 million blades in total!). As Gillette gradually developed their designs, first with a twin blade and then coupling three blades together for a ‘smoother’ shave, sales of the straight razor declined drastically before the advent of the electric razor all but killed it off. As these disposable razors became safer for men to use in the comfort of their home, barbershops began to foreclose and quickly became a thing of the past. Sad, we think you’ll agree.

Famous ‘cut-throat’ shave devotees include James Bond, Woody Allen and, of course, Sweeney Todd…

skyfall-shave

Fancy yourself as a bad ass? Brave enough to feel the steel? Get your own straight razor here:

 

Or if you trust someone else to take care of your stubble, visit Movember supporters Murdock London.

Here’s a ‘quick’ tutorial so give it a bash. It takes time to perfect the technique (and you may massacre your jib in the meantime), but boy is it worth the effort/pain.

“James Bond ‘Skyfall’ Boosts Cut Throat Razor Sales By 405%”

 

Day 7: Whisky 4 Movember update

That was it guys – the first week of this year’s Movember. After seven days of Mo growth we wanted to give you an update about team Whisky 4 Movember’s progress, and we’re pleased to announce that we’re currently ranked a respectable #429 out of 22148 in the UK.

On the money front, the great news is that we’ve raised a whopping £685 so far – but we know we can still do better. With only three weeks to go we would like to ask everyone to dig as deep as possible to help us make this year’s Movember the biggest one ever!

If you can, please donate here.

Her Majesty would be proud…

 

Top 5 Movie Moustaches

Day six in this year’s Movember, and the upper lips are slowly getting warm and furry. To give you some inspiration for later on, we’ll list our top 5 movie moustaches.

Number five

A ‘Nacho Libre’ is a moustache that isn’t fully developed, just like Jack Black’s in the eponymous movie (2006). He makes number five on our list simply to commend the effort (and the cape).

JB-Nacho-Libre

Number four

He’s a card player, gambler and a scoundrel. “You’d like him”, according to Han Solo. Our number four, Lando Calrissian, lead the Rebels to victory by destroying the Death Star II and, with it, the Empire. Played expertly by Billy Dee Williams in Star Wars episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lando is a true Mo’ Bro’.

Lando-Calrissian

Number three

With the handlebar Mo’, endless sideburns and THAT hat, number three on our list is Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting, played by Daniel Day-Lewis in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002). I wonder how long it took him to grow that glorious thing? More than six days, I’m sure…

bill-the-butcher

Down to the last couple, and we’ve got two (perhaps unexpected?) classics lined up for you…

Number two

The Stranger – a true cowboy – was portrayed by Sam Elliott’s in the movie The Big Lebowski. When he finally appears on screen, we get a glimpse of an outrageously perfect Mo’ specimen to match that bassy, lulling, beautiful man-voice.

The-Stranger

Number one

And drum roll, please… Our controversial but unequivocal nominee for top-tache is: Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction (1994). It’s a scraggly handlebar, sure. But what it lacks in shape and body is makes up for with pure class and subtle nonchalance, coupled with a sinister potential for unbridled mayhem. We wouldn’t mess.

Jules-Winnfield

A little bonus video: Anyone can grow a beard and trim it down to a tache, but it takes a real Mo’ Bro’ to start from scratch…

 

Whisky and Whiskers

The 11th month has arrived and with it comes Movember – the annual celebration of moustaches and men’s health.

To help those growing a mo choose a great whisky to accompany their efforts The Whisky Exchange matched up a range of different moustache styles with a selection of ‘appropriate’ drams. They’ll also be donating 5% of all the proceeds from whiskies purchased through the Whisky and Whiskers page to Movember at the end of the month.

You can let them know how your moustache growing antics are going over on Facebook or Twitter, as well as ask them for more whisky and whiskers recommendations – we’re fairly sure they can match up a dram to any kind of facial furniture…

whisky-and-whiskers