The Liquor Thread

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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby ahammel » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:19 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:EDIT:Today I bought Auchentoshan aged in Bordeaux casks. Super excited to try it tonight.

Do report back here!

Bar night was a great success. Sampled Aberlour A'bunadh, Laphroaig QC, Oban 14yo and Balvenie Doublewood. They all were all great. No detailed notes, but a few observations:

Spoiler:
- A'bunadh really has no business being that drinkable at nearly 120 proof. I added a bit of water, but it's just awesome without. Really big and fruity.
- The Oban was quite pleasant, but not my favorite of the night. It reminded me of a peatier Highland Park. Very good, but it seemed the least distinctive of the malts I tried, if that makes any sense.
- Doublewood smells exactly like hay and tastes like ambrosia.
- Huh. Laphroaig QC really does smell like iodine. Which raises the question: what the hell? Iodine is an element. What could possibly be in there that smells like iodine aside from iodine? Also: it's delicious and I want some more. My friend described it as "like sticking your head inside a barbecue", which sounds like a ringing endorsement to me.


Vancouverite scotch enthusiasts should definitely check out the Blue Water Café. The bartenders knew their stuff, the scotch was served in appropriate glasses (sherry copitas, I think), and they gave me a container of distilled water with a freakin' eyedropper for diluting, which I thought was brilliant. Don't know how the prices compare to the rest of the city, but the Laphroaig QC cost $11 and the A'bunadh was somehting like $13. The barkeep claimed they were priced "agressively", for what it's worth.

Terrifyingly: they had Highland Park 40yo at more than $100. Also terrifyingly: the bottle was half empty.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Azrael » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:48 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:Huh. Laphroaig QC really does smell like iodine. Which raises the question: what the hell? Iodine is an element. What could possibly be in there that smells like iodine aside from iodine?

Phenols carried over from the peat smoke.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby ahammel » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:35 am UTC

Yeah, I figured it was something from the peat, but it seems crazy to me that you can re-arrange organic compounds in such a way that they bind an olfactory receptor intended for an element.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:43 am UTC

"Intended" is an interesting word to use in that context.

Anyway it doesn't seem at all crazy to me. The scent isn't any property of iodine, after all, just information your brain uses to flag that receptor. Why do you have that receptor? It was a mutation that wasn't selected against. No intent required.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Azrael » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:30 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:Yeah, I figured it was something from the peat, but it seems crazy to me that you can re-arrange organic compounds in such a way that they bind an olfactory receptor intended for an element.

Olfactory receptors don't work that way, really. The olfactory receptors that bind to the phenols from the peat also bind to iodine because they (or taste receptors for that matter) aren't encoded towards specific elements. Not only can individual molecules can bind across a range of different receptors with varying strengths, but receptors can react to a range of different molecules.

Your nose isn't a mass spectrometer; what you smell isn't a compilation of element-specific responses. The granularity of the sensors in your nose is not fine enough to differentiate between the two. Perhaps if you upgrade to a dog's nose?
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby ahammel » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:22 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
ahammel wrote:Yeah, I figured it was something from the peat, but it seems crazy to me that you can re-arrange organic compounds in such a way that they bind an olfactory receptor intended for an element.

Olfactory receptors don't work that way, really. The olfactory receptors that bind to the phenols from the peat also bind to iodine because they (or taste receptors for that matter) aren't encoded towards specific elements. Not only can individual molecules can bind across a range of different receptors with varying strengths, but receptors can react to a range of different molecules.

I knew that, but I guess what I'm goggling at is how utterly different the two compounds are. The iodine you smell (wikipedia tells me) is triiodide ion, the phenol is presumably bunch of carbons, hydrogens and oxygens in one configuration or another. It's interresting that there's a a constellation of proteins that binds both iodide and the peat-smoke phenol but then fails to bind, say, eugenol (a phenol that smells like cloves). I'm not asking for mass-spec performance from my nose, it's just weird to me that two compounds which have no apparent chemical similarities share an OR binding profile. The range of different compounds to which ORs can bind is apparently much wider than I had realized.

"I know very little about olfactory biochemistry" would have been a more succinct way to put that.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:53 am UTC

Azrael wrote:Your nose isn't a mass spectrometer

...yet
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Azrael » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:31 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
Azrael wrote:Your nose isn't a mass spectrometer

...yet

We can get there with SCIENCE!

Or maybe we should just use SCIENCE! to learn that iodine concentrations in peat bogs might having something to do with why Laphroig's peat is particularly odoriferous.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:51 am UTC

Apparently my dad's PhD thesis was something about mass spectroscopy, if anyone gets to have a mass spectro-anything nose it should be me.

I really need to dig him up and tell him to get on that.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby ahammel » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:56 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Or maybe we should just use SCIENCE! to learn that iodine concentrations in peat bogs might having something to do with why Laphroig's peat is particularly odoriferous.


So it smells of iodine because there's iodine in it? Preposterous! It's wizards I say. Wizards!
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:42 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
Azrael wrote:Your nose isn't a mass spectrometer

...yet

The ol' Nasal Screener 9000 is an important part of every environmental chemistry lab I ever worked at though. (Even if it was, techinically speaking, against the rules. So was letting samples go out of hold because you blasted a few million ppb of napthalene through your mass spec.) It's actually better than a lot of people might think.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Iranon » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

Another whisky lover here. My favourite bottle I currently have open is probably my 23 year old Rosebank @ 62.3% alcohol (surprisingly, it doesn't really need any water. Unsurprisingly, the bottle is almost empty.), but I love them all. Even the Bavarian oddball that tastes a little of furniture polish.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:55 am UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:The ol' Nasal Screener 9000 is an important part of every environmental chemistry lab I ever worked at though. (Even if it was, techinically speaking, against the rules. So was letting samples go out of hold because you blasted a few million ppb of napthalene through your mass spec.) It's actually better than a lot of people might think.

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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby keeneal » Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:59 am UTC

lucrezaborgia wrote:
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Amie wrote:Baileys (yeah I know there'll be purists who say Baileys is quite shit but I like it and I can hardly ever afford it so whenever I get the chance to get my hands on a bottle, I enjoy it)

Just curious which other Irish creams you've had. Micheal's is better than Bailey's IMHO, and probably a touch cheaper. St Brendan's is probably at least a peer to Baileys and should be significantly cheaper.


St Brendan's is quite good!

I realize that this was quite a while ago, but I saw this at my local State store and picked up a bottle because it was $11 to Bailey's $17 and I'm a broke college student. It really is very good. I tried it when I got home and found myself thinking "I could drink quite a lot of this."

I then proceeded to drink quite a lot of it.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby hendusoone » Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

Tyrconnel: sweet Osiris, yes. That is some tasty whiskey.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

I was looking for a whiskey or Scotch for mixing and found myself unimpressed by what was available at the supermarket, when I noticed a really cheap single malt labeled Glen Ranoch. It was cheaper than JW red so I figured I'd give it a go, and I guess it'll do fine for mixing. What's the cheapest single malt you've seen?
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:04 pm UTC

Sainsbury's sell a 70cl bottle of 12-yr old single malt for £15 I think.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Dream » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:50 pm UTC

The cheapest from a reputable distillery I've seen was Ledaig, which is made at one of the Campbeltoun distilleries. It was £17, and really good. Very light and very young, I think five years, but no age statement. An absolute bargain, and easy to drink lots of when you're in the mood for lots.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Azrael » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:52 pm UTC

hendusoone wrote:Tyrconnel: sweet Osiris, yes. That is some tasty whiskey.

I just found out that as of mid-January, Cooley was bought by Beam.

This makes me nervous.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:03 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Sainsbury's sell a 70cl bottle of 12-yr old single malt for £15 I think.


Sainsbury's are seriously good for booze, they're the only place i know for sure sells Kraken, it's about £22 for 70cl i think, better the spending £30 to order it online.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:14 pm UTC

Yeah. I'm gonna buy their own-brand bourbon for mixing - first time I've seen an own-brand bourbon in the UK.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:26 am UTC

Dream wrote:The cheapest from a reputable distillery I've seen was Ledaig, which is made at one of the Campbeltoun distilleries. It was £17, and really good. Very light and very young, I think five years, but no age statement. An absolute bargain, and easy to drink lots of when you're in the mood for lots.

What makes a distillery reputable or disreputable? Or do you just mean, from a distillery that has some presence?
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Dream » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:16 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
Dream wrote:The cheapest from a reputable distillery I've seen was Ledaig, which is made at one of the Campbeltoun distilleries. It was £17, and really good. Very light and very young, I think five years, but no age statement. An absolute bargain, and easy to drink lots of when you're in the mood for lots.

What makes a distillery reputable or disreputable? Or do you just mean, from a distillery that has some presence?

I suppose I mean a distillery that has some form in terms of making decent malts. Single Malt bottlings are still massively outnumbered by the amount of malt that is distilled for, and goes straight into mass market blends. A lot of the time a cheap bottle from an obscure distillery under a supermarket brand is in fact a cheap bottle from a distillery that doesn't release its own malts with good reason. But that said, I don't have a lot of anecdotal evidence to back that up. I still think there is a qualitative difference between the best and worst malt distilleries, and as with Ledaig, sometimes you can find the best in a cheap bottling.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Dthen » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:46 pm UTC

Question! What's a decent brand of gin?
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:06 pm UTC

My favorite for value is Beefeater. My favorite for a gin and tonic is Hendrick's. I thought Boodles was pretty good if you're looking for something more subtle. Though that's relative to gin, mind; it won't seem very subtle if you're not used to gin already, I would think.

I can't stand New Amsterdam and think it's cheap swill, but a surprising number of people have disagreed with me on that, so ymmv. It might be a style thing.

There is a fair amount of discussion of gin in the history of this thread and of the Cocktails thread here. There are a lot of popular brands I haven't tried.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Роберт » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:09 pm UTC

Dthen wrote:Question! What's a decent brand of gin?

Does it come in a plastic bottle? Then it's not a decent brand of gin.

In all seriousness, of the gins I've tried, I preferred regular Bombay over Bombay sapphire, and liked Tanqueray a lot. I've had several others (Boodles, Beefeater, New Amsterdam, I don't really recall) and of what I've had I prefer Tanq. I've not had Hendrick's, though. New Amsterdam was underwhelming but for the most part I like gin if it comes in a glass bottle.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:12 pm UTC

Yeah, it does depend what you want to do with your gin. The tastiest G&T I've had has been Hendricks though.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Belial » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:57 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
hendusoone wrote:Tyrconnel: sweet Osiris, yes. That is some tasty whiskey.

I just found out that as of mid-January, Cooley was bought by Beam.

This makes me nervous.


Oh dear.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Dthen » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:25 pm UTC

Thanks, people.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby starslayer » Fri May 04, 2012 3:46 am UTC

If anyone happens to be in the Columbus, Ohio area, do you know of a halfway decent liquor store in the area? The ones around the OSU campus at least seem to have pretty crappy selection.

Also, what are people's thoughts on a good white rum?
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Azrael » Fri May 04, 2012 12:20 pm UTC

Flor de Cana 4 year is my personal favorite, but may be hard to find. Also Appleton or Cruzan, and Mount Gay Eclipse if you have no other choice. Wray & Nephew Overproof if you're mixing a punch and want some flavor and power behind it.

On a completely unhelpful note: There's new micro-distillery in Boston called Bully Boy that makes an astoundingly excellent unaged rum...
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Mon May 07, 2012 5:48 am UTC

We acquired a bottle of Bulleit and a bottle of Cruzan and we did things with mint, a day or so late. Good thing I don't actually give a damn about horse races.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby McGrupp » Wed May 09, 2012 2:03 am UTC

"I'll Have Another" was a sign from the fates to drink another mint julep, right? Guys?

I keep "Erk and Jerk" in my flask pretty much all the time.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed May 23, 2012 3:14 am UTC

I've got two half-enjoyed bottles of tequila sitting around. Now that I'm not at school, I need a good reason to have some alone fun time with them (or better yet, invite people I mostly haven't seen for 3 years over).
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Bakemaster » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:26 pm UTC

We got a handle of The Kraken on sale and it's not bad. I don't know how I feel about that dark molasses flavor and spiced all at once, it's not what I'm used to. Further testing will of course be necessary.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Whitekiboko » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:50 am UTC

Kraken is so horrid it makes me want to punch the distillers. Doubly so for insulting cephalopods by association.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby ahammel » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

Had a small pre-soccer game rum tasting with a friend the other day. Sailor Jerry's is good stuff. The vanilla makes me want to bake something with it. Baccardi Oakheart, unsurprisingly, is unfit for human consumption. The label claims that it's age in charred oak barrels, which gives it a smoky flavor. It didn't taste smoky (it tasted of spiced nothing) and I was pretty sure charred barrels do not work that way. Can anybody confirm that?
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby starslayer » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:25 pm UTC

They do, actually, to an extent. It is much less effective than drying the malt in smoke like a scotch, though. Most of what the charred barrels contribute is flavor from the carmelized sugars in the wood (this is why many bourbons taste of vanilla, caramel, and cherry).

But Bacardi overselling their flavor? Color me shocked!
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby ahammel » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:33 pm UTC

Hmm, didn't know that. Well, it doesn't taste of smoke. At all. And even if it did, that sounds like it would make it more disgusting than it already is.
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Re: The Liquor Thread

Postby Роберт » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:29 pm UTC

Whitekiboko wrote:Kraken is so horrid it makes me want to punch the distillers. Doubly so for insulting cephalopods by association.

Huh?
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