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Dr John Hawkins

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Mixed Bag

Posted on 2008/07/28 21:16:07 (July 2008).

[Sunday 27th July]
There was no specific agenda for today, and we didn't really do very much, but it turned out to be a delightfully mixed bag sort of a day.

I had a mail from a lady in Canada, who turns out to be a relative (something like a third cousin, once removed) - we share common ancestors in Michael and Elizabeth Hogan (my great great great grandparents), the couple from which the soupçon of Irishness in my genetic make-up comes. I've had all the family tree stuff on the web for several years now, and although having new relatives get in touch with me like this has been a relatively infrequent occurrence, it has happened a handful of times and it's a delightful surprise.

As a result I spent a good chunk of today trying to transfer all my old mail folders that had been on my old Windows laptop, onto the Mac. I recalled that I'd had another mail from another relative in that part of the family tree, and so it made sense to try and put the two of them in touch with each other.

Those two things, along with writing a couple of scathing reviews for my vegetarian blog, occupied the majority of the daytime.

Towards the end of the afternoon I was starting to experience that typical sense of weekend guilt which is brought about by having stayed in all day when it is quite nice weather outside. This sounds like it needs a word for it - so in Meaning of Liff style I shall stick a pin in a map and find one. There: Narkurs.

So we did go out for a short stroll, albeit just down to the river Thames and back again.

On our return I decided I fancied a spot of whisky. The last week I'd been laying off the drink, partly because I was taking anti-inflammatory medicine and pain killers, and partly because I thought it would probably help me to recover better. During the week though, I had ordered an SMWS bottling of a Laphroaig, which I'd on the night I took Benoit to the whisky society, and rather enjoyed. It had been taunting me all week, sitting their in the kitchen unopened, and by tonight I couldn't resist.

In fact, for a bit of fun, I actually decided to take this and two other whiskies I'd recently bought (a Berry Brothers and Rudd bottling of Caol Ila, and the Port Charlotte PC6 from Bruichladdich) and do a bit of a tasting - sampling them all with an eye to make tasting notes. Here are the results:

Berry Bros. and Rudd Caol Ila Casks 10018/19 - Distilled 1995, bottled 2008
Unreduced nose: initially something citrus, almost vinegary, but that then seemed to disappear, giving way to a big waft of peat, some malty/cereal notes, a hint of something perfumey - perhaps parma violets?
Unreduced palate: zingy peat, peppery, a touch of honey
Reduced nose: creme caramel?
Reduced palate: creme caramel again, decidedly creamier. The "zingy peat" comes later in the finish.

Port Charlotte PC6 (Bruichladdich)
Unreduced nose: toffee, fudge, peat behind that (fairly gentle though - surprisingly as this is supposed to be heavily peated), some butter notes - perhaps sautéed or glazed carrots, perhaps butterscotch (Angel Delight!?). Also a hint of vanilla ice cream.
Unreduced palate: not so sweet strangely - the sweetness seems to mostly be on the nose. Peat definitely there. Why am I reminded of Brazil nuts? Dry, savoury finish.
Reduced nose: Adding water didn't seem to do much to the nose.
Reduced palate: Sweeter, brings out a hint of spice - paprika perhaps?

Laphroaig SWMS bottling cask 29.66
Unreduced nose: sherry, clean sheets on a line - perhaps in a sea breeze?, demerera sugar, slightly liqueur-ish notes.
Unreduced palate: interestingly there's a lot more going on in the mouth than there was in the nose. This is classic Laphroaig - syrupy, oily and carbolic. Phenols open up on the nose after the first sip. Gutsy and satisfying.
Reduce nose: more of those sherry notes - perhaps even winey, hot cross buns? dried fruits? berries?
Reduced palate: smoother but less carbolic. I think I preferred it without wanter.

Chie also tasted the SMWS Laphroaig, and independently found similar sherry notes - I guess that was pretty hard to miss, but also those hard to pinpoint outdoors sort of smells - as she put it "DIY on a nice day". She also found dried druit notes, and described the palate as sort of meaty - like bacon perhaps.

For dinner Chie made Japanese food, including one of my favourite things ever - veggie age. These are a vegetarian version of karaage made using these Japanese (or perhaps Taiwanese) soya chunks and a particular Japanese batter. I doubt they sound very enticing to meat eaters, but I find them ridiculously moreish!

Comment 1

Hi John
I really enjoyed the wedding pictures. I am a Japanese woman living in Hawaii. Like your wife, I am from Hiroshima and visit Miyajima every time I go home. My husband I are going to Hiroshima on vacation this week. Does she like living in England?

Posted by kiyoka rose at 2008/07/29 11:59:54.

Comment 2

Thanks for your comment Kiyoka-san!

Hmmmm no I am not 100% sure if Chie really likes living in England - I'm sure she would never say she prefers it to living in Japan.

She does like Hawaii though! She often asks if we can go on holiday there one day, but it is such a long way from England...


Posted by John at 2008/08/03 13:22:43.

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