A visit to Forsyths – the great whisky still makers

March 30, 2012 § 16 Comments

Forsyth copper still - in the making. Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Last week I had the opportunity to be a part of the most unique tour in Speyside, Scotland.  A tour that is quite uncommon and not available to the public – and one that I will remember for the rest of my life  (in a way that only a true whisky-geek could).

I walked the grounds of the Forsyths facility – the Forsyth facility.  You know the guys … the ones responsible for creating and maintaining all of the equipment that goes in to making that beautiful dram in your hand.  The stills.  The beautiful copper stills.  To the likes of Balvenie and Bruichladdich, from Kavalan to one day soon, Balcones.  These are the original still masters and they continue today to make the stills by hand – 3 generations later.

A most sincere THANK YOU to Richard Forsyth for being such a generous host and to Chip Tate (Balcones) for the awesome & unforgettable invitation.

So, put on your hard hat and your ear plugs, this Whisky Woman is going to let you peep inside this magnificent palace of constant construction!

A massive Irish still in the making - Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Hello beautiful! Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Forsyth stills - Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

That's a mighty large fermentation tank, you got there!
Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Safety first! Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Base of a massive still destined for Ireland - Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Copper talk @ Forsyth - Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

Yours truly modeling her hard hat - Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

The neck of a still being worked on by hand - so cool! - Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

The day ended with a few shared glasses of whisky and a solid game of pool.  Naturally, I was on the winning team – kicking butt with my rock-star partner, Richard.

A great game of pool - I won (but only with a ton of help from my partner, Richard Forsyth) 😉 - Photo (c) The Whisky Woman, 2012

And just to come full circle, Richard’s father (also Richard Forsyth) was awarded the Icons of Whisky Lifetime Achievement Award in London later that week.  Congratulations Richard on receiving such a high honor and much deserved recognition.

Whisky Review: Kornog – Celtic Whisky Compagnie (part 2)

March 14, 2012 § 8 Comments

In preparation for my fast-approaching trip to Europe where I’ll be attending the World Whisky Conference, the Icons of Whisky awards, Whisky Live UK and doing a few days in both Scotland and France, I thought it best to do a pre-trip detox.  Limiting myself to only the necessary sips of spirits and events that my life requires.

…But then again – I AM a whisky blogger…

I can’t totally abandon all fun drinking for a week, can I?  I say no.  So I have found myself wishing to revisit a beautiful bottle of Kornog that was gifted to me by the ever-talented head distiller, Jean Donnay, of the Celtic Whisky Compagnie.  And since I already published my post about my visit to his picturesque distillery (click HERE for Part 1), I thought today was the day to abandon my carrot+kale+celery concoction and reunite myself with my trusty Glencarin glass.  Here it goes!

Goodbye Juice-on-the-Roof

The Whisky Woman's Juice on the Roof - a silly attempt to detox

Hello Friend!

Happiness in a glass

ABOUT: 46% abv (92 proof), Peated Single Malt Whisky, twice distilled in copper pots over live flame, wooden washbacks, aged in French Oak on an earth floor where it rested in the salty-air climate of Brittany, France for at least 3 years

NOSE: Definitely classic, pure “peat” (think Sharpie marker), toasted cereal, hint of dried tropical fruit, ripe banana

PALATE: Sweet, buttery grain, smooth approach in the beginning, obvious peat appears in the middle which morphs into the black pepper that cuts through the buttered grains

FINISH: Happily strong, travels nicely through the mouth with a long, lingering finish.  Black pepper re-appears on the tip of the tongue at the very end.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The little time in the barrels makes it very light and approachable and gives space to let this whisky’s classic peat notes shine through.  If you’re new to whisky and want to find out if you like peated malts, this is a GREAT place to start.  Not many barrel notes – which is expected.  Very enjoyable.  A PERFECT whisky to drink during the transition from Winter to Spring.  The peat is there to add a little warmth while the lightness is refreshing.

Photo courtesy of Celtic Whisky Compagnie

Whiskey Photography … under a microscope!

March 7, 2012 § 10 Comments

Last week, I was excited to click on a link from a friend to an article in the Huffington Post published about scientist Michael Davidson.  The article says that back in the 1990’s, Davidson used a high-powered microscope at the Florida State Research Foundation to photograph a variety of drinks – mostly of the alcoholic variety (fun!).

The results are really – well – stunning.   I’ve shared 2 of the whisky photos below as well as a piña colada, tequila & vodka tonic.  Before or after consuming one of these beverages – I might swear that I had just seen these hanging in the MOMA.  What do you think?  Can your favorite drink be both a work of art on your bar and on your wall?

Photograph of Scotch as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of http://www.bevshots.com. Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

The above is a photo of Scotch.  The article doesn’t say if it’s a blended Scotch or single malt though …

Photograph of Tennessee Whiskey as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of http://www.bevshots.com. Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post

This looks like abstract coffee beans to me!  But instead … it’s Tennessee Whiskey!

The next three are not of the whisky/whiskey variety but fun and beautiful nonetheless.  Enjoy!!!

Photograph of a Piña Colada as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of http://www.bevshots.com. Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

Photograph of a Vodka Tonic as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of http://www.bevshots.com. Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

Photograph of Tequila as viewed under a microscope, by Michael Davidson, courtesy of http://www.bevshots.com. Copyright 2012. Originally published in Huffington Post.

Please click HERE to be taken to Huffington Post’s original article and to see more beautiful photos!

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