Recently it was my birthday. So I’m a week older than I was a week ago. 🙂
But we like to mark things, and so there was some minor celebrating. I burned 18 months of “loyalty” points at my local wine and spirits shop; which netted a tasty bottle of Scapa. Right now the whisky which is available is a bit strange, in that the distillery was mothballed in 1994 (though a small bit of distilling took place every year). Pernod/Chivas reopened in it 2004. So my bottle of “16” year old whisky§ was distilled before the present owners bought the property (there are any number of “orphaned” stocks floating about. They can be quite dear). I have a wee dram in a snifter right now. The snifter is a bit of celebratory stuff too. I paid for it with a photo.
Ok, to be honest, I paid for about €80 worth of glass with a few Tiffs, but it was still the case that I paid for it with pictures.
I’m drinking with a “wee drap o’ burn water” This burn, to be specific.
It opens the flavors up some. It makes the whisky a bit less mellow, reduces the honey notes, and raises more of the heather, and gives it a more peppery aftertaste, but the middle is a bit “hotter” for it.
I was also given (as opposed to obtained for myself; using my birthday as an excuse to indulgence) a Schacht Bulky Plyer Flyer Head (say that five times fast). It’s a bit more work than I was thinking because (perforce) it’s meant to do “bulky” yarns, so the orifice is large enough to allow fat bundles of singles/plies in that they may become fat plies/cables (that link is part of a pretty interesting blog entry on spinning flax; on two flyers at the same time). The “hooks” are also different to the one’s I am used to, being loops of plastic, which slide between preset locales on the flyer. The manual (yes, I read it) says one needs to keep them in the same relative postions, as a matter of balance. Since they are closed loops the yarns can’t be moved from one side to the other. It’s not as big a deal when plying it, but it’s not what I think ideal for spinning singles. On the upside, the plies can’t come off the hooks if the spin gets reversed (which I seem to be more prone to when plying then when spinning).
So it’s time to take advantage of it, which means picking up a latent project. I have six oz. of lavender merino, of which I’ve spun one ounce, worsted. Spun up it ought to make a heavy sock-weight yarn. With the new flyer I can do two-ounces per bobbin, and get a skein with a really nice length, somewhere between 200-300 yards.
§ For those who don’t know the “age” of a Scotch is the age of the youngest whisky in the blend. There are three types of scotch, Blended, Vatted, and Single Malt. Blended has Grain Whisky added (basically locally made Everclear; it took a lawsuit to resolve the issue). Vatted is a blending of the whiskies of several distilleries (e.g. The Lismore), and Single Malt is the result of blends of a single distillery. Inside Single Malt one also finds Single Barrel; which is usually the product of a single year, and Cask Strength is which is bottled with the alcoholic content the Distiller (i.e. the person actually running the still) decided was the proof at which the whisky would age best in the cask. It’s usually between 94°-110°. A good Blended (they exist), or Vatted, whisky is harder to make then a decent Single Malt, since the idea is that from year to year there will be little variation in the profile. This means having a large battery of secondary whiskies to balance the primary (e.g. Grant’s is built on The Glenfiddich, and Pinch uses Cardhu). Even in a Single Malt distillery there is some blending, as the variance from year to year (what with the vagaries of weather, how strongly the malt took the peat, what the barrels were like, etc., affects the resting spirits). So there may be some portion of the bottle which is older than 16, but none of it can be younger). That’s why, when a distillery goes under, all sort of interesting things show up.