Tag: scotch

More Whisky Geekery

From Luba Gloukhov of Revolution Analytics

The first time I had an Islay single malt, my mind was blown. In my first foray into the world of whiskies, I took the plunge into the smokiest, peatiest beast of them all — Laphroig. That same night, dreams of owning a smoker were replaced by the desire to roam the landscape of smoky single malts.

As an Islay fan, I wanted to investigate whether distilleries within a given region do in fact share taste characteristics. For this, I used a dataset profiling 86 distilleries based on 12 flavor categories.

It gets all down and dirty with the number crunching after that, but in the grand scheme of using R there’s always a cool plot of data to be had …

Clusters of single malt taste

Clusters of single malt taste

Peruse the whole thing if you like Scotch. And, if you are partial to statistics, regardless of the data set, and don’t have the budget for SPSS, might I suggest following this tutorial which will get R, R Studio, and related toolsets ready for work in a jiffy.

And for the manufactured suggested retail price of $0. Now if you could only get a bottle for that.

MG signing off (to sip some Scotch and crunch some numbers, just not necessarily in that order)

Top Ten Things I Learned At Alaska West

Chum salmon making the switch

When in doubt, carry the sixer, because the goblins are there. (click)

10) Casting a weighted fly with a 600 grain shooting head attached to 15 feet of T-14, eight straight hours a day, requires patience, determination, and a whole lot of Ibuprofen. Or whiskey, but read on.

9) Spey guides are like PGA club pros. Each has an opinion on your stroke and/or swing, and most of those tips are [supposedly] very useful. The challenge is putting them all together at once. And/or not punching the [golf] “pro” in the nuts. Not that I would do such a thing.

8) If you hook a monster, barely blushing King Salmon two hours into the first day, fight it to within a foot of the net only to have your tippet pop, you will not get another grab for at least 72 hours. So bring your switch rod to overcome the impending irritation – sex-crazed chum salmon are a hoot on a 6-weight. Then again, what isn’t when sex-crazed?

7) Kanektok River rainbows are often referred to as the Piranha of Alaska. They consume so much protein (in the form of dead salmon flesh and eggs) that their body mass accumulates faster than their skeletal system can handle. Hence, they have smallish tails (at least as compared to CO or WY trouts). Their sheer muscle more than makes up for it, and hooking one often requires beaching the boat and fighting them from the gravel bar. The gravel bar also serves as a great place to hit the flask.

6) If you stand waist deep in tidewater for six consecutive hours while rain sheets across your back powered by 40 mph gusts, three things will happen: first, you will hit yourself in the back of the head with a fly at least once every fifteen minutes; next, you will want to pee in your waders so as not to lose your spot; and lastly, you will desperately want a hot shower when you return to camp. Thankfully, that last bit was and is an option at Alaska West.

5) If you think fishing for King Salmon using a short spey rod attached to a click/pawl reel makes you some kind of sporting hero, I have a bridge overlooking one of the New York boroughs I’d like to show you. And some bruised and battered knuckles to sell you too.

4) If you drop your fly in the water and before you can get the shooting head off the tip a chum salmon hauls off all berserk-like with said fly in its mouth, you will catch a chum salmon on every successive cast for the rest of the day. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will definitely break the monotony.

bear prints alaska

Not my roommate, but close (click)

3) Mosquito nets are the best invention created since before the light bulb. And seeing as it never gets dark in Alaska during the summer, light bulbs are relatively useless. Hence, it stands to reason that mosquito nets are the best invention ever. At least in Alaska, in summer.

2) If you have a tendency to share your Scotch with the otherwise total strangers staying at camp with you, make sure to order an extra bottle. Make that two extra bottles.

And the number one thing I learned at Alaska West…

1) There are bears in Alaska, but it is unnecessary to automatically spray them down with repellant. Particularly if said grizzly is your bunkmate tentmate*, growling at 3am. Bring “magic nasal elixer” (Afrin) for such bears, and bring yourself some earplugs.

MG signing off (because he learned a lotta stuffs, but will probably make the same mistakes next time anyway)

Tasting notes, and thanks

Glenmorangie Tain L'Hermitage 1975Colour Deep mahogany.

Nose Rich and sweet with berry fruits and spices. At full strength, the aroma is of plums and dark chocolate with hints of mint, black pepper and almond oil.

With water, sugared plums emerge with peaches and hints of berry fruits (strawberries and raspberries), balanced by sandlewood and dates, with beeswax in the background.

Taste The flavour is richly fruity and full-bodied. The taste starts sweet and fruity then becomes slightly tart as berries appear with sherbert lemons. The taste then evolves into a lightly chewy and dry mouth feel as cocoa powder and dry vinous notes are detected.

Finish Long and dry with cocoa, deep vinous notes and plum skins.

When a 36 year old bottle of single highland malt scotch whiskey shows up on your doorstep, delivered by the hand of someone who has done oh so much already, all you can do is hope you’ll have the opportunity to share it with people just as grand.

And say thanks!

MG signing off (to await opening day)