What I made today

Sundays are perfect for lazy cooking filled with family time and good vino. Today was another sunny winter’s day primed for a potjie and smoked pork belly.

Chicken curry

20170723_133525

The warmth of a curry made with patience and care heats up any winter day. Today’s recipe is a tweaked version of Jan Braai’s chicken curry recipe, which can be found in his revised Fireworks guidebook for all things braai. Although I promised not to tweak the recipe I couldn’t resist. Added sweet potato, peas and a bit of cornstarch just to thicken it at the end. Cooked it gently for 90 minutes ensuring the sweet potato & chicken doesn’t cook away, but almost forgot to add the carrots. It had more heat than anticipated, tried a new curry mix which had more chillies than I expected. Overall not a bad effort.

Smoked pork belly

A pork belly lends itself perfectly to being smoked and with time on my hands, it really was the only option. Today’s version included a decent dry rub and new injection recipe. It included apricot & chimichurri chutney mixed with apple nectar juice and peach & apricot concentrate to intensify the flavour profile. Hickory smoked it in the Weber for two hours with intermittent sprays of apple nectar juice and peach & apricot concentrate to keep it hydrated. Turned out to be the best & moist belly I’ve done so far.

 

Loch Lomond Original Single Malt

Why Loch Lomond Original Single Malt?

DSC_0191

I was initially intrigued by the price point of the dram from a local grocer. In SA we are starved of a variety of interesting drams with sales dominated by the offerings of Pernod Ricard, Diageo and RGBC. When something new at an attractive price point is available, it must be tried!

First impressions:

The bottle has a premium dark green pigmentation similar to the Ardberg 10. Nosing it delivers a heady alcoholic punch which swiftly disappears. Initial notes of sweet caramel and granadilla as its settles with an undertone of burnt toffee. Nosing it creates the impression of something well worth the price point. Given its maturation in American oak casks the lack of expected sherry is surprising as its darkish golden hue is reminiscent of heavy sherry cask influences.  Decent leg formations coating the glass.

Taste:

Swirling before tasting releases more alcohol which quickly dissipates in the nose but does pack a punch. its definitely young and lacks depth and complexity. That being said it’s not all doom and gloom. Initial peat disappears leaving wood shavings, leather, oats and caramel which lingers.

Conclusion:

As mentioned earlier it[‘s a young whisky, not pretentious nor is the finish lingering but it’s intriguing almost flirting with you for more. It promises much but it’s one to enjoy for the fleeting sparkle then move on to something with more balance. The other option is to continue with it and by the 4th mouthful it feels smoother as its initial abrasiveness mellows the palette with doses of alcohol and peaty goodness.

Rating: Not buying again

A little history:

Sourced from Loch Lomond

Our own story began in 1772, with the founding of the Littlemill distillery on the site of an old brewery, at Dunglass Castle in Bowling. It is possibly the oldest distillery in Scotland with distilling at this site dating back to the 14th century. It is a few miles from the loch itself with its water source being the Auchentorlie Burn.

The distillery changed hands several times before it was acquired by an American gentleman named Duncan Thomas. He lived in the former exciseman’s house at Littlemill for a while, and went on to build the new Loch Lomond Distillery in Alexandria which is now our home.

The inspiration for the Loch Lomond Distillery comes from the physical beauty of the Highland region in which it is sited. The magnificent Ben Lomond mountain towers above the loch and looks down on the distillery. Its history is steeped in the 7 Celtic Clans that touched Loch Lomond, including the clans of Colquhoun, Mcfarlane, Galbraith, MacAulay (2), Menzies and Buchanan.

Loch Lomond distillery opened in 1964, with production beginning the following year. In 1984 the distillery closed – or fell silent, to use the traditional term. Happily though, Alexander Bulloch and the Glen Catrine company acquired the business and resumed malt production in 1987. Grain whisky production began in 1993 and two new malt stills were added in 1999.

At the time the Grain distillery opened in 1994, it was the only distillery in Scotland producing both Grain and Malt whisky. It also operates a unique set-up of three sets of stills.

The Black Grouse

A little history

Sourced from The Famous Grouse website.

Scotland’s favourite whisky was created in 1896 by Matthew Gloag, whose signature is still printed on every bottle of The Famous Grouse sold today. Matthew was born to the trade – his grandfather, also called Matthew, founded the family wine and spirit business in Perth in 1835, and his uncle William started blending whisky in 1860.

DSC_0005Over the years, generations of the Gloag family have worked with expert blenders, stillmen, coopers, merchants and retailers to make our whisky Famous. Our home is now the Glenturret distillery in Crieff – the oldest working distillery in Scotland – and we still adhere to Matthew Gloag’s guiding principles of quality and integrity in everything we do.

Why The Black Grouse

Over a number of years The Black Grouse (TBG) has become my favourite daily dram. Its unique peatiness, lush golden caramel hue at a ridiculous inexpensive price has made it a constant addition to my monthly grocery trolley.

Notes

First impressions:

Very long legs in the glass, peaty but lingering alcoholic nose. Lots of burnt orange and peanut brittle. Inhaling it enough does induce dizziness which is common with all peaty whiskies even more so with a dram like The Peat Monster or SmokeHead. It has a vibrant yet deep caramel hue. A definite step up from the standard bland Famous Grouse.DSC_0011

Taste:

Instant warm caramel, hints of vanilla, a taste of oak with the colour of sherry filled casks, the influence of alcohol a bit heavy at the start but it quickly leaves a warm luxurious feel in the mouth. Reminiscent of proper 90% cocoa chocolate. Don’t advise keeping it in your mouth too long as the alcoholic influence of this young blend will overpower the instant gratification this dram yields.

Conclusion:

Its not a heavy peaty dram but ticks all the boxes to entice the senses and enlighten you. Works really well in winter but given my preference for something that has hints of complexity yet won’t require me to make a special occasion of it, it is my preferred daily dram all year long.

Rating: Definitely a buy

Why

Whisky tasting is inherently very subjective. Its an experience which is not replicable and must be lived in the moment. I’ve had the privilege of buying and tasting some fine whiskies and do hope you find our journey together fun, insightful, entertaining and informative.

My plan is to share my tasting experience, in most instances it will be whisky but definitely not limited to it. The odd #foodporn picture I’m sure will at some stage be posted but the focus will predominantly be aqua vitae.

I’ll  always try to include a rating which will range from not buying to definitely buying. Its easy and reflective of my uncomplicated nature. The posting frequency will vary and be dependent on the availability of something interesting to share.