It's A Small World
March 10, 2004 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Nice Whisk(e)y: Shame About The Size! Behold a wonderful, almost infinitely explorable repository of miniature bottles of whisk(e)y; a Japanese one-guy Smithsonian that's quite probably the only resort for those looking for labels of ancient and/or abandoned delights. American straight whiskey fanatics (like me) will be specially surprised. Worth exploring, though exploration isn't easy: it's full of unexpected riches, but never easily had. [Previously offered in the course of a classic languagehat post.]
posted by MiguelCardoso (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check out the Blend Vs. Malt topic! Who knew that Johnny Walker Black was made from Talisker, Lagavulin, and Cardhu? Well, maybe you did, but I didn't.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 9:45 PM on March 10, 2004

Yes, you generally have to visit the distillery to get that kind of information. But this collector is obsessed - he wants a miniature of everything whiskyish that has to do with anything and when he has to confess he hasn't got one yet, you can tell it hurts.

Anyway, here's the direct link to the bottle gallery. His American holdings are so good that, if you're googling for bourbon, Tennessee, Kentucky or rye whiskies, his web site keeps turning up (which is how I found him, natch).

Sirmissalot: I visited Cardhu Distillery, invited by the Chief Blender of Johnny Walker and about 30 malts and 15 grain whiskies enter into their blends, though Cardhu is indeed the main factor. Funnily enough, Cardhu (after a legal tizz) is no longer labeled as a single malt but as a "pure" malt", meaning it's no longer the exclusive, unblended product of the (really tiny, charming) Cardhu distillery - but a blend of malts (what used to be called a "vatted malt", but purer). The label changed to green, at least here in Portugal. And people stopped buying it too...

This month, not surprisingly, they seem to have expressed a desire to go back to things as they were... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:02 PM on March 10, 2004

All that whisky and not a drop to drink. I'm amazed at the quality whiskys available in those little bottles.

After having tasted a wee dram of Johnny Walker Blue, it would be interesting to taste its components. Unfortunately, it looks like it'll be a bit of a wait for the Cardhu.

At the very least I have another distillery or three on my list of must-visits on my next trip to Scotland. Thanks for the links!
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:27 AM on March 11, 2004

So it's not a double post if you merely repost the root of a site that was previously linked deeper?

I have dibs on FPP for

Thanks for a wealth of new FPP possibilities Miguel!
posted by Ynoxas at 5:35 AM on March 11, 2004

South Carolina is no. 1 in the US for those little bottles of dynamite, state law only allows minibottles in bars, etc. to be served
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 5:40 AM on March 11, 2004

Ah, Migs, you're makin' me thirsty, blast you. I'm tempted to leave work, take an early train home, and polish off the tiny bottle of "100 Years of Scotch" blend I got at a tasting a few years ago...

Ynoxas: No, it's not. Many a good front page post (note: Matt hates "FPP") has come from the innards of a previous thread.
posted by languagehat at 7:34 AM on March 11, 2004

You should have seen the coverage that the Scottish press gave to the Cardhu Scandal, Miguel: it was considered a slap in the face of the industry by Diageo.

The Blends/Malts thing is definitely simplistic: for starters, it doesn't mention the role of grains or vatted malts in blends. I went to a promo night a few years back for the relaunch of Whyte & Mackay where we got to make our own blends from 30 or so bottles: all very Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, especially after drinking the stuff.

Anyone in London wanting to a sample of those miniatures should go to Old Compton Street: if the Vintage House doesn't have it, then walk or stagger 20 yards and visit Gerry's, which also has every other spirit imaginable.
posted by riviera at 4:43 PM on March 11, 2004

Ah, riviera - Old Compton Street is my favourite London street, you make me cry. Perhaps my favourite street period, along with the Rua do Arsenal in Lisbon. We (my parents) had a crummy apartment in Soho Square and so I watched OCS grow up. My brother and I, aged 12 and 13, were relieved of our money (and watches), at the door of an OCS sex bar, having the fear of God put into us by a mustachioed Cypriot tout about calling the police and letting our parents know of our lasciviousness, without as much as stepping into the doorway.

Years later, for Portuguese students like me, it was home and London at the same time. There you got every newspaper and magazine under the sun in two magnificent, Babelian newsagents (never equalled anywhere); the best freshly roasted coffee beans (in the Algerian Coffee House receipts were written with fountain pens, I kid you not); great Spanish and Greek groceries which sold good olive oil (sold in Boots as a medicine, in 0,1 litre flasks), "bacalhau" and everything else we craved; seedy bookshops back in the day when dirty books were hard to find; discounted Italian wine...

And yes, those miniature bottles. Ah thanks for the memory! :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:26 PM on March 11, 2004

I suspect this post is dead as a doornail and due to scroll off of the front page any minute now, but there's an interesting piece posted to Slate today that talks about that wonderful nectar of the peat.

The article goes on to mention a dvd series about whiskies.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:55 PM on March 12, 2004

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