Xmas loot

From: william (WILLIAMA) 2 Jan 14:02
To: ALL1 of 33
I got:

a posh bottle of gin and numerous exotic tonics
Half Life Alyx (and Budget Cuts and Red Matter)
some crumpet rings (I suggested them a while back)
a tower socket extension (I suggested it etc)
some bread-makers' bags (cotton bags to keep bread in)
and last, but not least one of these, which is something I've wanted for ever

So I'm feeling pretty spoiled
From: Dave!! 2 Jan 16:38
To: william (WILLIAMA) 2 of 33
For me, it was:

Several nice bottles of whisky - including a lovely GlenDronach 21 year old from my sister
A proper Kodi remote control (so I don't have to use a wireless keyboard to control the Rasberry Pi any more)
A "smart" battery charger that can automatically drain and re-charge batteries to improve longevity, amongst other things
A couple of nice tools for the garage
Technically a BeerHawk advent calendar (although I got that on the 1st December for obvious reasons)
The usual pile of socks, chocolates and whatnot.
EDITED: 2 Jan 16:39 by DAVE!!
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 3 Jan 00:40
To: Dave!! 3 of 33
What is BeerHawk?
From: william (WILLIAMA) 3 Jan 12:09
To: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 4 of 33
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 3 Jan 13:18
To: william (WILLIAMA) 5 of 33
Wow. Is that the going rate for take-outs (+ delivery)?
From: Dave!! 3 Jan 14:01
To: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 6 of 33
I think so, it is quite expensive but the beers are all pretty unusual ones I hadn't had before. And besides, I didn't pay for it :)
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 3 Jan 14:41
To: Dave!! 7 of 33
We've got some at the LCBO in that price range (some even higher), seems to be a trend.

Anyway ... any favourites out of that lot?
EDITED: 3 Jan 14:42 by DSMITHHFX
From: Dave!! 3 Jan 17:27
To: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 8 of 33
Not really if I'm honest, there were a few good ones, but also a lot of strange ones that weren't really to my palette. Still, it was a nice change from my usual beers!
From: koswix 3 Jan 19:07
To: william (WILLIAMA) 9 of 33
How'd you get on the crumpet rings? We've tried a few kinds and never had great success, crumpets always stick T_T
From: koswix 3 Jan 19:10
To: Dave!! 10 of 33
You should check out the range they stock at the Craft Beer Exchange in Keefly. Some proper weird shit.
From: william (WILLIAMA) 3 Jan 19:15
To: koswix 11 of 33
Haven't tried them yet. I have a set of silicone rings that don't stick (providing they're clean) but they're too small. I suppose you've tried buttering the rings (nj) in advance?
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 3 Jan 19:55
To: Dave!! 12 of 33
> lovely GlenDronach 21 year old

Never managed to try the 21, but every other Glendronach I've had's been lovely. What other bottles did you get?

My mum got me a bottle of gin, despite me never drinking gin, and despite me telling her last time she gave me a bottle of gin that I don't drink gin. I gave my sister a (different) bottle of gin, which prompted a conversation about how I don't drink gin. I think I'll be getting gin again next year.

I also got:
  • The Hawksmoor restaurant cookery book
  • A set of kitchen knives*
  • Lots of coffee beans
*Just to check - how widespread is it that it's bad luck to give knives as a gift? So they came with a coin attached, which I had to give back. I'm well used to this witchcraft, but it was news to my girlfriend.
From: william (WILLIAMA) 3 Jan 22:12
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 13 of 33
It's reasonably bad luck to give knives forcefully into the centre mass of the body. Seriously, never heard that. If I think about it long enough, I'll start to believe it's a well known superstition.

Actually, just asked my wife and daughter and they both said "yes" in a kind of Molesworth "as any fule kno" way. So I suppose it's a well known superstition. For context, my wife is French/Maltese/English and my daughter is Netflix/Internet.

That 21 yo looks pricey. On the other hand, I suppose, with the cost of spirits now, especially in city centre bars, it's not uncommon for a bottle of any old shite to be valued at £80 or more. Makes a really nice single malt seem like a bargain. I know it's a whisky that's become very Shoreditch-trendy, but I really like Laphroaig. And I'm not over fussed about the cask it was matured in.
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 5 Jan 01:07
To: william (WILLIAMA) 14 of 33
The Glendronach is actually really well priced for a 21-year-old single malt these days, especially as it's non chill-filtered and not artificially coloured (and bottled at a good strength of 48%). The equivalent Macallan (the most popular "premium" Scotch brand) would set you back at least double. Admittedly, it's outwith the price I'd be happy to pay for a bottle because I'd feel guilty drinking it, but as a gift, it's a very nice gift.

The whisky marketplace is a bit nuts just now (and has been for a good few years), and it's interesting to see what's going on in the gulf between the kind of whiskies you can pick up in your local supermarket, and the more specialist stuff. The move to "no age statement" (NAS) bottlings is very apparent at the supermarket end. If a single malt whisky has an age statement on it, it is the age of the youngest cask* to go into the blend. If no age statement is given, anything over 3 years (the point at which stuff in the casks can legally be called whisky) can be used.

The marketing people will tell you that the move to NAS bottlings is because age isn't necessarily a signifier of quality, and that by blending casks of various ages, they can create a fuller and more consistent experience. The cynics will suggest that maybe it's more to do with the lack of older casks because production in the past can't match demand now, and that in order to flog a bottle in the £20-50 range, corners have to be cut - younger spirit watered down to 40% abv, filtered and coloured with E150 for that consistent caramel colour. Not to say the whiskies are necessarily /bad/, just not as good as what you'd get for your money a decade ago.

Meanwhile, at the higher end, they're very much aiming at the "luxury" market (bungs for high-ranking officials, a cynic might say), and anything interesting coming out of the big names is snapped up by collectors, prospectors, investors and flippers. Some of it might even get drunk.

This kind of leaves those of us who want to drink half-decent whisky without breaking the bank having to do a bit more work and veer away from the big names. Thankfully, there's a vast and bewildering infrastructure out there now, and certain distilleries/brands seem to be happy to cater for the enthusiast rather the collector, and for the last few years Glendronach's been one of them, sticking to a core range of sensible age statements (see footnote below), matured in good quality sherry casks, with decent bottling strengths, and the occasional special edition.

*Which led to an interesting situation a few years ago where, due to the mothballing of the distillery in the 90s, bottles of the core Glendronach 12-15-18 range actually had much older whisky in them. It's all sorted now, unfortunately.
EDITED: 5 Jan 01:09 by WINGNUTKJ
From: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 5 Jan 01:09
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 15 of 33
(I am not sponsored by Glendronach)
From: CHYRON (DSMITHHFX) 5 Jan 01:30
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 16 of 33
(I am not sponsored by Glendronach)

More's the pity.

From: Den (MENACE) 7 Jan 13:11
To: ALL17 of 33
Main loot this year was an iFixit Pro Toolkit, great for small gadget work.
Nothing musical, as my former career as a rock bassist has been entirely scuppered by serious degenerative disc disease, ie can now barely walk...
Birthday gift: 128GB Samsung Fit flash drive, fast enough to use as storage on an Asus TP200SA, which has a miniscule 32GB C drive.
And we bought wine. Lots of wine. Just because.
From: koswix 7 Jan 13:25
To: Kenny J (WINGNUTKJ) 18 of 33
My next door neighbour works for a distillery with awfy attractive banks, and was telling me a hilarious story just before Christmas about how one of the guys from his work had had to deliver an £18k 8-O bottle to him to auction off for something or other, and nearly dropped it on the driveway due to the icy conditions.

The next day he asked a favour of me, which I gladly undertook, and he said there'd be a bottle of whisky in it for me.  (bounce)

He brought it round on xmas eve. It was Jack Daniels.  :L
From: Dave!! 9 Jan 13:33
To: koswix 19 of 33
You pointed out I assume that Jack Daniels is better suited to cleaning toilets than being consumed?

Anyway, the other bottles I got were a bottle of Jura Loch - apparently a travel exclusive, but a lot of these are being sold normally at the moment due to lack of travel. I also got a bottle of Eagle Rare bourbon - I do like a nice bourbon from time to time, so long as it isn't the cheap shit like JD. Meanwhile for my wife, she got a bottle of Benromach which is quite nice, plus I bought her another nice bourbon - a bottle of Blanton's which is actually very nice!

Either way though, our whisky shelf is suitably re-stocked now :)
From: william (WILLIAMA) 9 Jan 14:06
To: koswix 20 of 33
Perhaps, as Jack Daniels has the same parent company as Glendronach, he assumed it would be nice.

I know somebody who loves the stuff. She guzzles huge quantities. I forget how awful it is and try a glass every few years. Although it isn't as tooth-achingly sickly as that appalling whisky-liqueur Southern Comfort, it does leave you feeling as though a whole chocolate orange has been forced into your mouth and the residue polished off with a solution of Vics Vapour Rub and meths.