Thursday, 30 April 2015

Glastonbury: It's full of fuckwits

As promised last week, it is time now to take you back to last summer with a trip to the legendary Glastonbury Festival.

Glastonbury. Where the do you start with this? It’s legendary, possibly the greatest festival there has ever been. Five days of music, drinking, dancing, mud, drugs… and bums. Yes, bums. At this year’s festival (my first Glastonbury) I exceeded my normal number of bums seen in a week quota, by quite a lot. Girls in hot pants, in dresses that were too short, cheeks on show, underwear missing presumed absent  – let’s just get that particular aspect out of the way first, then we can get on to the other things.

Yes, it was baffling.

It is possible that this one might not be as much about booze as it should be, but we’ll see. “Bare” with me.


What’s the first thing you need then, when going to the Glastonbury Festival? Well, of course it’s a ticket. And they were something like £230 this year (including a parking pass), which is fairly ridiculous considering how sharply that figure has risen over the last decade, but you are getting the greatest party in the world™.

You might also need some friends (or a partner) who are willing to get out of bed before 9 on a Sunday morning and continuously hit refresh on an internet browser while you sleep off the previous night’s debauchery.

Tick, tick and tick on that one for me.

Then you need to be thinking about logistics. How are you going to get there? What are you going to sleep in? What are you going to take? How much booze are you going to need?

People came up with all kinds of answers to those questions. Let’s have a look at some, shall we?

  • How are you going to get there?

For us it was a case of drive down for a few days in Gloucestershire first, then head to the festival from there. It wasn’t exactly easy because you had to decide whereabouts you wanted to camp in advance, and then approach the enormous site from the right direction. In our case it was to be from the West, but we started North East. On top of that, signs to the site weren’t always as helpful as they could have been.The site is so big that it was like planning a military assault, planning which hills you were going to come over.

  • What are you going to sleep in?

Most people chose the tent in a muddy field surrounded by empty beer cans option, some even by a busy path or notoriously daunting toilets (having to inhale that smell the whole time… ew). Some have camper vans, and get to stay in fields a little further away with toilets you can actually shit in without worrying about catching typhoid or challenging your hamstrings to support a marathon half-squat.

Luckily, our friends have a camper van with a convenient awning that they allowed us to sleep in. Quiet and comfortable. Nice.

  • What are you going to take?

You can split this one into categories – clothes and booze mainly. For us it was oldish clothes and waterproofs while for everyone else it seemed to be hotpants and summer dresses (for the girls), and t-shirts and shorts (for the boys).

In terms of booze, I took 32 cans of Holsten Pils, 2.5 litres of cider, a plastic bottle of cheap dark rum and a litre bottle of the Stolichnaya. Mrs Cake took cans of Hobgoblin and Old Speckled Hen, a number of canned cocktails, a bottle of Spanish gin and the Green Mark vodka. All I saw anyone else lugging about on their trolleys was crate upon crate of Foster’s, Strongbow and Kronenberg. Occasionally you’d see a massive jug of local cider (which you can buy outside the festival from roadside stalls).

It’s also a good idea to take plenty of toilet roll and some of that hand sanitiser stuff.

  • How much booze are you going to need?

Well, we nearly [nearly] took enough. But not quite. On the last two days it turned out I only had 6 cans left, so I had to allocate myself three per day. You can’t take glass into the festival, so one afternoon I walked back to the car to refill my hip flask with Stoli, and that only lasted one day. I couldn’t be bothered to make another trip because it had taken about 45 minutes that first time and my feet were killing from spending 12 hours a day standing around or power walking in wellies.

So let that be a lesson to you; overestimate, add a bit more, then add a bit more. That’s probably almost enough.
not enough. anywhere near


Things don’t really start until Friday, but most people arrive two days before that, as we did. So you spend a couple of days wandering around, getting the lay of land and all that. There’s always plenty going on with sound systems, bars, stages of performing arts of all kinds as well as just random shit that makes you go: what’s this for? Like a double decker bus that just has loads of shit in it – by which I mean pictures, dolls, toys, artefacts, knick-knacks. I just didn’t get it.

Come and have a look in me bus!

What for?

You just pick a destination, head over there with your can in your hand, and check it out.

In all honesty, the line-up of musical acts wasn’t as much to my taste as I had seen billed in previous years. This year I remember seeing:

Pixies – a favourite band of mine, who were excellent as usual.

Kelis – she did a cursory two verses and two choruses of Milkshake, and then we had somewhere else to be.

Metallica – interesting that a metal band should headline the Saturday night. They were ok, but I don’t think Metallica are all that.

The Subways – just about as average as a rock band can be.

Dolly Parton – convinced she was miming.

Lana Del Rey – yawn.

Kasabian – what it would sound like if Robbie Williams had a rock band.

Jurassic 5 – seen them before, it is what it is.

De La Soul – the first band I saw, I think. I have a number of their records, but was quite surprised by how good their set was.

The Radiophonic Workshop – one of the highlights; electronic music pioneers.

Jack White – I like Jack White, but this was disappointing.

Rodrigo y Gabriela – has anyone ever bought one of their records?

Warpaint – nothing to say, but I do like them.

Tinariwen – nice, groovy, bluesy north African pscyhedelia… with lots of toffs hanging around, talking loudly.

I deliberately avoided Ed Sheeran, Arcade Fire, Elbow, The Black Keys, Jake Bugg, Paulo Nutini, Kaiser Chiefs… so you can see… it was more about avoiding things I didn’t want to see than there being too many things that I did want to see.

Your Own Perfect Party

Now, after that last section about music, you’re going to think I wasn’t having a very good time. Seriously though: I was. It’s not all about the bands, and the experience alone is enough to keep you going. There are of course, other means of entertainment – one of the performance highlights in fact was the English National Ballet, which was just superb. The entire audience stood in solemn silence through the whole thing, holding back tears, the peace broken only occasionally by people wandering in from elsewhere going, “what the fuck is going on?” – that and a few of us that couldn’t help breaking the sombre mood by laughing at a girl’s dress that was riding up too high while she retrieved something from a friends backpack [back to bums again].

The greatest thing about Glastonbury is that you can go out and find your own perfect party. It’s all right there. My group’s best night was the Thursday night when we went to the South East Corner – Block 9, Shangri-La and the Unfairground where everything is a post-apocalyptic set filled with stages, bars and scenery. We happened upon a tiny bar playing a bit of metal (that you had to answer a rock-related question to be granted admission), and seemed to actually get the party to take off by requesting System of a Down. For the next hour we danced around and screamed like idiots before collectively thinking our work here is done, fist bumping the dj and a south American looking dude, and heading off for further adventures.

Two nights later I saw the same thing happen again when, after Metallica’s set we stopped off at a bar and a couple of Metallica and Rage Against the Machine tracks brought out a number of peoples’ inner rock gods and there was all manner of screaming, air-guitarring, gurning… just pure joy. I don’t know what happened when, 20 minutes later the dj played Eminem and then Outcast and… everyone just accepted the change in musical styles, though the atmosphere had been lost. For those 20 minutes it was the greatest party those few people had ever seen – just like two nights before. We wandered on.


Glastonbury is famed for its weather – so much so that the media tends to fixate on it to some extent. If you live somewhere in the world, and you’ve heard of Glastonbury you’ve probably seen footage of mud and people covered in it, wrestling in it, sliding in it, even canoeing in it. This year was the same in the media – we had a bit of heavy rain which resulted in some muddy conditions, but what the media conveniently missed out was that for the majority of the time it was sunny and hot – so much so that I got a proper tan.

We weren’t worried about the mud anyway – I’d brought wellies, waterproof trou and a jacket (I am in my 30s), and the worst thing was just that it made it hard to find anywhere to sit down. We actually avoided the heaviest downpour, as we were taking timeout in the camper van. I made it back from my epic vodka replenishment trip just in time.

The fuckwits

Now, on that first Wednesday, when we arrived, the mood was surprisingly subdued as we pulled into the car park. I was expecting people to be squealing with delight, shouting bollocks, drinking cans immediately, as they began the weary trudge from their cars to wherever they were going to pass out for the next 5 nights (like at Leeds Festival), but nothing of the sort. It had an orderly sense of inevitability about it. Worry ye not, these people are going to party, and fairly soon they are going to turn into fuckwits – a term Mrs Cake coined one night with astounding clarity and accuracy.

Yes, these people are all fuckwits, with their ridiculous behaviour, ridiculous clothes, flower garlands in their hair, leather hats with horns, inhaling helium in the stone circle, painting their faces, queuing for half an hour to clean their teeth at the water point, when they could just have collected water earlier in a bottle, wearing a condom over their head and blowing it up with their nose while their friends point and laugh hysterically… but… in fairness the most ridiculous behaviour was perpetrated by only one or two individuals, and if you apply the rules of an infinite universe, these kinds of things are inevitable when you have so many people all partying together in one place at one time.

And anyway, I can’t exclude myself from these people. I’m older than most of them, I’m probably not having quite as much fun as them or being quite so ridiculous… but I’m a fuckwit too. We all become bellends after dark, but some are bellends all day. And fair enough. Is this a festival or isn’t it?

Glastonbury is way posher and way  better behaved than Leeds Festival – at times you feel like you’re in an episode of Made in Chelsea, or you do if you grew up anywhere North of Cheltenham – but you still get certain types of lazy behaviour like pissing in bushes (near tents where people are actually living) instead of going to the toilets… Mrs Cake and “Veronica” actually started a chant about that:

Don’t piss in the bush! Don’t piss in the bush! You should be asha-a-a-med! You should be asha-a-a-med!

… which “Pablo” tried to copy to hilarious effect after we’d had a joint a night or two later.

There was also a Who’s the Douche in the limo? chant, which went down quite well as one drove past us towards the VIP area with two bored looking girls in it.

Anyway, everyone was having fun, getting drunk, taking drugs with absolutely nothing negative (in my experience) to report. Would I go again? Yeah, but not for a while.


So it was a mad, fun few days followed by a marathon journey home. Oddly though, I was left feeling refreshed and ready to get on with life again – until Wednesday morning when I returned to work.

So last summer ended up turning into one gargantuan drinking session after another, which is fine and all, but it had never been quite so prolonged before, As this summer approaches, for some reason I can’t help thinking things will be more restrained… for some reason… but that’s a different story for another time.

Whatever your plans for the summer, make them responsibly alcohol fuelled and fun. And if you’re going to Glastonbury, remember; don’t piss in the bush.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Spirit Log: Glenfiddich 15 Solera Vat

It’s funny how these coincidences happen; you read about something perhaps, that you’ve never heard of before, and then the same subject pops up a few days later out of nowhere. Just last week I was describing the Solera aging process on a visit to a winery, and when I look today, to see what I have scheduled for this week’s post... it’s the Glenfiddich Solera Vat.On we go.

There’s a test you can use should you ever need to decide whether you really want to buy something: walk away. If you walk away and you keep thinking about it, then you really want it, so you need to go back and get it.

I applied this test recently, when I saw a couple of Glenfiddich expressions on special offer at Morrison’s when we were booze shopping for the upcoming Glastonbury Festival. Scotch certainly wasn’t what I’d gone for, but around £5 off of the 14 year old Rich Oak and the 15 year old Solera Vat was very tempting.

Not wanting to suffer an episode of whisky guilt I told myself no, but over the next couple of days I came to realise that I had more than sufficient funds remaining in my monthly booze budget – and what’s a surplus for if it doesn’t allow you to take advantage of price reductions from time to time?

You see, I’ve been buying scotch in a very deliberate way recently; rotating the various regions and types of expression to vary the kinds of things I’m sampling. It has meant that I’ve gone from not knowing what to buy next, to knowing what I’m going to buy sometimes two months in advance. While that gives my exploration a purpose, it has also meant that I’ve been cheated of some of the unexpurgated joy of just stumbling across something and making a surprise purchase.

So there I was at work one day thinking, I wonder if there’s a decent sized Morrisons around here?

There isn’t.

A few minutes later I thought, I wonder if those same whiskies are on offer anywhere else…? told me that they were – at the Asda in Hulme that is a mere 10-15 minute walk away, so off I went and in the end, chose the 15 year old over the 14 year old.

It’s a sad 40% ABV, but it is interesting in that it has been partially aged in the Spanish solera style, which is what they use in brandy (and indeed sherry) production. The Glenfiddich method would seem to differ somewhat though, in that the spirit is first aged in sherry, bourbon and new oak casks before being married in a large pine tun that is always kept half full. So if you’re new to this whole concept, the aged spirit is blended in a big pine tun. Some of the contents of the tun is bottled (leaving at least half) and the tun is then refilled. This process is ongoing so in theory, some of the whisky in the tun dates back to when the process began… though presumably they will never be able to label it at more than 15 years since you can only count the years it spends in a cask. It may continue to age in the pine tun to some degree, and that might have an effect but in scotch production you can’t increase the age statement since it always has to reflect the age of the youngest spirit in the mix.

Now, this is quite an interesting method, but one thing that piqued my interest is that one of the intended effects is to foster consistency in the spirit. That doesn’t entirely make sense to me since, rather than blending from a number of casks to achieve a certain taste profile, this method means slapping a whole bunch of stuff into one vat where spirit of different vintages will marry  - but surely the flavour you achieve in your bottled product will develop over time…

Well, to be fair, how much do I know about the results of the solera process? I haven’t been drinking products made in that way for decades, so I can’t tell… maybe it does result in consistency. Whatever, we’ll come to see what it tastes like and try to draw some conclusions later.

It is presented in a fancy red leather-like case that features a press-stud clasp. When you lift the bottle in or out of the case, the light creates an interesting effect that I tried to film for you, but failed. You’ll just have to try it for yourself. In the bottle it looks a lovely deep red colour. I’ve heard talk of caramel colouring, but who knows?

I didn’t wait too long before opening this one – a matter of only two weeks. I’d been having a shit day at work, and just thought it would be nice to try it while we started the second series of Boss. I like Boss; most of the time you don’t really know what’s happening, but then something really intriguing happens. It doesn’t seem like anyone else in the world has actually watched it, but I assure you, if you haven’t, you’re missing out – especially if you like House of Cards. Boss is better – less silly.

Anyway, I’d been doing a bit of research online – all the various blogs have regurgitated the same shit about the aging process – and I decided I wouldn’t let this one sit in the glass for 15 minutes before tasting it as one of the blogs suggested it would have opened up enough already. I kind of like the waiting, but it does mean you have to plan somewhat – or just sit there. In fact, when I did wait on one occasion, then had a second glass for which I didn’t wait, the first glass appeared to be better.

The immediate reaction on the palate was something I wasn’t expecting; a massive hit of oranges – like when you have an orange that seems a little dried out, but you bite into a segment and the juice runs out onto your tongue. Huge impression of orange. It did fade as I got used to it, but I hadn’t tasted a whisky quite like this before, and it wasn’t a taste I could quite get on board with. It is quite light bodied, but it does sit pleasingly on the tongue and, as I say, once the orangey hit has subsided it is pleasant.

This orangey hit seemed to fade over successive tastings and I started to wonder whether this was due to my decision to finish this bottle ahead of all others in readiness for opening something new. With no other whisky to compare it to there were times it seemed ordinary and uninsteresting though, remarkably one night when I followed up a glass of the Carlos I brandy with it (also aged in the Solera style), it performed well once more.

I think if there’s anything to learn from this, it is that it is beneficial to have numerous whiskies and spirits on the go at once and delve liberally into them, rather than focusing on one over another. That way individual nuances and characteristics come to the fore, and the experience can be prevented from becoming ordinary. That’s my take on it, anyway.

All in all, this has been quite a unique whisky experience that’s well worth a try, and at £30 or thereabouts for 15 years, it’s decent value.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Even more of a muchness: another 3 way vodka test

L-R: Vladivar, Stolichnaya, Green Mark
 Am I really so far behind on my posts? I ask myself? How come? Well, this week I’m going to take you back to about 9 months ago when I was preparing for a trip to the Glastonbury Festival. In a couple more weeks, I’ll be telling you all about that – so just in time for the 2015 edition really. For now though, it’s a return to the recurrent theme of wondering whether vodka is particularly interesting or not. Considering how many words I get out of it, it probably is – just not in the same way that other, more refined spirits are. Enough prevarication then; here’s the post.

With an extra long weekend at the Glastonbury Festival approaching, Mrs Cake and I thought it would be prudent for us to stock up on festival booze. I suggested we try a different supermarket for a change, in order that we might benefit from a different variety of products, so as we passed it on our way to Go Outdoors in Cheadle anyway, we plumped for Morrisons. What delights would await, I wonder?

Answer: not many.

My usual tinnie of choice, Holsten Pils was more expensive than it usually is in Tesco, so it was immediately apparent we would have to return to our usual supermarket anyway. I could have tried a different brand, but it would’ve meant either dropping my standards or paying a lot more – and when you want 32 cans, that increase can stack up.

Baileys was on “offer” at £14, but I decided to try a completely different brand (by which I mean budget) and go for Country Mist (14.5% ABV, £5.19), but more on that some time in the future…

More pertinent to this post though, is that Mrs Cake decided to stock up on vodka. I told her I’d got loads, but she didn’t want to use my stash. Then she thought she’d wait, and get some from Aldi, and I convinced her that it would be good to try a new brand – Green Mark fit the bill, on offer at £11, but showing a slightly below par 38% ABV).

Here comes the “factual” part.

The green mark was a soviet government seal of quality between the 1920s and 1950s and though this vodka is named for that, it was never actually awarded such a seal. Green Mark is in fact a recreation of a recipe gleaned from research into Glavspirttrest records.

All vodkas have some kind of factor that is supposed to set them apart from the rest – or so it seems. With Finlandia, it’s that it is produced with springwater so pure it requires no chemical treatment. With Grey Goose, it’s that is produced in the Maitre de Chai tradition (look it up), and that it is filtered through “champagne limestone”. Ketel One has any number of factors it would claim make it “a truly exceptional vodka”. Luxury brand Belvedere is distilled from Dankowskie rye, which is considered ideal for distillation (blah, blah, blah), and adheres to over 600 years of vodka making tradition blah.

You get the idea… none of this explains why my friend Paul (and no doubt, many others) consider vodka brands all to be “much of a muchness”. Well, I’m not done confirming or refuting whether that is the case yet… which brings us to this week’s tasting experiment; yet another 3 way vodkachallenge for which Mrs Cake would be joining me: the new Green Mark, pitted against my existing Vladivar (37.5% ABV), and the undisputed champion of previous challenges and frankly, personal favourite (second only to its higher alcohol content brother), Stolichnaya (40%).

I brought six shot glasses out of the cupboard and prepared three blind samples for Mrs Cake, after which she did the same for me.

Firstly, a brief word on presentation…

Vladivar is presented in an uninteresting cylindrical bottle with a cyan coloured label and friendly but gothic white lettering. It is made from 100% pure grain, triple distilled and charcoal filtered. It is a British product.

Stolichnaya is pretty utilitarian looking and is made from wheat and rye grain. It is apparently filtered through quartz, sand, activated charcoal and woven cloth.

Green Mark has quite an elegant bottle, curvy and extra-narrow at the top – a bit like Glenmorangie in that regard – and has a novel cap instead of a normal crappy screw cap. It looks all right – I sure appreciate the effort.

So, on with the tasting. I encouraged Mrs Cake to have a sniff of each sample first, and see if she got any impressions. She said they didn’t smell of anything, and I agreed. So we proceeded to drink.


Now, we were busy making a pizza at the time (no, it wasn’t the most dedicated tasting the world has ever seen), so I’m sorry to say the tasting wasn’t particularly stimulating. We both picked out Stolichnaya as the best (as expected), but it wasn’t by a massive distance on this occasion. Mrs Cake picked Vladivar as her second favourite, while I thought Green Mark was worthy of runner-up status, but 2nd and 3rd were very close. What swung it for me was that I could detect that extra 0.5% alcohol, and while I’m not saying that alone is enough to justify picking one over another, if there’s nothing else to choose, well then it probably is. I do find it bizarre how apparent minute differences in alcoholic strength seem to be – particularly in clear spirits – but they really are [seem to be].
Aaaand… the conclusion

So Stolichnaya is still the champ, but Green Mark places a respectable 4th in the overall vodka rankings, displacing the Vladivar. You’re probably wondering by now what the official countdown is… so I think I might publish some lists to that end around Christmas/New Year time. That’s a long way off as it stands, but that just means I can get a lot more vodka tasting in between now and then.

Before I go, there is one more conclusion to draw, and that is that Morrison’s is not so good for the booze. They did have offers on Glenfiddich Rich Oak and Glenfiddich 15 mind, but I managed to talk myself down from any unplanned scotch expenditure. I’m regretting that now, as it turns out I had sufficient unallocated funds in my booze budget. Ah well. To be continued…

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Highland Park Einar

A lot of the reviews I’ve seen online bang on about the origin of the name that Highland Park have bestowed upon this “exclusive to international travel” expression and its brethren. Frankly, in my opinion, that’s all tantamount to bollocks, so I’m not going to tell you anything about that at all. Nothing bores me more than regurgitating factual information that already exists elsewhere on the internet, though sadly I have to do that sometimes just to keep on the right side of informative.

When I do a search for the product I’m writing about – as I always do to get some basic information and opinion about it – I find that a staggering amount of the detail is lifted directly from the manufacturer’s marketing information, so not only does it seem pointless adding my voice to the existing clamour but neither am I in the business of marketing products. A bit of background is ok, but does something like the origin of the name really matter? Do pharmaceutical companies tell you where the name for their latest pile cream came from?

Good, now that we’ve got that out of the way, what do I want to tell you? Well, as you would know if you’d read some of my previous posts, I’d been a-hankerin’ after this one for a while. I just really like Highland Park ok? And the fact that you have to travel between two countries to be able to get it just made me want it so much.

And here it is. I have to say, the couple of minutes leading up to purchasing it were pretty exciting but then, as ever, the excitement subsided and it sat quietly in my cupboard awaiting the day I would open it.

Einar then is bottled at a disappointing 40% ABV and comes by the litre at around 50 euros. When I purchased mine it equated to somewhere around 42 quid. I consider that decent value (quality appraisal pending), but when you consider how frequently you can get 70cl of the excellent 12 year old HP for £25… perhaps it isn’t so much – but then, very little you can purchase in the UK can compare to that. I’m not even  expecting this to be better than the HP12, but I hope it is.

Upon feeling low one Friday night I decided it was time for the grand opening… and a cigar, in the garden. Not necessarily ideal circumstances for a deep appraisal, but there’s a whole litre of the Einar here, so plenty of time. I sat out there with the bottle available for refills, as I so seldom end up doing and got started.

I’ve read that pineapple is evident on the nose, and while I was disappointed to note that no smell emerged from the bottle on opening, I can confirm I was actually getting pineapple once it was in the glass (though this may have been the power of suggestion, since it failed to attend any other time), and later tobacco (you might be thinking that was down to the cigar and, reading this back now, I can’t remember anything that would refute that. I’m thinking though, that such an assumption would be so obvious that I must have actually written it for a reason). On other occasions there was that familiar Highland Park peat on opening, though understandably less powerfully than in the HP18.

I didn’t involve the Einar in a direct comparison with any of my malts straight away, knowing that it would need time to breathe before such a stringent test was conducted. Taken on its own merits then, I have to say I came to enjoy it very much on that first occasion. Each sip was more enjoyable than the last. It is a little thin and rough on entry but, like the 12 year old, when I shifted it around the the back of my tongue it had that playful tartness that gets the taste buds jiving – a feature I have come to associate with Highland Park more than any other. It came to remind me at the time – and this is a weird one – of the Bolognese sauce that I make with Worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar.

I was never going to say it’s better than the 12 year old, in fact it definitely isn’t, but the 12 year old is so good that if it could be even nearly as good (but suitably different), that would be commendable. It is slightly more expensive in general on a £ per cl basis but on the same basis it works out cheaper than the Glenfiddich 15 Solera Vat that I paid £30 for. In fact it is currently only 13th overall on the price per cl matrix
Yes, it would be nice if it were better, but I didn’t immediately feel disappointed with Highland Park for putting this out.

Moment of Maximum Appreciation

The night I feel I got the best from the Einar, I’d been out for a curry with work and had a couple of small beers. On arriving home a bit grumpy (because I’d had to stay out longer than I wanted to), I thought I might just finish off the night with something from the cupboard. In all honesty I was pretty thirsty and normally I’d have a glass of cola first but, knowing that would have some effect on the enjoyment of whatever I chose to drink next (unless I was prepared to wait half an hour, which I wasn’t), I thought I’d skip it this time.

So I went for the Einar. On this occasion, circumstances combined to produce a very satisfying glass. The Einar was soft and sweet and, for once, the overly rough edges didn’t linger. Instead the impression was far more in line from what I’d expect from a Highland Park.

It still wasn’t as good as the 12, nor as sweet and buttery as the 18 but pleasingly intense and mouth-wateringly playful. It’s moments like these, I thought, that you spend that bit extra on liquor for. Any 40% spirit can get you hammered or just chill you out, you’ve no need to spend £40 to £50 for that. And you may not get it every time, but if you can, occasionally reach something like the satisfaction I got from that glass, then you can occasionally feel that it was money well spent.

An ignoble denouement

Apologies for the big words. Who do I think I am, Russell Fucking Brand? But yeah, there’s no happy ending to this tale and the upshot of it is: you’d be better off spending your money elsewhere. The reason: it just failed to deliver on a consistent basis. In fact, the MOMA described in the last section was the only time I can say I enjoyed the Einar to any superlative degree. In general it was rough, fuzzy, sour… honestly, I hope you’ve bothered reading this far because otherwise you’re going to get the wrong impression.

No, I didn’t immediately feel disappointed, but ultimately I did. I seldom chose to invite it out of the cupboard, wondering why when I had. In the end I just poured a few (what I’m going to call) throwaway glasses on consecutive occasions just so that I could call it finished and move on to something else – which will actually be the (significantly more expensive) Highland Park Leif Eriksson, so keep coming back if you want to find out about that…

No, it just had me sat there wondering whether I really enjoy drinking whisky far too often. I do enjoy whisky, just not this one. Sad really.