Tonight’s Tipple: Blaugies/Hill Farmstead La Vermontoise

Excellent example

Massive head on a classic Belgian saison

One of my haul of Belgian ales acquired from Belgiuminabox late last year, La Vermontoise (6%) is notable in my selection for being a collaboration, on this occasion between Brasserie de Blaugies near Dour, Hainault, in spitting distance of the French border, and Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, Vermont.

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Internet imbibing: Belgiuminabox

Sour beer heaven

Sour beer heaven

Writing before Christmas on the joys of sour beer, and the importance of Belgium in their survival and revival, inspired me to top up my reserves. Earlier research had led me to Belgiuminabox.com, an online retailer based in Antwerp. The experience was a memorable one, the drinking likely to be even more so.

Run by beer aficionado Kurt Verblest, Belgiuminabox offers a near unassailable selection of Belgian classics and rarities at prices rarely seen this side of the English Channel, if they ever appear at all, and with the inclination and ability to ship worldwide.

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12 Drams of … err New Year: #12 Signatory Ardbeg Vintage 1974, 23 Years Old (43%)

Pre-1977 Ardbegs are pretty rare nowadays

Pre-1977 Ardbegs are pretty rare nowadays

My final entry in this rather random series of posts (and only a couple of weeks after 12th night!) is a 1974 half bottle of Ardbeg 23 Vintage 1974, 23 Years Old, cas nos. 606-609 (43% ABV) from independent bottler Signatory (nowadays owner of Edradour).

I acquired this probably 13 or 14 years ago from the Aladdin’s cave that is J. Wadsworth in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire. This was a time when I’d recently discovered Ardbeg and interesting older bottlings – especially from pre-1977 when Ardbeg had its own floor maltings – were becoming scarce.

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Filed under Ardbeg, Independent whisky bottlers, Islay, Scotch whisky, Single malt whisky, Whisk(e)y

12 Drams of Christmas: #11 Bruichladdich Octomore 4.2 Comus

Octomore, and more, and more

Octomore, and more, and more

With Christmas duties and the inevitable post festive lurgy out of the way it’s finally on to number eleven and an excuse to uncork another of my stash. This time the peatiest whisky in the world, namely Islay distillery Bruichladdich’s Octomore. Or more specifically Octomore 4.2 Comus (61% ABV), with final maturation in a cask that previously held rich, sweet, Botrytis-enriched Sauternes wine.

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12 Drams of Christmas #9 and #10: Adnams Single Malt Whisky No.1 and Triple Grain Whisky No.2

You wait three years then two come at once!

You wait three years then two come at once!

From my oldest whisky to my newest. Thursday December 5th marked the commercial debut of the first two whiskies from Southwold, Suffolk-based Adnams Copper House Distillery, the third English distillery to successfully bring its own whisky to market since the revival in making uisge beatha south of the border. (Adnams follows St. George’s Distillery in Norfolk’s English Whisky Company and the “Hicks & Healey” cooperation between St. Austell Brewery and Healey’s Cyder Farm in Cornwall.)

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12 Drams of Christmas #8: Wild Turkey 1855 Reserve

rare

1855 Reserve was my gateway whiskey

Right, back to the whiskies. My eighth dram of Christmas is Wild Turkey 1855 Reserve (54.4% ABV).

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12 Drams of Christmas #6 and #7: Żubrówka Biala and Palona

Grass

Bison present and correct but no grass in sight

Drams six and seven come as a pair, hailing as they do from the same distillery. But again I’m eschewing whiskies for something else. This time vodkas, namely Żubrówka Biala and Żubrówka Palona.

There’s not much information in English on these vodkas, unfortunately. Neither is widely available in the UK as yet (although look here), although they can be picked up in duty free at Polish airports. Which is where these came from, care of friends who regularly visit the country.

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Filed under Poland, Spirits, Vodka