Lagavulin 16, a Significant Drop in Quality

lagavulinAt first I thought my taste buds were changing, that for whatever reason my palate was no longer sensitive to the aromas and flavours of smoke and peat. I’ve recently acquired an unexpected and entirely pleasant appreciation for non-peaty, sherry influenced Highland and Speyside single malts, so temporarily losing a preference for peat in my scotches seemed reasonable. The earthy Islay scotches were my first love and have been my preferred scotches for years, especially Lagavulin 16 which I recently referred to as the king of kings and the holiest of holies, the earthiest, peatiest, smokiest of scotches, smooth and warm. But not anymore. I’m not sure what’s happened to Lagavulin 16 in recent years, but it’s not good.

I picked up a bottle of Lagavulin 16 a couple months ago that I would not have recognized as Lagavulin if it was given to me blind. It tasted like the bottle had been left open for a month and the scotch slightly diluted. It didn’t have the big blast of smoke and peat that I’ve come to expect from Lagavulin 16. The finish seemed weak, not at all complex, none of the delayed warmth and peatiness rising up that I’ve experienced every time from Lagavulin 16 in the past. For the first time since I discovered single malt scotch, I’m disappointed with Lagavulin 16.

A nice dram of it will open up after a while with a small splash of water, but even then it’s nowhere near as smooth and warm as it used to be. It even burns a bit and Lagavulin 16 never used to burn. I’m not sure if I got a bad batch, but from what I can gather from other comments on whiskey forums, Lagavulin 16 has dropped significantly in quality in recent years. If the bottle I have is any indication, current bottlings of Lagavulin 16 should be avoided. It’s not what used to be and it’s certainly not worth the price they’re asking ($101 at my local store).

I’ll have to get my peat fix from Laphroaig and Ardbeg for now on.

Waiting for Fax Machines to Die

I ordered a piece of professional sound equipment online from a company in New York today. A few minutes after I placed the order, one of their sales reps sent me an email with a PDF form for me to fill out and sign and fax back to them. They also wanted a copy of the back and front of my credit card. It’s something the company has to do with all international orders. When did Canada become international? Anyway…

I called up a friend who’s ordered from the company before and asked him if it’s safe to give the company a copy of my credit card. He said it’s normal procedure when setting up an account with the company. I said okay, fine (though I don’t like it and I plan to cancel the card as soon as the order goes through).

But here’s my problem: I don’t have a fax machine. Why can’t I just scan the signed form and the credit card and send it to them as a PDF? But I play nice and fill in the form, scan my credit card and print it, and then I go down to the local drug store and pay $2.50 a page to send the fax to New York.
Continue reading Waiting for Fax Machines to Die

2011 Oscar Winners

I don’t remember the last time I watched the Oscar telecast. It might have been the year Titanic won. I dunno. But I watched a portion of the 2011 telecast online last night from an ABC feed. I’d never seen the Red Carpet foolishness before. Wow. I knew Hollywood was shallow, but that was obscene. Actresses answering questions about what kind of dress they had on. Who cares about that? I also saw Melissa Leo’s acceptance speech, which is proof that it’s better to appreciate the art and forget about the artist. I liked her in Tremé, but even if she was nervous, man, she seemed like a total nut.

I don’t care too much about the awards, but this year I actually saw most of the nominated movies, and I’ll at least give them this: All movies nominated for best picture (the 8 that I saw anyway) are intelligent and literate and aren’t just throwaway entertainment. And the winners are…

Picture: The King’s Speech
Directing: Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech
Lead Actor: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
Lead Actress: Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – The Fighter
Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – The Fighter
Foreign language film: In a Better World
Animated feature film (aka The Pixar Award): Toy Story 3
Cinematography: Wally Pfister, Inception
Documentary feature: Inside Job

Forget About It

I forgot it was Valentine’s Day. Did you?

valentines day

I’m for getting rid of all “days.” Christmas Day is the big one. Good luck trying to kill that day. But Valentine’s Day? Does anyone take it seriously, or are people still getting in trouble for not buying their significant other flowers and a heart-shaped box of chocolates?