Friday, March 21, 2014

Guest Blogger - Jo Lawson, a new member of my whiskyfabric

Like whisky, some of us don't necessarily mature well with age...    :)

There has been much discussion in social media circles that my definition of the #whiskyfabric reeks of fabric softener. Well, I guess we all look through a window and choose to see different things. I for one would much prefer to focus on the good because life is simply too short to always be in a foul mood.  I love the fact that I have met so many wonderful people from around the world as a result of my love and passion for whisky. As I get ready to embark on a UK/Europe 10 week trip I will be spending time with many new #whiskyfabric people. I thought it would be fun to get a few of them to guest blog.  

The first person I approached was Jo Lawson. She is a mom, a wife, a strong member of her local community. She can be found working at the Horsley Community Shop and she loves to knit (you should see my awesome Alpaca hat!) Her twitter handle is @AlpacaJo. She gladly took on the challenge, which didn't surprise me. Ladies & gents, Jo Lawson:

"When Johanne invited me to write a post for her blog, I said “OK, about what in particular?” She said “Anything you like”  I replied “As I've only been drinking whisky, seriously, for about a year, how about my favourite 5?” She said “Great, I love it!”, so that was that! I was committed, which is what I should have been, for making the suggestion, as when I counted up, I found I have tried 67 whiskies in the last 12 months!!!!!

Pick 5 from 67, what was I thinking of? As it turns out, when I read back over my tasting notes, a few whiskies did float to the top, so here they are, in the order I tasted them.....

Stroud Whisky Club started in May 2013 and at the first meeting, was just myself and club founder Tom Blumsom. By July, the membership had grown to about 5 or 6 and my first choice is from that meeting:  
Lagavulin 16yr old, 43% ABV - I spent 10 years an a Leader in the Scout Association, here in the UK and this dark gold liquid from Islay, brought back many happy memories of evenings round the campfire.  For me, smoke and warmth and friendship, are all contained in this whisky.

In September 2013, I took part in my very first Tweet Tasting. Organised by Steve, @TheWhiskyWire, we had 5 samples from Teeling Whiskey Company to try and this was my favourite.

21yr old single malt, Silver Reserve:
46% ABV. Small batch bottling of only 5,000 bottles. Matured first in ex-Bourbon casks, then finished in Sauternes wine casks.  The initial whiff of smelly socks, on the nose, develops into smokey bacon, pear drops and apricot.  The palate offers apricots and smooth, creamy toffee, with a long, smooth, pipe smoke finish at the back of the mouth. Definitely a whiskey to be savoured, as you contemplate the meaning of life, by a roaring fire!

At the end of Jan 2014, Andrew Purslow, @Ardbaggie, UK brand ambassador, sent me some Australian Limeburners samples to try: M61, 60% NCF, CS. Silver medal at IWSC 2013. The nose is buttery, with  dried fruit and acetone. From the first sip, your mouth just fills with smooth buttery caramel, leading to a tongue tingling finish. I really liked this and hope it eventually becomes available in the UK.

Feb 7th 2014, Highland Park Secret Tweet Tasting. 3 single malts, distinguished only by a different coloured spot on each bottle. The Blue dram, which turned out to be Freya, the third release in the HP Valhalla Collection,15 yr old, 51.2% ABV, was amazing.  Peaty, acetone notes, followed by fruit, on the nose, lead to a smooth, fruity, butterscotch, palate with a nice amount of smoke and a long and lovely finish. Freya was the Norse Goddess of Love and I definitely fell in love with this whisky.

22nd Feb 2014 and a collection of several different whiskies arrives from Canada, courtesy of Johanne, herself.  A woolly hat, hand knitted by me, was sent by return of post as a thank you!

As soon as I tried it, I was blown away by the Forty Creek,  Confederation Oak Reserve, 40% ABV. Huge scents of marzipan, green apples, fresh cut grass and caramel on the nose. The palate continued the crisp, but sweet notes, with citrus, vanilla and brown sugar. A smooth, but rather short finish just left me wanting to drink more. This is an amazing whisky and I would highly recommend you try it.

Friends at Stroud Whisky club will not be surprised by my choice of three peaty drams but when I look at the whiskies I've chosen, I'm pleased to see that my palate has developed beyond 'it's smokey, so I like it'!  If this is the standard of the first steps on my whisky journey, I'm really looking forward to what lies ahead.


Jo Lawson

I knew when Jo and I started conversing on twitter that I liked her and I can't wait to meet her when I get to Wales in May.  I'd like to thank her very much for writing this blog piece. One of the things I constantly try to remind myself as well as others is that we all have a voice.  AND... even if we are new at this, or have years experience it's fantastic to share the experience...  together :)

Thanks Jo!

The other "Jo"


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