Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Zombie Apocalypse Part 3

Whisky: Glenfarclas 40 year old 105, 2008 Release

Distillery/Brand:
Glenfarclas

Region:
Speyside

Bottling:
Glenfarclas 40 Year Old 105, 2008 Release

ABV:
60%

Color:
Oloroso Sherry

Review:
I slowly come to, head pounding like a kettle drum, tongue tasting of a litter box and dirty socks.  The radio is coming in and out and for a minute I can't remember why I've been sleeping on the deli's concrete floor.  Next to my head is the empty bottle of Glenfiddich 40 year old.

That's right, the world has gone insane, people have gone insane, attacking others, and the dead are rising and I haven't been able to find my wife in the last 36 hours.

I jump up quickly, try ying to hear if the infected are still outside, but there's no noises.  Crap my head is pounding, moving too quickly.  I hobble painfully to the monitor and check the cameras that scan the outside, nothings moving in the parking lot except some newspaper blowing in the wind.

I try the landlines, no dial tone.  I try my mobile, just another busy signal.  My stomach roils in stress and alcohol.  I walk over to the medicine aisle, grab some aspirin and antacids, popping them into my mouth and cracking open a bottle of water from the cold warm and draining it in a couple of gulps.

I then grab some Doritos and eat the bag, gulping down another bottle of water in the process and waiting for the medicine to kick in.  On the radio, amongst bursts of static I hear the radio announcer state that martial law has been announced in Australia and that a curfew has been announced for 8pm.  He states that people should stay indoors, even if they have been bitten or scratched, that there are military check points being set up around Perth and that the military has orders to shoot to kill.

Slowly my headache settles down to a background thumping bass instead of explosions, and the acid and nausea calm down to a low rumble.  I'm as human as I'm going to be for the time being.

I give a short, barking laugh, which sounds harsh even to my ears, breaking the quiet in the deli.  All I can hear right now is the fridges and the radio.  I've got to come up with a plan of attack.  I've got to figure out where I'm going, how I'm going to get there.   I need to find my wife and family, and then I need to get them to safety.

First things first, I grab all the money from the till.  No idea what's coming, but money never hurt anyone. Grab some bottles of water, some candy bars and put them into a plastic bag which I then triple bag.  I don't want to risk losing anything during a run.  Grab the cricket bat.

I check the cameras again, nothing on them, deep breaths, sweaty palms, bowels clenched, stomach nauseous, headache pounding.

Good to go.

I quietly unlock the shutters and doors and slowly slide them up, scanning both ways as the shutters rustle and creak as they move and I flinch, fearful of attracting any attention.  But nothing stirs.  In the distance I can see smoke plumes rising up from various parts of the city....I pull down the shutters and close the doors again and then quickly run next door to Armenti's our business neighbor who owns the local deli.  I saw his car as I pulled into the lot last night and maybe it's still there....and if it's still there, maybe I can find the keys and use it, my car is going nowhere very fast.

His car is still there!  A black Toyota 4 door.  Yes!  And now if luck is with me, I can find the keys to it...I head straight into his shop and stifle a noise of disgust....there's blood all over the floor, shelves are overturned, the infected have been through here.  Now I just have to hope that I can find the keys and not find any infected.

I hear some tin cans fall from a shelf behind me, and quickly turn around, cricket bat at the ready as an infected, covered in blood rushes towards me,  moving slower then the normal sprinters as it looks to be an elderly woman, I swing the bat, cracking it in the face, smashing teeth out as it reels back and utters a gutteral cry.

Shit!  I smash it in the head a final time, cracking the skull open as I hear feet scrambling and frantic panting....it's called company.  I run to the back of Armenti's and slam shut the door, just as more infected rush into the room.

If I'm lucky they haven't seen where I've gone, but I need to move fast, no chance to look for Daniel's keys anymore.

I sprint out the back lot, opening and gate quietly and moving into the neighbors backyard.  This is awful, worse then awful...I've got no car, I've got no mobile reception and I need to make my way home, which is 5 miles away, without getting eaten.

It's bloody hot out, 100 degrees at least and muggy as hell as I start the long trek home...In the distance I can hear those guttural growls and screams of the infected, with the occasional shriek of pain and disbelief of someone caught by one of the them.  I keep quiet, staying to the shadows as I try to cover ground quickly.

I move fast, but quiet, something I was never good at, staying to the backyards of the houses on my route home, it seems to be working well as even though I can hear the infected, sometimes alarmingly close, I haven't seen them and even more important, they haven't seen me.  The worst parts of the journey is when I have to cross a street or field as they're open with no where to hide.  That and when I jump over a fence as I have no idea what's on the other side.

I make a couple of miles this way, almost halfway home, when I first start hearing gunfire, lots of it, it's nowhere close, but there's got to be a full scale battle going on for the noise to be traveling that far, it sounds like hundreds of assault rifles and machine guns, and then explosions.  When I get to a yard where I can view the city skyline I see dozens of smoke clouds rising from it, a thick black cloud covering the city.

Fuck me, the army is fighting tooth and nail, but are they winning?

Nothing I can do one way or another, I've got to try and get home.  However thoughts of my wife, my family, the army fighting, are clouding my mind and I get careless as I climb the next fence and am immediately rushed by a bloody snarling golden retriever.

Foaming at the mouth, slaver dripping from it's jaws, which are covered in blood and bits of flesh I'm immediately knocked down as I drop to the ground, and there's teeth flashing in my face, the wind is knocked out of me and I just want to curl up into a ball and hold myself until I can breath, but if I do. I die.

My animal training, aggression training springs into mind and I move on autopilot, shoving my left arm into the attacking beasts mouth and forcing my arm down his throat as I try and lever him off, to try and grab the bat.  With my arm so far down his throat he cant get a very good grip on my flesh and the damage will be minimal.

The dog starts gagging as I force my arm down his throat, trying to back up and get a grip onto my arm, as I frantically try to push him off of me and get to my feet.  With a burst of adrenaline I throw the golden retriever off of me, feeling it's teeth tear through my flesh, puncturing my arm as it flies back several feet. 

Before it can get back up I grab my bat and hit it as hard as I can across the ribs as it dodges my head strike.

It yelps, crying out in pain and fear, looking back at me with eyes, wide with the white, froth foaming it's muzzle.  It tries to get to it's feet, jaws snapping at me as I bring the bat down on it's head, again and again, until it's no longer moving. 

I take shelter against the fence, staring at the dead dog, breathing heavily, heart pounding a mile a minute as I try to catch my breath.  Glancing down at my arm I can see 3 ragged punctures, and gouges from the teeth going down my arm.  It hurts like a motherfucker.

I gulp water from my supplies, after 10 minutes or so, get up again.  I stumble into the house, keeping a careful ear out for infected, in the hopes of some more aspirin, I ache all over and just want to lay down.  I find some in the master bathroom, but thankfully see signs of no one else, the owners must have been out when the shit the fan, or so I think until I see the open front door and the TV on, tuned into what looks like CNN, which amazingly is coming through, abeit in waves of fuzz. 

The announcer, coming through broken up as can be, reports about riots in Paris, London, New Year, LA, Shanghai, Tokyo, worldwide, civil unrest, riots, violence, and my blood runs cold.

I cant do anything about any of that I tell myself, I can worry about getting home to my family and protecting them, trying to help see us through this chaos.  I head out the back door, it seems safest to continue with my original route, through the back ways as opposed to the main road.  I'm almost halfway home and if I don't run into anything I can be there in a couple of hours.

I scan the yards more slowly now, trying to make sure there's no more unwelcome and painful surprises, and the way is smooth, until I'm almost there, almost in the clear and then I see what I've been dreading, what I knew would occur sooner or later...4 lanes, full of stalled cars, no cover for me to take anywhere....I need to cross this road, there's no other way around it.

I sit in the shadows for a couple minutes, hiding behind a tree, trying to scan all the cars, the fences, walls, everything, to see if the way is clear....I can't hear anything, but that means nothing. 

Shit.

I run across the road, and am almost to the other side when I hear a noise, almost a gasp of surprise from 20 feet or so away.  I whip my head around to see a blood covered infected running at me...crap!

I step back from the cars as the infected runs out from the shade of the trees at me, and into the sunlight where it stops dead, scratching at it's face while it appears to be blinded by the sun....

What the hell?!

It starts another run from the shadows when it hits the bright sunlight again, stops, shaking it's head, drool and blood flying everywhere and then rushes at me.

CRACK!

That extra pause gave me the time to get the bat up to defend myself.  I bash the infected again and again, until gore spatters the bat and it's no longer moving and then I run, I'm only a block from home.

I run up the driveway, wanting to scream out that I'm home, but caution forces me to silence and as I crest the slight slope of the driveway I can immediately see...

that there's no car at home...Nothing...We have 5 cars on the property, 1 of which I drive, and there's not a fucking single car!

The gate to the backyard is open and I quickly move into yard, looking for the dogs, infected, or anything....there's nothing except a couple dog droppings, baking in the sun, already a day or so old....

I unlock the back door to the house, deciding that caution once again, might be the better part of valor and once inside, quickly go through the house, bat at the ready, softly calling out for my family, both human and furballs.

No answer, no dogs, no people.

Crap!

SHIT!

Where could my wife have gone!?  I once again check my mobile, it's dead now, dead battery, and as I go to get a glass of water I notice a note on the table, weighed down with a glencairn.

It's from my wife!

"Sweetie, 

everyone's started going crazy, trying to kill one another.  I've tried to call you, but the phone lines are busy.  I've headed to Vinesh's with Daisy and Bob.  Mom and Dad aren't answering their phones.  I'll keep trying to call you, but I'm scared.

I love you.

Kisses,

Squidgy"


I take a small, SMALL breath of relief, when she wrote this, she was ok, she was heading to Vinesh's, my adopted brother's house. 

My arm throbs from where I was bitten, almost feeling like it's pulsing now, I'm covered in dirt, sweat, grime, blood and less ...wholesome bits, so I lock all the doors, make sure all the curtains are closed, grab the bat and head to the shower, stripping off my clothes along the way, leaving them on the floor, something which drives Squidgy batshit.

I bring the bat into the shower with me, as I'd rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it and get down to the serious business of cleaning myself up, turning on the water to just a couple degrees too hot to be pleasant, and start scrubbing, wincing as the hot water hits my injured arm.

I stood there, letting the water run over me as my brain turns over, thinking about the last few days, what I'd seen, what I'd done, what I would have to do and what I was going to do...

1. I needed to still get to Squidgy, that plan, that goal had not changed in the least.

2. To do so I was going to have to head to Vinesh's house, an easy 10 minute drive away by car at 80ks an hour, a what I feared would be a much longer journey on foot.

3. I was going to have to cross 10's of kilometers to get there, trying to bypass god knows how many infected.

4. People, some, most, all? were infected with something that made them attack other people.  If you killed? an infected person, shortly after dying? they'd come back to life(?)  Destroying their head seemed to be the only sure way of stopping them from what little I'd seen.

5. The infected had issues with sunlight.  It didn't hurt them, but they sure as hell didn't like it.

6. The infected had normal hearing, and seemed to be more active at night.

7. The infected didn't seem to feel pain like normal people did.

With these thoughts rattling around in my head, I decided that I'd stay put until tomorrow morning as it was now coming onto late afternoon.  I'd get a good nights sleep, and then head out at day break, which would in theory give me the most possible traveling time to make my way to Vinesh's.

I get out of the shower, toweling myself off, grabbing the bat and grabbing  a fresh change of clothes, head back out into the living room.

In the meantime I turned on the TV to the local news station, turned the volume onto very low, and then turned the radio on, very low volume.  I grab a packet of lunch meat and cheese, along with bread and make myself a sandwich, hoping to catch the news, any news, in the quest to get some more information on what's going on.

Once dinner is done, I put the dishes into the sink, leaving them unwashed.  I can do them when and if I get back, I decide to crack a bottle of whisky instead and to tend my wounds in my arm. 

It's inflamed with blood oozing slowly out of the punctures, and it throbs in time with my heart beat...it hurts like a bitch.  I need to disinfect this, but I have no iodine, I have no rubbing alcohol, but I have crap loads of whisky.  Something cask strength is needed for this.

I grab a special bottle that Squidgy and I purchased in Scotland together, a Glenfarclas 40 year old 105, one of only 893 bottles in the world.

I crack it open and without even looking for anything to pour it into, starting pouring it over my wounds, letting the whisky seep into my punctures....the pain is unbelievable, it's like my skin is on fire and being peeled off of me, all at once.  I whimper, wanting to scream and pound the counter, but I continue to pour the whisky into the wounds, until I'm gasping for breath.

The smell of whisky fills the air, distracting me from the agony, or at least trying to run interference...

Rich Christmas cake spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, hazelnut, chocolate, big oak, tobacco, sultanas, figs, orange peel, and candied oranges make up the nose.  The whisky does it's job, forcing me off the pain, and into this spirit that Squidgy and I love so well.

I take a deep swig, and then continue dressing the wound, aniseed, big oak, little bitter, but with enough sherry to play counterpoint to the oak, the spices, mainly the cloves and nutmeg, chocolate, espresso, moving from sweet to earthy, with honey and the dark fruits coming out to play amongst all the spices.

The whisky explodes in my belly and the finish is long, complex and intense, with the oak playing center point and the spices playing second fiddle, but man what a fucking brilliant whisky, worth the silly price tag that I see it for these days...I wish Squidgy was here with me, enjoying a dram.

I continue to pour the Glenfarclas over the wound until the burn stops, at which point I grab some clean gauze and then bandage my arm up....I sit in my arm chair as the light coming through the gaps in the curtains slowly fades, watching the news come in bursts of information and then disappearing into the fuzziness of the clouds and I fall asleep as I plan my attack for tomorrow, cradling the bat in my arms and imagining that it's Squidgy.

Nose:        24/25
Taste:        24/25
Finish:      23/25
Balance:   24/25

Overall:     95/100

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Zombie Apocalypse Pt 2

Whisky: Glenfiddich 40 Year Old, Cask 9925

Distillery/Brand:
Glenfiddich

Region:
Speyside

Bottling:
Glenfiddich 40 Year Old Cask 9925

ABV:
50%

Color:
Liquid Gold

Review
I slowly look around the backroom in the Cellarbrations Carlisle liquor store as I put down the glencairn of Mortlach 1954 from G & M.  It's what I needed to try and steady my nerves.  What the hell am I going to do?  What the fuck is going on here?

I look at the camera monitors which show views from inside the shop and also the parking lot outside.  I can hear pounding on a door throughout the building and I can see that five people are still pounding on the door.  I can see that they're covered in blood as they leave smears on the glass doors while they beat on it.

I feel a surge of panic and fear in my guts as I realize that the doors cant hold out forever being glass.  I need to figure out how I'm going to get myself out of this situation.  I try to call my wife again on my mobile this time, but again there's just a busy signal, I then attempt to call the police once more, again a busy signal, I'm on my own.

I look around for something I might be able to use to defend myself and keep these people off me long enough so I can get to my car.   I can't go out there bare handed or I'm dead.  I quickly start searching the office I'm in, looking for anything, a broom, a knife, something, muttering to myself under my breath, wishing at this point in my life that I was in the US where the chances of a handgun would be pretty good, but there's nothing to be done.

I finally find a cricket bat behind a pile of empty boxes.  Well it's no handgun, but it's better then nothing.   I try the phones again, nothing, I grab the Mortlach and head to the cool room.  I pull open the doors and there's my buddy Joel lying dead, fuck, this day has gone to shit, more so for him then myself.  I need to escape, but just leaving doesn't feel right.  I look down at my newly acquired cricket bat and the bottle of Mortlach, before pouring the whisky over my buddy, and then looking around, spying the many high proof vodkas, gins and tequila.  I need to leave and it feels fitting to send my friend off viking style, plus if the gods are good it'll distract the creatures outside.

I creep out the side door as flames engulf the shop.  Holy crap!  The place has just gone up like a torch, aromas of spilled beer, wine, and then chemical aromas filling the air.  I peek around the corner as I hear the glass doors finally give way and the creatures rush into the burning building.  I run to my car, clicking the unlock button on my key ring and throwing myself into the vehicle as I hear screams of pain and rage echo from the building.

I throw the car into reverse and hit the gas as a flaming body stumbles out of the building, sees me and sprints towards me.

Fuck!  He's fast!!

Gravel kicks up as I fly backwards in the car, trying to get to the street outside.  I hit the guardrails behind me and am slammed to a stop.  The person throws himself onto the windshield as I throw the car into gear and hit the gas again, slamming into him and onto the street as more people pour out of the building, flames licking their hair and clothes.

The tires squeal as I hit the street and shoot on down it, passing three cars that have crashed into one another across the road, with the flaming people chasing behind, but quickly lost into the distance.  As soon as I realize they cant catch me I'm able to try and take a breath and realize that I'd driven by three crashed cars.

What the fuck?

For some reason I havent realized what I was seeing, there's crashed cars in the road, smoking, some with flames licking out of engines, blood stains on more then a couple, horns blaring in a couple cars.  There's still people driving, but everyone's driving like me, like a bloody maniac.  For some reason what just happened, what is still happening in my rear view as I see flames arise from Cellarbrations, just struck me as an isolated event.  It obviousely isn't.

I turn on the radio as I speed towards our deli where my wife works, hopefully she's ok, but the continued lack of a phone signal has me terrified.  I put the car up to 70ks, then 90ks, then decide the hell with it the cops have more important things to worry about then me speeding and crank the car up to 150ks.  The road is zipping by, as I rush to my wife, radio blaring about a city wide emergency, some sort of rabies outbreak, the radio broadcaster is suggesting that people stay inside until the authorities declare the area to be safe.

No shit Sherlock.

People are crashing into trees, other cars, running over people as they get out of their vehicles, slamming into people are infected with whatever is causing them to go so violent....it's chaos....horns are blaring....a radio plays loudly in the background with a different broadcaster, explaining what's gone wrong, it sounds like he's talking out of his ass, but fuck what do I know?

I'm trying to avoid obstacles as best I can as I drive down the Great Eastern Highway, swerving to miss stalled cars, watching as a couple of the restaurants that I'm passing by billow flame from their windows when I see a car that jumps out at me....a lime green smart car, parked at Mane Liquor, one of my favorite shops, which is slowly starting to burn.

I swerve into the parking lot, crossing 4 lanes of traffic, horns blaring out as I narrowly avoid getting t-boned by multiple vehicles when I screech into the parking lot.

It is my buddy's car, Sam Dunn, and there's covering the driver side door, a trail that goes into Mane Liquor.  I take the cricket bat into the shop with me as I cautiously call out, asking if any of the guys or Sam is there...with no answer.

I quickly wander through the building, checking the backrooms, but other then many broken beer bottles and a few puddles of blood I see nothing, and with smoke starting to fill the building I need to hurry out or I'll die.

As I run out of the burning building the sun is slowly setting in the West....I havent been able to reach my wife all through the day and I feel panic threatening to overwhelm me as I race the car to our deli.
More stalled cars, more bodies strewn about the road, flames rising in the darkness, radio updates, each more worse then the last, a busy signal on my constantly redialing mobile, what the hell is happening in Perth?! 

Is it beyond Perth? 

Is my wife and family ok?!

I've killed one friend today, and seen evidence that leads me to believe that another good friend of mine is now dead....is the world ending?  Is this the end of days?  Where is my wife?  Where is my brother?  Are they ok?

I pull into the parking lot of our deli at 80ks an hour and feel my stomach rise in fear....my car is on empty, I'm hearing screams and shrieks and growls and there's a body lying in the doorway of our deli.

I grab the cricket bat and lock the car, only wondering why I did so after the fact, and head into the deli....the car won't get me much farther, not without any gas, so who gives a shit if somebody takes it, but fuck it.

Into the deli I go, kicking the body away from the doorway and shutting and locking the doors and shutters.

I move through the isles quietly, stepping on overturned chip stands, but other then one puddle of blood and some overturned chip stands I see no one, no sign of where my family has gone to.  I try to call my wife's mobile again, my brothers, my in laws, and it's just the busy signal....which is better then what the landline is getting which is just dead air.

"Fuck! fuck fuck fuck fuck!!" I scream again and again, tears streaming from my eyes, until I hear a thump against the door shutters and screams, which quickly turns into pounding.

I shut up instantly, good job you bloody muppet.  Danger all around and you bloody well lose your head.  Good way to find your family.  I quickly run to the back of the shop to ensure the back door is locked and bolted.

It is.  Thank god.

The pounding on the front doors continue, and I send another text message to my wife, letting her know I'm ok, that I'm coming for her, is she alright and where is she....only to have it bounce back as undeliverable.

I decide to get myself good and drunk at this point, going into our cupboards in the back and grabbing a bottle of whisky that had just arrived a few days earlier....A Glenfiddich 40 year old.

I grab a glencairn from the cabinet, rip open the top of the bottle and pour what the Scot's call a stoker of a pour, filling up the entire glencairn....I'd bought this whisky as a gift for one of my closest friends, but from what I'd seen today it looks like he's likely dead, and I NEED to drown out reality, even if it's just for a few hours with good booze.

Single cask Glenfiddich 40 year old, drawn from cask 9925.  Laid down in 1973.

I bury my face into the glencairn, trying to lose the smell of blood and shit, that other sent of death, the burning buildings, stale sweat and fear and hide in the aroma of the whisky.

Nose Creme brulee, apple pie, rich, but balanced oak, poached pears and hints of tropical fruits, the whisky's nose slowly sucks me into it, pulling me from a reality where I'm scared, for myself and my loved ones, for the city and what will happen next.

I take a huge drink, and pour myself another one, letting the alcohol hit my system and numb me from the day I've just had, a day that I only thought could happen in movies.


Palate: Aged, but still incredibly vibrant considering it's age. The typical Glenfiddich Speyside characteristic comes through with the orchard fruits, dried apples and pears, vanilla, dark chocolate, vibrant oak, but balanced, just the faintest wisp of smoke in the background

The whisky goes down smooth, hitting me in the belly, with a finish that goes forever.


Finish: Long, I could drink an entire bottle of this easily, well my pocketbook couldn't normally, vanilla and orchard fruits, dry and begs you to take another taste.

As I glance down at the bottle I realize in suprise that I've drunk over half the bottle and as I sit down in the corner of our shop, crying, the screams of the infected, the pounding of their fists on my door shutters are drowned out as the whisky reaches into my head and knocks me out......

Nose:        23/25
Taste:        24/25
Finish:      22/25
Balance:    23/25

Overall:      92/100

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Zombie Apocalypse Pt 1

Whisky: Mortlach 1954 58 Year Old by Gordon & MacPhail

Distillery/Brand:
Mortlach


Region:
Speyside

Bottling:
Mortlach 1954 Gordon & MacPhail 58 Year Old

ABV:
43%

Colour:
Amontillado Sherry

Review:
Most hardcore whisky lovers have a special bottle or two, that will be opened during those life defining moments.  If your spouse is really cool with you, you might even own four or five of these types of bottles.  Quite often they're either old, rare, valuable or all three.  At times most of us whisky lovers purchase these bottles looking for the perfect moment to open them, and then as they gain more and more in value, that perfect moment becomes harder and harder to find.

I myself have such a collection, a largish collection of these bottles that I term more out of geekiness then any other reason, my Zombie Apocalypse collection, referring to the almost unspoken fact that these bottles will only be opened during the end of the world I will open them all as the undead are banging on the doors and when they break down that door I will be so pickled that I will not care one whit as they eat me.

I laughed when I used to talk about this collection, when people asked me about my bottles, especially as they stared at me in a little bit of shock and disbelief when I said "zombie apocalypse", but somehow sitting here in the dark, with only the flickering candle light to guide my hand as I write these words it somehow seems oh so much less funny and more scary.

Let me tell you the story on how MY zombie apocalypse collection finally became opened.

It was a cold winter day here in Perth Western Australia.  I say cold referring to the Australian definition, meaning that if you're from any of the actual cold climates, North America, most of Europe, etc that it's beach weather, with a clear sky overhead, a bright sunny sky and just the slightest hint of chill that my poor climatized hide now could pick up, but just six months ago would have been unnoticeable. 

But even under my jumper I was way too hot, it's one of those godawful Australian types of weather where if you're wearing a jumper you're sweating your arse off and if you're not wearing a jumper you're freezing your arse off, but hell what's a poor American supposed to do?  I'm damned if I do, and I'm damned if I don't.

It's a Monday which means it's my day off and I'm driving over to Cellarbrations at Carlisle to start my round of bottleshop visits for the day, to talk new whiskies, Dram Full and all things craft beer with the head manager, Joel.

This is something that I tend to do every couple of Mondays, visiting the local good bottleshops such as Tuart Hill Liquor, Cellarbrations at Carlisle, The ReStore, Mane Liquor, Cellarbrations Superstore, you get the idea.

What I do is I take a box of whisky goodies, some supplied by importers and some provided by myself and I allow the managers to sample the goods, in the goal of encouraging more whisky variety in the various bottleshops and helping to just educate the guys in the whisky community here in Perth.  It's a task which I'm not paid for, but one which I love as I get to see these experienced veterans try whiskies that they never heard of and marvel on how tasty they all are.

So I'm driving to Cellarbrations at Carlisle as my first stop of the day, windows rolled down, slightly speeding with the music cranked to the highest it'll go as is my usual when there's a news interruption.

"We interrupt your normally scheduled radio program to bring you this important news bulletin...."

"BOOOOOORING" I utter as I flick it onto the cd player.

As I pull into Cellarbrations at Carlisle parking lot, I see a body on the ground.  My car screeches to a halt as I slam on the brakes and jump out of the car, running over to the body on the ground, to see what sort of aid that I could render.  I've taken first aid courses before, I'm rusty, fuck it I'm god awful, always starting to nod off as soon as the speakers start talking, but maybe I can do something to help this person.

As soon as I roll them over, I feel my gorge rise, and I fight the urge to vomit all over the corpse.  This poor burly bastard has had his throat ripped out, looking like he's almost been partially eaten by some sort of animal.  The flesh around his throat is ragged and there's a look in his glazed over eyes that can only be described as terror.

I'd like to say that I calmly grabbed my mobile phone from my car and called for Emergency Services, or that I with great poise walked into Joel's bottleshop to request aid from him, I'd like to say that I did those things, but that would be a lie.

Instead I screamed like a little kid, voice cracking, almost a full fledged shriek, dropped my phone and ran into Joel's shop, pausing just a second for the sliding doors to open, screaming the entire time for Joel to come out and help me.

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my fucking god, Joel were are you?!  Joel there's a dead guy out in the parking lot, it looks like he's been eaten by some sort of wild animal!"

I then skid to a stop as I hear an unearthly moan that I chills my blood and raises the hair on the back of my neck.  It's an indescribable noise, but it makes my testicles try to creep up into my belly.

"Uuuhhhhhhh"

"Joel....?"

I head past the walk in fridges and I see something that causes me to lose my breath.

Kneeling on the ground is Joel, bent over a body on the ground, fingers dug into an open bloody belly wound, pulling out strings of intestines.  He's pulling them out in handfuls chewing on them, spilling bits and pieces back onto the body.  I feel my gorge start to rise as I stare at the scene in horror.

"Oh my fucking...." I trail off.

"Uuuhhhhhhh" and Joel looks up, blood dripping from his mouth, teeth stained red, with a string of intestine in his mouth.  His right arm has what looks like a huge chunk taken out of it, with blood still oozing out of the wound.

To say I scream doesn't begin to cover the noises that came out of my mouth.  I grab a wine bottle and smash it across his face as he stumbles to his feet, shattering it on his skull, knocking teeth out of his jaw.

He falls back for a second, before renewing his attack, as I move backwards, grabbing bottle of wine and slamming it at his face, upper body and neck again and again, trying to fight him off.  Where the hell is my friend?!  He grabs my jumper by the hood and pulls as I start choking, I pull back hard, ripping half of my hoodie off, leaving part of it in his confused hands. I swing again with another wine bottle, smashing it against his face and holding the shards in my hands.

"Joel, what the hell man?!  Come on buddy, you know me, it's your buddy SquidgyAsh!"

He then lunges at me, teeth bared, jaw open, a wild glint in his eyes, blood streaking his dark blond hair, and I stab the broken wine bottle in my hands at his face, closing my eyes in fear, and then the moans stop.  After a couple of seconds I open my eyes to see Joel's eyes glazing over, with the broken part of the wine bottle coming out of the top of Joel's head, the entry wound starting at Joel's mouth.

I puke, I puke my lunch up, then my breakfast and then I start dry heaving, bile coming out of my mouth.  My guts are aching in agony as everything I've ever eaten comes up, all over the floor.  I lay on my side in agony, tears pouring out of my eyes as I reflect on having killed a good friend of mine and one of my best beer buddies.

"What the fuck is going on here?!"  I scream in fear and frustration, rage pouring out of me.

I then hear the radio in the background, and I've never regretted changing the radio station in my life...it's the same station that I'd been listening to in the car on the way over before turning it over to the cd.

"This is a breaking news announcement.  Stay indoors, and do not leave your house or place of business unless absolutely necessary.  There seems to be an infection of some sort of outbreak of rabies that is causing the afflicted to bite and attack others.  This disease appears to be very contagious and seems to nullify the victim's pain receptors.  Again this is a breaking news announcement, stay indoors unless absolutely necessary."

Oh my god, is that what Joel had?!  Is this what happened to everyone that I've seen in the last ten minutes, how the fuck can it be just ten minutes since I saw the corpse in the parking lot?!  Tears are running down my face, vomit and bile covering the front of my shirt, as I slowly pull myself to my feet.  I'm going to head out to the car and grab my mobile, call the police and ambulance.  Hopefully they can help me put this horrible day right. 

As I stumble towards the sliding glass doors I see the corpse that I came across when I first pulled up, except it's no longer a fucking corpse, it's walking towards the door.  Oh my god what the hell is going on here?!

I slam the lock down, preventing the door from opening until it's unlocked.  Within a minute there's a pair of bloody fists beating on the door, leaving streaks of red on the glass, as I crawl back into the shop, laughing hysterically.

What's happening here?!  That guy was dead and now he's at the door, I can hear him beating on it, moaning "Uuuuuhhhhhhh"

I slowly stand up and grab the shop phone to call the police, this is soooo far out of my paygrade as to not be funny in any manner shape or form.

There's a busy signal as soon as I pick the phone up, seriously can this day get any worse, the phones are fucking down!?

I'm stuck inside the shop as more and more pounding occurs on the outside doors, and I glance through the shop cameras to now see five people? zombies?  infected? pounding on the doors.  I quietly retreat into the back office after pulling Joel's corpse into the cool room.  He was a great friend and it's the least that I can do for him.  Hopefully this crazy day ends soon and I can explain to his wife and children why I killed their husband and father.  I can only hope they'll forgive me, I can only hope my wife will forgive me.

I listen to the radio in the backroom as news reports come out, detailing this outbreak, speaking on how people if they can should stay home and not go out.  I'm terrified for my wife, who's at work in our deli.  What if something should happen to her?

I try calling her from the shop line, but again and again I get the busy signal.  The phone lines are down.  Outside I can hear the pounding on the door and I shudder in fear and horror.

I'm stuck in a shop full of craft beer and good whisky which I partially helped choose, surely SOMEWHERE in here I can find something to take my mind off the fear and anxiety that fills me.  I don't need to get pissed, I just need to take the edge off.

I decide to lose myself in the act of wandering through a dead man's possessions and after having checked the shop I find myself in the managers office with a bottle pulled down from the top shelf which has my mouth open in surprised shock.

A bottle of 1954 Mortlach from Gordon & MacPhail.

You cheeky arse Joel.  You never told me you had this bad boy.   Seriously what the hell was I doing giving you Kavalan and you've got a 58 year old single malt in your office?!

I almost feel a little bad for killing you.

Joel keeps glencairn whisky glasses in the shop, mainly for when I stop by with stock for him to play with, so I grab one of them from the shelf and crack his 58 year old Mortlach.  My poor friend is dead and gone, so he won't mind if I try his whisky, and if the gods are good the simple acts of identifying nose, palate, and finish will help calm me.

I pour a health dram into the glencairn, look at it, and then double it.

Fuck it, I have no idea what's going on, but I need something to calm my nerves and a 58 year old whisky should do the trick.

The nose slowly sucks me in, begging me to stay with it all day and night, which at this point in time I really do need.

Cloves, ginger, figs, dates, prunes, plums, wood varnish, cinnamon, nutmeg, beeswax, wood polish, deep oak notes, charred oak, slowly suck me in and I slowly start to breath normally.  The simple act of nosing this whisky with it's complexity is helping calm me down.

I can still head banging on the doors out the front and from the looks there's ten people, corpses, zombies I dont know what, pounding on the door, and I do a little ostrich moment of la la la la I'm just going to drink this whisky and try and calm myself.

It's a whisky I could drink forever and if the events of the last half hour are any gauge it might just well be the case, the nose sucks me in and then the palate holds me captive. 

Spicy, but subtle, again sucking me in, honey, orange peel, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, deep oak, wood varnish, pears, black pepper, deep, like the still waters of a river waiting to sweep you under, intense, but mild as odd as it sounds, this is a whisky where a dram could hold me all night long, and it's the whisky that I do believe has saved my sanity right now.

The finish is long, and once again complex as can be with pepper, deep oak and a little tropical fruit holding my attention throughout the length of the dram.

As I finish my "medicine" I'm able to start to contemplate my next move and how I'm going to get out of my situation and back to my wife.  A $2000 bottle will do that for you.  I wander around Cellarbrations at Carlisle, feeling a little like the shop is haunted without Joel being alive and the room being empty as I contemplate my next move....


Nose:        24/100
Taste:        24/100
Finish:      24/100
Balance:   24/100

Overall:     96/100

Saturday, 12 July 2014

A Long Week And A Damn Good Dram!


Whisky: Abbey Whisky The Rare Casks 4th Release Glencadam 22 year old
 
Distillery/Brand:
Glencadam

Bottling:
Abbey Whisky The Rare Casks 4th Release Glencadam 22 year old

Region:
Highland

ABV:
55.3%

Colour:
Sunlight

Review:
It's been a long week, in fact it's been a long month, with Whisky Live Sydney done and dusted and Whisky Live Melbourne just a week away, a fresh batch of That Boutiquey Whisky Company imported by the company I work for, staff training on whisky, Dram Full events, past and future, whisky, whisky, whisky.

Heaps of whisky related things, events, promotions, but sadly too little whisky drinking going on.  So after work today when I got off work I already knew what I was going to have.

Abbey Whisky's newly released Rare Cask bottling 4, a Glencadam 22 year old, cask strength.  I'd talked to Mike, the owner of Abbey Whisky, a while back about the Glencadam and he'd sent me a sample several weeks back, but between never trying a Glencadam in my life, the high quality of all of the other Rare Casks bottled by Mike, and not having had nearly enough whisky over the last few weeks, well to say I was excited just doesnt do the word "excited" justice.

So after dinner I cracked the little sample bottle open, poured it into my favorite glencairn, and sat down to nose.

Sweet jesus I dont get to do this enough anymore,  the nose just immediately sucks me in and as I lick the few droplets that I spilled getting it out of it's bottle I know I'm in for one hell of a treat!

Let's get a little technical information out of the way first.

Glencadam. is a little Highland distillery, the only one in the region of Angus in Scotland.  A majority of it's whisky is used in blends such as Ballentines, however it's now being also bottled as a single malt which you can ever so often see in Australia if you're very very lucky.

This little whisky had 96 bottles come out of the cask, a refill bourbon cask, at a strength of 55.3%.

Alright with all of that out of the way let's get into the actual whisky shall we?!

The nose immediately sucks me in with pineapple, toasted oak, vanilla, pear juice, toffee, slight sherry, wee bit of mint. It's a good little nose and one I'd be content to sit with for a good 20 minutes.

However whisky is meant for drinking, not just smelling so let's give that a go shall we?

The flavors are lovely and intense, good balance, pepper, cherries covered in mint, candy sugar, vanilla, creamy and dry, begging me to take another taste, pear juice and melon, hint of milk chocolate.  Yum.

This little whisky ends with grapefruit, white peppers, and caramel, long and lingering.

Sitting here for the last half hour, forty minutes, watching the new Robocop while I sit here starring in my glass, man what a great way to wind down from the week.  A bottle of this would run along the lines of $150 AUS or so, which in my opinion is damn well worth it.  The only pain in the ass thing about the Abbey Whisky bottlings is I never have enough money to grab 2 bottles of them at a time, which is something I wish I could do, one for immediate drinking and one for future drinking.

Curse you Mike, curse you!


Nose:         23/25
Taste:         23/25
Finish:       21/25
Balance:    23/25

Overall:     90/100