Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Gulpin' whisky.

Whyte and MacKay is on special offer at Tesco - a litre for £15. It's a blend, a palatable one and actually quite smooth but it comes under the definition of 'gulpin' whisky'.

I don't know if anyone else uses such definitions. Mine are based on the old Wild West saloon definitions.

Sippin' whisky is a good malt. It's expensive so you drink it by pouring a small amount at a time into a crystal glass. A small amount because if you nod off watching a DVD (an occasional hazard late at night) and wake up to find you'll have to ditch a large glass of expensive booze, it hurts. Sippin' whisky is not for getting drunk, although that can happen. It's for savouring.

Gulpin' whisky is a cheap malt or a good blend. Ledaig, Glen Moray and Glen Grant are very nice malts but at around £15 a bottle it doesn't hurt so hard if you've wasted a glass by nodding off. These are okay in ordinary glasses but still better in crystal. I don't know why. Maybe it's the lead.

These are the ideal ones for Smoky-Drinky because you don't feel quite so defensive of them as you do of a £30 bottle of Laphroaig. There are those at Smoky-Drinky who drink whisky straight from the bottle - I know they do, because if they're already there and I arrive next, the bottle is open, started, and there are no glasses out. Smoky-Drinky is not a high class club. We get all sorts. Even Labour voters, although I am trying to cure them of that terrible addiction - for their own good, and for the cheeeldren.

Don't ever swig any whisky from the bottle. It is sinful and wrong and Satan will visit you in the night and mark you forever with his pungent faecal scent. In your mouth. And I won't let you have any of mine if you're going to do that with it. Mind you, it's not as sinful as voting Labour. If you do that, Satan rubs his hands and really goes to work on you. Even he doesn't like Labour. Probably because Mandelstein is serious competition.

Anyhow, gulpin' whisky gets poured in larger measures but still not drunk too fast. It's to be enjoyed. No down-in-one nonsense. The good blends come under this definition and of course, it depends what you like. Whyte and Mackay, Black Bottle, Grant's - the Ale or Sherry cask (much better than the plain stuff), Stewart's Cream of the Barley, and several others are gulpin' whiskies.

Redeyes I never buy any more. They are harsh blends. Contrary to what many people seem to believe, whisky should not hurt when you drink it. It doesn't have to taste like nitric acid to be a good whisky. Down at this end are Bell's and the modern, inferior version of Famous Grouse. They are for people who like pain, or who believe that drinking must come with an immediate penance. They are not the worst...

The worst are the rotgut. At the bottom of the whisky stacks are the supermarket own-brand ones and those are cheap for a reason. They are terrible. I'd say that if the Shenkerites wanted to put people off strong drink, they should make those own-brand blends cheaper. If that was your only experience of whisky you'd never touch the stuff again. Suitable only for removing varnish or cleaning the toilet and not even good enough to make an Irish coffee. For that I'd use a redeye or a low-end gulpin' whisky. Never Jameson's or Bushmills, they are far too good to be mixed with coffee and sugar. Rotguts are cheap but they do not give you an impression of what whisky is like. They give more of an impression of what it's like to have your throat cleaned with a wire brush dipped in bleach. In the morning, you get the same effect at the other end.

Rotguts are the ones tramps drink before falling into the gutter and going 'blurb-blurb-blurb' until Alex, Pete, Georgie and Dim come along. They are not really supposed to be consumed at all other than by people who are in a situation where a painful death sounds like a good option. They are the ones you buy because it's cheap to give it a go, drink one small glass and pour the rest down the sink. It does wonders for your U-bend but it does awful things to your insides so, in fact, it's worth buying a bottle to clear your sink-traps.

Just don't drink any.


JuliaM said...

Whyte & MacKay is pretty nice whisky. A little 'smokier' than most blends, I always find.

Anonymous said...

Some of the Supermarket own brands are actually quite good, by law they have to be Scotch and in some cases are a lot better than people might expect. Lidl stocks Hunters Glen at £9.99 a bottle, it's an 8 year old blend that easily fits into your Gulpin whisky catagory.

Personally I'd put Bells into the Rot Gut section now though, dreadful.

Constantly Furious said...

"..wake up to find you'll have to ditch a large glass of expensive booze, it hurts

Personally, if I woke up clutching a large glass of booze, I'd be delighted. I normally wake up clutching an empty glass, with a soaking crotch..

Anonymous said...

Of course, you don't have to drink rotgut...


John said...

shhh... I believe the Tesco "Islay" own brand bottle is Bowmore - decent and usually about £15 - though I haven't looked since xmas.

Anonymous said...

Drat... Haven't tasted Famous Grouse for years and yesterday Tesco's had a litre for £12. Hope it's not as bad as you suggest.

Tomrat said...

I tried Bushmills Black Label in the pub t'other night; bizarrely more refreshing than even the Magners cider that preceded it.

Wife said I tasted like what ass probably tastes like though.

Anonymous said...

"shhh... I believe the Tesco "Islay" own brand bottle is Bowmore"

Doubtful considering who supplies Tesco own brand.

glenmorangie said...

I always found Bells and Grouse well rough. Glenmorangie is worth splashing out for. Their distillery in Tain ( Easter Ross) is worth a visit. You go into a wee room at the end and fill your boots with a wonderful selection of whiskies. There's also a good shop attached where you can buy a bottle to take home. We wandered out into the sunshine at about two in the afternoon well full. And headed into the town for a beer chaser.

Anonymous said...

...and then comes Bourbon!

Call me Infidel said...

shhh... I believe the Tesco "Islay" own brand bottle is Bowmore

Actually quite possible. Years ago I had a sampling session in a malt whisky shop in Edinburgh. The proprietor regaled me with a story about his supply of cask strength Laphroaig. The owners of the distillery at the time Allied Domecq I believe had tried to take him to court. He had purchased a number of casks at auction and was selling the whisky bottled at cask strength. Their claim was that he should not sell the whisky under the Laphroaig name as it did not include the magical ingredient genuine Islay peat water. However it was subsequently shown that Laphroaig was diluted to bottle strength using Glasgow tap water!

It is possible that Tescos have bought a considerable number of Bowmore casks and are bottling it under their brand name it happens all the time.

delcatto said...

I am currently enjoying Sainsbury's Speyside 12 year old malt. Lovely taste and very smooth as well as being familiar but I just can't identify it. I will certainly be buying another bottle and the wife likes it as well. She no longer adds cola to a malt whisky which she did only the once. For a cheaper blended whisky I do like 'Black Bottle'. Otherwise I am willing to try most malts except Jura (horrible) and Old Pulteney remains one of my favourites. Mind you, the strong Islay whiskies aren't liked by my wife so more for me when I do buy one in.
I also like Spanish brandy and Carlos 3rd Solera Reserva is just right for me. Whether it ticks the boxes for spirits snobs cuts no ice with me...I just enjoy drinking it.

Mr. Jolly said...

In the category of Gulping whisky I'd like to recommend 'Cream Of The Barley', very light and smooth. Bells is vile, though a taste for it can be acquired at a cost. Grouse is 'meh'. When it comes to deluxe blends seek out The Antiquary; rarely encountered - but never forgotten.

Leg-iron said...

JuliaM - the Glasgow Special is a blend of malts. Very nice indeed.

Anon 1 - we have a new Lidl here. I'll look in on it.

CF- you have to put the glass down once in a while.

Leg-iron said...

On the own-brand single malts, I find they are good but taste a little watered-down. Morrison's Islay is okay. It's not much cheaper than the real thing though.

Brandy - I like brandy but it puts me in killing mood so the Smoky-drinkers have forbidden it. For me, anyway.

Bourbon is a different drink. Jack Daniel's is okay, so is Jim Beam, but better with coke.

If you put coke in Ardbeg, I'd skin you alive.

woman on a raft said...

O/T Magners. It smells of ammonia. It does. It smells of mature wee. How can anybody put it in their mouth, let alone swallow it?

The Cowboy Online said...

Reading this prompted me to head down to my local Sainsbury's. I'm normally a Glenmorangie chap, although I do like a nice Laphroaig as well, but this evening I bought two 70cl bottles of Grant's Sherry Cask, and a 1l bottle of Carlos III Brandy, and all for less than one 70cl bottle of Glenmorangie would have cost.

I'm having a glass of Grant's right now, and first impressions are good.

Thanks for the, err, inspiration.

Tomrat said...

woman on a raft,

Agreed - when it's warm. Pour it over ice though and it tastes like what you'd imagine Strongbow to taste like given the ads.

There's a place in Oxford that I occasionally went to that sold hundreds of various whiskys of all types; it had grudgingly put in a beer stand the year I arrived.

Anonymous said...

As an Irishman I can be considered disloyal, but I am yet to find an Irish that I can actually stomach.
As for Grouse being in the rotgut class, I'm afraid i totally disagree. i find it a smooth whiskey which does down well between pints of Guiness .
The comment about the Hunters Glen , I must disagree,I'm drinking a glass right now and although it is a cure for my torn back ligament, I find it as rough as Toby's hole.
My preference to single malts however comes down to just one brand, and that is Talisker. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Tried a ten year old Macallen last week and decided to use it to wash the glass out before i put the Talisker in.

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