Dick Puddlecote passes along news of the campaign to make 50p per unit a maximum. not a minimum. That would certainly be of benefit to me - that bottle of Lagavulin I've been eyeing up is currently selling at over £1 per unit. Even to a dedicated single-malt drinker, that's serious money for one bottle.
Nevertheless, urgent action on alcohol is called for so I donned my cape and Spandex and became Captain Whisky-Remover. My one and only superpower is to save the Cheeldren from the evils of alcohol by putting it where they can't get it. Down the toilet. After suitable processing to remove all the alcohol, naturally. A process in which I selflessly, as a public service, use my own liver and internal organs as a filter. There are a few of us still around and we are in danger of having our superpowers discovered, so don't tell anyone. Some turncoats are selling out, it seems. No, you can't have my DNA to see how my liver grows back so fast.
Tonight I made my first foray into the new Lidl here in town. Well, it's not new, it's been here for months but it's not conveniently located. Tonight I made the effort and it's an interesting place, for sure, although don't ask for help from the staff unless you speak Polish. There seemed to be only one guy running the whole shop, and no queue at the checkout, which was impressive. I think the prices are 'before VAT' but that's not clear on the price tags.
This Lidl opened opposite a bathroom shop I once went into, but left when I found it was one of those shops where tweed and Range Rovers are almost an entry requirement and if you have to ask the price, you shouldn't be there. Directly opposite was a most amusing place to site Lidl, I thought.
Some time ago, someone mentioned a whisky called 'Hunter's Glen' (I might have misremembered the name) which is found in Lidl at extraordinarily low price. It was there but I passed on that for a bottle of Glen Orchy, a 'pure malt' at £11.99. It doesn't say how many units are in it but it's 40%, so somewhere around 35 units probably. About 34p a unit, enough to give a Righteous idiot high blood pressure just by looking at it. At 50p per unit it would cost £17.50 and I wouldn't buy it at that price. That's getting into low-end single malt prices. In fact, Ledaig and Glen Grant are often around that price and they're both good malts.
Lidl also sell a three-year-old whisky which I will never try. It's desperately cheap but at three years old we're talking drain cleaner. Even Bells is eight years old. To be fair, it's a blend, and a blend is dated by the age of the youngest whisky in it. It could be 99% eight-year-olds and 1% three-year-old and it would be dated as a three-year-old. Even if that were so, it's still not for drinking. Three-year-old whisky isn't whisky. It's aftershave.
The tag 'pure malt' and the £11.99 price on Glen Orchy clued me in at once that it wasn't a single malt. If it was a single malt it would say so because that commands a higher price. It's one of those rarities, a blend of malt whiskies. Blends are more usually associated with cheaper grain whiskies, malt blends are normally 'own-brand' malts these days. Even then, a lot of the own-brands are actually single malts, just not the best barrels.
Glen Orchy is an eight-year-old blend of malts. I'm about a third of the way down the bottle and it's not bad at all. Feels like Highland and Speyside dominate the mix. There's not much evidence of Islay in there. It's a good blend though and it's far better than Grants or Stewart's Cream of the Barley, both of which are very decent grain blends.
I think I'll have to take a few bottles off the shelves. For the sake of the Cheeldren, naturally. Can't have the little buggers drinking my whisky.
This stuff is cheap enough to take two bottles to Smoky-Drinky evenings. A night of smoking (indoors- ha!) and disturbing levels of alcohol for an outlay of £23.98. Try getting that from a pub night, you'll spend twice that at pub prices and you'll have to go outside to smoke, and be abused by antismokers while you're out there.
You know what I'd like to see? Just once, I'd like to see a pub ban an antismoker for abusing smokers in the smoking area. It has never, to my knowledge, happened. We have to go out there in all weathers, yet when the weather is good enough for the fair-weather drinkers, they can come out and slag us off with impunity. If we retaliate, we get told off.
Pubs, you want our support? Then support us in summer, support the smoking customers who shivered outside all winter. If they are going to suffer abuse all summer, then one by one, you'll lose them to Smoky-Drinky places.
Otherwise... Smoky-Drinky is the new pub. Or rather, it's the old pub. Smoking in comfort and cheaper booze.
Let the pubs close. They don't want our custom anyway.