Friday, 22 April 2016

My Favorite Bowmore

Whisky: Adelphi Bowmore, 1996, 19 Year Old



Adelphi Bowmore 1996, 19 Year Old



Adelphi Bowmore, 19 years old, distilled in 1996, refill sherry cask, 214 bottles from the cask at 57.2% abv.
Adelphi, where do you start? One of my favorite bottlers, I've never had a bad bottle from them, even a ok bottle from them. Everything I've tried from them has been stellar.
To say I'm a bit of a fan boy, doesn't quite cover it. If you were to look into my whisky collection, you'd see a massive amount of Gordon & MacPhail and Adelphi and if you were to ask me to choose between the two of them, I just don't think that I could.
So when late last year Ben Baranow, the importer of Adelphi into Australia asked me if I'd like to meet with Alex Bruce, one of the heads of Adelphi, well I was like a school girl finding out she's going to actually get to meet her rockstar crush, something that I'm sure made Alex most uncomfortable.
Most of the Adelphi that comes into Australia disappears into my collection and this Bowmore was no exception, however as much as one says "I love that distillery, I love the cask type, I love the bottler" but without trying that bottle, that whisky, you never know.
When it was confirmed that Alex was coming into Perth, I put together an Adelphi tasting, which featured the wildly insane and incredible Glover 22 year old, but with a line up of 6 whiskies from Adelphi, definitely not the world's cheapest independent bottler, and one of those whiskies running at the cost of $2500, I had to be cautious about just what whiskies would be tasted, which meant that the bad boys, would be out of budget, something I regretted and left me hopeful that at some point I'd get to try some of my Adelphi's before I opened them.
Two days before the event my Adelphi's arrive, and I'm informed that my selection is just not good enough....that we're going to be trying the 19 year old Bowmore....and I'm in heaven!
That night when I get home I exercise the whisky hosts prerogative, which is opening the bottles and sampling the wares. So right off the bat I'm cracking the Bowmore. I've had a bottle for a year, but now I get to finally try it....
And it does not disappoint, in fact, it blows me away.
See folks rave about peat and sherry, smoke and sherry, and while I agree it's a stunning combination, it's a stunning combination that is rarely done right or well. Too much sherry and the whisky feels...lopsided, sickly sweet, just not right.....not enough sherry, what's the point?
However when it's done right....mind blowing.
Adelphi has done this right, in fact dead fucking right...a refill sherry cask and this whisky is all about the subtlety. The smoke is there, refined as one would expect in an older Islay, but there. The sherry is there, all sexy like and having it's say, but again in balance.
The nose is .... probably the best nose I've ever had off of a Bowmore, a nose I could happily enjoy for days. Tropical fruit, guava, mango and rockmelon, smoke, gentle smoke, strawberries, sea spray and hay on the nose, but there's so much freaking fruit!
There's whiskies that smell so good that you actually almost don't want to drink them, you just want to nose them all night long.
But no point in just nosing, time for a taste!
More smoke on the palate then there is on the nose, a small amount of heat on the palate, but to be expected at cask strength, so salty, so very salty and then rich dark chocolate. Some dried tobacco, and then on the far back palate, the red fruit starts to come through, again the strawberries then raspberries. It is so very delicious....the raspberries actually turn into chocolate covered raspberries, something you'd have for Valentines Day, with the smoke coming back into the foreground again.
The finish is dry, so dry, with smoky chocolate lingering.
Fuck me I'm glad I've got a full bottle of this, so freaking good. At almost $300 a bottle now, it's not cheap, but it is so very good.

Nose: 25/25
Taste: 23/25
Finish: 21/25
Balance: 22/25

Overall: 91/100

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A Sickie Get Well Present!

Whisky: Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak



Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak



Bruichladdich's Octomore 7.4, Virgin Oak Cask, 7 years old, bottled at 61.2% at 167ppm, 12000 bottles for the world.
Where does one start with this whisky?
Stunning? Special? Doesn't begin to cover it for me to be honest. I was lucky enough to spend my last birthday at Bruichladdich on Islay, where as part of the tasting I was privileged enough to be allow to pull the whisky straight from the cask.
So imagine my surprise when the Spirits Platform contacted me and said they had a little present for me. They were coy, not spilling the beans on just what it might be, so I was absolutely gobsmacked when this 200ml sample arrived.
Unfortunately I was ill with the flu, so unable to taste anything where I could smell/taste reliably, however I'm finally on the mend and able to taste once more!
Let's get into the whisky a little bit shall we? Well it's an Octomore so there's definitely the smoke and peat on this bad boy, but much less then then one would guess. a bit of alcohol on the nose, a heap of oak, a bit of smoky bacon, vanilla, some wet cardboard, there's a small amount of fruit hiding amongst the smoke and meat, apples and sultanas, but this takes time and patience to pull out of the whisky. This is a whisky I could spend hours nosing happily.
On the palate, it is spirity, especially if you're not used to high abv, but if you're used to high abvs it's pretty mild. I found it so approachable. Soft and sweet, again mildly smoky, vanilla, some dark chocolate, and again the fruit, but it's more of a lemony citrus note then the apples and sultanas
I pick up on the nose.
The finish is soft, and dry. A puff of smoke that disappears and then reappears.
This is an absolutely stunning whisky, better then I remembered trying in Scotland, and a whisky which I will be picking up in the near future.

Nose:       24/25
Taste:      22/25
Finish:      21/25
Balance:   23/25

Overall:     90/100

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Zombie Apocalypse Part 5
Things Fall Apart: The Center Cannot Hold

Whisky: Talisker 20 year old, 1981, 2002 sherried cask release.



Talisker 20 year old, 1981, 2002 sherried cask release.


Oloroso Sherry

An infected's screams shatter the still air, and then an answering cry.  I'm running as fast as I can, but I know I'm not going to make it, I can't move fast enough, they're going to catch me.  The naked branches of the trees surrounding me whip my face as I sprint through them, the thigh high grass attempting to catch me, tripping me up....I hear another scream, behind me, and then another to my right....more screams rising up around me.  The night is freezing, my breath frosting the air, freezing my skin as soon

As I dash through the woods, fear coursing through my veins, shame rises in me, making me sick to my stomach with disgust, it curdles quickly, anger racing through me.  How dare these fucking diseased freaks chase me, hunting me like a bloodhound treeing a coon and I realize my vision is going red and my teeth are bared back in a snarl and I skid through the leaves and turn just in time to see an infected burst from the tree line.  I bolt towards the infected, a spindly old lady wearing a house dress covered in dried brown liquid.  We slam into one another and I growl as her teeth snap together in the air near my face.  Her pupils glow red as I duck my head underneath hers, headbutting upwards, slamming her jaw shut and then ripping her throat out with my teeth, her blood spraying into my mouth and across my face.

 I freeze in fear and shock as a middle aged infected, shrieking in rage slams into me, knocking the wind out of me, and as I slam onto the ground my vision goes blank and then stars.  The man, face covered in boils, slams his fists into my chest again and again, stunning me...

and then coughing I wake up to Sam nudging me in my chest with his foot.

"Ash, it's time to wake up buddy, you were having a nightmare"

I grab my bat as I come to, swinging it around me as Sam jumps away.  My heart is pounding a million miles a minute, lungs bellowing, unable to catch my breath.

"Wah, wha, huh, Who is it?  What's going on?"

"Ash it's me!  Sam!  You're having a bad dream buddy"

I hold my sides, pain flashing up and down my body, my aches from the last couple of days magnified.  It hurts so much.  Cold shivers run through me, making it feel like I'm taking a bath in ice water....I wrap blankets around me and then no sooner am I fully wrapped in them then it's too hot and I'm drenched in sweat.

"Ash, buddy, are you ok?  You don't look like you're feeling so good"

Sam's hand on my forehead is so hot, and then it's freezing.

"So cold, can't stop shaking, I'm sorry, go ahead without me.  I'll only slow you down."

"Sorry mate, we're in this together.  Let's get you some aspirin and cold water"

He walks away to get the water and meds and stops, turning back at me for a second, staring into my face...

"What's wrong with your eyes?"

"Huh?  What do you mean" 

"One of them looked red for a couple seconds there"

"Is it it still red?  Is there anything in it?"

"No, not anymore.  Must of been a trick of the light"

Once I've got some aspirin into me I start to feel a little better....still worn out and tired,, but more human.  We decide to take showers, one of us standing guard while the other cleans up.  When it's my turn I close the bathroom door, strip down, and turn the shower onto my favorite setting....boiling.  As I wait for the water to heat up I check myself for wounds in the mirror and my eyes fall upon my dog's still inflamed, oozing a little pus from a couple of the punctures, and the skin is cracking where it's starting to heal over and where it isn't healing, it's bruised as can be.

All in all it doesn't look very good.

I call out to Sam, asking him to bring the Highland Park 40 into the bathroom, which he does for me, and I douse my wound, letting the high abv spirit seep into the puncture, burning like hell as I do so.  In the mirror my reflections goes waxy and pale, ashen and I grunt in pain.

I turn the shower on, put it onto boiling and step into the water....I soap up, and swig from the bottle, drenching my wound in between swigs, until the fluid oozing from it goes from milky white to clear.  The spray turns my skin lobster red, and I stay in, until I'm hot, and then until I'm boiling, every so often thrusting my wound directly into the spray.

I feel woozy, unsteady, but we can't afford to delay, we need to get to the city, to find our families, to get to the evacuation drop points so as quickly as we can, so I finish up.

When I get out of the shower Sam asks how I'm feeling, and I lie, telling him I'm fine, that I'm ready to go.  A quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and we pack up, gathering knives, bandages and bats, along with bottles of fresh water.  Sam and I peer through the window blinds of the house, sides, front and back, then after glancing at one another and shrugging, take deep breaths and head out the front door.

The sun is boiling outside and the air hangs heavy with humidity.  Sam and I make our way into the city, it's a straight shot from Niska's house, if we go by the freeway.  Sam and I have decided the freeway is the safest route as while there won't be any cover, it's only a couple of miles into the city and my sister in laws apartment.  If we decide to hike it via the suburbs there's cover, but it's about twice as far, and there's sure to be plenty of infected in the houses.  If luck holds out the freeway will be clear, even better there might be a car we can safely borrow if there's no infected around.  We will only have to cover 100 yards or so to hit the on ramp, so we decide to get out of suburbia as quickly as we can.

As we hike onto the overpass leading to the on ramp Sam and I can see smoke rising from several places over Perth and in the distance can hear what sounds like a huge volley of fireworks....gunfire.

We make our way onto the freeway, cars are in all the lanes, in most cases with the doors thrown open, but the area is pretty open.  We decide to give the idea of finding a car to get us into the city a shot.  I'm feeling sluggish and slow as I approach the car, moving like I'm in slow motion, until I grab the door handle and a dirty hand slams against the window.  It's an infected, but this one looks to have passed, it's covered in blood with a gaping wound in it's neck and it leaves a smear of blood as it's hands slide down the closed window.

I just about piss myself in shock, my heart racing a mile a minute as Sam can't decide whether to die laughing or comfort me.  He decides to go halfway, chucking as he pats my shoulder.  We decide to move further down the freeway, but checking the cars more carefully to make sure there's no infected inside.

We see more infected in cars and trucks as we head towards the city, but we catch a break about half a mile into our journey, a little Honda Civic with the keys still in the ignition, and the doors closed. The car starts on Sam's first attempt and I collapse into the passenger seat as he slowly steers us towards the city.  The heat's beating down on me and Sam can tell I'm not feeling so flash so he cranks the AC up.

The car gets us almost into the city before the pile of dead cars becomes too much and we have to hoof it.  I've never been more scared in my life.

Buildings have scorch marks around them from where fires have been started and died out, there's thousands of broken windows, glass shards sparkling in the sunlight.  In the far off distance we can hear a car horn blaring and from different directions radios, some with repeating messages, some just static.  Dead bodies lay around all over the streets, and there's more blood stains even where there are no bodies. The gunfire is constant along with screams.

I've never seen an area more thrashed, more devastated.  More destroyed.  But there are no infected, which scares me even more.

We're only about six blocks away from my sister in laws, which is great.  There's tens of thousands of the infected in between us.  There's got to be.  Perth's population is like 1.5 million and even if a majority of them survived which is doubtful, that still means that the odds are very good that Sam and myself will die before we get to my sister in laws, to my wife and brother, Niska.

The gunfire dies down and disappears as we slowly make our way to the apartment and while in everything in me screams to just run the six blocks, to see Squidgy and Niska and my family again I know that way leads to death, so we move slow, cautiously.

It's still, nothing is moving but debris in the wind, and Sam and I make our way through the next four blocks this way, bats at the ready, knives in our belts, waiting for what we know must be coming, what has to occur.

Four blocks in silence, until we hear a groan....and then a scream, that god damned infected scream. Rending the air and making our bowels clench we turn around and there standing in the middle of the street is an infected, head back in a howl of rage,

And then the flood comes, first in twos and threes, then dozens, and then a hundred the infected come, screaming, bolting to us and we run.  We run faster then I could ever believe.  Sam grabbing my free hand and pulling me along, keeping me moving.  We turn the corner at one block, run down a narrow alley with a stench coming off of it that turns our stomachs, down another alley and onto the main thoroughfare of the next block over, the infected screaming their rage at us the entire way.

My lungs bellow, my legs are rubbery and I know that I'm going to die any minute.  As we burst into street we hear voices and then I'm flying through a broken glass window, as Sam throws me out of the way of the hail of bullets.

"We're uninfected!" And that's all he's able to get out to the soldiers as they open fire on us and the infected following behind.   I see him take three bullets to the chest and then one to the face as I'm struggling to get to my feet.  Right after he goes down I see four infected go down to the soldiers. We would have been dead in another thirty seconds, but Sam is still dead and I'm left with a hollow in my gut as I drag myself to my feet and I start hunting for an exit.  There's no way I can survive by leaving the way I came in.

I wander through the remains of a bank, cash strewn all over the floor until I find a back office with a door leading into an alleyway....It doesnt strike me as very safe but there's nothing to do.  I'm bleeding heavily from cuts to my legs and head and I can see a small, but noticeable blood trail behind me.

The gunfire goes on and on and now I can hear screams as I turn away from the street we were on, limping heavily, ducking into doorways, behind dumpsters full of rotting garbage as I slowly make my way around the block to my sister in law's apartment.

It's a fancy apartment building and she lives on one of the top floors, which as I stand in the courtyard, bat dragging along the ground, looking up into the open sky, eighteen stories up, I groan. The elevators will be out, I'm going to have to hike up eighteen flights of stairs.....

I crack open the door to the stairwell, pitch black and start the long way up.  It takes me forever, groping my way in the dark, dragging myself up, stopping to listen for the sounds of pursuit, hearing first nothing but the sounds of my labored breathing and then the sounds of infected crying, groaning as they wander around the floors where they last were rational thinking beings.

I finally make it to the eighteenth floor and my sister in law's apartment.  The building has infected in it, but it seems to only be on a few floors.  If the gods are good, I'll find my family there.  I crack open the door as quietly as I can, but it still makes a large bang as it flies open and I lurch into the hallway.  Thank god there's only three apartments on her floor.

I head straight towards it and as I turn the corner to get to her door I sigh.  It's ajar.

I make my way into the apartment, to find it deserted.  Things have obviously been packed up in a hurry, with clothing on the floor.  I find my wife's jacket on the counter along with a half eaten meal starting to grow mold.  On the floor near the door is a note written to me, but only halfway completed....

It's from my sister in law and says that they had to leave due to the infected, but her, Niska, my brother in law and my wife were being evacuated out.  It cuts out on just where they're being evacuated to...


My bat falls to the floor as I lose my grip on it and tears spring to my eyes as I wander the apartment, making my way up into the loft.  The view of the city, with the sun starting to set, with smoke in the background, buildings with windows broken at twenty stories, and the waterfront over it is lost on me at this moment in time....I've lost my family again.

I sit/collapse onto the bed, head in my hands, trying to figure out where to go next when I hear the noise....a groan....a sigh.....there's someone in the apartment with me.  I peak over the stairs leading into the bottom of the apartment and there's a morbidly obese infected standing there, drooling, sniffing, growling.


I have no weapon, I can see my bat on the floor near him, I've lost my knives in the chase, I'm defenseless!


Thinking fast I crawl into the closet and slide the doors shut.  On the floor of the closet are bottles of whisky, including a bottle of 20 year old Talisker, from 1981, my birth year!  A cask strength sherried Talisker, considered to be one of the best Taliskers ever made....this is where my wife has been hiding my anniversary present.

The sight of this bottle pulls tears from my eyes as I hold it in my hands, touched by her gesture.  The whisky is worth almost $1500 US a bottle, and is a whisky I've hunted for years to buy....

Tears are streaming down my face with how much I miss my family when I hear thumping outside the closet doors...the infected is standing in the bedroom now, sniffing the air, saliva slowly dripping and then it looks at the closet and myself....As it's mouth open to scream I feel the red rage from the dream strike me again and I burst from the closet, screaming, swearing, shrieking, raging.

I may not have a weapon, you may kill me you fucking infected, but I'm going to fucking kill you as well.  I slam into the fat man as hard as I can, and it flies across the room, my rage carrying us through the glass window overlooking the city.  The fat man flies out into space and down through the air screaming his hate the entire way down as I manage to grab the ledge as I fly out the window.

Broken glass is embedded in my cheek, shards of glass are cutting into my hands as I look down eighteen stories to see the fat man dead below, with figures moving around near his corpse....the fat man made a huge mess when he landed, blood spraying out from him....And I sit there and think how easy it would be to join him....


Glass digging deeper into my hands, blood pouring down my arms I drag myself into the bedroom, ruining the carpet and sit there panting on the floor.

Fuck this.

I head over to the closet, grab the Talisker and rip it open, getting blood over the bottle.

I sit there on the floor, watching the sun set over the dying city, gunfire ringing out with the occasional scream of infected and their victims and take a swig out of the bottle.

I've lost one of my best friends today, due to him saving my life.  I'm wounded, bleeding like a stuck pig.  I cant find my sister in law, brother in law, brother or wife.  I have no idea on how to go about finding them now.  I'm low on weapons, I'm stuck in a city with thousands upon thousands of infected.

I'm fucked.

I might as well enjoy myself while I'm fucked.  One bottle out of nine thousand bottles, cask strength. Twenty years in a sherry cask.  Distilled the year I was born, bottled right after I got out of high school, the end of the world only happens once, you might as well enjoy a whisky worthy of it.

Nose: Stupidly complex for a whisky of this age.  Savory, fruity, sweet, malty, spicy, everything is coming through this.  Dark chocolate, smoke, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamon, white pepper, burning, smoldering embers, caramel, big oak, little salty.  The nose begs you to come back again and again.

Another swig.

Palate: The cask strength of 62% comes through immediately, but it doesn't overwhelm me, just rich, luscious flavors coming through.  Dark fruits, sultanas, plums, ash, charred oak, chocolate, mocha, honey soaked cherries, peat, white pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, beautiful.  I could drink a cask of this.

As the whisky hits me the sun is bleeding down over the horizon and I'm feeling exhausted, wiped out, dead tired.

The finish goes forever.  The smokey fruit and spice continuing on and on.  Indeed the best Talisker I have ever been lucky enough to try, I just wish the world wasn't ending for me to get to try it....I feel the tears start up again as I become drunk and then a hear the rush of feet behind me and as I turn to get up I see a shadow, pain and then....

It all goes black.

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

Overall:     98/100

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Zombie Apocalypse Pt 4

Whisky: Highland Park 40 year old

Highland Park

Highland Park 40 year old



Old Gold

A beam of sunlight falls across my face, spearing into my eyes, jarring me awake...the bat falls to the floor with a clatter as I shift, having forgotten it was there.  I'm groggy, exhausted, aching all over, arm afire and inflamed where I was bitten by the golden retriever.  In the background the radio and TV are once more static.

I slept poorly, waking up multiple times during the night, as the screams of the infected split the night.  Several times I heard infected outside the house, on the porch, in the backyard...during those times, I didn't even breath for fear of them hearing me, but I haven't heard anything for over 2 hours now and I'd managed to fall into a fitful doze.

I move like a corpse, stiff and sore, as I get up and head into the kitchen to make a quick breakfast.  I cook up some eggs and bacon, making sure that I don't bang the pans around to much, and once the food is done cooking, I leave the pans on the stove, and eat.  No need to clean up, I don't suspect that I'll be back here once the morning is done.

After eating I grab the bat and head into the bathroom for a shower, hopefully a hot shower will get rid of the kinks and soreness.  I let the shower heat up, so much so, that once I'm done, the room is full of steam, misting the mirrors and windows and making the towel slightly damp.  I brush my teeth, shampoo my hair, and stay in so long that I'm turning into a prune when the hot water starts going cold.

My bite wound from yesterday's dog attack is still oozing pus, so I grab the rest of the bottle of whisky, and slowly pour it into the hound, biting my lip so hard that it starts bleeding.  The pain in unbelievable, unlike any sort of bite that I'd ever suffered.  It doesn't make sense, I've been bit by animals of all kinds, dozens of times, with nothing like this.

Once the bottle is empty, I rinse off in the cold water,  grab my bat and change into a fresh pair of clothes, underwear, jeans, work boots, thick socks, a Dram Full shirt, flannel overshirt, sunglasses, backpack.  Bottles of water, fresh bandages, some candy bars and then as I am packing I find myself wandering around the house aimlessly....picking things up, just to put them down a couple of seconds later.  I realize I've been doing this for the last 10 minutes and it strikes me that I'm scared.  I'm in fact terrified.  I want to crawl up into a ball and call an adult, someone older and wiser to come and deal with all the bad guys, the monsters, for me.

But I'm by myself right now.  No one is here to turn on the lights and make everything all right...

I grab a photo of my family, then look around for a couple more, find them, toss them into my backpack, the phone charger for the now dead phone, toss that into the backpack, look around the kitchen for the biggest and sharpest knife I can find, and then, finally loaded up, look around.

I write a note to my family, letting them know where I've gone, that I'm alright, but have gone on in search of Squidgy, that I've headed to Niska's house.  If Squidgy for some reason returns, she's to stay there if it's at all safe to do so.

In the background the radio is going, and in between bursts of static, an announcer states that there's been an evacuation declared for Perth.  Martial law has been declared.  Sydney and Darwin have been written off.  The announcer warns that some of the infected, once killed, come back.   She then starts to explain on how to kill the infected so that they stay "dead" but her explanation is lost to the static.

I'm stalling, I need to leave or risk not leaving at all, the later it becomes the more the chance of me being caught out after dark when the infected are more active.  I look around the house on more time....the scene of so many memories since I moved to Australia, good ones and bad ones, and realize that there's a good chance that I'll never see this house again, never see this room again.

I feel myself tearing up as I head out the front door, locking it firmly behind me.  I likely won't be back, but if I am able to, I hope to find the house in one piece. And I go.

At first I slowly walk down the street, glancing around to ensure that no infected are in the area, but everytime I look, I happen to glance back to our house, which seems to be starring at me and soon I'm running, heedless of noise as I try to escape my house, my sanctuary, which is beckoning me to stay.

Niska, my adopted brother, lives about 12 miles away, normally a good walk, but nothing beyond a couple of hours at a good pace.  The sun is shining, but the birds are quiet, the air is still, humid, it feels like there is a storm coming.....

I get a couple of blocks away from my house without incident and slow down, puffing, out of breath.  I need to think straight, I cant lose my head, which is just what I did.  If I do, I'm sure to die.  I go back to climbing back yard fences as quickly as I can, making my way to my brother's house.  But after yesterday I'm more cautious, pausing before I crest the fence to scan and listen...

Far in the distance I hear crackles....rumbles....pops.....gunfire, from the city....and as I get ready to crest yet another fence I hear a scream, a rage filled scream.  Running towards me from behind the bushes in the backyard is an infected, face covered in blood....I drop back down and run...heading further into the development, away from my destination, as I hear a thump as the infected man.

I hear another scream from the opposite end of the street and turn in horror to see a heavyset woman, top covered in blood, run out from an open door, and then right behind her, three children, all covered in blood, one dragging it's left leg.  They freeze, then spot me, and screaming, give chase.

I run, as fast as I can, hearing more screams from the infected, echoing out behind me....they're calling to other infected I think as I see two more infected give chase, a tall thin man who has strings of saliva flying out of his mouth and a pretty woman, with wild hear and bloody teeth.

I need to get off the streets and I need to get off now!

I bolt, ducking down side lanes, jumping a fence and then another fence...heart pounding in my ears as my lungs burn, but if I slow down, I die...I know this down to my toes...I hear more screams behind me, and then more screams as new infected respond.....

Run bitch, run!

More fences jumped, ducking down alleyways, the screams grow fainter steadily and I start to get back on track to Niska's house, but I have to slow down.  I try and take shallow breaths so that I can hear any possible infected in the area and once I jump this fence, I take my bat and tie it to my backpack, grabbing out the kitchen knife...It's smaller and less bulky so hopefully if I need to I can run faster.  Plus in these tight alleyways I don't have as much room to swing a bat as I'd like, the knife will work better this way.

I limp out the back gate of this yard, thank you jesus for yards with gates, I think as I head out the wooden door, only to run right into an infected boy. 

About 13 years old it stops in dead surprise as I stumble against the fence and then I bring my knife up, slashing at it's face, cutting it's cheek and then stabbing it it repeatedly, straddling it as I thrust the knife into his chest until he stops moving.

Blood spurts everywhere, drenching my face, and I fall back against the fence trying to catch my breath...I'm exhausted and terrified....please god don't let any of those other infected hear me or my struggle I think to myself as as I watch the blood pour from the dead infected, watching the body go pale.  I need to get to Niska's and I need to get there as quickly as I possibly can.

I stand up. grabbing my backpack and knife and as I turn the corner into the next yard I hear a faint gasp and then a snarl....I jerk around in time to see the dead boy climb to his feet, lips pulling back in a snarl as he moves towards me...

I killed him, and he's gotten back up....what the fuck....I turn and run.

There's a McDonalds along to Niska's house and as I quietly pass it, I hear crashes from inside the building and then swearing.  I crawl into the bushes about 50 yards away and then wait a couple minutes before I make a decision.

There's people in there, uninfected people, this might just be what I was looking for, someone to help me!

I move to head into the restaurant, to let the people inside know that there's another human near by, maybe we can help one another, when I hear another scream of the infected and then another as they start appearing from the houses near by, streaming into the McDonald's, crashing through the windows and then more screams echo in the surrounding area as the swearing is cut off, into screams of fear and then pain and's quiet....

I shudder and hurry on towards Niska's...I'm almost there, there's a couple of what would in normal times be busy shopping centers the last couple miles to his house, but I decide to take the back streets, the alleyways, I'm sure there will infected crawling all over the shopping centers.  I make my way through the back alleys quietly, taking my time, pausing at each intersection, to wait, listen, sense....the sun is getting lower in the sky and I'm getting ready to cross one of the last alleyways to my brothers house when I freeze, and then retreat into the shadows as an infected man comes out from behind a car, and then after a minute of sniffing the air, heads the other way....

I'm almost to Niska's, hopefully Squidgy and Niska are home, are safe, and we can see about getting the fuck to the evacuation center....I turn the corner onto his street and there's his car!

I trot quickly towards his house and as I turn into the alcove of his house I hear a noise.

It's a voice!?  A human voice!

" that you?"

I freeze "Who's there?" I quietly hiss...

"It's Sam" I hear quietly in return as my buddy peeks around the corner of the house leading into the back yard of Niska.

 I run to my buddy, throwing my arms around him in a bear hug, and then we stop, look at one another, and then "what the fuck's going on!?"

We head into his backyard and I pull out a key to house from my pocket and unlock the back door.

The aroma of cigar smoke immediately hits my nose, and Sam and myself both quietly call out, asking if Squidgy or Niska are there, but it's immediately clear that they aren't.  The house feels abandoned, and I can see there's a glass of beer on the table along with some pasta starting to grow mold.

Sam and I quickly pull the curtains shut for all the windows, barricade the doors with the kitchen chairs and then sit down.

Sam looks pretty beat up, with scrapes up and down his face, one of the knees out on his jeans and his signature red hat has never looked worse, stained and tatter, and more a rag then a fedora.  We find a note from Niska and Squidgy, saying that they'd gone into the city, to my brother and sister in Sully and Gecko's house, in order for the family to be evacuated together...that they'd stayed as long as they could, but that the infected were starting to become interested in the house...

We stink and with this information in my mind, running on repeat we rinse off the worst of our wounds, taking turns standing watch, our blood, and the blood of my dead infected running down the drain as we catch up on what's happened to one another over the last few days....I'd found Sam's car at Mane Liquor, with blood stains on the driver side door.

He tells me that he'd pulled in to meet up with his friend Denise Brazil in order to pick up some beer and whisky at roughly the time everything in Perth went to around the time I'd arrived at Cellarbrations Carlisle, or a little bit afterwards....He'd been immediately set upon by a blood covered infected Josh Daley, one of the owners of Mane.

As Josh had slammed into the driver's side door trying to get at Sam, Sam had escaped via the passenger door, running through Mane Liquor via the front door and escaping out the back.  He had managed to escape into a near by restaurant where his friend, Denise, picked him up.

He'd managed to get back home safely, only to discover that his wife Talitha was trapped in the city...he'd come to Niska's after a day of trying to reach his wife, so that they could carpool into the city, to hunt for her and get her to the evacuation spot, only to discover the house empty....he'd sadly had to make his way to Niska's the same way I had, by foot, trying to avoid detection.  The last time he'd seen Denise she'd been rushing back home to her family, he knew nothing more of her whereabouts after that.

He'd grabbed a machete from his shed before making the trek, and I could see that it was sharpened to a razor sheen, but even with all of that, he'd had a hard time of it...

We can see the sun slowly setting peeking through the gaps of the curtains, and can see the infected start to come out and move, up and down the street.  We very quietly retreat back into the living room after grabbing some candles and a few lighters in Niska's room.

There's no food in the house, it being Niska's and he believing that man can live on whisky and cigars alone, but there's plenty of great whisky and fantastic cigars...

Sam and I are quiet as we sit down, lost in our own worries, worries that so closely mirror one anothers, the fear of our family, in danger, of having no idea on where they are.  The power's still on so I plug my phone into the charger and attempt to dial Squidgy's number, but there's nothing but a busy signal.  I then offer the phone to Sam, where he attempts to call his wife, with the same sad, disappointing results.

We both look at one another in frustration....hungry, frustrated, frightened, stressed, confused, we turn on the tv, and put it on the lowest volume where we can still hear anything...and then I go to Niska's whisky cabinet and grab a bottle for us to drink the night through.

Highland Park 40 year old.

The bottle catches my eye due to the fact that myself and Squidgy had bought the bottle for Niska's birthday....we'd planned on opening it together for our birthdays, Niska's, Squidgy's and my birthday's all being within a month was going to be a great night....

Except the infected came and nothing happened...

And so tonight Sam and I crack the bottle, grabbing a couple of glencairns on the way back from the cabinet and pouring monster pours and then grabbing a cigar from one of Niska's many humidors, a Partagas D4, one of my favorite cigars.  Sam only raise an eyebrow at me, seeing as he doesnt smoke at all, and then I light up, and try to lose myself in my whisky.

The aroma is stunning, one of the best noses, if not the best nose I've ever had, come off of a whisky.  Stunning, complex, aged but youthful, and fucking beautiful.

Soft smoke in the background, typical Highland Park honey and heather, cut grass, sultanas, figs, plums, raspberries, sherry, salt, smoke, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark chocolate and more come through....

Stunning, complex as can be, and absolutely stunning....Sam and I actually look up at one another in amazement....I'm left thinking of an old quote I had heard somewhere, in a time long ago, on an earth with no infected, that in the midst of death we are in life and this whisky fits that quote.

Sam and I just sit there quietly as the tv plays in the background, right now it's static with flashes of a person through the fuzz, but nothing useful.

After 20 or 25 minutes I decide to take a sip, and once more I'm blown away.

Soft smoke, heather, honey, aged toasted oak, dried fruit, raisins, spices, toffee, chocolate, oranges and orange peel, everything is in balance.

And the finish is subtle, lasting minutes after my last sip, but not dominating my palate, with the oak, and a little saltiness coming through.

Sam and I sit there for a while, drinking this lovely whisky and then I speak,

"I'm going into Perth tomorrow...I need to find Squidgy and Niska, I need to make sure that my family is ok"

"That's ok, if you don't mind I'll come with you.  I need to find Talitha, make sure she's safe...."

I can see that we're both stressing, dreading the following day...we need to head into the city, the main city, the capitol, the place where the infected are most likely to be and we know it will be dangerous....

We sit there in the dark, tv flickering on the walls behind us, as we hear the screams of the infected outside shattering the night, and drink our whisky, and this whisky which should be one of the greatest things we have ever tasted, doesn't comfort us at all.....

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

Overall:  94/100

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Zombie Apocalypse Part 3
The Long Night Approaches 

Whisky: Glenfarclas 40 year old 105, 2008 Release



Glenfarclas 40 Year Old 105, 2008 Release


Oloroso Sherry

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'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.


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.


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.



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!


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.



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 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
There Will Come A Time of Night And Fire 

Whisky: Glenfiddich 40 Year Old, Cask 9925



Glenfiddich 40 Year Old Cask 9925


Liquid Gold

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'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 blood 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 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 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: When Hell is full

Whisky: Mortlach 1954 58 Year Old by Gordon & MacPhail



Mortlach 1954 Gordon & MacPhail 58 Year Old


Amontillado Sherry

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.



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'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