acdntlpoet: (3DC)

The Gospels According to Seamus: The Exiled years

(Whiskies of the World, 2009)

 

(To follow along the timeline of events, use Twitter search to locate all our Tweets posted with the #3DC tag: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%233dc )

 

 

2.5 days of whisky fueled mayhem... with tasting notes! )

 

Stay tuned…. I am still hopeful that Raz and Fergus will finish their own write-ups one of these days. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll all get to experience the frivolity that is 2 giggling adult men at 3am after far too much whisky.

acdntlpoet: (3DC)
The pictures speak for themselves really... I am sure you can guess who carved what :)





acdntlpoet: (3DC)
"And lo, Himself did bestow upon us the heavenly tome of whiskies, and it was good."

This weekend started as few do: with a purchase of a ticket back in October 2007, setting my vacation date in stone. With work being as busy recently, and my travel up in the air (ha!) at times, preparation for the Whiskies of the World Exposition in San Francisco had been minimal at best. I packed my bag with my tickets, my tasting notebook, and my Whisky Bible, and headed to the airport.

This year was already going to be different from years prior; in this case we would be meeting a much larger number of 3DC in the city. That is to say, this year it would be substantially more people than Raz, Fergus, and me. All said, there were ten 3 Drunken Celts in attendance. The dynamic of the group would surely change...

Cross posted to www.3DrunkenCelts.com
It is a LONG post. Take your time. )

John Glaser's Masters Class on Blending )

Yes, there is still more..... )


Saturday evening in pictures )


The Grand Tasting )

The final stretch and summation of the weekend )

This year saw the birth of a new era for the 3 Drunken Celts. There are some amazing things coming down the pipe in the industry over the next few years and I can't wait to be involved, on the fringe admittedly, with it. At the very least, being an active consumer if not participant, will provide the opportunity to enjoy some seriously good drams!
acdntlpoet: (3DC)
So... While I work at getting all the photos from the Whiskies of the World event (attended by over 12 of the 3DC this weekend) in order and published, I figured I'd give you a fun sneak peak at the 3DC founders at the past 3 WOW events:

WOW, 2006. Our first time in SF for Whiskies of the World:


WOW, 2007. Year number 2; old hats by this point:


WOW, 2008. Year 3 and the dawn of a new era for the 3DC. This time we showed up with a posse (photo of the posse to come soon):



This year was indeed another milestone for the 3 Drunken Celts. My more lengthy blog will be posted at some point in the next week hopefully. I have a lot to do and say, both 3DC-wise and work-wise, which means I need to focus on my priorities for the moment and get some stuff caught up before I delve into a full blown picture rich recap of the Whiskies of the World... but hold tight, it IS coming.
acdntlpoet: (3DC)

Raz’s Whisky Barley Stew as Posted to the 3DC Site at www.3DrunkenCelts.com


Ingredients:

1 lbs cow meat (1/2″-3/4″ cubed)
1 onion (I used a yellow one, chopped course)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 turnip (1/2″ cubed)
2 good sized red potatoes (1/2″ cubed)
1 Can Beef Broth
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Salt
3 1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup whisky (should most likely be a full cup)
1 good splash Olive Oil
1 cup Pearled Barley
 

 

 

 

acdntlpoet: (3DC)
Just in time for the holidays! As posted to www.3DrunkenCelts.com

Are you close to a Whiskey, Whisky, or Scotch lover? Do you want to get them the perfect bottle as a holiday gift? Do you have no idea how to shop for a bottle of whiskies?

Because of my love for whiskies and my involvement with the 3 Drunken Celts, I am often asked for suggestions as to which bottle would be a good gift for a friend, family member, or boss. To this end I present: “Seamus’ Opinionated Guide to buying Whiskies as Gifts”

 
When accosted for a recommendation, my initial response is: “Find a bottle of ‘The Balvenie’ which suits your price point and buy it. You won’t go wrong…”

However, I have found that not everyone is as enamoured with the distillery as I am (cough, Raz, cough). So in a vain attempt to help out those recipients who don’t always prefer The Balvenie, I will attempt to provide some basic guidelines to choosing a suitable bottle as a gift. (If you just want Seamus’ top picks for each price point, scroll to the bottom past all the drivel in between…)

Ok, if you are still with me, let’s get to the substance of this article:

First and foremost, figure out what your price point is. There is no use finding the perfect bottle, only to realize it is way out of your range. Price can be used as a general guideline: the more costly, odds are it will be better than the cheaper stuff. But don’t let that get you down; there are some GREAT whiskies on the market which far outshine their lower price points. Just remember, there ARE deals to be had! Find some whiskies in the price range you are comfortable with, and then begin narrowing down from there.

Like price, Age is also a decent guideline where the older is typically better. On general principal a 21 year old whisky will be smoother than a 10 year old whisky. This guideline, however, tends to only stand up within the same distillery. Once you begin comparing differing distilleries and differing ages, the guideline begins to break down with too many exceptions.

When using Age as a guideline, it is also best to add Region in as well. You may well find a great 22yr Single Malt, only to discover it is from a region known for its brine when your recipient prefers peat.

If at all possible, you should try to determine of the recipient has any specific preferences when it comes to his/her whiskies. If so, you have it easy… stick with those preferences. Straying from a preferred distillery/region can be a risky venture as most connoisseurs are quite particular with their drams.

Assuming that the recipient has no particular preferences, you’ll have your work cut out for you. At the least, try to determine if he/she likes the smoky, peaty, briny, or sweeter whiskies. This will help you narrow down to a smaller regional subset and progress from there.

Some general regional characteristics to help you along the way:

Highlands - Arguably the most popular region appealing to the widest range of tastes including peat, brine, and smoke.

Speyside - A very popular and quite prolific region. Sweet, delicately complex; some with a refined smokiness, some with fruity finishes.

Islay (pronounced “Eye-la”) - Gives the Highlands a run at most popular. Challenging, Peat, brine, smoke and sometimes a tinge of salty seaweed

Skye and Orkney - Similar in character to the Islays but tend to be softer on the pallet. The Peat on the Orkneys is from heather which imparts a honey like flavor.

Lowlands - This region no longer boasts the copious number of distilleries as it once did. Soft, smooth and mild. A little of the peat and brine of the Highland malts, but much more subtle.

Campbeltown - This also use to be a prolific region, but is now in rarity. Slightly briny but not as aggressive as the Islay malts.

Irish - Not as popular as Scotch malts but this is a developing malting region its blends are quite popular. Distinguished by the un-malted barley used along with malted barley. Smooth, complex and frequently with some fruity flavor. Once known for peated whiskies, this is rarely done now.

Bourbon - From the Bourbon County, KY area of the US. Sour, sweet and smoky

American - Not from the Bourbon County area. Many are quite new to the market place with varying differences in flavours.

Assuming you have a set price range, you can really start narrowing down your selection set based on Age/Year, region, and the particular palette imparted by each bottling. Of course none of this can take the place of experience (i.e. sampling and knowing how each tastes); but if you knew already, then you wouldn’t need this guide would you?

At this point the internet is your best friend. You can find some great tasting notes on darn near any bottle ever produced! Start your searches on some on-line liquor retailer websites to find the bottles in your price range, and then do a few Google searches to find tasting notes and ratings on each. You should have a short-list selection in no time. From there, either order your choice from one of the sites who will ship to you (even with shipping you can get some wonderful deals on the internet), or take your list to your local purveyor of spirits to fill your order.

Now, it seems that even after I espouse my diatribe above, people still look at me and ask “…well that’s fine and all, but what do YOU recommend?”. I have two answers to that question:

1. If you are asking this question, then you haven’t understood a word I have said. Whiskies are a complicated thing and can be very personal for each drinker. You are best to follow the advice above, lest you buy a bottle which doesn’t meet the recipient’s desires…

2. If you are still going to demand a particular bottle recommendation, and were buying said bottle for MY palette, here you go:

 

Seamus’ Top Picks by Price Point (2 bottles each category):

$250 and higher: 

The Balvenie 25 year  /  Bowmore 35yr


$120 - $249:     

The Balvenie 21yr Port Wood / Edradour 22yr Port Wood

 

$100 - $119:     

Midleton Very Rare / Compass Box Hedonism

 

$75 - $99:       

Compass Box Flaming Heart / GlenRothes 1987

 

$50 - $74:      

Oban 14yr / GlenRothes 1991 14yr

 

$30 - $49:       

Sheep Dip / Knappogue Castle 1992

 

$10 - $29:       

Aberlour 10yr / John, Mark, & Robbo’s The Rich Spicy One

 

Other picks…

For the Bourbon lover: Bulleit Bourbon is an amazing distillation, which at $15 can’t be beat at all!

For a fun grab-bag type surprise, choose any Bruichladdich bottling (pronounced ‘brook’- ‘law’-'day’). NONE are the same and will challenge the connoisseur’s palette and expectations. You never know what you’re going to get!
acdntlpoet: (3DC)
Cross Posted to www.3DrunkenCelts.com

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows a 3 Drunken Celt, that John Glaser is considered a friend of the group. Raz, Fergus, and Seamus all met John for the first time at the Whiskies of the World in 2006, where he had presented a tasting class surrounding his blends. The next year, we enjoyed his Whisky Pairing dinner the night before the Whiskies of the World expo where he masterfully paired a different dram for each of the 5 courses served including both his newly released “Oak Cross” and “Flaming Heart” blends.

John_Glaser

For this coming year’s WoW expo, Seamus has already purchased his ticket for John’s class on blending your own whiskies and highly recommends you do the same since it is sure to sell out quickly.

As you will read in the Wired Magazine article referenced below, John has a distinct knack for blending, and has shaken up the world of whiskies a bit with his revolutionary take on some long standing whisky traditions, sometimes coming face to face with legal ramifications resulting in a discontinued product. Ah, Spice Tree, we barely knew ye (this was actually the first taste the 3DC had of John’s work, which had been surreptitiously hand-carried across the pond in a blue water jug having been filled directly from the cask only a day prior).

If you haven’t yet decided whether or not to attend the Whiskies of the World expo in San Francisco on March 28th, 2008, use this Wired Magazine article to help convince you, if only to meet John in person. You will immediately find John to be both personable and approachable, but more importantly knowledgeable about whiskies to a degree that outshines most other whisky connoisseurs around the globe.

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/news/2007/10/compassbox

Take it from the 3 Drunken Celts, you won’t be disappointed with any offering from Compass Box, or John Glaser’s classes.

acdntlpoet: (3DC)
Cross posted to www.3DrunkenCelts.com

I knew there was a reason I was drawn to the Pacific North West. In the latest issue of Food & Wine magazine, I ran across an article highlighting “America’s Best New Whiskeys” which, to my surprise, focused entirely on four Portland area distilleries. The full article can be found here: Food & Wine America’s Best New Whiskeys (and don’t forget to check out the side-bar for the contact info for the distilleries: Food & Wine Oregon’s Best Places to Buy Local Spirits )

Unfortunately, only two of the four are at a point where they are selling finished products. The other two are still (get it, STILL, ah, I kill me) working and waiting for their respective whiskies to be completed before putting them on the market. In either case I am dying to go visit the distilleries and hopefully get a taste of their various products. Rest assure when this happens there WILL be articles posted!

Since Clear Creek Distillery looks to be holding an Open House on Thanksgiving Weekend, I think this may be a good time and excuse to get John, Mary and Colleen (who will be visiting that weekend) into the city and enjoying something entirely new: Oregon peated whiskey!

So, it looks like I have some tasting work cut out for me in the months ahead. But I’ll jump on that grenade for you all and report back with my findings. I’m a giver like that.
acdntlpoet: (3DC)

After a series of unfortunate events resulting in loss of some configurations and some regressions in features, we have redesigned the www.3DrunkenCelts.com website to provide an easier, more user-friendly approach to the 3DC.

We are very excited about this new iteration of the 3DC website and hope this redesign will inspire increased usage and contribution of content. We are hoping for big things this coming year and have already doubled our group size for the Whiskies of the World 2008 expo! (Which means YOU ALL should come too!) But I am getting ahead of myself here…

Some of the key new items at www.3DrunkenCelts.com are:

Easier Navigation- All posts are categorized based on parent categories of Regions, Events, News, or Miscellany with sub-categories to contain the actual information. This will allow you to quickly find all posts which contain information on what you're looking for.

RSS Feeds- We have set up RSS feeds for both Posts and comments, you can subscribe and read our content with your favourite RSS reader. SIMPLE!

Post Comments- Unlike the previous site, as a registered user on the new site, you have unfettered access to comment on any article posted to the site. This should help encourage discussion over the information posted and get better information out there and searchable to help us all learn about whiskies!

Post Articles- Yes, if you register on the new site and request to be made an author, you can post articles too! In fact we WANT you to post articles; the only reason you need to be approved as an author is to combat potential spammers. Once set as an author, you can post short articles, long articles, reviews, news, or other bits of information as they relate to the 3DC. Raz and I can not and should not be the only ones driving the content of the site. We KNOW you all have opinions and ideas, so here's your sounding board to get those out there! To be set as an author use the contact form on the site, or send an email to admin@3drunkencelts.com and include your username so we can easily identify it.
 

Rate Posts- Find a post you LOVE? Rate it at 5 stars… find one you hate, rate it at 1 star. Help us learn what you like to read about. Think the author is full of himself and just likes to read his own words? Rate it and then comment too!

PDA Access- The site has now been configured to support PDA or Mobile access. Just point your mobile browser to www.3DrunkenCelts.com and away you go! I am working on mobile posting access as well for those who wish to be authors, but this feature will be in a future iteration.

And of course, no more splash page!!! This really excites me more than you know, and more than it should.

The YahooGroup here will still be available, however we'd prefer to take some of the more pertinent and content rich discussions off of this list and make them even more publicly visible on the 3DrunkenCelts.com site. This means instead of emails, we will see a single post with multiple comments by registered users. We hope this will help build a larger community on the website and hopefully encourage more content to be posted by users other than just Raz and Seamus.

So there you have it. Come one, come all. We hope to see the site grow into a fabulous resource of opinions and discussion on whiskies of all kinds!

To take a line from Raz…
Yours in Scotch,
Seamus O'Domhnaill of Devil's Beef Tub
Mka Jason O'Donnell

acdntlpoet: (Balvenie 30)
Love him or hate him, you can not deny his profound influence on the worlds of liquor. It is with mourning that I pass on the news of Michael Jackson's passing as announced on http://www.allaboutbeer.com/

For clarification: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson_(writer)

Mr. Jackson was a world renowned author who had devoted his life to liquors of all sorts, though he is most famous for his work in the Beer and Whiskies circles. His insight, wisdom, and humour will be missed... even if he could be (what Jim Murray referred to as) a "prat".
acdntlpoet: (3DC)
Is being -quoted- in a published article. As of yet, I am uncertain as to what portion of my interview with Camper English was quoted, but I DO know that the article is in the most recent issue of Imbibe Magazine.

Camper interviewed me with regards to my association with the 3 Drunken Celts, and since I am the unofficial "PR Spokesperson" (by default since Raz and Fergus don't want to be) I was compelled to oblige. Camper asked me a number of questions bout the 3DC and how we do things. Unfortunately (or fortunately) any mention of the 3DC was cut, though that is probably a good thing since we're not really ready for national exposure like THAT.

It also seems that there is an article on Mead in the same issue, though, which also mentions the SCA. All in all it should be an interesting issue.

I will, of course be picking up a copy tonight to see exactly what WAS left in the article I was interviewed for. So you can sit back and relax and expect another update either reveling in the publicity, or bemoaning the fact that you can't even tell it was "yours truly" being interviewed. Either way, it should be an interesting read.
acdntlpoet: (believe)
Yes, the title does seem a bit egotistical, but that isn't the intent. Really, these past 3 weeks I have not had much time to think for myself, let alone about what all is happening in my life...

I apologize, faithful readers, for the lack of communications since we accepted an offer on our house and began making all necessary arrangements for the impending move. I can assure you more frequent updates will be seen once the move is complete. And fear not, the thrilling continuation of the 3DC's trip to the Whiskies of the World Expo in SF will be forthcoming once things have settled a bit.

For now, some minor life updates will have to suffice:
First, and probably most importantly, our last day in Southern California is set to be May 18th. That is when the movers show up and take all our crap. We actually drive out on the 19th so we can be in Beaverton, Oregon by 10am on the 21st without rushing or in fear of missing our scheduled appointment with the property management group to sign paperwork and pickup our new keys for the rental.

My last day in the Irvine office will be May 16th. Because of this, I am dealing with a bit of short-timer's disease even though I am not leaving the company, just moving into a home office. This past week, and presumably the coming week as well, I just don't feel like working. I know this will change once I have settled in the new place, but it is really annoying me currently as there is a metric ton of work to be done and a decided lack of motivation to do it.

In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, I picked up a new ride last Wednesday: a 2007 Honda ST1300A with only 10 miles on the odometer.



This has replaced my 1998 Honda VFR800Fi, as the riding position on that bike was a bit too hard on my wrists. Because I have mild carpal-tunnel/tendonitis in my right wrist, riding the VFR was becoming painful and difficult to handle for more than an hour or so at a time. I realized after my last ride out with John that I would need to do something if I wanted to continue riding AND working. So, as much as it pained me, I traded the VFR in for the ST which has a much more relaxed riding position and takes the weight off my wrists. I can now continue to both work AND ride without fear of further damaging my wrists.

This new purchase will also allow me to ride up to Oregon instead of shipping my bike as I had previously arranged with the VFR. Setting out on a ride like this is something John and I have been talking about for a while now, and is a nice precursor to the Alaska trip we plan to make in the future. In fact, just yesterday I purchased my plane ticket down from PDX so I can come pickup the bike from John's on June 8th and ride her up to our new home over that weekend!

Other than that, life around the house (and at work) has been keeping me unbelievably busy, with very little time to read LJ, let alone comment. For that I apologize. I am sure my internet habits will return to normalcy after the next few weeks have passed. With this move to Oregon taking us away from all of our friends and family, I will be counting on LJ and Email to keep us in touch and up to date with everyone. Big adventures are ahead of us, so keep an eye out for my posts detailing the journey!

For now, I need to return to work...
acdntlpoet: (3DC)
The alarm buzzed at 4:15 am on Friday, April 13th, 2007. I hadn't much sleep from the night before, but I knew that wouldn't matter much; I was going to be high on excitement and anticipation the rest of the day. Today was the day I joined my compatriots in whiskies and flew up to San Francisco for the annual Whiskies of the World exposition. We had attended last year, and had decided before that event was even over that we would be returning this year for more!

And return we did. The flight up was uneventful. Raz and I got in to Oakland around 8.30am and found ourselves on the B.A.R.T light rail heading into the city soon after we touched down (Fergus was to meet up with us later once we was able to leave work). We emerged form the subway somewhere around the Montgomery exit, and began to get our bearings in the City. While it was still very early, and we knew we wouldn't be able to check-in quite yet, we still made our way to our hotel to drop off our luggage.

Another lengthy entry where the 3DC take over San Francisco's nightlife )

Next Up... Retaliation, Seamus is an artless lying bitch, someone drops an "h", and the main event of the weekend.
acdntlpoet: (3DC)
Last week was Estrella War XXIII, an SCA event which takes place in Arizona. As many of you know, the 3 Drunken Celts got their start in the SCA at Great Western War, and have since been expanding our empire both inside and outside of the SCA.

Well, last week was the first tasting in which the 3 original members were not in charge, and in fact only one was able to even attend! Our "East Coast" contingent (see that's funny cause Arizona is east of California, but no where near the east coast) decided to take the reigns this go around and put on an Irish Whiskey Tasting as an Official 3DC event.

To hear people talk about it, this tasting was on par with the first one we held some 6 years ago, which will always hold a special place in my heart. This entire week I have been amazed at the feedback I have heard about the Irish tasting, and have been all smiles to think something I had a hand in starting has grown so much, to the point where it is beginning to run its self (ie. without intervention by myself, Raz, or Fergus). It is kind of like watching your child grow up, I suspect... I feel like quite a proud pappa right now.

With that said, the following link will take you to the summary of the tasting event along with the text of the presentation given to begin the tasting and introduce the whiskies provided.

http://3drunkencelts.com/Mambo/content/view/44/2/

While the write-up is indeed a bit lengthy, it does contain some wonderful bits of information about Irish Whiskies specifically which should help to educate any burgeoning taster.

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