Come with me on a journey to the Western Highlands, and the coastal town of Oban (from the Gaelic An t’-Óban, or “Little Bay”). From this quaint seaside idyll issues one of the finest (and surprisingly rarest) single malts the world has ever known. Oban’s namesake whisky derives its scarcity form a combination of diminutive distiller size and water supply. So you can expect the price and availability to vary widely from year to year. Typically, I seldom see more than two bottles of 14-yo, and never any of the 18-yo on display at any local ABC store; but this being the start of the Christmas shopping season, there was plenty of both to be found. Continue reading
I began the clear finish with a single light coat of Nitrocellulose lacquer. After it cured, I used Crystallac grain filler to level the pores on the mahogany, and sanded lightly with 600-grit. Then on with the Nitro… 20 coats (five rattle cans worth). Yes, it is easier and cheaper to use a compressor and a spray gun, but I had the cans already, and I figured, why waste them? Continue reading
I’ve settled on a nice vintage tobacco sunburst for this project guitar, mostly because I like how it looks, but also because I like to bite off more than I can chew on my first attempt. Rather than try to hammer it out brute force with an automotive spray gun (we’ll save that for the nitrocellulose), I opted for a hobby airbrush and a few cups of coffee.
It begins with a thorough sanding of all the parts. I started with 220-grit, and gave everything a final once-over with 330. Then cut the detail into the headstock on a scroll saw, and we’re ready to stain. Continue reading
Okay, so this is happening. I got a wild hair up my ass to build my own guitar and learn how to play it. Actually, let me rephrase that: I got a wild hair up my ass to finish my own guitar. Several kits are available online, which include a body, a neck with the fretboard already assembled, and all the hardware. You just assemble the pieces and finish it as you choose. Continue reading
I’m going to take (what a lot of you might consider) a step backwards in my Whisky journey for the sake of context and prudence. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from diving too eagerly into any hobby, it’s that you can very easily back yourself into a corner of always expecting the moon, and then being bitterly disappointed when it isn’t free for the taking. Such is the case with single malt scotch whisky. Continue reading
It’s hard to imagine improving upon perfection, but Highland Park manages to do precisely that with their 18-year old Single Malt. Take all the dark, mystical charm of the 12-year old, toss in a dash of pepper, and turn up the volume about 15dB… Viola! Perfection 2.0! Continue reading
I love Orkney. I’ve never been there, but I know I love it. If Highland Park captures the essence of Orkney the way they claim in their own promotional materials, I’m in love, and that’s all there is to it. If you’re a fan of The Elder Scrolls 5 – Skyrim, imagine taking a sip of that. Old, creaky, overtly Norse and throbbing with ancient magic, like the doors at the College of Winterhold. Like an enchanted iron shield with silver filigree and worn leather straps. Like a buff, Crommed-out warrior elf who charges defiantly through the snow in a bikini made of bison hydes on her way to slay dragons and absorb their souls. Yeah. It’s that good.
My impatience is showing, and this time it slapped me. The Cragganmore 12 proved to be a decent start, and The Dalmore 12 a nice introduction to sherried single malts, but I was hoping for something a little less syrupy, and a tad more challenging. My local ABC rep took that to mean “I’d like to be kicked in the nuts”, and recommended the Talisker 10. Continue reading
I thought it perhaps prudent to continue my introduction to single malt scotch whisky in the 12-year old range. I’m discovering that there is a remarkable selection of reasonably-priced 12 to 18 year-old expressions to choose from, and it only makes sense that I should get good and familiar with the younger stuff before wasting true rarity on my nascent taste buds. That brings me to the Highlands, and The Dalmore 12. Continue reading