Hmmmm. A gorgeous hint of bullshit, with on-the-palate flavour of Edward Lear nonsense poems and a strong aftertaste of swallowing a quaalude and The Complete Oxford dictionary. Welcome to tasting notes on wine and spirits


Are descriptions of taste so pompous and indecipherable? I read recently that a wooden cask tub of Macallans Whisky, which was bought for £5,000 thirty years ago on a whim of I suspect some rich dipso, has just sold for over £1m! To justify this ludicrous bar bill, that works out at around £2,000 a bottle, the descriptions of the taste have reached epic proportions of nonsense. Can anyone really tell me what… “a yellow halo with a mesmerising nose with a scent of salted caramel drizzled chocolate brownie restrained with a background of fresh orange marmalade and neroli with a dying hint of tobacco leaf” really smells like? To me it stinks like an Oreo cookie covered in Robertson finest Golden Shred marmalade, sprinkled with fag ends.  And that’s just the smell. The rapturous pretentious waffle goes into overdrive when describing the taste; I dare you to read this and take it seriously. “On the palate waves of sweetness carries and mingles mature oak and library leather bound book dryness. This breaks into a regal spice mix of nutmeg ginger and ground coriander, over a wash of ginger perkin biscuits, soft buttery dates and freshly baked Danish apricot pastries.” (London The Times 27 April 2022)  A perkin biscuit? WTF is that? I mean, just  line up six whiskies and tell me which one they are referring to. “I say, Cedric, I think it might be this one though I not sure if the spice mix is regal enough and I think sweaty sock juice mingled with old leather football boots more apt than library books.” What makes my jaw hit the floor in admiration at the effusive nonsense is the ingredients of scotch are simply malted barley, water and yeast. And yet it reads here that someone tipped half the content of the unused drawer in the kitchen into the still used to ferment the whisky. The people who write this tripe I assume double as Real Estate novelists. The people who describe bathrooms as bijoux when you have to stand on the loo to shut the door.

...and another thing

In our day to day lives we are continually assaulted with bullshit language and utterly pretentious product . Everything from posh Harrods pot noodles at around £40 each, to the invaluable spay of Air duster (yup, it’s just a can of compressed air), to lotions and potions made from everything from Aardvaak saliva to za’atar leaf essence.

In fact anything that is artisanal, foraged, bespoke, deconstructed or in a foreign language is a complete set of Emperor’s new clothes and needs to be exposed… just like the Emperor.

The ones that make my teeth itch are absurd claims that try to tickle your own pomposity.

You never actually own a Patek Phillippe watch, you just take care of it for the next generation.

 When my father died he left me his Patek. Despite being 6 foot tall he had very small wrists compared to my ham hocks. So I trundled down to Patek and asked them for more links.

“I am sorry sir, we don’t provide those.”

So I quoted their advertising strap line.

Silence as I  was given a withering and condescending look, the kind teacher gives you when you say something crass.

“The watch itself is ready for you to take care of it, sir.” Ba-da-boom.

...and another thing

My favourite story of pretentiousness comes from a longtime Television Executive friend of mine, who once took John Cleese out to dinner.

They visited an up its own butt establishment; the kind of place where the waiter introduces himself and talks using we all the time. As in..

“Are we ready to order,

are we sure about that choice,

how would we like it cooked,”

and of course over the top menu explanations that involve a kumquat or which we will be serving nestling on a bed of chard.

Anyway, after ten minutes of theatrics going through each item, during which Cleese was deadpan and said nothing, the waiter turned to the actor and asked him if we had made a choice yet or did we need more time.

The comedian snapped shut the leather bound menu.

“I will have the most boring and shortest description on each course.”

The man is a genius.

Take care.

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