Straight from the heart: Bryan Adams dips into the “Whiskey”
Even if you aren’t crazy about his music, it’s tough to dislike Bryan Adams. The gravel-voiced Canadian rock legend now lives in London, where many locals regard him as a diamond geezer (that’s a good thing). Adams recently kicked off an international tour for Shine a Light, his 14th studio album, which drops today.
During our brief time on the road with a band, we once played a backwoods motel where the owner’s kid spun “Summer of ’69” perpetually on the jukebox. But we won’t hold that against Grammy winner Adams—or his teaming up with human pop chart Ed Sheeran for the new record’s title track.
Just regular folk
Why no hard feelings? A sterling songwriter and performer, Adams is also a philanthropist and human rights activist; in other words, he’d never try the same dick moves as his creepy near-namesake. And on Shine a Light, he joins a long list of great musicians by laying down the Irish classic “Whiskey in the Jar”. Fits ya good, Bryan.
A tale of two Scotches: When they go high, you buy low
Apparently you can compete on price. Queen Margot Whisky, an eight-year-old blend sold by German-based discount supermarket chain Lidl, just took Round 1 for best blended Scotch under age 12 at the World Whiskies Awards. The final winners will be announced on March 28.
A bottle will set you back a cool $18,* leaving plenty of scratch for a 49-cent croissant or some cut-rate Serrano ham. Tasting notes? “Smooth with a rich sweetness and depth of flavour, leaving a warm, lingering finish,” Lidl says. “The soft aroma of fruit manifests itself as dried apricot and plum.” Just ask the 40-plus WWA judges.
Whiskey in the sky with diamonds
In a different snack bracket, Fortune explains, U.K. auction house Bonhams is about to flog a 60-year-old Macallan that it expects to command almost $1 million. The hook for this rarity: it’s one of just 12 bottles to bear a label crafted by Sir Peter Blake, who shares design credit for the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. With a little help from your friends, maybe you can pull together the cash in time for this month’s bidding war.
*All prices in U.S. dollars
Get your motor runnin’: A single malt with wheels
Who says motorcycling and whiskey don’t mix? Islay single malt producer Smokehead is getting together with bike designer Tyler Lunceford to build a sweet ride from scratch. The Smoker will be a “one of a kind, customized Ducati inspired by vintage racing motorcycles,” promises the distillery, whose bottles feature a welcoming skull. In other words, expect smoke, lightning and heavy-metal thunder.
Hell bent for leather
Lunceford is known as the Ducati whisperer of the tri-state area, aka New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We’re no hog experts, but we gather that’s a lot better than being the Honda Civic whisperer of the Tri-Cities area (don’t ask). Either way, watch this space for updates. At least in theory, the new machine will pair well with a 58% ABV Smokehead High Voltage, which the distillery bills as a recipe for tinnitus.
The mighty oak: Whiskey’s favorite wood
It’s enough to make us want to hug a tree. In a Popular Science excerpt from his new book, The Flavor of Wood: In Search of the Wild Taste of Trees From Smoke and Sap to Root and Bark, Artur Cisar-Erlach takes a trip to Austria. There he drops in on the catchily named Cooperage Schneckenleitner, fifth-generation masters at fashioning barrels from oak and other woods.
Cisar-Erlach learns that when it comes to aging spirits and wines, oak casks rule because producers seldom order anything else, even though the world is home to upward of 100,000 tree species. This being PopSci, a chemistry lesson ensues.
What you need to know: whiskey aged in oak contains as many as 4,000 non-gaseous compounds, according to some studies. The wood’s chemical components, including cellulose, sugar and a polymer called lignin, help give the drink its flavor and color. Any questions?
For the love of peat
Ever wonder how the whole peat thing works? So did Scotchwhisky.com’s The Whisky Virgin, who took the trouble to ask. As he discovered, the peat used to dry malt can make a whiskey smell and taste like antiseptic, kelp or bacon partly because it comes from different places, where it’s taken millennia to turn from organic matter into compressed dirt.
“That means the stuff from up a hill in the Highlands might be made of grass and heather and lost hikers and stuff,” The Whisky Virgin says. “But the same gear from an island like Islay—where they make a lot of smoky whisky—will have seaweed and ocean-y minerals in it.”
The peatiest whiskey? Word is it’s the Octomore Masterclass 08.3, a five-year-old single malt from Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery. Sadly, that smoke show is sold out.