Friday 20 November 2015

Week 16 - Whisky tasting the Grambler way

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.

Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see. Read on and enjoy


I have been to a whisky tasting festival. It was brilliant. It gave me the chance to try lots of different whiskies and even buy some if I wanted. As well as tasting, I purchased a bottle of Wemyss Hive. Yes, I know that means nothing to most of you, but I tasted it, thought it rather nice and bought a bottle. Why not?

Now, it occurred to me that you would like to share the experience so what I did was record my thoughts at the time of sampling the various whiskies (and rums) on offer and then I transcribed the results for this week’s edition; to give you a wee flavour (Do you see what I did there?) of being at a whisky festival. Incidentally, there is a football link; the festival took place at Hampden Park 'the home of Scottish football'.

The text which follows is an exact transcription of my afternoon at the festival. Unfortunately, there was a lot of noise at the venue so, sometimes, I couldn’t hear what I had recorded. When that happens I just put it in brackets thus [noise]. Anyway, sit back and enjoy The Grambler’s guide to whisky tasting...


‘The first whisky I am trying is an old favourite of mine; Bunnahabhain. An Islay malt that is not typical of the usual produce of that island in that it does not have the usual ‘peatiness’ associated with Islay malts. Sweet and nutty.’


Now, I imagine that you might get a bit bored if I continue in this vein for each and every sample, so I will skip a few here and there.


‘Number three is called Nevis Dew. Quite sweet and a bit... mmm... smoky. Rather pleasant.’


‘Onto number five, or is it six? Might be seven. Tobermory. That’s where they made Balamory, isn’t it? Sweet and light. Very nice it is, too.’


‘Number elephant. Ha ha, I said elephant. I meant eleven. Elephant! And it’s not a whisky. It’s a rum. At a whisky festival. Snot right. Tastes horrible, anyway.’


‘Now I am having my sixteeth... Sick teeth. I’ve had fifteen; now I’m having another. Some American stuff. Evan Williams? Sounds more Welsh than American. Oh no, this guy wants to give a history lesson. Not intereshted. Just give us a sample. Hmm, quite nice’


‘Number... I’ve lost count. How old? 32 Years? How much? £210 a bottle? Yeah give us a nip. Is that it? You’ve barely wet the bottom of the glass you miserable [noise].’


‘Nummer... Who cares. What’s thish? New Zealand whizzkey? What’s it made with? Kiwis? Ha ha ha. Dya geddit? Kiwis. Well, give'sh a taste, then. That is bowfing. Think I was right about the kiwis.’


‘Ooh... another old one. 29 years, thish time. Should be a good un. Come on. Hurry up. Giz a drop. I was here before them! Who are you calling berigelant? Begilerant... Come outside and say that. I’ll kick you in the [noise].... Oh ta. Smells of cat’s [noise]. Yeuch! Tashtes like it too. Shorry, mate. Didn’t mean to spit it out over you.’


‘Shee me? Shee whizzky? I love it. Shee me? Shee my wife? Shee whizzky? She hatesh it. She does. She likes that other shtuff... wine. That. She likesh that. Do you know what? You’re my pal. Do you know that? My besht pal. Beshtest in the whole wull. Who are you, anyway?’


Okay, okay; it wasn’t really like that. Granted, there were many samples to be had. There were over 40 stands and each had about half a dozen different bottles to sample. By my, admittedly poor, calculations that means 240 different whiskies to try. I got to over thirty and, frankly, I wanted no more. There were some guys there, who looked as if they had made a pretty good stab at trying them all - especially the guy who was being escorted, sorry, carried out by two security men.

There were many people there who seemed to be there simply to get p*ssed. Others had gone there with the intention of sampling a few special whiskies and recording their thoughts; a few folk had little notebooks to jot down their findings. I went with this same idea. It seemed ridiculous to go to such an event and get too drunk to appreciate what special treats were being provided. So armed with a little notebook and my pen I dutifully recorded my thoughts on each malt I sampled. Some folk had a scoring system from one to five. My system was simpler. I just gave a particular whisky (or rum) a tick or a cross.

The day after the festival, I decided to have a look at how I rated them. The first half dozen or so made sense. After that, for some strange reason, my handwriting became less legible. By the time I got to number 20 on my list, I couldn’t make out my scrawl at all. It could have been a line on a graph for all the sense it made to me. I couldn’t understand why it was so untidy; it’s not as if I was anything but perfectly sober throughout the time I spent tasting whiskies. I mean, I was only sampling them for four hours...

And I lost my pen!





Any birthdays to celebrate this Saturday, the 21st of November? Why, yes. Without fear of contradiction, I can say there are. Francois-Marie Arouet 1694 (Who? Oh, Voltaire. What, the solo card game? [That’s solitaire, you twonk! - Ed.]), Samuel Cunard 1787 (Began the first Atlantic crossing service. Also spawned a joke: 1st woman: ‘My husband works for Cunard.’ 2nd woman: ‘My husband works quite hard, too.’ Boom and, as it were, tish.), John and Roy Boulting 1913 (Film directors. Roy was married to Hayley Mills, you know. He was 58 when they married. She was 25. Shouldn’t be allowed!), Christopher Tolkien 1924 (Son of JRR. Didn’t think much of the Peter Jackson films based on his dad’s work: ‘They gutted the book making an action film for 15 to 25 year-olds.’), Juliet Mills 1941 (Hayley’s big sister. I wonder if that’s how Roy and Hayley first started chatting... ‘Your birthday’s what date? That’s the same day as my big sister. Okay, yours was nearly 30 years before hers.’), Tweety Bird 1942 (Wha? Seriously, Tweety appeared first in A Tale of Two Kitties weleased, sorry, released on 21st November 1942.), Jacques Lafitte 1943 (Racey car bloke), Harold Ramis 1944 (Who you gonna call?), Goldie hawn 1945 (Not so dumb blonde from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in), Liza Tarbuck 1964 (Narrator of Wussywat, the clumsy cat.), Bjork... I’m not even going to attempt her surname... 1965 (Icelandic loony.), Alex James 1968 (Posh bloke from Blur) and Jesus Navas 1985 (Footbally bloke).



Let’s move on to grambling matters. Guess what! We won! Again. Made a profit too. Only 79 pees, but come on. Two week’s running. When did that last happen? What happened? All is revealed below, fair reader...

Bradford vs Crewe - Prediction Home win

Result - Bradford 2 Crewe 0


Gary Liddle put the Bantams ahead with a downward header just inside the near post in first-half stoppage time.

Billy Clarke grabbed number two, winning a chase for the ball inside the visitors' penalty area before beating Ben Garratt with an angled shot.


Accrington Stanley vs Newport County - Prediction Home win

Result - Stanley 2 Newport 2

Ooh! ‘It the bar!

Newport took the lead when Yan Klukowski headed in a Jazzi Barnum-Bobb cross.

Billy ‘Door’ Kee replied for Accrington after an initial shot was cleared.

A fierce Scott Boden drive restored Newport's lead, but Matt Crooks tapped in after Séamus Conneely hit the post.


Oxford United vs Cambridge United - Prediction Home win

Result - Oxford 1 Cambridge 0


Ryan Taylor's first-half goal came from Alex MacDonald's pull back.

Danny Hylton hit the underside of the bar after the break after he rounded Cambridge goalkeeper Chris ‘Grandad’ Dunn.

Barry ‘Man’ Corr had two late efforts from corners cleared off the line, but the visitors could not find a leveller.


Annan Athletic vs Berwick - Prediction Home win

Result - Annan 1 Berwick 0


Stuart McColm fired high into the net in the 82nd minute to give Annan the points

Rangers had first-half chances, with David ‘Couldn’t hit a coo’s erse with a’ Banjo heading wide before Michael McKenna and Finn Graham were denied by Annan goalkeeper Jordan Hart.


East Fife vs East Stirling - Prediction Home win

Result - East Fife 5 East Stirling 3


East Fife and East Stirlingshire served up eight goals and three red cards in the game at New Bayview.

Kyle Wilkie nodded the Fifers in front followed by headers from visiting duo Ross Gilmour and Reece Donaldson.

Jamie Insall levelled after the break and was red carded soon after, before Nathan Austin made it 3-2.

The Shire's Reece Donaldson equalised only for Pat Slattery to strike and Austin added a second after the dismissals of Donaldson and Aron Lynas.

Both of the late red cards were for second bookings.


So close and yet so far for The Grambler. What about this week? A pretty full card to choose from this week, with 58 senior games taking place at 3pm, Saturday the 21st of November. And The Grambler has randomly selected...

Game - Result - Odds

Birmingham vs Charlton - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Reading vs Bolton - Prediction Home win - 8/13

Dagenham & Redbridge vs Oxford Utd - Prediction Away win - 3/5

Leyton Orient vs York - Prediction Home win - 8/13

Annan vs Arbroath - Prediction Home win - 7/10


If the bets (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) all go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will benefit to the tune of fanfare please…


Again, it’s not much, is it?



Hooray, it’s teaser time. Last week I asked who is the only player to score two hat-tricks in a Euro Finals tournament. The answer is Michel Platini of France at Euro 1984 (5-0 vs Belgium and 3-2 vs Yugoslavia).

Here’s one for this week. Which the only current Premiershit side to have never had a player selected for the England national side? Too easy? Maybe.



Once again, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of .



And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a Mr T. Bird who celebrates his 73rd birthday today.  Let's celebrate with him by viewing his ‘fledgling’ performance in A Tale of Two Kitties

I have to say, I could never appreciate the humour of Abbott and Costello and, after watching that, I still can't.


Happy Grambling.


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