The Glenrothes Kindred Spirit Tasting Kit

2009 October 6
by Xray

When Robin Coupar visited the Hamilton Whisky Society this summer to present The Glenrothes tasting he invited myself and my buddy Michael to join The Glenrothes Kindred Spirits.  Today we received a very cool package in the mail with The Glenrothes Kindred Spirits Tasting kit.  I’m just counting down the days to WhiskyFest S.F. on October 16th! Among other things, I’m looking forward to vintage samples of The Glenrothes from 1975, 1979, 1985, and 1991 as well as the Select Reserve.

Here are some picture of the kit that Michael took:

The Glenrothes Kindred Spirit tasting kit package

The Glenrothes Kindred Spirit tasting kit

The Glenrothes Kindred Spirit tasting glasses

Whyte & Mackay The Thirteen tasting

2009 October 3
by Xray

On Thursday, Oct. 1st the Hamilton Whisky Society convened it’s weekly tasting. We had our library and several guest bottles visiting for the evening but everyone was excited to try the new Whyte & Mackay The Thirteen blend which I’d won from Richard Paterson’s poetry contest. It does not seem like W&M has much, if any, distribution in California so it’s a rarity on the Western shores of the United States of America. In fact, most members of the Society had never heard of it before. This was our first exposure to the Whyte & Mackay brand and we felt fortunate to try this blend.

The Hamilton Whisky Society usually focuses on single malt whiskies from Scotland so it’s not often that we get exposure to blended whisky and it was a real eye opener. This was a much richer blend than what I’ve experienced from other brands. The Thirteen is rich and smooth. Lots of sherry and cinnamon on the nose. The palate conveys a complexity I’ve missed in other blends. The  sherry and spice from the nose plays across the tongue and reveals layers of  nutmeg, allspice, cloves and a slight woodiness.

We tasted The Thirteen side by side with The Dalmore Cigar Malt.  The Cigar Malt  has more fruit and less spice than The Thirteen but they share enough of the sherry and spice to draw a pretty straight line between some of the components in the Cigar Malt to The Thirteen. This side by side tasting clearly identifies The Dalmore influence on The Thirteen.

I’m looking forward to trying other blends from Whyte & Mackay as well as malts from The Dalmore, Jura and anything else Richard Paterson has up his nose… um, I mean sleeve.

Whyte & Mackay The ThirteenDalmore Cigar Malt

Winning Poem

2009 October 1
by Xray

Last month I entered a poem in a contest on Richard Paterson’s facebook page. Richard is the Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay, The Dalmore and Jura whiskies. He’s known as “The Nose”. He has a blog called The Master Blender and you can follow him on twitter at

The idea was to write a poem in thirteen lines about whisky and Whyte & Mackay (rhymes with “eye”) to celebrate the release Whyte & Mackay’s The Thriteen blended whisky. Voting was open to the public. Here’s my winning entry:

An Ode to Whyte & Mackay

Raining down on Scottish plains
growing malted barley grains.
Harvest and sprout then dry and grind.
Mash it in tun then ferment in kind.
Distill it twice (in Lowlands times three)
low wines middle cut; foreshots debris.
Casked and matured the new make awaits
one among many possible fates.
Bottled in vat or bottled in blend,
Bottled as O.B. or in the end
bought by the cask and sold by a friend.
But only the finest juice in supply
will make it’s way into Whyte & Mackay.

Whyte & Mackay The Thirteen

The bottle is going into the library at the Hamilton Whisky Society.

Read more for the other poems.

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Signatory Tasting with Ed Kohl

2009 October 1
by Xray

I met Ed Kohl last year at a Signatory tasting hosted by Travero’s in Santa Rosa. He’s got a really great presentation, a winning personality and a deep knowledge and appreciation of whisky. Signatory tastings  present expressions of great single malts in ways that the consumer would otherwise never taste. We invited Ed to join us the following week at The Hamilton Whisky Society for a casual get together. We had a wonderful time with some great drinks including a Highland Park 25 OB, Signatory Highland Park 24yo 1977, Signatory Caol Ila 13yo 1990, Signatory Caol Ila 6yo cask strength, Signatory Tamnavulin 24yo 1978 and Signatory Clynelish 29yo 1974. The Clynelish is a sublime whisky. The 6yo Caol Ila is a favorite of mine, all fire and peat with just a little hint of grains and cereal showing through from it’s young age.

Ed was kind enough to gift us with a brand new Signatory expression from Blair Athol, a distillery that is new to me. It’s a wonderful light and fruity whisky with hints of citrus and stone fruit. I recall apricots but I’m going to go back and taste it again at this weeks meeting. This bottle was fresh off the boat and we were fortunate to taste it as a preview before it hits the shelves. Notice the bottling date of 8/5/2009. That’s just about 1.5 months prior to our tasting. Thanks Ed!

Signatory Blair Athol

The Glenrothes Tasting

2009 October 1
by Xray

In July of 2009 the Hamilton Whisky Society was fortunate to host Robin Coupar from The Glenrothes. He brought an excellent presentation on the history of The Glenrothes and Berry Bros. and Rudd as well as a deep knowledge and appreciation of whisky. It was a smashing evening. The group favorite was The Glenrothes 1975. The Glenrothes 1973 was very interesting with perhaps a note of anise on the back end. The Glenrothes 1985 and The Glenrothes 1991 are excellent and classic expressions of this fine Speyside malt. The Signatory bottle was delicious but uncharacteristically smoky for The Glenrothes which is why I so often enjoy independent bottlings of my favorite whiskies.

Here are representative pictures of the whiskies we enjoyed:

The Glenrothes 1973 OBThe Glenrothes 1975The Glenrothes 1985

The Glenrothes 1991Signatory The Glenrothes 1994

“Disney’s A Christmas Carol” HD trailer

2009 September 28
by Xray

The Apple trailers web site recently posted the hi-def version of the trailer for Disney’s A Christmas Carol.

I’m very excited about it since I worked on all of the crowd animation for this film as well as some other R&D.

I’ll also be presenting the work we did for crowd animation on Disney’s A Christmas Carol at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 in Yokohama in December.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol trailer released

2009 September 16
by Xray

Disney just released this trailer for Disney’s A Christmas Carol on Youtube. Check it out:

This video was embedded using the YouTuber plugin by Roy Tanck. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video.

Sony PS3 Firmware 3.01 Epic Fail Continues

2009 September 14
by Xray

…And there was much sadness.

I downloaded and installed the 3.01 firmware with no issues. Rebooted the PS3. I loaded Beatles Rockband and played for about ten minutes before it froze up again. After rebooting, I could not get the game to start.

Further testing on 3.01 reveals that:
1) DVD movies play back OK
2) PS2 games (on DVD) play fine.
3) Downloaded content seems to work OK
4) PS3 does not recognize bluRay discs as a valid format.

Since most of what I do with the PS3 involves bluRay in one way or another, my system continues to be “borked”.

I tried to load both ps3 games on bluRay as well as two seperate bluRay videos I have. None were recognized by the PS3.

I cannot play any bluRay content.

Total bummer.

Thus Spake Zarathustra

2009 September 12
by Xray

This video was embedded using the YouTuber plugin by Roy Tanck. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video.

Sony PS3 Epic Fail Fimware Upgrade 3.00

2009 September 12
by Xray


I got my copy of The Beatles Rockband on Nein! Nein! Nein! looking forward to a Saturday afternoon of enjoyable entertainment and great music. The game insisted that I upgrade my PS3 firmware to the new 3.00 release. OK, no problem. I’ve done this before. Everything seems OK.

Game starts up and I plug in the drum controller. CRASH! Power Cycle. Reboot.

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