...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hello, Loch Dhu and Cu Dhub. Goodbye, 2014.

With the appearance of Mathilda, the sweet little elfin Kravitz queen, in my life, 2014 has been a year unlike any other.  When people ask me what it's like being a father, I tell them that I am learning so much about myself.  And I leave it at that.  You newer parents out there know that the things you learn about yourself aren't always wonderful, shiny, and glorious.  We hold within us the potential of great loving kindness, but we are also capable of a bunch of other shit.

I will publicly opine further on fatherhood in 2015, but no further at the moment.  It's time to move forward to the review I've anticipated the most this year.*  Yes, I've reviewed Laphroaigs 25, 30, and 40.  I've reviewed two different Talisker 25s.  One official Brora.  A 35 year old Calvados.  Two Karuizawas.  A 1975 Glendronach.  Four Kilkerrans, a trio of Littlemills, a pair of dusty Old Taylors, and one George T. Stagg (twice).  But this.  This is bigger.

Loch Dhu and Cu Dhub are the two black whiskies, loaded to gills with the industrial colloid e150a (caramel colorant), though Diageo claimed Dhu's blackness was from double-charred casks (tee hee, Diageo funny).  Loch Dhu is well despised yet well collected, meanwhile the vitriol and excitement for Cu Dubh seems to be more restrained.  The Dhu seems to be the Plan 9 From Outer Space of whiskies**, while The Dhub is Dino de Laurentiis's King Kong.  Or is it The Terror of Tiny Town?  I'm hoping for at least a Myra Breckenridge, featuring Rex Reed as an aspiring transexual.

Distillery: Mannochmore
Ownership: Diageo
Age: minimum 10 years
Maturation: mystery oak
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Caramel Colored? holy moley
(Thank you to the great Andy Smith for the sample of The Black Lake)

Distillery: The Speyside Distillery, proud producers of Drumguish
Ownership: Speyside Distillers Limited
Age: NAS
Maturation: mystery oak
Region: Speyside (indeed)
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered? Probably
Caramel Colored? Quite
(This sample was purchased from Master of Malt)

-- Loch Dhu -- Soy sauce

-- Cu Dhub -- A reddish black tea

-- Loch Dhu -- Burnt prunes. Burnt raisins. But mostly, burnt caramel (that's the first thing Kristen noticed too).  Then Worcestershire sauce intermingling with Kikkoman's regular soy sauce.  Fresh celery, carpet, shredded wheat nuggets, and old library books.  It's somewhat fungal, like foot fungus.

-- Cu Dhub -- Ooh, very cabbagey.  Farty fart farty.  Pencil graphite meets imitation vanilla extract meets brown sugar meets styrofoam.  Lots of sour milk and warm Coca Cola.

-- Loch Dhu -- Burnt coffee, and lots of it.  Cardboard, or like licking a whisky label.  Horseradish and dirt.  It's so chemically, like someone tried to make a diet salty coffee soda syrup then gave up, added new make, and called it whisky.  Bitterness.  Sadness.

-- Cu Dhub -- So much caramel.  Weird sweetness, maybe aspartame?  A cardboard box holding burnt prunes, ground black pepper, and overripe bananas.  And the sour milk.

-- Loch Dhu -- It's still coffee-ish, but with ammonia.  Acrid boiled collard greens.

-- Cu Dhub -- Rotting veg, burnt grass, Jersey City.  Longer than a goddamn car alarm.

These are sincerely broken things.  I mean, you smell 'em and you drink 'em and you wonder if steeping your kitchen garbage bag in hot water would produce a better result.

Color - I guess Dhu-Dhu wins because it's blacker.
Nose - Cu Dhub's nose is awful awful awful.  Loch Dhu's is actually fascinating, like it's some sort of failed herbal liqueur.
Palate - Meanwhile Cu Dhub is sort of drinkable.  I might even pick it over Cutty, if I was blindfolded.  But crap it all, Loch Dhu earns its reputation in the mouth.  I can't believe someone bottled and sold this.
Finish - Here things only get worse for both of them.  Loch Dhu is slightly worse due to the aggressiveness of the chemicals.

Neither of these whiskies made me concerned about my wellbeing, so they don't make my bottom 5.  But they're damn close.  These sorts of levels of e150a would be an interesting free experiment, especially if they don't turn out to be carcinogenic.

If you're looking to obtain a bottle of either of these, why?  I'm not even going to assist you in your search.  Either you're looking to "invest" in whiskies or you have masochistic tendencies that would be better served by indulging in the BDSM scene.

And with that, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Availability - Unhappy hunting!
Pricing - One million dollars. Or $200-$400.
Rating - 45

Availability - It's around, sorta
Pricing - $30-$60
Rating - 47

* - Since writing this review, I have discovered that Serge did this same taste off exactly 10 years ago.  Ha, so much for originality...
** - And I have also just discovered that Tim Read already made the Plan 9 reference years ago.  That's neat.