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Germinal (St. Ives)
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Springbank 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Springbank 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Offered by DrinkSupermarket
Price: £84.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 31 Aug. 2015
The smell. What hasn't it got? Nothing really. Mrs Richter makes Scottish tablet and it smells like that when it's cooking. Salted caramel. Sherry sweetness. Light but very definite smoke to the extent that it catches in your throat. Peat? Yes, a little. Floral notes? Yes. Fruit? Yes....lychees in syrup as it happens.

All that is replicated in the taste. Very, very smooth. Again the smoke catches in the throat and takes the breath away.

Like the 15 YO the finish goes on in waves of mouth drying and re-salivation except with the 18 YO the waves crash a bit more.

Astonishingly good whisky.


Glengyle Kilkerran Work in Progress 7 Sherry
Glengyle Kilkerran Work in Progress 7 Sherry
Offered by Ealain Gallery &SWS
Price: £39.23

3.0 out of 5 stars WIP 7, 12 Aug. 2015
Aroma of hazelnuts, marzipan, cake mix - the usual stuff you expect.

Taste is lighter than I expected but still spicey - nutmeg and cinnamon with cloves lurking. Slight smoke - maybe. Some salt there.

Finish of toasted nuts, honey, salt and dryness.

It's 46% and there's a bit of burn and so I added some water. That brings out fruitier, muscovado notes in the smell. The taste now goes all salted caramel and the finish like cooked pears in toffee sauce.

Kilkerran have been releasing WIPs for a few years now so that whisky anoraks can taste the whisky as it progresses towards the release of a 12 YO in 2016. The latest, and last, WIP is No 7 released in a sherry cask and a Bourbon cask finish. I assume that the 12 YO will be some sort of marriage between these two cask finishes.

So, I've tried a little experiment and attempted a pre-emptive creation of what next year's Kilkerran 12 YO might be like. I've taken 25ml of each, married them together and mixed in 5ml of water.

The result? An aroma of salty honey heather with dark fruit and sugars. The taste is a smooth muscovado fruityness with the sherry dominating and the salty coastal stuff toned down from a few days back. Medium spice and salt on the finish.

Given that they will marry in a possibly different proportion and then cask the whisky again for a year and it will be better than my experiment. But I'd be more than happy drinking what I have today - and looking forward to next year's new release


Glengyle Kilkerran Work in Progress 7 Bourbon
Glengyle Kilkerran Work in Progress 7 Bourbon

3.0 out of 5 stars WIP 7, 12 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Smell: new mown grass, apples, cloves, vanilla custard, honey.

Taste: creme brulee and salt. Apple tart. Subtle smoke. Is there peat? Maybe.

Finish: salted burned fruit.

Interesting. Not sure why it's getting rave reviews. 54% and so I added some water - smell is now apple crumble with vanilla custard, taste is not very describable - salty gooseberries? Finish is smoky, salty, gooseberries.

A few days after opening and The Bourbon wood has become a lot smoother and is much much better.

Kilkerran have been releasing WIPs for a few years now so that whisky anoraks can taste the whisky as it progresses towards the release of a 12 YO in 2016. The latest, and last, WIP is No 7 released in a sherry cask and a Bourbon cask finish. I assume that the 12 YO will be some sort of marriage between these two cask finishes.

So, I've tried a little experiment and attempted a pre-emptive creation of what next year's Kilkerran 12 YO might be like. I've taken 25ml of each, married them together and mixed in 5ml of water.

The result? An aroma of salty honey heather with dark fruit and sugars. The taste is a smooth muscovado fruityness with the sherry dominating and the salty coastal stuff toned down from a few days back. Medium spice and salt on the finish.

Given that they will marry in a possibly different proportion and then cask the whisky again for a year and it will be better than my experiment. But I'd be more than happy drinking what I have today - and looking forward to next year's new release.


Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion
Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion
by Charles Townshend
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Easter Rising, 10 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am glad I persevered with this - I nearly didn't as on p31 Townshend extolled "the characteristic British values of reasonableness, compromise and non-violence.." Historians, serious ones anyway, should steer clear of crass statements like that. Still, at least Townshend has made clear early on where his sympathies lie and, to be fair to him, he does succeed in presenting a reasonably balanced account.

Good overall, I would say. Equal weight to British and Irish Republican actions and views and mistakes - of which there appear to have been many all round. I'd have liked more on a general background of Irish politics, Unionist politics and actions and how that fitted in to British rule and more on Connolly and how his socialist politics fitted, or not, with the nationalism of the Republicans.

Good on assessments of aftermath and how 1916 fitted into future Irish events. Poor on explaining why, post-1916, revolt became more of a working class phenomenon. I would also have liked a more nuanced view of Irish nationalism which doesn't just locate it as part of a European romantic nationalist current but which does actually have deep roots in the experiences of Irish history.


Springbank - Rundlets & Kilderkins - 2001 10 year old
Springbank - Rundlets & Kilderkins - 2001 10 year old
Offered by Hard To Find Whisky
Price: £209.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Has everything, 8 Aug. 2015
This whisky has been aged for just 10 years but in small casks, Rundlets and Kilderkins, which has intensified and accelerated the maturation process.

The result is an intense sherry, oaky, peaty, salty experience - it is a whisky that literally gives everything.

There were only 9,000 produced and, sadly, mine is finished but, if you ever get the chance , try it if you can. I can promise that you will not be disappointed.


The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic
The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic
by Peter Linebaugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Motley Crew, 20 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The title of the book is a reference to Hercules' heroic slaying of a monster in Greek mythology. As capitalism emerged in its early days, the emergent working class fought back against the effects of enclosures, enslavement and exploitation, and the chroniclers of early capitalism frequently referred to the many-headed hydra as a metaphor for this new monster that needed to be tamed.

The book is also about the conquest of the sea which established a new stage in human history and enabled the emergence of a globalising capitalism. Alongside this, however, there was a trans-Atlantic circulation of experience and struggle. Poorly paid, malnourished sailors were thrown together with slaves, transported criminals and conscripts in circumstances which created a common bond. So Linebaugh and Rediker trace a continuity of radical and revolutionary tradition that commences in the English Revolution with the Levellers, takes to the sea, continues and informs revolutionary, radical and democratic movements. A key feature of the book is the Motley Crew of the pirate ship a multi-coloured or indeed multi-ethnic group and such a motley crew was to be found on the ships that sailed the Atlantic stirring up a revolutionary current. Pirate revolts loom large - but not the stuff of Hollywood movies but the creation of radical democratic communities at sea. The book brings to life the multi-ethnic and internationalist nature of a whole series of struggles including the English Revolution, the Masaniello revolt in Naples in 1647, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution and the anti-slavery movement in Britain.

It's a great book that brings obscure movements and individuals to life, rescues them from mainstream history and provides us today with some inspiring moments.


War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century
War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century
by Domenico Losurdo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective demolition of Cold War liberal historiography, 29 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a political-philosophical critique of a strand of historiography. The book is composed mainly of articles from the mid 1990's that appear in English for the first time. The target is the Revisionist school of historiography that I would term Cold War liberalism - one that seeks to say, in a nutshell, that Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia are basically the same and that both stand as opposites of Western liberalism.

Losurdo follows the genesis of these ideas and the influence upon it of a variety of philosophical traditions associated with the counter-Enlightenment. He's highly adept at skewering thinkers like Furet, Nolte and the authors of 'The Black Book' with contradictions within their own texts, turning their methodologies around to use against them and highlighting the omissions they make. Losurdo's dialectical logic is unrelenting and a joy to read.

Losurdo is particularly concerned to identify the de-contextualisations and de-compartivisations that are common to this school - to take their blinkers off as it were.

The one new chapter is one taking on British imperial revivalism in the shape of Niall Ferguson and Losurdo basically gives Ferguson an intellectual fisting which is a joy to read - in fact there comes a point where one begins to feel sorry for Ferguson.


BENROMACH 10 Year Old Speyside Malt Whisky 70cl Bottle
BENROMACH 10 Year Old Speyside Malt Whisky 70cl Bottle
Offered by Shop4whisky
Price: £29.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Speysider, 15 May 2015
The aroma is light, floral fruityness - it doesn't offer much to begin with but after a few minutes there comes a distinct whiff of smoke and barbecued sweet peppers. Subsequent sniffs bring out butterscotch toffee

The mouth feel is pretty full and silky with a taste of toffee apples, roasted nuts, toasted fruits.

The finish is soot, charcoal, prunes, smoke and hints of muscovado.

This is my first Benromach and I am impressed. It describes itself as a 'Classic Speysider' which I guess it is. Very drinkable with lots going on and at C£30 is good vfm.


On the Eve of 1917.
On the Eve of 1917.

5.0 out of 5 stars Zombie Killer, 6 May 2015
This review is from: On the Eve of 1917. (Paperback)
The Reminiscences provide a useful insight into the life of an activist in the Russian revolutionary underground, the politics involved and sheds light on modern historical controversies and debates as well as factional disputes in the early 1920's Soviet Republic. It appears hastily written and poorly edited as there are sections which are repeated.

In terms of the 1920's factional disputes, Shlyapnikov was a leading member of the `Workers Opposition' faction and these memoirs, produced in 1923, are clearly part of an attempt to reinforce his position by presenting himself as a pre-eminent, if not THE pre-eminent `Old Bolshevik', as he links émigré activists across Europe with the underground in Russia - dodging police agents, agents provocateurs and spies at every turn. Maybe he's not exaggerating his role - Alexander Solzhenitsyn claimed that Shlyapnikov, not Lenin, was the real leader of the Bolsheviks.

In terms of modern historiographical disputes, `On the Eve of 1917' sheds considerable light.

On the issue of German funding via the agent Parvus, Shlyapnikov is quite clear that Parvus's role as a German agent was well known and he was shunned by Bolshevik exiles. When one Bolshevik exile took money for personal purposes from another suspected German agent, the Estonian Keskula, he was expelled from the organisation. Shlyapnikov spends a good portion of his memoirs bemoaning the lack of money the organisation has and it seems that one of the main sources of money came from personal, clandestine donations from Maxim Gorky.

The image of the Bolsheviks as a monolithic, bureaucratic party that bends to the iron will of a central committee, an image so beloved of modern Western historians as well as Stalinists, simply does not appear. There is little if any organisation worthy of the name - just collections of individuals struggling to keep contact with one another due to the actions of police agents, lack of resources and vast distances. Perhaps with an eye to the disputes of the early 1920's, Shlyapnikov is clear that alternative points of view were always acceptable with the party. Doubtless the image will continue to be pushed, especially as the centenary of the revolution approaches, but it long ago assumed the status of an ahistorical zombie that cannot be taken seriously at all.

The accusation that the Bolsheviks were really a collection of intellectuals who manipulated workers for their own ends receives a blow as Shlyapnikov reveals that nearly all intellectuals left the organisation following the defeat of the 1905 Revolution and he bemoans the lack of intellectuals in the organisation. Again the `manipulative intellectuals' thesis will continue to stalk the world of the historiography of the Russian Revolution as one of the zombie theses.

A more recent debate concerns whether there actually was a clear split in 1912 between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks where each became a separate party. Here, Shlyapnikov is less clear and there is evidence that could support either side of the argument. At times, Shlyapnikov talks of Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, Bundists and Inter-District Committee members as still being part of the same party into 1915 and 1916 and the terms `party' and `faction' are used interchangeably. Anyone reading most of the book at face value would assume the existence of a single, albeit factionalised, party. This mood is contradicted with sections at the end of the book where Shlyapnikov insists that by the end of 1916 there were two distinct parties and even refers to the Bolsheviks as RSDLP(B) whereas previously the term used was simply RSDLP. This section looks somewhat out of place and the possibility arises that the text has been tampered with by later Soviet editors.


Springbank 15 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70cl Bottle
Springbank 15 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70cl Bottle
Offered by Roblex Ltd
Price: £58.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 3 May 2015
The aroma is typical sherry cask - the caramel, vanilla, stewed fruit, molasses, muscovado, there's also chocolate and ginger. There's also a quite intense brineyness. It screams its maritime nature. The taste is all muscovado, darkest caramel with sea salt, crystalised burnt marmalade. Most of all, though, there is salt. In the background, almost indiscernible, there is a whisp of peat smoke. The finish goes on and on in waves - the mouth dries and then salivates and this repeats for several minutes.

Fantastic.

As it's 46%, I thought it could stand a splash of water. In terms of aroma, this opens up a light floral, citrus smell. If anything, the salt experience is intensified while the richness is toned down. The great experience of the finish is, alas, lost.


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