Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Toy

‘Cause there’s more to life than malts…

So. I decided I needed a Telecaster. That’s how the story begins.

When I recently told a mate that I needed a Tele, he asked “besides wanting one, which I totally get, what makes you think you need one?” My reply: “guitar people don’t differentiate between want and need.” To which he immediately shot back: “As soon as I hit send I recognized it was a dumb question.”

Fender Telecaster American Ultra Luxe

I can’t lie: I was on the hunt for something with Classic Tele vibes. You know, three saddle bridge, block body, vintage tuners, 50s pickups, etc. I played a couple and found nothing that really grabbed me. Then the gent at the shop showed me this Fender American Ultra Luxe.

Let me just say it: this thing is an illusion. It looks entirely retro (excepting the aforementioned saddles), but make no mistake, is one badass modern machine. Stainless steel frets, six saddle bridge, compound radius neck (10″-14″), locking tuners, tapered neck heel for comfortable access to the higher frets, S-1 switch in the volume knob to run the single coils in series for a bigger Humbucker sound, noiseless pickups, contoured back makes it a great couch guitar (something Teles have never been). Truly a stunning piece of work.

But anyone can a guitar based on impressive-sounding specs, aye? What it really comes down to is a) feel and b) tone. I’d argue a) is more important. You can always change out electronics, hardware, etc, but you can’t (easily) change the way it feels in your hand. This thing is built for speed and comfort. It’s unquestionably one of the best necks I’ve ever played. And yes…it has all the snap, snarl, quack and twang you’d want in a tele. She’s a beast. And I love ‘er.

I shouldn’t have picked it up. I did look at the price tag before even lifting it off the wall. And still, I picked it up. I’ll not be so gauche as to mention price, but suffice to say, it wasn’t what I was hoping to spend. I went looking to drop about $650. Oops.

A New Category

I’ve added a new category on the left side of the page, and called it ‘Silent Stills’. From here on out (and retroactively, as time permits), I will tag all of the closed distillery notes to it. This is the stuff that really lights me up. Not to mention, I will have plenty of reviews of some truly special closed distillery bottlings in the coming days.

…And back!

Alright, you patient and faithful motherfuckers.  I’m back.  Apologies for the long absence and the sporadic postings up ’til then.  I landed back home a week ago today.  It’s been an awful lot of recovering and quality time with the family ever since.  The recovering was not of the post-hangover sort, but of the…errrr…’immediate repairs required’ kind.  While away I caught a hell of a cold, sprained a wrist, broke my phone, lost some luggage, broke up a heavyweight dual and solved world hunger.  Well…all but the last one, anyway.

I’ll be diving in headlong in the coming days.  Starting almost immediately after I hit ‘publish’ on this post.

And, yeah…I think it was Skeptic who called it correctly.  My hopes were not for nil.  That little surprise I was hoping for did indeed come to fruition.  A mate of mine from around the globe managed to extricate himself from all pressures domestic and work-related in order to join us for the middle leg of our journey.  Tabarek, who many of you may know as the Malt Activist, met us on Islay and ran headlong into some unforgettable experiences with us.  We’ll be doing some shared blogging and such in the very near future.  Including notes on one surreal dramming experience.  This guy truly is the yin to my yang.

More to come, friends.  Thanks for sticking ’round.


 – Curt

An Update

Apologies for the infrequency of updates in recent days.  Bit of a challenging time.  Lost someone dear to me this morning after a lengthy struggle.  I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t occupied much of my mind space over the past couple months.  An upcoming surgery has kept me preoccupied, and as of last week I find myself in career transition mode.  A lot of stress and uncertainty leading up to this have been a greater distraction than I care to admit.

In short…head hasn’t been in the game.  But we’ll fix that.  Ever onwards.

Thanks for support and many warm comments.

More soon.


– Curt

Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and Terry Blanchette

I was going to post another review today, but it seems…trivial and unimportant right now. Instead let’s give thought to this today…


Rest in peace, Terry and Hailey


Our hearts and thoughts are with the friends and families affected.  This one hits a little too close to home.

“Don’t let your heart get broken by this world” – Dan Bern

 – Curt

Happy Holidays

merry-christmasJust thought we’d take a moment to wish a happy holidays to all of you. 

It’s Christmas eve.  4:30 pm.  Just about to bundle up the family and take Loki (our Golden Retriever) for a quick trip to the off leash.  Think we’ll come home for dinner after that, before heading out to see the nativity play.  Ironic, I know, being an atheistic family and all.  Tradition.  And the kids love the animals in the play. 

The gifts are all wrapped.  The evening’s drams are picked out.  Think we’re ready for the big guy to make an appearance.  (Santa, that is…not Maltmonster.  Though he’s always welcome too). 

Anyway…thanks for bearing with me as we work our way through the whisky advent calendar.  Been a fun ride.  Maybe not so much fun from an outsider’s point of view, but hey…gotta mix it up sometimes, right?  One more malt to go and then we’ll be back to knocking out the more readily available fair.  I think we’ll also revisit a few favorites from throughout 2014 in a quick recap post (no…not a ‘best of’…more like the ‘most memorable’ as I’ve done previously). 

Enough rambling.  I’m writing just to say thank you to all of you who visit the site, share your insight and thoughts…and drop me the occasional email.  Appreciate the dialogue and ongoing support.  That’s what keeps it interesting.  To you…and all of yours…all the best for a great Christmas season.  If Christmas isn’t your thing, all the best for a happy holiday of any choosing. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. 

Sweet drams,


– Curt