As a few of you might know I’m just back from my summer holiday, this years holiday took us to Turkey a far away land of mystery and sunshine and now I’m back I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about the shopping, food and drink on offer, just a wee change from me bitching or talking about whisky.
Shopping is magic fun in Turkey if you like a bargain, spices, sweets, carpets, jewelry, and those wee glass tea cups, oh aye and tea lots and lots of different teas and coffees.
Turkey is also the place to be if you want fake goods, the markets are full of them, the haggling is intense though but if you stay strong you can get some decent gear but remember to check everything out, there are basically three types of fake, terrible fakes which are very cheap, expensive fakes which are very well made but expensive and the stuff in the middle, I found it all great fun, sort of.
The resort was also cracking and well done to Thomson and First Choice for making it such a pleasant stay, the locals are all warm and friendly and even in the markets the locals are all very friendly, they seem to have a good sense of humour too.
Okay, drinks and I’ve tried some new things some of which I will review others I will not.
First off my Duty Free purchases, I was disappointed with the choice in Glasgow, even Dalaman on the return flight offered more I ended up getting Johnnie Walker Spice Road which I opened and have thoroughly enjoyed and will review next month or the month after, whenever I can be arsed, and Tomintoul 16 which I think will be a bit bland to be honest but it was a good price and it’s not a distillery I’m overly familiar with so when I do get around to opening it I will let you know.
I also picked up a miniature of The Glenlivet Master Distiller’s Reserve and I have to say that if this is the best Glenlivet can come up with for their Master Distiller then heaven help them, it was not good.
I’ve also picked up Raki, I’ll do wee bit on the local Turkish favourite, it’s like Pastis but it’s a more harsh affair but it’s bottled at 45% and goes better than expected served with mezze but more of that later.
I’ve also bought some Asbach which is a brutal German Brandy which is you know, German Brandy and it’s not surprising that the Germans are more well known for their cars than quality spirits, strange though, I used to live in Germany and remember well many of their drinks but not this, thankfully.
And now for the drinks which are part of the all inclusive drinks menu at the resort, sitting on the shelves were dusty bottles of J&B, Dimple, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and JW Red Label all of which sit unopened because whisky is taxed at 400% in Turkey so no one is paying five or six pounds for a glass of Jim Beam when you can get the free stuff for free, I noticed the bars in town offered whisky too but again it was expensive and it’s fucking roasting in Turkey so it was long cool drinks all round and tea lots and lots of tea.
The bars in the hotel offered, Rum, Whisky, Vodka “local” spirits and various other liquors such as coconut or orange flavour mimicking our favourite Caribbean rum with Coconut flavour and Cointreau. What I discovered when I asked to see the whisky, which was you know, sort of vaguely whisky flavoured and was just about okay with cola or lemonade, turned out, along with the Rum to be “Aromatic” vodka which I found charming for some reason, maybe it was the heat.
This brings me to my final drink of the holidays another Aromatic Vodka which I suspect might just hit the cocktail bars by storm over the next couple of years. It was an oak finished, it had a slightly smokey finish, it was easy drinking, it had a nice vanilla and toffee note with a woody background and it was Absolut Oak Finished Vodka and let’s just say that any whisky that markets itself as a cocktail whisky should be very afraid especially as it was about thirty Euros for a litre, I’m looking at you Haig Club.
Go to Turkey though, it’s a lovely place, lovely food, interesting drinks and warm friendly people.