- the desktop companion?
Swedish distillery Mackmyra has released a whisky infused with the goodness of AI. Keen to reinforce workplace stereotypes, The Register went to check it out. We first noted Microsoft's foray into the world of whisky blending back in May, when early results of Redmond and Mackmyra's efforts were sampled. The distillery has …
Agreed, recipe time: take two salmon steaks and fry to perfection in butter. Remove from the pan and keep warm to rest. Add cream to pan and scrape up the crusty bits then add a good dram of Talisker 10yo and mix. Let it bubble a bit then serve with new potatoes and a good salad and of course the whisky cream sauce and a glass of the whisky in question to have with.
If they're mixing only their own spirit it's not regarded as a blend. Fun fact, when there's an age statement it's referring to the youngest whisk(e)y in the bottle, but even 'single' malts are often blended by the distillery. (Interestingly a lot of the big names are now making non-age statement single malt 'special editions', which potentially means they're mixing in stuff all the way down to three years.) 'Blended' is when grain whisky is added to the mix.
Then again, if they're blending only their own spirit I don't see quite why revealing their blend choices would be, "like, the end of the game." Since it's information that's only useful if you've got their barrels.
As for the general idea... I tried Pendryn shortly after it came out. This was in a tasting consisting of people who liked whisky and people who knew nothing about whisky (a blend...). In a group of over 20 there was one person who liked it. Haven't touched it since, but they're still making it so I guess either it's improved or the Welsh are even more patriotic than I thought. There is now some stuff made in England that I haven't had the courage to touch yet. I'm sure the Swedes can make whisky, eventually.
I'm willing to believe it's improved since. This was the early stuff that would have been the first couple of years they actually made. It's one reason there are so many gin distilleries popping up, but nowhere near the number of new whisky distilleries. With gin you can experiment on small batches and swap recipes fast, but with whisky you have to wait years before you know how it turns out, so on top of the length of time for investment the learning curve is necessarily much slower.
Breton whisky called Armork that's well worth a go
And the output from the English Whisky Company is usually well worth the price. I especially like their Rum Cask line (used to be called "Chapter 7" but I think the name confused people).
It's about £50/bottle. Really, really not something that you buy to drink in bulk.
but even 'single' malts are often blended by the distillery
Unless it says "Single malt, single barrel" on the bottle it's safe to assume that it's blended from lots of casks.
Of course the words "single barrel" add about 30% to the price and it isn't always worth it because each barrel can vary in flavour - sometimes positively, sometines negatively.
A.I.side (pronounced eye-side, spelled to avoid lawsuits from Apple)
Glen P Complete (blended with batch normalisation)
(for after brexit) Bugger Scotch
The Singularity Malt
Damp mosquito is an obvious Scotch reference too, but should be damp midge.
I was talking to a wry Scottish vegan ecologist about why vegans can't eat honey when it seemed to me it was mostly a workers rights issue (more honey, shorter flowers). Apparently bees are forced to die to make our honey. Like we force them to back to their factory.
"Bees are essential", I said, "but what how would you feel about using science to wipe out useless parasitic species such as the midge? Bats eat them but bats eat other things too, midges just make other species lives hell"
"Ah, no", she replied. "Midges play a vital part in Scotland's ecosystem. If we didn't have midges then we'd be over run with English tourists".
[I feel I may have told that anecdote here before. I keep telling the same folk the same stories until they get sick of me and I'm thinking I should just write my 1001 shitey anecdotes down in a blog. I used to use Wordpress for a different purpose but can anyone here recommend a similar web tool that isn't so surveillancy?]
In many Scottish lochs in the winter a couple of meters down there's a layer of hibernating midge larvae. Plenty of native fish and amphibia eat midge larvae but there are so many of them plenty get left wnen the fish etc also hibernate.
But those midge larvae are a necessary part of the ecosystem and they are very nutritious fish food. You can buy them frozen as pet fish food but you are advised to only feed them occasionally as they are so rich.
In the peat bogs you have to think about toads and their tadpoles eating them. Also just because bats eat other things it doesn't follow that we can remove them without any effect on the bats.
If we killed all the chickens you would have other things to eat, even other eggs, but we'd feel it wouldn't we?
You make valid points, and I am reconciled to living with the midge. They make me irrational though. One time I went out in my garden with a vacuum cleaner to hoover them up. Lately I've built and installed bat boxes, although I failed to mark them correctly so many of them are used by the birds and the bees.
The mosquito has killed more humans than any other animal, and if midges start carrying these diseases due to global heating then Scotland is screwed.
Wikipedia: Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, filariasis, tularemia, dirofilariasis, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Ross River fever, Barmah Forest fever, La Crosse encephalitis, and Zika fever, as well as newly detected Keystone virus and Rift Valley fever.
"Apparently bees are forced to die to make our honey."
I've heard this theory expounded by people who have never kept bees. It is incorrect. In fact, bees in the wild happily work themselves to death, without humans. It's what they do.
Take it from a bee keeper, bees ain't slaves. If they don't like where they are living, they'll leave and find a better place. Or die trying. I don't force or coerce my colonies to hang out where I need them, that would be impossible. Instead, I encourage them by catering to their every whim. They come and go as they see fit, and pretty much do what they want, when they want. On their schedule, not mine. My bees are spoiled rotten, and I like it that way. In return, they over-produce wax, propolis and honey, occasionally produce new queens, and collect too much pollen for their own needs. They allow me to harvest the excess a couple times per year. It's more of a mutualistic symbiotic relationship than any other form of farming.
Mead all around!
You're being had. Myra is actually ant. Not mosquito, nor even midge. And the 'damp' eludes me too. If asked to deconstruct the word, I'd guess the ant might suggest hard work and/or teamwork, while the Mack merely hints at something Scottish.
On the basis that proper scotch is Whisky while certain lesser imitations use the spelling Whiskey, perhaps a Swedish blend might take Whiskea as another alternative?
Myr is a kind of wetland, the closest word I can think of right now is "bog".
From wikipedia page for Mackmyra (the nearby village): "Namnet Mackmyra är sannolikt bildat av ordet mack (ett slags knott) som brukade dansa över myrarna som omger bruket."
= > "The name Mackmyra is most likely formed by the word mack (a kind of black fly) which used to dance over the bogs surrounding the ironworks"
Don't be misled by the -a at the end; that's dialectal, meaning "the" (would be -en in standard Swedish). It's the (unusual and obsolete) "mack" part that refers to insects and other creepy-crawlies, related to Swedish "mask" (worm) and English "maggot". Meanwhile "myren" (dialectal "myra"), pronounced with a long-ish "y" sound, means the moss or bog - related to English "mire". So, a not unreasonable translation could be "the bug bog" or why not "midgemire".
Here's a whole article on the tendentious yet tedious differences between the two substances.
While you are nominally correct that Sweden would normally be making "whiskey" on account of the "e" in "Sweden," I think there's an argument to be made that they're actually making "whisky" since the distilling process is meant to imitate Scotch whisky in particular rather than some other form of whiskey.
Personally, I think the whole argument is perfectly pointless and that it would be preferable to consolidate on a single spelling. If you're insistent on dropping the "e" because of some pointless tradition, may I suggest that you use the Scottish Gaelic spelling of "uisge" so you can go Full Hipster?
Once there was a short story before search engines noted the growth published reviewed papers and the abstracts that followed. And the growth of the number of abstracts resulting in abstract of abstracts with the original papers being stored interdimensionally . As things go it got such that all was remotely stored this way until the DAY came and access was lost. I believe this was another of Erich Frank Russell's.
As an after thought while reviewing this there exists within this space many a mind in this space that has qualities akin to his.
Named after the 'algorithm' the Missus uses for her 'blended' soup, served the day before grocery day.
She checks the condition of everything in the pantry and says "This must go, this must go, this must go..." and all the Mustgoes end up in the soup.
Amazing we've all survived!
Icon for what will happen if she sees this post.
Just to explain my thinking here;
"Pie eyed" / py-eyed / py-i-ed - py-python, i - represents the AI angle.
Pie eyed - aka. Drunk
I did want to add the tag line:
"Someone who'll remain anonymous drank the 700ml bottle"
(so now we're offering a 50ml taster instead, sorry - it was just too good!).
A salutary warning to any company toying with the idea of feeding their business secrets into an AI.
A warning well heeded by an almighty few absolutely ages ago, Richard.
* The Best/Worst to Be Hoped for ..... is don't Antagonise AI with IT. You have been forewarned. Don't waste time and space and riches on forearming in a field in which you are easy alienated prey. Try something/anything different is sound supported advice.
What got me was they only ended up with one recipe. I suspect the proble is the AI system doesn't have a set of human taste buds and a cultured consciousness attached to it. Also since a large part of our taste sense is actually smell from volatiles and that applies very much to whisky it would need a nose too.
Good whisky tasting notes will be in two parts: what the nose smells of and how it tastes including how many of the nose notes are in the taste and what they become.
Free 50 ml samples for all El Reg readers or it didn't happen!
It isn't whisky if it wasn't made in Scotland. I'd go further, it isn't any good if it wasn't made on Islay.
I have a soft spot for the Swedes and think they maybe deserve a by and get to use the name whisky. Their police cars are marked 'Polis" just like we pronounce it here.
"Livets vatten" is the google translation of water of life into Swedish.