Josh's Blog

RedBreast 12 Year

Fruity, zesty, bright and light, easy to drink with little bite.

Purchased from the House of Malt onn the 27th of September of 2021. Finished this evening, on the 29th of April 2022. Price was 42.40 GBP.

Region: Ireland                              ABV: 4o%

Expressions also enjoyed during this time were Arran 10 year, Glengoyne 18, Arran Barrel Reserve, Chivas Regal XV Balmain, and Arran Cream Liquor.

Pros: Tropical overtones. Easy on the tongur with just enough heat. Few flavors to unpack make this a terrific bottle to devlop a palate with. 
Cons: Was not the same dram at the end of the bottle as it was at the beginning. First pull was not impressive, yet last pull was stellar. This was over six months, Not sure which flavrou RedBreast was going for. 

Nose: Lemony candy, seasalt, fresh fruit
Taste: Orange peel, ripe melon, peach, tiny bit of butterscotch. No need to add water to its 40 percent ABV. 
Finish: A nice long finish that moves from the citrusy tang to very faint, yet perfectly satisfying cholocate creamy coconut.   

Additional notes: This bottle has really suprised me over the several months of pulling off it. When I first popped it I thought it was a bit too ordinary, with a very average overall whisky tone. However, the time in the bottle has really opened this dram into a delightful experience, with all sorts of flavours having come out of the woodwork, and all of them very chummy with the taste buds. RedBreast is also a pot still whisky from Ireland. 

Dram Rating:
6.5/10

GlenAllarchie 12 Single Malt

Condensed medley of pleasing sweet, darker flavors that come into their own after a bit of water and rest.

Purchased from the House of Malt website in October of 2021 and opened about a month or so later. Finished this evening, on the 26th of April 2022. Price was 40.95 GBP.

Region: Speyside                                              ABV: 46%

Expressions also enjoyed during this time were Arran 10 year, Glengoyne 18, Arran Barrel Reserve, Chivas Regal XV Balmain, and Arran Cream Liquor.

Pros: Pops with chocolatey depth at the forefront. Nonchill filtered, beautiful rich natural color. A flagship bottle at the price point.
Cons: Alcohol nip is just tad on the hot side. Finish isnt fully defined.

Nose: A deep prominance of fudgy chocolate, rum balls, tinges of caramel, vanilla, raisin, with an upper hint of Creme Brûlée.
Taste: Flora, chocolate and raisin, vanilla. Adding a bit of water brings about sugar cone, oily and rich. The proof let’s itself be known, with a stingy bite on the back of the tongue even with a few drops of water.
Finish: Overipened fruit with a biterness in the resolve, dry, lingering notes of banana after several minutes of breathing,   

Additional notes: One of Ralfy’s whiskies of the year and purchased purely on that merit. A delightfully engaging intoduction into the speyside region of scotch whisky. When contrasted with Arran 10 year (another Ralfy favorite), the GlenAllarchie 12 has more bottom end to its flavour profile, where the Arran is more trebley on top. 

Dram Rating:
6/10

Glengoyne 18 Single Malt

A pleasurable experience on the front end, but falls a bit short in the rear.

Purchased at the Glengoyne distillery in August of 2021. Opened early 2022, and finished on the 25th of April 2022. Price was apx 140 GBP.

Expressions also enjoyed during this time were Arran 10 year, GlenAllarchie 15, Arran Barrel Reserve, Chivas Regal XV Balmain, and Arran Cream Liquor.

Pros: Festive and warm with friendly character.
Cons: Chill filtered, color added, pricey for what it delivers

Nose: Light vanilla, raisin, light citrus
Taste: Chocolate, christmas spices, sweet, a distant, slight peatiness, marangue
Finish: Bitter, dry, with a touch of oily lemon on the upper register, seems incomplete as it falls rapidly.

Additional notes: Located just outside of Glasgow, the beautiful Glengoyne distillery is small and intimate. The staff are lovely and the tour is informative and memorable. The drive to the distillery passes through beautiful scottish countryside and quaint chocolate box towns along the way. The distillery also sits right between the Highand/Lowland regions, with the road to get there dividing the two. In fact, the warehouse sits across the road from the distillery, making Glengoyne a scotch made in the highlands and aged in the lowlands.

Related Instagram post

Dram Rating:
5.5/10
Dram + Distillery Visit Rating:
8/10

Recent happenings

Went to a free meditation session last night. I found elements of it to be very useful in levelling one’s keel through techniques, affirmations, visualisations, and concepts. The session however had a shrine set up for the woman who developed this meditation. We were also shown a 25 minute video of a speech she had presented many years ago. I found this bit to be oddly out of place from the rest of the session – a lazy buy-in effort with little effect. Maybe Im just not to the level required to gain something out of it, I dont know.

The overall issue I have though is that, the more a spiritual position is focused down to just one person, the more skeptical I become. This usually suggests an infallabiity of that one individual. Which we all know is bullshit.

It is the idea of spiritualism that is pure, it is the knowledge collected and delivered by many that gives it its power. Anyone who hits the podium without acknowledging this first always loses points in my book.

Checking in

It has been a bit. Lot has changed since my last post. New books read, new trips taken and planned. Be posting more about it all soon.

The calling

Been really missing home lately. I’ve found myself reliving old times…simple affairs, walking outside to the crisp, dry autumn air in Denton. DIY [projects, gardening, jamming with my mates. Eastside, the Denton square, busking, hanging with my neighbor John, my dogs, firepits, camping, my rock polishing. My family, going to Houston and stopping at Buccees somewhere in between. Seeing my Mom and step Dad, my Father, sisters, Aunts, geez…everyone and everything.

I don’t want to leave England until it is either unavoidable, or on my own terms. Those terms dictate that I reach a comfortable position to stay, and still feel the relentless call back. That is when I will know for sure, it is the right path.

A Higher Call by Adam Makos

I finished this book over the weekend and I must say I am sad that it ended. A nonfiction recount of two airmen flying warbirds for opposing countries in WW2, who met over the skies of Germany on December 20th, 1943. One pilot, Franz Stigler, a Luftwaffe Ace with the call of family-torn vengeance under his wings, decided at the last minute to turn his fully-armed BF-109 into a protective escort for a badly crippled American B17, flying it safely beyond the German iron curtain and out to sea, thereby saving the lives of its pilot and remaining crew. The book also provides an fascinating glimpse into what it was like to be an aviator from both sides of the war. Look for a in-depth review of this very much recommended novel by Adam Makos shortly.

Nefarious Happenings at Intuit (w audio)

Click Hear for audio version

It doesn’t really matter, but for what its worth I would like to share with you, good reader, a recent experience I had with the customer service team at Intuit. I have a 2016 version of QuickBooks Pro that I decided to implement back into my day to day. The copy was purchased off Newegg back in 2016 as a full version digital download. As such it came with all of the necessary license numbers and so forth. However, after installing and successfully moving past the ‘yes I bought this’ security bits, the program asked me for a validation code which could only be obtained by calling Intuit’s (QuickBooks parent company) customer service number.

The phone number ended up being a generic customer service line that referred me the QuickBooks ‘contact us’ area within the application. Ugh! So, I went there (fortunately Quickbooks allowed me access to that portion of the app without the code) and I was able to get into a chat session with a likely third party – and Im willing to bet – commission based – customer service agent. I explained the issue, and that I just needed the validation code to get back to using my 5 year old, but $300 dollar application.

Should be easy peasy stuff here.

The woman on the other end said that with a little updating, Id be back on my feet in no time. Yes! I thought! (ignoring the obvious next question as to if there would be any additional cost). So after looking up my account online, and validating that I did in fact purchase this software, the woman told me that the discounted rate to bring QuickBooks up to the current version would only be $199. That’s what it would take for me to be able to use my version of QuickBooks, and that’s when our chummy relationship came apart like a wet soda cracker.

I argued that this was a full version purchase, and despite the fact that its 5 years old I have a right to be able to use it. Just give me the freaking code already. But the woman refused…or said she couldn’t get it (refused). Claiming that the license the software came with was only good for three years. There was nothing more she could do, the only way to move forward would involve my wallet. So I told her no thanks, I’ll be checking out the six-month free trial of their competitor’s software instead*.

She hardly cared.

Still trying to nail that commission though, the woman then asked me if I had heard of QuickBooks online? I told her there is no way Im going to use a subscription service from a company that stoops this low. And that is how the conversation ended.

So that was that.

Only it wasnt…

After searching the internet for ways to crack – or break into – my legitimately purchased version of QuickBooks, I stumbled upon a thread (ironically on the QuickBooks support page) from someone who had had the same problem, with the same 2016 version of QuickBooks that I have. Apparently his laptop was stolen and he had to re-install Quickbooks onto his new computer. Like me, he was unable to get past the validation code screen, and he complained the referred phone number did not provide the solution. Astonishingly, his QuickBooks agent stated that she would ensure he would receive the code ASAP, and the issue was then marked resolved.

On top of that…this thread was dated 2020. So like mine, this man’s license was also beyond the three year license limitations that my agent claimed was impossible to circumvent.

So I decided to initiate another chat session with another agent, and aligned my backstory along the lines of that poor chap who’s laptop had been stolen. I told the agent that I had to reinstall QuickBooks and needed the validation code so that I could access my company files. Amazingly, this new agent told me no worries and after a few futile attempts to upsell and upgrade my software, finally awarded me those elusive six validating numbers. I typed them in and ‘voilah!’ the old 2016 QuickBooks sprung to life, eagerly ready to capture some financial transactions.

So there ya have it. My first agent was a liar and a cheat. OR, Intuit is encouraging its agents push you toward another purchase (at all cost), OR nobody cares, and it really just boils down to who you talk to, and what story you give. In any case, this is why Intuit has made my wall of shame.


  • Available at the Sage website (sadly six month offer has now ended)

Applied Pareto for Bands

Back in 2016 I was at the tail end of obtaining a post-baccalaureate certification in accounting. In one of my classes, my instructor taught us about the pareto 80/20 rule (along with Benford’s analysis) as a useful means to chart outcomes.

The 80/20 rule goes something like this; for most measurable outcomes, (be it retail sales, wealth distribution, song hits in an album, world religions, spices in a dish you love, etc.) you will find that about 80 percent of a result is driven by about 20 percent of the causes.

So back to retail sales, if you look at your quarterly sales figures you will likely find that about 80 percent of your sales can be traced back to only 20 percent of your products. So, if you find out what those 20 percent of stock are, you will learn most certainly what to keep on your shelves, and can also consider what to do with the other 80 percent. be it replacing, discounting, or whatever.

It is a fascinating phenomenon with much more depth behind it than my little example. You can find out more about it here, https://betterexplained.com/articles/understanding-the-pareto-principle-the-8020-rule/.

So back in February of 2016, my new band Copper Root had played a few shows and decided to launch a YouTube and Facebook page to feature footage, music samples, and news, and other what-have-ya’s. Almost immediately we began accumulating several ‘likes’ from an invisible fanbase. This excited some of the other members of the band, but having learned the good ol 80/20 rule, I put a little damper the those fires to bring us a little bit closer to what was really going on.

The ‘how good is my band really doing’ approximation test:
Take all of your fb and YouTube views
Subtract EVERYTHING but the number of “likes”
Example: 1000 views and 50 likes
1000-950 = 50
(it takes 1 second and one brain cell to hit a like button. If they aint hittin the “like” button… your video/music is probably just in the way of something they are actually wanting to see/hear)
Next, if you can, count up all of the “likes” that are friends & family of all the members of the band.
Subtract those too. (graciously of course, friends and family are what make the world go round, but we are seeking the number of impartial that don’t always have your back)
Example:
Likes = 50 – 38 friends & family
= 12 impartial fans
You now have an idea as to your unbiased fan base.
Take that number and divide it by the total number of views.
You now have a fan per # of views ratio.
Example: 12/1000 = .012 impartial
For every 1000 views on fb and YT, ~1 percent constitutes an actual fan engagement.
*Note: if your friends and family really like your videos, and play them a lot…the ratio is even lower.
Test this result with the number of new faces at a local venue where only your band is performing. (playing at restaurants don’t count, the audience is already there to eat)
Subtract 80 percent of that number for casual walk ins. If there is a loud cheer at the end, and people are throwing clothing for in-betweens at you …….add back 15 to 20 percent. And tell them to check you out on fb and YT. But DO NOT ask them to like you page. (See if they do it of their own accord)

Original fb post

Lost in the Forest

I had to take a minute this morning to reflect on the fact that I got lost in an English forest yesterday. It wasn’t for long, but still, for about fifteen or twenty minutes I was definitively without direction.

Circled area is where I lost my way after 4 mile walk/jog