All posts by Starky

ID Vodka

The standard vodka from al-Ahram. This is a half-litre bottle, but it also comes in litre bottles. 58g, 40% ABV.

Preparation is really important with vodka – make sure it’s been in the freezer for at least a few hours before serving. Don’t mix it or put ice or water in it.

Looks quite thick and creamy. Maybe a slight blue tint, but otherwise clear. Slight whiff of grain and maybe green herbs but otherwise no particular nose.

Texture on drinking is quite thick and viscous yet it still tastes fairly soft and smooth. Mouthfeel slightly grainy but very short-lived.

This is alright assuming you prepare it properly. Goes well with blue cheese, biscuits, olives, stuff like that. Probably would drink again. 6/10.

Heineken – updated

“New and improved” Heineken, same packaging. 330ml bottle is 8.50g, 5% ABV.

Nose of sweet wheat and a bit of white fruit.

Tastes hoppy and wheaty, mild. Mouthfeel wheaty, pleasantly bitter, hoppy, long-lasting. Almost zero carbonation.

Very different from other Heinekens. Quite good. 7/10.

Gold Berg

This stuff’s brewed by al-Misriyya (they transcribe it as ‘al-Masria’ I think), which is the third major brewing company in Egypt that I now know of. Comes out of a nice green bottle with a bilingual gold label. 8.75g, 5% ABV.

Sort of giving myself away with the background here…

It’s quite cloudy and, for a lager, dark. Like an IPA with a slight fizz. It smells good.

It also tastes good. Definitely quite like an IPA, but not lemony like Deuchars. I think this is a really delicious drink. Hoppy but not too sweet or bitter, not citrusy, quite a pleasant strength of flavour. A little fizzy.

One of the best beers yet, if not maybe even the best. This is a great choice if you find yourself starved of ale in these parts because it really doesn’t taste that much like beer, i.e. lager, at all. Only things to put me off drinking it regularly are that the bottles aren’t returnable, Swissra which is the only place that stocks it is a bit out of the way compared with the other offies and it’s 3.25 more expensive than Luxor or Stella per bottle. Still an absolute winner though, 9/10.

Bolanachi ‘Oxford London Dry Gin’

Shit look at this – http://camelsandtacos.blogspot.com/2011/06/egyptian-beer-complete-list.html

From Drinkie’s. Comes in a similar bottle to the other Bolanachis. 18g, 40% ABV.

Smells rank, but then it’s cheap gin so I expected that. Doesn’t look great either, almost cloudy.

Consumed neat, it’s horrible. Not quite so horrible in a weak gin and tonic.

I would imagine it’s not a good idea to have any significant quantity of this in one go if the other Bolanachi drinks are anything to go by. Zibib, the Highlands whiskies, these give you terrible hangovers if you have more than a wee bit. Give it a go maybe, but don’t go nuts. 3/10.

Boozelog XXI – Bolanachi ‘Highlands Whisky Black’

Same general idea as Highlands Red. The only visual differences are the name and the colour of the label. 24.50g, 40%.

Looks and smells similar to its sister spirit. The aroma is oaky: slightly milder then the Red, though, and it’s a bit paler in colour.

Goes down alright-ish maybe. Tolerable with just a bit of water, but probably better mixed. Better still, avoided altogether – just drink beer.

Slightly better than Highlands Red, but I’d still not drink it again. 4/10.

Boozelog XX – Beausoleil Red

The middle-cost wine from Egyptian International Beverages. I’ve had Shahrazad (or however you want to transliterate it) before, their cheapest line of wines, which was pretty good (review forthcoming). Beausoleil red is merlot-cabernet sauvignon. Same style of bottle as the eponymous white which I looked at in December. 65g, 12.5% ABV.

Healthy crimson colour, seems thicker than the other reds. Nose of red fruit.

Fairly tanniny but not too much so. Not particularly full-bodied. Red fruit. Not complicated. A bit sweet, maybe.

This is alright. Pretty unremarkable. Probably would drink again unless the price goes up dramatically. 6/10.

Boozelog XIX – Bolanachi ‘Highlands whisky red’

Egyptian whisky doesn’t have a great rep for good reason, but if you just want to put a bevvy away you really can’t argue for the price: about £2.50 for 750ml.

24.50g, 40% ABV.

Pale brown colour. Fairly viscous. It smells vaguely tolerable. Sweet, heathery and quite mild, if you can get past the “ugh”.

Doesn’t taste TOO bad. Much like the smell, it’s sweet and heathery, assuming you don’t have a problem with the “ugh” sensation. Not too overpowering. Better to mix it with cola or something, though.

Good for the price, but that’s about the only positive. Probably avoid – stick to beer. 3/10.

Boozelog XVIII – Beausoleil white

EIB/Kouroum of the Nile. Made from Bannati grapes from Upper Egypt. This is the kind of small, extremely sweet grape you see being sold on the streets. Kouroum of the Nile’s website describes it unimaginatively as “Generic Egyptian Nature Grape”. Pretty unremarkable bottle again, quite a nice design on the front and English and Arabic on the back. 65g, 12.5% ABV.

A vivid lemony-strawy colour. For once the tasting notes appear to have been written about the same wine, it does indeed smell like melon. A hint of honey sweetness.

Appley-lemony flavours. Fairly sweet, as I suppose you might expect. Mouthfeel gives you a bit of vanilla. It’s quite full-flavoured. Not altogether unlike gewürztraminer. Great with curry or spicy food. Or probably with fish I imagine, although I’ve yet to try this.

This is pretty good. And I’m not usually mad on white wine. Guilt-free, too – it’s organic, and made in Upper Egypt by Copts. Try it. 8/10.

Boozelog XVII – Vat 1884

I’m not expecting much here, but for the price you can’t really argue even if it’s shit. 18g. 33% ABV.

Doesn’t smell too bad. Smells like a generic brandy/cognac, really – think Martell, Courvoisier, etc.

The taste is palatable. As with the smell, it’s a brandy, it does what it says on the bottle. Probably a bit stronger in flavour than Vat 20, but otherwise indistinguishable.

Alright, I reckon. And very cheap. 5/10.