Thursday, 27 December 2018

Review of my whisky year - 2018

First of all thank you to all the people who have read my blog (c29,000 up from 16,500 last year) and followed me on Twitter (c1,680 up from 900 last year).

My highlights of 2018 were:

Some of my best whisky experiences this year have been our Blind Tasting evenings - this came about then I was talking to a couple of people who hadn't been successful in being selected for a TweetTasting. Between us we suggested organising one of our own, where we supplied the drams from our own collections but with the twist of not labelling them!

This year we've continued where we finished off in 2017 and help another seven #BlindTasting sessions! Many thanks to @JWBassman_@Spirit&Wood@GentlemanGrimm and @WhiskyWings for joining in and taking in part in some fantastic evenings of whisky tasting!

You can read all about our exploits in Series Three & Four. Series Five is continuing into the New Year. If you want to set up your own - it's really simple - read here!


This year for the first time the #BlindTasting gang went on tour! Specifically to Glasgow to visit Loch Lomond and Clydeside distilleries.

Both are completely different - one a huge industrial complex with it's own warehouses and cooperage releasing a huge range of whiskies, the other a small distilling plant which is yet to release it's own whisky! There were loads of highlights from the trip - tasting new make in the lab, visiting the cooperage, tasting whisky served by Michael Henry (Master Blender) and Ibon Mendiguren (Brand Ambassador).

For 2019 we have a visit to Campbeltown booked!


As well as the two mentioned above I also had a wee trip to Campbeltown in April and visited Springbank, GlengyleGlen Scotia, and Arran distilleries.

And in May I was invited to the CooperKing Distillery for their Launch Party!

It was a really exciting day and I can't wait to revisit when Abbie and Chris get the distillery up an running! I ran into Sarah again and Sorren for the first time - always nice to meet people you chat to on Twitter.

#Holiday in the USA

During the Summer my family did a 2,500 mile road trip around the south west United States visiting LA, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley amongst other places!

I also managed time to try some bourbon and bring a couple of bottles home - I shared samples with a few friends and two, a rye and a bourbon, featured on Malt's blog from Adam (Whisky Pilgrim)!

#Drample Swaps

2018 continued as 2017 had left off with a large number of sample swaps with friends both on and off Twitter. Some new friends were made and old ones made more special!

It's a great way to try drams you either haven't come across before, can't get anymore or aren't sure about and don't want to risk paying for a full bottle.


I've been lucky enough to be selected to take part in many @TweetTastings organised by Steve Rush. These have been a brilliant way to try new drams and more importantly share your thoughts about them in real time with others - it's like sitting in a room of 20 people enjoying and dram or two and talking about it - but you can hear what everyone else is saying and join in every conversation!

#Maltman_Mike & Friends

Mike and I have been friends for a couple of years - he's the first 'twitter friend' I actually met in person - due to the fact the he is the closed one to where I live! I've made a few youtube vlog reviews for Maltman Mike & Friends and taken part in a number of tasting/quizzes with Gentleman Grimm although we're yet to win one! Many thanks to Klaus, Evan and Jo for joining in the fun!

#ThisIsMyDram Podcast

Stu and Andy kindly invited me to take part in the Listener Bit of their Christmas Podcast for this year - find out more here!


Whether you call it bottle killing or heel-slaying, these are the bottles which won't be continuing into 2018 as part of my collection....unless I buy another one that is! The one I'd miss most is probably the Glen Scotia 15yo.


2018 was also my 50th birthday and I was lucky enough to two 50yo whiskies, a Blended Whisky #1 Batch 5 (50yo) from TBWC which I'd bought myself and the incredible 50yo Fettercairn as part of a TweetTasting.

#My Top Ten Whiskies of the Year

My Whiskybase shelves!

How do you pick your top ten whiskies? It's really difficult! But as I've said before I use a scoring method from @TomsWhisky But #EveryPalateIsDeifferent and whisky is very subjective so my scoring is private - I don't publish any scores. For my top ten list I've picked all those which I rated 5 and some of the 4's. These are the top ten drams I tried for the first time in 2018:
  1. Glen Moray 2011 Peated Cabernet Sauvignon (BYO)
  2. Port Charlotte MRC:01
  3. Inchmurrin 2007 Single Cask
  4. Bunnahabhain Toiteach A Dhà
  5. Springbank 1992-2002 - Single Cask - Private Bottling
  6. Strathclyde 2005 (11yo) from Douglas Laing
  7. Glen Scotia Victoriana
  8. Benromach 10/100%
  9. Tamdhu Single Cask Distillery Team Edition
  10. Loch Lomond 20yo from Darkness!

Another couple of grain whiskies in my top 10, down from three last year but both well worth finding and trying!
    One of the grain's I keep harping on about is Bain's from South Africa, it made my Top Ten last year so wasn't eligible for this year! But it gets an honourable mention thanks to the generosity of Dave who sent me one of the first 'refresh designed' bottles in the UK signed by the master distiller Andy Watts himself!

    • circa 5,600 tweets this year, total of 15.8k
    • getting close to 1,700 followers on twitter
    • circa 29,000 page reads of this blog
    • circa 250 drams tried this year


      Well - goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019 - I'm sure it will be even better - some plans:
      • Trip to Spirit of Speyside (I didn't make it in 2018, but 2019 is booked!)
      • Trip to Campbeltown (again!) but this time with the #BlindTatsingOnTour gang
      • Series 6 of #BlindTasting
      • More discussions with you!

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