There were a couple in December '16 but they were mainly re-tweets - my start was the
One of the first things I discovered whilst surfing the whisky wave on Twitter were the number of people doing #drample swaps - I wanted in on this and after a few polite enquiries I managed to set one up, I bought my first sample bottles, filled them and posted them off - at the same time someone I knew only as a handle on Twitter did the same. Within a few days I had my hands on some new whiskies! I've now made more than 30 drample swaps, averaging about one a week and the sample box is now overflowing!
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 read a few whisky book this year, old ones and new ones - some that stand out are :
- 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die by Ian Buxton : reviewed here.
- Shackleton's Whisky by Neville Peat : The extraordinary story of an heroic explorer and twenty-five cases of unique MacKinlay's Old Scotch.
- Malt Whisky Companion by Michael Jackson (and Dominic Roskrow and Gavin D. Smith) : a great read for distillery information and tasting notes.
- MacLean's Miscellany of Whisky by Charles Maclean
- Malt Whisky Yearbook by Ingvar Ronde : the best reference book for distillery information.
- Whiskies Galore by Ian Buxton : reviewed here.
- World Whiskey by Charles Maclean : an encyclopedia of whisky.
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!
It's very difficult to pick favourites from these, but here's 3!
Best Presentation : #TamdhuWhisky - lovely box, lots of distillery information with a branded nosing glass and 4 samples including a bottle of their New make Spirit and the fantastic Batch Strength.
Least Number of Samples : #GlenfiddichIPA - now you might think that was a bad thing, but in terms of liquid quantity Glenfiddich won by a mile as they included a bottle of IPA beer and a slice of orange peel!
Most fun : #TBWCTurns5 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company) - TBWC's fifth birthday celebrations complete with jelly on the walls and lots of screaming toddlers!
#Maltman_Mike & Friends
In case you've never some across him @Maltman_Mike is one of the nicest blokes you'll ever meet and his experience and knowledge of whisky is second to none. I first 'met' Mike online at the beginning of the year and as I live in his hometown we get to really meet up occasionally during the year.
I've taken part in, and filmed, a couple of his youtube shows alongside Tim, Mr T. and The Whisky Viking - all were great fun! See his Christmas Special here and my unfortunate, not quite, 60 second review of Haig Club here....
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!
Many thanks to @JWBassman_, @Spirit&Wood, @GentlemanGrimm and @WhiskyWings for joining in and taking in part in some fantastic evenings of whisky!
You can read all about our exploits in Series 1 here, Series 2 is in progress and Series 3 is coming in the New Year. If you want to set up your own - it's really simple - read here!
I also took part in a couple of blind tastings organised by @WishkyCo sampling a single dram in an evening - that was great fun too - read about it here!
@Maltman_Mike organised his Great Big Malted Meetup in August when bloggers, vloggers and the general public were invited to a sample some lovely whiskies whilst listening to presentations from some distillery and bottling reps.
I even had a go at presenting myself - the wonderful Wolfburn No. 128
Read the whole blog here.
Thanks to all of the whisky people I have made friends with this year - on Twitter and in the flesh!
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!
#My Top Ten Whiskies of the Year
|My Whiskybase shelves!|
Well this was a little more difficult than I thought - the top five were fairly easy - I have tried four or five cracking drams this year which have stood head and shoulders above the rest but what about six to ten how do I pick them? Well I started using a new scoring method from @TomsWhisky a few months ago (privately - I'm not publishing any scores as they are all very subjective to each of our palates!) so I picked all those which I rated 5 and some of the 4's.
- Invergordon 43yo - That Boutique-y Whisky Company (Grain) Review
- Glengoyne Teapot Dram (Batch 3) Review
- Strathclyde 1990 25yo - Douglas Laing (Grain) Review
- Tamdhu Batch Strength (Batch 2) Review
- Port Charlotte Islay Barley Heavily Peated Review
- Octomore Masterclass 08.3 Review to come
- Glen Moray Peated Port 6yo Review
- Aberfeldy 2001 Cask #21444 Review
- Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky (Grain) Review
- The Lost Distilleries Blend Batch 10 - The Blended Whisky Company Review
- 866 tweets in 7 years up until beginning of 2017, circa 8,000 by the end!
- circa 900 followers on twitter
- circa 16,500 page reads of this blog
- circa 160 drams tried this year
Well - goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018 - I'm sure it will be even better - some plans:
- Trip to Campbeltown
- Trip to Spirit of Speyside
- Series 3 of #BlindTasting
- More discussions with you!