Monday, 31 December 2018

Atomic Blend?

Some of you may not of heard of Atom Brands but I'm sure you've heard of some of their brands - Master Of Malt, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Drinks By The Dram, Darkness! and The Blended Whisky Company to name a few.

Atom Brands

Basically they are an independent bottler trading into different market areas with different brands - I've tried whisky from all but one of these companies and been impressed with everything they do. They can be a little pricey but the quality is always very good.

The brands I've yet to try is The Blended Whisky Company, they sell a range of three high-end blended whiskies - The Lost Distilleries Blend, The Half-Century Blend and the XL Blend, but thanks to Ros at Atom Brands I'm able to try the last one on the list.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Side by side: Christmas Sherry Teenagers

Rather than review drams by themselves I'm doing a little series comparing some 'side by side'.
There may be two or more, they may be from the same or different distilleries, similar ages, ABVs and types or not as I decide!

This time we are reviewing two teenage sherried drams ideal for Christmas Glenfarclas 15yo and Douglas Laing's Scallywag 13yo what differences are there?

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:

Sunday, 23 December 2018

#BlindTasting Series 4 - Review

Series 4 of #BlindTasting has recently finished and as usual I'll post a summary. There had been a bit of a gap from Series 3 and this one extended longer than we thought it would - pressures of work!
This one, like all the rest, has brought up a few surprised with the five of us trying to identify 15 mystery drams through smell and taste, having #NoPreconceivedIdeas to sway our opinions.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Whiskey from South Shields?

A recent sample swap from South Shields, Tyne & Wear, England not Indiana, USA delivered a set of five interesting whiskies. I've tried a few bourbon and rye drams in my time and got a bit of a taste from them on a recent holiday to the States but this was the first time I'd tried these ones. Many thanks to @Bobafett2k6 for the sample swap!

Monday, 17 December 2018

This is my dram!

I'm sure most of you will have come across Stu and Andy's @ThisIsMyDram podcast before! But just in case you haven't, you're missing a treat! You can listen online, download or subscribe via your favourite podcast app.

Image result for this is my dram

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Jura Travel Retail @TweetTastings

Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to take part in a @TweetTasting of @JuraWhisky's newly relaunched range - and I really liked them! Steve then went and arranged a tasting of their new Global Travel Retail (GTR) range so I knew I had to take part!

It's a range of five sherried whiskies called The Jura Sherry Cask Collection, using slightly peated spirit they've been matured in ex-Bourbon barrels before being finished in PX casks which have held sherry for different lengths of time. They are all named after features on Jura near the distillery.

The new range consists of:
  • The Sound - 42.5% NAS finished in casks previously containing 15yo PX
  • The Road - 43.6% NAS finished in casks previously containing 20yo PX
  • The Bay - 44% NAS finished in casks previously containing 15yo PX
  • The Loch - 44.5% NAS finished in casks previously containing 30yo PX
  • The Paps - 45.6% 19yo finished in casks previously containing 40yo PX

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Fettercairn @TweetTastings

Fettercairn is a distillery you might not of heard of, it's tucked away in that little category of 'hard working distillery making malt for blends'. In this case it's been around since 1824 with the malt going into Whyte and Mackay's blends. Some single malts have been released over the years, the most recent around 2009 with 2 NAS releases named Fior and Fasque (the name of the Fettercairn estate).

Image result for fettercairn

The distillery, which is open to visitors, is located halfway between Dundee and Aberdeen.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

#BlindTasting Series 5 - Part 1

Series 5

Who thought it would last this long - but it has and two years later the gang are starting out on Series 5 of #BlindTasting, we've also just booked out second #BlindTastingOnTour for next summer! If you haven't followed us before you can catch up with all the previous series here.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Glen Moray @TweetTastings

There's been a few @TweetTastings in the run up to Christmas and I'd applied to a few of them, this was the one I really wanted to take part in as I'd missed out on the @GlenMorayDist one earlier in the year.

Glen Moray send a lovely package of @GlenMorayGCoull selected drams : five 100ml bottles:

Mini-reviews: Any Port in a storm?

This was a blind sample from @Maltman_Mike which turned out to be a Cadenhead Port Dundas

Mini-review: Arran Double Seven Eight?

This was a blind sample from @Maltman_Mike which turned out be an Arran Single Cask.

Mini-review: Captain Cognac

This was a blind sample from @Maltman_Mike which turned out to be the Glenlivet Captain's Reserve

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Walsh @TweetTastings

This is the second year in a row I got a chance to take part in the @WalshWhiskey @TweetTasting and what a great evening it turned out to be!

As well as four large measure drams, Walsh included a handy carry bag and two fridge magnets, other received some Walsh Dark Chocolate but I think the postman ate mine...!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Claxton's @TweetTastings

I was lucky to be picked for a @TweetTasting with drams supplied by Claxton's an indie bottler from North Yorkshire. Previously I'd only tried one dram from them, which was pretty good, and was interested to see what else they put in their usually square bottles!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A Signature Journey

If you've been reading this blog for a while you may have gone back and read my first post about how I got into whisky - my first distillery visit to Edradour near Pitlochry in the Highlands. Now when I visited back in the last century it was owned by Pernod Ricard but shortly after my visit in 2002 it was bought by a local independent bottler by the name Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Company.

As well as distilling Edradour and peated whisky under the name Ballechin, they buy casks from other distilleries and bottle them under the name Signatory Vintage. Over the years I've tried a few of these and always been very impressed.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

#BlindTasting Series 4 - Part 3

Delayed due to man flu the final part of Series 4 finally took place once @WhiskyWings had recovered! We've each send the others 3 #dramples, mine are labelled A10, A11 & A12, John's B, Alistair's C, Grimm's D & Mike's E. Tonight we'll #BlindTasting the number 12's : 🥃A12, 🥃B12, 🥃C12, 🥃D12 & 🥃E12 but what are they?

Monday, 29 October 2018

Mini-reviews: Sherried Grain

This was a sample swap from @Maltman_Mike of DL's Strathclyde 2005 11yo

Mini-review: It's all a matter of proof...

Benromach 10/100° 10yo 57%

Sample: swap from @SpiritAndWood

Nose: sherry, stewed orchard fruit, hints of icing sugar

Palate: honey with a chilli edge, fruit & nut chocolate with a hint of juicy orange

Finish: warming, spicy chilli

With water:
Nose: sherry, vanilla, hint of peat?
Palate: the honey fades, replaced by a chewy milk chocolate toffee
Finish: spicy ginger / chilli is slightly more intense but with a peat smoke note coming through

Notes: lovely dram, up there with the Sassicaia which is my favourite Benromach! Love the way the water adds a peat note to the dram

What's coming out of Girvan these days?

William Grant and Sons' Girvan distillery complex in Ayrshire has released a number of new whiskies over the last few years - let's take a look at some of them.

Girvan distillery was built on the Ayrshire coast near the beautiful Ailsa Bay, overlooking Kintyre,  Arran and Ailsa Craig, in 1963 to supply grain whisky to Grant's blended brands. Ladyburn Distillery was built within the complex in 1965 to produce malt whisky but was closed in 1975. Ailsa Bay malt distillery was built on the site in 2007.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Mini-review: Sweden 3 : England 0

Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: Lovely pale gold number, swirls leave slow thin legs, initial nose is smoke!

Nose: Lovely bonfire smoke, not medicinal, some orchard fruit hints too.

Palate: Wow, high ABV gets you on this one and loads of spice. The blanket of smoke covers everything. A few sips reveals some tropical fruit and loads of spice, could be cask strength or close to. Getting some menthol and the finish delivers some too...

It turned out to be a Mackmyra Preludium:03 from Sweden!

Mini-review: Port or Sherry? Have both!

Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: a darker dram, sherry cask if it's real? Swirls lead to quick thin legs.

Nose: Full of fruit and also some old book shop? A whole fruit bowl in a glass! Brown sugar, dried fruit, sherry, another Christmas Cake dram? There's not too much spice in the nose though, maybe on the palate?

Palate: Big sour/bitter note on the palate, more of that honey, a little spice, drying. A lot of oak in this one, been in the cask a while? I'm thinking the ABV has been turned up a notch too. There's a sherry or wine note and it's very drying, maybe a red wine cask finish? Fruity notes shining through but a really unusual finish!

It turned out to be a Murray McDavid 14yo Bunnahabhain finished in a port pipe after being aged in a sherry butt - yummy!

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Mini-review: First try of the new range

Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: Pale gold, swirls again leading to slow fat legs. Initial nose on this one was a little surprising, my first thoughts were beer! But there is some dried fruit, maybe apricots?

Nose: Walnuts, stewed apples and pears and some seaside notes?

Palate: Yummy, lots of the stewed fruit and spice as you say, there's ginger in there and some cinnamon, a little drying too, there's lots of honey in here but it's not overly sweet. The spice and marine notes point to something around Campbeltown but it's not a dram I think I've had before....

It turned out to be a Old Pulteney 15yo - yummy!

Mini-review: They don't just make mints!

Blind sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: yellow gold, swirls lead to slow fat legs, initial nose smoke!

Nose: Lemon peel, wet hay and maybe some salt in there too? Smoke notes, dunnage warehouse?

Palate: Quite high ABV. Lovely Christmas cake notes, raisins, sultanas, sherry, orange peel. This is a lovely dram, big spice notes to tickle your tongue! After a few more sips the lemon is become more pronounced, I wonder if this has been finished in a weird cask?

It turned out to be a Murray McDavid Loch Lomond 19 year old single grain from ex bourbon casks - yummy!

Mini-review: French No.63?

Blind sample from @GregsWhiskyG

In the glass : Interesting brown coloured bottle so I had no idea of colour before I opened it. But it is quite a dark coloured dram, swirls cling to the glass and not much in the way of legs.... High ABV?

Nose: This seems quite complex - there's a little dunnage warehouse, some damp hay, maybe even a hint of smoke? After a little time in the glass there's some honey and toffee coming through too.

Palate: Lots of honey, very sweet, a little toffee. Not getting any of the smoke from the nose and not much in the way of spice. I think I'll reverse my thoughts on a high ABV - this seems to be a low 40s% ABV. From the honey notes I'd suggest a Speyside or maybe a Highlander?

Finish: A hint of spice on the finish, and again maybe some smoke? Lovely malty finish - very warming. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest a Benromach ?

Mini-review: Three times better?

Laphroaig Triple Wood 48% Sample swap from @WhiskyWings

Nose: touch of sherry, gentle peat smoke, some walnuts?

Palate: very smooth, some vanilla custard with strawberries, slight salty edge

Finish: gentle smoke, little spicy kick

Notes: nice dram, didn't get any peanuts which is great after the experience I've had with some recent Laphroaigs!

Mini-review: Cheap Peat!

Ardmore Legacy 40%

Nose: hint of peat hidden behind vanilla and pears

Palate: sweet runny honey, slightly chewy?

Finish: more of that peat smoke and a nice spicy kick

Notes: a great little uncomplicated dram, I paid £10.77 but you can usually pick it up for around £20, I found a bargain! Hint of peat smoke on the nose and finish are a great way to introducer newcomers into the wonderful world of peat before heading to Islay!

Mini-review: Just my cup of tea!

Càrn Mòr Williamson 6yo 46% (Non-teaspooned Laphroaig? finished in refill-sherry butts) Sample: swap from @Maltman_Mike

Nose: smokey bacon crisps, a touch of salt and a little sweetness.

Palate: a little fruitiness neary blocked out by the peat smoke, but a good kick of spice on the tounge

Finish: very warming with plenty of smoke

Notes: It's a lovely dram, the sweetness tries bravely to complete with the salty smokey bacon peat but in the end doesn't stand a chance. Brilliant for a 6yo.

Mini-review: Italian stallion?

Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: very pale gold, fast legs.

Nose: initially acetone with pears, this fades to leave pear sand apples with a hint of honey.

Palate: honey but not really sweet, creamy custard, hints of green apples and a little spice.

Finish: the spice comes through on the finish, it's fairly short but warming.

Notes: a nice little dram, my initial thoughts were a 40% highland malt, maybe Dalwhinnie?

It turned out to be: The Italian Puni Distillery's 3yo Nova Malt at 43% - a grain whisky made with barley, wheat & rye!

Mini-review: I come from a land down under!

Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: darker gold, gravity defying swirls (no legs for ages!)

Nose: initial nose is winey with hints of tobacco? Sherry comes through along with a maltiness and a tiny hint of sulphur?

Palate: chewy, quite spicy but very smooth again creamy, hints of chocolate and red fruit.

Finish: gingery spice comes through in buckets with a little hint of that tobacco from the nose.

Notes: an enjoyable dram, impressions were a sherry cask matured Speysider but stronger than 40% - maybe 46%?

It turned out to be: Australian New World Whisky Distillery's Starward Solera at 43%

Mini-review: Bottle your own spice

Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass:  pale gold, again clings to the glass when swirled, slow legs.

Nose: dry red apple with some pears, hints of chilli?

Palate: lots of spice, orchard fruit, very drying - another hint at a high ABV? There's also some oakiness there.

Finish: very spicy - chilli and some ginger - very nice!

Notes: a nice little dram, my initial thoughts were a Compass Box Spice Tree or similar?

What is turned out to be: Dewar's blend-your-own from the Aberfeldy distillery which David blended himself!

Mini-review: Celtic origins?

Blind Sample from @WessexWhisky

In the glass: It's almost bronze! Gravity defying swirls.

Nose: Initial nose tobacco, mouldy leaves, hint of orange?

Palate: OK I think I'm revising this to a bourbon, hints of toffee and red fruit. But then again there's oak and all the moisture has been sucked out of my mouth - instant dryness. This is quite complex - chocolate and red fruit dominate but there's that ever present tobacco and maybe a hint of smoke

Finish: very drying, a mild chilli, but it just goes on forever.

Notes: A great dram but I just can't make my mind up between a Glenfarclas or a bourbon...

It turned out to be Welsh distillery Dà Mhìle (meaning 2000) 16yo - distilled by Loch Lomond but I think matured in Wales!

Mini-review: Viking heritage?

Kirkwall Bay from Càrn Mòr 46% Sample from @Maltman_Mike

In the glass: Very pale gold, swirls nicely with slow fat legs.

Nose: Initial nose floral with some citrus.  Very floral, hint of heather and smoke, lots of citrus, maybe some dryness (can you smell dryness?) maybe it's icing sugar?

Palate: Surprisingly sweet! Lots of the citrus from the nose, drying again from the nose (?) Quite smooth with a little ginger spice at the end.

Notes: The finish gives up the smoke, only a little! Overall a nice little dram! Clues lead us to believe this is a Highland Park.

Mini-review: Double the fun?

Blind Sample from @Mcfcivo100

In the glass: Pale gold in the glass, quick fat legs when swirled, initial nose heather?

Nose: Some floral notes to match the heather, similar to the Kirkwall Bay I had earlier but this one doesn't have the icing sugar notes, slightly more earthy?

Palate: Very smooth, a little watery, toffee which wasn't on the nose. This feels like a blend.... Little bit of a spice kick at the end and maybe a hint of smoke?

Notes: It was ok, I'm thinking a mid range blend?

What is turned out to be: This one turned out to be Tamnavulin Double Cask - nice little dram!

Mini-review: Spicy Maple Leaf

Blind Sample from @isnaeWinston

In the glass: Pale gold, slow thin legs when swirled, initial nose is grapefruit. I'm thinking this is a grain?

Nose: After a little time in the glass the nose gives me grapefruit along with some icing sugar and a little damp grass.

Palate: Thick sugar water mouthfeel, some orchard fruit and a kick of spice.

Finish: Short and leaves a warming ginger spice.

Notes: This one turned out to a Canadian Single Malt - 10yo Glen Breton