Latest Tasting

The Dramble reviews Balblair 1997 19 year old Hand Bottling

Location, location, location

Posted 12 May 2021

Warehouse drams always taste better in warehouses. But this is not because tranquil, history-steeped dunnages possess any type of capability to enhance the sophistication and awareness of our olfactory systems. Indeed, with lower ambient temperatures and sometimes poor levels of lighting – on paper, you’d expect the exact opposite to be true. However, despite whisky being for all intents and purposes identical whether in a glass at home or in a glass in a warehouse, it is the experience itself – the place, the environment, the occasion, and the company that so often defines our perceptions.

Other Tastings

The Dramble reviews Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 2005 15 year old TWE Exclusive

6am

Posted 07 May 2021

The best whisky writing has always been about more than the assembly of nose, palate and finish, topped with a regurgitated Wikipedia history and closed with a selection of largely unsubstantiated plaudits. Whisky writing can and should be about more than what is inside of the glass itself - in the same way that the best food writing extends far beyond what has just been served on a plate. And it’s the broadness of the topic – how whisky impacts economics, scientific understanding, people and evolving cultures that sees me sat here writing about it as the sun comes up.

The Dramble reviews Kilchoman 2007 13 year old TWE Exclusive

Through the ages

Posted 04 May 2021

My niece turned four last month. And whilst she’s still a little bundle of near uncontainable energy, her personality is quite different from when she was three – and remarkably different from when she was two. I on the other hand remain largely the same at 42 as I was at 41 – I’m just a little bit slower and sadly a bit more rotund around the mid-section. Though they were all very nice beers indeed. Maturity is an interesting notion - whether it be in humans, or indeed in aged distillates. At certain points in time, there are expectations for traits and personalities that should manifest – and whether little people or little whiskies, none of us can but help wonder how this character will express itself over time. “I can’t wait to experience this at 5 years of age” – said the parent with an uncontrollable two-year-old.

The Dramble reviews Glasgow 1770 Cooper’s Cask Release

Not exclusive enough

Posted 30 April 2021

When is a distillery exclusive not a distillery exclusive? Whisky, like most other things has been in a rather strange place these last twelve months. And I’d argue that nowhere is that more the case than when it comes to bottles that have historically been tied to purchasing at physical festivals and to real-life visits to distilleries. These whisky moments are in my opinion impossible to truly replicate online. Everything from the excitement of travelling to an event/distillery, to the time spent away from home, with old friends, new friends, in history-steeped venues with their own sights, sounds, smells and feelings. None of these things can be duplicated virtually. And I’m genuinely not sure that I require dunnage smell-o-vision via my home computer.

Are you sitting comfortably

Posted 27 April 2021

Feeling a connection with another person is one of the highest forms of social being for humans. At the heart of that connection is habitually storytelling. But storytelling is far more than the cliché of beginning, middle and end. A pencil has all of those features. A pencil is not a story. How we communicate with others determines how in sync with them we are – and as well as being a powerful device, that feeling of harmonisation and like-mindedness can also be highly satisfying. The best storytellers look to their own memories and experiences to convey and illustrate their messages. And when is comes to a subject as academically intensive as that of whisky production – the best stories are consistently actual stories – not just shopping lists of technical specifications to commonly answered questions - how big? how long? how old? how strong?

Soaking it up

Posted 23 April 2021

Humans and sponges have a surprising amount in common. For the first six years of their lives, children’s brains work in fundamentally different way to that of adults – assimilating and processing new information like a sponge sucking up water. Staggeringly humans are also genetically related to the humble sea sponge. According to research from the University of Queensland there are elements of the human genome (the complete set of DNA of any organism) that function in the exact same way as the prehistoric porous animal. Absorbing stuff. As such, the irony of whisky enthusiasts rapidly soaking up any and all of the offerings from indy bottler Whisky Sponge is far from lost on me.

About the size of it

Posted 20 April 2021

Despite many in the whisky industry considering the use of smaller cask as a modern conception – the custom of storing goods, liquids, foods, ores, grains or even explosives in diminutive vessels can seen to have occured for centuries. For nearly 2000 years – until the introduction of pallet-based logistics and containerisation in the 20th Century – the high degree of integrity and portability that wooden casks possess - made them an ideal container for the transportation of bulk goods. But whilst a rose-tinted view of the goods trade would have you believe that transportation – particularly of Spanish sherry – was always in huge and cumbersome butts – smaller casks – octaves – can be seen to have been historically used as long ago as the 1850s.


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