Latest Tasting

Practice swing

Posted 30 November 2020

With December on the doorstep, it’s almost time for The Dramble to transition to what has, over the years, become a tradition - a month of seven-day-a week, daily postings <deep breath>. It’s no easy feat trying to find (make) the time to write each and every day (and I doth my cap to all those who do). Whilst longer-form writing requires considerably more research and input per piece posted, daily postings comes with a different rhythm – and a different pressure. And as we sit here on the cusp of the final month of 2020, it’s honestly feeling a little alien.

Other Tastings

The Dramble reviews The Whisky Exchange Black Friday 2020 Edition

The power

Posted 27 November 2020

In no real surprise to anyone, this year’s Black Friday looks a lot more like a Cyber Monday amid COVID. More toilet paper or another discounted TV? Tough call. And as such, throughout the wider world of retail, what was previously a short pre-Christmas fire sale has morphed into near month-long series of mini promos. But whilst one never expects snaking cues and stampedes for whisky (except when one does), chase-y online bottle sales have been part and parcel of the whisky world for some time. Indeed, they seem now to be an almost daily occurrence. And to my mind the events of this year have both heightened and exacerbated this phenomenon.

The Dramble reviews Dingle Fourth Single Pot Still Release

Engage

Posted 24 November 2020

Whisky outreach is about more than a perfectly remembered buzzy catchphrase accompanied by a well-learnt sales pitch. Whilst there is still a large cohort of ‘by the numbers’ ambassadors and distillery hosts rolling out the company line (which invariable includes tales of the finest quality water), this number is steadily dwindling. As the Internet has become interwoven into the fabric of both our lives and of whisky – outreach has become increasingly undertaken by those who are working within whisky because of their inherent passion for the liquid, its creation and its enjoyment. Engagement has become less about staying on the rails of spoon-fed information and more about helping people explore and enjoy whisky through personal experience. The days of the robotic recital of facts and figures together with an outstretched arm offering a charged glass are a relic of the past.

A rocky horror show

Posted 20 November 2020

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey. Our story begins with a bleak vision of the future of whisky. It is a world where the quality of whisky is ever declining. Where a bottleneck in the availability of high-quality barrels has met the perfect storm of an “almost ludicrous” level of demand for those same vessels. And where the only method for maintaining the quality of malt whisky is to look to “innovative alternatives”. Welcome to the world of Swiss bottler Seven Seals.

The Dramble reviews Blue Spot whiskey

Friends reunited

Posted 16 November 2020

Widening a beloved whisky series is fraught with danger. Whilst it’s always tempting to try to fulfil bubbling demand, there’s always a risk that if it’s not done correctly that it taints the existing range. Similarly, though the last few years have seemed ripe for expansionary tendencies – the introduction of any new core bottling needs to consider whether this release will supplement or pirate existing sales. A bottling which is viewed (and/or positioned) as a strictly better proposition has the potential to syphon sales from bottles which are both above and below it within a pre-existing range. Equally a bottling which has been created just because of burgeoning demand and nothing else can often just muddy the already often murky consumer choice waters.

Hype-rventilation

Posted 12 November 2020

Now boarding the direct service to Hype Town. Stopping at Fanfare, Ballyhoo and Brouhaha and with a driver changeover due at Puffery. Please keep your hands inside the train at all times and have your wallets and purses at the ready – you may have to dig deeper than you expect. Our journey time should be around ten minutes, but please set your expectations to ‘rational’ and understand that this very special service may require a larger investment of your time than you initially envisaged. Last call for Hype Town. All aboard. Choo choo.

The Dramble reviews A Fine Christmas Malt 2020

Mood music

Posted 09 November 2020

Booze scientists (which is a different thing to boozy scientists) have long demonstrated that changes to ambient conditions can markedly change our perceptions of taste. One recent study sought to pair music with wine – discovering that the right combination (based on individual tastes of course) of wine with music was noted to improve the perception of a wine’s quality by up to 15%. Another back in 1999 directly linked in-store music to purchasing decisions – play French music and consumers are more likely to purchase French wine. Simples. But it’s not just changes to music that can affect our taste buds – light conditions, places and even the composition of the air will all affect our perception of taste.


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