Latest Tasting

The Dramble reviews Midleton Very Rare 2021

Follow the leader

Posted 26 February 2021

The saying goes that it is easier to follow than to lead. But this adage was taken from a time when it was assumed that everyone naturally always wanted to ‘be the boss’. The world’s greatest dance partnerships do indeed have a leader – but there’s nothing about that role that intrinsically requires more skill, more thought or more natural ability than that of the follower. And for Midleton’s new Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman, I dare say that following (Brian Nation and Barry Crockett before him), is both an immense privilege, but also something of a Gordian Knot.

Other Tastings

Non-identical twins

Posted 24 February 2021

Over the past year I’ve been cooking a wider variety of recipes – digging into some of my two-decade old cookery school tomes, scouring the shelves for new ways to use tried and tested ingredients and ordering all sorts of unusual ingredients via the Internet. I’d love to say that this was to achieve a more balanced diet – but the reality has been invariably comfort food-based - an attempt to stave off both location and palate boredom. Nevertheless, this variance has been welcomed – but as is often the case with new recipes – some have been more successful than others. And it’s here that a parallel can be drawn to the art of whisky production – many distilleries, particularly as part of their commissioning processes, experiment with their recipes. But very few of these investigations make it outside of the distillery – and some have been only produced for short periods of time – only to then be consigned to the dustbin of distilling history.

The Dramble reviews Kilkerran 8 year old Cask Strength Oloroso Sherry Casks

The hypebeast

Posted 19 February 2021

Whatever your level of involvement in whisky enthusiasm - no matter how fanatical your hobby and passion has become – it’s vital that you’re mindful that your enjoyment, accumulation and behaviours remain healthy. It’s all too easy to find yourself down various rabbit holes – delivery vans arriving twice daily, countless hours spent scouring the Internet for a "must have" bottle, or even falling into the trap of fury of missing out when failing to obtain this month’s latest and greatest limited release. But whilst many of us, myself included, will openly admit to a degree of obsessivity about whisky – you need to be continually aware of what you’re doing – and what you’re tacitly encouraging through your actions – both to the wider enthusiast base, but perhaps more significantly potentially to yourself.

The Dramble reviews Whisky Works Speyside 20 year old

Alembic agitators

Posted 15 February 2021

Cognac is often thought of as one of the most carefully guarded of spirit categories. It is only produced in one rather small region of France, can only be made from a very limited number of grape varietals, and comes with its own in-built countdown clock, in that distillation, legally must be completed by 1st April (no joke) following the grape harvest. But despite generations of production that can be traced back to the 17th Century, the category is under increasing pressure to break with certain perceived traditions so that it can present a broader tapestry of aromas and flavours that will appeal to a wider number of drinkers. Some, producers (particularly newer ones) are asking the question – does Cognac need to be 100% matured exclusively in French oak?

The Dramble reviews The Whisky Exchange Caol Ila 2008 12 year old

Same again please

Posted 10 February 2021

Rarely a day goes by in whisky world without someone, be they producer or commentator, making a statement about consistency. The largest whisky producers frequently roll out the ‘c’ word or its equivalent in order to maintain brand perceptions and customer loyalty - faithful vattings, reliable blends, balanced wood policies – even constant pricing structures. And at times these proclamations sadly ring hollow. Meanwhile on the Internet, enthusiasts seem to enjoy little more than comparing seemingly identical bottlings sometimes produced decades apart and suggesting that their differences either substantiate the notion of consistency being a myth or are reflective of diminishing product quality. Neither of these positions seems particularly helpful as generalisations.

The Dramble reviews Glenfarclas 105 22 year old

Dilute to taste

Posted 08 February 2021

The key selling point of Glenfarclas 105 is in the name: it’s cask strength at 105 old British proof, or 60% ABV, every time. That means the casks for each batch have to be selected not only on taste, but also on ABV. It’s a curious conundrum for the blender. Imagine their dismay at creating the tastiest batch of 105 ever only to find it weighed in at 59.6% or 60.8%. A total disaster.

Wood work

Posted 05 February 2021

“What do you want to be when you grow up Timmy?”. “I’d like to be a whisky brand ambassador mummy.” Said no kid ever. Yet. Alongside the growth in the popularity of whisky has come an increased desire from the fandom to work within their hobby. As much as Master Distillers and Master Blenders are in the spotlight – so too are those whose roles requires them to be out and about (hopefully physically once more in the not-too-distant future), talking the talk about the wonders of whisky. But whilst there’s countless pieces written about the importance this role within the industry and of outreach in general, there’s one profession which receives far less attention that it deserves given its vital importance to the creation of whisky – the role of Coopers.

Master of Malt



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