Tastings

The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Dalmore 14 year old Batch 3
Posted 12 December 2018 / In Dalmore
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Dalmore 14 year old Batch 3

Neatly following on from yesterday’s Fettercairn, door number 11 delivers another from Whyte & Mackay’s stable in the form of Dalmore 14 year old Batch 3. I’ve always felt of Dalmore as rather the marmite brand – but always found that I've had a lot of time for expressions from independent bottlers. Under Richard Paterson’s rein as Master Distiller Dalmore has become focussed on both sherry, and also multi-cask whiskies, that, regardless of their tastiness hide behind a near wall of different wood types and precursor liquids. To my mind, that’s a shame as I find Dalmore’s underlying spirit to be particularly characterful, and most expressive when offered humbly in ex-bourbon.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Fettercairn 21 year old Batch 3
Posted 11 December 2018 / In Fettercairn
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Fettercairn 21 year old Batch 3

The 10th of December delivered a Boutique-y whisky I’ve been looking forward to trying in the form of Fettercairn 21 year old Batch 3. I recently joined an online tasting of the distillery’s new and revitalised core range (which I’ll be telling you all about towards the end of the month – it includes the single most expensive bottling I’ve reviewed to date), but found it strange that the decision has been made to jump from the introductory 12  year old, all the way up to a 28 year old at an eye-watering £500. As such, if you’re wanting to explore Fettercairn deeper, chances are you’re still looking to independent bottlers to help facilitate.


Posted 10 December 2018 / In Group

The Society has just announced a parcel of five new bottlings to add in to the mix of pre-Christmas tempters. At our main tasting session at the beginning of December we spent some time with four of these so are able to present you with some quick-fire reviews. The ‘Gifts for you and yours’ mini-outturn has bottlings from Glen Grant, Dalmore, Glen Scotia, Braeval and Penderyn. There’s some tasty bottlings here – sherrybomb lovers need look no further than the serious age and serious PX of ‘9.159 Pedro packs a punch’. But, don’t discount the younger expressions - the 5 year old Penderyn offers up quality well beyond its years, and ‘93.97 Full metal hospital’ backs up its fantastic name with some equally fantastic liquid.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Paul John 6 year old Batch 3
Posted 10 December 2018 / In Paul John
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Paul John 6 year old Batch 3

Door number 9 of the 2018 Boutique-y Advent calendar reveals a whisky I’ve seen and tasted a fair number of times whilst on my travels – Paul John 6 year old Batch 3. Boutique-y bottled this Indian whisky back in 2016, and with just 822 bottles, it’s a little surprising to see that not only is there still enough liquid left to dram up and pack this year’s calendar with, but there’s still whole bottles available for sale. Perhaps that might be something to do with the price, or indeed fickle consumer trends…


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Bunnahabhain 11 year old Batch 5
Posted 09 December 2018 / In Bunnahabhain
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Bunnahabhain 11 year old Batch 5

Regularly readers will know I’m quite fond of Bunnahabhain. I find it to be a versatile spirit that can work just as well bottled young and crisp as bottled old and austere. Door number 8 of the 2018 Boutique-y Advent calendar presents an example of the former – Bunnahabhain 11 year old Batch 5.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Aberfeldy 21 year old Batch 2
Posted 08 December 2018 / In Aberfeldy
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Aberfeldy 21 year old Batch 2

Door number 7 in the 2018 Boutique-y Advent calendar delivers up the bottlers second batch of Aberfeldy – rather the long time coming seeing as the 1st was released around the time the company was launched back in 2013. Five years on this new Boutique-y bottling of the ‘golden dram’ comes adorned with a 21 year old age statement – but still features a cartoon Ian Buxton (who lives close to the distillery) panning for gold in the Pitlie Burn – Aberfeldy’s water source.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y North British 26 year old Batch 5
Posted 07 December 2018 / In North British
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y North British 26 year old Batch 5

Any of you noticing that grain whiskies are getting more expensive? No one should be overly surprised by this – whisky as category seems pretty Teflon currently – folks are buying, no matter the cost. There’s still a world of difference between single malt and single grain in terms of pricing (especially at high age), but, I’ve been observing a few bottlers starting to experiment with big pricing on some of their grains – and if I’m honest, I find it worrisome. Take this 44 year old Invergordon from Douglas Laing for instance – sure, it’s an oldie, but £295 sounds like big bucks when you compare it to Boutique-y’s similarly aged expression at £143 (around £200 for an equivalent 70cl).


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Blended Whisky 21 year old batch 1
Posted 06 December 2018 / In Undisclosed blended
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Blended Whisky 21 year old batch 1

Door number 5 in the 2018 Boutique-y Advent calendar offers up Blended Whisky 21 year old batch 1. By itself the name doesn’t give much away here – but, both the label, and the descriptor shed more light. This is a blend of Japanese and Scottish malts and grains. So far so Adelphi’s Glover – but, there’s more than meets the eye here. This is, interestingly, a blend of a blend.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Invergordon 25 year old batch 9
Posted 05 December 2018 / In Invergordon
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Invergordon 25 year old batch 9

Door number 4 of the 2018 Boutique-y Advent Calendar delivers the first of several sojourns into grain whisky - Invergordon 25 year old Batch 9. An older batch, and seemingly sold out (so some of you might have an 18 year old blended whisky in your calendar as a replacement) – but, grain fans should fear not -  since 2012 Boutique-y have bottled up 12 batches (varying in age from 10 all the way up to 44 years of age) from this distillery – I’m certain another one won’t be far away.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky English Whisky Co. 8 year old Batch 2
Posted 04 December 2018 / In The English whisky Company
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky English Whisky Co. 8 year old Batch 2

Door number 3 of the 2018 Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent calendar takes us over to Norfolk for batch 2 of the English Whisky Co. 8 year old. England distilling is currently having a real renaissance - I read not all that long ago that the number of distilleries across England has nearly trebled from 116 to 315 over the past 8 years. Taking just those that produce whisky, the number has risen from a paltry one back in 2003 up to 21  – and several of these have released their inaugural bottlings over the past 12 months. At yet, if you meander through the bubble that is the online whisky community, not all of the chatter is entirely positive.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Irish Single Malt #1 13 year old Batch 2
Posted 03 December 2018 / In Undisclosed Ireland
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Irish Single Malt #1 13 year old Batch 2

Day 2 of the 2018 Boutique-y Whisky Advent calendar offers up batch 2 of Irish Single Malt #1 13 year old. This batch consists of 2200 bottles delivered at 48.4% ABV. They’re available for £59.99 from Master of Malt. Whilst the distillery this whisky originates from is undisclosed, being an Irish single malt, the choices (for this age of liquid) are limited to either Cooley or Bushmills – I’d err towards the latter.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky #2 22 year old batch 3
Posted 02 December 2018 / In Blend
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky #2 22 year old batch 3

Another December, another 24 days of booze-based Advent calendar fun. The Dramble loves this time of year – there’s no quandary over selecting whiskies to discuss, dissect and review – we just clear any sense of editorial schedule (a nascent thing if ever there was one) and take each dram as it comes. Once again, we’ll be offering you a daily drop of Boutique-y Whisky goodness, with tasting notes and reviews every single day in the run up to Christmas – though of course be working one day in arrears so as not to spoil the surprise for those of you who open your calendars a little later in the day.


Posted 29 November 2018 / In Group

SMWS’s November outturn ‘Chrismas Parcels delivers 32 new single cask whiskies alongside a new Armagnac and two bottles of rum. It seems in the run up to Christmas the Society has entirely abandoned the ‘first Friday of the month’ for release – though in return, each week we’ve had a selection of tasty new tempting treats. And 15% offers immediately before a new big list hits. It seems December will be no different – this is the main monthly outturn, but whilst conducting our tasting we also sampled a variety of unreleased bottlings (including some distillery numbers not seen several years) that are no doubt heading your way over the coming weeks. Keep your eyes peeled – there’s some exciting liquid incoming.


The Dramble reviews Mackmyra Gruvguld
Posted 29 November 2018 / In Mackmyra
The Dramble reviews Mackmyra Gruvguld

We’ve tasted a wide range of Swedish whiskies over the years, from Spirit of Hven, Stauning, Teerenpeli and High Coast (which was previously better known as Box until the IP lawyers go involved) – but to date, we’ve strangely not written about them. A clear omission! Whilst around 17% of The Dramble’s near 600 reviews come from outside of Scotland, the growing diversity of the category really does necessitate us being more proactive in delivering you content about the great liquid being produced around the world. In 2019 we’ll be dramatically expanding our coverage and discussion of world whisky – but until then, we’ll simply open our account with an interesting multi-cask bottling from Macymyra. 


The Dramble reviews Talisker 2009 8 year old Special Release
Posted 28 November 2018 / In Talisker
The Dramble reviews Talisker 2009 8 year old Special Release

Talisker 8 year old is the second appearance for Talisker in the Diageo Special Release lineup – but it’s remarkably different to 2014’s 30 year old. It has been designed to reflect the style of whisky the distillery produced in the 1970s - around the time that the maltings closed and barley was imported from over 100 miles away at Glen Ord.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Three Ships 6 year old batch 1
Posted 27 November 2018 / In James Sedgwick
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Three Ships 6 year old batch 1

That Boutique-y Whisky Company are one of my go-to’s when it comes to independent bottlers. Behind the light-hearted cartoony labels, there’s a passion for challenging whisky norms. They’re not afraid to bottle something left-field. They’re committed to age-statements, no matter how small. And, perhaps most importantly, they recognise that tastes are as diverse as the liquid they bottle. I  don’t enjoy, nor write about whisky because it all tastes the same – I’m here to be adventurous. So are Boutique-y.


The Dramble reviews Arran Small Batch Nauticus and RMW Exclusive
Posted 26 November 2018 / In Arran
The Dramble reviews Arran Small Batch Nauticus and RMW Exclusive

This month, a new Royal Mile Whiskies exclusive Arran has been launched in partnership with Leith-based bar Nauticus which opened in September 2018, occupying the location of the former Parlour Pub on Duke Street. Nauticus has been established to champion home-grown produce (90% of the menu is either Scottish made, or Scottish owned) and local spirits – but, the bar also looks to draw on the heritage of Leith as a key trading port from as far back as the early 14th Century.


The Dramble reviews The Whisky Exchange Black Friday 2018 Edition
Posted 23 November 2018 / In Undisclosed Islands
The Dramble reviews The Whisky Exchange Black Friday 2018 Edition

It won’t have escaped anyone that it’s time for this year’s annual celebration of George Romero-eque consumerism. Indeed, 2018’s Black Friday started over a week ago for many retailers – a single day of end-of-line and loss-leading bargain hunting not being enough for the modern day shopper. It seems that even my household has been unable to escape the inevitability of the ‘good deals’. I came home the other day to find that my wife had installed a near army of cut price Amazon Dots – in what she described as her last ditch attempt to remind me of the time of night when I’m locked away nosing and tasting whiskies till the small hours. “Alexa tell Matt it’s time to stop drinking”. Honestly, she’s just a traitor to the cause.


The Dramble reviews Loch Lomond 18 year old
Posted 22 November 2018 / In Loch Lomond
The Dramble reviews Loch Lomond 18 year old

I often select whiskies to write about because they exhibit characteristics of a particular topic that I wish to explore – examples of aromas and flavours, particular production processes, industry trends or just new/upcoming releases that folks are eager to hear about. But, other times, probably like you, I just drink what I fancy – no pre-planning, no preconceptions, no agenda, Posting on The Dramble on a daily basis rather necessitates this subconscious diversity. I don’t enjoy, nor muse about whisky because it all tastes the same. When you’re tasting thousands of expressions each year, variety truly is the spice of life.


The Dramble reviews Tomintoul 14 year old
Posted 21 November 2018 / In Tomintoul
The Dramble reviews Tomintoul 14 year old

Over the last 2 years, I’ve noticed that Tomintoul’s owner Angus Dundee (who also own Glencadam) have been nose to the grindstone promoting expressions from both their distilleries. I’ve seen them at whisky shows both large and in some cases particularly small – usually with the same line-up of whiskies, but taken as a whole, a particularly broad offering (with plenty of age-statements). And yet to my mind there’s an issue. It’s not one of depth – there’s lots on offer here. Likewise, whilst some might argue the contrary, I don’t believe it’s an issue of quality nor of style – if you’re only looking for peat monsters, fair enough, move on. No, the problem I see with Angus Dundee’s range – in particular with Tomintoul - is one identity.


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