Tastings

The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Longmorn 10 Year Old Batch 3
Posted 14 December 2019 / In Longmorn
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Longmorn 10 Year Old Batch 3

The mid-way point in the 2019 Boutique-y Advent calendar offers up a Longmorn 10 year old Batch 3. A sizable release of 1,793 bottles delivered at 48.3%. The price point is £76.95 (steep – see previous post). But, it seems the Boutique-y guys are talking well with the Master of Malt team (they should do sitting under the same Atom Brands roof) and as such, this bottling is currently on Flash Sale for the much more tempting price of £38.47 – 50% is not to be sniffed at.


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Ben Nevis 23 Year Old Batch 10
Posted 14 December 2019 / In Ben Nevis
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Ben Nevis 23 Year Old Batch 10

There’s been a fair few Boutique-y batches of enthusiast favourite Ben Nevis over the years – we’re now all the way up to Batch 10 – the oldest release from this distillery by the bottler. The release consists of 558 bottles at 48% and with a sticker price of £169.95 from Master of Malt.


Posted 14 December 2019 / In Group

It’s not far from easy reviewing these advent calendars each day – though, yes, it’s also far from a chore. We whisky critics have little to complain about that doesn’t fall firmly into 1st world problems. Nevertheless, life tends to get into the way during December which presents challenges to putting pen to paper consistently every single day in a row. That said, I’ve seen a few folks who have managed to maintain the daily momentum –props to you guys.


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Speyburn 10 Year Old Batch 3
Posted 12 December 2019 / In Speyburn
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Speyburn 10 Year Old Batch 3

Door number 11 of the 2018 Boutique-y Whisky Advent calendar reveals the bottlers 3rd batch of Speyburn. This one clocks in 10 years of age, 49.5% ABV and an batch size of 1,540 bottles. It’s available from Master of Malt for £77.95. <sound of turntable needle scratching off> Hold on just a second. I know there’s a lot of people ‘reviewing’ these calendars this year, but am I the only one who thinks this is a massive elephant in the room?


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Strathclyde 31 Year Old Batch 4
Posted 11 December 2019 / In Strathclyde
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Strathclyde 31 Year Old Batch 4

If you travelled back a few hundred years, you’d find that many Scottish distillers (particularly those outside of the Highlands) would make whisky from whatever grains they had to hand. It wasn’t all malted barley all of the time – wheat, rye, oats – sometimes raw, sometimes malted – would all be processed and turned into booze. Much of the choice of grains was down to their costs – both the location of grown crops and the taxman’s take made ingredients more expensive depending on where a distillery was located – E.G. malted barley was far more expensive than the unmalted grain available to Lowlands distilleries.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky #2 22 year old batch 3
Posted 10 December 2019 / In Blend
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whisky Blended Whisky #2 22 year old batch 3

I’m still surprised by how many people turn their noses up at blended whiskies. Not only are blends the oil that keeps the wheels of the whisky industry turning (selling more than single malts globally many times over), but they’re oft-times far from boring bottom shelf glass filler. Any yet, adding grain into malt still always seems to turns off a certain constituent. Baffling snobbishness in my view – there’s more than enough exceedingly high quality blended whisky to win over any waverers should they really want to waver. Nevertheless, the art of blending is far from well understood, even by the folks who do enjoy the broad diversity of styles that whisky has to offer.


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Malt #1 18 Year Old Batch 3
Posted 09 December 2019 / In Blend
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Malt #1 18 Year Old Batch 3

Adding a tiny amount of single malt whisky from one distillery to a cask of single malt from another distillery means it is no longer 100% one thing or another – and technically now a blended malt. But, if you think about it, any whisky that’s come from a refilled cask is going to contain elements of its precursor liquid. On the one hand we have distilleries dumping whole bottles of sherry into tired casks to ‘season’ them, and still being able to label and sell the result as a single malt. On the other, adding a few centilitres of 'foreign' single malt means the whisky is now legally a different thing altogether. But, of these two examples which do you think will have changed the underlying profile of the whisky the most?


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Royal Brackla 12 Year Old Batch 1
Posted 08 December 2019 / In Royal Brackla
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Royal Brackla 12 Year Old Batch 1

Receiving a royal endorsement for your product or service ain’t what it used to be. The House of Windsor’s reputation waxes and wanes – a car crash here, a Pizza Express there – the Queen has had to rebuild the reputation of the monarchy repeatedly over her 67 year reign. Fortunately, when it comes to one of the highest forms of contra-deal marketing – the Royal Warrant, only the Prince of Wales, Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen herself can grant these – so there’s no danger of receiving a decoration from one of the fourth tier hangers-on. There’s a fair few Royal Warrant holders out there – 883 at latest count. From cobnut suppliers, telephonic messaging services, lift installers, panel beaters and plastic suppliers (the needs of the Royal Family are seemingly quite diverse) all the way through to our field of whisky – of which there are a handful of Royal Warrant holders.


Posted 07 December 2019 / In Group

Following a brief interlude to review the SMWS outturn, we’re back to business with the 2019 Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent calendar. Today you’ve got two briefer write-ups to get us back up to date – a wonderful 21 year Blair Athol and a fresh and fruity 12 year old Auchroisk.


Posted 05 December 2019 / In Group

The SMWS December outturn ‘Christmas Parcels’ delivers a host of festive tempters in the form of 30 new single cask whiskies, 2 Cognacs, a gin, a rum and an Armagnac. Despite the November mid-month being an epic list, this main month offering, just a few weeks later, is larger than I expected. Having seen the schedule for the rest of December, you can look forward to (or hide away from) a similar number of new releases on a drip feed until year’s end. I read somewhere that 60% of whiskies bought over the festive period are purchased for the sole intent of gifting – seems the Society is hoping its members are feeling particularly generous in 2019. Either way, there’s a lot to look forward to.


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Teaninich 11 year old Batch 2
Posted 05 December 2019 / In Teaninich
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Teaninich 11 year old Batch 2

Much has been and will still be written about the modern trend away from spirit-led whiskies towards a greater focus on wood influence. This drift is not something which has happened over the last few years, nor it is more than a generalisation. But, over the past three decades consumer tastes for single malts have undeniable changed, reflecting a growing desire for cask finishes as well as a greater willingness to explore younger whiskies as the prices of older expressions have sky-rocketed. And producers are happy to oblige – producing wood-forward whiskies not only sates changing consumer preferences, it also allows for the use of smaller casks to ‘supercharge’ maturation – and push a narrative that ‘the wood makes the whisky’.


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company New York Distilling Company 2 Year Old - Batch 2
Posted 04 December 2019 / In New York Distilling Company
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company New York Distilling Company 2 Year Old - Batch 2

American craft distilling is undergoing a significant revival – the desire for ‘authentic’, small batch products has walked hand-in-hand with the global trend for all things brown spirit for a number of years now. Whilst California still has the largest number of craft distilleries, New York State is not all that far behind (now over 180 distilleries, up from a mere 50 back in 2012) – something you’ll often hear Governor Andrew M. Cuomo highlighting. Under his watch (since 2011) some significant regulatory barriers have been removed to help foster the growth of the craft beverage sector. But it’s far from plain sailing -  regulations and red tape still exist and considerable additional scrutiny from a variety of city agencies has been emerging.


The Dramble reviews that Boutique-y Whisky Company Speyside #3 8 Year Old Batch 1
Posted 03 December 2019 / In Undisclosed
The Dramble reviews that Boutique-y Whisky Company Speyside #3 8 Year Old Batch 1

Present most enthusiasts with an unidentified bottling and, likely before even tasting the liquid, their thoughts will focus on ascertaining the distillery of origin. It’s human nature. As much as we all like being presented with a mystery, most of us like to solve said mystery. Anonymous whiskies are part and parcel of the independent bottling world – some distilleries – oft-times the larger ones – like to keep their brand closely controlled. It’s understandable – especially when it comes to the vagaries of single casks.


The Dramble reviews The Boutique-y Whisky Company Bourbon Whiskey #1 24 Year Old Batch 1
Posted 02 December 2019 / In Undisclosed
The Dramble reviews The Boutique-y Whisky Company Bourbon Whiskey #1 24 Year Old Batch 1

The tree is up, and the cats are looking grimly determined to wreck my artfully posed baubling once more – it can only be the start the December. As such, it’s time to kick off our now annual Boutique-y Whisky Company advent takeover. For the next 24 days we’ll be bringing you tasting notes for each and every dram in the rather splendid looking 2019 Boutique-y Whisky Advent Calendar


The Dramble reviews The Whisky Exchange Black Friday 2019 Edition
Posted 28 November 2019 / In Glenburgie
The Dramble reviews The Whisky Exchange Black Friday 2019 Edition

All set for the annual stampede of frenzied shoppers prepared (and in some cases seemingly more than willing) to flatten each other in the name of bargain hunting? Whilst every year, more and more Black Friday ‘sales’ move off of the retail floors and onto the Internet, I read with interest a Which Report tracking the prices of 83 products offered as Black Friday deals in 2018 – 95% of them were still being offered at the same price or even cheaper six months later. Black Friday takes its cues from the most potent of consumer shopping traits – people’s seeming inability to resist what is portrayed as a deal.


The Dramble reviews Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask Finish
Posted 25 November 2019 / In Laphroaig
The Dramble reviews Laphroaig Cairdeas Fino Cask Finish

Whisky can be a potent memory trigger. Aromas and flavours transporting you to another time or another place. Often these associations are derived from childhood – pear drops, candy floss, grandma’s perfume – youth being an extremely important time for the formation and fixing of taste associations – many of which can last a lifetime. Whisky also has the innate ability to stimulate wider memories - those of when particular drams were experienced for the first time, or of moments enjoying a fine drop whilst in good company. But, at the same time, memories are easy to distort. They can be adapted and re-moulded (often unconsciously) to reflect differing views, divergent opinions and changes in circumstances. And it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of over-romanticising past whisky associations. Things were not always better then.


The Dramble reviews Gleann Mor A Rare Find 40 year old Blended Malt
Posted 22 November 2019 / In Blend
The Dramble reviews Gleann Mor A Rare Find 40 year old Blended Malt

It’s a jungle out there. The number of new independent bottlers is growing exponentially. Every person and their dog seems to want to give the independent bottling lark a crack – there’s certainly money to be made. But I wonder how many of these newer bottlers are going to last the distance. There’s countless knackered casks out there ready to be snapped up by an unsuspecting and ill-educated fledgling bottler – and it doesn’t take too many duff releases for reputations to be set across the minds of consumers. But, thinking more widely about the independent bottling world, it is sometimes not just the liquid quality which defines a bottlers fate – visibility in a particularly crowded marketplace is vital.


The Dramble reviews A Fine Christmas Malt 2019
Posted 20 November 2019 / In Linkwood
The Dramble reviews A Fine Christmas Malt 2019

People have been celebrating midwinter far longer than the 2,000 years since the birth of Christ. And even then, the date was something of a moveable feast. Whilst Pope Julius declared the 25th December as the ‘official’ birth of Christ back in 340AD, prior to that, a host of other dates were marked by midwinter festivals – none of which actually occurred in December. Contrary to popular belief, the idea of Brits getting sozzled over Christmas was not invented by the Pogues – Saint Augustine was tasked with the founding of the Western Church (and indirectly Western Christianity) – a mission made easier in Britain because of the range of pre-existing pagan festivals. It seems that the adoption of a new religion is far simpler if no one interferes with the established annual piss-up.


The Dramble reviews Sonoma Bourbon
Posted 18 November 2019 / In Sonoma Distilling Company
The Dramble reviews Sonoma Bourbon

For a while, it was as if new distilleries could do no wrong. Each inaugural release would break records based on hype alone. But in the last year or two, it seems that the hype has subsided and new whisky brands have started to need more than just novelty to attract attention. What’s more, new distilleries have increasingly started to focus on building long-term brands instead of breaking short-term records.


Posted 14 November 2019 / In Group

In something of a surprise, it’s a Dramble SMWS mid-month review. Longer-term readers will know that I don’t normally cover these – but then the Society doesn’t normally suddenly announce 45 new single cask expressions a mere two weeks after a main monthly outturn. So, seeing as it’s a biggun I thought you’d probably be wanting some notes on it. ‘Big Party Animal’ is made up of 41 new single cask whiskies plus single cask spirits (one gin, one Armagnac and two Cognacs).


Distilleries

Bottlers

Scotland (832)
Aberfeldy (8)
Aberlour (12)
Ailsa Bay (2)
Ardbeg (15)
Ardmore (11)
Arran (24)
Auchroisk (4)
Aultmore (8)
Balblair (14)
Balmenach (4)
Balvenie (11)
Ben Nevis (5)
BenRiach (9)
Benrinnes (10)
Benromach (7)
Bladnoch (5)
Bowmore (12)
Braeval (4)
Cambus (2)
Caol Ila (25)
Cardhu (1)
Clynelish (8)
Daftmill (3)
Dailuaine (8)
Dalmore (16)
Deanston (7)
Dufftown (3)
Dumbarton (1)
Edenmill (1)
Edradour (7)
Girvan (1)
Glen Grant (13)
Glen Moray (19)
Glen Ord (3)
Glen Spey (1)
Glengoyne (14)
Glengyle (4)
Glenlivet (12)
Glenlossie (10)
Hazelburn (2)
Imperial (1)
Inchgower (1)
Kilchoman (5)
Knockando (1)
Knockdhu (6)
Lagavulin (3)
Laphroaig (22)
Linkwood (9)
Lochnagar (1)
Longmorn (9)
Longrow (4)
Macallan (11)
Macduff (2)
Mortlach (11)
Oban (3)
Scapa (1)
Speyburn (8)
Speyside (1)
Springbank (10)
Talisker (6)
Tamdhu (3)
Teaninich (5)
Tobermory (27)
Tomatin (9)
Tomintoul (2)
Tormore (4)
Wolfburn (3)
Canada (3)
Europe (18)
Cotswolds (2)
Langatun (1)
Locher (1)
Mackmyra (8)
Penderyn (2)
Ireland (25)
Bushmills (5)
Midleton (12)
Teeling (4)
Tullamore (1)
Japan (31)
Chichibu (6)
Chita (1)
Eigashima (1)
Hakushu (2)
Yamazaki (2)
Yoichi (2)
Rest of the World (3)
Paul John (1)
Starward (1)
Taiwan (6)
King Car (5)
Nantou (1)
USA (28)
Balcones (1)
Bernheim (2)
Jim Beam (1)
Lux Row (1)