Tastings

Posted 21 January 2022 / In Group

Tasting a multitude of drams consecutively can result in sensory enervation – otherwise known as palate fatigue. And this form of exhaustion can be attributed to both physical and mental attributes. Typically, palate fatigue will occur deeper into large tasting sessions when over time, an assortment of comparable products (could be whisky, equally could be cheese sandwiches) have been sampled sequentially. The result of this repetition being an increasing sense that everything is starting to taste the same and/or become boring and less enjoyable as a result.


The Dramble reviews Highland Park 30 year old
Posted 12 January 2022 / In Highland Park
The Dramble reviews Highland Park 30 year old

Take a deep breath, breathing in slowly.
Feel the air filling your lungs.  
Now hold it. Feel the pause, the space as oxygen swirls around inside of you.
Let the air out. Feel the release, the movement from inside to outside.
Now rest. Feel the emptiness, the stillness.

Lü Dongbin, Dao Immortalist (796 CE - 1016 CE)


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Tomatin 36 year old Batch 5
Posted 25 December 2021 / In Tomatin
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Tomatin 36 year old Batch 5

Phew. We’ve made it. A 24-day journey into the archives of the Boutique-y Whisky Company alongside a varied and entirely hodgepodge selection of daily ramblings of wildly varying quality. Thank you to everyone who has been dramming along with us each day and likewise a big, hearty thank you to Dramble friends for all the love and support you've show us over the course of yet another not entirely normal year – it really means a lot. We’re off now for a much-needed break to recharge the whisky writing batteries – so all that’s left for me to do is to wish you all the very best of festival seasons.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Croftengea 14 year old Batch 3
Posted 24 December 2021 / In Loch Lomond
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Croftengea 14 year old Batch 3

Occasionally peated whisky gives me heartburn. And that’s super annoying as I adore peated whisky. Complaints about heartburn, or acid reflux (which is closely related) do tend to increase as we grow older – presumably as over time our bodies become more composed of booze than of actual flesh and we’re simply more ‘flammable’ as humans. But joking aside, having experienced this maddening sensation over a number of years, a while ago I decided to look into it further.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whitlaw 15 year old Batch 1
Posted 23 December 2021 / In Highland Park
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Whitlaw 15 year old Batch 1

Boutique-y’s first batch of Whitlaw is not their first bottling of Highland Park – that hails all the way back from 2013. But it is the bottler’s first use of the moniker – which according to some on the Internet is a long-established alternate name ala “An Orkney Whisky”. Hmmm. I don’t think so – the earliest mention I can fit of Whitlaw (named after the grassy hills that sit behind the distillery) is from just last year. It feels all rather similar to Bunna/Staoisha which is also often banded around as if it’s been in use since time immemorial – nah mate – 2016. Though in fairness, given the current state of the world, that does feel like an awfully long time ago in some regards.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Irish Single Malt #1 Batch 3
Posted 22 December 2021 / In Undisclosed Ireland
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Irish Single Malt #1 Batch 3

2014’s Irish Whiskey Technical File has undoubtedly helped the sector achieve an impressive growth that 20 years ago seemed all but a pipedream. However, as a document the Technical File (“Product Specification Sheet”) has been both extolled and vilified in equal measure. As a standard set-in stone, it has allowed Irish whiskey a much-needed consistency on which to build its modern-day renaissance. But as a specification it has presented a number of historical imprecisions and likewise reduced the available space for distilling innovation. But following a resubmission of the File to the European Commission back in September 2021 – upcoming amendments may well help the sector not only embrace the broadness it needs to thrive, but to also better reflect its distilling past.


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Speyburn 10 Year Old Batch 3
Posted 21 December 2021 / In Speyburn
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Speyburn 10 Year Old Batch 3

Whisky pricing is not an exact science. But in some instances, it can get pretty close. Whilst some smaller bottlers might seem to take the cost of a cask, divide it by the number of bottles produced and then stick a finger into the air to decide on the sticker price – most don’t. Though some of the prices I've seen lately do make you seriously wonder. When it comes to the larger players, well those guys have whole departments pouring over sales figures and competitors’ pricing to ensure that bottles their end up feeling reassuringly expensive – but still at the same time sell.


The Dramble reviews The Boutique-y Whisky Company Bourbon Whiskey #1 24 Year Old Batch 1
Posted 20 December 2021 / In Undisclosed
The Dramble reviews The Boutique-y Whisky Company Bourbon Whiskey #1 24 Year Old Batch 1

Door No.19 reveals a well-aged bourbon in the form of Boutique-y’s Bourbon Whiskey #1 24 Year Old Batch 1. There’s little information to go on as to the source of this liquid, but there’s loads of bottles – 8,376 in this first batch. Just think about that for a second – taking a standard barrel size and Boutique-y’s 50cl bottle, that equals <sound of brain whirring> somewhere in the region of 20+ barrels of 24 year old whiskey. Possibly considerably more when you consider how low in the barrel 24 year old Bourbon is likely to be.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Jura 20 year old Batch 5
Posted 19 December 2021 / In Isle of Jura
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Jura 20 year old Batch 5

Crikey. Turns out this will be the first Jura review on The Dramble. That’s honestly a little embarrassing after all these years – but then, looking down our corpus of distilleries, there’s still a small number of Scotch producers we’ve not yet turned to. You can’t do everything. Which leads to the obvious question – “Have you been deliberately avoiding Jura Matt?” The answer being – “kinda.”


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Irish Single Malt No.2 Batch 6
Posted 18 December 2021 / In Undisclosed Ireland
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Irish Single Malt No.2 Batch 6

However we taste whisky we do so through some form of lens. That lens can vary greatly - from a single contemplative dram, through to a tasting flight in a bar, all the way to a skinful of progressively unmemorable malt moments at a whisky show. But increasingly, the concept of the whisky Advent calendar is to my mind an entirely viable method for budding enthusiasts to undertake a near month-long whisky exploration.


The Dramble reviews that Boutique-y Whisky Company Glengoyne 17 year old Batch 1
Posted 17 December 2021 / In Glengoyne
The Dramble reviews that Boutique-y Whisky Company Glengoyne 17 year old Batch 1

Apologies for tardiness today - but a full PC rebuild will do that to the best of us - and always tends to come at the least helpful moment. Grrrr. Anyhow, back to the business at hand...Boutique-y’s first batch of Glengoyne was bottled back in 2018 (looks like there’s been four more since). The label highlights two aspects (no doubt there’s more that I’ve missed) of the distillery’s location and history in its bottle label cartoon. Firstly, the preponderance of walkers visiting the distillery – which is located on the popular West Highland Way. Secondly, the distillery’s original name of ‘Burnfoot’ – stylised here by the walking contingent having to traipse across a road of hot coals.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Islay #1 10 year old Batch 3
Posted 16 December 2021 / In Caol Ila
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Islay #1 10 year old Batch 3

Of Islay’s roughly 22 million litres of pure alcohol produced each year by 9 distilleries, Caol Ila is responsible for around a third. Indeed, at 6.5 million LPA, Caol Ila sits as the 9th largest capacity distillery within Scotland and the biggest peated producer by a near 50% over its closest capacity rival (Ardmore). And as such, operating at this scale means that bottlings of Caol Ila and bottlings which contain Caol Ila (as part of a wider blend) are a common occurrence. And yet, I never seem to tire of them.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Millstone 4 year old Batch 3
Posted 15 December 2021 / In Zuidam
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Millstone 4 year old Batch 3

We’ve all likely come across weird whisky. It comes with the territory of being explorers. An indescribable aroma. An unexpected flavour. Or – sometimes - just an unutterable mess. There are times when fellow drinkers find things peculiar that I find linear. And – sure as day – the converse of this is also true. But when it comes to whisky that sits outside what most might consider to be the norms, there’s a gulf of difference between variances in production that result in new and unexpected aromas and flavours and pure palate preferences.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Miltonduff 10 year old Batch 7
Posted 14 December 2021 / In Miltonduff
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Miltonduff 10 year old Batch 7

Prior to its legal founding in 1824, Miltonduff had operated illicitly for a quarter of a century. Its home – initially a monk’s prior a few miles south-west of Elgin - possessed ample water sources and sat on fertile land where barley would grow abundantly. Ideal conditions for messing around with tiny pots – and at one point, it was estimated that the area housed no less than 50 illicit stills.


The Dramble reviews Santis 10 year old That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Posted 13 December 2021 / In Locher
The Dramble reviews Santis 10 year old That Boutique-y Whisky Company

The tendency to try to classify and categorise absolutely everything is deeply ingrained into human nature. Over the 200,000 years of our existence we have used classification in order to survive – this mushroom is poisonous, this one is not. Fast-forward to less hunter-gatherer times and you will still see this trait in modern life. Even within the whisky world. We compartmentalise bottles by comparing them to others - by style, age, country of origin, cask type, base grains, good distillers, evil corporates – the list goes on. But, whilst it’s helpful to try to contextualise expressions – pigeon holing can be highly limiting. Everything in moderation.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Glendullan 16 year old Batch 3
Posted 12 December 2021 / In Glendullan
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Glendullan 16 year old Batch 3

Today’s post will be our 6th Glendullan review on The Dramble. That’s really not a lot when you consider that over the years, we’ve racked up 51 varied Bunnas, 34 efforts from Tobermory and 29 releases from Arran – though tackling 13 assorted wine casks in one sitting will always bump up the numbers. Glendullan doesn’t tend to cross my desk very often. And looking on Whiskybase I can see why – just 308 listed bottles. That’s a tiny number for a distillery founded all the way back in 1897.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y James E. Pepper 4 year old Batch 3
Posted 11 December 2021 / In James E. Pepper
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y James E. Pepper 4 year old Batch 3

Beer casks have taken longer than I expected to be adopted into the wider whisky world. Despite virtually every nation on the planet possessing a signature brew, the integration of all things beer with all things whisky has only really started to find traction over the last past few years. Early experiments were in my view less than successful, with a handful of whiskies proclaiming beer influence on their labels, but then not really delivering on that promise inside their bottles. However, more recent forays, from Scotland, through Japan and into the US have upped the ante considerably – and whilst I don’t expect beer casks to become any type of everyday norm – the mastery of them and the appreciation of them is certainly growing.


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Balblair 7 year old Batch 1
Posted 10 December 2021 / In Balblair
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Balblair 7 year old Batch 1

I write far less about Balblair than I did back in 2017. At the time I was really championing both the spirit quality and the overall proposition of the Highland distillery based 40-odd miles north of Inverness. But times really do change. And the March 2019 rebranding of the whisky was far more than just a cosmetic overhaul. To my mind it was a complete redefinition of what the distillery’s single malt was and particularly how it was believed it should be perceived within the wide whisky market. And sadly, it left me feeling like I needed to back a new horse.


The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Longmorn 10 Year Old Batch 3
Posted 09 December 2021 / In Longmorn
The Dramble reviews That Boutique-y Whisky Company Longmorn 10 Year Old Batch 3

Longmorn time – an often-underrated Speysider that has been bulking out blended whiskies since its opening in 1894. But whilst the fruit-forward character of the distillate is highly regarded by blenders as a dressing malt, its presentation as an official single malt has never really captivated the wider market. Indeed, at times it has aggravated it. The original expression of Longmorn – a 15 year old release – was available until 2007 when it was replaced by a differently composed 16 year old. Both were popular during their times albeit they were far less visible than many of the growing ranges and releases from neighbouring distilleries. 


The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Teaninich 10 year old Batch 3
Posted 08 December 2021 / In Teaninich
The Dramble reviews Boutique-y Teaninich 10 year old Batch 3

All distilleries are unique. And don’t let anyone go telling you otherwise. But in terms of deviating from the ‘normal’ plant you’d find inside a distillery, the Highland’s Teaninich is most certainly a standout in terms of its distinctiveness. For starters despite producing over 4 million LPA the distillery possesses no warehousing on site (so any tasting notes of “dunnage floor” would be figurative, not literal) – all of it is taken away in bulk tankers to one or more of Diageo’s warehouse cities. Then there’s the actual whisky making process – and in that regard Teaninich is rather the outlier.


Distilleries

Bottlers

Scotland (1120)
Aberfeldy (9)
Aberlour (14)
Ailsa Bay (3)
Ardbeg (19)
Ardmore (20)
Arran (29)
Auchroisk (8)
Aultmore (9)
Balblair (17)
Balmenach (6)
Balvenie (11)
Ben Nevis (9)
Benriach (11)
Benrinnes (14)
Benromach (9)
Bladnoch (5)
Bowmore (19)
Braeval (7)
Cambus (4)
Caol Ila (42)
Cardhu (1)
Clynelish (20)
Daftmill (4)
Dailuaine (10)
Dalmore (17)
Deanston (7)
Dufftown (4)
Dumbarton (1)
Edenmill (1)
Edradour (16)
Girvan (3)
Glen Grant (15)
Glen Moray (25)
Glen Ord (4)
Glen Spey (5)
Glengoyne (14)
Glengyle (6)
Glenlivet (15)
Glenlossie (11)
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Glenturret (10)
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Inchgower (2)
Kilchoman (6)
Knockando (1)
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Linkwood (13)
Lochnagar (1)
Longmorn (12)
Longrow (4)
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Macduff (6)
Mortlach (12)
Oban (3)
Scapa (1)
Speyburn (9)
Speyside (1)
Springbank (12)
Talisker (8)
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Teaninich (6)
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Tomatin (13)
Tomintoul (5)
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Wolfburn (3)
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Dingle (1)
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Teeling (5)
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Chita (1)
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Yoichi (2)
Rest of the World (9)
Dunedin (1)
Starward (1)
Taiwan (8)
King Car (6)
Nantou (2)
USA (41)
Balcones (1)
Bernheim (2)
Jim Beam (1)
Lux Row (4)