The Dramble reviews TWE Black Friday 2022 Edition
Posted 25 November 2022 / In Caol Ila
The Dramble reviews TWE Black Friday 2022 Edition

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that throughout the course of today you’re going to hear one thing repeatedly said about this year’s TWE Black Friday release - “It’s just a Caol Ila.” I’m also going to go out on a limb and tell you why I believe that this all too regularly intoned, throwaway dismissal does a disservice to one of the world’s most versatile distillates.

The Dramble reviews Indri Trini Three Wood
Posted 04 November 2022 / In Indri
The Dramble reviews Indri Trini Three Wood

Whilst the longer established whisky producers continue their relentless drive toward ‘making more from less’, AKA premiumisation – newer distilleries are waiting in the wings ready to garner a noteworthy market share from the gulf that is increasingly developing between preliminary/introductory bottles and the upper strata of ‘aspirational whisky’. The big players seem hell bent on racing to the top – of positioning as much of their whisky as possible as somehow more than just a drink. I.E. as a luxury lifestyle statement. But once this has all inevitably been played out, it could well be those racing up from the bottom who reap the rewards longer term.

Posted 03 November 2022 / In Group

Whilst an array of indy bottlers have slowed down their release cycles due to the struggle that is accessing suitable casks and acquiring increasingly hard to obtain (and progressively more expensive) dry goods such as bottles, foils and corks - the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is showing no signs of letting up. And in all honesty, I’m now starting to wonder if I need to find some shelter from their storm of bottles.

Posted 11 October 2022 / In Group

It sounds oh so simple. Collect some samples. Taste them. Then pick the ‘best’ one and bottle it. If only. I’ll tell you straight off the bat - bottlers deserve a whole lot of patience and respect from whisky enthusiasts. More than they often receive. The life of an independent bottler in 2022 is both laboured and increasingly challenging. Whilst the bottled results might feel like newly welcomed members of an extended family, the conception, gestation and birthing process itself is to my mind closer to a drawn out pregnancy that culminates in a traumatic, PTSD-inducing delivery. If I had my time again, I’d have the gas and air on standby.

Posted 01 September 2022 / In Group

Back in March I opened my SMWS outturn review with “Goodness - has it really been a whole 6 months since our last SMWS outturn review?” And here we are….another 6 months on <sigh>. A few of you have messaged asking where The Dramble’s outturn review have got to (two over 12 months is super slim pickings) – but despite some amusingly left-field suggestions, our inability to bring you Society reviews has been purely down to the continued buggeration that is logistics. Simply put - Greville Street in London has not been getting outturn bottles until right up until the wire of the release itself. Not nearly enough time to taste, note, collate and write up.

Posted 26 August 2022 / In Group

Despite the staggeringly broad compositions that are possible when combining multiple, sometimes disparate casks into a single, unified expressions – the attraction of whisky geeks to single casks is as predictable as moths to a flame. It matters not a jot how many pieces are penning championing either the necessity or the art of blending – the perceived ‘purity’ of single cask whisky is just as, if not more, revered than it has ever been. And there are times when I find it a particularly odd state of affairs to see enthusiasts venerating whisky makers, but at the same time clamouring for bottlings with the least amount of intervention from them.

Posted 24 August 2022 / In Group

The ‘rule of three’ is an age-old writing technique that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying and more effective than any other number. Veni, vici, vidi. The Three Wise Men. Of the people, by the people, for the people. Once you start to notice it – you’ll see threes absolutely everywhere. Beginnings, middles and ends. Past, present and future. Mind, body and soul. This prevalence isn’t anything mystical – it’s simply the smallest number that allows the human mind to recognise a pattern. And as such, it is also a perfect threshold for the packaging and marketing of products – whisky included.

The Dramble reviews Glen Garioch 2011 10 year old Equinox and Solstice Summer 2022 Edition
Posted 22 August 2022 / In Glen Garioch
The Dramble reviews Glen Garioch 2011 10 year old Equinox and Solstice Summer 2022 Edition

Even the most superficial of look-backs into the history of whisky will reveal a remarkable, constantly alterable spirit diversity - and this should serve as a reminder that there is no end point for whisky style and no ultimate manifestation of whisky evolution. Whisky changes. Whisky *needs* to change.

The Dramble reviews Chichibu London Edition 2021
Posted 22 July 2022 / In Chichibu
The Dramble reviews Chichibu London Edition 2021

Despite waiting years, decades or even generations for a whisky to mature, it seems that patience is far from a virtue when it comes to getting that whisky to people’s doorsteps. I still remember as a much younger man feeling somewhat privileged to receive a package within a couple of weeks of ordering it. Waiting for things was simply a prerequisite back then. But, oh how times have changed. Immediate access to anything and everything all of the time and same-day deliveries might be steadily championing the democratisation of our right to laziness – but at the same time, should whisky ever be viewed as an ultra-convenience?

Posted 20 July 2022 / In Group

I would never dare to presume too much about The Dramble’s readers. We all imbibe, enjoy and consider our whiskies in myriad different ways. But as my PC’s taskbar-based weather forecast finally ticks up to today’s promised 40 degrees Celsius – I do wonder about some of you occasionally. Try as I might, when it’s genuinely silly hot, I struggle to get myself into the mood for most whiskies outside of highballs and the occasional smoky cokey. There’s a temperature range that I believe that whisky works best at (more on this shortly) – and once I’ve seen someone fry an egg on their patio – my mind and my palate are steadily moving toward the whisky exit sign. But a little record-breaking hot weather clearly isn’t enough to scupper some of you lot. And I doth my cap to those of you still tackling cataclysmically cask strength drams whilst I’m sat here wondering if I’ve got enough Robinson’s in.

The Dramble reviews Mackmyra Virvelvind
Posted 01 July 2022 / In Mackmyra
The Dramble reviews Mackmyra Virvelvind

There’s a host of reasons why individual whiskies, collections of whiskies and series of whiskies come to an end. At times this change can present drinkers with entirely new perspectives and directions. A revitalisation of a product or brand. A reaffirmation or repositioning of a distillery’s house style. A recognition that standing still is a sure-fire method for achieving irrelevance. And there are other times when, regardless of the reasons for the conclusion, the response from the community will simply be a sense of sadness that something beloved will no longer be available. Whilst certain quarters of enthusiasts will have you believe that never-changing, monolithic, perceived high quality (and 90’s perma-low pricing) is possible. It is not. Nothing lasts forever.

The Dramble reviews Mossburn Springbank 1999 22 year old
Posted 27 June 2022 / In Springbank
The Dramble reviews Mossburn Springbank 1999 22 year old

As a reviewer you need to be quick off the mark to pen your thoughts on a new bottle of Springbank before the thing has all but vanished from the shelves. And when that situation extends to what was once (but arguably aren’t now) the distillery’s core range products, you invariably find yourself either writing about the just past or penning words about the fairly depressing future where things are notionally still available – only now at twice the price they were last week. Rather like filling up the car or obtaining the weekly shop - just far less actually consumed as intended.

The Dramble reviews Mitchell & Sons Gold Spot
Posted 16 June 2022 / In Midleton
The Dramble reviews Mitchell & Sons Gold Spot

Like buses, you wait decades for another Spot whiskey and then three come along in the space of three years. The whisky world is packed to the rafters with series, selections and collections. These often follow the Fast & Furious model of leveraging a pre-existing audience with ‘more of the same, but different’ – retain the lead actors, add some new faces, change the location and then slap a new number on the front. Job done. But irrespective of whether entertainment or booze the idea of replication and repetition holds just as may pitfalls as it does potential blessings.

The Dramble reviews Mossburn Craigellachie 2007 13 year old
Posted 10 June 2022 / In Craigellachie
The Dramble reviews Mossburn Craigellachie 2007 13 year old

Craigellachie can be a stubbornly awkward whisky. Whilst well-regarded and sought after for blending because of its naturally fruity profile and weighty spirit character, I’ve repeatedly seen Craigellachie in single malt form quickly divide a room – particularly when the offering involves younger liquid. Despite writing earlier this week about the ebbs and flows of maturation which often produce not one, but several or many ‘peaks’ within whiskies – Craigellachie doesn’t always fall quite so easily into this rubric for some drinkers. And the reason for that is oft-times sulphur.

Posted 08 June 2022 / In Group

“We only bottle at the peak of perfection”. How many distilleries and bottlers have you heard using a phrase similar to this one? The suggestion being that whisky has a right and a wrong time. That it’s a difference between being immature and mature. Of being 3rd class or 1st class. But there are countless problems with making sweeping statements about levels of maturity. For starters a *lot* of whisky is sold at a younger age than it could be. But more broadly, maturation is far from linear and a wealth of whiskies showcase entirely different characteristics at different ages – none being necessarily better or more ‘peak’ than the others.

Posted 13 May 2022 / In Group

No messing around with long-winded, convoluted introductions - we've got rather a lot to get through today.

16 Whisky Sponge reviews. One after another. Strap yourselves in.

The Dramble reviews Mackmyra Limousin
Posted 10 May 2022 / In Mackmyra
The Dramble reviews Mackmyra Limousin

Reams of paper and gigabytes of the Internet have been dedicated to dissecting and understanding the properties of tannins. From learning why fish tanks turn brown and identifying why wines tends to either possess a pleasant, unobtrusive silky texture or an astringent, grippy, dryness - all the way to understanding the transformational processes involved in preserving animal hides by turning them into leather (tanning!). And yet, despite possessing a similarly central bearing on the character of whisky - its relatively quality and quantity vis-a-vis texture, bitterness and notably, the formation of colour – tannins rarely get referenced by name throughout the multitude of whisky commentary.

The Dramble reviews Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2022
Posted 03 May 2022 / In Glen Scotia
The Dramble reviews Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2022

I’m predisposed to appreciate today’s whisky. I routinely enjoy much of the output of Glen Scotia. I actively seek out coastal, mineral and industrially-focussed whiskies – particularly those that have been beaten over the head with the peat stick. And I’m absolutely not someone who doesn’t appreciate what on paper looks like a reasonable price for a bottle of booze. That my friends is prejudice. Positive prejudice, but prejudice nonetheless. I raise an eyebrow to any commentators who maintain that they review without predisposition (not possible) as much as I disagree with those who state that the presence of any partiality nullifies any aptitude to produce a review worth reading.

The Dramble reviews Mossburn Jura 1993 28 year old
Posted 27 April 2022 / In Isle of Jura
The Dramble reviews Mossburn Jura 1993 28 year old

We’ve all doubtless experienced that curious feeling that when we were younger the days seemed to be longer. It’s peculiar, but easily explained – in youth we perceive and laydown more memories and mental images – the world at that time is largely unfamiliarly and it requires far more processing than when we are accustomed to it. The older we get, the more habituated we are and therefore the less information we need to store. The less we write into our brains each day, the faster the passage of time seems. And in a strange manner this is how I’ve come to think about the changing perceptions of Jura.

The Dramble reviews Raer Blended Scotch Whisky Oloroso Expression
Posted 22 April 2022 / In Blend
The Dramble reviews Raer Blended Scotch Whisky Oloroso Expression

Despite usually being a sponge for new information – it turns out that my brain does in fact possess a saturation point when it comes to whisky. And I’ve only recently discovered this. With just one Dramble post under my belt over the past two weeks (sorry readers – sorry brands) it’s high time I admitted to myself that writing about whisky whilst working within whisky is far more challenging than I expected it would be. This isn’t a case of being too busy – indeed, overall I’m less busy than I was when working two disparate jobs concurrently for the best part of three years. No – this is a realisation that my brain has a finite amount of whisky processing power and that the ‘day job’ is now (rightly) utilising a lot of this.



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