Distillery Bottlings

Posted 05 June 2019

I was chatting to a chap last week who was near the start of his malt journey. It was rather the familiar conversation. Having discovered a taste for peated whisky through the common Islay stalwarts (Laphroaig 10, Ardbeg 10 and Lagavulin 16), he’d noted two things – firstly that his palate seemed to be yearning to explore ever increasing levels of peatiness, and secondly that he was struggling to obtain many of the more interesting (read older or limited ed) bottlings from the Islay distilleries. Unfortunately, so it was….so shall it always be.

Posted 25 March 2019

It’s all too easy for whisky geeks to get bogged down by the technical aspects of a distillery. Fermentation times, lyne arm inclinations, spirit cut points – all interesting – but sometimes a distraction from what’s right under our noses. Whisky tourism makes a considerable contribution to local economies (sometimes with perceived detrimental effects), and whilst its growth is certainly being spearheaded by an ever increasing fan base of whisky enthusiasts, the raw number of tourists (nearly 2 million each year) to Scottish distilleries reveals an allure that’s beyond our immediate community. People simply like pretty little things.

Posted 27 March 2019

A big, heavy decanter is a nice thing. There’s just something oddly reassuring about pouring a dram from a weighty bottle. We’ve not really spoken about glassware on The Dramble before – truth be told there’s more than enough glass comparisons out there on fellow bloggers sites – and I’ll take some convincing that the 1920’s Blender’s Glass isn’t the best for reviewing with and the worst for cleaning thereafter. But, perhaps there’s more unique mileage to be had in us taking looking at decanters one of these days? Andrew Symington from Edradour/Signatory would probably think so – many of the distillery’s/bottler’s expressions come delivered in easily recognisable heavyweight glass. But, I’ll be honest – I have no actual no idea what an Ibisco decanter really is.

Posted 26 March 2019

Historically Edradour has had a reputation for woeful inconsistency. Some bottles were good, some were terrible, but you’d be hard pushed to established a common thread between them. My personal experience of older Edradours has been a total shot in the dark. Far from reassuring, but sort of fun in a lucky dip kind of way. Since the distillery was purchased in 2002 by independent bottler Signatory Vintage, standards have dramatically improved. However, consistency has rather been turned on its head by Andrew Symington – the breadth of cask utilised is now mind-bogglingly wide. Edradour bottlings are still a lucky dip – just a much better one.

Posted 28 March 2019

All distilleries have some elements of uniqueness – after all, what would be the point of a glut of homogenised liquid? Sites operate differing fermentation and distillation processes, divergent maturation regimes (a couple of days ago I visited a distillery where casks are being stored vertically on their heads?!), and sometimes have examples of one-of-a-kind equipment that either never took off elsewhere, or was superseded by history and progress. Edradour has plenty of uniqueness – it’s a beautifully weird place – but one thing which always stands out to me is its continued use of a Morton’s Refrigerator – the last one still in operation in the whisky industry.

Posted 29 March 2019

Fear of missing out is described as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. And in the whisky world, I believe it to be just a prevalent as buyers regret. There’s a *lot* of whisky out there – over 6000 releases in 2018 alone, but for some, playing Pokemon with a bottling series, or distillery’s entire release calendar can become a near obsessive pursuit. Beyond that, craving and longing focusses on the individual bottle level – a stunning, historically significant or unexpected whisky that has an allure that feels irresistible – often to a whole host of people. Cue crazy auction results. I missed the release of today’s Edradour – but, having now tasted it, I’m rather kicking myself that I didn’t have a FOMO moment at the time.

Independent Bottlings

Copper Monument

Posted 24 August 2020

Over to Edradour for a welcome visit to the distillery’s peated output – Ballechin. This one has spent 14 years in a refill sherry hogshead before being bottled at 55% ABV.

Whisky Exchange

Posted 30 September 2019

Is the dark side stronger? There were certainly times at this year’s London Whisky Show when I was left wondering. The energetic camaraderie and palpable buzz of excitement of the (longest I’ve ever seen it) queue outside the venue quickly faded when the doors opened and a veritable bun fight immediately began to join a second queue – to make purchases. The tannoy welcoming arrivals, could almost have announced the opening of ‘the 2019 whisky shop’. The jostling turned into barging, and smiles turned to grimaces as folks quickly realised that turning up several hours early is simply not good enough to guarantee scoring that particularly desirable bottle nowadays. And then there was Sunday…



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