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The whisky world as seen by an eccentric Bavarian exile


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Saturday January 1st 2011

That was the year, that was

or "Maniacal Malticious Musings"


Just before Christmas I was enjoying a celebratory dram or three with my old friend Oliver Klimek of Dramming.com and as often happens after a few Drams and when the night draws in, we set about putting the world, or at least whisky world, to rights.

Of course the conversation soon involved something of a look back at the year and our thoughts as to what was either memorable or eminently forgettable and as far as my memory serves; our discussion went something like this:


Oliver: Let's first talk about our top whiskies in 2010. I tasted so many excellent drams last year that it's not easy to pick a favourite. But I have to say that most of my top picks were earlier bottlings. From the new releases of 2010 I really liked the Glenglassaugh 21 yo (Batch 2). Another great Batch 2 was the 2010 Laphroaig Cask Strength release. Even though it couldn't quite match the 2009 version it's still pretty damn good. And I found the Ardbeg Rollercoaster to be particularly good. I've read numerous reviews that placed it behind last year's Corryvreckan, but I beg to disagree.

But I happen to have a nice Port Ellen from Old Bothwell (1982/2010, cask #2039) in my bag that manages to beat all of those excellent drams with ease. May I offer you a dram?

Thanks Oliver, I personally tasted three excellent Islays in Ardbeg Supernova 2010, Octomore ‘Orpheus’ and the Laphroaig 2010 Feis Ile Cairdeas which for me was better than the CS second batch, which I just happen to have here. In fact these are all worthy of mentions as was that Ardbeg Rollercoaster, although I did prefer the Corryvreckan and the Supernova. Otherwise I was very pleasantly surprised by a single cask Ben Nevis 25y which was a seriously good dram; however, the two totally outstanding offerings were a 38y Glen Grant from Whisky Doris and this Port Ellen which you just poured for me. In fact, this Port Ellen is truly magnificent and I would say just pips the Glen Grant as not only my favourite whisky of 2010, but it even edges into my all-time top 10 list. So, this Old Bothwell, single cask 2039, 1982, 28y Port Ellen is my choice for 2010. Slàinte and is there perhaps a wee drop more in that bottle for me?

Now, I reckon this Port Ellen is still my No.1 of 2010, but if I could be permitted to select something not necessarily released in 2010, I would have to consider Jack Wieber’s 34y Old Train Line Banff from 1974, David Stirk’s ‘Exclusive Malts’ 34y Inchgower, also from 1974, Cadenhead’s 21y Convalmore from 1977 and last but not least; Signatory’s 34y Ladyburn (Rare Ayrshire) from 1975. All of these are magnificent whiskies and well worthy of accolade. What about your own thoughts here Oliver?

I already mentioned that most of my favourites of 2010 were earlier bottlings. Only that Port Ellen manages to match those. I would like to mention the Cameronbridge 1978/2008 single grain from Duncan Taylor, the Dallas Dhu 1975/2005 again from Duncan Taylor, the 2006 release of the Lagavulin 12 and also the 2009 Geore T. Stagg, a magnificent bourbon. But my overall winner of 2010 was the Karuizawa 1985/2009 Cask #7017, a sherry monster of the highest quality.

You know, it's always nice to look back at the highlights of a year. But what about the Dark Side? I've tasted quite a few utterly mediocre drams and noted some rather upsetting trends in the whisky industry that I think should not go unnoticed.

Let's start with my least favourite drams. The overall loser was without a doubt that Loch Dhu that you were kind enough to dispose of by letting me taste the remaining 90% of your sample. Runner-up is not a whisky in the Scotch sense but worth a mention anyway: The herb-infused Mekhong Whisky from Thailand that I had tried at a Thai restaurant. I also recall the Tamnavulin 12 yo to be a memorable dud, and I was quite disappointed with the Arran 100 Proof as well.

The last whisky I would like to mention in this respect leads to my gripes about the whisky industry. 2010 saw a repackaging of the Irish Kilbeggan blend that went along with a significant and well-noticeable drop in malt content. This used to be an excellent budget blend but now it's become just one of many. I also was quite unhappy with Diageo's Manager's Choice series. Not because they released bad whisky but they priced those single cask bottlings way beyond anything I would call acceptable. They must have had a massive budget going into marketing this range, and obviously this has to be paid for.

But the Golden Bung Cloth 2010 goes to The Macallan, who with the marketing for their fancy brass ice ball maker managed to negate what has been taught to us by whisky experts for decades: ”The ultimate way to enjoy the ultimate whisky” which translates into “Any Macallan is better than any other whisky and it tastes best at temperatures near freezing”.

Ah yes, that Macallan Ice ball was a pretty strange idea to me too, but my own thoughts are drawn to the less-noteworthy whiskies I tried. These include the Murray McDavid Caol Ila Zinfandel finish here on the table tonight, that particular wine finish just doesn’t work with the Caol Ila, in fact I wouldn’t have believed a Caol Ila like this could be so dominated by the Zinfandel. 2010 Was also the year I tried Drumguish and a rather insipid Tamnavulin OB 12y, a sample of which I gave you and which I see impressed you equally. Then there was Snow Grouse which was equally bad at room temperature or chilled, but none of these come anywhere near to the now infamous Loch Dh-Ugly which is the only whisky I have ever considered worthy of a score in single figures and which I gave away to some poor unsuspecting chap I know. Oh yes, sorry Oliver, do forgive me for subjecting you to that one too!

Let’s get back to some highlights as 2010 has been rather special for me when it comes to my whisky experiences. My website has gained in popularity and I have become much more aware of what others are doing, so I’m now wondering; if I could honour or award someone with recognition for their contribution as a whisky insider, commentator, blogger or just “all round good guy”, what would my considerations be?

From a trade point of view I have been impressed by David Stirk, a small independent bottler with some excellent offerings, but then Whisky Doris comes up with the goods too, just look at that Glen Grant! Last year I also came across a previously unknown IB called Artworks who use the “Art of Whisky” label, excellent again. I have also been impressed with various bloggers and commentators, but for me and closer to home, I would have to nominate a Munich bar, in fact the one we frequent occasionally when we feel a joint need for a serious whisky and a chat. Ede stocks some astonishing whiskies and creates an excellent ambience for an evening of quality dramming, in fact he’s responsible for introducing me to “Artworks”, that Glen Grant and various other gems, so congratulations ‘Eddie’, your Irish Folk Pub is the best!

I have to say that I pretty much agree with your thoughts here, Keith. The whisky scene on the internet has become very diversified with blogs and forums but also on Twitter and Facebook. I have got to know so many interesting people that I can't possibly pick just a handful for a special mention. I too have noticed great work done by some of those small “armchair bottlers” as they have been called somewhat disrespectfully. To the ones you mentionend let me add Old Bothwell who seem to have an excellent supply of Port Ellen. I should also point out that industry trends in 2010 were not entirely negative. We have seen an increased number of uncoloured and un-chillfiltered bottlings, and the most promising (and surprising) news for me was the courageous move by Burn Stewart to overhaul all their single malt ranges (Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory/Ledaig) in this fashion.

But I am fully in line with you nominating Eddie's Irish Folk Pub as best personal whisky experience of the year. We have met there several times now, and his selection of drams and the atmosphere are just perfect.

2010 was also a pretty successful year for my blog. I don't want to be a narcissist and give an award to myself. But since the revamp of my old Whisky Rating on the new domain dramming.com things have been developing very positively. I was flattered to get a mention as one of the six new websites to watch in the last Malt Whisky Yearbook. But the greatest honour arrived right in time for Christmas: being accepted to join the Malt Maniacs together with you! What are your personal highlights, Keith?

Oliver, as I mentioned previously, I have seen many great blogs and websites in 2010, your own Dramming included and one highlight for me has to have been getting involved with “The Whisky Round Table”, I also reached a major personal milestone with 500 online tasting notes, but without question the highlight of my year too was to be invited to become a Malt Maniac, an honour of which I’m very proud as I look forward to joining in discussions with this great team.

Thanks Oliver and here’s to a great 2011.



Friday December 31st

Edradour Caledonia 12y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 31"



Edradour Caledonia, 12y, (single cask), 46% Advent and Christmas are now almost a week ago but I carried on this Advent-urous series throughout the whole of December. It has been a series of very different drams, all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed tasting and writing about. I only hope that you; my readers, enjoyed it too.

So, what better way to conclude the series on New Year's Eve (after twelve years in Germany I still have some problems thinking of today as "Silvester" without thinking of a certain little yellow bird and associated 'puddy tat') than by looking at an Edradour single Oloroso sherry cask called Caledonia?

The colour is that of rich gold or light amber reflecting the sunshine, whilst the Nose is filled with Oak, raisins, currants, and a hint of sherry but with something slightly perfumed hiding deep in the background which is being rather shy. This shy perfumed element fades as the minutes pass to leave rich dark fruits and oak.

The palate comprises sherry, dark fruits and oak with a creamy mouth-feel.

A medium to long finish fades only gently.

This is somewhat of a rather decent Christmas dram, ideal as a partner to some good old (English) Christmas cake, perhaps with a wedge of cheese too. Did I save the best until last in this Edradour series? Yes, I believe I did.

Slàinte Mhath and a Happy New Year, see you next year!



Thursday December 30th

Edradour Sauternes 10y 1999

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 30"


Edradour Sauternes, 1999, 10y, 57.6% Another Edradour wine finish today, but this time a Sauternes, distilled on 29th June 1999, then on 29th Ocotber 2008 switched to a Sauternes Hogshead until 4th June 2010 when it was bottled as a single cask release of 452 bottles.

Well, there's certainly no red wine tonight! The colour is a pale yellow gold and the nose is initially sweet vanilla and green grapes, followed closely by a hint of polished wood and a touch of ripe pear.

The palate is immediately hit with a burst of peppery vanilla along with green apples and pears, but the pepperiness remains quite intrusive, indicating a need for water. Well, it is getting on for 60% abv.

With 4 drops of water the nose is now almost exclusively freshly cut wood with just a touch of pear and grape, whilst the palate has even more pepper alongside the wood and fruit.

A further 4 drops of water just weaken the woodiness on the nose and create a more creamy, less peppery palate with some richer fruit leading the way into the long finish.

A final addition of water produces an even more creamy palate, although the finish actually grows in pepperiness as it progresses.

This is again not a bad Edradour wine finish and very different to the previous 'red wines' that I've tried this week. But I think I still prefer the Sassicaia over this one, just.



Wednesday December 29th

Edradour Sassicaia 11y 1998

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 29"


Edradour Sassicaia, 1998, 11y, 56.9% Today sees another "Straight from the Cask" offering in the form of an 11y, 1998 Sassicaia finish.

The colour is rich gold or very light amber and the nose is one of gentle nuts, fruit, sweet wood and a faint hint of digestive biscuit in the background.

The palate begins with smooth rich fruit and then expands to include some pepperiness thanks to the high abv, although the mouth-feel remains very creamy. I also detect some vanilla, perhaps even custard leading into the finish.

4 Drops of water increase the wood on the nose and introduce just the slightest hint of roast lamb! The palate gains a little more pepper and increases the fruitiness to a point of offering stewed fruits (apple, raspberry, mango, blackberry) alongside the custard.

A further 4 drops of water just mellow the nose a little more, whilst softening the palate. This is enough water, no more is needed.

The finish is long, slightly longer and more peppery with each addition of water.

Is it me, or are these Edradour wine finishes getting better each day? This is definitely my preferred one so far in this series.



Tuesday December 28th

Edradour Port Wood 1997

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 28"



Edradour Port Wood, 1997, 55.8% Todays "Straight from the Cask" offering is a 1997 Port Wood (finished in Port Pipes).

Once again the colour shouts "red wine" as it exhibits an unmistakable hue which is almost akin to a rich rosé wine.

The nose is extremely pleasant with slightly fresh oak, red berries, perhaps a touch of leather and also even a dash of boot polish on that leather.

The first sensation on the palate is fresh oak but with a suggestion of wild strawberries. This soon expands with a peppery tingle as it requests a drop or two of water.

With 4 drops of water the nose has lots more wood plus a hint of blackcurrant and vanilla ice cream, whilst the palate is smoother and more creamy.

A further 4 drops of water expand the fruitiness and I'm convinced of the blackberry and vanilla ice cream, maybe what as a child I would have called 'blackberry ripple' ice.

The finish is very long, repetitive and really quite fruity, especially at the end.

I felt yesterdays Bordeaux finish was just too much for the whisky, perhaps overpowering it a little too much, but not so today. The port wine has had an influence, but it's much more of a matched pair and better balanced. I like this one.



Monday December 27th

Edradour Bordeaux 1998

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 27"



Edradour Bordeaux Finish, 1998, 11y, 56.4% This week is what I call "Twixt the Years" which is a general translation of what the Germans call the days between Christmas and New Year. It's a funny time as Christmas celebrations have passed and we await Big Ben's notification that we are beginning another year. To liven up the week a little I am dedicating it to Edradour and a series of their limited edition and cask strength bottlings known as "Straight from the Cssk". They're rather cute too.

This particular edition was distilled on 14.9.98 and matured until 2.5.07 in a Hogshead cask. Then it was refilled into a Bordeaux Hogshead and left until 15th June 2010 when it was bottled in the SFTC series as one of 425 half-litre bottles.

Coppery gold in colour, this whisky is already suggesting some wine influence which continues slightly on the nose with hints of fruit and cloves over a quite woody influence. The wooden aromas include polish but are interrupted by that fruity influence which is both rich and slightly intrusive.

The palate has lots of red wine, black cherries, red grapes, brambles and again a woodiness which at one point appears slightly smoky, or scorched.

4 Drops of water bring out even more fruitiness on the nose whilst the palate gains a little more wood, wax polish and pepper right on the front of the palate.

A further 4 drops of water turn the nose back to lightly aromatic, toasted oak which is also quite accurate of the palate, although there is still a slight (red) fruitiness.

The finish is always long, slightly peppery and with fruity smoke right at the end.

Interesting, in a way as I struggle to conclude this one I am suddenly reminded of a not too sweet or sticky, but slightly spiced strong mead. It's definitely quite heavy on the Bordeaux elements.







Saturday December 24th & Sunday December 25th

Hankey Bannister Original, 12y & 40y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 25-26"

Earlier last week a wee parcel arrived in my postbox with a note wishing me a Merry Christmas.

Now come on chaps, own up, just how many of you received handkies this Christmas? Be brave, you can tell me, handkies and socks, perhaps gloves too or even loud home-knitted cardigans?

Well, I for one was delightfully surprised to open the said parcel and discover a set of three matching Hankeys, in fact not only that, but they just happened to be of the liquid variety; yes, the Original, 12y and 40y Hankey Bannister blends from Inver House.



Hankey Bannister 'Original' comprises around 30% single malt whisky from Inver House's distilleries, primarily Balblair but also some Balmenach and An Cnoc (from Knockdhu), which means it is about 70% single grain from North British & Port Dundas.

It has a very grainy, slight leafy nose with a hint of chestnuts in the background. A smooth palate offers slightly perfumed hay and grasses before a hint of malty popcorn and honey lead into a long finish.


Hankey Bannister 12y 'Regency' is next into my glass and has a rather nice amber colour whilst the nose is a little more intense than the 'Original'. Gone is the leafiness as this whisky offers more freshness and sweetness with some wood, a hint of green apple and maybe some vanilla notes.

The palate is again smooth but also rich in a gentle kind of way with a little creamy toffee, oak and a hint of figs. The finish is rich and long, but maybe just a little bitter right at the end.




Hankey Bannister 40 years old, 43.3% abv has a wonderfully rich deep amber colour and an extremely aromatic nose. It has highly perfumed and well-polished aged oak, lots of exotic spices and just a suggestion of something slightly citrus which could in fact be lime tree blossom.

The palate is delightfully smooth and rich with aged oak, some dark fruits (perhaps black cherries and raisins), then oil of orange infused into dark chocolate, leading into a very rich and long-lasting finish.


The 'Original' is a very good, solid entry-level blend which I understand is normally available for around €15 which makes it good value too.

The 12y 'Regency' has more depth of flavour and is also much more aromatic with fruit and vanilla on the nose, whilst the palate manages to produce some nice creamy toffee. This would be a good everyday blend that I'd be happy to have in my cabinet.

The 40y is definitely the star of this weekend's show and is well worthy of being called a rather special Christmas dram. It not only has a richness deserving of a 40y whisky, but also some surprisingly aromatic and floral attributes, but that oil of orange infused into dark chocolate is a winner for me.

Every man should get Hankeys for Christmas, especially these ones!

Slàinte Lukasz and many thanks!



Friday December 24th

Port Ellen Old Bothwell 28y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 24"



Port Ellen, Old Bothwell, 1982, 28y, cask 2039, 57.5% Welcome to Christmas and welcome also to a rare dramming treat as today I celebrate with a rather superb Port Ellen.

This bottling is by Old Bothwell and single cask No.2039 which is an exclusive edition for Germany.

I'm first greeted by a colour of light golden yellow which sits innocently in the glass just begging to be nosed and tasted.

As I begin to nose this dram I'm suddenly hit by another of those flashback moments; I'm about ten years old, it's the school holidays, a sunny day and I'm at the seaside with Mum. We've taken the train to Scarborough and we're now walking from the main part of town along the seafront to the more residential areas, but it's a walk of a good mile with the sea on our right and Scarborough castle high on our left. There's fresh sea-air in abundance, but also clean grasses and some hay with just  hint of peat. After a few minutes of sheer pleasure the grasses and hay grow slightly more dominant.

Oh goodness, this is a real first for me as I say "Nose: Scarborough".

Moving eventually onwards, by a good 40 years, I'm back in my dining room with a rather astonishing Port Ellen and if you thought my description of the nose was slightly unusual, then prepare youself for a little more poetic license as the palate offers a surreal combination of flavours. Basically, this whisky is akin to a peat terrine served amidst a raspberry coulis with a dressing of hay, sprinkled with rosemary, although parsley, sage and thyme were not present at this particular Scarborough Fayre!

With 4 drops of water: That tide just crashed over the wall and presented us with a face full of Scarborough's finest maritime shower. This also left the palate slightly more salty, but also with a development of herbal fruitiness alongside the peat.

A further 4 drops of water and the nose is even more 'maritime' with oodles of fresh, salty sea-air but also with a slight suggestion of dentist's surgery. The palate is now much smoother and also sweeter with lighter peat and a fruitiness which can only be matched by Cantaloupe melon dancing on the roof of the mouth, whilst the herbs and peat occupy the tongue.

Finally I give this dram a splurge of water which weakens the nose but makes the palate extremely smooth, only lightly smoky, but with lots of that sea-air and subtle fruit (cantaloupe melon), plus the faintest suggestion of butterscotch and heather blossom.

Magnificent. More, more, I want more! Now!!!



Thursday December 23rd

Laphroaig CS Batch 002

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 23"


Laphroaig 10y, Cask Strength, Batch 002, 58.3% Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, the Laphroaig's open so I'll have some of that!

A quick look at the bottle label tells me that this golden amber colour is thanks to the addition of some caramel (E150a) in spite of the tube talking about uncompromising purity, oh well, maybe one day..

Although I will certainly vouch for some uncompromising power when it comes to the nose, there's true Islay peat and lots of it, but also plenty of that Laphroaig maritime 'je ne sais quoi' which personnifies the slightly dilapidated wood of an old Islay jetty, soaked for many years in the salty Atlantic. I do like a good Laphroaig nose and this is certainly one of them.

It's almost 60% abv but still quite smooth as the peat encompasses the palate and just grows almost exponentially on it.

With 4 drops of water the nose sympathises even more with The Atlantic whilst the palate lightens sligthly even to the point of gaining a little fruit.

A further 4 drops of water bring some of that light fruit to the nose and smoothens the palate much more too.

The finish is very long and very peaty with a little of that fruit making an appearance too. In fact at this stage the fruit is almost red apple.

I'm not sure this is quite as good as batch 001 in 2009, but it is good, very good and thank you very much, I think I'll have another!



Wednesday December 22nd

Blackstone 18y (Aldi Süd)

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 22"


Blackstone 18y Highland Single Malt, 40% Each year for the Festive Season, Aldi Süd offers a rather inexpensive bottling under their own "Blackstone" label. This year it's a Highland Single Malt of 18 years, but is it any good? Well, at €16.99 per bottle (yes, you read that correctly it's under €17 for an 18y single malt!) I just had to nip into my local Aldi and get hold of one.

Those dreaded words "Mit Farbstoff" are not present on the label, so it's not had any caramel (E150a) added to the cask during maturation and it does have a rather nice rich gold or light amber appearance.

The nose is surprisingly aromatic with what I can only describe as floral perfumed wood, which increases in intensity as the minutes in the glass pass. This eventually leads to slightly malty nuts with some (unidentifiable to me) underlying fruit.

The palate doesn't quite live up to the nose as it does have some dry nuts, but it is noticeably thin or watery and expands into hints of dried grasses and eventually turns a little oily too.

The finish is long and floral, with an emphasis on the floral.

Well, I normally quite like lighter and more floral whiskies, but somehow this one more or less exactly failed to please the palate. Perhaps it's the 40%, perhaps it wasn't the best cask in the warehouse, who knows? It just left me slightly disappointed.

But wait a moment, let's look at price, this was a mere €17 for an 18y single malt and it is drinkable, just not a classic, but worlds better than some I tried this year! If all else fails; Hot Toddy anyone?



Tuesday December 21st

Glen Garioch Founders Reserve

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 21"


Glen Garioch, Founders Reserve, 46% Glen Garioch have recently not only changed their packaging and presentations, but also their range of whisky. Previously I was quite a fan of the 8y, 10y & 15y, but this new Founders Reserve seems to be the entry-level whisky which replaces the 8y, but how does it compare?

To start with it has a rich dark golden colour, perhaps touching on amber.

The nose is one initially of malt, followed by hazelnuts and then light vanilla with a touch of wood. In fact I am suddenly reminded of an ice cream or iced lolly (as we call them in the UK) on a stick after the ice cream or iced fruit has been eaten, leaving slightly fruity vanilla mingled with the wood.

The palate begins with biscuit and creamy toffee then after a while expands into a musty leafiness alongside slightly toasted butterscotch and then a hint of raspberry leading into the finish. During this experience the tingle or slight pepperiness focuses right on the very front of the palate.

The finish is really quite long.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nose which promised much for the palate, but unfortunately, although many flavours were present, they seemed to be struggling against each other for prominence and were certainly not singing in harmony from the same song sheet. Perhaps this is a local choir on the street corner, but each singing a slightly different Christmas Carol?



Monday December 20th

Glenfarclas 1987 "QC"

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 20"


Glenfarclas 1987 Quarter Casks, 46% It's that time of year again and how could I possibly run an Advent-urous series without revisiting one of my definitive Christmas dram?

A lovely amber colour sits glowing in my classic malt glass just beggin me to savour this whisky.

The nose is one of Slightly musty wood, dark fruits (primarily figs and plums) and faint violet giving a rather fragrant floral presence which certainly wasn't present last time.

Floral wood, dark fruits comprising plums, figs and raisins and just a touch of something rather aromatic and slightly perfumed, perhaps lavendar caresses the palate

The finish is delightfully long and slightly dry right at the end.

I speak so often about this being one of my definitive Christmas whiskies and it is still so, but this dram was from the last third of a bottle which has been some time and as such, it seems to have totally lost the leather effects and gained some more floral and perfumed ones which make it slightly different, but still excellent!




Sunday December 19th

Caol Ila 8y "Zinfandel"

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 19"


Caol Ila 2000, 8y, Zinfandel finish, Murray McDavid 46%  This Caol Ila was distilled in 2000 and then bottled at 8 years of age after being 'finished', sorry "ACE'd" in Zinfandel casks.

The colour hints at the wine as it's very rich, dark oak but with a distinct coppery red hue.

As for the nose it's initially rubbery and smoky in a sweet kind of way alongside notes of wood. I have sat pondering this one for quite some time as there's also something else evident on the nose which I really can't place, other than to say it's quite red. Yes, really!

The palate is very smooth and really quite smoky in a typical Caaol Ila kind of way, but it also has a sweet fruity tang, in a rather untypical Caol Ila way.

The finish is very long, too long.

Oh dear, I was really looking forward to trying this one as I do tend to like Caol Ila offerings, but this is one clear-cut case where the wine finishing just doesn't work. Who would believe that a wine finish could totally overpower a whisky like Caol Ila? Sorry chaps, I usually don't mind a well executed wine finish, but sadly not this one.




Saturday December 18th

Arran Rowan Tree

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 18"


Isle of Arran, "Icons of Arran #2" The Rowan Tree, 46% abv  Today I have chosen to revisit a whisky I first tried back in the summer and really enjoyed.

This "Rowan Tree" is the second in the Icons of Arran series and follows the highly successful "Peacock" first edition last year.

The colour is a clear yellow gold and the nose offers plenty of wood with hints of rubber.

The palate begins with a coffee cream truffle type of chocolate, in fact it even has hints of dark chocolate too before it moves on to sweet raisins and plums.

The finish is long with chocolate and even very slightly smoky.

This is a  good whisky but for some reason I felt a little let down compared to my first experience of it, but it's still well worthy of trying and it's far from any kind of failure.



Friday December 17th

Glen Grant 38y "Whisky Doris"

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 17"


Glen Grant, 38y, Whisky Doris, 52.4% abv  This is a single cask Glen Grant from a German IB and internet seller called Whisky Doris.

The colour is as one may normally expect from such a well-aged whisky, it's what I can only describe as absolutely glowing rich amber.

On the foreground of the nose is a very well looked after and polished solid oak dining table, but after a few minutes this lightens somewhat to include some delightful and extremely floral notes, almost akin to my favourite Alpine meadow in full Spring-time bloom.

The palate is what I can only describe as 'full power' as it exhudes that well polished oak whilst still managing to find room for fresh herbal flora.

Just 4 drops of water manage to make this even more intensely floral and also considerably smoother on the palate.

A further 4 drops of water now create a much lighter nose which is still very floral, whereas the palate still comprises lots of that lovely old oak, but somehow appears more 'open'.

The finish is delightfully long, very long, maybe extremely long, but no matter how long it is, it just can't be long enough as I could savour this for at least the next month or two.

What can I say? This is a delightful whisky, a truly magnificent example which I feel is destined for greatness in my own hall of Dram-tabulous fame. Will it even make my top 10 of all time? Quite possibly, I'll keep you informed. Yes, this wonderful dram has replaced the Yamazaki heavily peated single cask at No.10.



Thursday December 16th

Glenfarclas 105 (new design)

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 16"


Glenfarclas 105, new design, 60% abv  Today I get to try an old favourite, especially so for the festive season, but this time it has a new shiny livery, but how does the whisky compare?

Well, it certainly has a rich dark amber colour to hint at the sherried goodness to come....

Aged oak and dark fruits are abundantly present on the nose, but so is something slightly floral which gives this a lovely depth, rather than great complexity. After a few minutes there's a hint of wax furniture polish and then a little later comes that fine Italian leather.

Lots of dark fruits (currants, plums, raisins) are again evident on the palate, as are some mixed nuts after a few seconds, but this is pretty intrusive at 60% and I'm sure it will benefit fom a few drops of water.

With 4 drops of water: The wood and leather are immediately concentrated on the nose whereas the fruit and wood are more prominent on the palate. The fruit is also quite a bit sweeter with the drops of water.

With 4 more drops of water: Massive aromatic oak on the nose and nuts, wood and sherry on the palate, but now with a little more pepper, albeit less intrusively.

With a further 4 drops of water: Much lighter nose and more floral elements on the palate, although still with lots of wood.

Finish: Very long, extremely so with water.

I just can't help but say this is an excellent whisky for this time of year. It personnifies the season with dark fruits, nuts, lots of wood, hints of sherry and something quite aromatic. Just settle down, enjoy it and may all your Christmasses be 105.



Wednesday December 15th

The TweedDale Blend

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 15"


TweedDale blend, batch #1, one of 1252 bottles, 46% abv  A blend? I hear you ask. Yes indeed is my reply and a very good one too, may I say at the risk of letting the secret out of the bag early.

I'll create a full page in my tasting notes for TweedDale in the next few days, but at the moment let me say that this is an old 'recipe' passed down through generations and now recreated for the first time since the start of WWII when production was stopped. Richard Day, the Great Grandson of Richard Day has now not only recreated the TWeedDale blend, but has released the first batch of 1252 bottles.

The TweedDale sits in the glass glowing golden yellow and then offers a nose which is initially slightly leafy, a little like an English country lane on a cool and damp Autumnal early morning. After a minute or so this extends to include honey, nuts and a hint of vanilla.

The palate is delightfully smooth with a surprisingly 'big' flavour after that nose. It is still leafy, but also has nuts, ripe red apples, honey and a good share of malt. Is that some dark fruit in there too? Maybe raisins or even plums?

The finish is long and slightly dry right at the end.

I was quite surprised by the depth of the palate, it is definitely 'big' in a very smooth and rich way which makes this an excellent blended whisky, ideal for accompanying a Christmas Day sojourn after lunch in your favourite armchair!




Wednesday December 15th

A Maniac in the Making

"The road to Certification"


I remember some years ago  when I first came across a website called Malt Maniacs, thinking that these were some really serious malt-heads. I was looking at a group of extremely knowledgeable folk who not only seemed to know almost everything there is to know about single malts, but who also had some extremely impressive drammage behind them. It was far beyond my comprehension that one day I might just be invited to join their ranks.

That's right, one doesn't just 'join' as such, one has to be invited rather like a very exclusive Gentlemen's Club that one aspires to.

Well, earlier this year I offered an article, or what is known as an E-Pistle for their consideration and behold, they not only accepted it but also published it on their website.

From the feedback I received the E-Pistle was obviously well received by the readers and it seems, by the Maniacs too as today I received an invitation from what I will call the Director General (possibly known as 'J') of the Malt Maniacs asking if I may like to join them.

After due consideration, which lasted as long as it took me to type the word "yes", I accepted the offer and now here I am, beginning my probationary period with 'J' and the other 'MM's wondering what kind of initiation ceremony I may be subjected to in order to attain my official certification as a Maniac. Rest assured I'll keep you informed, but one thing I do know is that this is just the start of my journey and not a time to rest on any laurels I may perceive myself to have.

My sincerest thanks to 'J' and the other 'MM's for inviting me and already making me feel so welcome, along with a dear friend in real life who received his invitation today too: Congratulations Oliver of Dramming fame!



Tuesday December 14th

Craiglodge 2001-5, Cask 223

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 14"


Craiglodge 2001-5, cask 223, 45% ABV,  Today I finally get to sample the last of the Loch Lomond brands to complete my 'set'.

The colour of this one is not too far removed from new make as it really is very pale.

The nose offers a hint of the peat in this expression, but also rubber, vanilla, leather and a quite tangy zest. After some minutes I get a sense of the typical warm milk content of baby vomit which I put down to its immaturity, possibly quite literally!

The palate is suprisingly smooth with that light rubber, peat, smoke and eventually a peppery tingle rigth at the front of the palate.

The finish is surprisingly long with a fruity peat which lingers pleasantly.

I have to say that this peated offering from the Loch Lomond stable is not amongst my favourites, primarily because it is quite immature at only 4 years of age, but given the opportunity I would like to try another older one at some point in the future as I feel it has some promise.



Monday December 13th

Mackmyra Preludium 03

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 13"


Mackmyra, Preludium 03, 52.2% ABV,  I guess this is as near to Santa's hometown that I will get this year as I head over to Sweden to try Mackmyra's 1996 edition of pre-release whisky called Preludium 03.

The nose offers lots of aromatic grasses and hay in the foreground as quite fresh pine and herbal notes including Jumiper follow on soon afterwards.

The palate is exceptionally smooth and also carries grass and hay followed by a quick burst of aniseed which really is a quick burst as it chooses not to linger but fades gently to warming juniper.

4 Drops of water intensify the grasses and hay on the nose whilst adding a hint of wood to the palate.

The finish is very long, again with lingering grasses and hay following that initial juniper.

A fine warming dram for the festive season, even if it is lighter and fresher than the more traditional sherried heavyweights. But there's nothing wrong with that. I like it!



Sunday December 12th

Sazerac Straight Rye

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 12"


Sazerac Straight Rye, 45% ABV,  A quick hop over the pond today sees me trying a whiskey I've wanted to try for some time now; Sazerac straight rye.

A vibrant golden light amber colour makes this look very appetising whilst a nose of new, luxurious Italian fine leather, aromatic herbs and lavendar-flavoured candy floss suggests this one has much to offer.

The palate is rich and sweet with some very floral herbs including a hint of lavendar. There's also a gentle oakiness infused with oil of orange.

Three drops of water cause the nose to explode with yet more floral notes but les of the leather ones, whilst the palate becomes slightly drier.

A very long finish is also quite floral at the end. In fact the finish is even longer with the drops of water.

Most pleasant and thoroughly enjoyable!



Saturday December 11th

Imperial 12y, G&M CS

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 11"


Imperial 12y, 1997-2010, G&M, 61.6% ABV,  This may have a lovely golden honey colouring, but wow, what a nose! This is everything I love in a whisky; extremely floral and light, but with a complexity of not only flora, also the contents of my proverbial olde worlde sweet shoppe where everything is open and unwrapped, seducing the customer to overfil their little pick & mix bags.

The palate is primarily malt and toffee but it is also quite intrusive as it needs water to break down that 61%.

Four drops of water do indeed help as the nose becomes slightly more delicate and the palate even richer with butterscotch and toffee.

Another 4 drops help even further to open the nose and smoothen the palate, as indeed do a further 4 drops as this whisky turns into a delicate and smooth delight.

The finish is extremely long, in fact it was possibly even longer without the water but it does need the water to help develop the extra attributes.

This is another excellent Imperial and just helps cement my liking of this closed and highly threatened distillery.



Friday December 10th

Bowmore 12y, Adelphi

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 10"


Bowmore 12y, 1998-2010, Adelphi, 61.9% ABV,  Today's dram is an independent Bowmore from Adelphi, a bottler usually renowned for good cask selection.

This particular dram has an excellent sunny amber colour and an immediately gentle nose of not only smoky peat, but also rich summer fruits, but hang on a minute, I have an inherent fear of the dentist and suddenly I detect that unmistakable aroma of dentist's surgery. Thankfully this doesn't last and is soon replaced by smoky oak and finest Italian leather.

The palate is a combination or cocktail of smoke, peat and mango making for a pleasant, but quite unusual experience.

What comes across loud and clear is that this needs water!

Just 4 drops release much more smoky oak onto the nose and the palate is much smoother and fruitier for a few seconds until the peat returns.

A further 4 drops of water enable the smoke, fruit and peat to dominate the nose whilst the palate explodes into peppery, tingly liquorice right on the front of the tongue.

Another 4 drops of water just fill the nose with light peat, smoke and aged oak, whilst the palate is again much smoother and less peppery, allowing the peat, smoke and fruit to vie for prominence.

Finally I go wild with the pipette and allow what can only be described as a splurge of water into the whisky and what a difference it makes as dark fruits, smoke and peat make for a truly harmonised nose. The palate is a silky smooth and fruity delight, albeit a little sweeter. After some minutes the nose is just dominated by the most aromatically smoky Black Forest (Schwarzwald) ham!

Finally a long, smoky, peaty and fruity finish convince me that Adelphi have succeeded once again!



Thursday December 9th

Coleburn, Old Train Line 26y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 9"


JWWW (Jack Wieber) is a German independent bottler who does seem to find decent casks and without letting too much out of the bag too early, this is another!

This Coleburn is bottled under his "Old Train Line" label and is a 26y expression initially offering a nice rich yellow-gold colour with a hint of oak in there too.

The nose immediately transports me to a certain, quite high Alpine meadow which my wife and I discovered during a Spring-time holiday in Süd Tirol. It is just filled with wild, very aromatic Alpine flowers, but that's not all as after a few minutes a very aromatic cheese (Alm Käse) joins the party.

The palate begins with malt and butterscotch but is soon joined by grasses and flora from that Alpine meadow before a sligthly dry orange guides it gently into the long finish.

4 Drops of water really intensify the nose further but pacify the palate into a soft and gentle floral delight.

Can you tell, I love this whisky!



Wednesday December 8th

Nant Distillery, Tasmania

"Under the Spotlight"



As I mentioned below in todays Advent-urous  offering, I am somewhat revelling in small farm and Estate distilleries for a change. In fact, a few days ago I was contacted by Keith Batt, owner of Nant Estate in Tasmania asking if I had heard of his distillery and, to be honest, no I hadn't.

A quick exploration with my old friend google soon put that right as I discovered the existence of an estate in Tasmania called Nant. It seems that the Batt family had acquired the estate in 2004 with the intention of restoring it to former glories and beyond.

Firstly they restored the old mill, creating also a longe and bar, then in 2005 they decided the next phase should be a fully working distillery and future plans also include restoring the old bakery and stable complex to floor maltings, but enough from me as I now hand over to Keith Batt himself to tell us about his distillery and future plans for the Nant Estate:

G'Day Keith and many thanks for agreeing to be subjected to one of my "Under the Spotlight" interviews.

Thank you for the opportunity to feature Nant

I see from your website that the Nant distillery is part of a large Estate and is being renovated in various stages. Was there a distillery here previously, or what made you decide to found one?

Nant was first settled in 1821 and is one of the oldest country estates in Tasmania if not Australia. We grow barley, poppies, breed augus cattle and stud sheep. So it's a working farm. On the estate are 12 heritage listed buildings dating back from about 1823. Most are convict built sandstone buildings. Part of the farm complex is the Nant water mill built in 1823 and after restoration work is the only only commercially operating water mill in Australia. We use it every week to grist the barley to make our wort. The mill was derelict when I bought Nant and I turned it into a Whisky distillery, so it is a  new business. Whisky making is not new to Tasmania there were about 16 distilleries around the 1830's but all went out of operation at one time or another. I decided to build the distillery after being inspired by other distilleries in Tasmania and Scotland. The setting at Nant is  also very much like Scotland.

The website tells us that work began on the distillery in 2005, obviously you are now producing spirit, but when did the first spirit run and what, perhaps unforseen, problems did you encounter?

The first spirit came off the stills in Feb 2008. We have two copper pot stills and we produce about  four 100 litre barrels a week so it is a small operation. Probably our biggest problem was setting the operation to produce a spirit that matched my expectation. We played around with things a lot to get it right particularly water temperature. We run the operation 5 days a week 52 weeks of the year and I have 5 staff.

Your business is still young, but what are your intentions for your product line(s). Are you aiming for just one or a series of standard expressions? Also, what types of cask do you use?

We mainly produce small cask bottlings so we have a lot of single malt expressions coming out in the next 12 months and eventually a peated Whisky. There is  a ready supply of peat in Tasmania. We use American and French oak casks that have previously held sherry, bourbon, port and wine.

I wanted to produce a smooth easy drinking Whisky in the first instance but with a depth and complexity of character so that  it was interesting. A peated expression is few years away.
It is
also very interesting vatting different casks to produce different malt whisky styles.

Which are your current main target markets? or should I be more specific and ask if you export to Europe as yet?

We sell our Whisky all around the world but France has been very good.

Your website also states that maturation is in your own estate warehousing. How does your warm climate specifically affect this, is maturation, or should I say the development of the whisky's attributes, quicker than we would expect from northern European whiskies?

I store the casks in old sandstone building on the estate and they have very thick stone walls and stone floors so they keep the temperature fairly constant at about 12 degrees year round. I think that our Whisky does mature faster though in the smaller casks with a higher wood to spirit ratio.

We also grow barley at Nant but as yet we don't have floor maltings but it is on the horizon. My goal is to produce a single estate malt where the barley is grown on the estate, malted and then distilled. 

I hope this helps to tell our story about whisky in the Tasmanian highlands.

All the very best
Keith Batt



Wednesday December 8th

Kilchoman, Spring 2010

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 8"


Kilchoman, Spring 2010 Release,  Today we're staying small and quite farmy so to speak, not in flavours but more a case of locations as my Advent-urous dram for the day is Kilchoman's Spring 2010 release, but as you will soon see, I will also be featuring another 'farm' distillery in one of my "Under The Spotlight" interviews.

But first to Kilchoman: Kilchoman's whisky is indeed maturing nicely as it glows in the glass with a slight amber touch to the pale yellow colour.

The nose begins with a touch of rubber but then expands to include hints of salty wood.

That aromatic rubber translates onto the palate but is joined by lots of fruit in the form of raspberry, banana and pear, but also with a hint of fresh wood.

4 Drops of water increase the smoky rubber on the nose and bring out more smoky peat on the palate.

The finish is very long with more of that smoky fruit.

Kilchoman has shown lots of promise from the first releases of new spirit and that promise is now beginning ot be delivered as the whisky matures nicely. I'm longing to try this as 8y & 10y expressions!



Tuesday December 7th

Bunnahabhain, 27y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 7"


Bunnahabhain 27y, distilled 1979, 46% ABV, "Single Malts of Scotland",  Today I'm staying with Bunnahabhain as I review another treat from this often under-rated distillery.

Rich gold in colour and with a nose of peat, malt and popcorn followed after some minutes by exotic fruits this whisky is definitely calling my name. I savour the nose for a good few minutes before committing it to my palate and finding a rather peppery surprise.

It may only be 46% but it's telling me I should add a few drops of water, which I quickly do and immediately find a much more fruity character. The nose and palate now have slightly bitter fruits with pear, star-fruit and green apple.

A further 4 drops of water, carefully administered from my trusty pipette, bring a little smoke back to the nose and the palate is just slightly peppery with a delightful Islay cocktail of peach, apricot, a little peat and fresh Atlantic sea-air.

A long finish rounds off this Bunny which I conclude as being dram fine and even better with a few drops of water!



Monday December 6th

Bunnahabhain, 32y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 6"


Bunnahabhain 32y, distilled 1976, 43.1% ABV, "The Whisky Cask",  Todays Advent-urous dram is a real treat in the form of an Independent 'Bunny' from "The Whisky Cask", distilled in 1976 and bottled at 32 years of age.

Light yellow in colour, this whisky looks inoffensive enough but wow, what a nose! Initially sweet and fruity, followed by light peat and Atlantic Sea-air and then a blast of typical Scottish countryside with grass and heather. This is just like sitting on an Atlantic Beach with a lump of sweet fruity peat and then turning round to enjoy grass and heather covered hills.

Then comes the most unusual aspect of this whisky; The palate which basically uncovers a split personality. Firstly there's slightly smoky liquorice right on the front of the tongue, but then dry fruity peat cements itself to the roof of the mouth as it offers a slightly smoky and sour cocktail of redcurrants, star-fruit and pears.

4 Drops of water add suggestions of smoky bacon to the nose, whilst the palate just finds even more intensity.

This is a truly surprising, unique and quite magnificent whisky which I feel is knocking at the door of my all-time Top 10 drams.



Monday December 6th

An Award-Winning Interlude

"Medals, medals, all around"



Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt this Advent-urous service to bring you news of yet more awards in the world of whisky. In fact "world" of whisky is indeed fitting in this case as, after the announcement of the Malt Maniacs (2010) Awards last week, we now hear from Davin, Master of the superb Canadian Whisky website that he has personally subjected his liver to not only over 260 drams for the MM award process, but also every Canadian whisky released in 2010.

Yes, Davin has now announced the results of his Canadian Whisky Awards 2010

Congratulations Davin for putting Canadian Whiskies firmly on the map and also a big "well done" to all the worthy winners!

(Normal service will be resumed later today)


Sunday December 5th

Highland Park, 18y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 5"


Highland Park 18y, 43% ABV Highland Park whiskies have always been something of a favourite of mine as they have epitomised smoothness and superb flavours, so I am pleased to include HP 18y in my Advent-urous line-up for today.

The colour is a rich (yellow) gold and the nose offers all those wonderful Scottish aromas of heather blossom, moss, honey and then just a hint of smoke.

The palate is delightfully smooth and yet rich in flavour with quite a lot of fruit. I'm surprised to find raspberry and redcurrant, but also raisins and the whole package is wrapped in a bouquet of heather and honey, then lightly smoked over an open peat bonfire.

A long finish completes the experience which I can only describe as smooth, intense excellence.



Saturday December 4th

Redbreast, 12y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 4"



Redbreast 12y, 40% ABV As a special treat today I visit, at least in my imagination, one of my favourite countries; Ireland in order to sample Redbreast 12y from Midleton distillery.

A rich golden, almost amber colour greets me from my classic malt glass and follows with a wonderfully rich and aromatic nose of butterscotch, light creamy toffee, a hint of caramel and some delightful oil of orange.

The palate offers slightly scorched orange and cardamom seeds whilst also retaining that delightful and aromatic, floral fruitiness.

The finish is long, very long, with a rich peachiness and more of that orange.

To summarise, this is an extremely flavoursome and enjoyable whiskey, but just a little thin at 40%.



Friday December 3rd

Karuizawa, 15y

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 3"



Karuizawa 15y, 40% ABV Today we venture to a Japanese distillery which has done exceedingly well in the recently announced Malt Maniacs (2010) Awards.

This particular bottling is their standard 15y edition and announces its presence with a rich, dark aged oak colour. The nose is filled with dark fruits, sherry and more of that aged oak, albeit quite sweet.

Yet more dark fruits on the palate with sweet plums, raisins, black cherries and just a tad of faint smoke which leads nicely into the very long finish.

This is a good whisky with some great aromas and flavours, but at 40% I feel it needs just a wee bit more 'oomph' which would make it bloody marvellous and a great.



Thursday December 2nd

Glenglassaugh 1976, 32y, Signatory CS Collection

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 2"



Signatory, Glenglassaugh 32y, 1976, 44.4% ABV, CS collection: here's an old pre-1986 (closure) example of Glenglassaugh from Signatory's CS collection.

The colour is that of pale yellow or light straw and the nose immediately offers lots of barley and grains, before turning a little more aromatic. In fact, I'm convinced that I'm standing in a distillery, right by the working malt mill, standing alongside someone wearing sandalwood perfume.

The palate is deliciously smooth with lots of light wood and aromatic grasses and then ... bread dough with a suggestion of lavendar!

Whereas the nose is even more intense with 4 drops of water and the palate gains some toffee elements, the medium to long finish becomes much shorter.

Floral grasses and bread dough with a suggestion of lavendar? Well worth a try in my opinion.




Wednesday December 1st

Bowmore 13y MMcD Chateau Petrus

"Advent-urous Dram-atics 1"



Murray McDavid, Bowmore 13y, 1996, 46% ABV, Chateau Petrus Casks: Welcome to my first day of Advent-urous dramming for the festive season as I begin with a most unusual whisky; A Bowmore 13y from MMcD which has been finished in Chateau Petrus red wine casks.

Unusual? Firstly the colour is one of rather transluscent copper, then the nose begins with a good old burst of peat but soon opens to include sweet fruit, but then continues to explore realms of smoky red wine.

The palate tries to convince us of a very smooth creaminess, but then turns into a pepperiness which is concentrated exclusively right on the front of tongue. The fruitiness follows with marinated apricot, banana,  more red (or rosé) wine and red fruits (red currant, raspberry) leading into the very long and fruity finish.

As I said, this is indeed a most unusual dram which is greatly influenced by those Chateau Petrus casks and I am quite undecided if this finish works for me as it really does appear as smoky peat marinated in (good) red wine. Even so, it's well worth trying and certainly not at all bad!




Wednesday December 1st

Christmas is coming, or

"Advent-urous Dram-atics"


Starting from later this evening I'll be dedicating Dram-atics, my liver and my December evenings to the "Advent-urous" task of a dram a day as we lead up to the point where Santa crawls down my chimney and we enjoy a good old dram together, perhaps enjoying tales of Christmas past, present and future too.

In addition, starting this month I'll be commencing a new feature of a monthly recommendation which will of course be whisky-related, but it could be anything in that area from an actual dram, distillery, bottler or whatever takes my fickle fancy.







Previous major features

Nov. 2010

Journey to end of Scotverse, Wick, Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Homecoming, Tweetup, Chilling with Cooley

October 2010

The John Walker, Sampling with Master of Malts, Changing jobs, Whisky Round Table

Sept. 2010

Playing Chinese whispers, Oktoberfest, SMWS Spirit Cellar, 500,000

August 2010

Elementary my dear Islay, Handbags at dawn, Dram-arkable 500, Cheapo Challenge, Ah Dooagh, 1 from 3 left

July 2010

Age matters. A series of whisky reviews concentrating upon 'Age'

June 2010

Jules Rimet, pickles & crisps. Mon coeur, mon amour oh mon sherry. A taste of the great outdoors.

May 2010

The highly-acclaimed and record-breaking "Desert Island Drams"

April 2010

My peat's bigger than your peat, A foursome with a famous Scottish bird

March 2010

Sample Mania tasting notes, The Good, the Bad & The Loch Dh-Ugly, A return to sanity, The Choice of Managers

Jan-Feb 2010

Keep taking the medicine, It's Festival time, Maker's Mark, Sleeveless in Munich

Dec. 2009

All power to the bean-counters, protecting Scotch, seasonal drams, Definitive Xmas Drams, 2009 Whisky Awards

Nov. 2009

How it all started, Bonfire night, Autumnal musings, EU Tax & Duty, What's in a (whisky) name?




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