Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Tasty Drams of 2015

2015 is drawing near an end and it's about time to start my list of absolutely fabulous whisky discoveries of the year.

It has been a rather busy year. During the calm summer months I migrated the dutch blog from the Tumblr platform to the Blogger environment I already used for the english blog. Both blogs also use the same layout now. This should save me some work so I can focus more on the whisky itself.

This year also brought some very good news for our family. Next year we (I and mrs. C) will be welcoming our first wee little one. The bad news is that my whisky budget will plummet to something very close to... nil.

Anyway here's the tasty list of drams I enjoyed the most!

Blended Malts: Scallywag Cask Strength

  • Douglas Laing
  • NAS blended Speyside malt
  • 53.6 % ABV
  • 6000 bottles
Scallywag Cask Strength

Tasting notes

Colour: Golden dark amber.
Nose: Coffee, balsamico, cherries, oranges, ginger bread.
Taste: Cherry wood, chocolate, dried fruits, baking spices.
Finish: Warm tobacco, chocolate.

Read the full review of Scallywag Cask Strength

Runners-up: Mark Dermul's Frankendram and Douglas Laing's Yula

Single Malt NAS: Ardbeg Auriverdes

  • Ardbeg Distillery, Port Ellen
  • NAS
  • 49.9% ABV
Ardbeg Auriverdes (Feis Ile 2014)

Tasting notes

Colour: A golden hue.
Nose: Coffee beans, vanilla, toasted bread, pickles, smokiness.
Taste: Green peppers, creamy coffee, crispy wood, grapefruit.
Finish: Bread, milk, white chocolate, coffee.

Read the full review of Ardbeg's Auriverdes

Runners-up: None. This was the only NAS single malt I reviewed this year. Maybe I'll do better next year.

Single Malt Lowlands: The Whisky Mercenary Littlemill 1992

  • Littlemill Distillery (Closed & Demolished)
  • 21 year old single malt
  • 52.9 % ABV
  • Distilled in 1992 - bottled in 2014
  • Ex-bourbon cask
The Whisky Mercenary Littlemill 1992

Tasting notes

Colour: Pale straw yellow with slow legs.
Nose: Grass, vanilla and young white grapes. Scented candles and peach sherbet.
Taste: Freshly cut grass and vanilla. Creamy lemon tart, oak and grapes.
Finish: Slightly dry, citrus, dried banana.

Read the full review of The Whisky Mercenary's Littlemill 1991

Runner-up: Malts of Scotland Bladnoch 1991

Single Malt Speyside: Benromach 10 year old 100° proof

  • Benromach Distillery, Forres
  • 10 year old single malt
  • 57 % ABV
Benromach 10 year old 100° proof

Tasting notes

Colour: Deep copper in colour.
Nose: Burned and smoky caramel, vanilla pods and toasted wood. Dirty Bunna sherry.
Taste: Sweet chili, ginger and tamarind. Gingerbread and a puff of smoke.
Finish: Candied oranges and dark chocolate with raisins.

Read the full review of Benromach 10 - 100° proof

Runners-up: Berry Bros. & Rudd Benriach 1996 and Craigellachie 21 - Craigellachie Hotel exclusive

Single Malt Highlands: Tomatin Cuatro Manzanilla 

  • Tomatin Distillery
  • 12 year old single malt
  • 46 % ABV
  • Distilled 15 January 2001 - bottled 20 August 2014
  • Manzanilla sherry finish | 1500 bottles
Tomatin Cuatro Manzanilla finish 12yo

Tasting notes

Colour: A golden whisky that leaves oily traces.
Nose: Nuts, eucalyptus and condensed milk. Lots of fruity notes and salted nuts.
Taste: Sweet and spicy. Pepper and peppermint. Cinnamon, tobacco and dried fruits.
Finish: Wallnuts, pepper and ground spices.

Read the full review of Tomatin's Cuatro Manzanilla

Runners-up: Chapter 7 Ben Nevis 1996 and SMWS 66.51 Hospitals on Guy Fawkes Night

Single malt Islands: Highland Park Thor

  • Highland Park Distillery, Kirkwall
  • 16 year old single malt
  • 52.1 % ABV
  • 23.000 bottles
Highland Park Thor - Walhalla series

Tasting notes

Colour: Recently brushed copper.
Nose: Caramelised brown sugar, refined smokiness and maritime influences.
Taste: Sweet cinnamon and HP smoky flavours. Swiss raisin pastry and violet candy.
Finish: A warming finish and slightly spicy.

Read the full review of Highland Park's Thor

Runners-up: SMWS 31.28 Going nuts in a rugby club changing room and Chapter 7 Arran 1996

Single Malt Islay: Old Particular Laphroaig 14 (Feis Ile bottling)

  • Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen
  • 14 year old
  • 48.4% ABV
  • Distilled in February 2001, bottled in February 2015
  • Refill sherry butt DL 10694 | 636 bottles
Douglas Laing Old Particular Laphroaig 14 (Feis Ile 2015 release)

Tasting notes

Colour: Golden barley hue.
Nose: Signature Laphroaig peat and tar. Mashed raspberries and soft haribo bears.
Taste: Toasted wood and bandages. Red fruit, seaweed and earthy peat.
Finish: Salty lemons, smoke and eucalytpus.

Read the full review of Douglas Laing's Feis Ile 14 year old Laphroaig

Runners-up: Kilchoman 100% Islay 4th edition and Murray McDavid 1978 Bunnahabhain

Spiritual discovery: Marca Negra Espadin Mezcal

In 2015 I learned to appreciate those smoky mezcal's. After reading a few mouthwatering reviews, buying the book Distilled from Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison and a quick shout on Twitter, I split a bottle of Marca Negra Espadin with Sjoerd from Malt Fascination. It took me a dram or two to get the knack of it but.... there are some bloody good malternatives (sorry Serge) out there. 
  • Espadin Mezcal Marca Negra 
  • Marca Negra
  • White spirit
  • 51.3 % ABV
  • Batch MJ18-14 | Bottle 911/1500
Mezcal Marca Negra Espadin agave

Tasting notes

Colour: A white spirit with an oily touch.
Nose: Fresh herbs, sweet sour notes, vanilla, wet peppercorns and wood glue.
Taste: A peppery syrup, smoke, lime juice and pink grapefruit.
Finish: Dry herbal, smoky punch and a warm afterglow.

Read the full review of Marca Negra Espadin Mezcal

That's it for now. 2015 passed like a refurbished Millenium Falcon entering Hyperspace. Time to slow down a bit and enjoy the holidays with friends and family (and drinks, let's not forget drinks). Very few lines will be written in the next few days but don't worry. I'll be back in 2016 with plenty of reviews and interesting bits and pieces of whisky news. All the best and see you in 2016!


Sunday, 13 December 2015

A.D. Rattray Caperdonich 1992

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Caperdonich distillery started life as the - very originally named - Glen Grant #2. Built by J&J Grant in 1898 the distillery was literally connected to Glen Grant with a whisky pipe to pump the new make to the first distillery.

The distillery closed its doors in 1902 in the aftermath of the Pattison crisis. The stills at Caperdonich were almost identical to those of Glen Grant, the water source and the barley were also shared with Glen Grant. It wasn't until 1965 and a new owner - Glenlivet - we saw once again new make flowing into the spirit safe.

The now renamed Caperdonich changed hands two more times to be closed for good in 2002 by Pernod Ricard. Two pot stills have been bought by The Owl distillery in Liège and are used by Etienne Bouillon to create his famous Belgian Owl single malt.

Monday, 7 December 2015

News: Tomatin new look

Tomatin range

Tomatin decided to, after The Antiquary, rebrand their entire single malt range.

As of March 2016 the Tomatin Legacy, 12 year old, Cask Strength, 14 year old, 18 year old, 1988 vintage and 36 year old will get a shiny new outfit.  j

The Monadhliath Mountains, the hills around the distillery, decorate the elegant bottle and the giftbox. The new packaging design is the final piece in the big identity puzzle that's reshaping Tomatin Distillery that was all about the tagline "The softer side of the Highlands". They are taking a strong position with #TomatinLife and their open letter to the SWA in support of a demand for transparency.

Enough chit chat, lets have a detailed look at the work of Pocket Rocket Creative. (That somehow seems a mix of Jura packaging and Glenmorangie bottles.)

Tomatin 14
Rather nice, huh?

Source: Press release Tomatin Distillery


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Gordon & Macphail Reserve Glenburgie 2002

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

This is only my second Glenburgie. And it is the second from Elgin based independent bottler Gordon & Macphail. The first one was a Maltclan club bottling. This one's bottled exclusively for Belgium and has been picked by Eric Vermeire.

Glenburgie is a key component in Ballantine's, one of the best selling blended Scotch whiskies. It is also part of a supermarketblend called Old Smuggler. The distillery started life under the name of Kilnflat Distillery. Glenburgie got completely refurbished in 2004 and produces 4.2 million litres of alcohol nowadays.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Craigellachie Verticale tasting

Craigellachie Verticale tasting
Last week's big tweet tasting from The Whisky Wire was all about Craigellachie Distillery, one of the so-called Last Great Malts from Bacardi. "Rocky Hill" Craigellachie was never a big name in the whisky industry. Most of its production goes in the Dewar's blends.

In 2014 Bacardi decided to go full frontal with 5 of its distilleries: the already well-known Aberfeldy, Glen Deveron, Aultmore, Royal Brackla and Craigellachie. And with a promise of 46% ABV and age statements, the word spread quickly among whisky geeks...

We'll go through the whole range including the 19yo Travel Retail edition and a 21yo single cask exclusive to the Craigellachie Hotel and its even more famous The Quaich whisky bar.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

News: Laphroaig Lore

Laphroaig Lore

The richest of the rich

  • Laphroaig Lore
  • Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen (Islay)
  • NAS
  • 48 % ABV
A brand new Laphroaig named Lore appeared.

Update: The Laphroaig Lore has been confirmed by distillery manager John Campbell. It will be a successor to the bicentennial  anniversary 15yo bottling.

Laphroaig Lore will be available from 18 March 2016. RRP: £75.

What the back label reads:
'Lore' is the passing of skill or tradition through word of mouth.
Encapsulating the craft passed down from generation to generation over two centuries, Laphroaig Lore is our richest expression ever.

Liquid drawn from a selection of aged casks has crafted a rich deep malt with distinctive smoke, peat and seaside minerality.

This is our story. This is Laphroaig Lore.

Laphroaig Lore

So. What do we know? It's Laphroaig. It's NAS and bottled at 48% ABV. It's a label from TTB Online. So we're not even 100% sure this whisky will see the light of day. But it's Laphroaig so fans will rejoice!

Source and pictures: Arno Kemeling

Friday, 27 November 2015

News: Aberfeldy 16

Aberfeldy 16
  • Aberfeldy 16
  • Aberfeldy Distillery, Aberlour (Speyside)
  • 16 year old single malt
  • 40 % ABV
  • Oloroso sherry cask finish

The 16 year old Aberfeldy is a new addition to the Aberfeldy line of Bacardi's Last Great Malts.

Built by the Dewar family in 1898, the distillery is one of a handful remaining in Perthshire (Edradour, Blair Athol, Deanston, Tullibardine, Glenturret and the new Strathean being the others).

The house style is rich but smooth and accessible with an emphasis on notes of honey. Abderfeldy 16  is entirely finished in premium Oloroso sherry casks, allowing a sumptuous and more pronounced sherry accent to the malt, giving a suggestion of dried fruit and spicy notes that only the finest of quality casks contribute.

The long fermentation time of 70 hours allows for greater flavour development as an extended fermentation encourages the creation of more esters which in turn give the whisky fruitiness. Known as The Golden Dram, Aberfeldy’s precious water source, the Pitilie Burn, is steeped in local folklore and its qualities have long been sought-after. The burn is renowned for being rich in mineral deposits including alluvial gold.

Tasting notes

Alba’s rare alchemy, exhaling honey, citrus and spicy cloves. Sherried and full like fruitcake, then dabs of dark chocolate. A soothing Scotch elixir for a favourite couthie corner.

Theis new expression joins the existing portfolio of single malts with a 12yo and a 21yo Aberfeldy. It is described as rewardingly viscous and sweet; full of fresh fruit and buttery notes.

Priced: £62.00 / €88

Available in Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK.

Source and pictures: Bacardi/Quercus Communications


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

News: Kilchoman 10 year old

The first Kilchoman cask ever!

  • Kilchoman Cask n°1
  • Kilchoman Distillery, Bruichladdich (Islay)
  • 10 year old single malt
  • 58.2% ABV
  • Distilled 14 December 2015
  • Cask 01/2005 | 1 bottle

On the 14th of December Cask No1 at Kilchoman Distillery will turn 10 years old and while we won't be bottling the whole barrel, they will auction one bottle to celebrate the occassion and also raise some money for The Beatson Cancer Charity.

The auction,  is open to Kilchoman fans worldwide and will be hosted on the Kilchoman website on the 14th of December.

The one-off bottle will be hand bottled by Anthony Wills directly from the first cask exactly ten years after it was filled on the 14th of December 2005. Limited stocks mean that there won't be more 10 year old Kilchoman for some years however the recent illness of John MacLellan, Kilchoman Distillery Manager, and a desire to celebrate the milestone sparked Founder Anthony Wills into planning the unique bottling.

Anthony, “While our neighbouring distilleries have been celebrating far longer periods in the industry we wanted to acknowledge 10 years of Kilchoman and also raise some money for a very worthy cause which has become close to the whole Kilchoman team”.

John, “The work carried out by The Beatson Cancer Charity is exemplary in all aspects of research, treatment and after care”.

What we need to know:
  • The acution will run from 12 noon on the 7th to 12 noon on the 14th of December (GMT).
  • The auction is open to Kilchoman fans worldwide.
  • Bids will only be taken through the dedicated auction page.
  • You can bid as many times as you like.

Source and picture: Kilchoman Distillery

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Chapter 7 Irish single malt 2001

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The number 13 seems to be far from unlucky for this Irish single malt. The single cask is the younger brother of Chapter 7's bourbon cask from 2000. Thirteen years in a sherry cask made it considerably darker and richer. They are definitely closely related but developed a very different character after all.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Douglas Laing Big Peat Christmas 2015

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Holidays are coming!

Big Peat's Christmas edition is already up to its 5th edition. This festive edition from Douglas Laing's popular Islay blended malt is bottled at cask strength and features Big Peat in his Santa outfit on a peat driven sleigh.

Douglas Laing's describes Big Peat Christmas as a shovelful of the finest festive Malts from the Whisky island of Islay, including Ardbegg-nog, Coal Ila, Snowmore and Party Ellen. Pretty hard to beat that piece of copywriting, isn't it?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

News: Kilchoman Club Release 4th edition

Kilchoman Club Release Sauternes
The Kilchoman Club Release - Fourth Edition is exclusively available to members of the Club. Three fully matured Sauternes casks from January 2011 have been hand picked from the warehouse and bottled at cask strength (a whopping 60%!).

Just over 900 bottles of this unique release will be available and every bottle will be individually numbered and hand labelled.

The Club release will be available from Kilchoman's website at 10am on Monday 16th November.

The price will be £75 per bottle (70cl)

Source and pictures: Press release Kilchoman

Monday, 9 November 2015

That dreadfull Christmas and New Years wishlist

Sigh! December is almost synonymous with the question "What do you want for Christmas and New Year"? And every year I'm scratching my head and shrugging my shoulders as in "I dunno".

Well, I'm done with it. From now on I will meticulously prepare my own gift list. And oh surprise, everything in it has to do with whisky.

Book shelf

One cannot simply have enough books. And I take pride in it that every book on the shelves has been read at least once. And two hours of daily train fun help enormously in that daunting task.

200 years of Laphroaig

Hans Offringa was commissioned to update its Legend Of Laphroaig book for their 200th anniversary. The book is based upon the first edition from 2007 but differs in approach and layout. It is aimed at contemporary Laphroaig and whisky fans. The release is planned for November. To be read with a Laphroaig 15 or 16 in hand.

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2016

Ingvar Ronde's yearbook is up to its eleventh edition. The concept remains unchanged: in-depth articles and an extensive distillery section with food for number crunchers and industry stats. Essential reading!

But the distilleries went on: The Morrison Bowmore Story

Ian Buxton has already a fairly extensive number of books on his account. Glenfarclas, Glenglassaugh and The Famous Grouse are but three of the brands for which he dived into the company archives and took up his pen. Last year he wrote down the story of the Morrison family. The family company evolved from an independent player to a true giant on the market with among others, The Old Lady from Islay (Bowmore) in its portfolio.

Spirit of Place: Whisky distilleries of Scotland

Spirit of Place is the new book by grandmaster Charles MacLean. It became a typical coffee table book with a series of stunning photographs from more than 60 distilleries by Lara Platman and Allan Macdonald. And lots of trivia to impress your whisky loving friends.


No list could be complete without a few bottles of course. It's the perfect gift for the whisky geek in your life and chances are you can share in his joy right away. After all, that's what this is all about: sharing and enjoying together.

Wemyss Malts Kiln Embers

Kiln Embers

Wemyss Malts presents for the second year a limited edition blended malt. Kiln Embers is a peaty blend with twice as much Islay whisky as Peat Chimney. It is a celebration to 10 years in the industry, unfiltered and bottled at 46% ABV.

Substitute: Compass Box Peat Monster

Douglas Laing Big Peat Christmas 2015

Big Peat Christmas

Douglas Laing releases every year a special Christmas edition of its famous Big Peat blend. And since it has the word Christmas in it, I could not leave it out this list. Big Peat Christmas offers a shovelful of the finest and festive malts from whisky heaven on Earth with some Ardbegg-nog, Coal Ila, Snowmore and Party Ellen. A lively fisherboy at 53.8% ABV.

Substitute: Finlaggan Cask Strength

Caol Ila 17 Unpeated

Caol Ila 17 Unpeated

Caol Ila is a well established name in the Special Releases from Diageo. This year's edition is a 17 year old unpeated single malt. According to Dave Broom the whisky is fresh with lots of citrus and fruity notes and traces of smoke. I do hope it stays below the €100 limit (update: pricing is set at £90). But nevertheless high on my list!

Substitute: Bunnahabhain 18

Port Askaig 100° proof

Port Askaig Cask Strength

Port Askaig is a sister company from The Whisky Exchange and was (at least, it used to be) a Caol Ila in disguise. The new series consists of a 16 year old, a 30 year old and a 45 year old. And this new 100° proof Port Askaig is rather young but full-bodied whisky with a serious punch.

Substitute: Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2008

Ben Nevis 10

Ben Nevis 10

A whisky that is far from new, but a classic dram that really surprised me earlier this year. I tasted this one in a small spaghetti restaurant with an extensive whisky collection. The lovely old fashioned sherry notes made me think of older Mortlachs. And the bottle is pretty old fashioned. Or retro. Or vintage...

Substitute: Aberlour A'bunadh

Glendronach 15 Revival

GlenDronach 15 Revival

A sherry bomb from GlenDronach that is getting scarce. Even more since the rumours about a temporary drawback from the market got confirmed. And it is definitely one of the best GlenDronachs available (a close call with the 18yo).

Substitute: Glenfarclas 15

Teeling Whiskey 15 The Revival

Teeling The Revival 15

Teeling is a relatively new name on the whisky scene. Jack and Stephen Teeling managed to put the brand on the map in record time. The distillery itself is already up and running in the centre of Dublin. The 15 year old The Revival is a brand new expression.

Substitute: Redbreast 15


Just like our significant other has to have a few accessories for her outfit, every whisky lover deserves to have a few accessories.

Perfect Dram glas

This is a smaller version of the classic glencairn glass. The perfect size for a family picnic or at tastings where they serve your favourite drink in a plastic cup. The tasting experience is undeniably different in glass compared to a plastic thimble.

Hip Flask

hip flask

Another indispensable picnic or hiking attribute: a small flask to carry your favourite outdoor whisky with you without having to pack a full bottle. Less risks of breakage and it has a certain charm. Available in all shapes and sizes. Choosing the perfect hip flask will not be an easy task.

Allright, that should do the trick to compose your own Christmas list. Feel free to share it!


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Ardmore SMWS 66.51 Hospitals on Guy Fawkes Night

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

A for Ardmore

Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is an annual commemoration of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605.

A member of the plot, Guy Fawkes, was arrested while guarding the explosives beneath Westminster Palace. The conspiracy attempted to assassinate the protestant King James I and install a catholic monarchy.

The image of Guy Fawkes gained immense popularity by the Alan Moore comic V for Vendetta and its 2006 movie adaption. The main character and protagonist V revolts against the fascist government in a dystopian London. V wears the now iconic Guy Fawkes mask that was adopted by Anonymous in 2008.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

News: The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve

  • The Peated Cask Reserve
  • Glenrothes Distillery, Rothes (Speyside)
  • NAS
  • 40 % ABV
  • Exclusively available through Marks & Spencer
The Glenrothes has always taken an interest in different approaches in which to showcase the depth of the distillery’s character. At first, classically by experimentation with different casks, sizes and wood then, secondly, by looking outside the current box.

By delving into the distillery’s heritage it was discovered that one of the first associations with another distillery was with a company called Highland Distilleries back in 1887. This was an association formed between The Glenrothes and the Islay Distillery Co Ltd.

The research provided the inspiration for the new expression, the task now was to identify some excellent whisky. Deciding on Vintage 1992, The Glenrothes was given a temporary home in a cask hailing from the peaty lands of Islay. It doesn’t take much time to add a kiss of peat smoke to complement but not overpower the usual Glenrothes characteristics.

Ronnie Cox, The Glenrothes Brand Heritage Director, describes the Peated Cask Reserve as: "A wonderful surprise. Another first! The first modern-day marriage of elegant, fruity, and, of course, mature Glenrothes with subtle but intriguing peaty mists of Islay."

Malt Master Gordon Motion’s flavour notes appear on the front label: "Lemon fruitiness, spicy and deliciously smoky."

Tasting notes From The Glenrothes

Colour: Mid gold.
Nose: Nettles, new leather, peat, nutmeg and white wine.
Taste: Peat smokiness, light vanilla, spices and citrus peel.
Finish: Spicy and lingering.

The Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve will be sold exclusively through M&S in the UK from November; it will be priced at £45 per bottle.

Source and picture: Press release Glenrothes

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mark Dermul's Frankendram

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Eating sweets with Frankenstein's wretch

This blend was waiting for me since March. Halloween seemed like the perfect occasion to try this extraordinary blend from Mark Dermul a.k.a The Toshan Man.

Sometimes (in fact, most of the time) people refer unjustly to the nameless monster as Frankenstein in confusion with its creator Victor Frankenstein.

The blend shares similarities with the demon or devil that was created. It was an attempt to create something beautiful out of a stash of samples Mark collected over the years. And the list of used single malts is quite impressive.

Friday, 30 October 2015

News: Springbank Green 2015

  • Springbank Green 13yo
  • Springbank Distillery (Campeltown)
  • 13 years old
  • 46 % ABV
  • Sherry casks | 9000 bottles
Springbank Distillers this week will introduce two new releases this week. The first one is the 2015 Springbank Green. This is the second release of Springbank Green following on from last year's 12 year old, bourbon matured version.

The new release is 13 years old, was again produced using organic barley and has been fully matured in sherry casks. It has been bottled at 46% and there are 9,000 bottles available for worldwide distribution.

Tasting notes from Springbank

Nose: Sweet cereal notes are accompanied with raisin butter, apple crumble, kiwi fruit and turkish delight.

Taste: The palate is fruity with raisins and orange zest to the fore. Marzipan, vanilla and soft sherry notes are also present.

Finish: A long, medium dry finish with classic Springbank sweet salty notes, along with hints of bung cloth and fig rolls.

PS: The second release is a new Springbank 25 year old.

Source and picture: Facebook Springbank

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Douglas Laing Yula 20YO

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Indian dinner with a Norse goddess

Thursday night I was welcomed home by a beautiful yet unknown Norse goddess. Yula, the newest blended malt from Douglas Laing. This is the first bottling in a series of three limited edition single malts and is bottled at 20 years of age.

The story behind the name is as stunning as the packaging. Yula went in search of her long lost love with an apron full of stones. The stones fell out as she travelled, forming a string of islands and leaving behind a trail of her empty quest.

Yula never did find her love, but perished instead in the treacherous seas surrounding Islay, the last jewel shaped stone to fall from her apron. And it’s here on Islay, which in old Norse means “Yula’s Isle”, that our tragic heroine is buried, her final resting place marked by two standing stones which can still be seen to this day.

Monday, 19 October 2015

News: Douglas Laing Yula

Douglas Laing releases a new blended malt: Yula. It's a 20 year old blended malt as part of a trilogy of malts. Sounds familiar, no?

The bottling is inspired by an ancient Islay legend of a beautiful Norse goddess. I never heard of it but am far from an expert in Norse mythology. But even Wikipedia/Google aren't helping me out at the moment.

Part one of the trilogy is bottled at cask strength at 52.6% ABV and is, as customary at Douglas Laing, unchillfiltered and uncoloured. And yet another exemplary graphic design.

Douglas Laing Yula
Douglas Laing Yula

Says Douglas Laing’s Director of Whisky, Cara Laing: “This exciting trilogy of Island Malts tells a tale both in terms of the ancient legend of Yula but importantly also the spirit story. Distilled in 1995, we'll see this cask strength maritime Malt evolve with each annual release while retaining that distinct oceanic, island character. In Yula, we believe we've combined two of life's greatest pleasures - a charming tale and a great Whisky!

Update: Islay Info got the story covered:

A Danish Princess called Iula, or Yula, who left Denmark with an apron full of stones of different sizes. As she proceeded on her journey some of the stones fell out, one becoming Ireland, another Rathlin and a third Texa. The remainder of the stones fell out and became the string of islands from Ardbeg to Kildalton. She perished in the soft sands off that coast and was taken to Seonais Hill above Loch Cnoc and buried there, her final resting place marked by two standing stones which can still be seen to this day.

This limited release has only 900 bottles and costs £115/€157.

Source: Press release Douglas Laing

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Chapter 7 Irish Single Malt 2000

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Irish whiskey was the drink of choice at the end of the 19th century. It suffered severely from the Prohibition and when a few ingenious Scottish businessmen got foothold in the States, the rapid decline of the Irish began. Fortunately the wheel of fortune spins in their favour again. As a result of this we see a lot of high quality single casks.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

News: Arran The Bothy

The Isle of Arran is releasing a new expression: The Bothy. It is a cask strength whisky without an age statement finished for a year and a half in quarter casks.

  • The Bothy Quarter Cask batch 1
  • Arran Distillery, Isle of Arran
  • Alcohol: 55.7% ABV
  • 12.000 bottles
  • Bottled in September 2015
  • Price: £54.99
  • Available from Monday 19th October

The Arran Single Malt selected for The Bothy was initially matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels before being transferred for secondary maturation into smaller casks also made of the finest American oak for a minimum of 18 months.

This process produces far greater contact between the whisky & oak and a faster, more intense maturation.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Biercée Rye Whiskey New Make

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

An organic jewel in the making?

Distillerie de Biercée announced in June that they would present an organic rye whiskey (with e) by the end of 2017. The 3200 bottles that went into presale sold out within a week or two. Delivery is expected somewhere near Christmas 2017.

The distillery accepted this challenge with La Malterie du Chateau, the oldest malting of Belgium and of the world, and the nearby brewery La Binchoise. The two distillers Christophe and Pierre transformed the 'beer' with their continuous stills to whiskey.

All buyers, mostly locals, were invited for a visit to the majestic farm distillery in Thuin in September. The distillery is renown for its gins and its Eau de Villée. The early deciders got a short guided tour by master distillers Christophe and Pierre in the still room and got to taste the new make in the attic.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

News: Diageo Special Releases 2015

Diageo Special Releases
Almost all of the Diageo special releases 2015 are known by now. All the usual suspects are there. Caledonian is a new eyecatcher.

Like every year there are a few affordable ones and a few destined for... the happy few. Let's get them lined up:

Lagavulin 12 Special Release 2015

Lagavulin 12 Year Old 

  • 56,8% ABV
  • 15th release
  • number of bottles unknown
  • price: € 100
Lagavulin 12 Special Release 2015

"The strange horse of Suinabhal" - By William Black. - "I hef been in Isla more as three times or two times myself, and I hef been close to the 'Lagavulin' Distillery, and I know that is the clear water of the spring that will make the 'Lagavulin' Whisky just as fine as new milk"

Caol Ila 17 Special Release 2015

Caol Ila 17 Year Old 1997 unpeated

  • 55,9% ABV
  • ex-bourbon barrels
  • number of bottles unknown
  • price: € 100
Caol Ila 17

A most unusual Islay single malt, this limited edition natural cask strength CAOL ILA distilled in 1997 has been aged in ex-bourbon Armerian oak barrels. As clean and fresh as the pale sky that follows clearing rain, its intense flavours dance boldly across the tongue like flecks of foam over wind-lashed waves. There's a bitter-sweet warmth in this fruity, rounded and smooth drinking malt, which has an appetising salty edge.

Pittyvaich 25 Special Release 2015

Pittyvaich 25 Year Old 1989

  • 49.9% ABV
  • 5922 bottles
  • price: € 300

Dalwhinnie 25 Special Release 2015

Dalwhinnie 25 Year Old 1989 

  • 48,8% ABV
  • refill hogsheads
  • 5916 bottles
  • price: € 360
Dalwhinnie 25

Long ageing in refill hogsheads has given this aromatic, crisply focused Dalwhinnie a surprising freshness and an unusually rich, spicy dryness.

Clynelish Special Release 2015

Clynelish Second Edition

  • 56,1% ABV
  • 2946 bottles
  • price: € 600
Clynelish Select Reserve

Caledonian 40 year old 1974 Special Release 2015

Caledonian “The Cally” 40 Year Old 1974

  • 53,3% ABV
  • single grain whisky
  • 5060 bottles
  • price: € 800
Caledonian “The Cally” 40 Year Old 197

Brora 37 year old Special Release 2015

Brora 37 Year Old 

  • 50,4% ABV
  • 2078 bottles
  • price: € 1500
Brora 37 Year Old

Port Ellen 32 year old 1983 Special Release 2015

Port Ellen 32 Year Old 1983

  • 53,9% ABV
  • 15th annual release
  • 2964 bottles
  • price: € 2750
Port Ellen 15th release

Dailuaine 34 Year Old 1980

  • 50,9% ABV
  • 2952 bottles
  • price: €520

Dailuaine 34 Year Old 1980

A smooth-textured, sweet and delightfully rich single malt with balancing Fresh acidity and saltiness and a warming herbal and drying finish.

Source: Whiskynotes & Words of Whisky