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

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Blend something famous with The Famous Grouse

The Famous Grouse introduced Brussels to the art (or science) of blending last week. Global Brand Ambassador Lucy Whitehall was ready to submerge a group of 8 food bloggers, including yours faithfully in the range of The Famous Grouse. Only then we were deemed ready for the real work: carefully blending a whisky from selected samples.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Chapter 7 Arran 1996

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The Eagle has landed

The Arran Distillery is one of Scotland's youngest. Established in 1995 by former Chivas director Harol Currie, it is one of the few independently owned distilleries and the only one on the Isle of Arran.

On your way to Lochranza you are greeted by the majestic and desolate ruines of royal castle that served as an inspiration to the Belgian cartoonist Hergé for the seventh volume in his Tintin series: The Black Island.

Construction work has been temporarily interrupted several times due to a pair of Golden Eagles that nested on a cliff near the distillery. To thank the people of Arran for not disturbing them, the eagles flew out on the day of the grand opening in 1997, in the presence of the Queen.

Or so the story goes...

Friday, 2 October 2015

News: Kilchoman Madeira Cask

  • Madeira cask matured
  • Kilchoman Distillery, Bruichladdich (Islay)
  • 2011
  • 50 % ABV
  • Distilled in 2011 - bottled in 2015
  • Madeira cask | 6.100 bottles
Kilchoman announcend today the final general release of 2015. It is the first Madeira cask matured release (if you do not take last year's Club release into account). Seventeen madeira wine barrels have been selected and filled with Kilchoman spirit in 2011. Kilchoman bottled them earlier this year at 50% ABV. The bottling was in the line up of this year's Kilchoman European Tour.

Only 6100 bottles will be available worldwide and find their way to specialist shops in the next few weeks. Some of the bottles will available from the Kilchoman website on Monday 5th October.

The Madeira Cask Matured follows the release of the Port Cask Matured in 2014 and is an example showcasing a full maturation in stead of a mere finishing in "special" casks. But bear in mind this is pretty young whisky and some finishes could take longer than this maturation.

Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder “This release is a break from the norm for us, it represents a bit of an experiment with full maturation rather than simply finishing whisky in casks like Madeira. Full maturation means that the impact of the cask is that much greater, the challenge is to ensure the whisky remains balanced and the influence of the Madeira cask is integrated with that of the Kilchoman spirit.”

Price: £69  - Alcohol: 50% ABV - Output: 6.100 bottles - Available from October 5.

Source and pictures: Kilchoman