Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The Tasty Drams of 2016

There was far less dramming compared in 2016 to previous years. Not that I’m complaining. As a family it has been an unforgettable year. I’m getting back into a more normal blogging rythm and have a few ideas for 2017. So watch this space.

The end of the year means the traditional "my favourite whiskies of the year". And according to my Facebook feed I'm already a tad late with my list. But anyway... The whiskies featured on this list aren’t necessarily reviewed on the website. Sometimes it was just a whisky I tasted at a festival. And it might not be the best whisky ever but most certainly there's an unforgettable memory attached to it.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Gordon & Macphail Mortlach 1954

A Tasty Dram whisky blog tasting notes

Christmas deserves a very special dram. From the start I knew I wanted to conclude my Six drams till Christmas with this Mortlach 1954. Simply because it is... Mortlach.

Since the relaunch of the Mortlach brand, independent bottler such as Gordon & Macphail became the standard when it comes to affordable and quality bottlings from this once revered distillery.

Not even 10 years after the first still run, Mortlach changed owners for a mere £270 in 1831.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Gordon & Macphail Strathisla 1953

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog

Christmas eve! Time to prepare for the final two whiskies. Two drams that raised high expectations... The first is a Strathisla 1953

Strathisla is the oldest distillery in Speyside and without a doubt the most scenic. It was subsequently called Milltown, Milton, Strathisla and Milton (again). Since 1951 the distillery goes again by the name of Strathisla.

The spirit is pumped to the nearby Glen Keith distillery for filling cask or to be tankered away to larger warehouses or bottling facilities from Pernod Ricard.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Gordon & Macphail Glen Grant 1949

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

This Glen Grant 1949 is the only vatting in the Speyside collections. All casks contained spirit from 1949.

The distillery was founded by John and James Grant. John Grant's nephew and James Grant's son James junior made Glen Grant Thrive. The NAS The Major's Reserve is named after him. He also took part in building the Strathspey railway through Glenrothes.

The Major as he was also known, went on expeditions to India and Afrika. On one of this travels he found an abandoned boy, Biawa Makalage. He came back to Scotland with James Grant and became his page boy. Biawa lived on the Glen Grant house long after the Major had passed away in 1931.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Gordon & Macphail Smith's Glenlivet 1948

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Today I'll be taking another leap through time with the second oldest installment from Gordon & Macphail's Speyside Collection: The Smith's Glenlivet 1948.

George Smith's Glenlivet was the first licensed distillery after the 1823 Excise Act. An act that was pushed through by The Duke of Gordon, Smith's landlord. This Glenlivet isn't the oldest bottling by Gordon & Macphail. A 1940 Glenlivet has been bottled in 2011 as part of a Generations series. This 70 year old single malt is one of  the showpieces by Gordon & Macphail.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Gordon & Macphail Longmorn 1967

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Time for the second review from Gordon & Macphail's Speyside Collection. I dive into my favourite glencairn glass. Tonight's content: a Longmorn 1967.

Longmorn is somewhat of a hidden gem. Some even call it a whisky blender's favourite. The distillery was built in 1893 by John Duff & Company. Four years later he built a second distillery called Longmorn... 2 (this distillery later becomes Benriach). The two distilleries had a private railroad to transport casks, barley, peat and coal to fire the stills.

Longmorn has a bit of a reputation of being stubborn. Floor maltings continued until 1970 and they still used direct coal fire to heat the stills in 1994.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Gordon & Macphail Linkwood 1972

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Tonight I'm starting a mini-series of reviews on Gordon & Macphail's Speyside Collection. First up is the youngest of the bunch: a Linkwood 1972 from a first fill sherry hogshead.

Linkwood Distillery was built by Peter Brown in 1821. Alfred Barnard thought the name came from the woods surrounding the distillery. The buildings were demolished and completely rebuilt in 1872 by William Brown, son of Peter. The only building still standing from this era is Warehouse No. 6 and the old kiln with the pagoda.

One year prior to distilling this whisky, Linkwood increased their stills from two to six. Technically however, the four new stills belonged to a new distillery that was called Linkwood B. Whether the whisky comes from Linkwood A or B is not known (yet).

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Tomatin 2004 for Usquebaugh Society

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

We'll be sipping a single cask Tomatin 2004 for Usquebaugh Society tonight. Tomatin Distillery dates from 1897 but remained fairly anonymous until 2004. Some ten years ago Tomatin sold 100.000 bottles a year. Today they quadrupled that number. Most of the output disappeared into blends. In the mid seventies, Tomatin had 23 stills and produced over 12 million liters of alcohol.  Even Glenfiddich, todays single malt giant, didn't produce that much alcohol.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Gordon & Macphail Speyside Collection

Independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail has launched an exclusive Speyside Collection today. They are offering  the chance to purchase six exquisite single malt whiskies from some of Scotland’s finest and legendary Speyside distilleries.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

12 Christmas presents for whisky geeks

The 1st of December usually means I need to start compiling a list of Christmas gifts. Mrs. C and the in-laws start poking around for hints. Three years ago I found this a daunting task. But then I fell in love with whisky… Things got a lot easier. Now I’m keeping a Pinterest list with interesting bottles, books and movies and by the end of the year I’m capable of compiling a shortlist that fits into the budget.

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Glenlivet Cipher

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

A few weeks ago I was a guest at a small scale event from The Glenlivet. The concept was minimal and pure. Almost comparable to their latest feat: The Glenlivet Cipher single malt.

It is all about - don’t look too far - deciphering. They named the whisky The Glenlivet Cipher for a reason. You start out with very little information. No tasting notes, no age statement, no cask details. Only the strict legal minimum. Apart from Alan Winchester and perhaps one or two lucky few, even the people from Glenlivet are kept in the dark about the exact recipe.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Wemyss Malts The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney Batch Strength

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Last month independent bottler Wemyss Malts released a new series of blended malts in their existing line-up. The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney all existed in an 8 and 12 year old version.  In 2015 Wemyss replaced the 8 year old version by a NAS expression but upped the ABV from 40% to 46% in return. And now Wemyss presents The Hive, Spice King & Peat Chimney Batch Strength. Every expression is limited to 6000 bottles.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Douglas Laing Yula 21 Year Old

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The second edition of Douglas Laing's Yula 21 Year Old has been out for about a month or so. I finally have some time to properly sit down with it and sample this blended malt.

I marked the first edition as excellent in my notebook (I do not give a numeral score to whiskies). Edition number 2 is essentially the same whisky only one year older. If I read the press release right, Douglas Laing used the same components from last year with one year of extra maturation before marrying and bottling the blend.

Friday, 28 October 2016

9 Halloween movies & matching whiskies

Halloween is approaching fast. In Belgium it's a less common celebration on 31 October.  20 years ago no one had even heard of it and it is still struggling to set foot on land (although shops are packed with costumes and other wannabe creepy stuff). Very few people sent out their kids dressed as friendly ghosts, pirates or zombified Justin Biebers after dark.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2008

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Port Charlotte isn't an actual distillery but one of the brands of Bruichladdich Distillery next to its ultrapeated brother Octomore and the unpeated malts from Bruichladdich. However there was a distillery in the village of Port Charlotte from 1829 till 1929. Two warehouses still exist today and are used by Bruichladdich to mature the peated Port Charlotte spirit. Tonight I'm exploring the Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2008, an expression distilled from barley solely grown on Islay.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Douglas Laing Old Particular Aberlour 1992

Douglas Laing Old Particular Aberlour 1992
Picture: Douglas Laing

Tonight I'm sitting in front of an Old Particular Aberlour 1992. Another distillery that can be struck off the list of 'untasted ones'.

Aberlour (in Gaelic Obar Lobhair) lies near the meeting place of the Lour burn, a stream in plain English, and the river Spey. The first Aberlour distillery was founded by James Gordon and Peter Weir in 1826. A year later Peter Weir decided to withdraw and James Gordon ran the business alone until a fire devastated most of the distillery in 1879. The new distillery as well as most of the machinery was designed and built by James Fleming, son of a local farmer in 1879.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Chapter 7 Strathmill 1991

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

I didn't have the time to properly sit down with a whisky thsi weekend so I'm digging into my archive of tasting notes. I re-discovered this Chapter 7 Strathmill 1991. The whisky matured for 24 years in a fino sherry cask.

The late victorian Strathmill distillery once came to life as a corn mill. Officially it was founded in 1891 under the name of Glenisla-Glenlivet. It referred to the nearby river, the Isla, and the long valley, Glenlivet. Four years later the distillery was sold to gin producers W&A Gilbey who gave the distillery its present name: Strathmill.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Douglas Laing Old Particular Glenburgie 1997

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

I'm venturing into Douglas Laing's territory again. On the table stands an Old Particular Glenburgie 1997. A glorious Speyside single cask, 18 years old and bottled at the standard 48.8% ABV for whiskies under 21 in the Old Particular range.

Glenburgie saw the light of day as the Kilnflat Distillery in 1810.  Production only started 19 years (!) later. In 1870 the story of Kilnflat was over. When it was reopened in 1878, the owners baptised the distillery Glenburgie-Glenlivet, a suffix that has been (ab)used by many distilleries near the river Spey.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2007 Rockside Farm

Tonight I'll review an expression from one of my favourite and most versatile distillery on Islay: Bruichladdich Islay Barley  2007 Rockside Farm.  The Islay Barley was initially a separate expression as a part of their Uber Provenance Series. Today every core expression (Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore) has an Islay Barley expression. The Bruichladdich expression kept its distinctive yellow tube, the Port Charlotte and Octomore stand out from the others with a fashionable white tube.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Macphail's Collection Glenturret 2002

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The Macphail's Collection is a range of single malt whiskies bottled by the Elgin based Gordon & Macphail. This is a great starter series with younger malts from Bunnahabhain, Highland Park, Glenrothes, Glen Scotia, Glenglassaugh, Tamdhu and Glenturret. As you can see, not the least of Scotland's distilleries. All of them are bottled at a perfectly drinkable 43% ABV. Tonight I will review The Macphail's Collection Glenturret 2002 Vintage.

Glenturret is one of the lesser names as a single malt and lies somewhat in the shadow of the The Famous Grouse Experience housing in its buildings. The distillery has been appointed as the 'spiritual home' of the Famous Grouse blends. Glenturret can be dated back to 1775 and is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Initially it was an illicit farm distillery named Hosh Distillery. Only in 1875 they took on the name Glenturret (from 1826 until 1853 another distillery nearby was called Glenturret).

Glenturret uses a stainless steel open mash tun. The mash is still stirred by hand and the draff, the residue of husks after fermentation, has to be removed manually. Edrington produces 340.000 litres of alcohol per year at Glenturret. Some 64.000 litres is heavily peated spirit used for blending that goes by the name Ruadh Maor. (I had the opportunity to nose it last year in a blending session with Lucy Whitehall. Sadly no tasting allowed...)

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Chapter 7 Benrinnes 1996

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Tonight's whisky review had been gathering dust in my drafts folder: Chapter 7 Benrinnes 1996. The Benrinnes distillery has a rather turbulent history. The original distillery near Whitehouse Farm was destroyed by a flood in 1826. Alfred Barnard described the location as [...] no more weird or desolate place could be chosen. More then a few owners learned their trade the hard way and went bankrupt. The current Benrinnes buildings all date from the 1950’s and with the major upgrade from 2012, the distillery can be run by a single operator.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Clynelish 14

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Clynelish 14 is one of the legendary Diageo malts amongst connoisseurs.  For those who don’t know Diageo: it is a multi-billion business concern with over 30 distilleries and other spirit producing brands in its portfolio. You can easily call them the AB InBev of the spirits industry.

Clynelish distillery lies near Brora in the Highlands. The original Clynelish distillery was built in 1819 and produced a lighter style of spirit. The whisky proved to be very popular with blenders so capacity had to be upgraded.


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Monday, 18 July 2016

Monday, 11 July 2016

Big Peat The Belgian Edition

This limited edition has been bottled for Cinoco and will be available from specialist stores. Only 480 bottles have been filled. So you better be quick get oneBig Peat The Belgian Edition Small Batch of Belgian Peat's friends!

It looks like Douglas Laing and Cinoco will release a limited Belgian Edition of the Big Peat whisky  to celebrate our national holiday. The bottle label of Big Peat Belgian Edition Small Batch  is a re-print of their country artwork series dedicated to Big Peat visiting foreign countries.

They give a nod to the classic stereotypes. For Belgium they picked out Manneken Pis and french fries.

Truly a bottle to properly celebrate the 21st of July.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A.D. Rattray Laphroaig 1998 for Brachadair

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The Belgian bottler Brachadair has been reawakened recently. Time to re-visit one of the first bottlings they did four years ago: an A.D. Rattray Laphroaig 1998. Actually it has been bottled by A.D. Rattray and selected by Brachardair. I assume no one is going to object to that when it comes to Laphroaig?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Sippin' Speyside part 2: Douglas Laing Scallywag Cask Strength batch 2

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The Cask Strength version of Scallywag blended malt from Douglas Laing is up to the second batch. The Fox Terrier on the label has his eyes wide open, his ears pricked and his monocle blasted off. I guess the dog didn't handle his whisky carefully enough...

The Fox Terrier adorning the packaging design by Pocket Rocket Creative is a loyal friend of the Laing family and his nature inspired the characteristics of the Scallywag blend: a sweet, charming and feisty spirit.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Benromach 1974 single cask

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Benromach releases a single cask whisky from time to time. On Monday the Forres distillery presented cask number 1583. This 1974 vintage Benromach dates from the DCL era. This sherry butt still contained 451 bottles after 41 years of undisturbed sleep in a damp warehouse.

The bottle design is almost identical to the 35yo from Benromach released earlier this year. The decanter is elegantly shaped and comes in a dark wooden presentation box. And yet this premium bottle doesn't exaggerate its premiumness. Benromach considers the quality of the liquid more important than fancy way-over-the-top packaging.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Sippin' Speyside part 1: Douglas Laing Scallywag

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes


The Scallywag blended malt from Douglas Laing was the second addition to the range that is now known as the Remarkable Regional Malts and paved the way for the other regions. The blend is created using only malts from the Speyside region and contains key malts from legendary names like Glenrothes, Macallan and Mortlach.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Chapter 7 Braes of Glenlivet 1994

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Braes of Glenlivet, or Braeval as it is known since 1994, is a modern distillery from the seventies. Braes was the first in a “five distilleries in five years” masterplan from Pernod Ricard. Since 1997 the complete distillery can be operated by a single person.

The distillery is located in a beautiful yet remote part of the Scottish Highlands. At 507 meters above sea level it is the highest situated distillery in Scotland.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

News: Diageo Special Releases 2016

Diageo Special Releases 2016

Diageo has been rather early with publishing some labels for the Special Releases 2016 in the public TTB registry. They already revealed some of the usual suspects: 12yo Lagavulin, an unpeated Caol Ila and another Port Ellen and Brora. That means they still have some casks - only God and Diageo know how many - left and we won't see a Port Ellen Blended Malt yet. The "surprise" comes from Auchroisk, a distillery that was featured in the Special Releases series from 2012.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Tempest Smokito

Yesterday I posted an image of a Smokito on Instagram, basically a mojito where you replace the rum by a smoky whisky.

Some people asked for the recipe so here it comes:
Smokito with Bowmore Tempest single malt.

Preparation - "Cook" time - Total .

Yields 1 cocktail

Ingredients Smokito

  • 30 ml Bowmore Tempest single malt
  • 1/2 lime cut into wedges
  • 10 fresh mint leafs
  • 2 teaspoons rock sugar
  • crushed ice
  • a bottle of cold soda water
  • sprig of mint to garnish

Kitchen utensils

  • cocktail spoon
  • a sturdy mojito glass


Slice the lime in wedges and put them in the mojito glass. Add 2 teaspoons of cane sugar and squeeze with a pestle or the back of your cocktail spoon so the lime releases its juice.

Throw the mint leafs in the glass (Some bartenders claim the leaves release more flavour when you give them a clap with your hand...).

Push the mint into your sugar-lime mixture. Add a spoon of crushed ice, a measure of Bowmore Tempest single malt and stir gently.

Fill your glass with crushed ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Done!

Santé, schol, slainte, a su salud, à sua saúde!

Bowmore Tempest
The Tempest batch IV makes a lovely Smokito. Photo credit: Bowmore.com


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

News: Kilchoman 100% Islay 6th edition

Kilchoman 100% Islay 6th edition
The Kilchoman 100% Islay is the only sinlge malt produced on-site from barley to bottle. Geeks would probably call it a single estate whisky (learned that recently from Toshan Man Mark Dermul).

Kilchoman grows its own barley, does the floor malting, distilling, maturing and bottling at the distillery. The 6th Edition of the 100% Islay is a vatting of fresh and refill ex-bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace filled in 2010 and bottled in 2016.

Identity Card

  • Kilchoman 100% Islay 6th edition
  • Kilchoman Distillery, Bruichladdich (Islay)
  • Distilled in 2010, bottled in 2016
  • 50% ABV
  • First-fill and refill ex-bourbon barrels
  • Price: £72
Kilchoman's malting floor

This latest edition will be the most mature 100% Islay to have been released to date. Produced exclusively from barley grown at the distillery, the 100% Islay range has a lighter peating level (25ppm approx.) compared to the rest of the Kilchoman range (50ppm), creating a uniquely fresh and distinct style of Islay single malt.

Anthony Wills, Kilchoman Founder and Managing Director; “we expect Kilchoman fans will enjoy the 6th Edition, the 100% Islay expressions have come along significantly in recent years, sourcing our bourbon barrels from one US producer has a significant impact on the quality of the whisky at what is a relatively young age.”

Source and pictures: Press release Kilchoman.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

The Classic Laddie is the entry malt whisky from Bruichladdich. After its predecessor The Laddie Classic Edition and the now rather rare 10 year old (see it, snatch it!), this 100% Scottish barley whisky has become the flagship of the unpeated Laddie brand. The use of only Scottish barley is one of the cornerstones of the terroir religion followed by Bruichladdich.

The funky apple blue sea green colour that defines Bruichladdich never fails to draw a reaction from people. Either you're a fan of the colour (Bruichladdich calls it Aqua) or you're not. The origin of the colour is rather simple and a tad poetic. The inspiration was very nearby: it's the colour of the sea just out the distillery on a bright spring day.

The Classic Laddie has been subject to the renewed transparency debate (reawakened by Compass Box a few months ago). Bruichladdich gives its customers the opportunity to acquire additional details on the vatting of their own bottle of Classic Laddie.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Wemyss Malts 1988 Glenrothes Marmelade Appeal

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Glenrothes Distillery has everything it needs to make it a great brand: a rather unique bottle shape, a Vintage approach like the wine industry (although they have been releasing more and more NAS expressions called Reserves) and a ghost story.

The brand and the operations aren't in the same hands. Since 2010 the brand is owned by the London based Berry Bros & Rudd (BBR) while the distillery itself is managed by Edrington. This rather strange situation was due to the sale of the famous Cutty Sark blend by BBR to Edrington.

The Cutty Sark brand didn't really fit the BBR branding profile anymore and Edrington was eager to add another well-known and established blend to their portfolio.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

News: Spring 2016 release Wemyss Malts single casks

Spring release Wemyss Malts single casks
This Spring, independent bottler Wemyss Malts releases a flourish of six new single cask whiskies  ranging from 18 to 35 years old. This parcel comprises of a selection of stock from the Highlands,  Speyside and Islay whilst also including a single cask, single grain release named ‘Rosy Apple Brûlée’ based on the flavours and aromas discovered by the Wemyss tasting panel.

The full single cask list of this release comprises of:

  • "Shellfish Platter” 1997 (18 yo) single cask from Bowmore Distillery, Islay
  • "The Admiral’s Beacon" 1980 (35 yo) single cask from Caol Ila Distillery, Islay
  • "Waffles and Ice Cream” 1997 (18 yo) single cask, cask-strength from Clynelish Distillery, Highlands
  • "Chocolate Orange Segment” (18 yo) single cask from Glenrothes Distillery, Speyside
  • "Flambé Fruit" 1995 (20 yo) single cask from Mortlach Distillery, Speyside
  • "Rosy Apple Brûlée " 1988 (27 yo) single cask, single grain from Invergordon Distillery

Suggested retail prices vary from £80 to £240.

Source and pictures: Press release Wemyss Malts.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Wemyss Malts 1989 Glen Garioch Fallen Apples

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Glen Garioch distillery lies in Oldmeldrum in the east of Scotland. It's one of the older distilleries in the country.

The distillery is owned by Beam Suntory and plays an important part in the childhood memories of the Master Blender Rachel Barrie. She claims she became acquainted with Glen Garioch as a 7 year old suffering from an earache. Her grandmother made her a hot milky toddy made with 8yo Glen Garioch to cure it. She still remembers liking it so much that she feigned earaches several times thereafter and asking for a hot toddy to soothe it.

The Glen Garioch core range holds a NAS Founder's Reserve, a 12 year old single malt, a few Vintages, a Virgin Oak, a 1998 Wine Cask Matured and the recent 15 year old Renaissance.

Monday, 18 April 2016

News: Douglas Laing The Epicurean

Douglas Laing & Co, World Whiskies Awards’ Brand Innovator of the Year 2016, today announces the launch of The Epicurean Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, the Lowland addition to the firm’s Remarkable Regional Malts collection.

A dram described as “city born and bred”, Douglas Laing’s The Epicurean is a marriage of some of the finest Lowland Malts; bringing together the best that the East and the West of Scotland have to offer. Bursting with barley, citrus, floral and herbal notes, this Malt Whisky is packaged in a premium gift tube featuring The Epicurean himself.

No attention to detail is spared, from the cocktail shaker, crystal decanter and barley husk illustrations, to the charmingly rhythmic pack copy that well and truly brings the spirit and its characterful namesake to life.

Identity Card

  • The Epicurean 
  • Douglas Laing
  • NAS Lowlands blended malt
  • 46.2 % ABV
The Epicurean, the Lowland “Vatted” Malt joins Timorous Beastie from the Highlands, Scallywag from Speyside, Rock Oyster from the Islands and Big Peat from Islay to complete Douglas Laing's Remarkable Regional Malts collection.

Tasting notes

In a tipple of our Small Batch Epicurean, you can bet on a nose that is barley rich, citric, floral and herbal. The mouth-coatingly sweet palate displays crunched sugar, burnt citrus, mixed spices, thyme, peaches and hard candy… All charmingly underpinned and enriched in the finish with more of that earlier herbal character, in a gristy style with almonds, cut grass and burnt sugar.

Source and pictures: Press release Douglas Laing

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Chapter 7 Glen Moray 1990

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Glen Moray Distillery lies on the banks of the river Lossie in the Speyside region. The distillery was originally a brewery (West Brewery) and was converted into a whisky distillery in 1897. Before the takeover by the French group La Martiniquaise in 2008, Glen Moray was relatively unknown and was overshadowed by Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Beer review: Witte Pol

Witte Pol
This is my first regular beer review (correction: actually my second beer review. The first one was a Peated Oak Embrasse by De Dochter van de Korenaar aged in Ardbeg casks). I realise it's waaaay more difficult to come up with decent tasting notes for beer then whisky. So please be gentle. I'm sure my notes will improve over time.

Witte Pol is brewed at Brewery Inter Pol (not related to the American band nor the police organisation) in the village of Mont located in the green Ardennes. The beer is exclusively sold by the Delhaize supermarket chain as part of a Famous Belgian Brewers series and limited to 4000 bottles. The series consists of three beers: a dark black one, a yellow/white one and a red special belge beer.

  • Witte Pol by Pol Ghekiere
  • 5.8% ABV
  • Brewery Inter Pol
  • Ingredients: water, malt, hops, herbs, yeast
  • IBU: 16
  • Brewed for Delhaize NV (food supermarket chain)
  • 4000 bottles available
The brewery is part of a bed & breakfast in the valley of Achouffe: La Veille Forge.

3.85 - in stock at Delhaize supermarkets

Tasting notes by

Colour: A yellow/white hazy beer.

Nose: Fresh and sour. I'm picking up lots of citrus and maize notes. Grain biscuits.

Taste: Creamy and sour. Fresh and hoppy citrus.

Finish: It's really coating the palate with a pleasant sourness. A lovely summer beer.


Yep, I'm giving a score to the review too! Drum roll please.... 3.5/5

A photo posted by Gert Claus (@tastydram) on

A small side note for the more tech-savvy readers. This is an attempt to use the Product, Review, Offer and Rating type from the schema.org specification. This experiment also learned me that the Blogger platform sucks pretty badly when it comes to writing code in your blogpost. Google, if you're reading this, do something about it! End rant and end of the beer review. (And welcome Google penalty.)

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Douglas Laing Provenance single casks

The Provenance series by Douglas Laing is the front door to single casks. Rather young single malt whiskies - average age between 8 and 10 years old - bottled at 46% and without any filtering or artificial colouring. Pure and honest, just the way we like them.

The youngsters of the Douglas Laing family got a makeover by Pocket Rocket Creative a few months ago and frankly, it was needed. The look was pretty dated and it could do with a revamp. The compass on the new bottles symbolises a trip through the popular whisky regions of Scotland.

#tastetheregion Twitter tasting with Douglas Laing and Uisge Source. 
Douglas Laing organised a Twitter tasting with some known and lesser known whisky bloggers (including myself) to give the Provenance series new look some attention. A selection of five single malts were paired with still water from Uisge Source: water from Cairgorn's Well in Speyside, Highlands water from Saint Colman's Well and a bottle of water from Islay.

Douglas Laing Provenance
The big five: Mortlach 8yo, Macduff 8yo,
Benrinnes 11yo, Glenallachie 7yo and Bunnahabhain 8yo

Tasting notes

Time to have a taste of the five whiskies and note down my impressions. The Mortlach and Bunnahabhain have a bit of a head start on the others for me. Let's see how the youngsters perform.  

Douglas Laing Mortlach 8yo

Mortlach Douglas Laing Provenance
  • Mortlach Distillery, Dufftown (Speyside)
  • Douglas Laing Provenance single cask
  • 8 year old single malt
  • Refill hogshead DMG 10974
  • 46% alcohol
  • Natural colour & unchillfiltered
Colour: White wine.

Nose: A nice fruity start. A bag of English wine gums gets opened. Fresh and sweet. Quite malty, nothing uncommon for such a young malt. Dried hay and pleasant farm aromas. Furniture polish wax with vanilla.
A drop of Speysidewater from Cairgorms Well adds a touch of rhubarb and apple compote and some juicy prunes as well.

Taste: Fruit candy! Fruittella and wine gums. Green pepper and spices. Think cinnamon, ginger and turmeric.

Finish: Dried ale malt with a soft and sweet touch on the back. Fairly short and light.

Even young bourbon matured Mortlach (like this one) scores well in my book. A fruity dram showing already a pleasant complexity at a young age. Pretty good whisky for a decent price.

Price: £35.00
Available at:

Douglas Laing Macduff 8yo

Macduff Douglas Laing Provenance
  • Glen Deveron / Macduff Distillery, Banff (Highland)
  • Douglas Laing Provenance single cask
  • 8 year old single malt
  • Refill hogshead DMG 10986
  • 46% alcohol
  • Natural colour & unchillfiltered
Colour: A pale white wine.

Nose: Sweet malt, honey and burned sugar. A small bowl of sake (the Japanese version, not the Chinese junk). This has the qualities of a stout or a dark beer with caramel notes. Baked banana with whipped cream. Eucalyptus candy. The green cone shaped candy with eucalyptus flavours.
A drop of water releases buttered apples with cinnamon. Suddenly this turns into a liquid dessert.

Taste: Green candy and fresh herbs. Mint and eucalyptus. A buttery mouth feel with a certain freshness to it. And some nutmeg.
With water there's a bit more apple and pepper notes.

Finish: Wood and malt. A nice elegant touch of banana. A simple spicy finish.

I'm not that familiar with Macduff or The Deveron (previously also called Glen Deveron). Not as good as the Mortlach, but I'm having some prejudices here. A nice whisky with layers of sweet and spicyness. 

Price: £40.28
Available at:

Douglas Laing Benrinnes 11yo

Benrinnes Douglas Laing Provenance
  • Benrinnes Distillery, Charlestown of Aberlour (Speyside)
  • Douglas Laing Provenance single cask
  • 11 year old single malt
  • Refill hogshead DMG 10965
  • 46% alcohol
  • Natural colour & unchillfiltered
Colour: Again white wine.

Nose: Marzipan and almond paste hitting you full frontal. Muesli and aniseed (as you can find it in Elixir d'Anvers). Buckwheat biscuits and pink grapefruit. Pad thai noodles and roasted nuts dipped in honey.
Speysidewater makes it waxy. Candle wax, aniseed and orange soap. I'm even getting some brackish water and fermented fruit. I shouldn't have added the water...

Taste: Roasted nuts and malt. Grapefruit with pepper and galanga or ginger. Sweet and creamy on the tongue.
With water it remains a light and soft dram. Burned or roasted nuts. Pepper and pineapple.

Finish: Roasted malt with citrus peel and a tiny whiff of rubber.

I'm not a huge fan of this Benrinnes. The start was promising unfortunately with water it turned out not so good. But I'd advise you to make your own decision. My palate isn't yours. 

Price: £46.68
Available at: 

Douglas Laing Glenallachie 7yo

Glenallachie Douglas Laing Provenance
  • Glenallachie Distiller, Aberlour (Speyside)
  • Douglas Laing Provenance single cask
  • 7 year old single malt
  • Sherry butt DMG 10956
  • 46% alcohol
  • Natural colour & unchillfiltered
Colour: Gold with a copper hue.

Nose: Dry and sweet at the same time. A big sherry influence. Orange gravy with Worcestershire. A big bag of candy with liquorice root. A slight rubbery note and lacquered duck.
A drop of water adds a certain gasoline note. I'm rather fond of this one!

Taste: A rush of sweet flavours on the tongue. Honey and red-rose candy. In Dutch we call them "poepegatjes". Grenadine and raspberry syrup with a good dose of spices and wood.

Finish: The spice wood lingers in the mouth. Citrus flavours like oranges and grapefruit.

Glenallachie was unknown to me and I have to admit, I'm impressed. The heavy sherry flavours make this a beautiful rounded whisky, even after only seven years in the cask. This tastes morish!

Available at:

Douglas Laing Bunnahabhain 8yo

Bunnahabhain Douglas Laing Provenance
  • Bunnahabhain Distillery, Port Askaig (Islay)
  • Douglas Laing Provenance single cask
  • 8 year old single malt
  • Refill hogshead DMG 10966
  • 46% alcohol
  • Natural colour & unchillfiltered
Colour: Bleached straw.

Nose: Scorched meat on the barbecue. A whiff of cardboard drenched in salt water. Cigarettes or tobacco mixed with apple juice and malt.
Things get really interesting with a drop of the Islay water. Citrus apple and fino sherry notes. A bag of mixed dried fruits from an English supermarket.

Taste: Sweet strawberries dipped in chocolate. Cocao powder with salted caramel. A cigarette with spicy tobacco.
The Islay water does not add as much to the palate as it did to the nose. A beautiful mix of sweet and spices. Caramel with chocolate and cayenne pepper.

Finish: I'm loving the aftertaste with small apples, fino sherry and calvados.

Bunnahabhain is one of my personal favourites and has never disappointed me. This is one for the books and the shopping basket. The smoke lingers on the background at the start but with some time and some oxygen it breaks through. A sure candidate to end up in the cabinet... with the Mortlach of course. 

Price: £46.68
Available at:

The Provenance single casks is a great value for money series with an occasional hidden gem. Both the Mortlach and Bunnahabhain lived up to their reputation. The Glenallachie was a pleasant surprise. By the way, did you know that Douglas Laing is your only shot if you want to taste some independent Talisker? There is one in the new batch of Provenance whiskies as well. 

The five samples and three miniature Uisge Source bottles were offered by Douglas Laing for a tweet tasting with Jan Beckers, their Global Malt Ambassador and Belgian connection at Douglas Laing. 

Friday, 1 April 2016

The best April's whisky jokes

April 1 (Scots used to call it Huntigowk Day, now you know) is a feast to spread hoaxes and fool people with fake news. A short recap of today's jokes and pranks from the world of whisky:

Big Peat

Douglas Laing launches a limited edition Big Peat this time of the year. This year is a hot and spicy Big Peat infused with cinnamon. 

Fiery Peat
Big Fiery Peat. One does not simply open the bottle.


Jameson will be launching a Barrelman perfume. Twenty people could win a bottle if they knew where Jameson whiskey is brewed (According to the Dutch ad, whiskey isn't distilled but brewed. Shame on you Jameson ! ;-) )

Jameson Barrelman
Jameson Barrelman, not to be confused with a mouth spray!


Serge Valentin of Whiskyfun wanted to make a statement by not doing an April Fool's prank. The whisky industry itself is slowly transforming into a joke itself... 

Why making an April Fools joke?

The Whisky Exchange

Billy Abbott & co. of the Whisky Exchange discovered a report from the European Union stating that whisky producers will have to disclose the age statement in years and months and list all the ingredients of a whisky.  And if we can believe a certain Herr Farbstoff (a small hint) produces will need to disclose the use of e150 colourants. 

TWE nieuwe labels voor The Macallan

Single Malt Lodge

The Noord-Korean dictator and always smiling Kim Jong-Un visited the Mecca of whisky: Islay. Together with his Minister of Foreign Affairs he is trying to build up a whisky scene in his home country.  

Kim Jung-un bij Ardbeg
"Ardbeg is mine now!"

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society / Toms Whisky Reviews

Scotch Malt Whisky Society fan Tom Thomson discovered that the Society has a new panel member to pick single malts: the dog Saucer. His first choice is a D1.1 Barking Mad.

Saucer en zijn neus voor whisky

"Wraf, wraf"
Toms Whisky Reviews: Worlds First Whisky Sniffer Dog Joins Tasting Panel
SMWS Blog: World's first whisky sniffer dog

Master of Malt

The Chaps at Master of Malt are launching a dating app. Tinder-wise you'll be able to swipe between people that are a possible match with your perfect gin. 

MoM Ginder app
Swipe right if you love Bathtub Gin!

Islay Blog

The Isle of Islay will get its own whisky theme park (the island already has at least 8 visitor attractions). You'll learn to distill your own whisky, visit a smuggler's cave, learning the trade of a cooper and much much more... 

The location of the theme park

A Tasty Dram

I couldn't resist a small prank on the blog either. Port Ellen will no longer be a single malt since all the bottle-worthy casks have been sold. It will become a small batch blend of Caol Ila and Lagavulin with a teaspoon of overaged single malt from Port Ellen. 

Port Ellen Blended Malt
Hooray! Port Ellen for everybody !

The Whisky Sponge

We end this post with a serious blog. The mysterious Whisky Sponge celebrates April Fools every single day of the year except on 1 April. A very serious article but a must read for every whisky lover ! 
The Whisky Sponge

Did you spot another April Prank that should be featured? Drop me a line in the comments section.