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. 

News: Port Ellen Blended Malt

Port Ellen Islay Blended Malt
It looks like the marketing geniuses from Diageo are about to re-revive the Port Ellen brand.

With the last bottle-worthy casks of the legendary single malt being sold, the team around Master Blender Jim Beveridge and head of Whisky Outreach (no idea what that means) Nick Morgan is hard at work to create a new blended malt with the same name.

The term Islay malt reveals that the new whisky probably has only two components, Caol Ila and Lagavulin. Both distilleries are owned by Diageo, who still owns Port Ellen Maltings.

Identity Card

  • Port Ellen Small Batch Release
  • Islay Blended Malt
  • 46% ABV
Port Ellen Distillery
The old distillery was closed in 1983 and transformed into a malting facility.
But a blend of Lagavulin and Caol Ila sounds very promising! Picture:  The Whisky Exchange

We can only cross our fingers that Jim Beveridge and co. will try to approach Port Ellen's classic flavour profile as close as possible with some of the older Lagavulin and Caol Ila stock. Who knows, they will need to add a teaspoon of overaged Port Ellen single malt to every batch to use its brand name?

The slightly higher ABV, natural color and the fact that the whisky will be bottled unchillfiltered create high expectations. Let's hope the price won't be a joke...

Source & image: TTB Colas Online Public Registry