Monday, 4 May 2020

Distillerie de Biercée Belgian Rye

Distillerie de Biercée  Belgian Rye Spirit 2YO
Back in 2015 I preordered a few bottles of Belgian Rye whiskey from the Biercee Distillery in Thuin and got to taste the new make. Or at least, that's what they promised back then. It would not have been the first Belgian rye whiskey. They were beaten by Filliers Distillery who released the Sunken Still rye whiskey. Two years later, Biercee released their organic rye spirit. Yes, you read it right, spirit instead of whisk(e)y.  Although we signed up for a 3-year old whisky, we got a spirit.  

Anyway, the new make was very promising so let's approach it with an open mind.

Identity Card Distillerie de Biercée Belgian Rye

  • Official bottling from Distillerie de Biercée
  • 2-year-old rye spirit
  • Matured in ex-bourbon, ex-sherry and virgin oak casks
  • Outturn: 6025 bottles
  • Alcohol: 44% ABV

Tasting notes

Colour: pale gold. Thin fast legs reveal a light texture.
Nose: Lots of sweet aromas. Puffed rice and chocolate. Ovomaltine, biscuits with apple and green banana. Freshly baked fudge with condensed milk. Butterscotch with a chocolate heart. 
Taste: Sweet and peppery. Violets and caramel, Black peppercorns give it a bitter touch. Young spirit, sappy wood and pear skin. Allspice, aniseed and unripe beech nuts. 
Finish: Dry and sweet. A nutty fino flavour coats the mouth. 

Thank god, the spirit delivers. It's a balanced rye whisky that can be perfectly drunk neat or used in classic cocktails with a lead role for rye. And yet it leaves you with mixed feelings. What if they decided to mature it another year. Perhaps some of the single casks or a newer release will tell the full story. 


Tuesday, 10 March 2020

RIP Duncan McGillivray

duncan mcgillivray
Picture: ©

The former Bruichladdich General Manager, Duncan McGillivray passed away today. Duncan worked over 40 years for the aqua-coloured brand and was instrumental in the resurrection of Bruichladdich in 2001.

After Carl Reavy and John Maclellan, another icon from the whisky island takes his place among the angels...

More soon...


Ardbeg The Shortie Smoky Porter

Ardbeg The Shortie Smoky Porter

Legendary Islay distillery Ardbeg will release its very first beer, a smoky porter. The name? The Shortie Smoky Porter. The beer is named after the Ardbeggian mascot Shortie.

The Shortie Smoky Porter has been brewed in aid of World Water Day on March 22. The beer is part of a larger project. 250 craft brewers will release a one-off brew to support the Global Gathering. All profits will be donated to support clean water projects in Malawi.

Ardbeg's Smoky Porter is a beer with notes of bitter dark chocolate, malty biscuit, dry espresso coffee and a hint of liquorice. It's also been given a smokey flavour worthy of a proper Ardbeg whisky. The beer has an ABV of 6.2%.

The beer was brewed Williams Bros Brewing Co. using the peated malt that is used to produce Ardbeg Ten Years Old.

It will be available exclusively in the UK from the Ardbeg Distillery Visitor Centre and online at from Tuesday 24th March. Price: £14 for a four-pack.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie 25

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a pannic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!
- Robert Burns -

Robert Burns
Picture: Wikipedia (public domain)

Last autumn Douglas Laing launched a 25-year-old version of it's Highland blend Timorous Beastie. 1.600 bottles were put together from a marriage of Highland whiskies matured in ex-bourbon barrels and bottled at 46.8% ABV.

“It is said to have a buttery, honey style, with notes of marmalade, ginger and damp oak. It’s a perfect illustration as to how rich Highland malts mellow as they mature whilst developing a wonderful complexity. This expression carried the trademark Timorous Beastie vanilla and honey style – as a result of being matured predominantly in ex-Bourbon casks – as well as an orange tang and sweet spiciness, perfect for autumn evenings.”

Let's catch a wee little mouse, shall we?

Update: This should have been published on January 25, alas a flue decided otherwise... So I decided to finish the sample on my birthday. Not a bad birthday dram right?

Identity card

Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie 25

  • Official bottling from Douglas Laing Co.
  • 25-year-old blended malt from Highland Whiskies
  • Alcohol: 46.8% ABV
  • Price: £160

Tasting notes

Colour: Light gold with an oily texture and slow legs. 

Nose: Vanilla, malt and custard are defining the first impression. Further up there's leather, some cherries, clementines and aniseed. Add a touch of talc, apple vinegar and elixir d'Anvers. Or could it be Mandarin Napoleon? Sour apples and sour sweets. 
With water: It can withstand quite a few drops of water. Flavours are holding up really good. 

Taste: A bittersweet start. The evolution is quite creamy and sweet with a pinch of spices. Bitter orange peel, vanilla pods and creamy butter. Cardamon and coriander seeds. balsawood, leather and an old cigar box.
With water: Sweet apple peel, cardamom and orange. The mouthfeel is buttery and creamy. Fragrant sandalwood and clove linger in the background.

Finish: This oldie leaves the house slowly leaving behind menthol, orange and sandalwood. 

Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie 25
A good opportunity to put the Peugeot n°1 glass for spirits and young wines to the test

This is an oldie that's far from shy. 25 years in the wood left its mark on the beastie. Those well-aged blended malts from Douglas Laing - Yes, Big Peat Gold,  I'm looking at you - are raising the bar at an incredible value for money.

Timorous Beastie is perfectly drinkable at is base strength but it can take quite some water without deteriorating.  This is already a modern, well-balanced, classic for special occasions. 

Image & sample: Douglas Laing

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Monday, 13 January 2020

Rumour: The Balvenie The Edge of Burnhead Wood 19YO

Rumour: The Balvenie The Edge of Burnhead Wood 19YO

"Through the winding paths and steep Speyside hills to a glorious moor of heather. This is the story of what would fondly come to be known as The Heather Trials, and how the people behind them helped create the first-ever expression of The Balvenie made entirely with ingredients grown on its Dufftown estate."

The Edge of Burnhead Wood is n°6 in The Balvenie Stories, a series of whiskies endorsed by key figures from The Balvenie Distillery. The first three expressions - 12YO The Sweet Toast of American Oak, 14YO The Week of Peat and 26YO A Day of Dark Barley - came from the hand of Kelsey McKechnie, Ian Millar and David Stewart.

Through an NFC-tag, whisky enthousiasts could discover specially recorded audio-conversations and a guided whisky tasting of their Balvenie Whisky. These recordings are also available as a podcast.

And while you are sipping one of these tasty drams from The Balvenie, you can enjoy the book Pursuit: The Balvenie Stories by Alex Preston.

This 19-year-old whisky being numbers 6 means there are at least two more missing links in the story.

Identity Card

  • Official bottling from The Balvenie Distillery (Speyside)
  • Alcohol:48.7% ABV

    The Edge of Burnhead Wood

    A delicately fruity and fragrant expression of The Balvenie, crafted with heather from The Balvenie estate.

    Source: Colas Online

    Saturday, 11 January 2020

    Talisker Toddy

    Talisker Toddy

    A hot toddy is a mixture of a spirit (usually whisky), hot water, and honey. Other ingredients such as cloves, a lemon slice or cinnamon are often also added.

    In the book How to Drink, the hot toddy is described as "the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb."

    The origin of the name "Hot Toddy" either comes from the Indian tadi drink, produced by fermenting the sap of toddy palm trees. Its earliest known use to mean "a beverage made of alcoholic liquor with hot water, sugar, and spices" is from 1786. Other sources credit the Irish physician Robert Bentley Todd for his prescription of a hot drink made from brandy, water, sugar syrup and canella.

    January 11 has been declared as National Hot Toddy Day so let's put the kettle on the fire and grab a bottle of Talisker.

    Robert Bentley Todd
    Picture: Wikipedia (CC BY 4.0)


    • 50 ml Talisker 10YO
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 star anise
    • 2 or 3 cloves
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    Talisker Toddy


    Cut the lemon in two and keep a slice to garnish. Stud it with the cloves.

    Add a measure of Talisker 10YO whisky, 2 tablespoons of honey and the lemon juice to your mug. Stir with the cinnamon stick while adding boiling water. Add the star anise and the slice of lemon.

    Sip it slowly and enjoy the warm glow.

    Talisker Toddy

    Talisker mug and sample: Oona Agency


    Monday, 6 January 2020

    Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove Batch Strength

    Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove Batch Strength

    Welcome to 2020, another year to discover breathtaking whiskies and making new whisky friends. Let's kickstart the year with tasting notes of the festive whisky from Wemyss Malts: Nectar Grove Batch Strength.

    Madeira casks aren't the most common vessels to finish or mature a whisky. Only a handful distilleries had a limited run with Madeira casks in a lead role. Wemyss Malts Nectar Grove launched in the first quarter of 2018 and now has a high strength brother.

    Thursday, 2 January 2020

    Rumour: Longrow Red 13 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

    Longrow Red 13 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon
    Longrow Red is an annual small batch release of peated Longrow by Springbank Distillery. The whisky is bottled at cask strength and every year a different type of red wine cask is used to mature the whisky.

    Rongrow Red offers an alternate take on the peated Longrow malts with smooth and elegant whiskies. The 2020 release is 13 years old, bottled at 51.6%, and matured in 10 years in a mixture of bourbon barrels and refill sherry hogsheads followed by 3 years in Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from Mont Gras' Intriga Estate in Alto Maipo.

    Identity Card Longrow Red 13 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

    • Official bottling from Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown
    • 13-year-old single malt
    • Matured in Chilean cabernet sauvignon casks
    • Outturn: 9.000 bottles
    • Alcohol: 51.6% ABV

    Source: Colas Online