Inside the Bottle: A Year of Smiles (and Whisky)

Well as another year draws to a close and we eagerly await 2018 and all the wonderful opportunities and moments that it will bring, it is time to have a little look back on this year…

And what a year!

I think I will do my review by month as I feel each month brought its own reward and experiences…and memories to look back on.

January saw me heading down to the Principal Hotel in York for the “Final Three Drams Live”. If you are not aware of what this was / is then Ben Bowers @adramaday is the man to look up, he reviewed 366 drams in 366 days and raised a staggering £7,000 for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (A Dram A Day Live Finale) whilst being a father / husband and working too!

It was a wonderfully fun night and the atmosphere was…well I guess the word is  heartwarming to say the least. Whisky fans and whisky novices alike were there, Claxton’s Whisky were also there for the evening with Adrian and Sorren (ocdwhisky) pouring samples…Claxton’s had collaborated with Gauntleys of Nottingham to release a bottling with some of the proceeds going to two charities. Me? I brought whisky fudge to sell, and my trademark smile. I also had my first whisky discovery of the year. Yes, this was the Claxton’s Glenrothes 1997 – 19 year old Claxton’s Glenrothes 1997 – 19 Year Old It will always be a very special dram…

What happened in February? Well I guess this month was about iheartwhisky fudge. I already had my food training certification and was working on a logo. I had sketched up a design, and that with feedback from Twitter and a kind offer to draw up my design I was up and running with my wee heart floating in a dram. A logo was born and many thanks to John once more for the offer to assist me.

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March was Newcastle Whisky festival and twitter tasting month with That Boutique-y Whisky Company where we enjoyed the Loch Lomond 19 year old, Secret Distillery #2 15 year old Batch 2, Mortlach 18 year old Batch 3, Glenrothes 25 year old, Batch 3 amd the Irish Single Malt #1 24 year old, Batch 1 That Boutique-y Whisky Company – Twitter Tasting. I really loved the Mortlach and the Glenrothes 🙂 The festival was good and as always it was nice to catch up with old friends Newcastle Whisky Festival

Ah…April and the official first batch of iheartwhisky fudge on the 7th April…this really does make me smile. A lot of hard work had gone into this, the checks and all the i dotting and t crossing done! What else? Ah yes, I buggered off to Bristol for the weekend for the Bristol Whisky Festival Bristol Whisky Festival This was to be an opportunity to meet some fellow tweeters and have a dram or two…I set off the day before the festival as for some strange reason Bristol is a total arse to get to. But thankfully the lovely Jo @alpacajo invited me to stay. It was a great day meeting new people and some that I had twittered with for a few years. Adrian being the oldest (in time) of those, then Jon and Chris (the Dram Team) and the lovely Colin Dunn and his megaphone antics. Of course there was the must-have Dave hug and the handing out of whisky fudge too! Then long chats in the pub or on the street with Jason B Standing and his now wife, apres the festival. A good day was had!

May was a chance to do a little something for charity. Bruichladdich were raising money for Marie Curie Scotland and a suggestion from a friend Sorren (ocdwhisky) to put my skills to good use (with support from Bruichladdich) I made Port Charlotte Scottish Barley (Heavily Peated) fudge and all the money (£200) raised was donated to the charity. I (we) also had a trip around the world with the Dram Team – Worldwide Whiskies, and the rather yummy Loch Lomond tweet tasting the Glen Scotia 25 year old was delicious Loch Lomond Tweet Tasting and the Balvenie one too 🙂 The Balvenie Tweet Tasting – The Craftsmen’s Dinner

June. The Other Side of the Table was the alternative title to the Edinburgh Whisky Festival blog I wrote… Edinburgh Whisky Festival I was off to sell my fudge at the Assembly Rooms on what was to be a swelteringly hot day! After the normal festival rituals had taken place – hugs from Dave and Paul and setting up my table it was time to dash off to meet another tweeter I had known for years but had never met, this was Tom. He let me try a lovely 25 year old Bunnahabhain and it tasted of sweet caramel and toffee with a deliciously smoky palate. I had the opportunity to meet Justine from Kask Whisky and Roy from Aqvavitae said hello too, Rob the Bruce was there and it really was fab to catch up with him.

Blair Bowman was there with his book and it was great to say thanks to him for signing my book! There were men in the street shouting “love your fudge” and also the gentleman towards the end of the day declaring “I love you – I’ll come back” and he did – all that from trying a piece of my fudge 🙂 and thankfully his wife smiled despite his declaration…

Afterwards we all went to the SMWS and I discovered another lovely whisky – namely Opera in Sequins 30.95 a 26 year old Glenrothes.

Hello July! July was Dramboree 5 and despite some hesitation on my behalf I decided to go ahead and buy a ticket and disappear for the weekend…armed with fudge and a bottle of Douglas Laing Old Particular Glenrothes 12 year old for the whisky table at the youth hostel. The group were to meet at the bus station in Edinburgh for the coach journey to Aviemore. Once I arrived in Edinburgh I met up with Jon, Jamie & Chris (2/3 of The Dram Team), Amy Seton and Tom (for a bonus dram.) It was a fantastic few days and hilarious at times too, and I am glad I swallowed my shyness and went for it Dramboree 5 – I blame Jon and The Dram Team

August was a quiet month, but I managed to get some blogs written under my “Inside the Bottle” theme…. Inside the Bottle – the Contents 

September was festival month 🙂

First up was the Manchester Whisky Lounge Manchester Whisky Festival  which segwayed nicely into Distilled 17… I was in Manchester for the Friday evening session and the Saturday early session. It was another good un, I met Greg from Great Drams and some other tweeter mates. Some lovely drams were sampled too! Yet, it was sadly too soon before I was being hugged and bidding “see you soon” before dashing off to the airport for a flight to Inverness. From Inverness it was a bus journey to Elgin for Distilled 17 Distilled 17 Had a wonderful tasting there with Graham Coull from Glen Moray Distillery to celebrate their 120th birthday celebrations and I sat alongside Andrew from Andrew’s Share. Oh and I was selling and delivering whisky fudge along the way.

London was my destination in the beginning of October for The Whisky Exchange Show The Whisky Exchange Show (TWE)  I had secured a pass for the Trade Day on the Monday, but due to flight costs etc. travelled on the Sunday. It seemed the sensible thing to buy a ticket and go on the Sunday too… Thankfully I had Adrian, Jon and Steve Prentice to keep an eye on me. What’s the worst that could happen? Too much whisky? Me? I hardly touch it… Ha ha. Had a lovely little chat with Mark Gillespie from WhiskyCast where we had a fudge for Glencairn glass exchange and he interviewed me for his podcast (yes the one where I sound like a chipmunk on speed..) Met Emily Chappell 🙂 Oh and I had a hug and a chat with Charles MacLean… all photographic evidence has been destroyed 😉

Monday was fab too! the bloggers breakfast with Billy Abbott was fun! And it was nice putting faces to names again and let’s face it, whisky for breakfast is always a good idea! Glen Moray Iain and Emma were there at the event, and it was good seeing them both as well as friends from Dramboree 5 and new ones too! Fudge made an appearance once again…and I was handing out boxes with “nom nom…it’s all gone!!” in the bottom of them and this is bound to be lucrative for Sorren (ocdwhisky) and to note, Geordie owns the Twitter version 😂

We then enjoyed the rather delicious Happy 5th Boutique-y Birthday evening with Dave and some good friends…Happy 5th Birthday That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Then later in October I was off to York for the Yorkshire Whisky Festival and I was going to sell my fudge. I was really looking forward to this one, this was the first anniversary of attending festivals for me and it was York 2016 that did it for me… It was a fun day! It was also a bloody cold day…but some internal central heating was taken. Whisky.

Had some lovely drams, the Glen Moray 30 year old from Murray McDavid and also the Boutique-y Whisky Mortlach and a rather delicious sample of the Paul John Oloroso from Sorren’s personal bottle, and I am surprised he had time to stop as the stand had a really busy day! A Year of Festivals…and Friends I met the terrible twosome – Andy & Stu from This is My Dram and we sat and had a little chat about fudge and music and all that, and it was great to put faces to names, and I was recorded for a bit in their podcast. Lovely seeing friends again and sharing fudge and hugs and avoiding flying objects…and my absolutley gorgeous whisky tumbler was collected from David & Wendy. I love it! Especially with the 2017 hallmark “S”… Smiley Smoggy, Sarah.. Smiles… you get the drift! And of course the lovely and very hardworking Abbie & Chris from Cooper King Distillery – exciting times ahead for them and I wonder where in the world their still is at the moment?

November. Well I had a last minute “to hell with it moment…” as in a few days before the event I decided to go the the Birmingham Whisky Festival with the Whisky Lounge it was fab seeing lots of all friends and some newer ones too, all the lovely Whisky Lounge posse – Eddie, Gee, Guy, Vicky etc. etc. Jason B Standing and Ruaridh from Fentimans (he will forgive me one day.) Then I met Nichola and John from Newcastle who as they were leaving might have blamed me for their purchases from Whiskey Tumblers..ha ha! Birmingham Whisky Festival #SOS

And now it’s December and I was off to Glen Moray distillery for their first Christmas Fair and it was a lovely day. Graham and Fay were the wonderful welcoming hosts. In fact the whole team were a lovely bunch. It was lovely seeing Jeanine and her hubby again too A Day at Glen Moray Distillery

My Glenfarclas Advent Calendar is keeping me busy throughout December, a dram a day means a little blog a day, and I like doing that. Can’t beat looking forward to finishing the day with a whisky in your hand 🙂

I must say a big thanks to Steve Rush for the times I have been chosen to partake in tweet tastings. I feel very very lucky and I really do appreciate the the opportunities and the experiences of more than a few new distilleries.

Thank you to all of you who have bought whisky fudge from me…I appreciate it so much and your pics and comments really do make me smile!

If you have made me smile this year, then thank you. I hope I gave the same to you also.

George – thank you for being a friend.

Whisky (life) should be fun, full of exploration, challenging tastes, sharing moments and light hearted banter and thankfully we have that – this is a journey…. and the odd hug will never ever go out of fashion 🙂

Big hugs – Sarah x x

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The Dram Team – Great Drams

Thursday 16th November was the Dram Team tasting night…yippee! I do like these lovely boxes which come to my door every month, yes I pay for them but still a little treat is good on a regular basis, isn’t it?

I will quite from on of the cards in the box last month “In his debut book, The Great Drams of Scotland, Dram Team founder Greg Dillon takes you on a spirited journey through the history of the brands that have built whisky”. And this was to be a small liquid preview of just that…

Inside the box are five 25ml samples and always a sixth.. the teaser dram at 10ml and just enough to send you into heaven with a want to get your hands on that delicious whisky. Yes, I have been there and finally tracked the bottle down. Be warned 🙂

So without further ado…

We were starting off the evening with the sixth dram which was the Kininvie – 23 Years Old, Batch 3. This was matured in a combination of sherry and bourbon casks – 42.6% vol. The nose soft and sweet… delicate peach and very fragrant (think I should have poured it sooner.) I then kind of got some baked apples and soft spices. The palate was quite dry. A little dark chocolate but getting some wood (woody notes) and it’s quite juicy. Hints of apple still there…

Next was the Famous Grouse, aged 16 years (Blended Scotch Whisky) The nose was honey and pears and a little vanilla. A little spice just nibbling my senses. I just felt it needs a bit more “oomph”.. though some toffee and caramel were making an appearance now. Its palate had a smooth mouthful and really quiet pleasant on the tongue…caramel and sweetness with some gentle spices warming your mouth. It just feels a bit thin.  I like something I can get my teeth into (as it were.) Pepper warmth coming through. But the finish was nice.

We then went onto the Glenfiddich 18 year old, lovely sugar richness, juicy with a lovely freshness. Stewed apples and spice on the nose – yum! On the palate lovely oak flavours and some delicious fruit. Very rich and a slight bitterness. I liked this 🙂

The last one of the tasting was Wemyss Malts – Peat Chimney the nose was like sitting round a smouldering camp fire. A slight saltiness on the nose with a lovely amount of sweetness. Smells fragrant. Maybe a little hit of leather, it’s not an in your face peat. Though the palate may tell me otherwise…quite smoky but not too pungent (can I say that? (yes, apparently I could (just say it as it is Sarah!!))) It does go nicely with Treacle Chest fudge balances the smoke a treat…

The remaining two drams are to be enjoyed at a later time, the Laphroaig 10 year old and the Ardmore Legacy.

Thanks to Greg for taking us on this little journey, and of course The Dram Team – if you haven’t had a box from them…give yourself a shake and get one 🙂

Sibling Rivalry – The Dram Team

Sibling Rivalry it’s all part of family life eh? Well on this particular evening it was a battle of ages between these six drams, we were about to sample Glen Moray, Old Pulteney and Glenfarclas siblings. So who would come out as favourite? The elder or the younger? Well I guess there was really only one way to find out, sample them.

First up are the 12 and 15 year old expressions from Glen Moray from their Elgin Heritage range.

The 12 year old nose, lovey soft floral fragrance yet has a depth to it too. Just drawing you in for another sniff. Lovely toffee, vanilla and a bit of milk chocolate. Definitely a freshness to it. Now the 15 year old, lovely and fresh too but with some delicious spice and a note of frangipane and toffee and a delicious hint of oak. Going back to the 12 again and there is a thick creamy custard note (it’s been sitting a while now.) The palate on this delightfully light and fruity with that vanilla and it’s quite lightly spiced too. The 15 is that bit thicker on the palate with a sweetness and lovely spice again. Both are wonderful but I think the 15 just pips it to the post. Just.

Now to the Old Pulteney twosome. The 12 year old at 40%, and the 17 year old at 46%. I do like the Old Pulteney so it is nice to try them again.

The 12 year old on the nose is lovely and fresh like line dried linen with a sea breeze, a slight hint of fresh orange rind with vanilla and a pinch of salt and a the scent of oak.

And the 17 year old? A more robust nose and briny with it. Warm leather and a slight tanginess accompanies a bar of Mr. Toms – so that’s nuts in sugar and it smells delicious! I think there is a bit of a pine freshness there also. The palate of the 12 year old is slightly dry with a hint of vanilla and a bit of cream, soft whipped with a drop of this in it would be fab. Theres a slight spicy caramel to it but it’s sweet. The 17 year old is smoother on the palate, that nuttiness remains albeit lightly, and again it is sweet and fruity and really delicious with a long finish that just has you savouring the whisky.

Lastly we moved on to the Glenfarclas and the 10 year old and the 25 year old.

Up first is the 10 year old and the nose is quite buttery and a bit malty too. Toffee entices you a little with light spices and a little cream and honey, and the 25 year old? A richer nose on this one, the sherry really coming to the fore, Christmas pudding and bitter rind and really quite full on the nose. The 10 year old palate is light yet sweet with some cinnamon dancing on the tongue with lovely vanilla and the maltiness is there also. Against the lovely sherry on the 25 year old which really draws you in, some bitterness from dark chocolate yet rather yummy. Yes there is a difference in them but they both have their own merit, whether 10 years or 25 years old.

I based my thoughts on the Glenfarclas 15 year old that I really do enjoy.

A lovely selection of drams from some of my favourite distilleries. So thanks guys for another interesting box of delights!

And to all those who took part on the night – hello!

Sarah

 

 

Worldwide Whiskies – The Dram Team

Last night saw a welcome return to The Dram Team twitter tastings. It was definitely a case of “don’t forget your passport” as we embarked on a whistle stop tour while enjoying “Worldwide Whiskies”.

I was sat listening to “Around the World” by Daft Punk as the stewardess told us to put our devices into flight mode.

The flight was fully booked with some familiar passengers as well as our trusty Captain Chris Borrow. So tray tables up and belts fastened we headed for our first destination…to the land down under, Australia.

The first dram was from Starward Whisky. This is a New World Malt Whisky – 43%

The nose was lovely fresh honey and gently spiced & deliciously fragrant. Banana, apples and cream coming through also.

Now the palate – caramel, lovely sweetness, marzipan, quite peppery. The caramel was quite delicious. The finish was quite dry and slightly woody.

We then took flight off to Ireland where Teeling Distillery in Dublin were waiting for us with a small batch Irish Blended Whisky – 46%

The nose offered lots of vanilla and light spices. Quite a creamy nose. Fruity and a drizzle of custard. A smooth mouthfeel. Some spice and a little bitter. Getting some wood. Nice sweetness but not overly so. It finishes as the wood lingers, quite spicy and a tad dry.

Our next destination saw us flying to England (“whoop whoop go England” were my exact words) and we were bound for Norfolk and The English Whisky Co. invited us to try The Norfolk Farmers, Single Grain Whisky – 45%

This was quite a full nose (?) Demerara sugar. Pencil shavings for sure. Muesli and fruit compote. Reminded me of my breakfast in Bristol last month. The palate was quite dry with some cherry & spices. The finish was a little dry too.

Long haul flight to the USA. We were welcomed at F.E.W Spirits with an American Rye Whisky – 46.5%

I’m a hit or a miss with rye. So let’s see…

Nose is spicy and a touch of fresh wood. A sticky light fruitiness. Some chocolate. Initially the nose just didn’t appeal. I kept nosing it and swirling it in my glass but the palate told me what I imagined – it just didn’t sit well with me, there was quite a lot of spice. It’s a pity but I’m sure the other passengers had some different experiences.

Now we were heading off to Sweden. Our Captain told us as we flew at 28,000ft that we would soon be starting our descent. This trip saw us heading for Mackmyra to sample their Svensk Rök a Swedish Single Malt Whisky – 46.1%

The nose offered sweet smoke and hmmm fudge? Gently spiced and fragrant. The palate was quite woody (oaky) peppery too. The smoke from the nose is still there.

The last leg of our journey and we were off to India for a Paul John Indian Single Malt Whisky at Dave Worthington’s house. This was a 6 year old whisky – 52.9% and this was also the teaser dram. Namely the sixth dram.

The nose offered a delicious light smokiness…Tudor Smoky Bacon crisps “I’d climb a mountain” and all that… still sweet too. A peppery finish and possibly a larger sample would have been better, but that’s the tease of the sixth dram.

And with that we all decided it was time to collect our duty free and head home. A jovial night with lots of banter and interaction with fellow passengers old and new.

Thanks as ever to Captain Chris and The Dram Team.

If you haven’t tried one of these monthly boxes, then please do try. I’ve had some wonderful whisky moments because of them 🙂

Play Your Drams Right The Dram Team

The letter reads “Greetings Dearest Dram-Teamer!

Welcome to our whisky-based gameshow-in-a-box, “Play your drams right”…our chance to go “Highland or Lowland”

So I decided to try this box of delights from Douglas Laing to Ailsa Bay.

Dear reader please note, these are my thoughts on the drams.

First card picked and it’s a…

Douglas Laing – Timorous Beastie Highland Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 46.8%

Light straw colour

Sherry on the nose. Sugar and fudge with a  slightly creamy note. Floral honey. Some spice sprinkled on top.

Smooth on the mouth. A slight bitter cocoa. But with fruit and spices and lovely vanilla just accompanying the other flavours.

Medium finish but with a lovely oak and a gentle spice just warming as it leaves.

Next another

Douglas Laing – The Epicurean Lowland Blended Scotch Whisky 46.2%

Very light in colour

The nose offers light fragrant sweetness. Vanilla and fresh cut grass. Orange freshness.

Another smooth sip with a bit of a bite. Peaches and burnt sugar adding a depth to it. Spicy warmth.

Warm finish with burnt sugar and a hint of grass once more.

Now to the wonderful tease to our senses that is the sixth dram…

Let’s go low again.

Auchentoshan 21 years old Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 43%

Deep golden colour

Rich honey first greets the senses, along with vanilla. That gorgeous sweetness just draws you in. There’s a certain woodiness to it.

Note: to The Dram Team you really do tease us with the sixth dram 🙂

The palate is oh so smooth and delicately invites you to have another sip. The wood is still there and comes through as oak. And honey. There’s chocolate and sweetness and it’s light and mmmm.

Delicious finish that just echoes the flavours you’ve already savoured. It’s smooth, delightful and ever so easy to enjoy.

Now a bit closer to home with…

GlenGarioch – Founder’s Reserve Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 48%

I did have a little giggle at the “Glen Girrie” rather than “Glen Garry-Och” though I’m sure the distillery is used to many a mispronunciation 🙂

Golden in colour

The nose is deliciously soft fruity with vanilla and light spices. Crunchy green apples and a subtle touch of orange.

Quite a rich mouthfeel. Oak is followed by apple and a bit of nutmeg as spice just makes you gently suck your cheeks in. A slight tartness to it. The vanilla lingers.

Finish has that touch of oak and the gentle spice again just leaving a certain warmth.

AnCnoc 18 years old – Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 46%

Rich copper colour

Lovely vanilla and butterscotch. A touch of ginger and oak.

Creamy caramel and ginger with some cloves. Honey richness, fruity with a touch of lemon.

The finish gives black pepper, yet still retains that fruitiness.

Ailsa Bay – Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky 48.9%

Another golden dram

Woah smokiness… but sweet & creamy. Warm leather and that unmissable smoke. Another moment passes and smoky bacon crisps creep out. There’s definitely a sweetness though.

Initially sweet on the tongue and delicately so with soft smoke and a real warmth and a slight kick just to keep you focused.

A long sweet finish with a prickly smoke remaining.

Another box of delights and some hope of a Twitter tasting on the cards?

Slàinte

Maltal Kombat – The Dram Team

This evening I decided to sit down with the Maltal Kombat set from The Dram Team..

I quote “we’re going to be exploring the wonderful world of whisky finishes…each ending its time in wood in a markedly different way…outstanding’.

“Start strong, finish stronger” – Generic Sports Person

Tonight’s solo session started off with:

Glen Moray – Classic Sherry Cask Finish – Single Malt Scotch Whisky 40%

Golden.

Nose: Sherry, cream soda, some cinnamon and vanilla, it was fruity with some caramel.

Palate is smooth, slightly spiced from the cinnamon with a touch of the sherry, again the caramel leaves a soft impression.

Finish is oak and the merest hint of banana, a touch of caramel and soft spice.

Teerenpeli – Distiller’s Choice Portti – Single Malt Finnish Whisky 43%

Darker gold.

Nose: Something that feels new to me, fruity but ever so slightly reminded of Tudor smoky bacon crisps. Burnt sugar or treacle I couldn’t decide and a hint of honey at the back.

Palate was a little liquoricey, and black pepper too. Some fresh orange and black cherry with a reminder of the port casks.

Finish is bitter chocolate and dry but a long finish.

The Arran Malt – Sauternes Cask Finish – Single Malt Scotch Whisky 50%

Pale golden colour.

Nose: Lightly floral nose and a fleeting waft of nail varnish remover, orange zest, caramel and honey, with vanilla and salt.

Palate is full on the mouth and some chilli spice, zingy and a slight bitterness with some sweetness there too.

Finish is warm and a kick of heat with some dark bitter chocolate.

Penderyn – Gold Collection Peated – Single Malt Welsh Whisky 46%

Colour is the very lightest pale gold.

Nose is peat and smoke, I got a slight scent of pine freshness. Light caramel and vanilla. Slightly pungent and a bit nippy on the senses too.

Palate is very light on the mouth feel, a light maltiness. Earthy and organic and a light spice.

Dry finish and not for me. Quite a shame.

Laphroaig – PX Cask – Single Malt Scotch Whisky 48%

Colour is amber golden.

Nose gives smoky iodine but the sweetness is there from the PX cask. Fruit and fullness.

The palate delivers smoky and peaty flavours, which are warm are sweet and full on the mouth.

The finish delivers the reminder of the cask and some dryness but the warmth is there.

The sixth dram was this:

Glenfiddich 21 year old – Reserva Rum Cask Finish -Single Malt Scotch Whisky 40%

A deep golden colour.

On the nose, some aniseed initially, but a clean scent. Vanilla and astringent with some Granny Smith’s apples giving a crisp freshness, a drop of fresh orange and some oak.

A smooth palate with quite a nice mouth feel and the oak comes through like chewing the end of a pencil absentmindedly…

A dryish finish for me but long with some spice.

An interesting box trying some new whiskies.

I do hope The Dram Team start doing twitter tastings again in the future.

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I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts on these whiskies.

Slànte – Sarah 🙂

 

Myth-Busting Blends – The Dram Team

This evening I decided to sit down with the Myth-Busting Blends from The Dram Team..

“For a few brief moments he had touched with the very tips of his fingers the edge of a magic world.” – George’s Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl

Tonight’s solo session started off with:

Hibiki 12 year old – Japanese Blended Whisky 43%

Colour: light gold

Nose: light spice, biscuit, pineapple, plums and raspberry jam. Vanilla. Do I detect a little smoke? Toffee.

Palate is quite gentle. Banana & Custard like old school deserts. Pepper and wood, and a gentleness just playing across your tastebuds.

Finish is warm and woody. Sweet and a tad tangy, but quite an interesting finish.

Hankey Bannister Heritage Blend – Blended Scotch Whisky 46%

“a replication of a rediscovered, perfectly preserved 1920s bottling, carefully recreated from the antique liquid”.

Colour: light gold

Nose: Initially there’s a huge smack of freshly baked banana cake. Vanilla with caramel nudging in. Tart apples and warm spices. Again a bit of smoke.

Palate is smooth with caramel and playful spice. Lovely honey and butterscotch and a bit of bitterness.

Finish is long and lovely.

Compass Box The Spice Tree – Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 46%

“composed solely of Highland single malt from Brora (lending fruitiness), Carron (bringing meatiness) and Alness (for perfume)'”.

Warm golden colour.

A lovely rich nose. Ginger and cinnamon and cloves. Lovely nutmeg meets vanilla whilst toying with your nose. Wonderfully fragrant.

Palate is full and smooth and sweet with those warm spices dancing in your mouth playing around the vanilla with oak.

Finish is long, and still offering up the spice and a certain tinge of oak.

Douglas Laing Rock Oyster – Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 46.8%

“containing single malt spirit from Islay, Arran and Orkney and Jura”.

Colour is a light pale gold.

Nose is light with smoke and salt, like sitting at Arisaig with the fine sea spray teasing your lips while you gaze out to Rhum and Eigg with a camp fire gently fading.

Palate offers smokiness, and peat creeps in with sweetness, and honey and pepper on the tongue. There’s a bit of drop (Dutch liquorice) too.

Finish is lovely and long and just lingering…

I’m rather surprised and I think I want this again.

Compass Box Great King Street – Blended Scotch Whisky – 43%

“they have drawn on the 19th century archive recipes, blending them with their own modern cask maturation techniques”.

Colour is light golden.

Nose is light, fresh and fruity yet a bit reminiscent of an old study some good old fashioned comfort.

The palate brings warm with smoke and sweetness. Sherried fruits just play around on the tongue, and there’s a bit of wood and that smoke just compliments deliciously.

The finish; the smoke just lingers and the warmth remains whilst just ever so slightly encourages a gentle smile to play across your lips 🙂

I’ve sort of moved away from peat of late but this lightness just reminds that it’s still perfectly fine to enjoy them. And this just hit the spot deliciously.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Whisky #1 Batch 3 – Blended Scotch Whisky 46.5%

“the youngest whisky in the incredible mix is 35 years old – and boy does all that maturity show in the character…this is nectar-of the-gods that’ll have you praising the name of blended whisky to the high heavens!”.

Colour is light amber.

The nose is fresh and fragrant like laundry on a fresh summer’s day. Chocolate and aniseed balls, just, well…rolling by.

Fruit, rich and juicy. That freshness I mentioned just keeps coming back around.

Palate delivers a full mouth feel, chocolate melts in with some lovely spice and honey but also, cherry, just lovely and easy and oh so more-ish.

The finish is warm and playful, the spice and sweetness just settle to a nice end.

I liked this one too…oh so nice.

Another fabulous box of delights from The Dram Team.