The Malt Whisky Trail
Have you ever thought about making a whisky holiday pilgrimage to visit some of the most famous names in whisky? I bet you have! There’s quite a few different trips you could do, from island hopping, to mammoth tours all over Scotland… but one great way to see a bunch of great distilleries, along side some fantastic visitor attractions, is to do The Malt Whisky Trail.
The Trail is based around the Speyside area, taking in such names as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray and Strathisla, amongst others (go here for the full list). Depending on your time in the area you can always complete the whole list of recommended Trail visits, and could probably fit in a few others as well (let’s face it, in Speyside you can literally throw a stone in any direction and pretty much hit a distillery!).
TWE Whisky Show: Bloggers’ Breakfast
Most serious whisky drinkers have been to, or at least know about the existence of whisky shows… there’s a good variety of them over the UK these days, but one of the largest, best known, and continually popular shows is The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show in London every year at the start of October. It’s always great to see friendly faces and to talk geeky things with industry experts while trying a massive variety of different goodies. Continue reading
A visit to Balblair
(plus a review of the 1990 vintage)
This was originally written in 2015, and I totally forgot to post it! It was based on a visit a few years ago, but I’ve been back twice since then…
If any of you reading this have followed my trips over the years up to Scotland then you might know that Inverness is one of my favourite places, it feels like a home from home to me – there’s some definite similarities to where I live in the South West. As luck would happen to have it, I also love the whisky produced around this area… it’s not overly far to get down to Speyside, but also when heading north you’ll find some great distilleries producing fine products.
Diageo Special Releases 2016
Lucky old me, I got invited to join the press launch of the Diageo Special Releases 2016 this year, up in that there London.
It’s a great event that has been happening over the last 15 years, showcasing some of the less well known distilleries in Diageo’s portfolio.
So.. here’s my hastily typed notes whilst mingling with fellow bloggers on the night…
Just a quick post this one… but today I seem to have accidentally invented a new term: “Cash Strength”. This generally refers to new releases that *aren’t* Cask Strength, but certainly appear to priced as if they were! 🙂 I’ll be attempting to use this terminology from now on…
I was in Scotland on holiday during February 2016 and the good folks of Deanston distillery spotted my tweets about it and kindly suggested I swung by on my way home (as I was going to be driving close by), because they had some goodies for me.
Sure enough I eagerly stopped by and goodies were indeed waiting, thanks guys! Whilst there we stopped for a fantastic lunch at their Coffee Bothy, followed by a 5 minute flying tour to refresh my memory of the distillery and to get a couple of quick pictures. As always when visiting, you’re faced with a warming welcome plus plenty of goodies in the distillery shop to make your trip really worth it; exclusive distillery bottlings and hand-fills galore.
So let’s take a look at the variety of Deanston’s newest goodies that I was furnished with… We’ll take a look at their new 15yo Organic, 18yo Batch 2, 20yo Oloroso, 2008 Sherry Oak, and Fill Your Own 11yo… The first thing to note is the nice variation on colours, Deanston don’t chillfilter, and don’t colour their whisky, always a good start…
Fentimans: Alcohol Free Christmas Party Winners?
Have you heard of Fentimans? If not, let me quickly fill you in… Thomas Fentiman, a West Yorkshire iron worker, began the business in 1905 when he was given a recipe for botanically brewed ginger beer in repayment of a loan.
Recently Glenmorangie launched Tùsail, the 6th release in their yearly Private Edition series of malts… most of which form some part of experimentation by Glenmo’s main man, Dr Bill Lumsden. (See below for my review tasting notes.)
This years experiment \ release is comprised of Maris Otter barley, floor-malted by hand, and non chill-filtered.
A rich winter variety of barley first introduced in 1965, Maris Otter was bred specifically to meet the demand for a high quality brewing malt and recognized for its ability to impart rich, rustic malty flavours. The variety at the time was much loved by brewers and created great ale’s, however the variety started to fall out of love and started being replaced with newer varieties that had greater alcohol yields until it was revived by a dedicated company and is now revered as one of the best malts for brewing once again.
So, I’ve been on a Last Great Malts trip, kindly put on by Dewar’s… To read about day one of the trip, go here.
Day 2, and it’s a bright and early start. Actually, I tell a lie, it’s an early start with a sore head, but a good full Scottish breakfast and coffee later and the world seems just about right again. Which is a good thing as we’re straight back onto the coach for the next part of our tour. It’s a different coach to yesterday, we won’t mention the mishap the day before.
Last week I was one of a lucky few to be invited up to Scotland by Dewar’s to look around their distilleries. Termed the ‘Last Great Malts’, Dewar’s have taken the step to release single malt whiskies from their distilleries which, until now have mostly only been used in blending or seen as single malts in the independent bottlers world.
This is great news within the category because Dewar’s are rather going against the grain here… their releases all have age statements, and where the bottles are new to market they’re being released at 46% non chill filtered and with no colour, with existing releases (Aberfeldy 12yo for example) being changed over time to match. Big congrats to Dewar’s for this as many other brands at the moment are increasingly releasing more and more no age statement whiskies which are filtered, coloured and reduced to within an inch of their lives with water.