A life in drinks: From wine to whisky


Whisky Advent Calendar

The Whisky Advent Calendar 2015

Whisky Calender 1

Purposfully I haven’t taken pictures to give to much away! If one takes aside the quality of the whisky and  the value for money, there is simply one very good reason to have one of these for Christmas. Sheer entertainment. The excitement of not knowing what is coming next. They may not all be to your taste, but that makes getting one that is all the more exciting.

whisky calendar 3

So to the quality and value. The quality is varied. And by that I mean it starts at very good and goes up from there. There are some unusual and rare whiskies in the calendar from very young to fifty years old! Which brings me onto the value. I don’t know of any of the drams in this pack that you could buy in a pub for the price they average out to here. Well certainly not in London anyway! Some of these whiskies are much more valuable than the average price.

whisky calendar 2

So if you fancy a bit of fun, pleasure and excited anticipation every day of December before christmas, then this is for you. And if you buy this for someone who loves whisky, they will forever be thankful. There is plenty of more information and other calendars on their website: http://www.drinksbythedram.com

Available from fine retailers, including…


Royal Brackla 12 Year old

Royal Brackla 12 years old 40%


http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com £41.75

Nose: confected fruits mixed with a little fresh apricots in pastry. Spices and cake mix with a little chocolate.

Palate: Orchard fruits, mainly apples with chocolate. Like Chocolate shavings on a cake. A little vanilla and lemon rind towards the back of the palate and some honeysuckle flora notes.

Finish: Warming and spicy with well integrated oak bring the dram to a dry end.

Brackla 12

Another great value whisky from Bacardi. Following on from the Craigellachie 13 this is a cracker for the price.


The Arran Malt, Smugglers’ Series

The Arran Malt Smugglers’ Series Vol.1 The Illicit Stills 56.4%

Arran-Smugglers Oct15-ArranSmugglers

Nose: Big and rich. Lots of dried dark fruits at first with lighter dried fruits like currents and apricots follow on. Slightly coastal but fleeting. Some honeysuckle floral notes sweeten the oak and spice.

Palate: Lots of fresh plumbs and Christmas spices. Rich and full. The peat builds up but takes its time. Spices really come through well.

Finish: Dry and spicy with lot of smoke. Very well integrated oaky dryness right at the end.


Bowmore 12 Years Old from Gleann Mor

Bowmore 12 years old. Gleann Mor 53.3%

http://www.gmwhiskyco.com £69




Bowmore 12 1

Nose: Honey and fresh peaches at first. Malty with a little nutty marzipan. Citrus zests and a touch of pine forest.

Palate: Very oily and viscous mouthfeel. Luxuriant. Lots of fruit up front, oranges and orchard fruits. Red apples. Some honey and vanilla mix in the background. Very easy going smoke.

Finish: Chilli heat at first becoming herbaceous with a little brioche at the end with burning fire smoke.

This might seem a tad expensive for a 12 year old whisky. But no, it is a single cask, cask strength gem. fabulous mouth feel and fantastic balance.

If you’re into single casks this is a very good, one. If you’ve never ventured into single casks, then I would certainly say this one will not put you off.

Penny Blue Batch 4 Rum

Penny Blue XO Mauritian Rum 43%


Penny Blue Batch 4

bbr.com £40

I know this isn’t a whisky, but of all the rums I know it is certainly a whisky drinker’s rum. It’s unchill filtered with a natural colour. To be sipped and savoured.

Nose: Tropical fruits come first followed by some sweetness, but very balanced – no added sugar here. Touches of eucalyptus and spice mingle with vanilla and citrus zests.

Palate: The sweet flavours follow on to the palate as well as the delicate tropical fruits. Wood spice and fresher citrus fruit flavours come together to balance it beautifully.

Finish: A long finish, especially for rum. Dry oaky notes with soft spices, a little ginger tingling on the tongue right at the end.

A glorious whisky drinkers rum, no molasses added here. Sip away and be pleased you went out and bought one. Then buy another before you get to the end of the bottle. This small batch rum won’t last long.

From the London Whisky Show 2015

A mini tasting of the show bottle from this years London Whisky Show and brought to the show by the brand new http://www.scotchwhisky.com Edited by a team of three whisky heads. Dave Broom, Becky Paskin and Richard Woodard. Anyway onto the whisky: All we know is that it comes from a family run Speyside distillery, but nothing else!

A fabulous new whisky site with lots of content for beginners and aficionados a like. Take a look and get stuck in.



Glenmorangie A Midwinter Night’s Dram

A little something for the UK market and clearly designed with winter in Mind:

Glenmorangie: A Midwinter Night’s Dram 43%

Glenmorangie Midwinter Night's Dram

Glenmorangie Midwinter Night’s Dram

Most good whisky shops and some supermarkets, £40 UK ONLY

A new whisky for Christmas. A Midwinter Night’s Dram’ has been matured in select Bourbon casks made from American white oak, delivering Glenmorangie’s classic house-style which is smooth and soft, and only to be found in the UK.

Glenmorangie Midwinter Night's Dram

Glenmorangie Midwinter Night’s Dram

Nose: Notes of orange marmalade, toffee, walnuts and mulled wine. Tones of wine-soaked fruit, Christmas cake and a distinct whiff of musk or incense.

Palate: A rich, warming, peppery texture leading into myriad flavours of chocolate orange, ginger, walnuts, praline and some sweet butter candy.

Finish: A soft, medium strength, creamy finish, with further notes of malt biscuit and plump raisins.

Balvenie DCS compendium

Now on the way to the airport to visit Balvenie there’s a moment to reflect on the DCS compendium launched last night at the Wallace Collection in London.

Firstly, the whiskies are wonderful and show through their differing ages and styles a fabulous story whilst keeping that distillery heart of honey, lemon and flowers.


DCS compendium

Beyond the whiskies themselves, there is the concept. 5 whiskies released every year for 5 years. All single casks from different decades. A fabulous journey through the years, flavours and knowledge of David Stewart, the Malt Master at Balvenie. The longest serving malt master in Scotch whisky history at 53 years in the job!

Launched with aplomb, comedy and history it was an event like no other from Balvenie and they did a good job, lets hope they do more!

Details of the whiskies to come shortly…

Richard Paterson Celebrates 45 year Milestone

Richard Paterson

Richard Paterson

Richard Paterson  celebrates 45 years in the whisky industry. Whyte & Mackay put out this press release this morning, and I just happened to be reading a fabulous book which I think every whisky drinker would enjoy. Goodness Nose by Richard Paterson and Gavin D. Smith. Easily found on Amazon, it’s very entertaining. Well worth making the time for.



From Whyte & Mackay:

Richard’s unwavering dedication to whisky began when he followed his Grandfather and Father into the industry.Richard honed his craft at A. Gillies & Company Whisky Blenders & Brokers where he worked as a production assistant, learning the art of whisky distilling and blending. He then joined Whyte & Mackay, becoming their Master Distiller at the age of just 26.

Over the last 45 years his innate ability to assess and taste whisky has earned him the nickname of ‘The Nose’.  He has a reputation as both an exceptional whisky creator and an illustrious showman.  He is loved by whisky fans the world over and has been responsible for creating some of the world’s most iconic whiskies such as The Dalmore Trinitas, the Mackinlay’s Shackleton blend and of course Whyte & Mackay Blended Scotch.

Bryan Donaghey CEO of Whyte & Mackay said: “Richard’s contribution to Whyte & Mackay and indeed the whisky industry as a whole over the last 45 years has been phenomenal. His commitment and passion never ceases to amaze me and I can confidently say, on behalf of the team at Whyte & Mackay, the industry and of course all of the whisky aficionados out there , that we all look forward to working with him for many years to come.’

Jameson and beer, a good combination: Caskmates



Jameson has announced the global release of Jameson Caskmates. it’s been Created at Midleton  in collaboration with micro-brewer, Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork.

In 2013, Jameson Master Distiller, Brian Nation and Master of Whiskey Science, Dave Quinn, first met Franciscan Well Founder and Head Brewer, Shane Long, in a Cork bar. They agreed to loan some Jameson casks to the brewery to discover their influence on Irish stout and when the stout-seasoned barrels were returned to the Midleton Distillery, Dave Quinn re-filled them with Jameson Irish whiskey. Over time, the maturation resulted in a new taste sensation: Jameson Caskmates.

Dave Quinn and Shane Long in London extolling the virtues of Caskmates ©Colin Hampden-White

Dave Quinn Master of Whiskey Science and Shane Long of Franciscan Well Brewery, in London extolling the virtues of Caskmates ©Colin Hampden-White

The product of curiosity, collaboration and innovation, Jameson Caskmates retains the triple-distilled smoothness of Jameson Original, while adopting additional notes of coffee, cocoa, butterscotch and gentle hints of hops.

Dave Quinn, Master of Whiskey Science at the Midleton Distillery, says: “When the stout-seasoned Jameson barrels arrived back at Midleton from Franciscan Well, curiosity got the better of us and we experimented by maturing our Jameson Irish whiskey in the casks. We found that after around six months, the perfect balance of flavor was achieved and we couldn’t be happier with the results”.

Nose: There is certainly a core aroma which is Jameson, so orchard fruits and sweetness, but there is less nose prickle. The whiskey is smoother and more rounded. Spices appear, deepening from herbaceous to nutty aromas and a little chocolate. In the background the hops can just be sensed.

Taste: initial sweet mouth coating typical of the Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. Smooth, still fruity and distinctly Jameson’s with a subtle touch of hops and cocoa beans. Some marzipan and charred oak add to the complexity. The hops return at the back of the palate.

Finish: Sweet with chocolate and butterscotch with a medium length.

There are other experiments being carried out in collaboration with the brewery, so there should be some interesting whiskies arriving later.

Bottled at 40% ABV, Jameson Caskmates is available from September 2015 in eight markets including the USA, South Africa and Ireland, at the RRP of €38.99, $29.99 or local equivalent, supported by global ATL and BTL campaigns, POS and merchandising support tools.