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Master of Malt Blog

Category: Tasting Notes

Whisky Advent Day 18: Girvan Patent Still Proof Strength

Into the final week of #WhiskyAdvent we go and today it’s time for our first grain whisky from The Whisky Advent Calendar by Drinks by the Dram… Now, most of you…

Whisky Advent Calendar

Into the final week of #WhiskyAdvent we go and today it’s time for our first grain whisky from The Whisky Advent Calendar by Drinks by the Dram

Now, most of you will have William Grant & Sons’ Girvan Patent Still Proof Strength. As mentioned on Day 2 though, these advent calendars have been extraordinarily popular this year, with sales surpassing all forecasts! This means that on a small number of days not everybody could have the exact same dram. Everyone does have a Girvan today, but some of you may be enjoying a Girvan 20 Year Old 1993 from Douglas Laing’s Clan Denny range, or indeed a Girvan 21 Year Old 1994 from their Old Particular range (both excellent independent bottlings).

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Whisky Advent Day 17: Mackmyra Brukswhisky

Day 17 of #WhiskyAdvent and time to leave Scotland once again, for today’s Whisky Advent Calendar dram is a single malt from Sweden! Mackmyra opened their first distillery back in…

Whisky Advent Calendar

Day 17 of #WhiskyAdvent and time to leave Scotland once again, for today’s Whisky Advent Calendar dram is a single malt from Sweden!

Mackmyra opened their first distillery back in 1999 and have since gained a reputation for producing some top malts. In 2012 they opened a second site, a gravity-run facility that stands at 37 metres high! This is where all of their distillation now takes place, save for the odd special run.

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Whisky Advent Day 16: Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood

December 16th? My goodness, fewer than ten days left until the main event! This is when excitement or panic sets in, in earnest, depending on how much shopping you have…

Whisky Advent Calendar

December 16th? My goodness, fewer than ten days left until the main event! This is when excitement or panic sets in, in earnest, depending on how much shopping you have left to do! Try not to worry just yet though, we’ve got you covered.

So, to The Whisky Advent Calendar by Drinks by the Dram, faithfully counting down those days to Christmas in delicious style. Today’s dram is another Balvenie! We tasted the delights of Sherry cask matured Balvenie on Day 8, now it’s time to see what American oak brings to the table alongside Sherry with surely one of the most satisfying and accessible speyside whiskies available today.

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Whisky Advent Day 15: Fettercairn Fior

In your best Stevie voice: “Yesterday Superstition, today Fettercairn Fior.” That’s right, there’s another wonderful highland whisky dram from White & MacKay behind window 15 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent…

Whisky Advent Calendar

In your best Stevie voice: “Yesterday Superstition, today Fettercairn Fior.” That’s right, there’s another wonderful highland whisky dram from White & MacKay behind window 15 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar!

Fior, like Superstition, has no age statement, but is made up primarily of 14-15 year old single malt whiskies, which are blended with some 5 year old peated malt (and age statement of 5 years old would therefore be somewhat misleading). Fettercairn, meaning ‘foot of the mountain’, is named after the town in which the distillery is located and carries the emblem of a unicorn! If you didn’t know, despite being supernatural (like Whisky Santa), the unicorn is in fact the national animal of Scotland too! They’re said to be have legendary magical qualities that people have long sought to use for personal gain. People (and wizards) have been known to try and acquire unicorn hair, blood, or even tears. That’s why Firebox spend so much time getting unicorns to cry, the fiends! They say Chuck Norris’* tears have special qualities too. Apparently they can cure all known diseases! Too bad he never cries.

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Whisky Advent Day 14: Isle Of Jura Superstition

Are you a superstitious sort of person? Would it concern you if you received a 13 year old whisky made with 13% heavily peated malt on day… 14? It seems…

Whisky Advent Calendar

Are you a superstitious sort of person? Would it concern you if you received a 13 year old whisky made with 13% heavily peated malt on day… 14? It seems Drinks by the Dram didn’t want to push their luck – who knows what would have happened if they’d placed this dram a day earlier in their Whisky Advent Calendar?! (Well, Whisky Santa and the Flying Spaghetti Monster probably know, but that was essentially a rhetorical question.)

Yes, it’s Jura Superstition today, a single malt made up of whiskies aged between 13 and 21 years from the small and “extremely unget-at-able” Isle of Jura. It’s an island that’s populated by many more red deer than humans (Jura or ‘Diùra’ literally meaning ‘deer island’), outnumbering the human population 30:1! Perhaps that’s why they are indeed a superstitious lot, the Duirach, only cutting peat before May and always building their haystacks in a clockwise direction – heaven forbid if the deer turned on them! For added good luck an Ankh cross features on the Superstition label. If you fancy getting hold of one yourself after tasting your dram, it’s recommended that you hold the bottle with the Ankh in the palm of your hand so some off the good fortune comes your way too.

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Whisky Advent Day 13: The GlenDronach 12 Year Old

Away from Islay peat and back into the warm embrace of some truly top notch Sherry now, as we open window 13 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar……

Whisky Advent Calendar

Away from Islay peat and back into the warm embrace of some truly top notch Sherry now, as we open window 13 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar

A change of theme, perhaps, but another 12 year old expression today, this time from Glendronach! Interesting, up until 2005 (with this whisky having been distilled before that date) Glendronach were operating direct-fired stills, a tradition some distilleries in Scotland have maintained to this day (Glenfarclas, for example). Glendronach, however, were still using coal and were in fact the final distillery in Scotland to do so. The uneven heating provided by direct-firing creates hotspots in the stills and is thought to lead to different notes in the spirit produced and in the finished whisky, some of which you’ll be able to taste in today’s dram.

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Whisky Advent Day 12: Caol Ila 12 Year Old

We’re half way, can you believe it?! There’s still the same amount of delicious drams left after today as we’ve enjoyed from The Whisky Advent Calendar by Drinks by the Dram…

Whisky Advent Calendar

We’re half way, can you believe it?! There’s still the same amount of delicious drams left after today as we’ve enjoyed from The Whisky Advent Calendar by Drinks by the Dram so far! (We’ve decided to adopt some festive calendar-half-full thinking – there are still plenty more treats to look forward to!) It also means that Christmas is drawing ever nearer so time’s running out to sort out all those pressies, made easier we hope by our Free Shipping offers and the like. On to the window at hand though, appropriately revealing a 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky for Day 12.

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Whisky Advent Day 11: Arran – Batch 4 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

So, what do we have behind window number 11 of The Whisky Advent Calendar from Drinks by the Dram? Why it’s the fourth batch of That Boutique-y Whisky Company‘s Arran…

Whisky Advent Calendar

So, what do we have behind window number 11 of The Whisky Advent Calendar from Drinks by the Dram? Why it’s the fourth batch of That Boutique-y Whisky Company‘s Arran single malt whisky!*

Each of the Arrans in this series features illustrator Emily Chappell and a friend stranded on a desert island after an ill-fated kayaking trip. As you may know, there are often subtle differences between the labels of Boutique-y batches, however, and if you look carefully on the right hand side of Batch 4… you’ll see that she’s actually put up her Christmas tree!

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Whisky Advent Day 10: Monkey Shoulder

We’ve made it to day 10 of #WhiskyAdvent! Time to open another window of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar, and we have a good feeling about this one… Yep,…

Whisky Advent Calendar

We’ve made it to day 10 of #WhiskyAdvent! Time to open another window of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar, and we have a good feeling about this one…

Yep, it’s time to have some fun with Monkey Shoulder! Whether it’s Pop-Down bars or Monkey Comps with UK Brand am-BADASS-ador Grant Neave, or practising your spooning so you can mix up some delicious Monkey cocktails, pretension gets left firmly at the door today.

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Whisky Advent Day 8: The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask

Week two of #WhiskyAdvent and we’re starting in much the same vein as the first, with a truly fantastic Sherry matured Speysider and a perfect winter dram, from another distillery…

Whisky Advent Calendar

Week two of #WhiskyAdvent and we’re starting in much the same vein as the first, with a truly fantastic Sherry matured Speysider and a perfect winter dram, from another distillery that’s rightly gained a reputation for producing some of the best Sherry matured whiskies available today. Behind the eighth window of The Whisky Advent Calendar by Drinks by the Dram is Balvenie’s fantastic Single Barrel Sherry Cask 15 Year Old.

Although ‘Single Barrel’, this 15 year old is a continuous release, with each bottle drawn from a single cask. This means that no more than 650 bottles of this whisky actually come from the exact same cask (whilst no two casks are identical, legendary Malt Master David Stewart selects those with the desired character). The potential outturn from each cask also points to something else – The Balvenie Single Barrel Sherry Cask isn’t really matured in a ‘barrel’ at all, but rather a big first fill European oak ex-Oloroso Sherry butt!

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