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Whisky Advent Day 12: Caol Ila 12 Year Old

by Master of Malt     12. December 2015 10:00

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 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)

by Master of Malt     11. December 2015 10:00

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!*

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 8: The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask

by Master of Malt     8. December 2015 10:00

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 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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Whisky Advent Day 7: Glen Scotia Double Cask

by Master of Malt     7. December 2015 10:00

Whisky Advent Calendar

The final dram of the first week of #WhiskyAdvent... Time to open up window seven of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar and see what it is!

Why, it's a Campbeltown malt from Glen Scotia, whose whiskies have received all-new, all-new packaging this year and whose range has also seen a complete overhaul. Out have gone the 10, 12, 16, 18 and 21 year olds (most of which were relatively new themselves) and in come Double Cask, a 15 Year Old and Victoriana. It's not just the bottlings that have been revamped either, the last year or two have seen upgrades to the stills, three new washbacks, a new spirit safe and the building of a visitor centre at the distillery!

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Whisky Advent Day 6: Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014 Release

by Master of Malt     6. December 2015 10:00

Whisky Advent Calendar

As we approach the end of the first week of Drinks by the Dram's #WhiskyAdvent, it feels like it may be time for a peated single malt Scotch whisky. Something from Islay, perhaps? Right on cue, behind window six of The Whisky Advent Calendar we find a delicious Kilchoman!

This 2014 release is a vatting of 5 and 6 year old whisky matured in ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry butts, the last of the 'work in progress' Machir Bay releases, as it were, which have been a fantastic insight as to how the spirit from Islay's youngest distillery has been developing. (Hint: it's been going pretty well!) Machir Bay has now become both a continuous release and their core expression, with this December marking the 10th anniversary of spirit first running from the stills.

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Whisky Advent Day 1: Glenfarclas 25 Year Old

by Master of Malt     1. December 2015 10:00

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old Whisky Advent

Once upon a beginning, the folk of the world drew chalk lines on their doors to physically count down the first 24 days of December. Today that sounds more reminiscent of a prisoner counting the days of their incarceration than a celebration of the festive season, but it would be many years before some bright spark decided that using candles would be rather less bleak. I mean, candles, they're okay aren't they?

It wasn't until the early 20th century that calendars with windows first emerged. Ah, the possibilities! You could put literally anything behind them! What did the combined intellect of man decide upon? Well... pretty drawings. Again, quite nice, but there was more potential here. Enter the chocolate advent calendar. In a post-rationing world, this was a pretty big deal. They still delight children the world over, but cheap choccies are just one thing you can hide behind a window. Better than a drawing? Yes. Better than a slap in the face? Certainly. The best thing? Not even close...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 20: Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps

by Whisky Santa     20. December 2014 00:00

The Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps

Day 20! There's really not long left before Christmas, is there? Hopefully you've been enjoying your Whisky Advent Calendars day by day and are ready for another lovely single grain Scotch whisky!

Today it's the turn of The Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps from William Grant & Sons. I've got quite a sweet tooth, and as such quite enjoy this dram. It's not quite as sweet as a Penguin (biscuit) or a Snowball (cake???), which I do quite enjoy finding left out for me on Christmas Eve, but I think I'd rather a glass of this. And there's never been a better time to buy (or win) one than today...

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Whisky Santa's Whisky Advent Day 12: Monkey Shoulder

by Whisky Santa     12. December 2014 00:00

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

On the Twelfth Night ye shalt discover a fabulous, unpretentious blended malt in your Whisky Advent Calendar. Why it's Monkey Shoulder, of course: "Better a witty fool than a foolish wit"!

Why is it called Monkey Shoulder, you ask? Well, back in what you refer to as 'the old days', maltmen turned the barley by hand - a very labour-intensive job. With the strenuous work and long hours these chaps undertook, they ended up with a bit of a hunch, known as 'Monkey Shoulder'. I end up with something similar on Boxing Day after carrying around my heavy sa... my heavy bag of presents all night. Luckily I get a year to rest up afterwards!

Made exclusively with malt whiskies from William Grant's three Speyside distilleries (Glenfiddich, Balvenie & Kininvie), Monkey Shoulder's matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks and married for three-to-six months. It's a lovely treat served neat, with ice or indeed in cocktails.

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David Beckham Haig Club Single Grain Whisky

by Jake Mountain     22. October 2014 12:21

David Beckham Haig Club Grain Whisky

This is really a follow up to my previous post 'Will Grain Whisky be promoted to the Big League as David Beckham signs for Haig Club?', where I talk more generally about single grain and David Beckham as well as taste the Girvan 25yo. Since then a couple of things have happened. Firstly, the brand and the whisky are out there now - from teaser shots where you don't even get to see Becks' face back in July, to us having the whisky for sale on the site, to the Global Launch at the start of October through to the release of the UK television advert at the end of last week. The other thing that's happened is that I've actually got around to tasting it now, finally!

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Categories : Review | Whisky | News | Tasting Notes


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Auchentoshan 25 Year Old 1988 Wine Cask Finish - "YEEAAAHHHH!!!"

by Jake Mountain     17. October 2014 16:18

Auchentoshan 1988 Wine Cask Finish

A 25 year old 1988 vintage. That's quite enough about me though. Feeling a little guilty that I haven't got to this whisky already (we received the package with the sample about a month ago), I'm now making a concious effort in these busy 'already-sort-of-started-but-also-still-building-up-to-Christmas-retailing' times to get to it before my birthday, after which I'll suddenly have a little less in common with it.

Everybody enjoys getting their hands on a whisky distilled in the year of their birth, it's fun. It's one of those things that shouldn't really matter perhaps, but many people are willing to fork out that little bit (or lot-a-bit) extra to get their paws on something from 'their vintage'. Something that's spent the same amount of time on this oblate spheroid as they have. Indeed, some whisky lovers go out of their way to secure these as often as possible. But if it's the same age as you as well? Better still, surely?

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