Glen Grant distillery

Glen Grant 1948 Gordon & Macphail

A few weeks ago my father turned 70. Lockdown prevented the family to be reunited to celebrate this milestone birthday with him and forced us to postpone a proper celebration. But we’ll just do that another time when it will be safer out there for everyone. Okay, probably not anytime soon. Anyway, a 70th birthday was calling for something special to celebrate when we would be able to see each other, and thanks to the wonderful generosity of a friend, I got a large sample of something even older than my father to share with him: a 1948 Glen Grant bottled by Gordon & Macphail. Younger by age count, but two years older by “distillation/birth” year… and definitely the oldest Glen Grant reviewed here.

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J.J. Corry Tweet Tasting

J.J. Corry Tweet Tasting

Back in April 2019 I had the chance to participate to a J.J. Corry Tweet Tasting, before Julien and I started this blog. It was for me the discovery of both J.J. Corry themselves and their Irish Whiskey, and the Tweet Tastings, as it was the first one ever I was selected to. Since then, I had the chance to join many other Tweet Tastings and I honestly cannot get bored or saturated of them, as they’re always great evenings tasting whisk(e)y and engaging with the brands, either distillery or bottlers (or bonders!), surrounded by people from the whisky community, exchanging tasting notes and having fun together. A bit more than a year and a half later, time for another Tweet Tasting with J.J. Corry, and I’m happy to see that I’ll be able to taste the newest batch of The Gael, as the first batch of this blend was part of the initial TT back in April 2019. But since this first J.J. Corry Tweet Tasting was before the birth of this blog, it means I didn’t introduce them yet, so let’s do that right now before reviewing the four samples we received.

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Balblair tasting with friends

A Balblair tasting with friends

A couple weeks ago, my friends from the #LetsTrySomeWhisky group on Twitter joined me to the third tasting I had prepared a long time ago (just before my trip to Scotland, a year and a half ago!) Yes, three tastings in 18 months, you cannot think we overdo things, except taking our sweet time. Anyway. Our first tasting was about Yoichi single malts, while the second was about trying a few French whiskies. And this time? We were going to taste 4 Balblair single malts, one independant and three official bottlings, all around 10 years old. Only difference from the first two tastings we did : this time we would not do it blind. Why? Well, it’s a bit hard to discern a 10yo Balblair from another, right? I won’t present here the distillery as I usually do, as I’ve already covered a bit about Balblair in the two 1979 Balblair reviews I published, one for the official bottling, and one for a bottling by Gordon&Macphail. So let’s get directly to the point, shall we?

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The Whisky Cellar Tweet Tasting

The Whisky Cellar Tweet Tasting

As I had the chance to do many times before, I participated in a Tweet Tasting organized as usual by Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire on Wednesday the 23rd of September. This time, it was not a distillery, but a “new” indy… No, not Indiana Jones. As I was saying, this time it was not a distillery, but a quite new Independent Bottler called The Whisky Cellar. We received a really nice package with five samples, a notebook and a beautiful pen made with oak from a cask stave by Andrew from miawoodcrafts. By the way, if you didn’t know what he does, go check him out, what he makes is brilliant. I do already have a pen made from a Glenfarclas stave and I love it. But let’s get back on track and talk about today’s subject: The Whisky Cellar Tweet Tasting. And let’s start by having a chat with Keith Bonnington to know more about The Whisky Cellar!

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Balblair 1979 Gordon & Macphail review

Balblair 1979 Gordon & Macphail review

Wow, the blog is almost one year old, and later in this post we’ll have our 100th review. Time flies. We started this blog with Julien ‘Ainulindalë’ in early August 2019 and had started discussing about it shortly after our trip together in Scotland to the Spirit of Speyside Festival earlier that year, as we went with two other people to celebrate my 40th birthday.

What was still a recent passion for me became almost the only thing I think about (not sure if it’s before or after my wife and children. Though the children can be really good at making me thinking immediately about needing a dram as soon as possible.), and I guess it was a revelation for Julien, who was mostly into beer, both as a brewer and a drinker (note from Julien: yes it was!). After thinking about a good name (‘veni vidi whisky’, its variant ‘veni bibi whisky’ and ‘whisky or not to be’ were other name candidates, the former being dropped as a silent twitter account but that name already existed unfortunately), I bought the domain name, the hosting and started creating the blog and the design probably in July 2019. Read more
Hinch Tweet Tasting

Hinch Tweet Tasting

On the 20th of May I was one of the lucky people who were selected to participate to another Tweet Tasting. Hinch Distillery was the centre of the attention for that evening. Hinch is a very young distillery (so young that their own liquid doesn’t flow off the stills yet) from Northern Ireland, south of Belfast, in the town of Ballynahinch. The distillery obviously takes its name from the city’s name, which translates in Irish as “town of the island”. The distillery is in fact still on construction (a project of a mere £15 million!) and they plan to start distilling in 3 months’ time.

So, in order to have cash flow while waiting for their spirit to 1, flow, and 2, be old and mature enough to be called whisky, they do what many new Irish (and Scottish) distilleries do: they bought casks elsewhere. They sourced malt and grain whiskies from another distilleries : Great Northern Distillery, aka GND, or Cooley for the older stock (before it was sold to Beam Suntory) and blended and finished them, playing around with different casks for the finish.

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Port Ellen 1982 Old Malt Cask review

Port Ellen 1982 Old Malt Cask review

A few days ago was my birthday, so I wanted to mark it with a celebratory dram. I thought it was the perfect occasion to taste and enjoy a dram from a lost distillery (not for long though). My choice went to a Port Ellen 1982 Old Malt Cask from the independent bottler Douglas Laing, a dram being 26 years old. But before talking about the dram, let’s talk about the famous Islay distillery.

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2019 Advent Calendar recap

2019 Advent Calendar recap

We’re already reaching the end of December and the year after it, and all the doors of the 2019 Boutique-y Advent Calendar are open and long gone. It’s been a fun ride for Ainulindalë and me. And it was a roller coaster, with highs and lows in several directions, whether it be age or rating. Time to do a 2019 Advent Calendar recap.

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Quick review: Cambus 28yo batch 11 TBWC

Quick review: Cambus 28yo batch 11 TBWC

It’s already Christmas Eve, and behind the twenty-fourth and last window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we reviewed each day since the 1st of December was hidden a Cambus 28yo batch 11 single grain, bottled at 47% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. Cambus was among the first distilleries in Scotland to convert to grain whisky production. In 1806, John Moubray converted a old derelict mill to a pot still distillery. He began production in 1823 after he gained title to the ground, with possibly an early Coffee still or something similar. John’s son, James took over, and when James’s son Robert succeeded to his father, he installed a bigger grain still in 1851 and eventually made Cambus one of the largest grain distilleries in Scotland. Under his management, Cambus became a founder member of DCL in 1877. Cambus expended, and thanks to its size and strong position in DCL, survived most of the storms that beset the industry in the early 20th century, until a disaster stuck on the 24 September 1914, a fire broke out in the maltings and grain stored and engulfed most of the distillery. Only the bonded warehouses survived, but the distillery closed until 1938. Despite extensions and new apparatus, the distillery closed in 1993 as grain production was concentrated at Cameron Bridge. Cambus still stands though, and is used as a cask-filling centre and for bonded warehousing. The outturn of this 28yo batch 11 was 435 bottles, and it’s still available on Master of Malt for £114.95.

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Quick review: Ben Nevis 21yo batch 8 TBWC

Quick review: Ben Nevis 21yo batch 8 TBWC

Behind the twenty-third window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a second dram from a distillery covered earlier in the calendar, a Ben Nevis 21yo batch 8, bottled at 48.9% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. The distillery, as said in the review of the 23yo dram hidden behind the 13th window of the advent calendar, has been built near and named after Ben Nevis, the highest mountain of the British Isles, standing at 1,345m (4,411 ft) above sea level. Its Scottish Gaelic name, Beinn Nibheis, means “Venomous mountain” or “mountain with its head in the clouds” depending on which etymology you consider for the word Nibheis. First ascended in 1771, Ben Nevis now attracts 100,000 ascends a year. The summit, the collapsed dome of an ancient volcano, hosts the ruins of an ancient observatory which was continuously staffed between 1883 and 1904. The outturn of this 21yo batch 8 was 931 bottles, and it’s still available on Master of Malt for £147.95.

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