House of Hazelwood 18yo Review

House of Hazelwood 18yo Review

In 2011, William Grant & Sons released a first expression under the Hazelwood brand called Janet Sheet Roberts 110th Birthday Edition in 2011 (that’s a mouthful!), after William Grant’s granddaughter name. Mrs Roberts died in 2012 as the oldest woman in Scotland, aged 110 as the name of the first release suggested. Four years later in 2015, William Grant & Sons announced a new trio of whiskies under the House of Hazelwood brand, three blends aged 18, 21 and 25 years old, to be released first in the travel market early 2016 before general availability.

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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
Glen Spey 12yo Flora & Fauna

Glen Spey 12yo Flora & Fauna

Glen Spey is an important producer of whisky used in the world-famous J&B blended Scotch whisky. J&B is the 3rd biggest (not best, biggest) blend in the world, with a mind-blowing 6 million cases sold worldwide each year, though in decline from 64 million bottles in 2008. Glen Spey, located in Speyside in Rothes, is also one of the most anonymous distilleries in Scotland, as there are almost no single malt offerings. In 1878, James Stuart & Co founded the distillery and it became under English ownership in 1887 as it was bought by W&A Gilbey. Then in 1962, W&A Gilbey combined with United Wine Traders to create International Distillers & Vintners (IDV). Finally, a few changes of ownership later, Grand Metropolitan bought IDV and in 1997, Guinness and Grand Metropolitan merged to form Diageo. With a 1.4 million lpa capacity, Glen Spey is the third-smallest distillery from Diageo, only followed by Royal Lochnagar and Oban.

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Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Ten

Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Ten

Earlier this year, the famous Islay distillery Ardbeg announced a new addition to its core range with the Ardbeg Wee Beastie. Unfortunately, the pandemic happened around the launch. That and a surprising launch calendar. Some European countries (Germany and Netherlands) got it first back in March, while it only arrived a week ago in the UK. And for my great sadness, it is still unavailable in France except for a few eligible cocktail bars. Not even my usual whisky bar is eligible (they’ve confirmed me that earlier this week). Why this surprising way (to stay polite) of getting a new release out to the hordes of peated whisky fans? Beats me. But since it’s the first official Ardbeg releases we’re reviewing here (we’ve reviewed a couple SMWS), as usual, let’s introduce the distillery first. After that, we’ll do an Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Ten review.

The classic and essential Ardbeg Ten with its new little brother, the 5yo Wee Beastie.
The classic and essential Ardbeg Ten with its new little brother, the 5yo Wee Beastie.
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Cù Bòcan Tweet Tasting

Cù Bòcan Tweet Tasting

Whisky is not a simple drink, at least for many people. For many of us whisky amateurs, this is a social drink. Sure we drink whisky alone more or less often, by ourselves, in our home, be it because we’re a whisky blogger or just someone who enjoys a good dram. But we crave for drinking whisky with friends, having the same passion, or at least the same interest. Drinking with friends, sharing a dram, that’s what makes whisky alive. And that’s what makes us alive too. In these strange times of pandemic, confinement and isolation, pubs are closed, clubs cannot organize their usual whisky tasting sessions (and the whisky club I’ve founded with a couple friends had to cancel its… second tasting, we had just started with difficulty and already we have to stop, at least for now!), and so the social side of whisky must be on hold as we need to stay home to stay safe. But whisky fans are obstinate. We can’t drink in the same room? Pff, hold my glass: we’ll do it online. And for that, we can count on Steve Rush to organize even more Tweet Tastings. And so, on Wednesday the 25th of March, we were two dozen people to join Steve and the Cù Bòcan team to taste their range for this Cù Bòcan Tweet Tasting.

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Brora 9th release 30yo review

Brora 9th release 30yo review

A few weeks ago, I drank the 500th whisky I was able to track since the passion for whisky took me. I had been drinking whisky and enjoying as a very slightly enlightened amateur for years, but got completely and utterly hooked only starting early 2018. Why? What changed? Absolutely no idea. But it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I’m now hooked, “at last”, and that I became a bit nerdy about whisky, even keeping track of what I’ve tasted in a Google Sheet created by my good friend Brian @MaltMusings. And thanks to this sheet, seeing my 500th dram approaching, I knew what I wanted to drink to celebrate this milestone, another unicorn whisky (at least for me): my first ever Brora, from a sample very generously given by Franck aka @LaCaveDeCobalt in the form of a Brora 9th release with a respectable 30yo age statement. But before talking about this dram and seeing if I enjoyed it, let’s talk a bit about Brora.

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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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Quick review: Dalmore 12-year-old

Quick review: Dalmore 12-year-old

Dalmore is the crown jewel of Whyte & Mackay and the target of love and hate. Millionaires love this distillery and can reach new heights with extremely expensive and limited very-old bottlings, with a 60-year-old released in 2019 with an outturn of… 3 bottles to celebrate the reopening of the distillery after a refurbishing and their 180th anniversary, and many whisky fans hate Dalmore as this distillery cannot stop themselves to add caramel to fake tan their whisky up to a ridiculous point. But before finishing the quick review of the Dalmore 12-year-old, let’s get quickly to the history of the distillery.

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Dailuaine 11yo SMWS 41.104 Some like it hot

SMWS Dailuaine 41.104 – Some like it hot

Dailuaine is one of the numerous Diageo distilleries located in Speyside. In 1852, William Mackenzie founded Dailuaine, but died only 13 years later. His widow leased the distillery to a banker from Aberlour, James Fleming. After Mackenzie’s son and Fleming founded Mackenzie and Company in 1879, it evolved in 1891 into Dailuaine-Glenlivet Distillery Ltd. A few years later in 1989, Dailuaine merged with Talisker and formed Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd (nice couple isn’t it?). Unfortunately, in 1915 Thomas Mackenzie dies without heir and the next year, Dailuaine-Talisker is bought by its previous customers John Dewars & Sons, John Walker & Sons et James Buchanan & Co (nope, not “& Sons”, sorry). After a fire, a closure, and a reopening, it’s bought in 1925 by Distillers Company Limited (DCL) that will later become the company known today as Diageo. Fast forward nowdays, Dailuaine is still active and has a capacity of 5.2 million litres of pure alcohol per annum.

The bottle we review today is a 11-year-old Dailuaine bottled by SMWS under the number 41.104 and the name “Some like it hot”. It was released in 2018 in the Spicy and Sweet category. Matured in an refill bourbon barrel, it was distilled on the 23rd March of 2006. Bottled at cask strength at 58.1% abv, it gave an outturn of 186 bottles.

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Raasay While We Wait Review

Raasay While We Wait Review

Raasay is located in the Highlands on the Isle of Raasay, part of the Hebridean islands and east-north-east just off the coast of Skye, with a wonderful view on the Cuiling Mountains on the Isle of Skye. Isle of Raasay distillery is the first legal distillery on this island, as evidences of illicit distilling exist and is said to have taken place as recently as the 1850. More than 150 years later, Alasdair Day teamed up with Bill Dobbie, an entrepreneur, and acquired the Borodale House, an old Victorian house. With the addition of several buildings for whisky production, they were ready to launch. The distillery was then officially founded in 2017 and the stills fired up in September of the same year. They produce peated (45ppm) and unpeated spirit as well as gin and have a capacity of 200 000 litres of pure alcohol per annum.

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