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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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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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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Mackmyra Grönt Te Review

Mackmyra Grönt Te Review

Nowadays, distilleries love to play around, more than ever, with casks used to mature their whisky. In some countries, for example Scotland, if distilleries go “too far”, the regulatory bodies give a big frown. And “too far” is more “it’s not on the allowed types of casks list hence it’s forbidden” than “what you did gave a crappy whisky because your cask was spent or was virgin oak ruining a good but fragile spirit”. In some other countries, let’s say Sweden, distilleries can experiment and do as they want. Moreover, Mackmyra is a Swedish distillery that loves to experiment. Their latest experiment is a whisky called Grönt Te, but before reviewing it, let’s give a quick presentation of Mackmyra.

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Penderyn Tweet Tasting

Penderyn Tweet Tasting

On Saint David’s day (the 1st of March for those who don’t know all the saints by heart, myself included), I participated to a Penderyn Tweet Tasting organized by the unmissable Steve Rush. Saint David was a Welsh bishop of Mynyw (now St Davids) during the 6th century. Saint David is the patron saint of Wales. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century. A group of friends while having a dram, decided to start a distillery, and in 1998, The Welsh Whisky Company was born. Two years later, it started distilling, and this was the first time a Welsh distillery did this in more than a hundred years. Finally, in 2004 on Saint David’s day, Penderyn Whisky was launched in the presence of HRH Prince Charles. Penderyn distillery is located in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales.

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Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting

Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting

Back in November, I was supposed to be one of the lucky whisky enthusiasts invited to a Walsh Whiskey Tweet Tasting, as usual organized by the indefatigable Steve Rush, from The Whisky Wire. Buuuut… I missed my train back from a business trip, and was back unfortunately too late to attend the tweet tasting. Oops, since I really enjoyed the previous ones I attended, like the A.D. Rattray or the Bimber. Anyway, let’s discover who are the people at Walsh Whiskey and taste the four drams they sent us.

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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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