Well, that was a busy and very fast month! Good to be back talking to you all and, as always, I hope that this finds you all in the best of health and that you have had the chance to enjoy the summer so far, especially for all my home based readers here in Scotland, who (for once) have had a fiery ball in the sky shining down on us, causing both joy and confusion within our pale skinned populous. We managed to escape the rat race and headed to the whisky heaven that is Islay for a week, where we were actually swimming every day in the sea. Normally, that can get you sectioned under mental health laws here, but with Bowmore feeling more like Bermuda swimming in front of the distillery felt like the only sensible thing to do. Guaranteed the next time I’m there it will be slightly different (I’ll take my skates!), but it was incredibly good while it lasted. So back to the coal face and and a dram or two.
Our first glance over the shoulder at what was July sees us having a wee look at some of the wonderful reviews that have started to come in after the 4th release from Dràm Mòr Group hit the shelves across the planet. Our good friend Lamberto Lamarina from Whisky Art was fastest out of the traps taking Gold for Italy on who can get the first review in. Many thanks, my friend, for a wonderful review of our Macduff 13 year old coming to you at 53.5% ABV.
For me, this is the perfect summer dram and that seems to be the way that Lamberto found it too. I hope that there are many more reviews to come in the future from Whisky Art and that the time will come soon when we get to share a dram together. Hot on Whisky Art’s heels in this Olympic month (when writing), it’s a home review who take silver with Whisky Fun having a wee look back at our Balblair 8 year old coming in at 54.8% on July 12th. It’s a bit of a mixed review, but remember we didn’t want to turn this into a sherry bomb. We wanted a touch of sweetness from the PX to lift to deliciously delicate Balblair spirit and, I think, we achieved that pretty well. 80 points is a good return so many thanks to Angus, Serge and the team for allowing us to send our samples through to you as it is always not only lovely to hear your thoughts but important to allow us to check that we are on the right track. Thanks guys!
There were many mentions this month but I am going to give the Bronze medal to a first time contributor coming from the beautiful country of Belarus. I know that all we see of Belarus on TV is political problems and corruption but I have been lucky enough to visit Belarus on my travels taking part in the Minsk Whisky Festival a few years ago. I can tell you, you’ll be hard pressed to find more friendly folk and I can say with all honesty that it was an absolute pleasure to be invited to this fascinating city helped greatly by my great friend and local guide Jelena Polishchuk. This review came from the pen of Mr Vladimir Dolgopaltsev who had a great in-depth look at our Linkwood 10 year old (55%) which was awarded an incredible 87 points. Many thanks for not only taking the time to write this wonderful review, but introducing us to a whole new group of whisky enthusiast both in Belarus and also in Russia where we have seen whisky bloggers sharing your review. So that was just a taste of all the nice things folk are saying about us. If there are anyone out there saying not so nice things were not hearing about it so, so far, so good!
On to tastings and we have only two this month due to the joys of Brexit making it incredibly difficult to get our stock from A to B (especially when B is in mainland Europe) The stupidity of Brexit continues to hurt us as an exporter with massive price hikes in transport with haulage companies struggling for drivers as well as idiotic lengths of time to get our product to market. Basically if I loaded stock into a wheelbarrow and walked from Dumbarton to Gent in Belgium I would have the stock there faster than our hauliers are able to do at present. That said, Brexit also covers wheelbarrows so maybe not! Ok….rant over and back to what turned out to be an incredibly busy day because as chance would have it both tasting fell on the same day!
First up was our great friends and distribution partners at Spirits Castle in Singapore, where a group of mostly familiar faces joined Zerlina, Zicong and myself for a good look at our new releases (funny that we can get stuff to Singapore faster than Belgium isn’t it!) The thing I loved about this particular tasting was that when we went to look at the favourite on the night we had the broadest spread with all the drams picking up votes. The conclusion was that there wasn’t a clear winner, they were all great. This mirrors a tasting that I did for my own Mòr Whisky Club in Oràn Mòr in Glasgow when we were given the green light to start up again I took in some bottles from the new release as well as a few from releases gone by and the spread of votes from 20 people saw the baby of the crop, our Dalmunach 5 year old (57%) winning the night with a meagre 5 votes.
It always tells you something when one or two drams are way out in front of all the rest so the result from my pals in Singapore is a great compliment to the new range. So, that was the afternoon of the 8th of July what with Singapore being 7 hours ahead of Dumbarton. Everyone that side went to bed happily tipsy and yours truly got ready for round two. Bring on the East City Whisky Club hosted by the enigmatic Gary ‘drams’ Dunsire. Now this time I managed to get a little bit more involved with the dramming as I had to be relatively well behaved for round one to ensure I was still able to talk for round two. A great turnout from the good Folk of the club who looked at 6 drams from outrun 4 and a thoroughly good night was had by all. Again the spread on drams of the night was just about too close to call, but to recollection it was Ben Nevis in Palo Cortado finish that just took the tape. To all of you who took part in what turned out to be a marathon session I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did (apparently).
So after a very long lie in on the 9th we got back to work. In other news we have managed this time to get a bit more stock out to the Scottish market with The Good Spirits in Glasgow getting a good deal more than they have received in the past as well as a full range order coming in from Tatsuya in the Highlander Inn, Craigalliche and our great supporters Derek and Fiona Mather of the Artisan in Wishaw who now have so many Dràm Mòr bottles that were warrant our own shelf in The Laddie snug. Thanks to all who place their faith in stocking us and we promise our home based fans, we are doing all we can to make sure that there will be a UK exclusive release later in the year. A few thank you’s to our keyboard warriors during July with the pick of them coming from The_worm_tub on their Instagram who proudly showed that Dràm Mòr bottles can occasionally be bought after tastings as this Macduff was dispatched to them following the East City Whisky Club tasting. On the 17th of July, we were whisked back to where we started on this update as Lamberto at Whisky Art showed us why breakfast Italian style is so much better than the bowl of cornflakes and cold toast that faces so many of us when we start the day. This delicious looking breakfast was topped off with a wee sip of our Dumbarton Single Grain 20 year old (52%). A great way to start a day. That said, a wee splash of the good stuff on top of your porridge of a morning can’t be looked down upon! A special thanks and a big hello goes out across the water and a new face and our new pal Sean McDonagh from the States who put out a heartfelt plea for an Inchfad. Would you believe it has a very important part in his family history and he reached out to tell us all about it.
Sorry were not State side yet Sean but you can be assured we’re working on it and after the success of this first Dràm Mòr outing of Inchfad I can promise you that it’s one that we are very keen to revisit.
To wind up my latest ramblings, I would like to thank a few of you for some very flattering mentions through the month. Firstly, hats off to Mr. Colin O’Hart who has bent over backwards to try and get his hands on some of our bottles. Colin hails from the Republic of Ireland and as such would incur some horrific duty expenses to have our bottles shipped to him from here so after a wee bit of head scratching our friends at Whisky Huis have happily helped Colin lighten his bank account in return for a few of our bottles heading over to the Emerald Isle. Delighted to have you on board, Colin, and I hope these bottles are the start of a long love affair with Dràm Mòr. Last up this month is a mention that goes to Herr Hans-Werner Rudt, better known as Professor Malt Rudi who took the time to painstakingly translate my last Whisky Update into German to allow for a broader readership. Professor, let me tell you that most people find it hard enough just to read my nonsense never mind translate it so a massive hats off and a great big thank you for that wonderful effort and all your help in getting the Dràm Mòr name out there. With Kirch Import being our new import partners in Germany I’m confident that our reach around Germany can increase and with the world starting to slowly return to some kind of normal I very much hope that we can share a dram together sooner rather than later.
So once again, I have dragged you through another month of Dràm Mòr. I look forward to doing all ageing next month folks but, as always, till then take care, be kind to each other and like a scratched record I will finish with a massive thanks from Viktorija, Ruaraidh and myself for keeping up with us.