So here we are again, but this time round we find the joy of warmer days and shorter nights taking hold and I don’t know about all of you out there, but it seems to me that this time of year has a tendency to put a spring into not just the calendar, but the step as well. It’s the perfect time of year to sit out on a light night before it gets to balmy and enjoy a wee sip of your favourite dram and it goes without saying that I very much hope that the dram in question might just be from your favourite wee indy bottler from Dumbarton (he says with fingers crossed!). I now have the job of writing a bumper edition as this one will cover both April and May to bring us all up to speed. I hope that this works for all of you.
With the absence of any new releases in the last couple of months (panic not. They are on the way for both whisky and rum lovers) the first news is that we opened a new market in Korea. There is more news to come in which abs and boutique stores you can shop for our Korea exclusive releases. Also, we welcome into the fold of a couple of new retailers. Firstly, to a market place that has been a magnificent supporter to us and that’s Belgium; a very warm welcome to our new friends at the Bonding Dram.I will definitely be in Belgium later this year all going well and I would love to pop in and say hello to the lads and Lassies in there. Secondly, I am delighted to announce a new retailer for us in Austria. The Austrian market is still a very new one for us but we are very exited by the opportunity to work in this beautiful country and over the years we hope to go from strength to strength here so welcome to the Dràm Mòr Clan Genuss Am Gaumen of Götzis. With a wide array of Dràm Mòr bottling including the award winning Invergordon 24 year old and the stunning Tobermory 25 year old in an etched GlenCairn decanter and a hand made solid oak frame you will be spoiled for choice and all available on line so if your not right on their doorstep, don’t worry. Your next Dràm Mòr bottle is but a few clicks away.
We have been away on our travels yet again since we last spoke. At the very beginning of April, Viktorija and some hardy members of the Mòr Whisky Club were in attendance at one of Europes major whisky festivals, The Village in the brilliant city of Nuremberg. With me still prostituting myself to a much bigger player in the industry and our own importer Kirsch Import having next to nothing left following a sizeable order just a short time before, it came down to our club members to to spread the love a little. The highlight here was a sample that we drew from the cask before heading out, a Macduff at the perfect devils cask strength of 66.6% alcohol. Not for the faint hearted but what a belter of a dram this is. It will be coming to you all soon although the strength will have come down a bit by then (sadly), but believe you me, this is a beast of a dram that will drag you back to it again and again. Delighted to say that everything went extremely well with many German beers being devoured. Only down side being our big pal Andy Robertson is still without a suitcase to this day (sorry to hear that Buddie). Last up on our world tour (so far) is Israel. The land of Milk & Honey (literally). We were lucky enough to be able to squeeze a wee bit of work around our good friends Dor and Amy Ayalon’s wedding in Tel Aviv. First stop, the Whisky Museum. Don’t worry. This is nowhere near as dull as it sounds as The Whisky Museum in Tel Aviv not only has a wonderful restaurant, but every ‘artefact’ on display in this museum is open and available by the glass! The best whisky bar in the Middle East, I would say, and thanks to the diligent and massively knowledgable Grisha, who really knew how to find the best drams on the gantry (one of which was our Glenrothes and yes, of course I didn’t guess it. I’m rubbish at these games. I did say however “Oh God, I know this dram really well”. Apparently, not well enough! The 11th of May saw us venture a short way out of town to the Vitkin Winery, where the proprietor, Mr Assaf Paz rolled out the red carpet for us as we sat in the sun working our way around some stunning wines that may be coming to you open of these days as a finish for some of our spirits. Now I can tell you with my hand on my heart that this is how all days should start.
As if things couldn’t get any better the next stop took us to Milk & Honey Distillery (told you it was literally) and thanks to the incredibly warm hospitality of my great friends Mr Tal Chotiner and Master Distiller Tomer Goren where we were not only given the access all areas tour of the distillery but were invited into the warehouse for a second to none tasting of each and every cask we fancied trying. It is important to note that I had a Dràm Mòr tasting to conduct straight after this so to say it was difficult to say “not too much” to every massive dram Tomer was pouring isn’t down playing things. Thankfully, we were given 20cl bottles, all of which came home full of delicious Milk & Honey whisky. Some of the sampled casks will be coming to you as we dip our toe into some more international whiskies. Last stop for the day was an in house tasting and many thanks to our good pal Gilad Uziel for inviting is into the family home and also to the main man David Green for his organisation. Fair to say a grand night was had by all, but I needed a wee bit of a lay in the next day (shame I wasn’t getting one). So the next day sees us going all road trip Israeli style. Off we headed courtesy of the incredibly hard working distributor Oren, heading for a place that will leave an impression on me for a long time indeed.
Tulip Winery is located in a Kibbutz close to the Bet She’arim National Park. What made this place truly special is that it has been created by wine lover Roy Itzhaki not only to create fantastic wine but to employ women and men all of whom have special needs giving them a home, a job and a community. If this place doesn’t bring a tear to the eye then you’re dead inside. I would urge you to look these guys up, please. It is quite simply a place that makes your heart swell and restores your faith in humanity. Onward and next stop Golani Distillery via a stop off at the Sea of Galilee (It’s starting to feel like Sunday school of fifty years ago!). Another old friend David Zibell was waiting to spoil us yet again but this time with added tomahawk steak that looked like something from the Flintstones (Tal, take note:))) Some more incredible craft whiskies were devoured here and again don’t be surprised if these head your way in the near future. One more stop and that was off to another Kibbutz for the last tasting of our Middle Eastern visit where about 40 whisky lovers of the Northern Whisky Society, organised by my pal Barry Goldberg turned out to quiz me on all things whisky as well as what is actually worn under the kilt (they’ll wish they never asked that question!). So that’s the travels taken care of for now but there are plenty more in the pipeline.
Now I have just mentioned two incredible tastings but these were in the wonderful warmth of the Isreali sun (well, moon but you get the gist). Now back to reality and the lovely folk of the Glasgow Whisky Club and a big thanks to Roddy Graham and Julie Hamilton for opening the doors for me here. A grand night was had in the comfort of the world famous Bon Accord with six single cask, cask strength drams being enjoyed on the night. Think it was Williamson that won the night but it’s that long ago I wouldn’t bet on it. Also, a great big thanks from me personally for the beautiful lead cut crystal GlenCairn glasses that I was presented with at the end of the tasting. Extremely kind folks. The next couple of tastings I sadly couldn’t attend. Firstly, a massive thank you to Paul Becker and Olaf Manns of Westwood Whisky in Dernbach, Germany, who took a broad selection of our drams to the Limburg Whisky Festival where we went down rather well or so I am told. This is a show I have never had the pleasure of working so I think I might have to pencil this one in for next year. Last on the tasting trail this outing is the great folk of Ten Errewearde Restaurant, Bart Ottevaere and his much better half Wendy who ran a whisky and food pairing night with our drams. I would loved to have been at this one for sure!
On we plod and its time to look over and thank some of the fine folk who have kindly taken the time not only to buy Dràm Mòr bottles but took the time to tell the world what they thought of our liquid. First up is an old friend of Dràm Mòr, Lamberto who cast an eye over our Deanston 2013 Palo Cortado Sherry finish. It’s not my place top tell you his thoughts so why let him go to all that bother and not read it yourself. You can find his comments here. Many thanks as always, Sir. Not sure if this next bit fits into the Review section but I guess it’s a review of us as a bottler rather than individual bottles. I was my pleasure to be ambushed (eventually) by Inside Whisky Podcast, here.The guys were kind enough to sit me down for a blether whilst in Nuremberg and asked me some of the more probing questions that I actually love to be asked. It is a pleasure to talk with a group of young whisky lovers who so obviously know what they are talking about so a massive thanks to them for giving me the time of day and a really massive platform to spread the word.
Last up is as always a nod to the kind men and women of the virtual world who are so happy with our drams that they want to spread it with their pals throughout the web. First up, is Whisky Shorts who was in the fortunate position of being able to put a dent into our Tobermory 25 year old. Looks like the Calvados finish has gone down a treat with you my friend so many thanks for the support. Single Malt Mack in Ontario. Canada is next up who was a happy chappie with a dram from yesterday. That being the Dalmunach 5 year old that was part of our Spring 2021 release. I am so happy that there are still people lucky enough to taste this remarkable young dram. Sadly, my ones have long joined the whisky graveyard. A wee change of spirit here and a heart felt thanks to Mr. Nigel Mabbs who managed to get his hands on both of our first rum releases with a bottle of both Clarendon and Foursquare finding the way into his drinks cabinet. We are delighted that you enjoyed these as much as you have Nigel and we will make sure to give your the nod when the third release is due out. We’re not there yet but it is due to be boiled any day now.We will be in touch my friend so you won’t be left empty handed. Last up today after a mammoth edition as a thanks to Slijterij de hoftuin Rijnsburg, who was another to wrap their very happy taste buds around the Tobermory 25. Again, many thanks for the support and we are over the moon that it hit the spot.
So there we go. Two months in one sitting. I hope that me dribbling on for so long hasn’t put you to sleep (unless that was the plan of course) and in future we will get back to one month at a time. As always to each and every one of you our massive thanks for all the support and kind words that come our way and on behalf of Viktorija and yours truly we appreciate all that you do for us. Till the next time as always, take care. Stay safe. Be kind to each other (God knows we need that in the world today) and keep on dramming!