Hello one and all and welcome back to my daft ramblings on what has occurred over the last month and June has been a great one for Dràm Mòr Group as you will find out as you read on. Firstly can I just point out that for the first time in living memory you are receiving a newsletter from yours truly on time! I know, it’s a major achievement and one that I would beg you not to expect all of the time! So, on with the news from June and the first point of interest is one that both Viktorija and I are very proud of as of 9th June Dràm Mòr Group has expanded and now has a European branch as Dràm Mòr Europe GmbH is now up and running in the wonderful city of Nuremberg, Germany. Not only does this mark a major expansion for us as this will enable us to move stock on bulk to Europe to help with much smoother and faster distribution especially as we are now seeing some of our single cask rums being bottled on mainland Europe but will make life easier for our European partners to pay for stock as it can now be done in Euros so much better all round. One small issue that I face is that, for those of you who have had the misfortune to meet me you will know that I hardly speak English never mind German so I can see some lessons coming up soon. This has been a necessity all courtesy of my favourite act of stupidity, Brexit which has made life not just difficult, but extremely costly for any business who wishes to continue to work with our European friends, so we are delighted that we now feel much closer to our continental clan.
Now, when are the new bottles coming out I hear you cry! Good news on that front folks as we are now bottled and movement to our bonded warehouse is complete. We just need to wait for everything to be put on the system and we are good to go so watch this space as well as your local stockists for Dràm Mòr’s latest offerings, and you can try our drams now in Artisan in Wishaw. On that note one word of caution that I need to talk about and it ain’t nice, but it’s concerning what is happening just now not just with us but as an industry on the whole. Price raises that we are getting hit with from our supply chain would make you cry. To give you an example we received our latest bottling invoice on Friday which (with no prior warning) has seen a 25% raise in the cost of bottling leaving us with a price of close to £2,000 just to bottle one cask and that’s not taking into account printing costs as well as the price of the cask of course and movement. As a result you are going to see prices crawling upwards I’m afraid but we can promise you that we will do our very best to keep these rises to a minimum as we have always been of the opinion that we want our bottles to be for every whisky and rum lover, not just those with very deep pockets. Basically, I can only see this issue becoming worse industry wide so for those of you who fancy stocking up, now is the time folks.
On to happier things and we were delighted to accept an invitation from one of the new kids on the block as we took a wee trip out to the marvellous Falkirk Distillery. This is a bespoke built distillery just off the motorway in Polmont and what an impressive sight it is. The interest in this new jewel in the crown started at the end of last month when we popped in to see my old mate Jim McEwan and his long suffering wife (boss) Barbara. Whilst having a natter Jim brought out a bottle of new make spirit to let me try and I have to say that this was one of the best new make spirits I have tried in many a long day. Low and behold…Falkirk Distillery. Massive thanks to Fiona and her dad George that we are now talking after our visit and things are looking good that the name of Falkirk will appear one day on one of our bottles. It is still a long way from being whisky of course being as young as they are but having tried a few samples I can tell you that the progression from new make to part matured is looking incredibly good so this is very much one for the future. So that pretty much rounds up our news for June and it is time to look at what else has been happening over the last few weeks.
Little by little the old life that we all enjoyed pre pandemic is returning and with it comes the return of the joy that is whisky festivals. Real people sharing real drams rather than the virtual world that we have all been living in for way too long. June was pretty busy as far as shows went and although we were not able to attend these festivals ourselves our distributors have done a great job for us in our absence. First up are our great friends Claudine and Geert Ros in Belgium. As I am sure you will know by now, Claudine and Geert have worked tirelessly helping to spread the love of Dràm Mòr in their native land and this month has been no different so lets look at their first festival this month and it is one that even the name makes me want to attend. It’s a new festival and carries the superb name of BBQ meets Whisky on the 11th June. Can you think of a better combination? All I know of this festival is that it is small (well it is its first time on the events calendar) and from Claudine’s report we sold very well so I think this is one that I would like to keep an eye on. We will find out what else this super couple were up to later in our social media round up. Also, on the 11th (a busy weekend by all accounts) was the longer established festival of Linden in the Netherlands. This is one that I have wanted to do for a while now but I have never had the opportunity to head over. Situated a short trip south of the city of Nijmegan this is a lovely area to visit having been not so far from here on a few occasions for Maltstock. On this occasion we were in very good hands with our old pal Jürgen (The Whisky Mercenary) Vromans manning the stand. Again, all reports coming back are nothing but positive, so plenty happy Dutch drammers are enjoying a wee drop of our last outturn now.
I have in the past had some criticism from our home based friends that Dràm Mòr isn’t seen on any festival tables in Scotland, so I had better explain the situation. As an Indie bottler who only bottle single cask whisky we will only get approximately 300 bottles from each cask. When I have worked festivals for Ian MacLeod Distillers among others in the past I will regularly go through a full case of any bottling over a few days. This would mean that we would have to sacrifice a case of each dram for each home based festival we attend. The difference when you move to mainland Europe is that attendees pay for each sample that they try and as such there are no sacrificial bottles. I have been asked to attend four Scottish festivals this year to date so that would be a give away of 24 bottles from each line and that is something that we just can’t afford so I hope that makes things a little clearer on that front. Back to events of June and the next two are back to the virtual world. First up a big thank you to Russell and Mark at the Inverurie Whisky Shop for letting me join one of their wonderful whisky chats. As you will no doubt know getting me talking isn’t a difficult thing to do. Getting me to shut up however, well now we’re talking about a whole different subject. As a result we had a very full and frank discussion as the boys enjoyed a few well chosen drams. I thoroughly enjoyed our wee chat and hope to repeat the experience in the future. On that note there will be samples heading their way to Inverurie soon, so I hope I will be able to report another new outlet where you can get your hands on our drams.
Our second trip into the virtual world sees an old favourite reappearing and a warm welcome back to Mr Steve Tan of A Journey with my Palate. This time Steve was flying solo without wing man Andrew Burleigh of Scotch Savvy but that didn’t hold him back from asking some probing questions as well as enjoying three of our drams. We looked at Ben Nevis 11 year old finished in first fill PX, Glenrothes 9 year old finished in first fill Amontillado and Blair Athol 10 year old which had a classic Bourbon maturation with a little help from a first fill barrel towards the end. All three went down incredibly well but by a vote of two to one it was the Ben Nevis that won the day as Steve and I both plumped for that particular dram with Viktorija throwing her vote behind Blair Athol. Not the biggest vote but I know plenty of you who turned in on line will have your own opinion. Thanks again, Steve, for the continued support and apologies once again for the technical issues that made the beginning of the broadcast look a bit all over the place. That’s what happens when you mix me with technology!
One last wee thing on the events page albeit not an event as such but it sees Viktorija and I along with our rum cocktail master Khi and a very gifted photographer Ariana head to Glasgow’s South side and the chilled out vibe of the Rum Shack where the gaffer Brian was kind enough to throw the doors open before opening time to allow us to do a photo shoot of some of our single cask rums. Brian and his team have been so accommodating and helpful to us since we first meet over a year ago and both of our heartfelt thanks go out to all the team at the Rum Shack. Watch this space for the pictures which will be coming soon.
Only one big review this month although in fairness the Spring release has been out for a good wee while now so everything seems to have had comment passed on it by now. For this review its another old friend and that takes the shape of the incredible Whisky Fun. This month Angus kindly took time to review what some would say is our boldest release to date, The Tobermory 25 year old, finished in first fill Calvados. Now it has been said that we took a risk joining Calvados and a 25 year old dram of this quality but I am delighted to report that the risk was well worth the taking. It would seem that Angus agreed with us and bringing all his experience to his tasting high quality drams over many years I am delight to tell you that a cracking score of 88 points were awarded to the Tobermory. You can read his full review here.
We have a few new friends to welcome to the Dràm Mòr family with the introduction of two new retailers who are now stocking our bottles. Firstly, we head over the pond to Canada and a warm welcome to the Lads and Lassies from Malts & Grains of Edmonton. We are over the moon to have you with us and I hope that it won’t be too long before I have the chance to head over the Atlantic to say hello in person and share a dram or two with you all. Secondly, it was great joy that we welcome our first ever retail outlet in the far flung land of South Korea and a great big hello to everyone at bar Boon. This could not have been possible without the help and support of our great friend Chun …….so thanks go to him as well. We’re going to stay out East for our next big “hello” and that goes to all in the Excise Man Wine and Whisky Bar in Singapore. Great to have you with us folks and thanks to Zerlina for opening the door. Last up is an old friend but with a new dram and that’s Kater Murr in our German home of Nuremberg. Nicole’s bar is a wee hidden gem and if you are ever luck enough to be out there please drop in to say hello and grab a dram of the Speyside in Tawny Port. It’s worth the flight for that alone may I add! A warm welcome one and all!
Social Media Round Up
As usual I will wrap things up with a glance through social media and the kind thoughts of some of our customers, both old and new. So on that lets start with a newbie and a welcome on board to Gary (sorry Gary but I didn’t see a surname mate) from Manchester who after a wee visit to the holy Grail that is The Pot Still he sampled a not so wee dram of our aforementioned Speyside in Tawny Port (gotta love a 35ml shop!) Well we must have done something right as a bottle of said Speyside is now in its new home in Manchester so many thanks Gary and it’s good to have you on board. Next up is a thank you to Gert-Jan Zoom from the Netherlands who wrapped his taste buds around the Ben Nevis Palo Cortado earlier this month. If this is a dram that you didn’t get to sample I can only feel for you. What a belter of a dram and I am delighted that Gert agreed. David Wood of Distilled Events is next up pictured showing how fishing should be done with a rod in one hand and a bottle of that wonderful Linkwood 10 year old that came from a heavily charred cask. No wonder you were smiling David! Now I did say earlier that we would be heading back to Belgium to see what else Claudine and Geert had been getting up to so here it is. Nothing less than a Highland Games for this hard working team. They jumped over the border into the Netherlands to set up shop in the happy town of Hulst with a full range of our drams to help the festivities along the way. Delighted to see you guys there but one question…..? Where are there Highlands in the Netherlands to hold the games? I was lucky enough to spend a few days in a city I love last month as I journey for Nuremberg up to Hamburg If you have never been can I suggest you visit this vibrant city one day. There I was lucky to catch up with an old pal Tobias Piwek who had got his hands on the much loved Williamson from the last release. The smile says it all mate. Good to see you again!
One more for this edition and we are off the the sunny shores of Israel where we were lucky enough to spend some time earlier this year. Yosi Yamin was a happy man as he showed the world his latest acquisitions. Not one but four bottles of ours helping bolster his whisky collection with Williamson, Aberlour (now there’s a blast from the past), Tomintoul and Glenrothes now proudly sitting in his drinks cabinet. Thank you so much, all of you for the support that you have given us and I hope that you enjoy every drop. So that that folks. June has been put to bed and in a timely fashion. Like I said at the beginning, don’t get used to it, ok. As always I will sign off with the message to stay safe, be kind to each other and when you get the chance raise a dram or two to those who aren’t able to. Aw the very best from both Viktorija and me.