Well that was one baking hot month that we have just had was it not! Perhaps not the best whisky weather but I would put a pound to a penny that it hasn’t stopped you lot enjoying a wee dram or two through these muggy summer evenings and quite rightly so. In fact, just looking at a few bottles that I have in the cupboard is making me think that the heat has worked it’s wonders on them hence the ‘evaporation’ has been a little bit on the excessive side! Still, enough of my bad behaviour for now. On with the month that was…
So what has been happening throughout the month of August then? Well, the new Summer Release 2022 is all, but gone as has tended to be the case when a new outturn hits the shelves (not that I’m complaining in the slightest) and we are bottling this week for Autumn Release 2022, which will be winging its way to you just as soon as we can get the stock into the warehouse. There will be a few new treats for you coming out, so keep your ear to the ground folks. On what has just been and gone we have set a new record for sales and that goes to the Ukrainian release of 15 year old Foursquare, which has all profits going to the Yellow and Blue charity of which Viktorija has a close connection with back in her homeland of Lithuania. This bottle hardly had time to see the shelves as it vanished from retailers far and wide. Fastest sales, however, were seen in the Good Spirits Co. Glasgow, where their allocation vanished in under 48 hours. That’s at least 7.5 bottles an hour going by the opening hours! Delighted to see this dram was as popular as it was and with the proceeds going to a very worthy cause we are over the moon with the sales figures. Not to mention that at 15 years old it is a belter of a rum into the bargain, so for those of you lucky enough to have secured yourself a bottle, please don’t just stick it in the cupboard. Get it opened and enjoy it!
Next up it is time to say hello to three new retailers who have joined the Dràm Mòr family. It gives me great please in introducing Tipples of Manchester to the gang. Many thanks to Tom and his team for allowing us through the door and we very much hope that this is the start of a long and happy relationship working together. Next up we are off to a country which is no stranger to a bottle of Dràm Mòr or two and its Belgium where we find Casa Number 7 joining in the fun. I will be out in Belgium next in October so fingers crossed we get to meet in person and perhaps even share a dram or 12. Just over the border into the flatlands of Netherlands and its a big Dràm Mòr hello to all at Slijkervonk. To all of you, our thanks for putting your faith in us and we promise that we will be making sure the liquid you get from us will be of the very best quality.
So it’s time for me to tell of our travels in August and for once it has been dominated by UK destinations (not like me, I know!). It was the bright lights of London first off this month as we headed down in near +40C heat to take up not only the invitation of a couple of tastings (more on that to follow later) but to accept a most enlightening invite to visit the Labyrinth that is Berry Bro. & Rudd, where we were so lucky to be shown around this massively important building in the history of Scotch Whisky as well as many other beverages, all under the care of the enigmatic Siggi Gunnlaugsson.This wonderfully cheery Viking (Siggi is originally from Iceland by the way) took the time to guide us through the history and background of Berry Bro. & Rudd, the oldest independent bottler in the game as well as giving us a guided tour of the premises, which is the classic iceberg of a building where what you see is only a tenth of what exists with over 2 acres of accommodation sitting beneath the heaving streets of England’s capital city. Many many thanks to Siggi and also to Johnny for organising this very special visit and also to Siggi for the drams that we sampled when we got back to ground level.
Well, we were in London so it was only right that we popped in to Milroy’s of Soho where we had a few dram while meeting up with some friends, old and new, followed by our first visit to Salt bar at Marble Arch. Two great whisky bars and well worth the visit when in the Big Smoke. Tastings aside it was pretty much too hot to do anything else and after being stuck on a train with no air con on the way home (+37C in the carriage for over 6 hours as we got stuck for an hour), it was a sticky way to end the visit, but a massive thanks to all who made the trip down so enjoyable even if the one back up the road was hellish.
So where to next…. Liverpool, that’s where! It has been a very, very long time since I went Merseyside, so when we had the chance to mix business with pleasure we jumped at it. A long awaited catch up with our best friends for a few days doing The Beatles thing which was wonderful but “all play and no work” (isn’t that how it goes) isn’t good for you. But we also investigated local whisky bar scene and hopefully pour next please will be coming to Hopscotch Whisky Bar in Liverpool. Super visit to a very cool city. Not long enough but we will be back for sure. Back on the road as of tomorrow as I head out to Poland but that was the news from August. September, bring it on!
As always, we have had a busy month when it comes to what some of the best balanced taste buds out there thought of what have bottled of late so lets have a look at who thought what…First up is a serial contributor and it’s a big hello to my mate Menno in Belgium who was kind enough to run the rule over our sibling casks of 2015 Tullibardine with one finished in Palo Cortado and the other coming in a classic Bourbon cask. As always Menno of Malty Mission has taken us on a journey through his thoughts with this review and both Viktorija and I can’t thank him enough for the continued support he has shown us through the years but also for the honesty that he views each dram with. Thanks mate. See you in October I hope? Now whilst Menno is on the agenda I also have to thank him for the invite to take part in the interview that he put a lot of time and thought into on the future of Independent Bottlers. I’m not particularly good at short answers so thanks to him for listening to my prolonged waffle.
Next up on the review were going to the rum side of Dràm Mòr and a visit to our pal Wes commonly know by the great handle of Fat Rum Pirate who was in the fortunate position of laying his hands on a bottle of the now closed distillery of Uitvlugt (a game changer if your playing scrabble by the way) in Guyana. This is a rarely found 24 year old expression that Wes was very happy to getting his taste buds wrapped around this lovely tot. See what he made of it here. It looks like he wasn’t alone when it came to this Guyana single cask rum, so for the second review its over to the Rum Barrel Blog. Here’s Alexandru’s thoughts.
Over to Italy next and our old pal Lamberto of Whisky Art, who was kind enough to take time in the Italian sunshine to sit back in the shade and pour himself a good size dram of our latest Inchfad finished in a stunning first fill Amontillado hogshead which really brought this dram to life. The sacrifices that some people will go to for their love of a dram! As always, Lamberto gives us his honest opinion and thankfully we seem to have past the test. You can read Lamberto’s appraisal here. A big thanks to Showcasek in South Korea who wanted to share his thoughts on our latest offering from Ben Nevis. As I am sure you will have noticed by now we are big fans of Ben Nevis and this PX finished bottle didn’t disappoint. Happy to say that both these reviews are on the same track as we were.
This is a funny time of year when it comes to whisky tasting what with lots of folk being away on holidays as well as the temperature maybe not being the perfect one for a cracking a bottle, especially when we are looking at some of the heavier sherried drams but that said we had two fantastic nights thanks to our friends down London way. After a false start with train number one being cancelled we headed South and made our way to South of the river Thames and to Forest Hill and my great pals at SE23 Whisky Club. A great big thank you to Nikola and Phil for organising a wonderful night at All Inn One with my first outdoor whisky tasting in living memory. The team were lucky enough to get tore into the full set of the last outturn with the bonus of a hand drawn Macduff which we sampled a while ago. Coming in at 66.6% this Devil’s cask was a thing of beauty and certainly left everyone with smiles on their faces. Massive thanks to all who turned out and it was lovely to finally be able to run a tasting for you in person rather than our reliance on Zoom over the years.
We had a day to recover and during our rest day we relocated to Hammersmith and the very comfortable surroundings of the St.Pauls Hotel and its very well stocked Melody Whisky Bar. In this delightful surrounding we were introduced to the Capital Whisky Club with 40 attending in person and another 20 joining us in the virtual world but having had samples sent out, they were well stocked for the night ahead. What a delight it was to meet this club with a wonderfully eclectic spread of folk from all different backgrounds and levels of experience when it comes to our national drink. A massive thanks go out to Matt and Sabine for helping make this happen as well as Mr. Phil Storry who proved what a glutton for punishment he is by attending both tastings. Above and beyond, Sir! You always know its been a good night when you don’t get to your bed till 2am. Thanks to all my new friends for coming along on the night and to those who joined us on line and I very much look forward to doing this again one day. On a personal note it was great to see Sabine again and to finally meet Mr. Andrew Burleigh, my old mate from Scotch Savvy, who I have had many virtual discussions with, but never had had the please of sharing a dram in person. Let’s not leave it so long next time, guys! I have to be honest and say that I am not normally a big city type of guy but I truly had a whale of a time in London and getting the chance for Viktorija and I to travel together makes it all the better.
As always we will finish up with a nod to the keyboard drammers who have been kind enough to pass comment on our bottles throughout the month of August and as always if I have missed you please forgive me. So our great pal Olaf Manns of Westwood Whisky in Germany was first out the blocks on the 1st of the month with a post to let customers know that the new outturn was now in stock over there (sorry about the lack of Ben Nevis mate!) Westwood Whisky is very much on my ‘in person’ list of tastings that I would love to do so let’s see what we can do to make that happen at some stage Olaf. Next up was a new contributor who came banging on our virtual door all the way from Vancouver with a plea of where to get his hands on our Foursquare. I hope you managed to get a hold of a bottle pal and if you did and you’re anything like me there won’t be much left by now. It’s over to a good friend of Dràm Mòr next and a big hello to Alan McLoughlin who jumps in twice through August with not one, not two but three bottle kills of Dràm Mòr drams. First one to bite the dust was the much missed Linkwood ten year old in a heavily charred first fill Bourbon cask (man, I loved that dram!) followed by a sad farewell to another cracker in the shape of Ben Nevis in White Port and the much lauded Inchfad. Alan, all I can say is you have impeccable taste my friend. On the subject of that delicious LInkwood, Tombularbells posted a wee salute to that long lost friend. Happy to hear you enjoyed it as much as we did. Pic credits go to Arianna from @light_and_stories taken in Oran Mor.
Now one of Mr. McLoughlin’s counterparts from the East City Whisky Club, our old mucker Gary “Drams” Dunsire who managed to kill off even more bottles than Alan (and here’s me saying it’s not really whisky weather) with a good few bottles having fallen but amount the casualties were our Williamson from the island of Islay and Ben Nevis PX. Rest well my friends. Back onto the rum now and its coming from a whisky fan going by the wonderfully named Scratch ’n’scotch who put a fair dent into one of our first rum releases, the Clarendon from Jamaica. What a tot that was! I need to mention WhiskyWithMolly who popped through the month toes people know that what we are doing to date is, in their opinion, ‘on the money’. Many thanks WhiskyWith Molly, we always do our very best to tick all the right boxes pal. Last one this month goes to another new friend from across the water but this time its a young lady from Austin. Texas, Catherine Sikora who was lucky enough to spend a wee bit of time visiting some of Glasgow’s best watering holes (we have a good few for those of you that aren’t too familiar with Glasgow) and one that has to be on that list is the world famous Bon Accord where Catherine was lucky enough to get her hands on our last offering of Macduff that went down so well with everyone who get to try it. To all of you, a massive thanks and once again please accept my apologies if I have missed you out.
So that was August. It was hot. It was busy and it was great fun! With a new bottling underway as I write I am sure that there is going to be plenty to talk about next month and if anyone needs any info about when and where to grab a bottle of the next outturn please feel free to drop us a line. All that leaves me to do is to finish off as normal by thanking each and every one of you from both Viktorija and I for your continued support and until the next time… Stay safe, be kind to each other and raise a glass now and then to those who aren’t lucky enough to be able to do so them selves. Aw the very best.