Hello lovely people! Hope this finds you well as always and that the month that has just been has treated you well. For us here at Dràm Mòr it has been by far the busiest of the year so far and we have hardly had time to draw breath to be honest but no complaints in anyway, shape or form. It’s been pretty good for the air miles too! So what have we been up to and where have we been I hear you ask. Lets have a look…
Bizarrely, for such a mentally busy month, there hasn’t been a mountain of new developments to report, mainly due to us being wrapped up with something else at the time. I can, however, tell you that the Christmas release is well under way with the majority now bottled. As with previous years, it isn’t going to be a massive release but there will be some lovely Christmas drams coming your way in November, which will go a long way to making sure that Christmas stockings have a cracking treat in there. No spoilers, however, so before you ask (and I always get asked) just remember that a wee bit of patience goes a long way, folks. All good things to those who wait and all that!
Next up Is a great big warm welcome to a new stockist and that’s the wonderful whisky bar in the vibrant city of Liverpool, Hopscotch. We are delighted to welcome Hopscotch on board and there will be more to come later in this newsletter on our first ever Liverpudlian whisky tasting. When it comes to new retailers, there are a few more that will be getting a mention, but at present I am waiting on a message from Belgium with the details of the who’s and the where’s so watch this space. Speaking of Belgium, a big nod in the direction of one of our longest running retailers and it’s Jürgens Whisky Huis in Zottegem, Belgium who up until now only stocked our whiskies but following a few samples of our rum at the beginning of the month Jürgen has very much fallen in love with our rums as well, so you can now find a very healthy supply of rum in the Huis. A big thanks for the continued support, big man!
Ok, now I did say that it had been a busy one. Well I have had the real pleasure of having 8 different festivals and tastings to be involved with through October and with only one being online it has left my wee feet a bit on the sore side but there’s still a big smile on my face. First up and we start the month the way its was going to continue and that was with a visit to my old friends Bart and Wendy Ottevaere at the wonderful Ten Errewaerde Restaurant in Zwevegem, Belgium. Technically, this brilliant tasting started on the 30th of September but as it didn’t finish until after midnight it manages to squeeze its way into the October round up. There were some old and some new drams for this one but the best things was that not only were there great drams but Bart, being the superb chef that he is made sure that we had a small plate to compliment each dram and the quality of the food and the accuracy of the pairing made this a truly memorable night. Then (as if that wasn’t enough) our great friend Mr. David Rogiers who you will all remember as our Belgian brewing partner just so happened to have brought along some of his incredible beers! When I say a night to remember……..not sure many folk can! Thanks to everyone who came along on the night and special thanks to my old pal Jürgen Vromans, Bart and Wendy, David and a special hello to my best online buddies Mac Geert who I finally got to meet and share a dram and a beer with in person. Lets do this again one of these days, folks!
So, I get back to my hotel a wee bit later than planned, but no rest for the wicked and I must have been extremely wicked at some stage as next morning we’re out and at it again getting ready for the Ghent Whisky Festival. Now this one has a special place in my heart as it is where I made my international debut many years ago albeit in a different venue. That said, where we are now is a much better venue and in a stunningly beautiful part of the town. If you are ever wondering where might be nice to go for a long weekend please have a look at Ghent. Its beautiful! The next two days passed in a flash as whisky friends, old and new pop over to visit and sample from 24 different single cask whiskies from a few outturns as well as 7 different single cask rums. As you can see from the bottle kill picture we were kept on our toes but what a fantastic festival and so good to catch up with some old friends such as my old pal Menno who not only stopped by to say hello but brought the beers with him. What are friends for after all?
Over the next few days I had the good luck to stay in Belgium, where Jürgen and I took the chance to visit some of our customers and say hello. One highlight was a visit to Wines For You and the font of all knowledge that is Ivo Drabs who after talking whisky for a while took me into his exclusive Cognac room for a taste of a few drams a good bit older than me (I know, such things do exist!) Finishing with an unforgettable Armagnac from 1914. Not every day you get to drink something that’s 108 years old. Truly a privilege! I finished off this part of my trip with a visit to a place I have wanted to see for quite a while and we dropped into T’ Parlement and Minna and Frank. Our wonderful hosts. Jürgen had a rum tasting on but as two were Dràm Mòr rums I took to the floor for the last two and my first ever attempt at presenting rum. A special night indeed.
On 7 October we jumped on the train to go to Spa in the southern part of Belgium as we move from Flemish to French and our first ever rum festival, Salon Du Rhum. Now I had been to this lovely wee town before, many years ago for a whisky festival but this was our first ever rum festival and on my birthday of all days. Got to be honest, I was a wee bit nervous about this but no need. After a slow start we managed to get a glass into the right hands and there after we were inundated for the next two days with incredibly good feedback especially from some of the big rum clubs who were there with The Rums of Anarchy members telling us we were in their top two stands of the festival. What an experience this was and one that I am already looking forward to doing again. It was then homeward bound but no chance to put the feet up as I was soon heading out on the road with tastings for St. Andrews Whisky Society and 45 hardy soles including a great contingent from Luvians Bottle Shop being in attendance. Great night as always and a massive thank you to Aedan and all the team there. Next day it was my one and only online tasting and as it was for the Southern Sippers of Ontario it kicked off at midnight and finished at close to three in the morning as we had a mighty 8 drams to work our way through but what a great time we had. I was even allowed a long lie next morning (Viktorija is getting soft in her old age).
On the 18th I had a unique tasting to run as I (after passing clearance) heading into Faslane Submarine Base to run a tasting for The Crown & Anchor Whisky Club. To say I was well looked after is falling way short with experience after experience being so kindly set up for me by my mates Andrew and Thommo who spoiled me rotten with the help of a few of their mates. Thanks once again, lads, and if ever we have the chance to do this again I would be more than happy to get involved. Told you we had been busy, didn’t I!
As with every newsletter one of the most important sections is the reviews that come in every month. I can wax lyrically all day long about how great I think our bottling are but it is much more important for me to listen to the thoughts of others when it comes to our drams. All reviews that come in are from folk who have an undying passion for whisky and I know categorically that they are never going to spare my blushes. What you see is exactly what they thought of our offering and I am humbled that they take the time to lend us their expertise. First up we have parts one and two of Whisky Reviews and Neil Murphy who has taken time to assess our last outturn. Please feel free to click on the link and see what worked for Neil. Many thanks as always, mate, for taking such time on the review. Next up, is another old pal and a big hello to Rod Morrison who kindly gives us his thoughts on our 9 year old Macduff. It’s across the North Sea to Norway and another big Hello to Whisky Saga in Norway with their first ever review of any spirit from Dalmunach Distillery with our recent 6 year old (an old dram for a Dalmunach!). Many thanks, Thomas, and please don’t be a stranger. To all of our reviewers a massive and heartfelt thank you. Not only are your thoughts a great way for people to be able to judge what to spend their hard earned money on but it gives Viktorija and I the chance to reflect on what we are doing and to use your reviews as a sounding board as well as an advisory tool where we can learn if we are doing the right things or not.
As always we finish up with a look at what you have been sharing on social media and there is a whack of folk to say hello to this month. First up is a big thanks to Tim Robertson of Whisky Online shop who shared the love of our Orkney 14 year old (a true stunner!) and Benrinnes 12. Many thanks, Tim. Next it’s over to WhiskyPanaLisa on Twitter, who was so happy with The Artisan’s post of our new arrivals that they just had to share. Many thanks. The UK Rum Club next and it is great to see that it isn’t just the whiskies that gain attention as these wonderful folk are happy to tell the world of the arrival of 4 of our rums: Fiji 18 year old, Guatemala 10 year old, a Mauritius 7 year old and wrapping thing up a 10 year old Diamond. Great to know that we are on you radar folks. Another great big thanks this time goes out to Kevin Moonen who joined us in Ghent and I am delighted with his repose of “Dràm Mòr drams were the best”. So happy you felt that way, Kevin. It’s Ben at The Whisky Diary next up who proudly showed the world of the sad demise of a very rare bottle of Ben Nevis 8 year old Madeira blood tub. Its a heart breaker to see these bottles vanish as there were only 23 of them, but that’s what they are for after all. A very rare post coming to us in French this time from drrhumantique_mrlarrange who posted a snap that had been taken while at Salon Du Rhum in Spa with a big Thank You attached. It is very much us who should be thanking you. My old mate Gary Dunsire up next (It ain’t a newsletter until Gary makes an appearance after all!) and I am delighted that you got a hold of the blood tub, Bud. Can’t think of a better home for it. Speaking of old mates it’s over to Šarunas from the best little whisky bar in the Baltic States, King & Mouse who had some new arrivals on the bar. Three to go and that’ll do us for this one. It was lovely to see that the way some folk want to spend their birthdays is by drinking our Drams in the wonderful Pot Still so a big thank you for that goes to Chris Irons and a very happy belated birthday. It’s another one from Spa next as Andy Farina wanted to share with the world his love of our 11 year old Grey’s unnamed New Grove as a favourite and thanks go to you my friend. Last one for this month, Lads and Lassies, and the dubious honer falls to Mr. Scott Crookston who posted a thanks after we managed to source him a bottle of Deanston 13 year old in 1st fill barrel. Scott is involved with the Friends of Deanston Distillery, who currently are up to 708 members, so I know this dram ended up very much in the right hands. If we have missed anyone please accept my forgiveness but with more and more of you posting it is getting harder to squeeze you all in. Please don’t stop posting however. I will get round to you at some stage, I promise!
I warned you right at the start there was a lot to take in this month and if you have managed to get this far then you deserve a dram (and a medal), so many thanks for putting up with another month’s rambling nonsense. It is such a pleasure to share our adventures with you all and as always, stay safe, be kind to each other and keep an eye out for those who might need a wee hand now and again and while the rest of the world goes mad we will raise a glass to each other.