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Dràm Mòr Whisky Update No. 30

Hello, lads and lassies, and welcome to another month of nonsense and silliness courtesy of Dràm Mòr Group. February 2023 has come and gone and as I write this the sun is shining and the promise of better things lay straight ahead. That said, the year is vanishing in front of my eyes and before I know it I will be fighting with tangled Christmas lights again, but I will try and keep that on the back burner of my ageing brain for now. So, on to what’s been happening during February.

News

I am going to start the around up on a very somber and sad note as I pay my respects to a lovely young man who left us during February at far too young an age. Aedan Burt was one of the founders of Fib (Fife Independent Bottlers) as well as having run the St. Andrews Whisky Society and taking part in the growth of Lindores Abbey Distillery as a member of their Sensory panel. More importantly Aedan was my friend. As a young man who life had not dealt the best of hands to, he fought against his disabilities and health problems to make sure that he grabbed life and shock it for all it was worth. I was lucky enough to meet Aedan a good few years ago and we had kept in touch ever since. He was a larger than life personality as was his love for our national drink and all of us in the whisky industry who were lucky enough to make his acquaintance are the better for knowing him. You’ll be miss ma pal. Aedan Andrejus Burt 1993-2023.

Aedan Andrejus Burt
February was a busy month (like there is ever any other kind of month!) especially with Dumbarton Rock really starting to pick up a good bit of traction which we are extremely happy to see. In fact we are already starting to see the initial bottling of 500 cases getting eaten into by half but worry not as there is another 1000 cases on its way. Once these are bottled that will be the end of batch one of this exciting new blended malt that has hit the ground running but this is only the beginning for Dumbarton Rock. If you haven’t had the chance to get your hands on a bottle yet, especially my friends overseas, don’t worry. The first orders arrived in both Belgium and The Netherlands and even as far afield as Panama where we are just waiting on a wee bit of paperwork before release so if you are finding it difficult to find just pop onto our website and look for a retailer close to you. You won’t regret it!
Dumbarton Rock Whisky
The big news this month is not only that we have a new distributor, but in fact we have a whole new country to play in and it is a place that I have adored working in over the years and where I have many whisky friends. So it is with delight that I can now say a great big “Hello” to all of my pals in Poland! This has been a long time in the coming but finally we have our first order heading to Poznan. This new company is the best possible fit for us at Dràm Mòr so fingers crossed I will be seeing much more of Poland in the coming month and years and that is no hardship, let me tell you. Follow us on social media for more detailed news.

Back home and we are working away to get the spring release ready for its curtain call with some casks already bottled but some more waiting in the wings to swap their oak for glass. As always folks it’ll be worth the wait! Last wee bit of news from February is a nice wee nod to the fact that we might be doing something right. Now some of you may or may not know that there is a distillery in Scotland that actually has a Michelin Star (who would ever have thought that would be the case?). Since the purchase of Glenturret Distillery the new owners Lalique have managed beautifully to leave what isn’t broken well enough alone but merged Scotland’s oldest distillery with a stunning new restaurant that I have been lucky enough to enjoy. Not only is every bite a delight but the bar is a thing of beauty with one of the countries best wine lists as well as some belters of drams, both old and new which showcase Glenturret at its best. Well we have had the great honour to have two expressions of our Dràm Mòr Ruadh Maor bottling returning home to take their place behind the bar at the distillery. Not very often an Indy Bottle gets to sell their drams at the mother distillery so a massive thanks to all at Glenturret and especially to my mate Ruaridh Jackson for making this one happen. If you are ever in that neck of the woods feel free to help empty these bottles please.

Events

February started with a bang but it wasn’t the one I would have hoped for as a nasty wee tumble left me with what I thought was a sprained wrist which with a pretty full diary for the start of the month meant that it wasn’t going to be plain sailing, but there is always a wee bit of liquid painkillers. First up was a wee favour to my old mates at Ian MacLeod Distillers and I headed off for a few days in Zurich. A great show but as it wasn’t a Dràm Mòr event I can skip over that. I will however be back in Switzerland at the end of March in Lucerne and that one is for ourselves so you can find out all about that next month and if you’re in the area I might just see you there. Home for the total of 18 hours and it was away we go again. This time the brains of the organisation joined me. I love it when Viktorija and I get the chance to hit the road together although it doesn’t happen often enough. We were also joined by our great mate and rum guru Mr Khi Leonard who was with us for the first two days of the trip. Dràm Mòr on tour for sure! This time it was a quick hop over to the Netherlands where we had a few meetings before nipping over to Belgium for a whisky tasting with the Liege whisky club.

Liege whisky club
First up however was a wee bit of “us” time and a visit to to the oldest Genever distillery in Amsterdam, the wonderfully named Wynand Fockink Distillery where, under the expert eye of our new pal master distiller Monique ten Kortenaar we tried all kinds of wonders. If your in Amsterdam I can heartily recommend a visit folks.

Back to work and we had the absolute pleasure of visiting Zudiam Distillery which sits right on the Dutch, Belgium border. Now for those of you that have never tried any of Zudiam’s spirit let me tell you, you are missing a real treat. Made in beautiful big Forsyths copper pot stills and using exactly the same process that we are used to here in Scotland, the whisky coming out of this family owned distillery is superb. So good we have secured a few casks that will be coming your way at some stage.
A massive thanks goes to Patrick (owner of Zuidam Distillery) for some incredible hospitality and I very much hope that I get to repeat the experience again one of these days.
Zuidam Distillery
Just wait till I get some of this liquid into a Dràm Mòr bottle. Your gonna love it! An interesting fact that was mentioned when we were there is that some folks houses actually have the Belgian, Dutch boarder running through their houses so the mobile phone provider is different on one side of the living room from the other. Don’t know about you lot but that would drive me to drink! Just a wee word to all the team in Liege. What a wonderful night we had with small plate food pairing on the night and each one was better than the other. I had a great time and I would love to come back over and do it all over again folks.

So we packed up our gear and away we went again to the third hotel in three nights but it is one I had stayed at before and knew I was in for a very comfy night. It just wasn’t long enough as we were up bright and early to head to the stunning town of Haarlem situated not too far west of Amsterdam. I have been a lucky man to travel a lot with my work and I have seen some beautiful places but this town takes the biscuit. What a stunning place and as if things couldn’t get better that evening we had the pleasure of welcoming the King’s Court Whisky Club who couldn’t possible meet anywhere other than an old windmill at the side of the river. Could this tasting be more Dutch?

King’s Court Whisky Club
A massive thanks to Nils van Rijn of Best of Wines and Nils Reinaerts for organising this evening for me. I have to say that this one was one of my all time favourite tastings with a marvellous group of experienced whisky enthusiasts and to top it off my big mate Mr Van Rijn was kind enough to bring along the incredible Tobermory 25 year old. Now you don’t get to go to tastings like that every night of the week (sadly!) Thank you so much to everyone who attended, both old friends and new ones and this is another experience that I would love to repeat one day.

By now you can tell that this trip has been brilliant fun (if a wee bitty sore).
Well all good things come to an end and we had to leave the idilic surroundings of Haarlem but there was a plus side was we were on the move to Alkmaar for a festival that I have wanted to do for years, the Heilander Whisky Festival Alkmaar run by the force of nature that is Wullie McMortland. Owner of the Heilander Restaurant and master of all things when it comes to this festival. So Alkmaar is yet another stunning town and the venue for the festival is breathtaking. The Grote Sint Laurenskerk was completed in 1512 and is one of the most stunning venues I have ever had the pleasure to work in. Two days of frantic fun and loads of drams as well as some cracking food saw Dràm Mòr make a whole load of new friends and with Dumbarton Rock making its debut in the Netherlands we were both delighted with the response and we are already signed up for next year. A well known face from Scottish football of a few years ago even turned up to share a dram with us and I was gracious enough to forgive him for playing for Rangers what with my St.Mirren blood running back and white. Mr. Newman and co had a whale of a time I’m glad to say. Great to see Monique dropping in more a wee dram too!
the Heilander Whisky Festival Alkmaar
So that was that and it was home time and a trip to hospital to check on this wrist of mine eventually. It seems the docs were less than impressed with my few weeks of doing heehaugh and wheeched me into the operating theatre to stick a steal plate into the wrist which had a broken radius and ulna (whoops!). I did say it was a bit nippy after all. Onwards and upwards (apparently that’s how air travel works) for what is going to be a very busy March.

Reviews

As with every month we have had our fair share of reviews coming at us and as always we are very open to taking the good with the bad as we are firmly of the belief that it is the only way to get better at what we do and listening to our customers has to be at the core of what we do. Four reviews to bring you this month all coming from well kent names if not faces. First up is the brilliantly impartial Mr. Neil Murphy who always tells it like it is and one that I read diligently wither it it related to Dràm Mòr bottlings or some of our competitors. You are always going get a full and frank overview of the whisky in question. Neil is the first to run the rule over Dumbarton Rock and I have to say I am more than happy with his concussions. You can read his thought here.

Next up is our old pals at Whisky Fun who are giving us two for the price of one this month with a whisky and a rum review. Let’s have a wee look firstly at our Fijian 18 year old coming in at 58% ABV. It would seem that we’ve made Serge a very happy man….again. It’s over to Angus for part two and this time it is for our 13 year old Deanston with a 1st fill bourbon finish tipping the scales at 52.5% ABV. Some tasting notes that I have never encountered in this one but so long as it’s working for folk then its all good. Not sure what blue tea is though? To take two scores of 86% works for me! You can find both reviews here (scroll down the page a bit).

Last up on the review front is our old mate Steve Tan. A man who has an encyclopaedic palate that puts my humble West of Scotland taste buds to shame. Steve grabbed hold of our Ruadh Maor which we finished in a red wine barrique. Now over the years Steve has become a fantastic supporter of what Viktorija and I are trying to do so I am always keen to here his thoughts on any bottling that we have done and I am happy to say we have hit the target again with this beautifully pleated Glenturret. Read Steves thoughts here and keep an eye out for Steve and Andrew’s Whisky Chats on Instagram. They are a great watch when I’m not on!

Ruadh Maor
Social Media

It won’t come as a massive surprise when I tell you that as always you have inundated us with some lovely comments and pictures showing us how you have been enjoying a dram or two from us over the last month. As I always like to point out there are way too many to list so if I miss you out please accept my apologies but know that every single post is so important to us as it lets your friends find out a bit about us and who know, it might just get them to try for themselves so many, many thanks for all your posts. So, here goes… Thanks to the Edmonton Scotch Club in Canada for the love shown to our Deanston 9 year old Malvasia Madeira finish. It really was a beauty. Next up is The Mentor who along with a chunky cigar (wish I like them but ther’re not for me) had a throw back dram and it was a Glenrothes 9 year old. Another Madeira finish there. The Whiskyorapher (love some of these names) brought us back up to date with my Mum’s cask and that’s the delicious Craigellachie 9 year old red wine barrique. What a beauty that dram is. A big thanks to The Lairds Table Cafe on the Craufurdland Castle Estate who had Dumbarton Rock up for grabs in a competition. Somebody won a nice wee prize there and thanks for the support folks. Dumbarton Rock sneaks its way into a tasty line up from The Devils Cut Club for their resent tasting. I’d love to hear your thoughts folks. Inza_Whisky managed to get hold of a dram that I adored and that was the Ruadh Maor in white port. If you dint try this one then you missed out. My friends at East City Whisky Club posted a nice bottle kill and one of the fallen was a Ben Nevis of ours. Can’t quite make out which one but as its empty I guess it doesn’t matter so much.

East City Whisky Club with Dram Mor Whisky
The Walking dram joined The Whiskyographer in praise of Craigellachie and who can blame them? As did Whisky with Molly. Hope it went down well Molly and many thanks for the support. Single Malt Mack picked up a bargain (I think) with a 10 year old Glen Moray for the princely sum of $135.00 (any ideas what that is? Answers on a postcard please). Wood.Wine.Whisky got tore into a red wine Ruadh Maor which made me jealous as mine is finished! Giannis_ekaterinidis had another long lost friend in the shape of an 8 year old Ben Nevis Px finish (is this what East City had too? Nobody knows.) Distillermo managed to squeeze two of our drams into an impressive line up with Craigellachie and Ruadh Maor rubbing shoulders with some other interesting bottles. Esméralda Tack looked back on a Whisky Mercenary tasting with my old mate Jürgen Vromans where a good few of our rums were put to the sword. The last shout to my keyboard buddies goes to me big mate Shilton Almeida who put an end to yet another bottle of Dumbarton Rock in The Pot Still who just can’t stop selling our blended malt. As mentioned before there are many, many more of you who very kindly took the time to show us love and Viktorija and I are so grateful to all of you for the continued support that you show us.

Well you will be delighted to hear that that’s enough for now and my one handed typing is coming to a grinding halt.February was much busier than this time of year normally is so it looks like I have a very busy year ahead. It would be lovely to take you all on the journey with me if only virtually. As always to each and everyone of you Viktorija and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love and support you always show us. It is incredibly humbling, thank you all soo much.

Till next month folks stay safe, take care of each other and for this news letter please feel free to raise a glass to my wee pal Aedan.

Till next month…..

Slàinte!

Kenny

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