Hello, everybody, and welcome back to yet another few pages of rambling nonsense, outlining what we at Dràm Mòr have been up to in April. Is it just me or did I just write one of these a few days ago? I guess it’s true what they say… time flies when you’re having fun! So as always there’s loads to cover, so time to dive head long into April’s activities.
Well, they always say that no news is good news, but sadly I have news and it is concerning the ongoing delay in our Spring release. We have been so unlucky what with one thing and the other when it comes to this release what with delays in bottling time followed by a paper shortage for labels that it just seemed like we would never get there so another month passes with still not so much as a cork hitting the shelves. Better news, however, as I am due to head up to Speyside tomorrow to personally pick up the new bottling, so keep a close eye on social media as well as your favourite whisky retailers as we are only days away folks! In other news we are delighted to welcome to the Dràm Mòr stable two new retailers in one of our favourite destinations… Belgium and it’s a great big hello to all at De Stroffe Hoek and the Whiskybrowser. So good to have new folk on board!
Be warned, folks, it’s been another very busy month for us both home and away so lets crack on and see what we’ve been up to. Best place to start is always at the beginning, I guess, which bizarrely takes me back to the last word from events of the last news letter so lets start with the last day of Whisky Schiff Luzern where April fools day saw a sell out on our shelves. If you have never been to an international whisky festival and fancy something different then this is the one for you. Not only is it one of the most idilc places I have ever been, but with the show staged over three boats and a wonderful array of drams it is a superb experience and one that you really should do at least once. I will be heading back to this stunting town in May and I am already getting excited about that wee trip. So it was back home to less sunny climes but no less fun as we headed down to Ayrshire to take up a very generous invitation from my mate Darren McCormick who just happens to be head distiller at the wonderful Lochlea Distillery. Now Lochlea doesn’t have a visitors centre and it isn’t one that is open to the public, hence it was a real privilege to get the full, behind the senes tour and met the team as well as the owners. With the ethos of field to bottle Lochlea is one dram that is very much on my ‘one to watch’ list even though it is already a delicious dram.
Next up was a throw back to our lockdown days and a virtual chat with our man in Panama, Ivan, who ran a session for his whisky follower who range from all over south and central America who are all now clued up on all things cask purchase. Really enjoyed working with these lads on this with wonderful translation being done in real time into Spanish for most of the good folk who joined us. Only down side for me is that we had to go live at midnight so it was a very short night. A wee change for me next which isn’t all together Dràm Mòr related but we do have an involvement. This time up it was the Òran Mór Whisky Awards hosted by yours truly. A great night was had by all with the highlight of the night seeing my old pal Jim McEwan picking up the Lifetime Achievement award while being toasted by the room with a healthy dram of Dumbarton Rock. A massive congratulations to Jim and all the award winners on the night and fingers crossed we can all see each other again, same time, same place, 2024!
Furthermore, we were back on the road but not for too long as we drew into the town of Wishaw. Now for those of you in the know there is only one reason that whisky folk like use are visiting Wishaw and it is to pay homage to the Aladdins cave of whisky that is the Artisan Restaurant, lovingly run by some of the best folk in the business, Derek and Fiona Mather. That said we weren’t there just to say hello but to run a tasting night for Derek and Fiona with six drams being beautifully accompanied by some of Derek’s signature dishes. Delighted to say it was a full house on the night and everyone seemed very happy on the way out the door. Two more events to tick off before I draw a line over my jaunts in April. Next up is a festival that I have wanted to do for years but never got the chance until now. My only German date so far this year and it was the beautiful city of Limburg that host a great show on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd of April. In a similar story to Luzern the two days of very well read whisky enthusiasts visiting us saw the Dràm Mòr shelves once again empty with not a crumb left as even our sample bottles were bought. A massive thanks to my friends from Westwood Whisky, Herr Olaf Mann and Herr Paul Becher, for asking me along and a special thank you goes to my bestie in Germany Kristin Kotzur who, like an Angel is always there to give me a lift from the airport when I arrive and who made her way along to the show on Sunday with her charming chaperon Thomas to share a dram or two with me and buy one of the last bottles. See you all again soon, I hope!
One but last tasting for the month and it was back to the virtual world sadly and I do mean sadly as running a tasting in Prague’s Whiskeria bar is so much more fun than being on screen and also comes with the added bonus of getting to spend time with the delightful Mirka Kverková. It took a wee while to get things going due to the normal IT issues that always seem to plague these evenings but we made do and got through the night with everyone happy at the end of the evening. The chance to get back out to the fairytale city of Prague again cannot come soon enough! So that was the events for April. No wonder I’m knackered!
Lastly, something a wee bit different for us as last month we moved into the world of art exhibition sponsorship (no really, we did!)Let me explain…..As many of you may or may not know we have been incredibly lucky to have a very talented young lady, Miss Iveta Smidtaite, as not only a great friend but as our label designer. Whether it is Dràm Mòr or Dumbarton Rock, Iveta has been the brains behind the paint brush, so when we heard that see was holding in exhibition in London we just had to lend a hand with a case of the aforementioned Dumbarton Rock to help wet the whistle of her guests. To be fair it was so popular on the opening night I’m not sure there was any left for the other nights, but that might be my fault!
Two reviews and one interview to bring you this month, which considering there hasn’t been a release in quite a while, is pretty good going. It is always a joy to read what people think and when they take the time to run a full review of our humble drams it makes the heart swell so many thanks to Piotr Stachura of Whisky My Life in Poland for running the rule over our Ruadh Maor 10 years old which was finished in one of my favourite casks to work with, white port. See what Piotr things of this wonderfully smokey dram by following the link right here.
Next it’s over to a new name for these pages and a whisky fan Richard Thomusk, who goes under the moniker of Rich_93. Rich kindly ran an eye (and more) over our bottling of Williamson that came out last year. This tea spooned Laphroaig was so popular when it was released and sadly finding bottles of these now is like finding hens teeth but it was great while it lasted and Rich was kind enough to post on Whiskybase. See what he thought here.
So that’s the two reviews and now it’s on to the interview that I mentioned and it’s over to Leo for the Dram Path of London. I have done a few interviews by now and it is always, some are greta and some can be a little dry. It all depends on the questions that have been pitched at me and I am happy to report that Leo got his teeth into some great questions which I was more than happy to answer. Many thanks for the opportunity to chat, mate.
As always on socials there have been many, many of you crashing the keys, so this month I’m going to pick six of you to say hello to. Firstly, it is a big hello and thank you to a new name for these pages, 5pointdram who was kind enough on the 8th of April to post pictures of not one but two Dràm Mòr bottles from a wee while ago. Inchfad 14 year old and Glenrothes 9 year old. Two belters of drams that I have not seen for many a long day. Delighted they hit the spot my friend. Next it’s over the the wonderful young ladies of The Pot Still Whisky Girls who I had the pleasure (and it really was a pleasure) of introducing Dràm Mòr to last month. Inchmurrin 11 year old must have gone down well as it was soon on line thanks to the club postings.
An old friend next and it’s MacGeert all the way from Belgium. Now to put you in the picture MacGeert has everything that Dràm Mòr have ever produced butt there was one wee thing missing and it was a short run label of 14 year old Ben Nevis that we had labeled up for my good mate Šarunas in King & Mouse, Vilnius. Although MacGeert had the whisky under our standard label he didn’t have the King & Mouse label. Now I couldn’t get him the bottle as these are long gone, but after a trawl through the records I did manage to find one label which was soon on its way to Belgium to complete his very impressive Dràm Mòr set. Thanks again for the support, my pal.
It’s the Amber Prism up next who had a strange take on food pairing when it came to our last Tullibardine as apparently it goes incredibly well with Skittles! Who knew? Not an individual but a retailer is next on my list of thank yous and its the wonderfully named Cut Your Wolf Loose who are based on Englands sunny South Coast in the city of Brighton. Well they decided to change Brighton Rock for Dumbarton Rock and I have to say that I support that choice wholeheartedly. Last but not least this month is Peter McLaughlin who took to Twitter to praise our us of oak after sampling the Ruadh Maor 10 year old that we released after a short finish in Portugues red wine.
After sampling our Secret Orkney he found his way to our peated Glenturret which has put many smiles on many faces. There were many, many more of you who were kind enough to post so if I haven’t included you please accept my apologies but also accept our gratitude for all the support that you give us.
So that’s April put to bed. Another frantically busy month that has seen new venues and new friends coming along. As always it has been a hoot and May has just as many new adventures for us to get our teeth into. Please remember to keep an eye out for the Spring Release 2023 that should be on its way to shelves really soon and as always please know how much Viktorija and I appreciate all the support that you lads and lassies show us over here. Till the next time, as always, stay safe, look out for each other and you will be hearing from me soon as I am sure May will vanish in a dizzying haze.