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Dràm Mòr Whisky Update No. 33

So here we go again folks! Another month bites the dust and what a month it has been and as I sit here in Zurich Airport waiting on the next Amsterdam flight to get in with my bag I though it was the perfect time to put virtual pen to paper once more and tell you the tale of the month that was, so buckle up and lets go…

NEWS

By far the dominating news in May was the arrival at long last of our Spring release. Trying to get this out to you has been like pulling teeth what with no paper for our labels causing us to miss our bottling slots. Thanks yet again, Brexit. You really are the gift that keeps on giving and if I hear one more mention of “opportunities” my head may well explode. Anyhow, as many of you will have noticed and I hope taken advantage of, the Spring Release 2023 hit the shelves in the second week of May. Consisting of 6 single cask bottlings of whisky and 2 single cask rums, we are extremely proud to bring you, three incredible refill bourbon casks in the shape of a Mannachmore 13 year old at 54.8%, a Benrinnes 10 year old at 57.5%and a Blair Athol 11 year old at 56%, which all give massive variances on what you would think from refill Bourbon. Now as you know I love to play with the spirit that we get and I love nothing better than a cask finish; however, when you have three casks of this quality there has to be a certain amount of serious discipline shown and leave them to do their own thing and that is exactly what we have done with these three beauties. Now that said if all we were offering were refill bourbons I am pretty sure questions would be being asked and there has to be balance to all things so to accompany the three refill casks we have a Tullibardine 8 year old 1st fill Oloroso Sherry hogshead coming in at 53.7% (a Sherry bomb in all but weight. Delicious!), an 8 year old Speyside 51.7% from Speyside Distillers, not a secret Speyside! This one has been finished for three months in first fill Moscaltel and to top it all off we have a stunning Glen Garioch 10 year old at 57.1% which has spent 9 years in a refill Bourbon but the secret to this dram is it’s cask. Now some of you will remember very fondly the Williamson (Laphroaig) that we released a good wee while ago. Well this Glen Garioch has been sitting in that very same cask since the day the Williamson was dumped so we have wonderful smokey character running through this belter of a dram.

On the rum front the two that have just made their debut are corkers. A young 8 year old Fiji from South Pacific Distillery brings to a pretty high ester jungle funk to the table along with a powerful 62% strength however you would be hard pushed to think that this outstanding rum was anywhere near as strong. It’s back to the classic Caribbean and the sunshine Island of Trinidad for rum number two. Not your classic Angostura (not that there is anything wrong with a classic) with really fruity sweetness combining with a little hint of vanilla from its white oak cask and coming in at 58% ABV. I can say with my hand on my heart that both Viktorija and I as so happy with this outturn and are very keen to hear your thoughts on them. Enjoying the adventure of the Spring release, folks. As always it will be available at your normal Dàm Mòr stockists, but if you are struggling to find these crackers just drop me a line and I will find them for you. One other news worthy thing that I want to mention is that Dràm Mòr has finally made its debut at a Polish whisky festival last month as bottles hit the stand in Krakow. Many many thanks to Mikołaj and all his team at Unique Spirits for making this happen. Hope to see you soon mate!

EVENTS

Now some months here at Dràm Mòr are busy when it comes to events and then there are months like May (and June I might add) where things just get silly. Another month passes where me and my own bed are pretty much strangers although there were more than normal home based outings last month. First up was my old mates from the Helensburgh Whisky Group who got together in Helensburgh Golf Club to partake in all things single cask. Really enjoyed this night which considering I was driving had to be a great night to make up for my sobriety! Many thanks to Stevie, Jim and all the gang for looking after me so well. Looking forward to the next one already whenever that may be. Next up was a short hop, skip and jump up the road to HMS Faslane Navel Base where we find the aptly named Crown and Anchor Whisky Club. A wee bit out of the ordinary was this tasting as we held our first ever domestic rum tasting. Well, where better to start such a thing than a room full of sailors? A great big thank you to Thommo and the lads who turned out in good numbers to put some whacking dents into six cask strength rums.

So it was time for the passport to come out once again. Have to be honest, it is out a lot these days so there was no need to blow the dust off the wee blue book as I headed to Luzern for the second time this year (and there would be a third by the way). This time it was a rather special one off event hosted by my wonderful distributors of LANDI Buchrain who have the luck to to based in one of the most beautiful cities I think I will ever visit. On the night I had the opportunity of sharing my love for all things Dràm Mòr with a select group of their key clients and what a spread I had to indulge them with 18 (yes 18!) different expressions from both whisky and rum releases, both past and present. I am delighted to report that everyone had a ball including me. It is always a pleasure to work with these guys and on that note I would like to make a special mention to my mate Martin Turjancik who I was working with for the last time as both him and his wonderful wife Dominique head out to a new life in Costa Rica in just a few weeks time. Wish you both every success and we will see you over there one day. It’s been a pleasure! That said I am still in very capable hands as another good friend, Ms Nika Müller takes the reins so looking forward to many more adventures in Switzerland in the future. 

Over the years that Viktorija and I have been working away building Dràm Mòr’s name and reputation we have, on occasion been extremely lucky to me some wonderful folk on the way who have not only helped but massively boosted our profile in their respective countries.  This can never be truer than with the next couple that I am going to mention, Claudine and Geert Ros of C & G Services who since the word go have taken Dràm Mòr to their hearts and have run with it all over their homeland of Belgium. Between the 24th and the 28th of May I was very fortunate to pop over to take part in three fantastic events that they had organised for us. My first of the three was out by the city of Brugge in the town of Lichtervelde where I took on not one but two whisky clubs on the night. Now technically it is actually one club but it has grown so large that it has had to split into two with the old school original members on one side and the new kids on the block on the other side. So over 50 folk took their seats for a 7 dram tasting. Have to be honest when I say it was one of the quietist tastings I have ever done but that said every single person was listening attentively, they were just a wee bit shy when it came to asking questions so as you do, I started to pick on folk! Everyone took it in good spirits and as the whisky flowed the tongs started to loosen up a tad. A great night and many thanks to all who came along with a special thanks to Jurgen and his team from the club for getting things sorted for us. Next day had already seen a long road trip as I headed off to Zeebrugge accompanied by my trusty distributor for Benelux, Mr Jürgen Vromans. This wee trip was essential as our Spring release had just been freed by the Port Authorities and I was desperate to have my new toys to play with over the next few days. Now armed with all the new bottles day two saw the road trip continue as we headed to the town of Boortmeerbeek (easy for me to say, I know!) and my old pals at TasTToe boutique wine and spirits retailer where we had the chance to catch up with the team who got to have a good look at the new stock.

As always as was very well looked after and I look forward to popping in again soon. Then on to Liege and a surprise visit to my pal Gaëtan from the brilliant wee spirit shop of Watch, Smell, Taste. Now the one thing he wasn’t expecting was me turning up as a delivery driver but every day should throw up some surprises. Great to catch up with you Gaëtan and hope it’s not too long before we do it again. Last shop visa before the evenings event and we came so close to being in France for this one as we dropped into say hello to one of the most contagiously likeable folk I have met in a long time. Just outside the town of Tournai on the French Belgian border sits the very high end boutique shop, Vins Brunin. Guillier which is run by my new mate and partner in silliness Esméralda Tack. One of the best visits in a wee while as you are made to feel so relaxed the minute you enter to the minute you leave. Now Esméralda and her team are no strangers to Dràm Mòr as they have been stocking our rums for quite some time but the whiskies are a new thing for them so we sat down and went through all of the Spring Release and I am delighted to say that they very much hit the spot so now we can say a big hello to, well not quite a new retailer but you get the gist. So we hit the road once more and off to host the Hulst whisky club. Now the one thing you need to know about Hulst is that it ain’t in Belgium. It’s in The Netherlands albeit by a mile or two but as our starting off point was the French border it took a wee while to get there.

On a beautiful evening on the banks of the river we had a marvellous night, especially after being so well fed by Nico and his lovely wife (thank you so much guys!). Where our first night was pretty quiet, this one was the flip opposite with about 40 very boisterous whisky lovers waiting on their 8 dram tasting! Had to set some ground rules half way through and introduce them to the word Wheesht! But it was a really fun night and I know that I left them smiling so many thanks guys for inviting me along. One more event on this whirlwind tour and it was to the town of Hamme for what had been advertised as a Met and Greet day with yours truly. Have to be honest when I say I had no idea what to expect but what a really lovely day we had  as  guest joined us for the most relaxed tasting I have ever had the pleasure to run. It worked almost like a mini festival with all the drams on the table and muggins pouring away. The only difference being that it was just me. Well me and a whopping 30 different Dràm Mòr rums and whiskies on the table. The thing I loved so much about that day was the amount of old friends who dropped by to sat hello and share a dram with me.It was so good to see everyone of you  but a special mention goes to a face that I hadn’t seen since my very first international festival in Gent all these years ago and that’s my mate Erik. Now Erik ain’t keep too well so it took a lot of effort to pop in to say hello but it really made my day. Keep up the fight mate, mate, and know that you’re in my thoughts.  And so ends the Belgian adventure. Well, at least for now. Once again a massive thanks to Claudine and Geert as well as Jürgen for driving me everywhere and to those heads of whisky clubs who help organise everything. Superb job, folks!

It was back home and my own bed for a whole one night as Clan Donald packed its bags and headed off to the madness that id Féis Ile. Now when you consider that Islay has a population of around 3,000 folk on any given day but that during Féis that number normally goes up to around the 15,000 mark you will see why I say madness. That said it was noticeably quieter this year as issues with the ferries took their toll.  That said it was still plenty busy enough as, with my partner in crime as well as life, Viktorija in tow we undertook our first Independent Bottlers day at Ramsey Hall in Port Ellen. It was a long shift with three sessions on the day but it was incredibly worth while with so many bottles heading away with very satisfied customers. Islay, we will see you again soon as this visit was way too short. Before wrapping up the events section just two wee visits to mention and that was with the wonderful folk at D&M Winchester just outside Elgin and the equally great folk at Caley Casks in Craigellachie. Can’t thank you enough not only for all that you do fo run but for the warm welcome that we were shown. Thanks folks! Told you it was a busy month, didn’t I!

SOCIAL

Last but not least we come to our monthly round up on the social networks and who said what. I have selected 7 folk this month, so if I have missed you out please accept my apologies! On the 5th of May my mate Jeroen of the above mentioned TasTToe posted a snap of our Cheateau de Bordeneuve Armagnac. Think it went down ok as the blurb attached read “Damn, that was a really good one Kenny. What a dram!” Delighted you enjoyed it som much mat eand it was great seeing you and the boys last week. Moving to the 11th of the month and our friends at Glasgow”s the Good Spirits were not slow in letting the world know that the Spring Release was on the shelves. I am kinda hoping that they aren’t too many left as I write. As always many many thanks for the support guys. On the 13th, our distributor Genuss am Gaumen in Austria was kind enough to post a picture of her recent cheese and whisky night. If you have never done a cheese and whisky nigh you have no idea what you are missing out on! Thank you so much, Alexandra, for including one of our drams in your selection.  It’s up the road to my old friends at the Aberdeen Whisky Shop who posted a fantastic shot of our Dalmunach 6 year old. I haven’t seen this one for a wee while so if you are looking for this belter of a dram you now know where to find it! Now the name of the month goes to our next contributor and that’s the wonderfully titled CotziMotzi (what a name!) who think has been the first person to post a snap of our new Mannochmore 13 year old in a refill Bourbon cask. So happy you enjoyed it, my friend. A very flattering post from Pedro Menezes on the 21st who was pondering on his favourite Indy Bottlers and named us in his tope three along with Cadenheads and SMWS. Now that’s company that I am more than happy to rub shoulders with. Many thanks, my friend. One more for this month and it’s from Dark Cloud Whisky who while looking at ( and I very much hope tasting as well) Ben Nevis 8 year old PX cask said “Wowser! Look at that colour!” Well, I am happy to report that it is all natural so you can sup away with piece of mind, pal.

Well that was the month that was. Seems like it has taken the same length of time to write this one as it took to actually live it but I hope that my rambling nonsense has given you a sense of what has been happening over here at Dràm Mòr Group HQ. On that note it is time to love you and leave you but you can be sure that in a blink of an eye newsletter 34 will be winging its way to you but till then… Take care, be safe, look out for each other and enjoy every moment that you raise a glass. Till next time.

Slàinte!

Kenny

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