A massive warm welcome to one and all and for the last time this year I will say a very Happy New Year to all of you out there. I know it is a wee bit on the late side but I hope that 2024 brings you all that you wish for. So now that we have bid a fond farewell to 2023 and the festivities are all, but a distant memory it is time to roll the sleeves up again and get back to the real world and 2024 has not dragged its heel waiting on us to get up to speed. We are currently on our second international trip of the year and in our third city so there has been no rest for the wicked, that’s for sure. It is strange to see how things have changed over the last few years. It used to be other than Cinderella in Sweden there was very little on as far as travel went until about March. Oh how times have changed. We just don’t really get a ‘closed season’ anymore and as a result I am not 100% sure that I am refreshed and ready to roll but whisky doesn’t sleep which means neither do we so 2024, come ahead and do your worst because were ready for you!
First up is actually news. We have just got our first order to the United States and now we are happy to announce our collaboration with Sacks Dynamic Operations. In fact, today, when we are publishing this, the Sacks team are for the first time showcasing our wares in Orlando Whiskey Festival 2024. Let’s see what the feedback from the American whisky loving audience will be! Secondly,, if you can call the Daily Record news, then after a chat with the local newspaper, the Lennox Herald we were promised an article highlighting Dumbarton Rock’s appearance in Morrisons supermarket whoever what I didn’t know was the the Lennox is actually owned by Record Group who also put a wee article in the main publication as well as my ugly mug appearing on their website. Many thanks to those responsible for help me get the word out there that Dumbarton Rock is now easier to find than ever before, but at the time please don’t forget the small independent retailers, who have supported us from day one. In the Dumbarton area in particular we have a wonderful supporter in the shape of Stevie’s Drams at Loch Lomond Shores so please keep these guys in mind, when it comes to your next bottle. Next news item is by way of a very warm welcome to all at Eddie’S Club – Bar & Whisky Boutique in Porto, Portugal who have managed to get a wonderfully expansive range of Dràm Mòr bottles in for the bar. Now as things stand we still don’t have an importer in Portugal so Eddie has had to go further afield to get these bottles, but the great thing for me is that there is yet another country, where whisky fans can now get a dram of top quality single cask, cask strength whisky.
Now I had mentioned that the year had got off to a flyer and flying has very much been part and parcel of things so far. First things first and we were both hitting the road at 3am in the morning to grab the first flight out to Germany and our German home of Nuremberg. As some of you may remember we have since last year been one of the main sponsors of the Nuremberg City Burns Night Celebrations. Now fortunately they hold these celebrations a wee bit earlier than the night itself so it was on Saturday the 13th January that we all came together to celebrate the life of the Bard. With Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Scottish musicians and dancers joined by Marcus König, Oberburgermeister of Nuremberg, and many great and good of the city a great time was had and the Auchroisk finished in German red wine went down a treat. But you know me well enough to know that I wasn’t there to just hobnob with the great and the good. There was work to be done and with that in mind I was on a train and the short trip to Fürth and the Irish Cottage. This brilliant wee bar, owned by our good mate John Farley has been kind enough to host me on a few occasions and on this trip they were kind enough to open their doors twice. On the Friday I ran a rum tasting for just shy of 30 folk with single cask rums from Trinidad, Fiji, Mauritus and Jamaica on the menu. This was followed by a wonderful Sunday evening of dramming with six single cask Dràm Mòr bottlings being sampled.
Special mention to Charlotte and Gerald for looking after us so well as always. Also, one a personal not there is a wee thing that I need to share… Now being a very traditional Irish Bar albeit in Germany they have a well appointed dart board. Now I hadn’t played dart in a very long time but I couldn’t resist so I grabbed the arrows and started to plug away at the board. Now the beginning was not looking good with 7’s, 1’s and 14’s getting peppered but slowly I started to hit the 20 mark more often than not. This result in a lifetime first with a witnessed 180 thrown but yours truly. A never before achieved moment and I can now strike that from the ‘to do’ list!
So it was back home for all of a day and a half only then to be scraping the car at 3am again but this time the flight was going to be a bit longer as we headed out to British Columbia with our arrival at our hotel door at the stunning Empress Hotel in Victoria, Vancouver Island taking exactly 24 hours and 15 minutes door to door. This has been our first business trip out to Canada and my first since my baby brother’s wedding some 20 years ago, bizarrely a wedding that took place in the same hotel. A massive thanks to Mr Frank Hudson who is the organiser of the Victoria Whisky Festival for looking after us so well and I can say that this one has joined that wee group of “favourite” festivals. Aa I write I am siting in the Paradox Hotel in Vancouver’s West End getting ready for the Whisky Global event tonight, but with Viktorija traveling with me it has made what could have been a long few weeks much more enjoyable as we share this new adventure. The point of being out here just now is that we are on the hunt for a distributor for BC and with a wee bit of luck we might just have something but time will tell. A few days left out here which will include a special birthday for Viktorija and its back home for a week before I head out again but can I just say… Canada, you have been fabulous!
As it has been a wee while since there has been a new release the reviews are getting a bit thin on the ground which is only to be expected but the one person that I can always rely upon to give us his thoughts on what we have been up to is Mr. Serge Valentin of Whisky Fun, who very kindly cast his extremely knowledgable eye over our latest Glengalssaugh 7 year old giving it a great score of 87/100 and called it “marvellous young tipple”. You can see what Serge though by clicking the link.
Many thanks to Dram Gazette for taking the time to send me through some really well thought out questions. It’s always great when you take part in one of these interviews and come away from it having enjoyed answering the questions. It is even more enjoyable knowing that folk out there want to know about us so massive thanks Dram Gazette and all their readers.
Quite a busy wee month on the social media front in January and I have picked out a few more of you than I would normally mention but as always please accept my apologies if I have missed you out. Just because your not mentioned doesn’t mean that your contribution is any the less appreciated so to all of you out there who take the time to make mention of out humble drams, thank you so much. First up this time around is is my pal Nico De Keyser who was kind enough to let us know how much he was enjoying one of out Tullibardine releases. Now I can’t quite make out which one it is, but I can see it has been well skelped so I am happy with that. Dramface up next and where the Macduff 14 year old Pineaue De Charente clearly put a smile on his face with the statement “knocked him clean off his feet”. I’ll take that every day of the week.
It was lovely to see that our distributor in Poland, Unique Spirits ran a head to head match between our good selves and the lovely folk at Uncharted Whisky. No idea of the results so I guess I am just going to have to head out that way at some stage to find out. Thanks Mikołaj. Over to Ralf_Whisky_ Friends in Austria who featured our first outing of a Dailuaine 13 year old. Many thanks Ralf for the support, my friend. Uncletybrandt was lucky enough to get his hands on a throw back bottling with a Glenrothes 9 year old Madeira finish appearing on his Instagram. I loved this dram and I hope that you did too. Antelope.mo is next and they were luck enough to find what has been a hard to find Millstone from Zuidam Distillery in the Netherlands. Delighted you had the chance to taste this delicious dram. It is The Whisky Sleuth who takes up the penultimate mention this month and we were delighted to see out Trinidad Distillers 13 year old single cask rum sitting at 58% took its place in a wonderful line up. Last but by no means least it is a mention to my really good mates in the big smoke of London and it’s the wonderful SE23 Whisky Club who were having a bit of a night of it and I am so happy to see our 9 year old Ruadh Maor featuring. Need to get down to see you guys soon as it has been far too long!
So that brings the curtain down on the start to the year but as you can see we are not allowing grass to grow under our feet. It is going to be a busy, busy year folks and it will be great to have all of you coming along on the journey with us. As always a massive thanks to all of you from subscribing to my scribbles and till the next time… Play nice, look out for yourselves and others and raise a glass to those who can’t raise one anymore. Wishing you a cracking February.