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Dràm Mòr Whisky Update No. 40

Hello to all and everyone of you out there and a very warm welcome to the round up and look back at what we were up to in April.  I am really struggling to get my head around just how much I have told you about over the years as it’s Newsletter No. 40, but I guess it just shows that Dràm Mòr are still going strong and with each passing month we are finding a load of new friends to invite on our whisky journey which is, so heart warming that it is difficult to actually put into words. So, number 40. Shall we?.

NEWS

Now as I am writing this as spring is finally proving to have sprung there can only really be one big topic for discussion in this months publication and that is the long awaited arrival of our Spring 2024 Release…WOOOO! WOOOO! I hear you say. It is a little behind schedule due to the now normal hold up in getting cask movement and finding a bottling slot but we are finally on shelves near you (and if were not then I will leave it up to you to kick ass in whatever territory you find yourself). There is more than enough for everybody, so no excuses for you not to be enjoying wonderful new Dràm Mòr offerings. So, on the line up in this release we have…

Dram Mor Spring 2024 Group

First on the shopping list will be our first ever Pitilie. What you ask? Well let me let you into a wee secret… Some distilleries don’t want you to use their brand names so they sell their spirit under a different trade name. Some examples would be Whitlaw (Highland Park), Williamson (Laphroaig), Wardhead (Balvenie) to name but a few. Hence with this in mind, I am sure that the good folk at Aberfeldy Distillery won’t mind me spilling the beans that Pitilie is a trade name for Aberfeldy. Now I don have to point out that our wonderful printers have done it again and for all of you who are keen of eye we have, once again dropped a clanger and the label tells us that it is distilled at Aberfeldie Distillery (wherever that is?). Dràm Mòr Group Limited… the dyslexic whisky company, strike again! Well, what’s a few spelling ,mistakes among friends? This beautiful dram is coming at you at 54.8% and at 9 years old. Having spent most of those 9 years in a 2nd refill bourbon cask we felt that a little lift was needed, but bourbon was absolutely the right way to go, so this has spent just over 9 months in a first fill bourbon. Buffalo Trace to be exact and the finished result is exactly what this time of year is screaming out for. Sweet, rich vanilla with just the right amount of white pepper spice to play with the taste buds. It is a joy!

So that’s our starter ordered. What about the next course?

It is an old favourite coming up next and it is a revisit to a distillery that is fast becoming a favourite of ours here at Dràm Mòr and that’s Benrinnes. Over the last few releases we have been quite experimental with Benrinnes which has been finished in Rancio Sec wine making it a work first for a single malt whisky. The time around we have dialled it back a bit and made a return to my favourite cask to work with, Palo Cortado Sherry. This finish is a refill Palo Cortado and as such has had a good bit longer in the finishing oak and what a finish it is. The subtlety of the creamy Sherry is perfect and yet at 54.3% and 10 years old this is no shrinking violet of a dram. Another belter even if I do say so myself. Next up we have a delightful 13 year old Tomintoul PX finish at 56.1%. This is a very different direction for us to take Tomintoul which until now we have either used Sauternes or Calvados as a finishing cask. The PX in here isn’t that massive Sherry bomb overkill, so you still get the distillery style, but beautifully framed in sweet fruity flavours…delicious! If you are looking for something a bit more full bodied but with that same stunning PX characteristic then look no further than our 8 year old Duich. Oh no, I’ve done it again haven’t I. What is hell is a Duich?

Tamdhu distillery is the home of Duich, but again we are in the trade name position as this is the name we bought the cask under. It does however deliver exactly what you would expect of a distillate made by Sandy and the team at the hidden gem of a distillery that is Tamdhu. Now don’t get me wrong, this aint a beautiful, picture postcard distillery…far from but it is a classic post Victorian, industrial work horse of a distillery that makes incredible stuff. At 57.2% it’s not playing it safe either, but when you taste it you just know that you wouldn’t want it any other way. Speaking of last I have one more release to tell you about and although I can never say that I have left the best till last as vert single one of these drams could easily fill the podium as “1st place” but if you are a fan of a wee bit of smoke in your whisky you are going to feel completely at home with this 8 year old, 55.2% French oak Oloroso finished Caol Ila. Theres a lot to take in with this one as that incredible oak permeates through the heavy peat smoke of the spirit but believe me, it is a marriage made in heaven. It takes a special kinda guy to spoil a Caol Ila and I am delighted to say that it is a skill which I have not managed to acquire (so far). So that’s the Spring release for you. Now, I can tell you all about how much I love these drams, but that’s not really the point. I want to hear how much you love them (or for that matter, don’t love them). Get your selves out there and try some and please tell me your thoughts. God knows I bludgeon you with my thought often enough so let’s just call this “pay back”.

One more wee thing…our good pal John Farley who runs a tight ship at the Irish Cottage Pub in the town of Fürth in Germany is now busy running a tighter ship as he takes his beloved yacht  across the Atlantic as he sails from his home port in Greece to the Caribbean (just some task I’m sure you will agree). Well he will be doing it flying a brilliant Dràm Mòr flag from the mask. How good is that! Who needs the Jolly Rodger when swashbuckling whisky is headed your way. Safe travels, John, and we look forward to following your adventure. Say hello to Barbados from us, please.

EVENTS

For those of you who follow me on social media you will already know that April was yet another month where my own bed and I were strangers once again. In face as I write I am sitting in the lobby of the Schiphol Hilton hotel, which if ever you need an over night stop in Amsterdam, this is one stunning place. Voted best airport hotel in Europe and 5th in the world, I believe, some place! So April didn’t start too crazily and in fact it took till the 8th of April for the wheels to fall off my peace and quiet, but it was a very short trip up to Glasgow University to present our drams to the members of the Glasgow University Whisky Society. Meaning no offence, folks, but it ain’t that often I have to deliver a tasting to the intelligencia and when you have a room half full of scientists you need to tread carefully when talking about the distillation process, but all things told it went pretty well and everyone was left with smiles on faces. A special thanks to my mate Daniel for getting this one sorted for me and another thanks to all the members of the society who came along on the day.

One day later, it’s back to Glasgow’s West End and it’s a very familiar  setting for me this time round as Dràm Mòr hits the dizzy heights of the Mòr Whisky Club. Talk about a home game if ever there was one. Viktorija and I along with our good buddy Andy Robertson have been running the Club for ten years next month, so it is always a real pleasure to be able to present our own bottles to the gang. A gang I might add that I growing bigger and bigger by the day. I have no idea where people were coming from on this night but it seemed like they were popping out of the woodwork as I had no choice, but to turn people away. It isn’t something I like to do (well, that depends on the people I suppose) and I don’t take it lightly so for those of you from the Glasgow area, if this is something that you would like to come along to some time, please let me know in advance as there are only so many drams you can get out of a bottle at the end of the day. Anyhow, another great night and I wouldn’t nee surprised if these was a nippy head or two on the morning of the 10th, but not this boy! Nope. This boy had to drive and rink water all night as a 06:10 flight awaited on the morning of the 10th and it was off to the wonderful Netherlands where we had two very different but equally brilliant nights of Dràm Mòr tastings with friends old and new.

First up we were on our way to Musselkanaal and the cracking boutique store of Tom-Roderick, Dramtime. It was such a good night and I had no idea that my big mate Rob Vergouw and a few fine folk from his whisky club were going to be there. I turned a great night into a special one!

Next up was a very interesting drive to the city of Breda, some 2 hours away. Now to put you in the picture the customer in Breda, Erik was celebrating his 30th anniversary of his delightful boutique store, La Barrique and to mark the occasion we had bottled a cask of Jura for him so our Erik (Kintra Spirits) and I set of in a “shitty little French van, or so Erik called it, with a full pallet of whisky which put us dead on the maximum weight for the van across country to Breda.

Things were going fine until the motorway got shut and we were diverted along some cracking bumpy country roads with one hell of a well hidden dip at one point that brought out exactly the same “Oooo” noise from both of us which I can tell you was not the most butch the two of us have ever sounded! Still, we made it and it was off to the tasting in one of the most incredible places I have ever had the pleasure to run night in, the Breda Beer Museum. You need to see this place to believe it. This is now nearly a month ago and I am still smiling!

Two amazing night s and a massive thanks to all who attended, but the biggest goes to the nutter who carried tons of whisky in something that looked like it belonged in Only Fools and Horse halfway across the Netherlands, Mr Erik Molenaar (mad man!).  So after only two night tastings we had sold bottles number into three figures, which I am still trying to get my head around, but it just goes to show that if you bottle quality it will always sell.

Next trip was to Düsseldorf and two days of the Rhein Ruhr whisky festival, which was in the quite unbelievable surroundings of the Classic Remise, an incredible place where you can buy and sell vintage sports cars. I have never seen anything quite like it and it ain’t the norm for a whisky festival, but we set up all the same and the day started brilliantly with great engagement with the whisky loving public of Düsseldorf all until disaster struck…the sun came out! The first sunny day of German spring and 25c saw everyone head out into the sunshine leaving us kicking our heels. Ah well, you can’t win them all folks. One special thanks to my new pal Rainer, who was good enough to forsake the sun and stand with me chatting about all things whisky as we both recalled times (and drams) gone past. Great meeting you Rainer and I hope we get the chance to do it all over again soon.

So it was back home for a week or two before one last trip for April and it was back to Germany (I am going to be in Germany a lot this year as you might have gathered)  and a festival that I have only now visited twice but it has fast become one of my favourite shows of the year and that is Limburg. Well, if I got a rest in Düsseldorf then Limburg made me pay for it. It was nonstop for two days and I loved every minute of it so a great big thank you to all of you who took the time to stop and have a chat over a dram. And that was the events for the month of April. This week and next week to get sorted then the events calendar calms down for the summer, so I should have recharged the batteries before charging head long into the second half of the year.

To round up, special thanks go to our US importer Scotch Drinkers Only who took us to a Whiskey & Barrel Nite in Washington DC to meet local whisky drinkers for the first time in this territory! An exciting venue not far away from the White House and great feedback, so looking forward further events across the water.

REVIEWS

As the months come and go, I have tended to find that the review section of this newsletter seems to dry up a little as we get closer to a new release and understandably, so as all those reviewers have had a good we while to assess the last release. This month it has gone completely the opposite way as the reviews have poured in and from all the best folk so many thanks to each and every one of you who have, once again taken the time to share their thoughts on our drams. I have attached all the links bellow so you can read through these reviews at your leisure.

Our long-time friend Lamberto of Whisky Art in Italy on our Inchfad 16 yo in PX finish and found such tasting notes like “a shade of violet” and “red fruits, peeled almonds, baked apple and mushrooms act as a corollary”, which we loved (the full review here).

A new independent bottler from Germany Inza Whisky took time to review our Speyside 8yo finished in PX and found “candied ginger, caramel, nutmeg and dry oak” on the palate. Great to see that our drams get noticed by other international indies.

Serge at Whisky Fun explored our Ruadh Maor 12yo finished in 1st fill Bourbon: “Mouth (neat): cuts you in perfect halves. Gherkin brine and lime juice.With water: more sweetness (limoncello) from the bourbon cask, a little aniseed, turmeric, green peppercorn, and just spicy bread.”  It seems with water this drams properly “releases the serpent” of complexity of this dram. So definitely worth experimenting with this expression.

Red Lip Whisky Diary in Canada took time to delve into the flavours of our blended malt Dumbarton Rock and found such layered notes on the nose: “My glass is filled with aromas of honey, grape, dark chocolate, malty fermented scents, barley, damp earth and oak. Later on, I smell additional vanilla, orange, cinnamon and tobacco.” Folk forget how complex blended malts can be and this one is a true delight!

Last up is our home grown whisky reviewer Neill Murphy who sampled our Speyside 8yo finished in PX and found “A wee touch of orange zest throughout”, so quite a zingy dram!

Thanks so much to everyone who looked at our work and more samples will be heading your way to keep exploring our release shortly!

SOCIALS

Now it goes without saying by now that Viktorija and I are always very grateful for the time and effort that you wonderful folk put into sharing your pictures and kind words with all of us. The down side is that there is now so much content out there that I just can’t put it all into this section as it would go on for ever so as usual I have selected just a few to highlight today, but if I have not included your post, please don’t think it is being ignored or that it isn’t appreciated as it is massively appreciated and we ask that you keep up the good work. Lets have a look at the luck few who make the roll of honour this month.

First up is the brilliantly named Whisky Snob Scotland who whilst a visit to the Aladdin’s Cave that is world famous Pot Still in Glasgow was sharing the love of our recent Tullibardine 8 year old PX finish at 57.4%. What a delicious dram and I am so happy we are on the same page my friend.

Our new pals at First Fill Spirits over the water in the States were on the social media ball as they shared their own thoughts on our Dailuaine and Inchfad releases from last time round. Great work folks and please feel free to keep doing what your doing please.

Dramsplain (a Kiwi whisky blogger from the States drinking in Craigellachie) had the fortune to bump into an old friend of ours and that old friend would take the shape of the Dalmunach 6 year old for a wee while back. The two Dalmunach bottlings that we have done have gone down a bomb and although we haven’t visited that distillery in a wee while I can promise you a return to this great young spirit in the future. Thanks to both Dramsplan and Tatsuya from the Highlander Inn for steering folk in the right direction.

Thanks go to Gavin Mills who popped up to respond to a post featuring our Inchfad 16 year old. A man of few words, Gavin confirmed what many of us have already discovered by just leaving the message “It is a cracking dram!” I’ll take that all day.

Last up for this month in a slightly shorter than usual socials section due to me still being on the move is Dalwinnie8 was good enough to share a wee snap to let everyone know that samples of our Glenglassaugh 7 year old and Blair Athol 11 years old made it safe into their hands. Happy days!

So that’s a wrap for April and what a fine, mad, busy, exhausting, fun month it was.

May, bring it on! As always I sign of reminding all of you that your continuing support for Viktorija and my efforts can never be put into words. You are the very best of folk without whom we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing. I hope over the next few weeks and months I get to see a few of you in the flesh and that we can raise a glass together but if not please know that every time I raise a glass, all of you are there with me. Stay safe, enjoy the longer nights and the better weather (all in Scotland, please, delight the weather bit!) and always be grateful for the ability to savour a dram or two now and again.

Slàinte!

Kenny

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