Hello to all of you and a very Happy New Year to you and all of yours.
Let’s hope that 2021 is a much kinder year to us than the horror story that was 2020.
By now, I’m sure, that all of us have had more than enough of the lack of social life and not seeing those who are our nearest and dearest. In saying that, I am writing this as Scotland slips back into full lockdown as of midnight, so although we can see some light at the end of the tunnel, it is starting to look like a very long tunnel. On a cheerier note, we have three new releases to warm us up through the current freezing cold weather and as we’re once again being told to stay home, then a wee dram by the fire with our feet up is very much on the menu.
The first of the festive trio sees an 8 year old Balblair coming from a refill white oak bourbon cask with a gentle PX Sherry finish to give this an incredibly delicate kiss of warming sherry showing through the vanilla of the white oak. Second up, we have a Linkwood 10 year old. This time no finishing, no altering and no finessing. You’re getting it just as it came from the cask and with the cask in question being a first fill ex-bourbon barrel this dram is a belter. There are deceptively dark notes of Demerara as well as a smokiness coming from a heavily charred cask (no peat smoke in here, folks). I found this dram very easy to pick up, but much much harder to put back down.
At 55% ABV it’s incredibly gentle; and I can promise, that once sampled, you will fall in love with it every bit as much as I have. One more expression to talk about and this one is a little more left field. A few months ago I went to the warehouse to collect about 20 cask samples from our stock so we can plan the 2021 releases and see what was ready to run and what would benefit from a fresh look at a new cask for a wee while. Looking into the bag, one sample screamed out at me as it was as dark a sample as I have seen in a long time. On closer inspection, this was not a cask that was in my mind for bottling, but for laying down for a good few more years; however (and it’s always important to remember), if it’s good enough, it’s old enough!
On that note Ladies and Gents I give you…. Tullibardine 5 years old. Yup it’s a baby but what a stunning first fill Oloroso Sherry bomb of a baby this is. It has everything you would expect of a classic sherry bomb but in next to no time. You would never believe that the dram you were drinking was so young as it has a wonderful depth, balance and a maturity that it has no right having. If you only every try one of these, I would steer your towards this as it is a show stopper!
At 56% ABV it is velvety smooth with dark Muscovado sugars, cinnamon, orange peel and a gentle tobacco note drifting over this deep dark spirit.
For those of you who fancy sleepless nights you can suffer the trauma of my short videos introducing each one of our latest bottlings to you that you can find on our Facebook and Instagram pages. It would be great to hear your thoughts on them as well as a picture with your bottle for our rouges gallery. You can send them to us at email@example.com.
A massive thank you to the boys from Quaich Podcast for highlighting our brand on their best of 2020 December programme and a special thanks to Micky Plummer for giving us the nod as Independent bottler of the year. The support is massively appreciated, lads!
Next on the agenda is word that news of our demise has been seriously overstated! Some of you may be aware that we launched a GoFundMe campaign last month to help us with an ongoing legal dispute being brought against us by a fellow Indy bottler who share a common word in their name with us, that being the common Gaelic word for big….Mòr. The company in question are looking to have our trademark overturned even though they were made fully aware of our application and had three months to lodge objection at the time prior to the IP powers granting out Dràm Mòr trademark. The other party have offered to negotiate, but only based on us changing our name! (That’s not negotiating. That’s just getting your own way). Well I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that we have no intention of changing our name, unless legally ordered to do so; however, these fights are long and costly and as this fight, which has been ongoing for about 7 months already and shows no end yet in sight, will rumble on as the legal bill is building. We can and will fight this with or without help, but I though this was a good opportunity to let you know what has been happening to us behind the scenes. To say we are confident of victory is an understatement and we will always look after those who have help but even moral support is very much appreciated at this time. One way or the other we are still going to be here and we will still look to bring you the very best of Single Cask, Cask Strength Scotch whisky!
It will come as no surprise to any of you that the opportunity to conduct tastings in that old fashioned “in person” way is very much a thing of the past (for now!) so I have spent a large amount of my December evenings inhabiting Zoom land with on line tastings for friends, old and new. Everyone of these tastings has been a great experience running from the small gathering of friends up to an audacious tasting which saw 40 (yes, 40) sample packs being sent out for a corporate Christmas on line tasting night. A massive thanks goes out to all these groups with special thanks to Raymond Hunter and your good friend Shilton Almeida for bring together a tasting with the Berkshire Whisky Club, which kicked off our silly season and what a kick off it was.
Next up, a great big thank you goes to Gary “Drams” Dunsire, who opened the virtual doors of The East City Club for another fantastic night. We had to travel a good bit further for our next outing which saw me sitting with whisky in a glass at 11:00am due to it being a good bit later in Singapore, where we had a great time talking all things Cask Investment. All the hard, behind the scenes work being done by the wonderful Zerlina Zhuang of Spirits Castle. Singapore.
The marvellous Justine Hazlehurst is next on the roll of honour for putting in all the real work to allow me a night of fun drams with Kask Whisky. More new friends and more sore heads!
Next two up were not whisky clubs, but a great excuse to get friends together over a virtual dram.
Many thanks to Allan Fraser for organising a tasting for family and friends, which managed to coincide with my great mate Brian Gallagher’s birthday, and to Mr. Tom Chant at The Society of Maritime Industries for giving me the chance to introduce some of Scotland’s finest drams to an audience, who were not so used to just how good Scotch whisky can be. That was December and it doesn’t finish there with the Ladies of High Spirits in Nuremberg, Germany allowing me to host a night with them on 3rd of January 2021. Huge thanks to Sigi and Nicole for making that one happen. Still a few to go this month, so let’s just hope my liver has some mileage left in it!
Lastly for this months ramblings comes the all to familiar task of thanking all of you for the wonderful support that all of us at Dràm Mòr Group get from you. Some special thanks this month go out to our good friends at Tensu Bar in Belgium for the great social media posts, Mr Witold Vit Kepinski for sharing his love of our Glenrothes Muscatel cast 2851 and Mr Jonathan Stewart for his kind words on the Glenrothes sister cask of 2850 in Spanish red wine. Also, Mr Stelios Poulias of Drinks & Spirits in Greece for sampling our second release and Omef Ganor for including us into the Cask Strength podcast in Israel. Greatly appreciated, Gents!
Some returning friends in Mr Nick Gascoyne, Mr Bart Ottevaere, the mercurial Menno Greet of Malty Mission, Freedom & Whisky’s Shamini Charlie T, Whisky Saga and one of our biggest supporters, Mr Rod Morrison for some great reviews as well as a big thank you to Michael and Andrea Gradl (see the pic above) for all their continued support. Also, welcome to the new fans of Dràm Mòr family: Kristin Kotzur, and her friends Eva-Maria with Mathias Philip from Germany (see the pic below).
To each and every one of you a massive and heart felt thank you. With you (as I have told you before) there would be no us, so please keep with us as we move on to what is going to be an exciting year. Last comment goes to Mr Oren Zohar of Alphabet Whisky who has opened the door for Dràm Mòr to Israel. We are very much looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship together.
So that’s me for another month and you, Lads and Lassies, up to speed with the dizzying month in the life of all of us here at Dràm Mòr.
We still have some tough times ahead, so we hope and pray that you and all of yours stay safe and sound and keep an eye on each other.
It’s at times like this that the close knit community of the whisky enthusiast is invaluable ,so till the next time my friends…