Travel Retail Exclusive Whisky

With the vast array of bottles of whisky adorning the shelves of the travel retail outlets at airports, knowing which one(s) to buy has become an increasingly difficult decision to make. One of the questions I am often asked at tastings is whether the whiskies at the airport are any good. I usually explain that, on the plus side, it is possible to save a few pounds by picking up some core range expressions at the airport. For example, at Edinburgh airport there's usually a deal where you can purchase two bottles for £75. Such an offer isn't permitted in Scotland due to ...

Highland Park Valkyrie

Dark Origins. A non-age statement whisky from Highland Park which I bought in October 2014 for £62.99. In my humble opinion, this is an excellent whisky and, reluctant as I am to see it finished for good, there are still a couple of drams left in the bottle. I was recently given a sample of Valkyrie by Whisky Rover; another non-age statement whisky from Highland Park which, when released, also retailed around the £60 mark. After Jason’s online antics of pouring the contents down the toilet and smashing the bottle with a hammer, I would have loved to have been able to ...

Closed Distillery and Lost Malts Tasting

Just a little over a month ago, I went to my first ever Jolly Toper tasting held at the Kilderkin on the Canongate. It is indeed shameful that I have lived in Edinburgh for just under 11 years and this was my first Toper tasting.  For those who don’t know Mark Davidson aka the Jolly Toper, he is also the manager of Royal Mile Whiskies. I’ve been to his tastings there on many occasions so, hopefully, with this in mind, I can redeem myself amongst the five or so people who read this blog.This particular event was a tasting of five drams (all 25ml pours, thank the ...

Campbeltown Chronicles – Part 3: Scorchio!

On the third day of the festival, the Wee Toon decided to change its name to… the Costa del Campbeltown. As it was absolutely scorchio, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and walk to Springbank from our cottage. Our tasting wasn’t until 3:30pm so we had plenty of time to head in at a leisurely pace.  Or so we thought… Either Google lied to us or we were walking much slower than we thought. Quite possibly the latter bearing in mind that both Florian and Stefan were wearing lederhosen. Yes… actual lederhosen. Their gait suggested that this attire was not ...

Campbeltown Chronicles: Part 2

My previous (and first) visit to Campbeltown was in March 2015. On this occasion, I had booked a place at the Campbeltown Backpackers Bunkhouse; a refurbished old schoolhouse which now functions as an unstaffed hostel. The place looked great but, upon my arrival, I realised that the only other guest was a guy who, at best, could be described as resembling the villain from Scooby Doo. As images of me scrambling around on the floor shouting “My glasses! I can’t see without my glasses” came into my head, I decided to check into a cosy B&B just up the road instead. ...

Campbeltown Chronicles: Part 1

The Campbeltown Malts Festival takes place in May each year and the drive there was both entertaining and enlightening due, in no uncertain terms, to the inimitable and refreshingly un-British Viva Lenoir. After picking Viva up at 8:30am, before we had even hit the Maybury junction, I concluded that the wonderful Scottish expression ‘aff yer heid’ could well have been invented just for her. Our first stop en route to the wee Toon was Auchentoshan.The tour ended with a tasting of three of the core range: American Oak, 12 years and Three Wood. There was also an ...

World Whisky Day

This year, World Whisky Day falls on 20th May. So, to celebrate, I thought it'd be a great idea to host a tasting the evening before and call it World Whisky Day Eve. This notion wasn't fueled by any attempts to be innovative. Quite simply, I'm a one person business, a mere drop in the ocean of whisky tasting events taking place in Edinburgh and I knew I wouldn't be able to compete with all the others; I just thought I'd try to get in there first.The theme of this World Whisky Day tasting was Drams Under The Hammer. So (you've probably guessed) these whiskies were ...

Ballechin 10 years

Ballechin is the name given to the peated whisky (50 ppm) from Edradour distillery, the production of which started in 2003. The Ballechin 10 years was first released in 2014, which explains why I don’t recall seeing it on the shelves during my previous visit to the distillery. Although I don’t remember exactly, this must have been in 2008 and, at that time, Edradour was still able to confidently market itself as the ‘smallest distillery in Scotland’. So a recent visit to Pitlochry granted me the opportunity to take another wee nosey around and pick up a miniature ...

The Fife Whisky Trail

A wee while ago, I wrote a blog piece for the lovely people at Angels' Share Glass and completely forgot to post it to my own site. So, here it is; better late than never... The Kingdom of Fife is currently undergoing a renaissance in whisky making. With Douglas Clement’s ‘Dream to Dram’ creation of Kingsbarns distillery, Eden Mill’s innovative new wood policy, the opening of Lindores distillery in autumn this year, the ingenuity of Inchdairnie, the huge presence of Cameronbridge grain distillery, all whilst waiting for the first release from Daftmill, the future ...

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Why ‘women in whisky’ has to be a thing!

Thankfully the whisky community, for the most part, is one that embraces healthy debate. In itself, it reflects the opinions of what makes a good whisky; entirely subjective but with a willingness to respect another’s point of view.It’s with this in mind that I feel obliged to write a response to The Whisky Lady’s recent opinion piece entitled “Women in whisky shouldn’t be a thing!” As a woman, who has been appreciating whisky for many years, I maintain unequivocally that ‘women in whisky’ has to be a thing.Nowadays, with the sheer amount of ...