GlenAllachie 12 years

The first thing that came to mind on seeing the new GlenAllachie logo was Pocahontas.Or maybe that should be PocaHontas.  As, since Billy Walker bought the distillery just over a year ago, the distillery name has undergone the same capitalisation treatment à la GlenDronach and BenRiach. The rebranding and hence redesign of the logo is, according to the website, in keeping with the Celtic runes and Pictish stones which surround the distillery. So nothing to do with Disney then. Thankfully, I’m not overly influenced by packaging these days. As Billy Walker only ...

Expedition – Ardgowan Distillery

Expedition is the recently released expression from Ardgowan distillery. As the distillery is yet to be built, this is obviously sourced whisky from elsewhere.As soon as I poured this into the glass, the aromas were suggesting something quite promising. The first few sniffs delivered a really pleasant nose; clearly some sherry cask influence but by no means a sherry bomb. On the palate, this was really well balanced and very drinkable. For me, this is perhaps where the problem lies; a bottle of Expedition will set you back £500 so I imagine that the chances of many of ...

Steel Bonnets

Let’s just get straight to the point here; Steel Bonnets is way overpriced. With a RRP of around £65, my personal opinion is that it’s about forty quid over what I’d expect to pay even if I liked it. Which, I’m afraid, I don’t. In an effort to be diplomatic, I’ll just say that this whisky really doesn’t suit my palate at all. I’ve had conversations with others who’ve said that they thought it was an OK dram, despite the price, but this isn’t the whisky for me. And whisky is subjective, right? We all know that.Steel Bonnets – NAS – 46.6% ...

James Eadie Blair Athol 14 years

It’s no secret that I have a lot of time for the independent bottler, James Eadie. The first time I tried their whiskies was at the Whisky Fringe last year. A bottling of Auchroisk 9 years as the Half Time Orange proved to be the dram of the day for me. This year, their HTO was a 10 year old Caol Ila finished in a Palo Cortado cask. It was simply stunning and I can’t wait for this to be released. A few months ago, one guest in a group of American tourists who had booked on my Leith Whisky Trail tour, asked me to recommend a bottle of whisky to her. She was looking for ...

Sonora Gold

The last blog post I wrote (for this site, at least) was about five months ago. So the irony isn’t lost on me that this first review in ages isn’t even about a whisky.  Or even a whiskey. Despite the fact that Sonora Gold from the Three Wells Distillery is sometimes referred to as Prickly Pear Whiskey, the distillers themselves make the point on their website that, as the spirit hasn’t been made from grain, it can’t officially be called a whiskey. And yes, you’ve guessed it; the clue’s in the name. It’s a spirit made from the prickly pear cactus fruit. ...

Whisky and Women: Part 2 – The Revenge

For the second year running, our Whisky and Women event proved to be a great success. The event ran as one of many during the Audacious Women Festival and was, once again, a sell out. Of course, this was due to our fantastic guests as (and I think I pointed this out on the night) I never sell that many tickets when it’s just me!I was delighted when Louise McGuane, founder of The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company, agreed to join us. Having been following the progress of Chapel Gate on social media, I was fascinated by the process of reinstating Irish whiskey ...

The Finishing Touch

The idea behind this tasting was to try taste six whiskies all of which had undergone a period of finishing in a different type of cask from its initial maturation. Nine different cask finish possibilities were given and, as each whisky was tasted blind, tasters were asked to deduce the cask finish before the big reveal. Cask finishing is now commonplace in the whisky industry despite only really starting off about 20 years ago. The cynics amongst us (and I include myself here) may well argue that, in some circumstances, its sole purpose is to hide the flaws of a not ...

Usquabae

At this time of year, when I’m inevitably asked if I’m ready for Christmas, my stock response is “Well, I’m not really a huge fan of Christmas”. My French friends always find it quite amusing when I start answers with “I’m not really a huge fan of such and such” or “such and such isn’t really my favourite”. They ask why I can’t be more direct and simply state that I don’t like it. My only excuse is that I’m English and that’s not a terribly English thing to do. However, for the avoidance of doubt, here goes: I don’t like Christmas. For some ...

Benromach 2009 Wood Finish – Château Cissac

Although I’ve lived in Scotland for a number of years now, there’s one thing that still outwits me: bank holidays. Depending on where you live, they don’t always fall on the same date. So on 18th September, as I was working in Fife, I thought I’d have plenty of time to head to the Royal Mail sorting office, here in Edinburgh, on my way home to collect the Benromach beauties for that evening’s tweet tasting. Well, that idea failed; the sorting office was closed and so I missed out. Now, I do like tweet tastings; opportunities to try new whiskies (some I would ...

Distilled 2017

The drive to Elgin was a slow one. Primarily because the ‘car’ I’d hired turned out to be an automatic Kia Picanto and, quite frankly, despite its go-kart like similarities, I genuinely believe I could’ve pedalled faster. I didn’t make too many new pals on the A9 last Saturday… I was heading to Distilled , organised by the same team responsible for the Spirit of Speyside festival. This is a very different event, though, as it all takes place under one roof; the venue for its second year was Elgin Town Hall once again. The event took place over two days, with ...