Events


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 ...

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 ...

Cadenhead’s Convalmore 175th Anniversary Bottling

Convalmore. This is a first for me. Probably because Convalmore is a wee bit pricey. By ‘wee bit pricey’ I don’t necessarily mean ‘overpriced’. This is a 40 year old, single cask, cask strength whisky from a closed distillery and there were only 522 bottles produced. So, this Cadenhead’s bottling at £329* actually isn’t too shabby at all.  It’s just that there’s a fine line between self-employed and unemployed for me these days so I’m grateful for events such as the Campbeltown Malts Festival. Not only because it afforded me the opportunity to try ...

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 ...

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 ...

Supermarket Sweep

Supermarkets have started to up their game; there have been some great supermarket own brand bottlings recently, providing fantastic value for money. It should be noted, however, that there have also been some absolute stinkers. For our recent ‘Supermarket Sweep’ tasting, we focussed solely on single malts; some older blends such as Asda’s Tasgall 25 years and 30 years and Lidl’s Glen Alba range have received favourable reviews from the whisky blogging world. However, that’s a whole other tasting to look forward to. Part of the fun of this tasting was the ...

BenRiach 16 years

During the Spirit of Speyside festival, at the end of April and the beginning of May last year, I visited BenRiach distillery for the first time. It was very shortly after the announcement that Brown-Forman had acquired the three distilleries in the BenRiach Disitllery Company – BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh – for £281 million. Widely agreed that £281 million was over the odds but, now, Brown –Forman have a stake in the scotch malt whisky industry once again.  Everyone at the distillery seemed very positive about the news and, I’m guessing, none more ...

Whisky and Chocolate

Well, when I said this tasting would be 'lively', the good people of Dunfermline did not disappoint!For my first tasting in the Kingdom of Fife, at the Fire Station Creative, the room, previously used as the fire officers' mess, was filled with the aromas of whisky and chocolate.The amazing chocolates from Iain Burnett The Highland Chocolatier were paired as follows:-Balblair 03 with a milk velvet truffle: the chocolate really emphasised the spicy finish in the whisky and the whisky pulled out the creamy / buttery notes from the chocolate. The Glenlivet 12 ...