2014 Ends, 2015 Begins
2014 has been a really quite fabulous year in terms of whisky for me, having made it over to islay with Steve (@steveprentice) from Somerset Whisky Blog and Jon (@dvdbloke) from Scotch and Sci-fi and having had the experiences of trying some absolutely brilliant whiskies.
All in, at this moment in time, there were 350 reviews added to the site in 2014, some of which were posted by Neil (@NeilMacKinnon1) or Barry (@thewhiskyphiles) from The Whisky Philes blog.
There's also a lot of new Gin reviews on the blog which is what i spent a lot of the summer drinking.
At the bottom of this page i've included the review of my 5 favourite drams of the year, they may not be hugely expensive or the "best ever" but they are the ones i enjoyed most of all the whiskies I had throughout the year. You may or may not disagree but i'd hppily survive on these 5 bottles. (well one hasn't been bottled yet but i'd love a bottle when it is).
The challenge i set myself to review 100 The Scotch Malt Whisky Society expressions is coming along nicely thanks to Barry (@thewhiskyphiles) who helped me out and reviews 99 and 100 will be posted tomorrow. It's been great fun trying all these whiskies and there are some utter blinders in there.
2014 has also seen a hugely busy year on the blog, with some interesting facts and figures, the top 5 most viewed reviews during 2014 were-
1. The Dalmore Valour
2. Talisker Dark Storm
3. Bowmore Gold Reef
4. Glen Deveron 10 Year Old
5. Bunnahabhain Eirigh Na Greine
The top 5 countries providing the most traffic to my site were -
1. United Kingdom
2. United States
So what will 2015 hold, who knows, it's an exciting year ahead and I'm looking forward to seeing what will come.
Challenges for 2015 -
* Break 400 reviews in a year
* Post another 100 The Scotch Malt Whisky Society reviews
* Drink more whisky from Independent Bottlers
* Visit more distilleries
* Spend more time with friends.
I hope 2014 has been good to you and i hope 2015 will be better.
Bruichladdich Valinch 07 (Andy Ritchie)
I picked up my bottle of this Bruichladdich Valinch 07 (Andy Ritchie) back in August when on my #IslayRoadTrip with Steve (@steveprentice) from Somerset Whisky Blog and Jon (@dvdbloke) from Scotch and Sci-fi .
There is a story to tell about spilling some of this, but we won't go into that here, however this whisky is fabulous, aged for 24 years in total, some of that being an enhancement in an ex Rioja cask it's given it some fabulous flavours.
I opened my bottle pretty much a week or so after returning from Islay and finished it last night, and thats me just getting round to writing notes as everytime i went to write notes i enjoyed it so much i forgot to do notes and just sat sipping instead, really wish i'd bought 2.
Sweet and honeyed, fruity chewits and starburst with gentle Christmas spices and Demerara sugar mixing with some lovely oak wood notes and sweet tannic notes almost lightly brewed sugared black tea and sugar coated black grapes
Gentle honey and game meat notes subside to let in lightly Brewers sugary black tea, fruit chewits, grapes, some malt loaf and raisins with a hint of spiced chutney
Dry, sweet, sugary, fruity, Awesome
Jura Heavy Peated Edition (For Asian Market)
During my recent visit to Jura whisky we were lucky enough to get to try, at the distillery, some of this wonderful Heavy Peated Edition.
We were told this was bottled specifically for the Asian market, we believe China and this was the only one left at the distillery, which I was lucky enough to be allowed to pour some into a sample bottle to bring home for a proper evaluation.
Seriously smoky but gentle at the same time this is lovely and more vegetal that I thought it would be, lots of honey sweetness hiding but lots of up front smoke chalk and dusty veg, if you find a bottle let me know i really want a full bottle of this.
A big waft of earthy gentle smoke that intertwines with some chalkiness and edges of sweet gentle tinned fruit syrup ... It's very easy going despite being heavily Peated
Oh wow huge earthy smoky peatiness here with splatterings of dusty honey glazed vegetables
Earthy smoky honey glazed chalk covered vegetables
Kilchoman Port Cask
The Port Cask from Kilchoman tasted as part of the Kilchoman Land Rover UK Tour at Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh.
This is only THREE years old and you would never ever know, it's fabulous stuff, fruity, smoky, wonderful, enjoyable, drinkable, yum, do you get that I like it... quite a bit.
This sold out at Royal Mile Whiskies and pretty much everywhere else in minutes, keep an eye on the auctions for this one, it's worth it.
Jam huge huge jam notes with masses of plum and damson jam with smatterings of earthiness along with that sweet heathery smoke and the chalkiness I still get
Sweet chalkiness very much Edinburgh rock with damson jam and huge plum skin notes with hints of mixed crushed nuts
Sweet sugary jam
Mystery Single Grain Cask Sample (Douglas Laing)
This Mystery Single Grain from Douglas Laing is likely to end up in the Clan Denny rangeand i'm desperate to know when it will be available as I want a bottle now.
Jan and Fred had just sampled this recently and thought it would be fun to tease us with, it's sublime and one of the nicest grains i've ever had, I'm desperately wanting a bottle of this, it was probably my top dram of the day and i know it is on Neils list of top drams.
Sweet sweet toffee and freshly made still warm caramel sauce with lots of fresh fruit sweetness and hints of coffee / mocha and drinking chocolate
Toffee and mocha with sticky toffee pudding and overcooked sticky toffee sponge cake very sweet still, hints of mocha jelly belly jelly beans
Drying roller coaster of sweet, dry, sweet
SMWS 127.37 - Dinosaurs Dancing to Stravinsky
Yet another brilliant dram from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society this is the SMWS 127.37 Dinosaurs Dancing to Stravinsky.
I really wanted this dram when i seen it and when i bought it i was desperate to open it, but my gorgeous wife decided it should be hidden away until Christmas and i managed to open it for a wee dram and then also had it as my New Year dram. This is a huge powerful dram that really knocks you off your feet, amazingly this is perfectly drinkable at over 66.5% and doesnt need any water to help release the flavours..
I love being a member of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society If you love whisky, you would too.
There is some real meaty notes in here along with some good quality cigar notes that add a Moreish quality to this dram before it goes chalky and Very sweet with a fruity edge of Sweet tinned fruit salad and fruit salad chewy sweets also a hint of Soor Plooms too.
Considering this dram is 66.5% abv it certainly doesn't kick like it its smoky and chalky before going cigar like before sweet fruits and some old fashioned sweets take over there's a hint of struck match but the good side of it reminding you of sitting striking a match for a cigar
sweet and chalky with a powerful Smoky meaty hit