My whisky site is still where I do most of my blogging now, and I spend a lot of time in that online community. I get samples sent quite frequently, and I find that world still very interesting to explore. Recently I’ve tried some very good things. First up is a 24 year old Dalmore from an independent bottler. This Macallan travel retail release is nice too, and worth picking up.
Over at my whisky site, I have been talking about many things. I recently wrote an article on the influence and importance of sherry (and sherry casks) on whisky. I also wrote a piece on essential whisky books (going beyond mere guidebooks). I can assure you, trying to get a gender balance for these books was almost impossible, given about 99% of whisky writers are male – hopefully that’s something that will change over time as the drink continues to evolve its image.
As for reviews: I tried the Glenfarclas Family Casks 2003, which was very good. Tried the new Ardbeg Perpetuum, which was a disappointment. And I tried a whisky from Belgium, which was better than this organic whisky.
I managed to get an article in industry publication Whisky Magazine this month. The edition is a Speyside special, and my article is all about the history of the railways of the region, and how important they were to whisky production. It’s hopefully a fascinating history of whisky from an unusual angle, talking about all manner of things including the whisky thefts that were prevalent on the lines. It’s a properly geeky article. If you’re really interested, you can download this issue for your iPad.
As many of you will know, most of my blogging energies go into my whisky website these days, which is going really well. Google Analytics tells me there are anywhere between 18,000 and 20,000 page views a month, and I’ve now reached over a hundred regular subscribers by RSS.
I recently interviewed the guys behind a whisky auction website, Just Whisky. Auctions are booming at the moment as more and more people get into collecting whisky. I reviewed two heavily peated Bruichladdich whiskies, which were sent as hefty samples (always nice).
This Kilchoman travel retail whisky is recommended if you’re passing through an airport. This Mortlach whisky is really for rich people looking to waste money. And here’s a bonus Bourbon from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
I’m also using Instagram a lot for whisky nonsense as well.
You know the score by now. One of the reasons I’m blogging less here is to build up my whisky site, which is going pretty well now. Well over 20,000 page views last month, so there’s plenty of interest. Plus I’m getting samples as well as invites to stuff. I’m also spending a lot of my Twitter time there too, which is a bit more liberating.
Anyway, some recent reviews.
Before Christmas I enjoyed a 43 Year Old whisky from Glenglassaugh. I didn’t enjoy a whisky that had been distilled behind the Iron Curtain. I did enjoy a very nice Bruichladdich, which is the whisky equivalent of a limited edition signed by the author. I enjoyed this single grain whisky from Japan, and reviewed three new Aultmore single malt whiskies (highly recommended). Bonus whisky book review.
For those of you concerned about my drinking habits, when I’m tasting a lot of the time I don’t actually ‘drink’ the whisky – just swirl it around the mouth and then use a spittoon as if sampling wines.
You know the score by now – here are a few links of what I’ve been writing about on my other site. First up, the blends: Johnnie Walker Black Label (it’s very good) and Teacher’s Highland Cream (okay, for what it costs).
Then the single malts: a old Bruichladdich bottle that I bought on an online auction site (there are loads for whisky); and a treat to myself, the Dalmore King Alexander III. And finally, a single grain whisky from a closed distillery.
Whilst things have been a little slower on this site, I have been full-speed ahead on my whisky site. The latest review is of a Craigellachie 13 Year Old, a good value whisky with a meaty edge. And I recently sampled a blend that came from the 1940s, which was fascinating.
But it’s not just about reviews. I interviewed one of the legends of the whisky industry, Charles MacLean; we talked about the art of blended Scotch, and that all serious whisky drinkers should enjoy blends as well.
And finally, I recently visited an English distillery in the Cotswolds. It was a rather lovely place that’s making some exciting whisky as well as gin.
I’ve been very busy at my other site (I am blogging still – more there, less here for now). Whiskies of note: The One is a British blended whisky, and pretty tasty stuff for the price of £30. I tried an average-tasting old whisky, the Glenfarclas 30 Years Old. But I also tried two really tasty young whiskies, the Glenglassaugh Evolution and the Swedish Smögen Primör whisky – just goes to show how age really isn’t what you should be looking for as the most important indicator of quality when it comes to whiskies.
And if that wasn’t enough whisky action, I went to the Midlands Whisky Festival. Told you I’ve been busy.
In the name of science, I have been reviewing many whiskies. The latest was actually disappointing, which is a shame given the hooded figure on the front of the bottle – as pictured. It’s the Highland Park Dark Origins, and wasn’t that good.
I’ve recently joined the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and wrote about an ‘unboxing’ of their welcome pack. It’s pretty pricey to join, but you get some good stuff – including access to private members’ bars in London and Scotland. Henceforth the one in London will become my offices when I’m in the city.
Finally, whilst at Worldcon I attended the Iain Banks memorial whisky tasting, which was good fun. Given I knew the guy who ran it, there were some tasty extra drams. It’s who you know…
I’ve been ramping up activity over on my whisky website recently, with a view to growing traffic and using it as a platform for other things in the future. (Basically, I’m not just blogging for the sake of blogging, I’m writing to a strategy.) The whiskies I’ve reviewed recently are a very nice limited Caol Ila release; a very nice offering from Deanston distillery; an amazing bourbon; and the David Beckham whisky (yes, that’s right). I’ve also reviewed a very interesting technical book on whisky production.