Whisky Updates

diageo bottles
Did I mention that I’m going to be reviewing for Britain’s leading whisky publication, Whisky Magazine, next year? That means I’ll be paid to drink. Imagine that! It’s tougher than you think though… Anyway, given that many of you might not even know about my whisky website, that’s the route I took to get there. Building on my novel writing, blogging assiduously for five years, which then led to writing articles for the magazine. And hey presto! A great gig. I think that’s the thing with writing, no matter which direction you take: always build on what you’ve done before.

Anyway, in the meantime here are some things I’ve been up and tasting to in the world of whisky, if you’ve not been following the blog.

1) I went to the Diageo Special Releases event, which was an incredible opportunity to taste some rare whiskies.

2) My favourite whisky of the year, when value was taken into consideration, was The Macallan Edition No. 2, with second place going to the Kilkerran 12 Year Old.

3) Other good ones include this anCnoc 35 Years Old, a brilliant Bunnahabhain Moine Rum Cask, Glenfiddich Project XX, and the new Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990. Oh, and the Ardbeg Twenty One was also very good – a new and rare Ardbeg from a time of limited production.


Article Series in Whisky Magazine


Many of you know about my whisky website, but I’m extending further into article writing on the subject. This month’s edition of the industry’s top publication, Whisky Magazine, features the start of a series I’ve written on the history of Scotch whisky advertising. It’s currently shaping up at about four articles, going from the mid 19th Century to the present day. The first section is all about how – very broadly speaking – companies started off as family merchants but, as their whiskies began to reach new markets around the world in the late 19th Century, they began to release whiskies under brand names. Naturally it was all about blended whisky, for the most part.


Latest Whisky Reviews

Octomore 7.4

I am writing many things about whisky still, including a few articles for Whisky Magazine. I hope to have more news on all writing fronts soon – things do work slowly in publishing – but for now, here’s how I’m spending my online time over at my whisky website.

I was sent a review of a powerful new Bruichladdich single malt, the Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak. I was also able to compare it against a secret single cask whisky that I acquired at the distillery whilst on honeymoon.

Recently I interviewed a man called Mark Reynier, who resurrected Bruichladdich many years ago and is now setting up a new and impressive venture in Ireland. And in other reviews, I sampled a very old and rare whisky from Rosebank distillery; enjoyed a little sample of a cask strength (strong) whisky from Glengoyne; and was unimpressed with a sample of the new Glenmorangie Milsean.


Latest Whisky Reviews

Whisky samples

You know the score. I’m blogging mostly about whisky these days. The site is doing very well, too, with over 50,000 page views for the last 30 days. As well as the novel writing and blogging, I’m also writing about whisky for magazines, such as this piece for Scottish Sporting Gazette on pairing pheasant food with whiskies. There seems to be a good connection between people who like wild food and whisky, so hopefully there’ll be more on that front.

I was lucky enough to be part of another Bruichladdich online tasting, featuring three mind-boggling single cask whiskies.

The GlenDronach Peated is very decent for only £35 a bottle. This Benrinnes single cask is pretty tasty too. And this Glencadam vertical tasting highlights a very good distillery.

Finally, I tried two new whiskies from The Deveron range, and they were… okay. Nothing special, but solid whiskies.


Latest Whisky Reviews

Dalmore constellation

You know the score. I blog way more – and put way more digital effort – into my whisky site these days. So here’s what I’ve been up to on there.

Firstly, I was invited to an exclusive tasting of two whiskies from The Dalmore Constellation series a little while ago. One whisky is being sold at £550 a glass, and the other – if it was on sale (it isn’t yet) – cost £22,000 a bottle. I also got to meet the guy who made them.

I wrote a piece on whisky flavour wheels. If you’re new to whisky and want to get into it more, you’ll hopefully find it interesting. One of my favourite distilleries, Bruichladdich, sent me three whiskies to enjoy as part of an online tasting. They were brilliant and all very different. And finally, a little distillery from Campbeltown made one of the best whiskies of the year, in my opinion. Just great-value old-fashioned stuff.

Incidentally, if you’re only casually into whisky and sometimes pop by that site, then let me know what you think of it. I’m aware that whisky can be a complex subject, and that not everyone who reads it is a whisky nerd, so I’m keen to improve the quality of the posts.


Latest Whisky Reviews

Dalmore bottle

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.

The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve isn’t that good, but this new blend from Suntory is really tasty and at the cheaper end of modern whisky releases.


Whisky Reviews

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.


Latest Whisky Updates


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.

The website is ticking along as normal. I still don’t much like Jura whisky, I still very much like old Glenglassaugh, and I wrote about a long-closed distillery.


More Whisky Links

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.


Latest Whisky Reviews

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.