Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendar’s 2018 / @DrinksByTheDram #toosoon?

Advent 2018


Here we go again!  Just another year, they go so quickly the older you get, and I’m no exception!  In fact, in truth this is a lot earlier to shout about these, but Ive gotta get the hints in, just like yourselves!  So here we go!

Master of Malt are at it again!

There are 30 different Advent calendars to choose from. Priced from £99.95 to £9999.95.

This year the full Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendar range includes Whisky, Premium Whisky, Old & Rare Whisky, Very Old & Rare Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Bourbon, American Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, Irish Whiskey, Single Cask Whisky, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Cognac, Tequila, Armagnac, Mezcal and Absinthe.

There are also some brand specific calendars to choose from –  That Boutique-y Whiskey Company, Glenfarclas Scotch whisky and Douglas Laing whisky.

There is something for everyone here, and if you’ve been a good boy or girl this year I suggest you remind your loved one and take a look right here.

Personally Im loving the new labels on the Boutique-y Whisky Company calendar!!  Beautiful stuff!  They looked great in person when I saw them at the Whisky Show a few weeks ago.

If you do get yourself one of these calendars Id love to hear from you on twitter @dvdbloke when you  open them up each day on the run up to Christmas.  Send me your thoughts in a tweet and a mini review!  If you’re lucky I may even choose your tweet for a free festive dram!

Whisky Review – Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 7 @Glendronach

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 7

57.9% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£56.95 from Master of Malt

I’m a big fan of Glendronach and especially their cask strength release. I’ve always had a lot of fun with it in the past. This release looks a little lighter to previous releases, but is still promised to be filled with Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez flavours aplenty.


On first pour there is a rich nutty dryness, quite treacle bound. After 15 mins in the glass there is quite a youthful nature coming through, it’s sweet, very nutty, has a fair dollop of honey richness. The dried fruit is quite light, it’s not a sherry bomb at all like previous releases, a lot more subtle. There’s a charred oak, and slight earthiness in there as well. Edging more towards an ex-Oloroso profile rather than PX.


Oh, that’s easy going for 57%+. Lots of sweetness, a great creamy thick mouthfeel, lots more sherried on the palate, but again not massive, an assertive flavour, but not too much. So, sweet honey and dry nutty arrival, turning thick and gloopy in the mouthfeel with honey richness into the development. Layers of toffee and fudge throughout and touches of dried fruits, raisin, cherry and some red berries. Subsequent sips over time are easier and easier with a more juicy cherry fruit richness and touches of cola.


Quite short to medium in duration, there’s the dried fruits sticking around, mainly cherry rich and a touch of raisin, some dry treacle remaining with the pecan/walnuts sticking through to the very end.

Adding water.

Adding a splash of water. The nose is a touch lighter and has a fruitier aspect now, the fruit leads over the drier nuttiness now. The palate is also a lot fruitier, more juicy by far. The fruits are fresher, juicier, lots of cherry, cola, a touch of orange peel, more light sherry, very flavourful. Most definitely one to experiment with the addition of water.


Significantly different to previous batches but still fundamentally Glendronach cask strength. This is a well constructed, extremely drinkable whisky. It’s got a lot going for it and a definite bang for your buck in this day and age of ever increasing prices of cask strength sherried drams. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Glendronach for the official review sample.

Whisky Review – Islay #3 – 7 year old That Boutique-y Whisky Company. @BoutiqueyWhisky

Islay #3 7 year old That Boutique-y Whisky Company

49.2% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£46.95 from Master of Malt

It’s been a while since I bought a bottle of anything and just immediately opened it the same day. This Islay #3 from the Boutique-y Whisky Company was just too damn compelling to wait though. It’s young for sure, but it’s colour says some active cask interaction has occurred. It’s label suggests to me it’s a Laphroaig (it’s a guess, never a certainty), and I’ve had some great young Laphroaig’s in the past year or so, so it was strictly a no brainer.


From first pour there is a lovely dry ashy bonfire in the glass. Caramel sweet, smoky butterscotch, but with a herbal heather smoulder and a honey dew melon squeezed over the top. There are touches of sweetened lemon in the background, overall a great depth to the nose, with its earthy herbal sweet complexities.


Damn drinkable! Starts of sweet and smoky, with some charred bbq ribs and sweet honey rich bbq glaze. Lots of sugars follows, burnt caramel, toasted sugars, a little roast ham (complete with clove studs), some anise, some blackcurrant fruit gums, a few more assorted dark fruit based chewy gummy sweets. Sweet maple based charcoal smoke. Bloody hell damn drinkable.


The aftermath of a menthol cigarette and some good well done barbecued meats. And a fair dollop of honey rich dipping sauce. Need more sips please.

Adding water.

Added a few drops, but I think it’s at its optimal drinking strength. The nose is smokier and more bruising to the senses now, drier and ashier, bellowing smoke. The palate, lighter, sweeter, a little more peat and simpler sugars, the finish ashier and drier. I prefer this at bottle strength, but it’s worth trying with a little water if you like the cleaner sweetness, I prefer things a little more dirty complex.


Absolutely bloody lovely. Great Islay expression, it ticks all the boxes, plus it’s extremely drinkable in a dangerously more-ish way. Love it. Glad I jumped in, this bottle won’t last long at all. Consider buying 2! I did. 😉

My own bottle.

Dornoch Distillery CrowdFunding Opportunity

There’s a tiny distillery full of wondrous whisky dreams in the making. The next crowdfunding phase of development will be underway on Monday the 6th of August. These guys know what they are doing when it comes to constructing some seriously craft single malt (and other spirits) and are well worth keeping an eye on and investing in. Details below.

A pair of brothers who had previously helped to establish one of the world’s leading whisky bars and who recently launched their own gin and whisky distillery are already eyeing expansion due to the popularity of their new spirits.

Phil and Simon Thompson, who run the hugely successful whisky bar in the Dornoch Castle Hotel, constructed a distillery on site in 2016 following a successful initial crowdfunding round which saw 250 whisky lovers from all over the world invest in a bid to secure hotly anticipated casks of new make spirit from the new distillery.

After a busy, but remarkably successful 2017, which has seen the laying down of future whisky stocks and the global launch of the Thompson Brother’s Organic Highland Gin, the brothers have this week announced a second crowdfunding bid in order to secure the distillery’s long-term future at a new local site.

The pair plan to move to an old slaters yard just up the road in Dornoch in order to expand their whisky production capacity and meet the growing demand for their gin, which is now sold in eleven export markets around the globe including Japan, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Italy and Germany.

Co-founder and director Phil Thompson explained that the level of demand for their products was “humbling” and that the plans to expand would better help them to keep their growing customer base satisfied, he said: “We never anticipated just how much demand there would be, not only for casks of our whisky, but for our Organic Highland Gin as well. The expansion means we can meet that demand while still maintaining our ruthless dedication to old-style production methods and quality levels.”

This new round of crowdfunding is set for launch at the end of July with work on the new site scheduled to begin in October 2018, and once completed will enable Dornoch Distillery to meet the demand and consolidate its presence in its existing export markets and allow it to expand further afield into new markets in 2019.

The move will entail an expansion of production capacity, a new retail space and tasting room and new jobs for the local Dornoch community. Not to mention up to 250 new private casks of Dornoch new make spirit for those fortunate enough to get in on this second round of crowdfunding.

The crowdfunding will be launched on our website (www.dornochdistillery.com) Monday 6th August at 10:00am GMT.

The Thompsons stated that their vocal support of, and dedication to, traditional whisky production techniques, which has gained growing popularity amongst whisky enthusiasts, will remain at the heart of everything they do.

The fledgeling distillery utilises heritage varieties of barley, employs it’s its own in-house cultivated brewing yeast strains, ferments for over a week and distils using direct gas firing.

Co-founder and director Simon Thompson explained: “Scotch Whisky tasted notably different in the 1960s and earlier, before mass modernisation of the equipment and ingredients. The demand for this older style – more focused on distillate character, mouthfeel and tropical fruits – is massive these days.

“No one else is making this style of whisky anymore so we wanted to really push the envelope and see if we could create a whisky which harks back to these extinct Scotch Whisky characteristics.”

This dedication to creating quality spirits also extends to their Organic Highland Gin, as, unlike the majority of gins made today, a significant proportion of the Thompson’s signature gin is made using spirit distilled in-house.

The resulting malt-heavy style gives a richer, more characterful gin which is gaining popularity around the world and the brothers believe is putting Dornoch “on the map as a Highland distilling town”.

Old Pulteney Competition Time.

The 12yo sold Pulteney is a stable dram in the Scotch and Sci-Fi headquarters pairing very well with any Star Trek that maybe on at that time. (Easy going and good quality!). There’s a new fleet coming forward. Information is still under wraps at the moment but I’m sure all will be revealed in good time. In the meantime there’s a competition that they are running. See the below press release and click to enter. 😊




On the north east shores of Scotland, where the invigorating North Sea winds meet the stunning Caithness coast, there is a town; home to a vibrant single malt whisky which captures the very essence of its location.

This is Wick and we are Old Pulteney.

Never one to rest on our laurels; we are always evolving. Inspired by the spirit of our forefathers, and in celebration of our home town and its lively maritime history; we have crafted a brand new fleet. A collection of whiskies grounded in the passion and vigour shown by those who have truly shaped our spirit.

Our new collection of single malt Scotch whiskies remains true to the renowned, classic style of Old Pulteney celebrating our lively history, yet bringing some different flavours to the fore. Created from the unique combination of brisk salty sea air and meticulous cask selection, we continue to truly be the maritime malt.

Distilled and matured by the sea, this new fleet will take you on a journey of flavour, combining a consistent reminder of our coastal home with the influence of oak casks, from which our spirit is nurtured and shaped.

Ahead of the official unveiling of the new collection of whiskies, we are giving our fans the chance to be one of the first to hold one of our new fleet in their hands.

We are giving away only 100 bottles to 100 lucky fans.

For your chance to be one of the first to own a bottle from our new collection, simply visit www.oldpulteney.com/competition


Whisky Review – Daftmill Summer 2018 release

Daftmill Summer 2018 release

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£95 if you can find it anywhere.


Quite light initially, but with time there’s solid bourbon barrel goodness. Vanilla ice cream. Lemon and lime cordial. A fair bouquet of floral. There’s a waxy nature to the fruit, I keep thinking of lemon sherberts, in fact there’s a whole cacophony of Sweet shop notes. There’s something a little smoky in the background, but more of a charred wood, burnt matches (without any sulphur).


Thick on the mouthfeel, there’s a sweet creamy arrival, lots of vanilla creamy custard. A slight prickle of ginger spice going into the development which continues with lots of custard, some sweetened bread dough, almost donut like. There’s a gentle lemon curd running throughout.


A short to medium length finish, the lemon custard lingers for a little while with a touch of charred oak coming through at the very end.

Adding water.

I’ve decided not to add any water, this Whisky is light and subtle in its delicious flavours and I fear that dilution will weaken it. I’m enjoying it too much as is basically. 😋


This is an absolute dream of a Whisky. Not overly complex, but solid old school, quality matured whisky. Very drinkable, very enjoyable. Now, is it worth the money? It’s rarity would determine that it is worth it. It’s a small distillery which doesn’t produce a lot and is very selective about what it releases. I commend this. Personally (on my budget) if it was 15-20 cheaper then I wouldn’t hesitate to buy, open and enjoy. That’s not to say it isn’t worth the retail price, it’s bloody lovely stuff. Though I haven’t had a lot of Rosebank in my Whisky experience, it somewhat reminds me of it. (Just read Serge’s review after writing this I swear!!)

Sample passed to me from a good mate.

Cheers dude, that was a real treat. 😉 👍🏻

Whisky Review – Port Charlotte 10 Year old (2018). @Bruichladdich

Port Charlotte 10 Year old (2018)

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£48.95 from The Whisky Exchange


It needs to be said. The bottle is awesome. It’s old fashioned in a way, it’s exceedingly modern in others. One thing for sure, it’s unique, just like the whisky within.


Sweet and smokey. Lots of soft, ripe summer fruits, melon, peach, apricot. A bit deeper in and the smoke becomes more prominent, some TCP, antiseptic, hospital disinfectant, all in a very good way, the fruit giving balance. Everything drenched in a nice runny warm honey. There’s a gentle herbal note in the background, slightly liquorice, slightly earthy and organic. Lovely. Having let this sat while taking a phone call it’s changed, it’s quite an evolving dram, now more vanilla and some stoned fruits, quite custardy.


This is one of those whiskies that delivers what it promises on the nose with added oomph. A luscious, oily mouthfeel delivering waves of thick fruit and smoke, with a herbal edge. Soft, ripe yellow fruits, all sweetened with sugar syrup. A thick treacly smoke, barbecue glaze on juicy braised peach halves. Subsequent sips gets juicier, more fruit and smoke, intertwined effortlessly. It’s really sip-able. Delicious. The 50% ABV is barely noticeable and carries flavour so well. In the mouth the development goes on and on, waves of fruits, the occasional sweet liquorice hint, chewing some raw spice and liquorice root, then back to the juicy fruits, there’s a lot going on.


Smoke returns on the swallow, akin to exhaling cigarette smoke after having a mouthful of tropical fruit juice. There’s a dry bonfire mouthful with some mossy liquorice root lingering around for a medium to long period. Mouth watering, lip smacking, thirsty for more.

Adding water.

A few big drops added. The nose gets slightly drier, with some more bonfire influenced smoke, a little less of the medicinal, slightly more twiggy and herbal, but still with the flavoursome fruits. The palate continues along this theme, there is all around a less intensity as one would expect, and this slightly takes more away than it gives. The finish is slightly drier, more herbal. It’s easier with a splash of water, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s exceptional without dilution.


This works. Simple. It works as a summer or autumn dram, it’s got a great balance of fruit and smoke and is compellingly sip-able. Love it.

I am extremely pleased to see this as being an official aged core range return for Port Charlotte. It’s bloody good stuff. I had already bought a bottle before receiving the super sized sample, and I’ll be getting another one as I’m a bit obsessive about opening things without a backup…I know…weirdo…but seriously, this is delicious stuff, if youre a previous Port Charlotte fan, you should not be disappointed. I’m hoping, as is suggested this will be around for a long time, I can see this being a stable opened bottle and go-to peaty dram for a long time.

Thanks to Bruichladdich for the official review sample.

Whisky Review – Glen Keith 1994 – 23 year old (Claxton’s) @claxtonsspirits

Glen Keith 1994 – 23 year old (Claxton’s)

51% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

Available soon from Master of Malt


First sniff from the pour and we have some chocolate and almond paste. It’s clear that’s it’s a first fill bourbon barrel maturation as it has that intense vanilla spiciness you would expect. After a while in the glass things have settled and now we have a richer honey, toffee and chocolate mix. Sticky toffee pudding. A gentle almond nuttiness rounds it off.


Sweet and sour (similar to the 1995). But a richer, honey sweetness. Any sourness dissipates as quickly as it’s noticed and we have waves of moreish toffee, pepper, cinnamon dusted milk chocolate and caramel. It’s proper yummy.


The sticky sweet toffee sticks around and becomes more of a dry treacle. Initiating a lot of involuntary “Mmmmmmm” noises. It’s really tasty, rich and rewarding.

Adding water.

Small drop added. The nose is now more concentrated on the chocolate, milkier, but full of flavour. The palate is absolutely delicious, all the same as before, but less boisterous and deeper for it, it really invades the nooks and crannies of the mouth with tonnes of sweet honey, caramel,chocolate and all that lovely delicious calorie rich pudding notes. It’s bloody excellent undiluted. With a drop of water, it’s bloody magnificent.


This is what the word sumptuous means to me. Rich, fattening, flavoursome Whisky, with a little bite, but a whole lot of chew. Really excellent tasty stuff.

Thanks to Claxton’s for the official review sample.

Whisky Review – SMWS 10.141 Indulgence by the sea @SMWSUK @Bunnahabhain

SMWS 10.141 Indulgence by the sea (Bunnahabhain)

12 years old

Refill Ex-Bourbon Barrel

174 bottles

59.5% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£66 from Scotch Malt Whisky Society


Gentle vanilla and a salty sea water on first reaction. Subsequent sniffs give some tarty lemon citrus oils and a smoking tinder fire in the background. Creaminess comes out in time with a burnt butterscotch, and some pine twigs crackling on an open fire. A lot more time in the glass and things become a combination of maritime and hospital waiting rooms, with a large glass of hot toddy, honey, lemon and ginger.


Beautifully thick, oily mouthfeel, the palate is faithful to the nose. Lots of warm sweet honey and lemon, a touch of saltiness at the back of the tongue. Quite a bite of spice from the ABV, with hot ginger and a spot of clove. There’s a touch of smoke, but not a lot, more charred oak than anything.


The honey and lemon sticks around for a Medium length finish, the beautiful oiliness keeps a layer of spice and saltiness on the tongue for a little longer.

Adding water.

A good splash added. Things have got more lemon squash with some dry liquorice spiciness. The nose has some more salty maritime notes now reminiscent of fishing villages in the sunshine. The palate is sweet and sour, lots of fresh lemon, some liquorice and a salt and spice edge. With water this is a lighter, easier dram, personally for me it’s better undiluted, it’s a little more vibrant and exciting undiluted.


This is quite a summer suitable dram, one to enjoy during the lighter nights.

Thanks to SMWS for the official review sample.