The Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent Calendar. @drinksbythedram

The Boutique-y Whisky Company Advent Calendar.

This is the Boutique-y whisky Advent Calendar featuring 24 different whiskies from the Boutique-y whisky company’s range. It’s gorgeous. With artwork from Emily Chappell, the celebrated artist of all of the boutique-y whisky labels. It gives tantalising tempting teasers of what lies inside showing some of the label artwork on the windows of the calendars. Crikey I can’t wait for December!

A spirits advent calendar is a spectacular gift for the one you love. I swear you will get all the favours you want through December and an awesome Christmas present(s) if you give one of those to your loved one. There is quite literally everything from Whisky (in regional variations and also including an extremely premium Rare and Old whisky Calendar), gin, rum, cognac, tequila, bourbon, absinth (!) and even chilli vodka (you may not get so many favours with that one, it’s an acquired taste). For those with particular brand tastes you can also find Boutique-y, Douglas Laing and a dedicated Glenfarclas calendar.

I can’t recommend these calendars enough for the whisky/spirits fans out there who like a wee dram to keep the cold out. These give a great opportunity to try something different, random, and have a bloody great December throughout the stressful time of present buying and festivity preparations. Get your partner one of these and I guarantee they will be doing much of the hard work through December! 🙂

Check them out here.

https://www.masterofmalt.com/advent-calendars/

I will be posting pictures and reviews throughout the festive season from this calendar. But why wait until December to find out what’s inside. If your other half won’t take the hints. Just treat yourself. 😜

Massive thanks to Drinks by the Dram for the awesome advent calendar. I am going to be in a Boutique-y wonderland enjoying the December Advent-Adventures.

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Whisky Review – The Balvenie 14 Year Old Peat Week @TheBalvenie

Balvenie 14 Year Old Peat Week

48.3% ABV

Non chill filtered

£56.95 from The Whisky Exchange

The Balvenie distill peated spirit only one week every year. This whisky is from that week in 2002, matured for 14 years in bourbon casks and released as a limited (but not that limited) extension to their core range. Bottled at a great 48.3% and non chill filtered, this is already looking great in writing, let’s try the liquid and see if it delivers.

Nose.

First poured sniff gives a light, floral smoke driven aroma. Heather honey. Some lemon pip sweeties, slight vanilla and haystack. After a little time to settle in the glass the smoke gathers a small amount of intensity, a little earthier now, still floral, slightly green (imagine pine branch fires). Added citrus fruit juices and peel now, predominantly lemon, but also lime. The smoke is more reminiscent of twig built bonfires, with lots of foliage. Unlike the medicinal and maritime nature of an Islay peated whisky.

Palate.

A sweet lemon juice arrival turning quickly more tarty, with some dry fennel and herbal notes coming through. This dram has a light oily mouthfeel. Runny honey accompanies a little liquorice root, and more lemon comes into the development in the form of lemon oils and a little pith. There’s a gentle smokiness coming through the whole of the palate, subtle, warming and gentle. Overall a beautiful balance.

Finish.

The medium length finish has a spicy pepper bite, lemon oils continue with a smoky exhale. Warming and relaxing smokiness, reminding me of a relaxing cigarette (not that i smoke anymore, but a healthier reminder of such days!).

Adding water.

A few drops added. The nose is a little smokier, but different, more of an extinguished bonfire smoke. A little more floral, still quite citrus, more homemade lemonade and less of the natural fresh lemon juice. The palate reflects this also, the citrus is lighter and more akin to a homemade lemonade, the herbal notes more toned down, overall sweeter and more approachable. The finish is sweeter, less spice, and less of the dry herbal liquorice, more of a dilute herbal throat sweet. Maybe even a touch of lavender (Parma Violet). Very tasty with or without water, it’s one to experiment with, maybe a couple of glasses side by side, dilute one, compare and contrast.

Conclusion.

It’s very good! This whisky is giving a great experience of fruit and smoke balance. It’s a very autumnal dram, perfect for these chillier nights. Really. Just perfect for this time of year. Highly recommended.

Thanks to The Balvenie for the official review sample.

Whisky Review – Double Single Blended Whisky @CompassBox

Double Single Blended Whisky

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£144.71 from Master of Malt

This blended whisky from Compass Box contains only two ingredients. Malt whisky from Glen Elgin, and grain whisky from Girvan. Both packages of whisky are in their twenties, you can get the full information from Compass Box themselves, just email them and ask. 

Nose. 

First sniff is met with an abundance of fruit. Lots of citrus led juices, lemon, orange, a hint of mint, lots of vanilla, but full of breakfast juice lushness. A little time and more of a sugar coated sweetness comes through, still plenty of tasty fruit in the background. With a hint of sweet oaky spices. Great balance. A little more time and the vanilla softness gives an ice cream coating to the fruit. 

Palate. 

A bittersweet arrival of sour orange, sweet lemon, some grapefruit with a touch of nutmeg and sweet cinnamon. Vibrant, zesty and fresh stuff. It really awakens the tastebuds. The development turns to a sweet confectionary, reminiscent of grapefruit flavoured fruit gums, with some confectionary sugar and a touch of all spice. There’s a creamy, thick mouth feel accompanying all of this tasty stuff, with some creamy porridge with a vanilla pod it. Nicely complex, very drinkable. 

Finish. 

The medium-long length finish is dry and sweet, lots of sugars, some brown raw sugar, the fruit juices have turned to dry fruit gums, vanilla still rich and creamy, with some oak spices finishing thing off. 

Adding water. 

A few drops added. The nose becomes more of a fruity floral, lighter, lots of springtime flowers amongst some dustier fruit boxes. The palate, now with a reduced oiliness in the mouthfeel, is still full of fruit sugars, a little more juicier and less complex, with a drier edge coming forward earlier. The finish is drier and sweeter at the same time, not as long. This dram is better without dilution. Keep it as it comes from the bottle. 

Conclusion. 

A delicious construction of a whisky. Proves that just two ingredients can have an awesome outcome. Very tasty and very drinkable. Quite a warmer weather of a whisky, with its citrus center best suited in warmer climates, but who am I kidding, I’d drink this any time of the year. It’s gorgeous. Maybe a little on the expensive side, but it is a great whisky nonetheless. 

Thanks to Compass Box for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Rock Oyster 18 year old @DLaingWhisky

Rock Oyster 18 year old @DLaingWhisky

46.8% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£89.12 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

First sniff brings a salty seashore air, very fresh, in a fishing town (fishing nets!). Some light vanilla and lawn grass with subsequent sniffs. 20 mins in the glass and added toffee sweetness comes forward. Still quite maritime, but with a richer sweet edge. 

Palate. 

Sweet, creamy vanilla on the offset. Salted caramel and chocolate (mmmmm). There’s some peat sweetness, a touch of pepper. All nicely balanced together. Subsequent sips and more of a smoky fudge note. The mouthfeel isn’t particularly thick, but has a viscosity to it.  

Finish. 

Intense vanilla and gentle peat smoke carries into the long length finish, ending on the drier, earthier side of things. 

Adding water. 

Tiniest drop, it doesn’t need water. The nose has become lighter, back to being predominantly maritime, with a hint of floral peat. The palate has lost the richness in favour of a sweeter, more saccharine edge. The finish continues the sugary notes, with a lighter smoke in the end. Water doesn’t enhance this dram. Don’t do it. 

Conclusion. 

Delicious flavourful whisky. I’m a big fan of the original Rock Oyster, this aged version does not disappoint. It is a more of a luxury version, requiring some dedication in time and place for drinking. It’s lighter and subtler nature in flavours means it’s best as an aperitif, with an unspoiled palate. It beautiful stuff. 

Thanks to Douglas Laing for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Treacle Chest Blended Malt @WemyssMalts

Treacle Chest Blended Malt

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£46.95 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

First sniff is quite nutty, intense Spice, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. A few sniffs later and things get sweeter, with cinnamon sugar glaze and toasted brown sugar on a Creme brûlée. With more time the nose develops further into sweet territory, the treacle comes through as does a sticky caramel. A little more time and we are in more sherry matured territory, soft Christmas spices, clove, cinnamon. Some stoned fruit and almond. A complex and developmental nose. 

Palate. 

Juicy. Lots of fruit, raisin, cherry, stewed apple and spicy too, a great home made chutney mix of flavours. There’s a nutty backdrop as well, almond, moving onto marzipan, and Brazil nut. There’s a gentle edge of chocolate and warm caramel sauce. There’s bucket loads going on here, a great dessert dram. 

Finish. 

Spices pop up, ginger and cinnamon, but the fruity burst of cherries and marzipan win through. A medium-long length finish, ending with a nutty dry chocolate. 

Adding water. 

A few drops added. The water has toned things down, but not really added or taken away much, maybe a little vanilla is added. The palate is slightly gentler on the spices, still retaining a lot of the fruit and nut complexity, there’s some more chocolate now. The finish is slightly drier, but still got tonnes of fruit. The nuttiness is toned down overall. There are pros and cons to watering this dram, personally its worth trying and seeing what suits your palate best, for me, I borderline prefer undiluted, but I can imagine if my palate has been compromised with spicy food or anything like that I would prefer the diluted version on that night. 

Conclusion. 

Extremely complex, and some clearly good sherry casks used in this maturation. It’s a beauty of a sherried blend. Very tasty. This is an awesome Christmas season whisky. Nicely priced for the quality of the whisky. I’m getting one for the holiday season. 

Thanks to Wemyss for official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Timorous Beastie 18 year old @DLaingWhisky

Timorous Beastie 18 year old @DLaingWhisky

46.8% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£82.60 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

First sniff is floral (honeysuckle) and fudgey. There is a light fruitiness, some peach and apricot, with a hint of apple skin. Some sweet ginger and the smallest touch of white pepper. A few sniffs later there is a pineapple juice influence. After 20 mins in the glass the fruit becomes more intense, lots of pineapple, apricot and now some juicy oranges. 

Palate. 

Very fruity, gentle arrival, building in fruitiness, lots of orange, pineapple, very sweet and juicy. Some gentle light spices accompany, with a little vanilla. A lovely chewy texture to the mouthfeel. There is some background barley biscuit amongst the pineapple chunks. 

Finish. 

The juices fade and a rich vanilla creamy custard comes forward, for a medium-long length finish. The custard takes a while to dissipate, retaining creamy throughout. 

Adding water. 

Only adding a tiny amount. It doesn’t need water in my opinion. Oh dear, I was right. Nose is much lighter, floral fruits. Palate still has a bunch of flavour, but lost intensity. Finish has more of the floral, slightly talcum powder floral. Still drinkable, but the undiluted has the win. No water here please. 

Conclusion. 

A delicious whisky, quite subtle in its ways, but with a bolstering fruit up front. Clearly of the older wise with the fruit intensity and gentle spices. This is quality stuff, requiring some time in the glass to give the most of itself. A “spoil yourself” blended malt for a special occasion. Drink as an aperitif on a fresh palate. 

Thanks to Douglas Laing for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Vanilla Burst Blended Malt @WemyssMalts

Vanilla Burst Blended Malt

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£43.79 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

As the name suggests, first sniff brings forward a burst of vanilla, soft and creamy, ice cream like. There is also a gentle citrus, lemon sherbert. Some light pepper and warmer ginger Spice backs things up. It’s all about the vanilla though, very prominent and easily sniffable. After a little time a spicier edge comes forward, a little more ginger, a little less vanilla. More time and some fresh cut green apple comes through. 

Palate. 

Werther’s original sweeties! Butterscotch. The mouthfeel is incredibly thick, very oily. There is a touch of banana, some stewed apple. But this is intense on the butterscotch and vanilla ice cream. Further into the development spices come through, a little ginger warmth, which is balanced nicely against the sweetness. Extremely sip-able. 

Finish. 

Vanilla ice cream with ginger chunks. The creaminess continues all through the medium length finish, the spices become gentle and the vanilla sticks around. 

Adding water. 

Small drop added as it’s really good as is. Water has tamed the vanilla (a little too much in my opinion), and brought forward a more floral element, with touches of wood shavings. The palate is still creamy, a little muted, but there is some added fruit now, some sweet gooseberry and a touch of melon. The finish is drier and a little on the woody side, but still with pleasant vanilla. Hmmm, I tough one on the water or not question, it’s worth it to experience the new palate, but by and large I would drink this dram in the future without water. 

Conclusion. 

This isn’t an overtly complex dram by any stretch. But what it does it does marvellously, this is very VERY drinkable, a great example of mouthfeel as well, I wasn’t expecting the viscosity I got. This is beautiful whisky, extremely drinkable session stuff. Most impressive. This is all year round whisky. 

Thanks to Wemyss for official review sample. 

Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendar’s 2017 / @DrinksByTheDram

Every year it seems to come by quicker (sign of old age!). But yep. It’s that time again. The Whisky Advent Calendars are just around the corner. 

Have a look here!


I really enjoy these sets.  Last year I had some fun with the independent bottlings set. It was great fun going through some quality random drammage on the run up to xmas. It helped take some selection choice difficulties out of my hands and gave me the opportunity to try something I wouldn’t normally have selected. With some very pleasant results in the flavour experience department. 

So. Time to hint to your loved ones. Or just decide you love yourself enough to go for one regardless. 

There are 25 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, The ‘Hot Enough’ Vodka Co., Gin Foundry, Origin Single Botanical Gin, That Boutique-y Gin Company and Douglas Laing whisky.

So go forth. Pick wisely. And count down the days to mayhem with a relaxing beverage. 

Browse the whole selection here. 

Whisky Review – Glenmorangie Astar (2017)

Glenmorangie Astar (2017)

52.5% ABV

Non chill filtered

£74.00 from Master of Malt

This year’s Glenmorangie limited release is somewhat of a re-release of an old favourite from 2008. Astar on its first iteration was met with lots of critical acclaim and enjoyed a sell out at the whisky shops. It’s maturation is essentially ex-bourbon, but the wood used is more selective. 🤔

From the press release:

The Astar’s custom-made casks began their journey in the Ozark mountains of Missouri, where Glenmorangie carefully selected slow-growth oak trees, for their porous structure. Staves were cut from these oaks to the Distillery’s exact specifications. Then, they were left to season in the open air for at least two years, to breathe and soften. After being coopered into oak casks, they were gently toasted to contribute further flavours of almond and coconut. Filled with bourbon, they were set aside to mature for four years to smooth away any rawness. Finally, they were emptied, shipped to Scotland and filled with Glenmorangie’s delicate and complex spirit, for a long, slow maturation.

I’m very happy to get a chance at tasting this one never having had tried the original Astar. 

Nose. 

On first pour and sniff things are quite closed, but there is some fizzy citrus sweetness that reminds me of lemon fizz bomb sweeties. With a small amount of time a richer vanilla ice cream note kicks in. A few more minutes and things stay the same but get even more richer and deeper in the sweet stickiness of the vanilla. Creme brûlée, some pepper and maybe a touch of nutmeg after some further time in the glass. In the background there is a touch of zingy mint and some pencil shavings. 

Palate. 

The arrival is quite cooling and spearmint like, quickly become sweet, honey laden and treacly. There’s a lovely balance of spicy ginger and a touch of aniseed in the mix. Some yellow fruits, apricot, maybe a touch of peach, all covered in Devon custard. The mouthfeel is beautifully thick and suits the flavours very well. There’s a little oak later on in the development, which gives a touch of dryness balancing against the sweet and spicy. Very drinkable. 

Finish. 

Light apricot and sweet lemon, punchy spice and some oak over this medium to long length finish. 

Adding water. 

After a little splash has been added the nose becomes softer and sweeter, with a touch of added floral. Sugary, with some light talcum powder. Some overripe apricot, gentle Creme brûlée, with an undertoasted sugar crust. The spice is much lowered, now maybe a touch of cinnamon sugar glaze. The palate still retains a nice thickness. It’s sweeter, almost treacle toffee like, a touch of burnt caramel now, very chewable, very delicious. Fruits are fresher and the experience is awesome. The finish continues the theme – sweeter, scrummier, full of flavour. Oh my the water does this dram wonders. 

Conclusion. 

A great example of Glenmorangie and a solid well matured whisky. A little on the closed up side without water, this one comes alive with a drop of H2O. Beautifully sweet, thick, thoroughly drinkable and delicious. A great example of how whisky is better with a high ABV and water to break it all up, releasing the flavour. The longer it’s in the glass the more complexity of flavour it has to give. Definitely one to spend a long time over a dram with. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will be obtaining a couple of these. For drinking! 

Thanks to Glenmorangie for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Yellow Spot 12 year old  

Yellow Spot 12 Year Old

46% ABV

Non chill filtered

£64.22 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

An abundance of fruit. Very juicy, apricot and peach, with a touch of orange flesh. Lots of creamy vanilla custard backing this up, very substantial with a cinnamon spice twang. Delicious desert stuff, tinned fruits and custard all around. 

Palate. 

Leads with spicy vanilla custard, a touch of ginger then comes and then waves of fruit and creamy vanilla. The fruits are all lovely, juicy and ripe, lots of apricot, a touch of honeydew melon. Creamy through and through with a very velvety mouthfeel. There is practically no burn of alcohol, extremely smooth, totally exquisite. 

Finish. 

A medium length exit of mainly vanilla custard covered fruit with a touch of warming spices. Lovely. 

Adding water. 

I’m not doing it. This is perfectly hitting the spot as it is and I’m not willing to risk a splash. 

Conclusion. 

I’m having this late after a very warm day, and it’s going down really well. Good summer whisky, totally fruity and absolutely beautiful as the heat of the day fades. 

From my own collection