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. 

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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

Whisky Review – Octomore OBA (Octomore Black Art). @bruichladdich

Octomore OBA (Octomore Black Art)
59.7% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£99 from Bruichladdich – alas sold out very quickly. 


Another Octomore. Another experience. 

Nose. 

Fruity on first pour. Oranges, grilled pineapple rings on the BBQ. A Ham from the same BBQ, done crispy! Smoke starts bellowing through with further sniffs. There’s some wine reduction on the meat now which is turning more spare ribs, and a bit of Chinese five Spice. Even some Peking duck. This is immense and I haven’t stopped sniffing since the pour. Loads going on. Immensely complex and continually evolving. Ok, so give it a rest for a few minutes. 
Starting again. Burnt stuff. Toffee (burnt), pineapple (grilled), a slice of orange (thick cut, dried and toasted), some dark chocolate (melted), fennel (well roasted), bubbling caramel, pork crackling. There’s an overlying fruitiness, almost like things are covered with breakfast juice as it’s all cooking. It’s bloody lovely. A bit more time and some added herbal notes, but this is all about the fruitiness. Oh yeah, it’s quite smokey as well, but the smoke is muted a little behind the immense fruit, not to say it isn’t smokey though, it is, a nice background raging bonfire in autumn smoke. 

Palate. 

Lovely sweet fruit juice arrival, lots of fruit, orange juice, mango, grapes (a bit of wine), berry juices, blackberry/blackcurrent jam, marmalade. There’s a liquorice root in there somewhere as well, during the ABV burn, which is extremely short and pleasant, this is easy to drink at full strength!! Very easy in fact, extremely sip-able, scarily so. The mouthfeel is BIG, oily and utterly tremendous. During the delivery there is a hint of well done ribs, and that Chinese style meat rub, some chocolate late on which goes very seamlessly into the finish. It’s incredibly chewy overall, and the whole palate experience is one you want to experience over and over again. This is really drinkable, extremely enjoyable. Probably one of the most, if not the most drinkable Octomore’s I’ve had. 

Finish. 

Chocolate, dried fruits, and a touch of liquorice. It’s a medium to long length finish, warming, not burning, well matured, delicious juice. 

Adding water. 

I’ve made it through the majority of a dram without adding water. But it needs to be done as I could be missing out. A small splash added and sat back for a bit. It’s unleashed the smoke beast. Lots of smoke now, almost (I said almost) too much, it’s definitely muted the fruitiness quite a bit. The herbal notes now come second, lots of liquorice and some fallen wood on a forest floor, perhaps even some damp earth and a touch of mushroom. The palate has more grapes, berries, quite a bit more wine influence, lots of fruit, juicier and less toasted, still very easy to drink, in fact easier now, making this one of the most dangerous whiskies I’ve had for high ABV quaffability. The finish has more of a wine tannin note to it now, very pleasant, but not as nice as the undiluted. I personally wouldn’t add water to this whisky, you gain in the terms of easy to drink, but you loose an experience which is worth holding onto. 

Conclusion. 

This is the one of the, if not the most drinkable Octomore’s I’ve had. I really want to know it’s make up, but I’m guess I’m never going to find out with it being a black art(?). It’s absolutely delicious, I hope many more people will open and enjoy their bottles and not auction it. You’re missing out if you sell it guys and gals! Open it. Drink it. It’s magnificent. 

From my own collection. (This review from a bottle share split with friends). 

Whisky Review – Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th edition @Kilchoman05

Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th edition 

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£71.14 from Master of Malt







Nose. 

First sniff has lots of cut grass and fresh mossiness. A backing of fresh cream, vanilla, and a touch of citrus oils. Smoke is there, a gentle medicinal peat smoke. Letting it sit a while. After some time the grass/earth/nature aromas have calmed down and we have more lemon notes, lemon pip sweets. There is a lot of creamy barley, porridge oats, and an all round fresh and honest nature about it. A hint of liquorice root is now present with a little more time. An evolving nose, one to go back to frequently and experience new wonders. In more time and a little more gentle smokiness comes forward, slightly menthol, reminds me of opening a fresh pack of menthol cigs. 

Palate. 

A sweet peat arrival, lots of light honey and caramel sweetness, driven with a smokey spiced backing. There’s some lemon squash drink, cream covered porridge and a touch of aniseed. The mouthfeel is very thick and oily, deliciously so, practically a honey viscosity. Later in the development there is a touch of mint, spearmint, and menthol. The ABV is unrecognisable at 50%, its very easy going. There is a fresh, clean experience here, very honest whisky. 

Finish. 

Turning dry over a medium duration. Still lots of clean barley cream, a touch of mentholated smoke and a lovely warming chest hug. Very satisfying. 

Adding water. 

A splash added. Unleashed the farm! The nose now has a lovely farmyard thing going on, hay, freshly cut grass is back, a twiggy bonfire. Very countryside. The palate is still sweet, more tarty in the lemons, still immensely thick on the mouthfeel, and still with lots and lots of creamy vanilla laden barley. The liquorice notes have migrated towards the finish, which is now slightly drier. I like this one with or without water, both variations is an experience in itself. 

Conclusion. 

Beautiful Islay. Beautiful, honest, clean, tasty whisky. Love it! Gotta bottle now. 🙂

Thanks to Kilchoman for the official review sample.