..Category Archives: Lady of the Drams

Vicky’s Whisky Journey

Lady of the Drams Newsletter February 2018

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Newsletters on by .

A belated Happy New Year to all of you.

The first month has already flown past. We had some fantastic sales in the shop over December and January and I hope you all managed to grab yourself a bargain, as there were some great bargains indeed.

Kat is back from maternity leave (yaay) and has taken on helping with the twitter and Instagram accounts. The feedback and responses we are getting are great with more people than ever joining us. Keep up the good work Kat!

Our events for the May festival are now planned and booked with another 5 days of fantastic tastings, tours and food ahead. The tickets have now gone live on the Spirit of Speyside website and are selling out very quickly so don’t miss out. We wouldn’t want you to be disappointed. Look out for the Head to Head tasting between Mike and myself which was a great hit last year.

We are continuously working on our website and other media sites so if any of you have any thoughts or suggestions of things you would like to see on there or any other information you would like putting on then please get in touch and let us know. We will always do our best to accommodate your suggestions where possible. As well as all the great whiskies on the website we now have over 60 gins for all you gin lovers out there.

As we settle into the year and peoples thoughts turn to Valentine’s Day, Mike, Kat and myself will put on the website our suggestions for what we think is a great dram to have with that special someone in your life with your Valentine’s meal. Not that any of us will be getting mushy but we will have a dram I’m sure.

Well that’s all from me for now but I will keep you updated as our plans for the year progress. Don’t forget you can chat to us on twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email or the website. You can even give us a call on the phone. Imagine that!

Cheers.

Lady of the Drams Newsletter 2017

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams on by .

This year is flying by even quicker than usual. I started the year by enrolling onto the Spirit of Speyside Whisky School for 3 days held at Knockando Distillery, which was amazing. The guys who organise this do a fantastic job each year. We had theory work in the mornings with experts from every stage of the whisky process coming to Knockando to talk us through every step. In the afternoon we had field trips which related to the theory work we had done that morning. The school is a great opportunity to learn about whisky for people who are either in the industry or total novices. There is always something new to learn in the world of whisky.

For the shop, the season started off with a brilliant Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which saw thousands of people come along to the shop and to the tastings we arranged. A great time was had by everyone with record numbers attending.

After the festival we had the arrival of the newest member of The Whisky Shop Dufftown team, my first granddaughter Thea Jean. She is absolutely gorgeous and has already been round for her first tour of the shop.

Now the season is in full flow and the shop and internet is busier than I have ever known. This will explain why if you come into the shop you may find either Mike or myself asleep in the corner or wandering around like zombies. We have a lot of new bottlings in the shop which we hope to be able to review for you over the next few weeks. You will also find these under the ‘new’ section on our website.

In the shop during the summer (June to September) we are holding free in store tastings every Saturday from 1pm to 5pm, where representatives from either independent bottlers or distilleries, or even breweries will come along to let you taste their latest bottling’s. Come along and join in the fun.

The Shop itself has had brand new windows and door and is looking very smart indeed. Come and see what you think.

Plans for the Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival are well underway and almost complete and will be published soon so keep an eye out for these on the website.

That’s all for now but I will keep you updated again very shortly.

Slainte

 

Lady of the Drams Newsletter 2017

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Newsletters on by .

This year is flying by even quicker than usual. I started the year by enrolling onto the Spirit of Speyside Whisky School for 3 days held at Knockando Distillery, which was amazing. The guys who organise this do a fantastic job each year. We had theory work in the mornings with experts from every stage of the whisky process coming to Knockando to talk us through every step. In the afternoon we had field trips which related to the theory work we had done that morning. The school is a great opportunity to learn about whisky for people who are either in the industry or total novices. There is always something new to learn in the world of whisky.

For the shop, the season started off with a brilliant Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which saw thousands of people come along to the shop and to the tastings we arranged. A great time was had by everyone with record numbers attending.

After the festival we had the arrival of the newest member of The Whisky Shop Dufftown team, my first granddaughter Thea Jean. She is absolutely gorgeous and has already been round for her first tour of the shop.

Now the season is in full flow and the shop and internet is busier than I have ever known. This will explain why if you come into the shop you may find either Mike or myself asleep in the corner or wandering around like zombies. We have a lot of new bottlings in the shop which we hope to be able to review for you over the next few weeks. You will also find these under the ‘new’ section on our website.

In the shop during the summer (June to September) we are holding free in store tastings every Saturday from 1pm to 5pm, where representatives from either independent bottlers or distilleries, or even breweries will come along to let you taste their latest bottling’s. Come along and join in the fun.

The Shop itself has had brand new windows and door and is looking very smart indeed. Come and see what you think.

Plans for the Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival are well underway and almost complete and will be published soon so keep an eye out for these on the website.

That’s all for now but I will keep you updated again very shortly.

Slainte

Dalwhinnie - To be Twinned with Clynelish?

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Tasting Notes on by .

Recently Mike visited the beautiful distillery of Dalwhinnie in the snow and very thoughtfully brought back some samples for me to try and for us both to write tasting notes on. Quite a few of the samples reminded me of the Clynelish house style as you will see below.

Mike had a great informal tour of the distillery.  It had been a while since he had been round and he was surprised to be reminded how small the facility is.  It is well worth a visit and the Visitor Center is great with a cracking selection of tastings to have after your tour.  All paired with fabulous Highland Chocolatier delights.

Dalwhinnie 20170223 01 Web

Dalwhinnie 20170223 10 Web

One cold, dark winters night by lamplight in the middle of nowhere, here's how we got on with our tasting:

15 Years Old

Nose: Hints of maple and sherry wood mingle together. Sweet wood and mushroom risotto becomes pineapple and pears in a wooden bowl.

Taste: Candy sweetness. Oak sawdust spiced pineapple chunks, becomes clementine liqueur. Macerated opal fruits with a touch of wax.

Distillers Edition

Nose: Pineapple in orange juice with oak sprinkles, becomes cinnamon spiced Granny Smith's apples.

Taste: Spiced creaminess with hints of peppered raisins. A touch of burnt toffee. Christmas oranges

25 Years Old

Nose: Orange scented candles with white pepper. Warm sweet coconut oil and warm pine needles. Becomes tinned tropical fruits with more white pepper.

Taste: Warm pineapple rings with cracked pepper. Midori. Wood spice and powdered ginger.

Distillery Only Bottling

Nose: Spiced banana with toffee sauce, becomes more tropical fruits - pineapple, mango and then chocolate toffee orange.

Taste: Creamy and fresh. Clean vanilla lime and creme brulee. Just really, really nice orange liqueur.

Single Cask

Nose: Pine fresh. Damp sawdust. Clear varnish. Liquorice and menthol on the breeze. Fennel and wooden raisins.

Taste: Very clean spice with a hint of toffee. Peppered wax and ripe bananas.



WSD Dalwhinnie 20170223 02 Web Dalwhinnie 20170223 03 Web




Dalwhinnie 20170223 09 Web

The WSD Gin Palace

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Tasting Notes on by .

Well we have given in to the Gin craze that seems to be sweeping the planet at the moment. Not that we're complaining we love gin and there seems to be a new one appearing every week. Woohhooo. So we have given a corner of the shop over to the WSD Gin Palace and it is fast filling up and the shelves bowing.

Whenever we receive a new gin I will endeavour to publish our tasting notes and any other helpful information we can find out for you. So without further ado here's the first one.

Porters Gin. 41.5% abv. Made in Aberdeen.

The botanicals used to create this gin are: Juniper, angelica, almond, coriander, liquorice, lemon, orange, buddhas hand, pink peppercorn, orris root, cassia bark and cinnamon.

On the nose the juniper comes through immediately followed by orange peel, lemon zest a touch of aniseed and fresh lime. With Fever Tree tonic water it is fresh and clean, with freshly squeezed lime juice,cooking apples and dried orange skin.

On the palate it is fresh with a slight touch of bark, closely followed by grapefruit skin, mint, liquorice and lime zest. With tonic fresh green apple skins, pink grapefruit and soft refreshing citrus which cleanses your mouth.

A real easy drinking session gin and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

 

 

Lady Of The Drams - A Quick Update

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams on by .

Well what a year it has been so far for all of us here at The Whisky Shop Dufftown.

In January the shop was refurbished with a new floor and a new desk made from casks and staves. Many have said the new floor actually makes the shop look bigger, so come along and see what you think.

In February we celebrated Mike owning the shop for 10 years and we will continue to celebrate this throughout the rest of the year so keep your eyes peeled for special releases and events. We celebrated in February by launching our own, special recipe beer with the help of our good friend David from Spey Valley Brewery and also a 9 years old Celebration of the Cask Craigellachie single malt whisky which was distilled in 2006, the same year Mike bought the shop. This was bottled by some more good friends of ours, Morrison & MacKay, and Mike and I were lucky enough to go down to their premises and see it actually being bottled and labelled.

We have also employed another member of staff, my daughter Kat, who has a great nose and pallet and brings the element and views of the younger generation of which the whisky industry are keen to encourage to appreciate and drink whisky. It also means Mike and I will have more time to write our blogs. Sorry about that!

Then at the end of April came the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. This was a big success with lots of our tastings sold out before the Festival had even started. As always there were somegreat new bottlings from the independent bottlers of which we only have a few left. (more on this in my next report).

More recently (this week in fact) Kat and I had a tour around Balvenie Distillery with the great David Mair. The tour was brilliant with David explaining everything with enthusiasm and love for the whisky they produce there. One of the things which made the Balvenie tour stand out from the others, for me, is that they have everything there on site from the malting, through the distillation process to the cooperage where you can watch the guys repairing and prepairing the casks ready for use. After touring the distillery we visited the warehouse which used to be the cellar of a big stately home, where visitors can bottle their own 20cl from a choice of 3 different casks. Kat was very excited about this and tried to convince me that bottling one was also part of her training (yeah right) so being the softie I am I let her and this made her day even more special. David then took us back to the tasting room where we were treated to 5 whiskies plus a special whisky from 1974 which was just for ‘Warehouse 24 members which I am lucky to be part of. The other whiskies were the 12 years old Double wood, the 12 years old single barrel, the 17 years old double wood, the 21 years old port cask finish and the Balvenie 30 years old - what a treat! It was great to be able to taste the 2 double woods side by side and compare them. Both Kat and I found the 17 years old to be smoother and more complex than the 12 but I wont go into any tasting notes as Kat is going to cover that in her post.

Also this week Caorunn Gin Distillery, based at  Balmenach Distillery, opened its doors and started doing tours, so this being too good an opportunity to miss, Mike and I went along. On arrival we were taken into a small bothy which serves as their tasting room where we watched a short video (about 3 minutes) about Simon our guide and gin distiller and about how to prepare the perfect Caorunn and tonic. Apparently this involves adding red apples - hhmm well see.  Battling the midges (yes it was a warm day in Scotland) we proceeded to the part of Balmenach where the gin distillery is housed. Simon explained the whole gin making process and told us how he collects some of the botanicals himself from the surrounding hills while they are waiting for their own botanical garden to mature. They have even had a local artist draw the distillation process on the wall of the distillery. We were then taken through a deconstruction of the gin, all the botanicals used were in jars on a table and we were asked to nose the botanicals then nose the neat gin and see if we could pick out that particular botanical. We then plotted this on a chart and after we had done this for all 11 botanicals came the taste test. We went round the botanicals again, this time spraying them from an atomiser onto a piece of paper and tasting the neat gin to see if we could pick out the flavours. It was amazing how once you smell the botanical you can taste it much better. This again was plotted onto a chart and when we had all finished we went back to the bothy for a taste of the Caorunn with tonic and red apple. It actually worked, with the apple bringing a fresh fruity flavour to the gin and bringing some of the flavours out, as apple is one of the botanicals used. The whole experience was great and it was a new and innovative way to help people pick up the botanicals in the gin and how they complement each other.

So, all in all it has been a great start to the year and lets hope it continues for the rest of the year.

Slainte.

Lady of the Drams Christmas Cognacs

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, New Whisky Releases and Bottlings on by .

Hi Everyone,

Last week we received some fantastic Cognacs courtesy of The Great Whisky Company, which I think will make perfect after Christmas dinner drinks. Just imagine you are sitting by the fire, belly full of turkey (or nut roast for the vegetarians amongst us), happy and content, with a very fine cognac in your hand. What a perfect way to finish the day. All these are at 40% abv and in 20cl bottles. Great value for money they would also make great stocking fillers.

The first one is Chateau DeTriac Reserve De La Famille. This is what I would call their starter cognac. On the nose I initially got melted caramac bars, sweet sherry and dark morello cherries steeped in well aged rum and Demerara sugar. Following on was fresh Simnel cake covered in apricot conserve and marzipan.

The palate brought sweet caramel, burnt sugar (still Demerara) and baked oranges. This developed into well baked fruit cake with cherries and candied peel. A great way to start the evening.

The next one I tried was Tiffon Tres Vieille Reserve Fins Bois.  This one was a tad deeper and richer than the first and is 60 to 70 years old. The nose gave up an old mahogany chest of drawers, fig pudding and steamed Christmas pudding. As strange as it may sound it had a very ‘deep nose.

The palate was rich and warming with baked figs in syrup, and spicy marmalade on a fresh, warm panettone.

The final cognac is Tiffon Tres Vieille Reserve Grande Champagne aged between 80 to 100 years old and is definitely my favourite. The nose was silky smooth and rich with raisins and sultanas, dark plums and cherries. A sumptuous black forest gateaux.

The palate gives you an initial firey hit but this quickly fades out to smooth Galaxy chocolate (other chocolates are available) with a sprinkling of light spices on top. It caresses the mouth and as it travels down feels luxurious and definitely moreish. Warm nights on a tropical beach.

So as you may be able to tell I am a big fan of these new Cognacs, especially as I am not usually a cognac drinker but these will definitely be at my Christmas table for while the kids are doing the washing up!

Lady of The Dram's Visits Twitter

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Whisky Tastings and Events News on by .

Hello All,

Firstly I apologise again for not posting sooner but things have been hectic since the Festival and on the run up to Christmas.

At the end of November Mike was invited to take part in a Twitter Tasting by Allied Glass and asked if I would like to sit in on it with him. Obviously I jumped at the chance having never done one before and being intrigued to see how it would work out. The people taking part had been sent a tasting set with tasting notes and hash tag details for the twitter account.

Kicking it off was the aptly named,  Raasay While we wait.  At 46% abv this single malt consisted of both peated and unpeated whiskies finished in French oak Tuscan wine casks from 3 different vineyards. The nose was quite sweet wafting honeysuckle, ripe pears, quince jelly and rose petal perfume. The palate quite different though - spicy to start with wisps of smoke blowing on the breeze, soft summer fruits in the background which turn to tropical fruits after a short while. Oranges infused with cinnamon then lead to a spiced liquorice finish which is warming all the way down.  As everybody involved picked out the different notes and tastes they tweeted what they thought. It was working , this tweeting lark.

The next whisky was Benriach 16 years old at 43% abv. While I have tasted this whisky before I got quite different notes this time. On the nose it started out as freshly laundered bed linen turning to dark cherries in a wooden bowl, Kirsch maybe, fading to marzipan in sweet desiccated coconut. The palate gave out spiced mango, milk chocolate bounty bars with a touch of gooseberry jam. A sharp, sweet taste, with a medium length finish, warming and lightly spiced. Mike added his, and some of my tasting notes and it was great to see everybody else adding theirs as they went along.

Loch Lomond Original at 40% abv was quite different to how I had imagined it would be. On the nose, a mixture of linseed oil with smoked sausage, tinned pineapple and winter jasmine giving a slight nose prickle and a touch of pernod. The palate was spiced tropical fruits,  with a sharp lime zest twist and cloves, spiced key lime pie and rapeseed plants in the summer. The tweets were flowing thick and fast now and I dont know how Mike kept up to them.

Last but one, Tomatin Legacy, 43%abv. The nose was very floral like a spring garden. Melted butter on freshly toasted croissants, blanched almonds with a jelly baby sweetness. Bitter lemons on the palate and burnt crumpets with warm all spice, liquorice and pink peppercorns leading to a spicy, waxy finish, slightly mouth drying. It was brilliant, the way everyone involved was comparing and tweeting their notes for each whisky and you could read everyone elses thoughts on them.

The final whisky was Old Pulteney 12 years old, 40%abv.The nose brought to mind salted bourbon biscuits, floral air fresheners with a slight hint of peanut butter on salted caramel chocolate bars. The palate was spicier than the nose with flavours of mackerel in brine and spiced lychees. Sitting on the beach in Autumn.

Well that was the end of the tweet tasting and I have to admit it was a fun, fascinating and slightly quircky way of doing a whisky tasting.  I can see it taking off though and becoming more popular in the whisky community. Its a great way of comparing notes and of reading somebody elses notes and thinking ‘oh yeah I get that taste as well. So, if you ever get the chance to join in on one, go ahead, youll have a great night tasting good whiskies and meeting great people.

Until next time, Sliante

Lady of the Drams.

Lady of the Drams Festival Highlights

This entry was posted in Blog, Lady of the Drams, Whisky Tastings and Events News on by .

Our very own Lady of the Dram's reviews The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival 2015

Firstly I apologise for not posting sooner but things have been very hectic here one way and another.

The Whisky Shop Dufftown Autumn Festival 2015 was another great success this year. It was great to see all our regulars and all the new faces, of which there were a lot, enjoying themselves. Here are some of the highlights of the festival for me.

On Thursday Mike kicked the festival off with his Big Dram tasting which was well attended and the whiskies well received.  The first drop was drunk.

Friday saw a couple of new events, the Half ‘n half Tasting during the afternoon followed by a cocktail masterclass at The Dowans. For the half n half we saw Mark from the Old Worthy Brewing Co team up with Robert Ransom from Angels Nectar. Mark is very passionate about his beers and has taken great care when choosing which whiskies to pair them with. Robert is also very proud of the Angels Nectar and Strane Gin (a great gin from Sweden). The pairings were very well matched each bringing some different flavours out in the other. The cocktail class was a huge success with the crazy Murray sisters entertaining us all with their anecdotes and sisterly jibes at each other. It was also really good to see quite a few newcomers to this event having the time of their life. They were all crazy so obviously become good friends of The Whisky Shop Dufftown. Fab cocktails were plentiful and it was announced to the group that my daughter had actually won the cocktail competition which had taken place earlier in the week (thats the last time I remind her to enter an event)

Saturday came and Antonia from Adelphi brought some great new whiskies, my favourite being the Invergordon 43 years old which had an amazing taste of milk chocolate bounty bars (knowing my taste, probably the most expensive of the bunch). Mike followed, looking very dashing in full kilt, continuing on his quest for Dufftown to become a recognised independent Whisky region.  The audience were treated to some great Dufftown whiskies and entertained by Mikes presentation which included a few of his friends as you have never seen them before. In the evening we were back to the Dowans for some whisky dining. The food was, as always, fantastic and everyone seemed to enjoy the whiskies Mike and I had carefully chosen to compliment the courses. All went home feeling well fed and content and ready for a good nights sleep.

Sunday and it was my turn. David MacDonald (Spey Valley Brewery) and I hosted our beer, whisky and food tasting. This time from the 1980s complete with fancy dress, oh yes Im afraid so, David metamorphed into Michael Jackson and I was complete with rainbow wig (which Mike took a liking too as it was the first time hed had hair that long) and many coloured accessories (Im sure there are many photos kicking around on various sites). For those in the audience that we didnt scare away they reminisced with us over the food and the music and were even given sweeties for being good. Peter from Morrison & MacKay followed and Im not sure how they get their casks but they really are bringing some amazing whiskies to The Whisky Shop Dufftown.

The final day and not only did this bring another new tasting but a new presenter. Richard Urquhat from Gordon & Macphail held a vertical Benromach tasting. Whilst Richard may be used to more cosmopolitan audiences and sunnier climates he was a fountain of knowledge and passionate about the whiskies and the new packaging the distillery now has. Watch out Mike P you may have your slot stolen. The new addition was Compass Box presented by Herman. I have never been in a tasting where the presenter is so excited and enthusiastic about the products that he actually forgot to taste the whiskies he was talking about. Compass Box seem to be really trying to grab peoples attention and get themselves out there with whisky enthusiasts everywhere. The Drams party was the final event of the night and as always it was a fantastic end to the festival. Many whiskies were drunk, prizes given and to my shock, delight and amazement Mike presented me with a brand new guitar from himself and Val for my 5 year anniversary of working for them. They may be sorry.

Well thats just some of my festival highlights, as always the atmosphere was great and the feedback we have had amazing, with many of the new attendees telling us they will be back. Were holding you to that guys. Ill be back soon with notes from some of the events I attended before the festival and news of trips to come.

Happy dramming

Lady of the Drams.

Vicky Duty of The WSD and The Olive Tree