GUEST BLOG: More Octomore, please!

Guest blog by Paul Nyberg (twitter: @derekcuster). Thanks Paul!!

Octomore 9.1

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I must begin with a disclaimer. While I have had one or three Bruichladdichs since really getting into my whisky rather than just drinking it, I would never have come across the Octomore range if I hadn't heard about the extreme peat on This is my Dram. When Stu and Andy went through the 8.1 and 8.2 on Series 3 Episode 4, I almost had to pull the car over (I'm a podcast-while-commuting guy) to mop up the saliva!

My old man got me into enjoying whisky with Talisker, Laphroaig and Ardbeg so peat was almost my introduction to scotch whisky. When I heard that Bruichladdich were taking peat levels far above anything I'd ever tasted and then doubled down on it I knew this was one I needed to try. I decided to stretch my usual budget beyond breaking point and treat myself.

Anyway, after that preamble, I shot for the sky and grabbed myself a bottle of the 9.1. It turned up and the beauty of the box and bottle blew me away. The black design is gorgeous. It looks a million dollars, even the lid on the box is a thing of beauty. It has a monster PPM of 156, it is cask strength at 59.1%, and is matured in bourbon casks (mainly Jim Beam and Jack Daniels) for 5 years.

Then you open the thing.

While I let the whisky open up I checked that the battery in the smoke alarm hadn't packed in, and when I was convinced it was just my drink I settled down to deep dive into this stuff.

Nose: Smoke, obviously. Not medicinal like a lower end Islay can be, but a combination of a regular peaty whisky with someone puffing on a cigar with a nice hardwood fire on.

Palete: Smoke smoke smoke. Then some oak, perhaps a hint of citrus and vanilla in there too.

Finish: It isn't still going on the following day, but it's lingering. More like having a mouthful of cigar smoke than whisky.

All in all I adored it. Despite being 59.1% it doesn't ever seem that strong. There is no aggression with this one, it's subtle while still packing a huge Iron Mike punch! Behind the smoke there are a plethora of flavours just waiting to be discovered. Each sip brings more out of it. An absolutely incredible whisky.

Given that This Is My Dram is all about pairing Whisky and Music... As a song choice to go with the Octomore; Bury Me in Smoke by Down yelled at me for the obvious connection, but this is a song I have loved for a long time. I saw Down play Newcastle back in 2006 when they didn't have a record label or anything behind them, and they put on one of the greatest shows in Newcastle uni basement I've ever been to. A week later I saw them turn up at Download Festival as unannounced guests and played this song for 50,000+ super happy drunken fools at 1 in the afternoon. For me it's a timeless song, and that main riff... if it doesn't make you want to thrash on air guitar then you just ain't right!

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GUEST BLOG: A Whiskey that gives you Flaming Lips!

Guest blog by Aiden Bertie (Thanks Aiden!)


So here I am, sitting writing my first ever blog, listening to the band “The Flaming Lips”, and drinking a limited release of FEW rye whiskey as I do. It’s no coincidence that I’m listening to this particular band while I drink this though, as this whiskey is a collaboration between FEW Spirits of Evanston, Illinois; and the rock band The Flaming Lips!

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FEW Spirits, craft distillers of American whiskey and gin, are the first distillery in Evanston since Prohibition and use ingredients from within 150 miles of their distillery to create this whiskey. Rumour has it that they’re named after Francis Elizabeth Willard, a local woman and part of the temperance movement that ultimately led to Prohibition in America, but they stick to the story that they chose the name FEW as they produce spirits for the few. We believe you… This rye whiskey is bottled at 40% which is lower than their other ryes and comes in a bottle with the most amazing artwork, only 5000 have been produced.

Ok, time to ‘fess up’. Before getting hold of this whiskey, I had only briefly heard of the Flaming Lips due to the This is my Dram podcast, apparently they’ve been around since the 1980’s! Shame on me. Why have I never listened before? I’m asking myself that right now while I nod my head and tap my foot to the tune “Brainville”. Which leads me nicely onto the point of this blog, FEW Flaming Lips Brainville Rye!

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The nose is dominated by a particularly spicy, youthful and grainy aroma, one I think is really unique to FEW bourbon and ryes whiskies. There are some slight orange and toffee notes the more I poke my nose in the glass, maybe a little maple syrup too.

On the palate that same rye spice dominates and there’s a sweetness there but it doesn’t push its way through the spice, it just sits there being sweet and pleasant. There’s mint, not like a mint sweet, but more like a sprig of fresh mint leaves, leaving a herbal note as it disappears.

There’s not much of a finish to speak of, just a little bitterness from the oak lingering on the tongue as the flavours fade.

Overall, it’s a really enjoyable whiskey and one that’s a little different to the other whiskies in my cupboard, a very easy drinker for me.

Back to music, this is a music and whisk(e)y website after all! I was asked to choose an accompanying music video for this blog. After much deliberation, and because I couldn’t easily find a video for Brainville which would have been ideal (it’s a great track, check it out), I have chosen She Don’t Use Jelly. On first listening to this track I was instantly transported back to the 90’s, a time when I was discovering music. It just had that 90’s sound for me and I’ve since listened to it several times! It’s one of a few (pardon the pun) songs that I’m really enjoying lately. Now you can enjoy it too:

A huge thank you to the guys at This Is My Dram for inviting me to write a guest blog for their website, it’s a little different to the reviews I’ve done for our mutual friends down the road in Nottingham, the Bourbon Gents but hopefully you’ve enjoyed it all the same. Also, thanks to Maverick Drinks who ran the Instagram competition that led to me winning this bottle!

Thanks for reading and if you haven’t already, go and listen to The Flaming Lips. Find me at the following:

Instagram: Bobafett2k6

Twitter: @Bobafett2k6



Caol Ila 18 and 34 year old Mackillop’s Choice single cask

Ramblings by Stu

Taking a vertical tasting very literally... 

Taking a vertical tasting very literally... 

 

Caol Ila is close to our hearts here at This Is My Dram HQ for many reasons. Not only did their 12 year expression become the focus of our first ever podcast (... safe to say we were getting used to the podcast game back then, more one for our more devoted fans... hi Mum!!), but also the name is Gaelic for “Sounds of Islay”! Is there a better choice for a Whisky and music Podcast?

However, whilst I know and love the 12 year expression, the 18 year is less familiar, and the rare 34 year single cask with the moniker “Mackillop’s choice” is totally unfamiliar territory. I’m lucky enough to have a wife kind enough to seek out such expressions as a present for me. She’s a keeper, aye!

Whilst the 18 year expression is widely available (£85 at Master of Malt, though we encourage you to see if you can dig it out at your local whisky shop, see here for our “buy local” map of whisky shops!), the 34 year old Mackillop’s choice seems to be sold out in most places, and a bottle would set you back £280-ish! There are still samples available from Drinks by the dram for £21-22 from Master of Malt if you really want to try it.

Anyway, onto the tasting notes!!

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Caol Ila 18 year old

Nose: that classic Caol Ila nose, sweet and subtly peaty, smokey bacon crisps (always get this since Andy mentioned it as a tasting note when we first tried it!), slight honey and liquorice. The wood comes through after it opens up a bit.

Palate: thick, rich, oaky and peaty. It’s like the 12 year old but with added oomph!

Finish: prickly alcohol warmth and sweet peat continues, delightful

 

Caol Ila 34 year old 1980 cask 4962 Mackillop’s Choice

Nose: ok, bear with me on this one... imagine putting some salty smoked mackerel into half a fresh melon... that’s what this smells like, as pretentious as it sounds! The aging has removed some of the peat. It’s fresh, grassy, floral and earthy. Smoke comes across very subtlety and more as the salted smoked mackerel I mentioned. Leaving it to open up further gives a sweet peppery malty spice. Very complex and interesting!

Palate: smooth rich and sweet. The peat is still subtle, perhaps due to the age, which is really satisfying. Melon returns, this time with honey and aniseed.

Finish: long and sweet peaty tingliness, quite drying

Final thoughts...

If you are a massive Caol Ila fan, I recommend you try and get hold of some Mackillop’s choice while you still can just to sample how different, complex and interesting an old single cask tastes from Caol Ila. However if you want a solid Caol Ila expression that is reasonably priced and will always impress, you can’t got too far wrong with the 18 year.

...and the all important tunes?... 

Music to accompany these has to be the sounds of Islay with a song about and island in the sun... fitting for those crisp Islay sunny days, lounging around drinking a dram... it has to be Weezer’s mellow and melodic Island in the Sun. Enjoy.