S6E5 - Arran 18

In this jam packed episode, we take part in a youtube livestream with whisky-tuber No Nonsense Whisky (a.k.a Vin PF) in which we discuss the Arran 18 whisky.

We also put together a playlist of songs with a theme of Golden Eagles, in reference to the nesting Golden Eagles that delayed the building of the Arran Distillery. You can find the full playlist here:

We also have regular features, the Science Bit, the Listener Bit, and the Dramier League Table. You can let us know what you think of the episode by following us on Twitter or Instagram @thisismydram.

S6E4 - Octomore 8.1 & 8.2

Welcome all Peat freaks! This episode we review two of the peatiest whiskies money can buy: Bruichladdich's Octomore 8.1 and 8.2, both a massive 167 PPM.

We pair the whisky with a playlist focused on 8/Octo to go with it, you can find the full playlist here:

We are also joined by a guest and big fan of the Bruichladdich distillery, John. You can follow him on twitter @jwbassman_ , and find out all about him as he takes on the grilling questions in "the listener bit".

We also have regular features the Science Bit and the Dramier League Table. Please remember to follow us on twitter and instagram @thisismydram.

Here are a few images from Stu’s visit to the Bruichladdich distillery from August 2018:

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S6E3 - Starward Whisky 10th Anniversary

G'Day mate! We go Down Under (in spirit, anyway) for this Australian themed episode, where we review Starward whisky's 10th Anniversary bottling.

We also play songs to go along with it along a space theme, given the distillery's out of this world name and bottle designs:

We also have a new feature, the "listener bit" with this episode featuring our favourite Australian listener, Daniel Hoper (@why_not_whisky on twitter), and... does the Science Bit finally return?! well... I wouldn't want to ruin it for you, so you'll have to listen to find out.

Get in touch on twitter or instagram (@thisismydram).

You can find all of our podcast episodes on iTunes, acast, stitcher, or any decent podcast app.

S6E1 - Yoichi Distillery

A brand new series kicks off with a slightly different style of episode, we start with a documentary piece on Stu's trip to the Yoichi distillery in Japan in November last year. This is followed by a tasting of the Single Malt Yoichi Whisky, and a comparison to the distillery exclusive "Peaty & Salty" expression.

As always, we score the whisky for the Dramier League table, and play some Japanese music to go with the Japanese whisky. Have a listen to the episode on all good podcast apps, and here:

The music played on the episode can be found in this Spotify playlist:

...and here is a transcript of the documentary element of this episode:

I travelled to Japan with my wife in November 2018 to explore the incredible culture and cost some Japanese distilleries to find out more about the whiskies which I had grown to love from the Far East. We landed in Tokyo, and spent 4 crazy days wondering around a city of non stop lights and noise from all angles, it’s crazy, exciting and intimidating.

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We fell in love with it but felt completely exhausted after days of exploring and jet lag, so it was a welcome relief to catch a flight to Hokkaido - the most northern of Japan’s main islands. Japan is an island of extreme’s, technology juxtoposed with tradition, temples next to skyscrapers, innovation crossed with historic attitudes, and these competing extremes are reflected in the difference between a manic and buzzing Tokyo, compared to the quiet and serene Hokkaido. This calm island with landscape reminiscent of parts of Scotland, is where we would find Nikka’s Yoichi distillery, nestled in a small town on the west coast of Hokkaido.

The Yoichi distillery is located by the sea in the small town of Yoichi in Hokkaido, which has distinctly Scottish feel, and the island even has its own peat from the nearby Ishikari valley.

The distillery is beautiful, the .leach of the indivdual parts of the distillery are housed in traditional Japanese buildings looking like Pagodas and surrounded by fields, trees and gardens. It is here we found out about the fascinating character of Masataka Taketsuru, his loyal wife Rita, and their labour of love at the Yoichi distillery.

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Masataka Taketsuru was 19 when he moved to Scotland to learn about the craft of creating scotch whisky. He spent 18 months in Scotland - working at 3 distilleries in that time and painstakingly documenting the process of distilling and maturing whisky, but perhaps just as significantly met the love of his life, Rita Cowan. After her fiancé died in world war 1, Takestsuru was a chance of a different life and new world. Taketsuru offered to stay in Glasgow with Rita, but knowing his passion was in Japan, Rita insisted they move to Japan - against the best wishes of her family. So Taketsuru and Rita returned to Japan, complete with an in depth knowledge of making that spirit we all know and love... whisky

The Japanese whisky industry has two major players, Suntory created by Shinjiro Torii (the last two syllables of company and founder being the same is no coincidence)... and Nikka founded by the aforementioned Masataka Taketsuru. However, Taketsuru started his career working for Suntory and helping to set up Japan’s first ever whisky distillery, Yamazaki, in 1923. Taketsuru left to set up his own distillery in Yoichi in 1933 due to “creative differences”, and Nikka was born. This may not have been possible were it not for the influence of his Scottish wife, Rita, once again. She was instrumental (quite literally) in raising the funds to set up the Yoichi distillery, as she taught Piano in Kyoto to the children of the eventual wealthy investors of the distillery.

The distillery may be a trek to get to, but once you’re there you are rewarded with free entry to the distillery, as you make your way around each building at your own pace. One of the most fascinating sights is not far from the entrance, where the distillery workers are shovelling coal into their coal fired pot stills, a traditional method which we believe is now unique to the distillery, as all other distilleries worldwide have moved onto more modern methods. `insert sound of coal shovelling` The skill required to keep the still at the correct temperature using a coal fire is a difficult one to master. The reward for doing so though, is a extra element of flavour which is now unique to Yoichi and Nikka. The coal fire give variations in temperatures and hot spots, which gives additional roasted flavours. But the skill is to stop it from burning.

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The distillery also has a small warehouse, fascinating museum, and whisky bar complete with an opportunity to buy a dram of many hard to find expressions of Japanese whisky. Unfortunately for me, I was the designated driver due to an “admin error” in my wife’s international drivers permit... note to anyone visiting Japan who is planning to drive ... make sure you get the drivers permit in the UK before you go, and make sure they’ve stamped the right bloody things on it! We were close to resorting to my wife driving me to the distillery on the back of a motorbike... which in fairness, may appeal to some of you out there! Perhaps the only disappointing part of the distillery tour was the tasting at the end. This is perhaps due to the fact it is completely free ... which is remarkable in fairness so I shouldn’t complain... but the opportunity to pay for some more interesting expressions with someone to talk you through the tasting would have been welcome. You have to resort to the pricey whisky bar if you want to geek out! The gift shop has some interesting distillery only versions of the Yoichi single malt, including a sherried version, and the “peaty and salty” version I picked up. These are much sought after given you can only get them at the distillery and I can highly recommend them.

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We finished our tour reflecting on the incredible impact of Rita Cowan on this distillery and her husband. Growing up in an age where women could easily take a back seat, it’s fascinating to hear how important Rita was to the success of Nikka, and how much she sacrificed for the ambitions of her husband. 

Rita’s story is so popular, that there has even been a recent fictionalised soap opera of her relationship with Taketsuru, broadcast on Japan’s main TV station, called asadora. Many fans of Rita make an annual pilgrimage to the distillery to pay their respects. 

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So there it is. Yoichi distillery. A place that has a fascinating story, of love, loyalty, ambition and tradition. Given my love of whisky, it was worth the ambitious long trip to the far north of Japan to experience it, and I encourage any Japanese whisky fan out there to do the same if you get the opportunity. Surrounded by serenity in Hokkaido, it is a truly unique experience. We raise a glass to Masataka Taketsuru, and his inspirational Scottish wife, Rita Cowan.

S5E6 - Bushmills Black Bush

In the last episode of our budget series, we review the blended Irish Whiskey: Bushmills Black Bush. Given Andy has relocated back home to Northern Ireland, just down the road from the Bushmills Distillery, we thought it was worth exploring a budget whiskey from his hometown, and we pair it with songs about relocating and moving.

Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @thisismydram

S5E5 - Writer's Tears Red Head

This episode, we review a beautiful Irish budget Whiskey matured in Spanish sherry butts... Writer's Tears Red Head from Walsh Whiskey. We pair it with some songs by brilliant red head musicians.

One of those musicians is Rebecca Jones, who we interview over Skype and get her thoughts on the whiskey as well as her music.

As always, we would love to hear from you so please follow us on Twitter or Instagram @thisismydram.

S5E4 - Four Roses Single Barrel

Time for a rebrand as the "Bourbon Gentlemen" for an episode... we immediately deny any copyright issue with the Bourbon Gents podcast - see you in court boys!

So with our Bourbon hats on for a change, we review Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon. Four Roses was the favourite tipple of American writer William Faulkner, so we play songs with a literary theme to go with the whiskey.

Andy's "Science Bit" doesn't quite make a return, but we do have a suitable alternative for this episode to keep the fans happy... 

S5E3 - Johnnie Walker Black Label

In this episode, we tackle the goliath brand of the Whisky industry - Johnnie Walker! We taste the Black Label 12 year old blended whisky (fitting within our budget range of £20-£40) and play some UK No 1 hits to accompany this No1 best selling whisky brand - finding No 1 songs that didn't harm our "impeccable" (...ahem) reputation was somewhat challenging, but we certainly embraced it!

S5E2 - Monkey Shoulder

In the second episode of our budget whisky series, we review the well known blended malt Monkey Shoulder, and create a playlist of songs about Monkeys to go with it! Feel free to add your favourite monkey songs to our collaborative playlist on Spotify.

Please add your favourite monkey related songs to this playlist (or tweet us if you don't have spotify and we'll add it for you!):

Get in touch with us by contacting us on twitter or instagram @thisismydram, or go to our website thisismydram.com for all our podcasts, playlist and blogs. Cheers!

S5E1 - The Amber Light/Glen Moray Elgin Classic Sherry

Welcome to a BRAND NEW SERIES, and the start of our "budget whiskies" series. Our first budget whisky is a Glen Moray Elgin Classic Sherry cask finish whisky, which can generally be found for the ridiculous price of £20-£25. We also have a great interview with Whisky guru and all round nice guy Dave Broom, who is raising money for his new documentary film called The Amber Light. You can support the project here. But be quick! The Kickstarter ends on 6th April 2018.

To go along with the Amber Light film, we continue the film theme by playing songs from film soundtracks on the podcast, including a song suggested by Dave Broom. Follow us on twitter & Instagram and keep up with The Amber Light film @amberlightfilm. You can listen to the full playlist here: 

This Is My Dram are licenced to play full tracks through a LOML licence from PRS.

S4E6 - G&M Miltonduff 1997 (Newcastle Whisky Festival)

An explosive (or not...) final episode of our fourth season in which we try a Gordon & MacPhail cask strength Miltonduff whisky, which was 20 years old and an absolute beaut! We were lucky enough to sit down with G&M's very own Ben Bowers at the Newcastle Whisky festival and discuss how the company is evolving, and try the whisky itself.

We play some tracks, as always, to accompany the whisky, and this time we focussed on festival headliners to keep in with the theme of the whisky festival we attended. We also have a song suggestion from a twitter friend we met at the festival, Scott Munro, and do the usual Science Bit, and Dramier League Table. Please follow us on twitter and Instagram. Cheers!

This Is My Dram have a PRS LOML licence to play full tracks on the podcast.

S4E5 - Bushmills 21

Delving into a beautiful whiskey from the north shores of the emerald isle, the lads review Bushmills 21 and pair it with some music with a theme of "home" given half of This Is My Dram (Andy) grew up just down the road from the famous Bushmills distillery. They also have the usual Science Bit and Dramier League Table, as well as a 20 second review of some Caol Ila 12 whisky fudge from Sarah aka @iheartwhisky... it's fair to say the This Is My Dram team are now undeniably whisky fudge addicts.

Follow us on twitter and Instagram - Enjoy!

This Is My Dram have a PRS LOML licence to play full tracks on their podcast.

S4E4 - Hibiki 17

This episode marks the satisfying conclusion to a sacred quest, for the holy grail (or indeed, unicorn) that is an affordable bottle of Hibiki 17. Stu tracked a bottle down for a very reasonable price (excluding the cost of flights, board and accommodation) in a recent holiday in Japan, just in time for the first breaths of 2018 so we could look back on a year of fantastic music and enjoy a dram of the rare stuff. 

It's all pretty well explained in the podcast. Tell you what, while you wait for it to download here are some lovely new words that made it into the dictionary (OED, naturally) in 2017:

1. Buggerlug (n.) - An affectionate term for a child, particularly when it isn't listening to the adult.
2. Spooge (n. formal) - Any sealant or lubricant applied during the assembly of electronic equipment.
3. Throat Sing (v.) - To perform throat singing.
4. Ginkgolide (n.) - Any of a group of bitter compounds present in the leaves and roots of the ginkgo tree.
5. Zyzzyva (n.) - A genus of tropical weevils native to South America.
6. Belyando spew (n. informal) - Any illness marked by bouts of vomiting.

Anyway, to music! The six, yes six, tracks that feature on the podcast, in full, are:

Stu’s 1st selection: Rolling Blackouts Coast Fever  - French Press
Andy’s 1st selection: Public Service Broadcasting - They Gave Me A Lamp

Stu’s 2nd selection: Melanie De Biasio - Afro Blue
Andy’s 2nd selection: Richard Dawson - Soldier


Stu’s 3rd selection: Colin Stetson - Like wolves on the fold
Andy’s 3rd selection: Hurray For The Riff Raff - Living In The City

For the playlist, we gave runner-up nods to King Krule, Phoenix, Arca, Four Tet, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Les Amazone d'Afrique (Dombolo)...Have a listen to the full playlist here:

Don't forget to follow us on twitter, subscribe to the podcast on your trusty podable devices and even leave a satisfying 5-star review, which helps us get new listeners and frees the Princess from the haunted castle.

S4E3 - GlenfarXmas Special

Choosing the right Christmas present can be hard. You have to weigh up your recipient's passions and ambitions with your price budget and choice of tax-dodging delivery services. Choosing a Christmas present for someone you've presented almost 25 podcast episodes about whisky, it turns out, is somewhat easier. This year, knowing our respective love for sherried Speysiders and their inherent "liquid Christmas cake" nature, both wrapped a delicious Glenfarclas expression for our festive blind tasting charade.

Stu was up first with an accidental litre of Glenfarclas 105, a cask-strength heavy hitter, which sent Andy to the right vicinity quite quickly in the taste test but required a couple of minor hints to narrow it down to the correct dram. It's a firm favourite at This Is My Dram HQ and is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any whisky drinker. Andy took a punt on a bottle of Glenfarclas 1996 Premium Edition (bottled 2017), which is a bottling generally prepared for the German market as the label on the back of the bottle confirmed (Spricht irgendwer Deutsch?). It was a lighter dram than the 105, with pleasing hints of aniseed and menthol, that reminded us of aspects of the 15, 17 and 25 year expressions available in the core range. Stu picked out all the right notes in the blind test but couldn't reasonably be expected to guess the bottling. It turns out 'distillery beginning with G' is one of the least useful clues in a whisky guessing game. Glen-everything!

The tracks that feature on the podcast, in full, are:

Andy’s 1st selection: The Futureheads - Christmas Was Better In The 80s
Stu’s 1st selection: Phoenix - Alone On Christmas Day

Andy’s 2nd selection: Soul Saints Orchestra - Santa's Got A Bag Of Soul
Stu’s 2nd selection: Gaz Coombes and Adam Buxton - I Believe In Father Christmas

For the playlist, we covered all the bases with 20s jazz, 70s soul, poetic folk, indie rock, Christmas film soundtracks and of course, Sufjan Stevens...Have a listen to the full playlist here:

Don't forget to follow us on twitter, subscribe to the podcast on your trusty podable devices and even leave a satisfying 5-star review, which helps us get new listeners and helps Santa juggle the burden of delivering all the presents and keeping Rudolph off the heroin for another year.

S4E2 - Yamazaki 12 and 18

Luckily at This Is My Dram, we have one presenter who is enthusiastic and sociable enough to actually go abroad on holiday and a much anticipated trip to Japan presented an obvious opportunity for resident Japanese whisky nut, Stu, to visit a couple of whisky distilleries. In this episode we enjoy two expressions from the Yamazaki distillery, the 12 year and the rare and expensive 18 year (courtesy of our friends at The Bourbon Gents) along with some excellent Japanese music.

Yamazaki is the oldest distillery in Japan and proudly displays Barrel no.1 - the genesis of Japanese whisky - on the distillery tour. Although the company, founded by Shinjiro Torii, has been producing whisky since the 1920s, the Yamazaki label did not appear until 1984 and has been one of the most sought after Japanese whiskies in recent years.

Check out some of Stu's fantastic photos from his visit to Yamazaki Distillery:

Our playlist theme for this episode was Japanese music - obvious and enticing - and despite having featured as a playlist theme way back in series 1, we still had a treasure trove of splendid tracks to choose from. Stu selected an indie classic reimagining the robotic battles of a real Japanese drum legend and some fullwidth font ambient electro from 2 8 1 4. Andy opted for an anime space cowboy's funk-jazz theme tune and a song so shoegaze you'll have shoelaces burned onto your retina.

The tracks that feature on the podcast, in full, are:

Stu’s 1st selection: The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
Andy’s 1st selection: Yoko Kanno & Seatbelts - Tank!

Stu’s 2nd selection: 2 8 1 4 - 修復 (Repair)
Andy’s 2nd selection: Boris - Farewell

For the playlist, we mined the anime and computer game genre a little further, sampled a little underground trip hop and finally found a spiritual home for Dave Brubeck...Have a listen to the full playlist here:

Don't forget to follow us on twitter, subscribe to the podcast on your trusty podable devices and even leave a satisfying 5-star review, which helps us get new listeners and keeps the hell gate closed for another epoch.

S4E1 pt.2 - Glen Moray 1994 sherry cask finish

Something a little different for this episode with a format where the This Is My Dram boys don't actually say very much for once. Well you can stop subscribing in unprecedented numbers because we'll very much be back talking your ears off the side of your head in the next episode. You'll just have to enjoy this brief moment of respite.

We were led into battle on this occasion by Sorren Krebs a.k.a @ocdwhisky who is a fountain of whisky knowledge and long-time Friend of the Pod. We were treated to an exclusive tasting of a special dram - Glen Moray 1994 Sherry Cask Finish - which Sorren had collected both in honour of the year of his daughter's birth and because it is quite frankly a superb bottle of whisky. You can read Sorren's in depth review of the full 1994 range from Glen Moray on his fantastic blog.

We were joined by Ed Milner a.k.a. @MrEdwardMilner and his mate Tom. We don't know much about Tom but we can speculate. I reckon he's a venture capitalist with a keen eye for an investment opportunity and was in attendance to scope out a couple of distilleries ripe for a hostile takeover. I might be wrong.

We made sure to retain an element of our modus operandi (that's Geordie for a dubious reputation) by including a couple of song choices from the very obvious year of 1994, which we soon found to be a golden year for fantastic music and not just fantastic whisky. Don't forget to follow us on twitter, get in touch with feedback and suggestions and send us locks of your hair in the post.

S4E1 pt.1 - That Boutique-y Whisky Company: Mortlach 22

A rare public outing for This Is My Dram on this episode, as we attend the Whisky Lounge's York Whisky Festival 2017 at York Racecourse. Although we considered a general sweep review of the whiskies on offer, we felt one particular "under the counter" dram at That Boutique-y Whisky Company's stand warranted closer inspection.

Mortlach whisky is a niche brand to begin with and is renowned for its deep, meaty flavours. I wish the same could be said about the pulled pork sandwiches on offer at the racecourse but that's another story. The whisky itself was a revelation amongst a day of many highly impressive drams and we really can't recommend Whisky Lounge events enough for whisky beginners and enthusiasts alike. Also featuring on this podcast is Friend of the Pod and fudge-maker extraordinaire Sarah @iheartwhisky talking about whisky, fudge and how to rave properly.

Our playlist theme for this episode was Halloween music to both coincide with the eventual episode release date (everything is meticulously planned like this, of course) and to honour the Beast of Dufftown which appears on the Mortlach 22 illustrated lable. Andy selected some spooky soul and tenuously linked New Orleans R&B while Stu opted for a pop classic and a spellbound vocal take.

The tracks that feature on the podcast, in full, are:

Andy’s 1st selection: Otis Redding - Trick or Treat
Stu’s 1st selection: Michael Jackson - Thriller

Andy’s 2nd selection: Fats Domino - I Hear You Knocking
Stu’s 2nd selection: Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put A Spell On You

For the playlist, we maniacally hacked our way through a couple of  horror movie themes (and their time signatures) alongside witches, monsters and er...Harry Belafonte....Have a listen to the full podcast here:

Don't forget to follow us on twitter, subscribe to the podcast on your trusty podable devices and even leave a tasty 5-star review, which helps us get new listeners and gives us the power to occasionally summon the Spirit of Jazz. Skiddly bop. 

Be sure to listen to Part 2 of our York Whisky Festival Specials for an exclusive tasting review.

S3E6 - Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie

If you've ever wondered why those clawingly gracious stars of stage and screen simper through wringing hands about how they "owe it all to their fans" at the awards podium, perhaps the premise for this episode will go some way to explaining that phenomenon. After the last episode we found our whisky shelves - and indeed whisky budgets - creaking to breaking point and with a heavy schedule of personal and professional demands on our time, we were flush out of good ideas for a review theme. Charging over the hill, like a Knight in Shining Armour holding a Glencairn glass and pair of headphones aloft, was one of our fabulous listeners with a plum idea for a podcast theme.

An electronic mail all the way from Australia, no less.

G'Day Stu and Andy,

As a suggestion for future episodes, I would like to hear your thoughts on the Bruichladdich Classic Laddie.  The playlist for The Classic Laddie as it is an unpeated Islay (unexpected by most) should be songs that are a different genre from a bands usual.

Can we get an update on how Australia are tracking on the listener leader board? (I am doing my best to increase those figures).

Cheers,

Daniel

Our relief was palpable and before we could even type a heartfelt thanks a bottle of The Classic Laddie was ordered and winging its way to our state of the art podcasting and tasting facility. One thing led to another and next thing we've got Bruichladdich's fantastic Carl Reavey (Head of Communications) on the phone telling us about the distillery's unique philosophy and how he used to mix sound for The Undertones. 

Our playlist theme for this episode was at Daniel's suggestion, songs by bands in a genre unusual to their regular stylings. Stu selected some acapella Geordie indie and Indian folk gatecrashed by Radiohead's lead guitarist while Andy nominated Kurt Cobain's fevered incursion on the MTV unplugged studio and an album of children's songs from members of The Walkmen and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The tracks that feature on the podcast, in full, are:

Andy’s 1st selection: Nirvana - Where Did You Sleep Last Night
Stu’s 1st selection: The Futureheads - Beeswing

Andy’s 2nd selection: Walter Martin (feat. Karen O) - Sing To Me
Stu’s 2nd selection: Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood and The Rajasthan Express - Allah Elohim

For the playlist, we Nils is far from keen, Sufjan is spitting rhymes, Eric's got a bad case of the upstrokes, Aphex has gone all twee and a Bono's trapped in a giant lemon.  I'm considerably more proud of that sentence than I have any right to be...Have a listen to the full podcast here:

Don't forget to follow us on twitter, subscribe to the podcast on your trusty podable devices and even leave a tasty 5-star review, which helps us get new listeners and ultimately defeat the forces of evil. Why not also follow our mate Down Under @danhoper for so gallantly bailing us out for the episode theme.

You can catch Andy and Stu at the Whisky Lounge York Whisky Festival at York Racecourse on Saturday 21st October (afternoon session). This is your chance to say hi, tell us where we're going right/wrong and if you like, appear on the podcast. We will have our microphones!