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.

S3E4 - Gordon & MacPhail (Bunnahabhain Cask Strength 2009)

After featuring Gordon & MacPhail-owned Benromach 10 100 Proof back in Series 2, it was only matter of time until we took a punt on one of their independently-bottled, or independently-matured we should say, drops of whisky. Following a chance encounter at a tasting event in the wild outer reaches of the North-East coast with Gordon & MacPhail sales rep and Mr A-Dram-A-Day himself, Ben Bowers, we were able to set up a live guest-related plot twist for this episode. We were delighted to be joined across the dramming table by Ben, who brought with him an exclusive not-on-the-shelves Bunnahabhain Cask Strength whisky to review, produced in 2009 and as we later learn, matured until March of this year in first-fill sherry casks.

At the time of going to press, this whisky is currently sold out on Master of Malt but you may be able to source a bottle at one of the many independent whisky merchants who stock Gordon & MacPhail whiskies. Hey, why not check out our #buylocaltimd map to see if there's one near you.

Our playlist theme was, at Ben's suggestion, covers and remixes to reflect Gordon & MacPhail's philosophy of taking a spirit produced at another distillery and seeing what their maturation experts can come up with in their mad science lab of cask-finished creations. This was the sort of playlist theme that we have begun to recognise as seeming simple enough at first glance then increasingly and fiendishly difficult to choose a valid and worthy selection. We do think, however, that we pulled it out of the bag between us... 

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

Andy’s 1st selection: Hackney Colliery Band - No Diggity (a cover of the Blackstreet song)
Ben's 1st selection: Hybrid - If I Survive (VIP Mix)
Stu’s 1st selection: Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (a cover of the Leonard Cohen song)

Andy’s 2nd selection: The Fall - Lost In Music (a cover of the Sister Sledge song)
Ben’s 2nd selection: Peter Gabriel - Mirrorball (a cover of the Elbow song)
Stu’s 2nd selection: Johnny Cash - Hurt (a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song)

For the playlist, we had a nice mix of New Orleans brass, classic rock, soulful folk...and a Soulwax remix, sitting awkwardly in the corner of the party not speaking to anyone.

We also subjected ourselves to the masochistic ritual of the Relegation Dram, this time a Japanese contender from the foothills of Mount Fuji - the infamous Fujikai.  Opinions ranged from anger to fury, with Andy drifting off into apocalyptic visions normally reserved for a David Lynch movie. It did not, it's fair to say, score very highly. 

Thanks very much to Ben for joining us on this episode and do visit his fundraising page to make a donation to a wonderful cause. Let us know if you can find a bottle of that Bunnahabhain anywhere... 

S3E3 - Kilkerran (12yr & 8yr cask strength)

Some whiskies are superstars. You see them on every shelf, at every tasting event and all too often, on your bank statement too. Other drams are a little more hidden, the gleeful reserve of those in the know - until of course word gets around and suddenly everybody wants a slice. Kilkerran whisky trickled out slowly as a series of Work In Progress bottlings since re-opening in 2004 - the newest, old distillery in Campbelltown as they say - before the core bottling 12 Year finally arrived in 2016 to notable whispers of approval. A year later, Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength was released and the secret was very much now, out. Thanks to the keen shelf-eye of Stu, we were fortunate to have both the 12 Year and the 8 Year CS to enjoy on this episode. We were also joined by David Allen, Regional Sales Manager at Springbank and Glengyle Distilleries who was able to give us the lowdown on current and future plans for the Kilkerran range.

Our playlist theme was the needlessly convoluted and militantly regulated niche of records by musicians or bands who have released music under a different name that they're less well known for. Sorry Reg, Elton can't come in. This was inspired by the fact that unusually for single malt Scotch, Kilkerran is actually produced at Campbelltown's historically famous Glengyle distillery. 

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

Stu’s 1st selection: Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) – Redbone
Andy’s 1st selection: Grinderman (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) – Palaces of Montezuma

Stu’s 2nd selection: New Order (Joy Division) – Bizarre Love Triangle
Andy’s 2nd selection: Gorillaz (Damon Albarn) – Clint Eastwood

For the playlist, Andy and Stu selected some more masked heroes and caped crusaders including Bowie as Ziggy, a different shade of Green Day, Dylan of the family Wilbury and Aphex Twin as well, Aphex Twin essentially. 

We also launched our #buylocaltimd campaign to encourage listeners to seek out bottles from their local whisky dealer. Check out the interactive map and get in touch on twitter with your own suggestions. Stu pointed out that we've been producing podcasts for a whole year at the time of recording and we stumbled through an incoherent yet heartfelt thank you to all our wonderful listeners. 

Thanks very much to David Allen for joining us on this episode and check out our Dramier League scores for both delicious bottlings from Kilkerran. 

S2E6 - Oban Distillers Edition

We’ve all been there. Maybe you were cooking up a world-class menu in the kitchen, or applying the finishing touches to a watercolour masterpiece. Perhaps you were agonising over the paintwork design on that vintage motorbike you restored or sanding another surface layer off that handmade pinewood table. At some point we’ve all turned our hand to a craft and sooner or later, we have to ask ourselves the inevitable question – is it finished now? Will another twist here, a dab there or a sprig of that turn something good into something great?

This is principally the dilemma which we grapple with in this episode of the podcast. Firstly, with a look at the Distiller’s Edition release from Oban Distillery, one of Diageo’s Classic Malts of Scotland range treated to an extended curtain call in a Montilla Fino wine cask. The second, more personal dilemma, was whether or not to attempt the counterintuitive, some might say sacrilegious combination of Lagavulin 16 and Coca Cola, as recommended in The Whisky Manual by eminent whisky writer, Dave Broom.

First, The Oban. Diageo’s maturation expert, Jim Beveridge explained the philosophy behind the Distillers Edition range to Gavin Smith at Whisky Pages back in 2006.

“The critical thing is the flavour of the Classic Malts. We must remain true to their core character. For example, you always recognise Distillers Edition Oban as Oban. It still has the classic Oban flavour. This is the main driver behind the choice of casks we use, and each whisky has an optimum time to be in the secondary cask. 

We use a full-bodied Pedro Ximinez sherry cask for Lagavulin, but there’s no way you’d want to use that for Oban, for example. It’s not about the discernible sherry but about the overall impact. We use more powerful sherries for more powerful whiskies such as Lagavulin and Talisker. It’s about matching the flavours in the sherry to the whisky. The Distillers Editions win lots of prizes, so we do seem to be getting it right!”

For the playlist we selected tracks from a range of “limited edition” records, albums where a little something extra has been added to the basic product, whether its a new mix, some gimmicky packaging or a restricted print run. The selections include songs that were re-worked to appease an angry internet, intimate live versions, songs that were also computer games and songs that were blasted into space. 

Also on the podcast, an exclusive taste test of iheartwhisky‘s magnificent Caol Ila fudge. We also subjected ourselves to a challenging “blind” Relegation Zone dram sent to us with kind generosity by No Nonsense Whisky.

Thanks very much to Sarah (@iheartwhisky) for producing such excellent whisky fudge and Vin (@NNWhisky) for supplying the Relegation Zone dram. Please do like and subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to listen, get in touch with Andy and Stu on Twitter and follow the playlists on Spotify.

S2E5 - Paul John Peated Select Cask

One of the factors of whisky production that can’t have escaped the notice of any serious drammer in recent years is the emergence of various new producers of premium-standard malt whisky from countries not traditionally associated with the craft. One such country with a high quality output of single malts right now is India, and no distillery from the sub-continent is making more of a noise than Paul John Whiskies, nestled a few miles inland from the Goan coastline on India’s own answer to Route 66.

In fact, the Paul John Peated Select Cask expression we reviewed in this episode has just won the Best Indian Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards to set alongside a host of other selections and commendations.

We were first introduced to this whisky at Newcastle Whisky Festival 2017 in March this year by brand exhibitors, Sorren Krebs and Craig Watson, who were kind enough to join us for a virtual tasting and general whisky chat over FaceTime for this podcast.  

We were also delighted to have some input into this episode from Shilton Almeida, UK Regional Manager for Paul John Whiskies, who gave us some fantastic insight over email into what goes into making peated whisky in Goa.

“We are perhaps the first to use peat from two different regions of Scotland, from Islay and Aberdeen, adding several dimensions to the character of our whiskies. Of course due to the environment in India whisky matures differently. The uniform temperature through the year helps the whisky interact with wood rapidly. Every region has its own pros and cons, and in India, especially in Goa, we lose much alcohol as angel share, yet at the same time the whisky is ready for bottling after just 4 years.”

For the playlist we selected – amongst others – some Indian-inspired jazz, The Beatles (Paul John accounting for half the line-up after all), a Rajasthani brass band, Australian-Indian rock and Goan pop.

The conversation with Shilton Almeida, UK Regional Manager for Paul John Whiskies continues…

TIMD: We understand some of your casks are kept above ground, and some below ground. What difference in taste does this provide?
Shilton: In order to provide two different environments within the distillery we have two warehouses at different levels. The underground cellar is cooler and less humid compared to the one at ground level. Whiskies from the underground cellar are elegant and easy drinkable ones, whilst the whisky matured in the upper warehouse is more robust and with a mineral character.

TIMD: The Peated select cask is a NAS whisky – can you give us any idea as to how old the whisky is, and what was behind the decision to go without an age statement?
Shilton: The Peated Select Cask is a 7 YO whisky. In general, whisky consumers tend to compare whiskies, and 7 years is sometimes considered pretty low when it comes to maturation, but what consumers are unaware of is the fact that one year in India is almost equivalent to 4 years in Scotland in terms of maturation.

TIMD: Are there any new or exciting Paul John expressions planned for the near future?
Shilton: After the success of the Oloroso cask release, we plan to have more sherry releases in the future.  Also, there are two new limited edition releases to hit the market later this year. 

TIMD: What is your personal favourite of the Paul John whisky range of expressions?
Shilton: Being a peat freak, my personal favourite is the Bold. For me its a very well balanced peated whisky.

TIMD: As part of our podcast, we like to create playlists to go with the whiskies we review. This episode will feature a playlist of Indian music. Do you have any suggestions of Indian music for us to add to the playlist?
Shilton: Coming from Goa, I would definitely suggest some Goan folk music. Well, I enjoy this with my whiskies.

Thanks very much to Shilton, Sorren and Craig for taking the time to bring us up to speed with Paul John Whiskies and for their generous input to this podcast.

S2E1 - Lagavulin 16

What a way to start the second series of the podcast: being blown away by a smokey peat train as we sat down to enjoy a generous dram of Lagavulin 16. We spend the podcast delving beneath the deep layer of peatiness, to uncover the other tastes and smells that gradually reveal themselves as the peat subsides in this complex and interesting dram. 

So what about a musical accompaniment to this peat train? We picked the (rather tenuous) theme of “famous Petes and Peters” for the playlist, to link to the “peat” in the whisky. This led to song titles containing Pete (Boards of Canada, Nils Frahm), artists called Pete (Peter Gabriel, Pete Seeger and Oscar Peterson … no Peter Andre though, sorry!) and bands containing Petes (The Who and the original line up of the Beatles). The latter brought about a discussion about Ringo vs Pete Best… one for the music geeks out there! Hear the playlist here:

Also on the podcast, we have the exciting conclusion of our first ever jingle wars to decide what should be the jingle for our regular “science bit” feature, as well as hearing the efforts of Andy and Stu for the jingle wars  feature itself. A jingle for jingle wars in the jingle wars part of the podcast, which doesn’t have a jingle yet… yes, we’re confused too!