Distillery of the Year
I really want to acknowledge a distillery that choose to put out something special at fair prices. This award is based on their tun 1401 range, which is magnificient whisky, a vatting of old and older casks, some really old. So far they are on batch#6. Keep them coming please. This is almost in direct contrast to some other bottlers who can't release a single cask without going 4 digits in price, and thats in £££. Balvenie do have some unreachable bottles for us drinkers, but as long as they give us things to buy and drink at high exceptional quality I am happy. A bottling like their 15yo is another example of this distillery doing the right thing. This is a constant output of single cask bottlings. Whiskynerds like bottlings like this. Variety over consistency. Adding to this, is the tour possibilities when you visit the twin distilleries of Balvenie and Glenfiddich. They have a range of tours, some of them quite special which is nice, especially if you have travelled quite a bit to visit Scotland
Independent Bottler of the Year
Late 2011, whiskybase opened their shop in Netherlands. At the same time they released their independent bottling range named Archives. They have been very prolific in 2012 with releases, I more or less lost track of the amounts of bottlings, but they should be well above more than 20 expressions by now. One of the owners is a long time whiskyacquaintance and friend, and also a PLOWED ringleader. You might think I am biased, but I reckon that when someone are in the same attitude circles of the whisky world as I am, and they stay there, I will naturally like what they do. I didn't like everything they bottled, but the few things I didn't like was highly praised by others. I did like a lot of what they bottled though, and I especially liked their pricing policy. A 50yo North British released at around 160€ is great value for money. Add to that some spectular Littlemills as well, great Caol Ila's and a range of quite old and exciting bottlings from a string of distilleries. Ooooh, the North British was a great whisky by the way.
If you look through the blog, I reviewed several of their whiskies and there is more coming up...one day
Whisky Bottling of the year
Glendronach 1993 single cask#26 UK market exclusive 57.1%
PX sherry butt. Distilled 15 January 1993, bottled October 2012
I am very pleased that the very first thing that happened at Glasgow Whisky Festival, was that Alistair Walker from BenRiach/Glendronach asked me to taste their new UK release. This is a dream sherry bomb, totally unadultered. This is like going back in time to whiskies you loved in your childhood. Figuratively speaking. It became an instant favourite. Thanks Alistair
The nose is classic full bodied sherry. Licorise. Semidried sweet succulent fruits, plums and prunes, dades in sherry and a great spicy woodyness. All very well integrated and balanced.
The palate is a dream for a lover of whisky from an sherry cask. This is the kind of whisky you hope to get when buy a bottle from a distillery that is renowned for their sherry bottlings. The palate is a direct follow up of the nose. Your mouth get exactly what your nose promised. Licorise, wood, oily, liquid dried fruits
The finish is looong, sweeter and I get some classical fruityness
Tasting of the year
None. I went to less than 5 tastings in 2012, of which I conducted at least half of them myselves. I won't judge my own tastings and the 1 or 2 other ones was fine tastings but nothing earthshaking.
I did participate in several, quite a lot actually, private gatherings. These were usually themed, and often the participants each brought their own contributions. I also went to a few festivals, Juul's in Hadsten, The Danish Whisky Fair, Limburg and Glasgow Whisky Festival. I enjoyed all of them very much. Next year I allready planned to go Spirit of Speyside for the 7th time since 2001 and Glasgow Whisky Festival for the 4th consecutive time.
If I have to highlight one tasting it was a private vertical of Charbay, including some presamples and the bottled beers which brews were used for the destilate. That was a very fun, different, delicious, educating, intoxicating and "event". Thanks to Adam from PLOWED and LAWS for organising that
In the world of whisky there is a few things I look forward to in 2013. A handful (or more) new distilleries in Scotland. Fary Lochan's first release of whisky. Tasting matured whiskey from Las Vegas Distillery (I hope) and finally manage to schedule Maltstock. The festival I never tried attending, but I really want to..
It's also nice to discover that I seem not to be the only one drinking bourbon in Denmark. It's nice to see that the danish whiskey scene, which can be quite introvert and conservative, finally discovering that whisky can be something else than sherry and islay
A belated happy new year. I hope I get time for some more blogging in 2013 and especially finishing what I start. The advent calendar got lost in a busy christmas schedule. One of the reasons I am busy is, luckily, that I am out and around dramming, so no complaints here :-)