17 April 2015

Quick Fire Whisky Tasting Notes #47

WhistlePig Rye Old World
Sauternes Finish
Nose: Baked spiced green apples, a medley of honeydew, galia and cantaloupe melons, stewed prunes, sauternes soaked sultanas, Frank Coopers vintage Oxford marmalade, gooseberry and rhubarb crumble, Belazu aged balsamic vinegar, ground white pepper, cinnamon sticks, Costa Coffee vanilla latte, warm sour dough bread, wood spice and a pack of retro white candy cigarettes.
Palate: Bramley apples, white grapes, salt preserved lemons, orange peel, strawberries dusted with black pepper, wood spice, cloves, ground cinnamon, honey rye bread, Bassett’s cherry drops, Fisherman’s Friend’s lozenges and something rather Angostura bitters-esque.
Finish: A vivacious and vibrant vinous va, va, va voom boom, of a long lingering and tantalising, tingling finish.
Summary: Yet another bountiful and belting drop of liquid americana from WhistlePig, as part of their new Old World wine cask finished series. In fact they’ve managed to score a hat trick on the fine wine finished front, as their new Madeira and Port finishes are also equally as stunning!

10 April 2015

Cutty Sark 33 Year Old Tweet Tasting

Continuing our triumphant teaming throng of Tweet Tastings, we’re absolutely thrilled to announce that on May 13th, we’ll be hosting a very special Tweet Tasting as part of the digital launch of Cutty Sark’s Art Deco inspired 33 Year Old blended Scotch whisky.
In addition to sampling this very limited edition whisky, we’ll also be sipping & savouring a trio of Art Deco era inspired cocktails, made using Cutty Sark’s classic yellow labelled blended. All of which will curated and crafted specially for the night by East London’s multi award-winning cocktail bar; White Lyan.
We’re also thrilled to announce that on the night we’ll be joined by Cutty Sark’s Master Blender Kirsteen Campbell and some of the team from the mighty White Lyan.
Full details to follow soon, but if you would like to take part in an evening of Art Deco inspired dramming decadence and bountiful, blended proportions, register your interest by emailing your name, address and Twitter handle via the contact tab, remembering to mark the subject line #CuttySark33
The closing date to register is Friday April 17th, and if you are registering to take part please make sure that you will actually be free on the evening of May 13th to take part!!!
Even if you're not one of the selected Tweet Tasters, it'd be great to have you following all the evenings dramfotainment. So we look forward to seeing you over on Twitter on May 13th at 7pm BST via #CuttySark33
Until then Happy Dramlaxing!
This particular Tweet Tasting is open to UK residents only - over 18's only!
For more information on Cutty Sark, visit: cutty-sark.com

31 March 2015

The Whisky Wire's 5th Birthday Competition


On April 6th we reach the ripe old age of five, and to help celebrate our 5th Birthday we’d love to share five of our favourite, big bang for buck, won’t break the bank drops of dramspankage, that have featured on the website in one way or another over the last five years.

Between now and the end of our Birthday week on April 10th, we’re giving one lucky follower the chance of winning five bottles, yes five bottles of whisky wonderment; Glenlivet 12 Year Old, Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey, Talisker 10 Year Old, Laphroaig 10 Year Old and Naked Grouse. A quaffable quintet of dramspankers, that deserve to be at the core and heart of any whisky collection.

So to be in with a chance of winning all five bottles Click Here and email us your contact details along with the following phrase that dramming pays:

“I’d love to win The Whisky Wire’s
Fifth Birthday bounty of
five fine and frolicking
drops of dramspanking drammage”

*Remember to mark the subject line of your email with: 5th Birthday Comp

If you’re on Twitter you can also follow us via @TheWhiskyWire and RT one of our related competition tweets for another chance to win!


While I’m at it I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your support over the last five years, and I look forward to raising a glass of something special to you all on April 6th. Happy Dramlaxing!

Competition closes at 23:59 on April 10th the winner will be announced on April 14th. You have to be aged 18 years or over to enter.

11 March 2015

Quick Fire Whisky Tasting Notes #46

The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve
Nose: Granny Smith apples, vanilla and cardamom infused poached pears, Frank Cooper's Seville orange marmalade, Waitrose sticky toffee pudding, Cadbury’s Crunchie, sugared almonds, pineapple cubes, coconut ice, a stick of seaside rock and the subtlest suggestions of menthol freshness.
Palate: McDonald's apple pie, pear tarte tatin, pineapple upside-down cake, creme brûlée, HTB Jamaican spiced bun, Fry’s Turkish delight, vanilla fudge, apple Chewits, pear drops, pineapple cubes, Barr’s cream soda, grapefruit juice, orange zest, wood spice, white pepper and a kick-ette of something rather calvados-esque.
Finish: A light, lush linger-ette of finish that provides a concentrated kick of all the dessert led delights that were dished up and delivered on the palate.
Summary: No doubt the anti-non-age statement (NAS) brigade will be up in arms and will have their knickers in a twist over this new entry level Glenlivet. It may well be replacing their cracking core 12 Year Old bottling in certain markets, including the UK, but by no means is the Founders Reserve an inferior dram. Lighter yes, but it's equally as lush a livet as any of the range.

4 March 2015

Arran Tweet Tasting III

They say that good things come in three’s and there’s certainly no exception when it comes to our triumphant teaming throng of Tweet Tastings, as we’re thrilled to announce that on April 22nd we’ll be hosting our third evening of all things Arran.
On the night we’ll be sipping, savouring and tweet tasting our way through some of the finest whisky wares that the Isle of Arran Distillery has to offer, including their brand spanking new 18 Year Old expression.
Full details and dramming list to follow soon, but in the meantime we’d love for you to help us select one of the drams for the night as part of our Tweeters Choice Dram. Arran are renowned for their Cask Finishes range and we’d love to add a sample of either their Amarone, Port or Sauternes bottlings to the night’s line up. So if you’re registering to take part add you preference to your email and help choose one of the night’s drops of dramspankage.
If you would like to take part in what will be a dramspanking night to remember, register by emailing your name, postal address and Twitter handle via the contact tab, remembering to mark the subject line #ArranWhisky
The closing date to register is March 20th and if you are registering to take part please make sure that you will actually be free on the night!
Even if you're not one of the selected Tweet Tasters, it'd be great to have you following all the night’s tweet tasting dramfotainment, so we look forward to seeing you over on Twitter on April 22nd at 7pm BST via #ArranWhisky
Until then Happy Dramlaxing!
For more information on Isle of Arran Distillers visit: arranwhisky.com

26 February 2015

Whisky Insiders Interview - Sandy Hyslop

Chivas Brothers

Ballantine's Master Blender


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I’ve worked in the whisky industry since 1983 and during my first year I showed an aptitude for being able to identify different flavours on the nose. Very early in my career I started nosing samples regularly but I also spent time in all areas of the whisky making process to increase my knowledge across the business as much as possible. It’s been an incredible journey!

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
As part of my development, in 1992 while working as a Quality Controller in Dundee, I was invited to spend one day a week with Jack Goudy, the legendary former Master Blender of Ballantine's. I spent more and more time learning from Jack and, after this period of apprenticeship, I was appointed Blender at the Ballantine's Headquarters in Dumbarton. Ballantine’s has only ever had five Master Blenders in its 150 year history which has given all of the Ballantine’s whiskies the advantage of great expertise handed down through the generations of Master Blenders. It’s a very special legacy to be a part of and I’m humbled by that every day.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
My first dram was back in 1983 when I started work at Stewarts Cream of the Barley in Dundee. I was given a large dram of very old cask strength first fill sherry matured Glencadam from the manager whilst visiting Glencadam distillery. The taste was outstanding: sweet, smooth and fruity. The distillery manager insisted I add some water to open up the flavour and fully appreciate the flavour. Glencadam distillery was associated with our brands and part of the formula for SCOB and was part of the group at that time.

What does whisky mean to you?
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than discussing Scotch whisky and I absolutely love to share my passion with people who appreciate Ballantine’s. I really enjoy the variety of my job as a Master Blender because I get to work across the entire whisky production process and interact with whisky fans and colleagues at all levels of the business.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Continuing to enjoy creating the best Scotch: Ballantine’s!

What was your last dram?
My last dram was on Monday night whilst staying at our company house, ‘Craigduff’ in Keith. I travel to Speyside most weeks on a Monday and Tuesday to test the new distillate from all our distilleries. I enjoyed a glass of Ballantine’s 17 year old. It was superb and up to the usual standard with the signature delicate, balanced, sweet soft fruit flavours and a sensation of smoke. I am in the very fortunate position that I can justify this as homework!

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I often add a good measure of water to my whisky to help change the dynamic of the flavours as well as the temperature, which can really complement lighter foods such as salmon. And always remember that American oak imparts a predominantly vanilla spice so a dish with vanilla flavours will really work as a pairing, too.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
A really special place for me is Glamis Castle just outside Forfar. Every year in July I meet up with some of my friends for a big vintage car rally. We stay in the grounds of the castle all weekend and there is nothing better than sitting outside in fantastic surroundings with old friends enjoying a large glass of Ballantine’s 12 Year Old.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
We are always listening to whisky aficionados and appreciate that there is a real thirst for new products that explore the influence of wood and aging in whisky. So we’ll continue to look into new ways of impressing and engaging Ballantine’s fans and new whisky consumers through innovation.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Ballantine's is my favourite whisky; it offers a unique drinking experience that is incredibly complex with layer upon layer of perfectly balanced, wonderful flavours. I drink my Ballantine’s with about 50/50 bottled water and also enjoy Ballantine’s 12 Year Old with soda in a tall glass with lots of ice.

Many thanks to Sandy Hyslop . Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!

25 February 2015

Win a bottle of Douglas Laing & Co's Rock Oyster

Following on from our Tweet Tasting and to tie in with the launch of Douglas Laing & Co’s new Island inspired blended malt: Rock Oyster, we’re thrilled to be teaming up with the iconic indie bottler, to offer one of our followers the chance of winning a bottle.

Paying homage the sea, Douglas Laing’s Rock Oyster is a Small Batch bottling created using the finest maritime malts, including those distilled on the rightly esteemed Islands of Jura, Islay, Arran and Orkney.

Bottled at 46.8% and without colouring or chill-filtration, this small batch bottling has a maritime and oceanic character of sea-salt, sweet peat, smoke, honey and pepper.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is click here and email us your contact details along with the following phrase that dramming pays:

“I’d love to pour and partake in some palatable island hoping, so allow me to win a bounty of blendage in a bottle,
so I can rock on, with Rock Oyster”
*Remember to mark the subject line of your email with: #RockOysterComp

If you’re not already doing so follow @TheWhiskyWire and @DLaingWhisky on Twitter and RT one of our related competition tweets for another chance to win!


For more information on Douglas Laing & Co visit: douglaslaing.com
Competition closes at 23:59 on March 6th 2015. Entry open to over 18's & EU residents only.