Tag Archives: Scotland

Clanlands, Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish

I knew nothing about either of these characters before picking up this book other than one of them – Sam – was an actor in a successful series & had recently released a whisky.

Image courtesy Master Of Malt

The whisky in question – Sassenach – has already won awards & appears to be popular – but has attracted a degree of criticism from those in whisky circles.

Image courtesy Twitter

I just don’t get it.

Any celebrity putting their name to a whisky – or in this instance actively taking part in the blending & marketing – helps to open up & expand the whisky market to a new layer of customers & consumers.

Given that the whisky community is predominately male Sassenach appears – at least to Sam Heughan’s Twitter page – to have attracted a large female audience. This is to be welcomed.

Rather than being open & expansive many in the establishment sitting in clubs, societies & bloggers often come across as exclusive & closed to new methods & means of enlarging the whisky community.

There are double standards at play too as many of these self-styled ‘defenders of the dram’ often promote themselves as celebrities within their fiercely territorial domains.

Celebrity spirit or not – the actual taste of the whisky is my primary concern. I do recognise celebrity status does bring enhanced brand recognition with perhaps easier routes to market usually leading to increased sales – depending on the celebrity involved.

I’ve not managed to taste Sassenach – it doesn’t appear to be available in Ireland – but I do find the name attractive & the packaging certainly makes it stand out too!

This book however was in my local library – so I gave it a read.

The pair of actors engage in a laddish romp round Scotland dishing out historical titbits, name dropping, thespian tales, hearty food & plenty of whisky!

Like the whisky it opens up Scotland to a new audience – perhaps for the first time – attracted possibly by the dynamic duo on the book’s cover.

Blending popular culture, celebrity status & whisky together is a sure-fire way to broaden the appeal of the golden liquid & ensures it reaches new fans.

I don’t have a problem with celebrity spirits.

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Sassenach is available from Master Of Malt here.

Sassenach Spirits website here.

Header image courtesy Sassenach Twitter here.

Sam Heughan’s Twitter here.

Stroh ’60’ & ’80’, Original Austria Inlander Rum

A favourite pastime of mine is having a peek at other folks drinks cabinets to see what’s lurking there.

My friends in Bournemouth pulled out Stroh 60.

Never having tried Austrian rum before – I gave it a go.

A rather strange reddish hue greeted me on pouring – along with that burnt rubber, dark molasses heavy treacle kind of nose.

Oily mouthfeel.

Very sweet towards the finish – almost liqueur like – which just about hid the 60% strength alcoholic punch.

Indeed punch might be a more apt descriptor of this ravel novelty style drink.

There’s also an 80% version.

I happened to pick up a miniature when last in Scotland!

The reddish hue & burnt rubber were still there – but no amount of sweetener could calm the rather harsh & biting 80% kick coming through.

Until the finish that is – rather sweet & sticky.

If anything – the 60 version was more palatable.

Just wondering at which point a rum becomes a liqueur with Stroh?

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All photos authors own.

Bell’s Blended Scotch Whisky, 40%, On Burn’s Night

I was gifted this 37.5cl Bell’s Decanter on my travels.

A lot were sold over the years.

Wade pottery made my decanter with production in both Stoke & Portadown to keep up with demand.

The design here was in use from 1966 to 1988 – but as my decanter sports a barcode plus 40% ABV notation it suggests a 1980’s offering.

To celebrate Burn’s Night fellow whisky fans were invited round for a grand opening & drinking of the Bell’s.

The plastic seal on the cap was intact on removal.

Trying to prise open the cork it split in half!

Undeterred a corkscrew was utilised.

Sadly it only proceeded to open up a hole as the cork disintegrated into small pieces & a tea strainer had to be used to filter the whisky!

Nonetheless pleasant sweet & fruity aromas rose from the glass.

Decent depth & a rich body on the palate suggested sherry cask influence.

A flourish of spice on the rear left us all agreeing the 35yrs or so in the decanter hadn’t harmed this lovely little drinker.

My only disappointment was not detecting any peat influence – which I was expecting – but hey – it’s not every day you crack open a slice of Scottish Blended Whisky history!

A lovely dram to toast Rabbie Burns!

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All images authors own.

For info on Bell’s Decanters read here.

For info on barcodes read here.

For info of Proof to ABV changes read here.

Sheep Dip Islay, Blended Malt, 40%

Sheep Dip’s an old friend of mine.

The tongue-in-cheek name attracted me to this blended malt & was rewarded with an easy going honeyed experience augmented by a rich maltiness.

An Islay version caught my eye – a kind reader generously sent a sample.

The peat smoke was evident – but rather subdued.

More entertaining on the palate. Crisp, sweet & drying.

It’s on the finish that Islay Sheep Dip came alive for me. A gorgeous explosion of smokey goodness danced merrily away to a lip smacking finalé.

Nice!

Another entertaining brand from the Ian MacLeod stable.

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Islay bottle image courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop. All others authors own.

Raising a dram to the hospitality of a Scottish holiday rental.

I recently spent an enjoyable week at a Scottish holiday house in West Wemyss.

To my delight a selection of drinks were left in the kitchen – including a decanter of what looked like whisky.

Drink c/othewhiskeynut

A cursory sniff confirmed this – so a couple of glasses were duly poured.

Soft sweet nose with just a hint of burnt notes peaking through.

Easy palate.

Those burnt notes developed into a gentle honeyed smokiness with that attractive dry tingling I like.

What better to be welcomed into my holidays?

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I did pose the question ‘drink or decline?’ on twitter which raised a rather disparate discussion.

Follow the discussion here.

What are your thoughts?

Watson’s Trawler Rum, 40%, Barbados & Guyana.

My ancestors made their living from the sea – so a bottle of rum displaying a fishing vessel automatically connects with me.

Rum Ahoy! c/othewhiskeynut

Readily available in Scotland, Watson’s Trawler Rum follows a long tradition of dark rums & hails from independent bottlers Ian MacLeod Distillers.

It’s a no nonesense affordable rum presented in a screw cap bottle displaying an old fashioned aura – which immediately caught my eye.

Info c/othewhiskeynut

Sweet & rubbery nose – inkeeping with the origin countries signature flavours.

Dark molasses, treacle cake like with a touch of oaky spice on top.

More treacly spice on the finish which gently fades away.

Trawler in a Túath c/othewhiskeynut

A very easy & approachable rum pleasing to my palate, my purse & providing a characterful flair to boot.

A suitable offering to toast all the seafarers of the past & present who put their life’s at peril to provide food for our plates & transport the goods we desire

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Kingsbarns Balcomie, Single Malt, 46%

The 2nd core release from this award winning Lowland Distillery in Fife, Scotland.

Balcomie c/othewhiskeynut

Now sherry finishes aren’t normally my thing – but as it goes – Balcomie has a rich & inviting nose.

A decent bit of depth on the palate,

& a lively entertaining finish.

Lip smacking!

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Admiral’s Cask, Premium Panama Rum, 40%

An attractive barrel shaped presentation caught my eye.

Roll Out The Barrel! c/othewhiskeynut

Premium Panama Rum – Cask Aged.

What’s not to like?

Pours a rich deep brown.

Lovely pour. c/othewhiskeynut

Viscous legs coat the glass.

Sweet golden caramels with a hint of oaky tannins on the aroma.

An easy going demerara style palate greets me with a lovely flourish of lip smacking spice on the finish.

Label info c/othewhiskeynut

Yo ho ho and a barrel of rum!

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Emanates from Old St Andrews Fine Spirits – creators of the Golf Ball Whisky reviewed earlier.

The Famous Grouse, Smoky Black, Blend, 40%

Grouse come in a variety of species – just like their whisky counterparts.

Red & Black Grouse with a Teacher inbetween c/othewhiskeynut

The Red – or Famous Grouse – is the most common & biggest selling of the Matthew Gloag dynasty of blended Scotch.

Ptarmigan – or Snow Grouse – are quite a scarce bird to encounter – just like blended grain whisky.

Snow Grouse c/othewhiskeynut

Black Grouse are a bit more easy to find – & the species proudly adorns the bottle of Smoky Black Grouse Whisky.

Smoky Black c/othewhiskeynut

Promising a heavier & peatier experience – Smoky Grouse delivers.

The smoke is rather subdued & very well balanced – it won’t blow you away – making for a very easy drinker with a touch of character.

Peated Glenturret c/othewhiskeynut

While the Red Grouse is easily found in Ireland – Snow & Black Grouse are rarely encountered. Brexit is also causing problems with whisky imports/exports & could lead to higher prices.

It looks like the expansion of Grouse in Ireland could hit a rocky patch.

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