When it comes to Belgian beers, those made in the country’s abbeys are almost certainly the best known. Ask the average passer-by what they know about Belgian beer, and they’ll probably talk about strong beers made by monks. While many of the abbey beers have been around for years, one has popped up in the recent past – Zundert.
While the lost distilleries of Scotland are often spoken about, their closures lamented and bottlings pored over, there is another group of distilleries that I think deserve attention even more – the ones that are working that we never hear from. The distilleries with no official bottlings and rare independent releases, which produce whisky that goes anonymously into blends or hides behind other people’s labels.
Every now and again one emerges into the light, and the latest is Tamnavulin.
Glenglassaugh is a distillery I have a love/hate relationship with. Their older drams are marvellous, with not only their own releases but also those from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society consistently punching above their not inconsiderable price. However, since reopening in 2008, their new whiskies have not made me a happy man. But, in my whisky pile was a sample of Glenglassaugh Torfa, so it’s time to give them another chance.
So, this here blog has turned seven. Well done blog, fallow as you are for much of the year due to me being busy and lazy. On Wednesday this week, the actual birthday, I was running a Whisky Lounge Blind Islay Fury whisky tasting, which seems appropriate, but I celebrated with a silly beer on Friday, and now I’m in the pub after running another whisky tasting, it’s time to write about it – a special bottle of Loch Ness Brewery’s Prince of Darkness.
Loch Lomond is a distillery that hasn’t got much love in recent years. Fortunately, that’s been changing and the newly revitalised company is beginning turn heads. Its latest release looks to continue that trend – Loch Lomond Single Grain Scotch Whisky.
[You can find the first part of this series about Inchdairnie here]
Inchdairnie distillery bills itself as ‘taking a bold, forward-thinking approach to producing Scotch malt whisky, while remaining respectful of tradition’. However, it’s the first half that is most noticeable when you see the distillery – with stark, Scandinavian influenced buildings, it’s certainly not a place where you’d expect to see a traditional pagoda roof.
Lagavulin’s 200th birthday celebrations continue to roll along. The launch of an 8-year-old expression at the beginning of the year – and a second release mentioned for later on – and events at the distillery during Feis Ile have started things off, but there’s been rumours of another release since the end of 2015. That release has now been revealed – a Lagavulin 25 Year Old.
How times have changed. Even a few years ago, the opening of a new distillery in Scotland would be huge news, but with a new project being announced every couple of months, more recently the novelty has started to wear a bit thin. However, a new distillery that quietly started up without making a big fuss, and only revealed themselves after six months of operation? That’s something a little different. Introducing Inchdairnie Distillery.
It’s impressive how quickly 12 months can pass by. This time last year, I was trying to work out how to both get to the Islay Festival of Malt and Music – Fèis Ile to its friends and about 50,000 Scottish gaelic speakers – and travel around the island once I got there. My companion during this ‘planning’ was a dram from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, their first bottled in celebration of the festival. This year I can’t make it to Islay, so instead I’m looking at other people’s plans with a new whisky compantion – the SMWS’s second festival bottling, 127.44: Cantina Mexicana.
There has been much talk in recent times of the ‘bourbonisation‘ of Scotch whisky. There are a couple of different interpretations of what that means, and two of Jim Beam’s latest releases show that both may also be happening in the world of American whiskey, but in reverse – Jim Beam Double Oak and Jim Beam Kentucky Dram.