So, it’s been a while….

…this is because it’s taken so long to sober up after the Edinburgh Whisky Solstice.

Yes, the summer is finally upon us, sort of, and with that brings both the Edinburgh Whisky Solstice (20 June) and The Whisky Fringe (7-9 August).

After the disappointment of this year’s Whisky Stramash, I had high hopes for the Whisky Solstice. And it did not disappoint. Even the sun made an appearance to make what would’ve been an incredible day, almost perfect.

The Whisky Lounge and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) once again teamed up to put on an event in Edinburgh, taking a bit of a gamble in the process by making arrangements for an outdoor event in Queen Street Gardens.

It was a gamble that paid off by the bucket load.

For the afternoon we had a member’s tent, the main marquee with a fantastic mix of distilleries and independent bottlers, a BBQ put on by SMWS Queen Street, a bike selling alcoholic/whisky infused ice-cream and bars selling cool refreshing beer. All in the stunning setting of Queen Street Gardens.

All the exhibitors had a varied and good selection of free drams to try as well as the special white and black drams you could buy tokens for.

I think I can safely say within the first 15 minutes of arrival I’d had more interesting whisky than I did at the whole Stramash, such was the quality and selection on offer, and it didn’t take forever to get a sample.

There were numerous whisky highlights from the day including something very special from Compass Box, a cask strength Peat Monster. As good as this was, the stand out was the 21 year old Springbank.I don’t really need to say anymore than that.

SMWS’ bottling for the occasion was another cracking single cask offering, so much so I took a bottle of it home. A rather tasty 11 year old Clynelish.

SMWS 26.114 Grandma's summer jam receipe

For the evening we had the main marquee with live music, more ice-cream, whisky and a bar. (In the evening the bar wasn’t really needed but was used to very good effect).

If there was one disappointment (if you can call it that), it was a slight lack of atmosphere and people at the evening event. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a huge amount of fun, with an excellent band and plenty of fun to be had. It just needed a few more people and a little more atmosphere. Less blank spots in the memory banks would also help, especially the dancing bits. I’ve seen photos and it’s not a pretty sight.

I’m hoping my (incredibly) drunken ramblings to Jan from SMWS were taken on board for a repeat next year.

So what’s next I here none of you asking…..

This weekend (07/08-09/08) sees Royal Mile Whiskies annual Whisky Fringe take place at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh. To say this event is popular would be an understatement it sold out this year in about 5 minutes. Thankfully we got tickets and will be attending again this year.

After a disastrous attempts at a live tweet from it last year, we had some whisky then gave up trying, we will be trying again this year, hopefully with a few more folk lined up to join in and tweet as they sample some whisky.

Like all my prospective plans this will fall flat on its face within 10mins of starting but we’ll try our best to do some tweeting.

An incredible surprise….

I had a message from SMWS Queen Street on Monday saying they’d had a letter delivered that was addressed to me, from New York. I know all of one person in the US of A, but they’d not have contacted me through SMWS.

So rather than wait patiently until after work I went along at lunchtime to pick it up. I’m so glad I didn’t wait!

A few months ago two teachers from New York were visiting Edinburgh for a conference at Edinburgh Uni. One of them enjoyed a dram and had had a recommendation to try out SMWS. They just so happened to visit when I was in doing “research”.

After sampling a few, they wanted to buy a bottle, which is reserved for members only. So being the only member standing at the bar, I offered to purchase the bottle through my account so they could have a memento of their visit to SMWS.

I never thought anything more to it until I received a letter thanking me. I’m rarely stuck for words, but when I read the letter I was:

picture of letter from Holly in New York

It just goes to show, small gestures go a long way even when they are to complete strangers you meet in passing from thousands of miles away.

Just to finish off….

A very quick shout out has to go to Rob and Sofia from Camden Brewery who with the help of the guys at Spit/Fire put on an incredible evening of fantastic beer, more lamb to eat than I have ever seen and beer/brewing based chat from guys that actually know what they’re talking about. Both John from Be3rcast and myself had a great night.

If you haven’t tried any beer from the Camden Brewery, I’d recommend you try it. Some truly incredible beers.

Just need to hope Rob gets a twitter account soon.

Until the next time….

Sláinte

Stuart

So I had this plan right….

…and it was going to be great.

But like most of my great plans, this one didn’t quite work out as planned.

I never make New Year’s resolutions, ever!

However, maybe it was the whisky, the food or more likely the company, at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) on Hogmanay, I made kind of a joint resolution with Nicole that we’d try and attend at one tasting a month or organise at least one society share a month to get the most out of our memberships.

The net result of this is an average of 2 “tastings” a month for the first 6 months of the year. So, I’ve been lucky enough to taste an awful lot of good whisky. I mean some truly spectacular whisky.

I’ve not been alone in tasting this whisky. For most of the tasting I’ve been to it has been with my joint resolutionist, Nicole. There have been a few with my fellow EH10 founder, David and also our newest recruit, Niall. I’ve also been lucky enough to attend a few with Tom from Tom’s Whisky Reviews, someone that has forgotten more about whisky thank I will ever know.

So, rather than bore you all with all my favourites, I had hoped to get all the above named involved to put together a list of all our favourite drams for the first 6 months of the year.

The first part of my plan to get the input went kind of well. When I say well I remembered to ask 75% the group for their favourite dram. I forgot to email Tom to ask him if he’d mind providing something! Not off to the best start then.

The second part of the plan didn’t go much better. Everyone works and has commitments, so 5 days to think of the best drams, possibly re-taste, put something down and send it to me was a little hopefully of me, especially when one of those 5 days had 3 of us brewing our own beer at Krafty Brew in Leith.

Throw in a visiting family member, a birthday and (of course) work, I realised that I’d probably not given anyone nearly enough time.

EH10 Whisky Society LogoAnd to be honest, I’ve spent more time this week designing our new logo and the label for our EH10 Whisky Society beer. Yes, we have our own beer now!

So after all that rambling what you’re getting is two of my favourite whiskies, until I can beg and plead for my fellow whisky drinkers to provide me with their favourites. Then you’ll get our 2015 highlight reel.

Last year I was all about Speyside, I couldn’t get enough of anything from Speyside, Glenlossie specifically, it was all just so so good.

But since the turn of the year, it’s been all about peat for me. I cannot get enough of peaty whisky at the moment.

With that in mind, my number one pick for 2015 so far is….

SMWS 124.42 – Peat Freak Heaven

This was one helluva a dram and probably one of the few and truest examples of a 12 year old Port Charlotte I’ll taste this year, maybe even ever. It was incredible, by far and away the best Islay whisky I’ve had this year and one of the best I’ve had ever.

That could very well change though if the society keep producing bottles of whisky like my number two choice.

SMWS 29.161 – A bodega is burning

I had to think long and hard if this was better than my number one choice, I wavered for a bit then decided it was an incredibly close second. This was quite simply Laphroaig at it’s finest and when the society keep bottling gems like this, there is going to be another one soon that will be even better.

There are so many other stand out whiskies this year, but none have made such an impression as these two have. If the next 6 months provide as many good whiskies, I’ll be a very happy man, probably drunk, but definitely very happy.

Before I go, I have to say a sad farewell to one of the most incredible SMWS Ambassadors I’ve been fortunate enough to meet. She has been an incredible host, picked some amazing whiskies I’d never have contemplated trying and a joy to talk to when I’ve been in Queen Street. All of us at EH10 wish you well for the future Antea and hope this is farewell, not goodbye. You will be missed!

Sláinte

Stuart

Whisky Tasting or Golf?

Usually it’s not as simple a question to answer as one may think, although on this occasion it was….

Robert Graham (the independent bottler not the fashion designer) arranged a private tasting on Thursday the 28th of May at their Cannongate store in Edinburgh to launch some of their new whiskies. We (EH10WS) were lucky enough to be part of the small number of people invited along to the tasting.

So along I went with fellow whisky lovers Niall (EH10WS) and Tom who runs the Tom’s Whisky Reviews website. The other member of EH10WS, Stuart, for reasons unbeknown to mankind decided to play golf instead.

First dram of the evening was the Dancing Stag Ben Nevis 18 year old, which has just won Bronze in International Spirits Challenge 2015. The nose of this dram packs a punch in a fantastic way, honey and heather aroma with a hint of soft tinned fruits. The flavour is very syrupy, with Werther’s originals/travel sweets mixing through added with a subtle peppery spice, the finish was medium to long which remained sweet with more fruits, I found the more you tasted of this dram the more complex it becomes.

This was a fantastic dram to start the night and I can see way it won bronze at  the International Spirits Challenge.

Second was the Bunnahabhain 25 year old from the Robert Graham Treasurer range, I’ve never come across a whisky with such a shy nose, faint hint of peat with hint of damp wood, this was hiding what was to come up next. Full metal jacket of leather, polished wood engulfs the mouth wrapped with sweet fruits and citrus. The finish was long, oaky, slightly drying and very satisfying. Niall and I were totally overwhelmed with this dram and it was so very yummy.

The next two drams are new into Robert Graham and this is them being opened for the first time.

So third up was Benrinnes 19 year old again from the Treasurer range, the nose reminded me of the growth of spring after a April shower added with apple and  pears. The taste was smooth, well balanced and fresh which reminded people of pick n mix sweets. The finish was short to medium in length but again balanced. This whisky is very balanced from start to finish and i can see the contents of the bottle being finished quicker than expected.

Last up was a 30 year old grain whisky from Invergordon, as with all grain whisky’s I’ve tasted the nose is acetone with the hint of  coconut glue and a bit of boot polish. The taste has the classic intense grain notes, super sweet, nutty and brown bread with a kick of warmth with minimal burn. I found the finished to be short with floral sweetness and woodenness to it. I’m not a huge fan of grain whisky at this point of my journey into whisky but a number of the other people at the tatsing really enjoyed this dram and I was informed that it’s a bit of a bargain price for a 30 year old grain.

So a quick recap the Ben Nevis was all about the nose, the Bunnahabhain all about the taste, the Benrinnes was a perfect balance between the nose and taste and the Invergordon just grows on you.

Big thanks go to the staff at Robert Graham (@WhiskyCanongate) for inviting us and being an excellent host and for providing a great venue.

Just in case you are wondering how Stuart got on at the golf, he lost, all whilst he got battered by high winds, heavy rain and had miserable time of it in general.

So next time you have a choice between golf or tasting whisky go for the latter as the whisky gods are far more powerful than the golfing gods.

Dram on

David

2 June 2015

Short and sweet this time…

Right, so we’ve been a bit quiet over the last few weeks, but we have not been completely inactive!

We held our first tasting/review panel, ever! 6 whiskies tasted (one already reviewed) so keep your eyes peeled for the 5 reviews coming very very soon.

The whiskies we tasted are:

SMWS 46.26 – Killer Bee Surf Wax
Balblair 97 – 2nd Release
SMWS 76.119 – On Christmas day in the morning
Glenlivet Nadurra
Springbank 12 Year Old Cask Strength (Batch 9)
Robert Graham Hoebeg

We’ll try to get these up in the next few days.

The next tasting/review panel will be in a couple of weeks time, so more reviews will be coming shortly after that, maybe even live on the evening as we taste each dram.

We’ve also managed to get ourselves sorted for the Whisky Stramash (24 May) and the Edinburgh Whisky Solstice (20 June) . So plenty to look forward to in the coming months, with a few other possibilities on our radars as well!

Battle for Bailey

There is a special event being held at SMWS The Vaults on Wed 25 March.

Organised by @EdgyLassie and hosted by @thewhiskybelle a selection of some of the finest Old & Dignified drams SMWS currently offers and all for a very worthy cause.

More details are available at the following link:

http://battleforbailey.brownpapertickets.com/

Please show your support #BattleForBailey

Finally…

EH10 Beercast logo

The EH10 Whisky Society came together with Be3rcast on 13 March down at the Vaults in Leith. Some good beers, good whisky, good food and some pretty awful chat. Part 1 will be getting published very soon!

And that’s it for now (see short and sweet as promised).

Lots of reviews coming soon!

Now time for a dram.

Sláinte

Stuart

16 March 2015

A starter for 10….

After a few months of relative inactivity, we are finally back and doing what we love doing, drinking whisky.

This all started about 12 months ago whilst sampling some of the fine ales and whisky’s on offer in Bennet’s of Morningside. Discussions began about what if we had our own society? Sampling different whisky and sharing our thoughts for everyone to read? How good could this be? Could this be an excuse to buy more whisky?

As the months went on the discussion increased and we started talking about tastings, events and getting more people involved. Until one drunken night, when promises were made about building websites and finally doing something instead of drunken ramblings. The following day, we had a facebook page, a twitter account and a shell of a website (which will appear eventually).

And so the EH10 Whisky Society began.

For the first few months we did enough to keep things interesting, a few local whisky festival and plenty of tastings. Then holidays and weddings got in the way and for the next few months everything fell by the way side, apart from the drinking.

Finally, we’re back and doing what we enjoy most.

Over the past few weeks we’ve attended a few tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) and posted what thoughts and photos we could. Unfortunately live tweets limit what you can say and updating facebook/twitter after a reasonable quantity of cask strength single malt slowly grinds to a halt.

So here we are, a fresh start.

More regular updates and information can be found on our twitter(@eh10whisky) and facebook.