Win the Dubber and Clutch Premium Blend whisky

Dubber & Clutch Premium Blend

Earlier this week, we made a special, one of a kind blended malt whisky while we were at the Glengoyne distillery. We tasted it and we’re very happy with it, and it’s utterly unique.

And this is it right here: the only bottle of Dubber and Clutch Premium Blend whisky in the world. We’d like to send it to you.

Read More »

Glengoyne distillery tour and master blending


We spent the afternoon at Glengoyne distillery yesterday, which enjoys a reputation as the world’s most beautiful distillery. It really is a lovely place to visit and walk around. As you can see from the photo, it’s at the bottom of a hill – actually an extinct volcano – and at the foot of the burn (a Scottish word for a stream) from where they source their water. It also gave the distillery its original name – Burnfoot.

Glengoyne pride themselves on their entirely smokeless whisky flavours. The malt they use in their distilling process is air-dried, rather than dried over a peat smoke fire. The resulting whisky is smooth, sweet and light.

Read More »

Tasting at Camp Bandcamp

I’m in California this week, working with a music website called Bandcamp. I thought the least I could do was bring a bottle of whisky, so I snuck a bottle of the Jura Prophecy into my suitcase. Of course, my hosts had done their homework, and there was a bottle of Lagavulin 16 waiting for me on my arrival.

The team are having something of a retreat. They often work from home and only communicate with each other online most of the time, so periodically, they rent a big house in Inverness (coincidentally), just out of San Francisco – and stay for a week working together, and just generally hanging out. It’s a privilege to be included – and a whisky tasting seemed appropriate.

We added a Bowmore 15 and a local single malt called St George (made in Alameda, California) to the selection, and we sat around the table on our first night in the house tasting, discussing and comparing whisky.

We started with the St George, which this website describes as a ‘very girly’ whisky, moved on to the noticeably smokier Jura Prophecy, followed it up with the raisiny, rich Bowmore 15 and finished on the Lagavulin.

Of course, it was a bit of a late one and tasting whisky quickly just became drinking whisky. They all had work in the morning – including presentations and tech talks, and at 9am the next day, this was the opening slide.

The Lagavulin was the hands-down favourite, and over the course of the week, we’ve had to open the back-up bottle of that one. I think Diageo might start to notice a spike in local sales after this week.

But while we’ve mostly been hanging out together in the house, I have also managed to get out and about and explore a bit of the local neighbourhood.

I went to a saloon (the Old Western, no less) and I was pleasantly surprised to find Laphroaig on hand, though when I noticed the photographs above the bar of the visit paid to that fine establishment by Charles and Camilla, the pieces fell into place. Laphroaig is Charles’s favourite tipple.

But I’ve tried Laphroaig before, and wanted something a bit more appropriate to the context, so I selected a straight rye whisky called Old Overholt. Surprisingly sweet and smooth.

It’s been a great few days, and sharing the new tastes and understandings about whisky has definitely contributed to the experience of the event. I’ve managed to convert a few new whisky fans along the way, and made a few new friends in the process.

Why you shouldn’t send us whisky

Every now and then, somebody emails us, offering to send us whisky to review on this blog. Which is lovely, of course, and much appreciated. But every now and then something reminds us to make clear that writing reviews of whisky for promotional purposes is not actually what we do.

Yesterday, we received a kind offer of a delivery of some samples, to which we responded immediately and positively. We like whisky, after all. The PR person who sent us the email then responded with their expectations of a review, a request for links to a couple of different pages on their client’s website, and a 7-day turnaround time for the review, after which they would follow up with further enquiries.

Two links and tweet? That’ll be four drams please
And so we declined with thanks. Chances are, had they sent the whisky, we would have reviewed it promptly, with links and in an interesting and hopefully entertaining manner. But it brought into sharp focus for us what this blog is and isn’t. We don’t write for whisky – we write about whisky.

Not only did setting up the expectations (I won’t use the word ‘demands’) in exchange for a small sample bottle or two clearly flag up the fact that we were essentially being paid for a review in this blog. It also reminded us that while we love whisky, this blog isn’t a marketing platform and nor is it analogous to a whisky magazine with a clear commercial imperative.

Read More »

Shackleton, Benjamin and Baudrillard walk into a bar

A lot has already been written about the discovery, recovery and restoration of the cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt that Ernest Shackleton took with him on an expedition to the South Pole over 100 years ago. It was buried under the ice for over a century, before being dug out and returned to its point of origin. A time capsule of whiskies gone by.

As the Mackinlay’s brand is a property of Whyte & Mackay, some of it ended up back in the hands of their master blender, Richard Paterson, who sampled it, presumably took a few notes, and then set out to recreate it as faithfully as he could.

First a few facts: It’s bottled at 47.3% – the original strength – and both the recreation and the whisky it is based on have been sampled by Dave Broom, another top whisky tasting expert, who has independently verified the likeness.

Clutch and I have each done a tasting and have ended up concluding that it’s very nice indeed. However, what we can’t tell you is how similar it is to the “real thing”. And in a way, that’s absolutely fine. Because we will never know – and it’s perhaps more interesting that way.

Read More »