2014 in review, my personal awards and what’s coming in 2015

A look back on 2014

With the sound of (early) fireworks outside I’m sitting down with a wee dram to recap the year 2014. What a great year it’s been! It was the first year of writing my own whisky blog and the response from you guys has been overwhelming! Thanks to everyone who commented on facebook or twitter and thanks for the great conversations and laughs we shared along the way!

In the past year I’ve managed to publish 38 thorough tasting notes on my blog. Actually, they’re more than just tasting notes, they’re in-depth whisky reviews, but I like the sound of the term tasting notes much more. I’ve also managed to write a few articles and travel blog entries. I’ll admit, I planned to do much more articles (and tasting notes), but there’s only so much time, too many other hobbies and activities taking up the time. But I already have plans to focus more on my whisky blog and the article side of things next year. But more on that later on.

MaltKlaus’ Whisky Awards 2014

Now, it’s time for a little awards ceremony. A little disclaimer up front: I don’t taste nearly as many whiskies as many others out there, so this is a personal selection of the highlights I have got to taste personally in the year 2014. And yes, I tasted many, many more drams than I wrote about on this blog. I’ll also ask you to not comment “but XXX is way better” or “xxx was far worse” – personal taste, experience and amount of whiskies tasted differs and no two palates are the same.

My two categories are as follows:
– Grand Dram of the year
– Daily Dram of the year

How do I select the winners? Well, I look back at each and every whisky I tasted during the course of the year and look for those which really stood out as prime examples. One important aspect is also availability. I want to award drams which are widely available, accessible and won’t completely break your bank. So no long-gone or sold out, or exclusive (single cask) bottlings, sorry.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Grand Dram of the year: Glengoyne 21 year old

Grand dram of the year: Glengoyne 21
Grand dram of the year: Glengoyne 21

The Glengoyne 21-year-old. Yes, there’s a 25-year-old version out now, no, I haven’t tasted it. Why is it worthy of being my personal Grand Dram of the year? It is a nearly perfect mixture of distillery character and cask influence. At 21 years old it has plenty of character and lots of sherry cask goodness, but it isn’t overwhelming, nothing is dominating, a very fine balance. At the same time, with prices going through the roof, especially for 100% ex-sherry cask whiskies, it is still affordable and readily available at under 100€. I found that my particular bottle needed a bit of time after opening to fully exhibit its full potential, but that’s the case with many whiskies.
My final score: 92 / 100 – click here to read the original blog post

Daily Dram of the year: Longrow Peated

Daily dram of the year: Longrow Peated
Daily dram of the year: Longrow Peated

To qualify as a “daily dram” a whisky has to be below 50€ for a full-size bottle. This is definitely the case here – I paid 38€ for a bottle of Longrow Peated. Yes, it is a NAS – no age statement – whisky, but don’t let that put you off. Springbank, the distillery behind this double distilled, peated Campbeltown malt, has been putting out great drams without age statements for many years, long before the current avalanche of mediocre NAS whiskies from other companies.
What qualifies this Longrow Peated to be crowned “daily dram of the year”? Well, it has loads of character, a very intense, irresistible sweetness paired with the signature Longrow smokiness. Not too much smoke to put anyone off, and no harsh iodine, phenolic notes at all. A bottle I find myself putting out of its box and just sniffing at the opening from time to time. A bottle, now almost empty, I found myself reaching at often this year when I wanted a nice, well made, relaxing dram in the evening. Very well done indeed!
My final score: 85/100 – click here to read the original blog post

Do you agree? Have you tasted these whiskies and what’s your verdict? Let me know in the comments section below!

Outlook: 2015

2015 is going to be an exciting year! My sample backlog is huge and I plan on releasing many more reviews than in the first year. My plan is to publish at least one tasting note per week, sometimes even two.
I also plan on visiting more events in 2015 – and to write about them. I’ll be at the Wiener Whiskymesse, at the Whisky & Spirits Festival in Linz and accommodation for the Feis Ile 2015 is also already booked. I’m looking forward to meeting some of you guys and gals there! My travel blog entries about our 2014 trip around Scotland will also continue in due course.
I don’t have any fixed plans yet, but I’ll also write more articles on current issues and affairs concerning the global whisky world/market. More on that when it’s available.
One category of the whisky world will continue to not be featured in 2015: News. I don’t have the time to post about all the latest news, so I won’t even attempt. I’ll provide commentary on some broader aspects, yes, but that’s it.

On another note, as of last week I’m now also writing for the site Whiskyexperts.net (in German) – do check them out for the latest news and also tasting notes. There will be more tasting notes from me in 2015 over there as well.

Well, that’s about it. All that’s left to me now is to with each and every one of you a great, happy, successful new year 2015 with many drams – enjoy, but enjoy in moderation!

MaltKlaus, 31st of December 2014

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3 Replies to “2014 in review, my personal awards and what’s coming in 2015”

  1. 1 dram die woche könnte fast in arbeit ausarten 😉
    viel spass auf islay und schöne grüsse an rachel mcneill solltest du auch nach jura rüberkommen.
    im oktober gibts auch wieder ne 2 tägige whiskymesse in graz!
    viel erfolg und happy dramming in 2015

    1. Danke, dir auch viele schöne Drams 2015!
      Jura wird sich herausstellen – die Planung ist noch nicht abgeschlossen, ich werde im Fall des Falles aber dran denken 🙂

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