2015 in review, my personal whisky awards and an outlook of what’s coming in 2016

Wolfburn: The two whiskies we got to taste

2015 in review

Wolfburn: The two whiskies we got to taste
Wolfburn: one of the distilleries we’ve visited in 2015

2015 was a schizophrenic year. It was a great one and a bad one. Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we?
I managed to churn out 117 whisky reviews – that amounts to about one review every three days. I’m quite happy with that and although other bloggers get much more done I prefer to take it easy and be thorough – and that can mean taking two hours just to write about one whisky. Quality, not quantity, both in my writing and in my consumption of alcohol.
I attended only two whisky festivals, the biannual Vienna whisky festival and the Finest Spirits in Munich. Both are fantastic ways to meet fellow whisky enthusiasts, try good malts and make new friends, but at least Munich was so crowded it was almost too much to bear. At times one couldn’t even move. Talking about crowded: I expected Feis Ile 2015 to be much more crowded than it was. Sure enough, there were many people there, but the limited housing and ferry capacities put a cap on the number of visitors – and that’s a good thing. My first Feis and probably not my last, though I prefer visiting Islay in the quieter months. Nonetheless, Feis Ile was a big party, meeting many people – old friends and new ones – and bonds for life were formed. Not a day goes by when I don’t think back! Continue reading “2015 in review, my personal whisky awards and an outlook of what’s coming in 2016”

Share this post

Scotch Single Malt distillery recommendations from a price/performance standpoint

Many different kinds of casks in use at Ardbeg
Many different kinds of casks in use at Ardbeg
So much whisky, so little time

So my last piece on this blog was more or less a rant about ever increasing whisky prices. Soon after that my Facebook friend and Arran Whisky Ambassador Andy Bell challenged me:

Let’s see an article about the distilleries that sell good whisky at a reasonable price Klaus… 🙂

Right on, Andy – great suggestion! I’ll gladly pick up this ball and run with it. So, here goes. I took a list of all Scottish single malt distilleries and looked at the current officially bottled market offerings of all of them (Austrian/German markets). In the end I came up with a few suggestions of Scottish whisky distilleries which seem to still care for us regular punters looking for quality drams at still reasonable and affordable prices in today’s high-price market.
I tried to stay as objective as possible during the whole process but, of course, there is always personal opinion and preference and not everybody might agree with me – which is perfectly fine as whisky is a very individual drink! Those are just my recommendations – imagine me walking a mate through a liquor store pointing out individual bottles and distilleries as we go along.

The distilleries on the following list stand out because they fulfill all or most of these criteria:
– offer a range of affordable whiskies, not just one affordable entry-level bottling
– do not chill filter or add fake colouring to the majority of their whiskies
– bottle their whiskies (except for bottom-shelf entry-level releases) at higher than the legal minimum of 40% ABV
– still offer a good selection of age-statement drams and don’t overly push no-age-statement expressions
– plus some other reasons, like independent ownership, number of people employed… (stated in the text) Continue reading “Scotch Single Malt distillery recommendations from a price/performance standpoint”

Share this post

Whisky prices: Where we are, where we were and where will we go?

This cask needs a medic...
This cask needs a medic...
This cask needs a medic – does the industry need one too?

I love browsing the different whisky retailers’ websites, discovering all the new releases and shiny new bottles on offer. Or should I say “I loved”? Browsing the online shops nowadays leaves me mostly indifferent, sometimes saddened, and with less excitement every single time.

Here’s why, this is a selection of recently released bottles at a German online retailer: Continue reading “Whisky prices: Where we are, where we were and where will we go?”

Share this post

Scotch Whisky production, warehousing and export statistics number crunching. Or: How old is the majority of Scotch Whisky when it is bottled?

One statement most of us will have heard – or even mentioned ourself is: “If there’s no age statement on a bottle, it’s 3 years and a day old”. Because that’s the legal minimum a whisky has to mature in oak barrels to be called Scotch Whisky – regardless of it being a blend, blended malt or single malt. But is said statement true? How old is the majority of Scotch when it is bottled and how much is allowed to mature for double-digit years? How do production and sales numbers compare? Lucky for us the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) publishes yearly reports with numbers to crunch and relate. The downside is, the publicly available detailed reports only range from 2009 till 2013, with the 2014 data expected in the fall of 2015. While not ideal it’s better than nothing and with lots of calculations and spreadsheet magic we’re able to condense the data into more digestible summaries. Continue reading “Scotch Whisky production, warehousing and export statistics number crunching. Or: How old is the majority of Scotch Whisky when it is bottled?”

Share this post

NAS vs age statement whiskies – what it’s all about

NAS vs. Age Statement
NAS vs. Age Statement
A random selection of whisky bottles carrying or missing an age statement

Which side of the “NAS vs. Age Statement” debate are you on? Do you boycot NAS whiskies? Do you buy everything you find tasty regardless of what it (doesn’t) say on the bottle? The heated arguments have been cooking for quite a while now and I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about this minefield for quite some time. I’m a bit late to the party, I know, but I really wanted to make a post painting the whole picture about the topic. In case you’re new to the scene: “NAS” stands for “no age statement” whiskies.

1. Why NAS Whiskies?

First and foremost: Whiskies without an age statement on the label are not a new thing. In the area of blended Scotch they make up the vast majority and have been on the market ever since the first Scotch was bottled (or sold by the barrel to the consumer in times long gone). As far as Single Malt Scotch Whiskies are concerned, we’ve had a long timespan now where almost every bottle carried an age statement and the marketing people wanted us to believe that older is  better (and thus has to be oh so much more expensive). But there have been NAS whiskies long before the current flooding of the market. I’m thinking about Ardmore Traditional Cask, the Springbank/Longrow/Hazelburn C.V. mixed-vintage bottlings (now replaced by similarly good NAS bottlings) or Laphroaig Quarter Cask. These are just three examples of whiskies without an age statement that offer(ed) a quality product at an affordable price point and there are many more. Continue reading “NAS vs age statement whiskies – what it’s all about”

Share this post

One year blogging anniversary

Lots of barrels to still stick my nose in and tell you all about it!

It is exactly one year to the day since the first article was published on the blog: http://maltklaus.net/dailydram/2014/04/10/yet-another-whisky-blog/

In the past year there were 68 whisky reviews, 3 dedicated picture posts and 12 miscellaneous articles.

I am very happy to report I am still staying true to my initial vision: An industry-independent blog, focusing on reviews of drams and stating my thoughts. The site is also completely free from advertising and the big corporate Analytics networks tracking us all over the web. I am very happy with the way it is progressing, visitor numbers are on the rise (especially the last 3-4 months) and the feedback is amazing.

There are still some areas with room for improvement. I haven’t completed the 2014 Scotland travelogue series, I haven’t managed to put up a report from any of the events I attended. I was just too busy chatting and dramming to think about taking pictures. Sorry about that. There have also been less articles on current topics and issues than I would’ve liked, but there are only 24 hours in a day.
I’m hopeful I’ll manage to post more general articles in the next 12 months and I hope I can expand my reader base the way it has been going for the last several months. I will definitely carry on publishing 2 tasting notes per week (Sunday and Wednesday) with the odd review and whisky related picture sneaking in here and there off schedule.

Thank YOU for all your support, may it be comments, suggestions or samples. If you haven’t done so already, please like and share the site on Social media and keep the feedback coming!

Share this post

Building your own whisky library

Whisky sample library
(Whisky samples from the whiskybase.com shop for illustration purposes)

We all know the feeling: We’ve gone down to the dregs of a great bottle of malt and we wish we could preserve it. Well, why don’t we? It’s actually really simple to do so and there are two ways:

1: Some people always buy three bottles (or more). One to drink, one to keep and one to swap. This is the best case scenario but obviously doesn’t work for everyone given the massive investment, money-wise and in storage space required.

2: Just decant some into sample bottles and build your own archive.

Let’s explore the possibilities of option number two a little further: Continue reading “Building your own whisky library”

Share this post

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. Continue reading “2014 in review, my personal awards and what’s coming in 2015”

Share this post

On scoring whisky and how I score

How to score this gorgeous dram?
How to score this gorgeous dram?

When you start tasting whisky you unavoidably encounter the moment when you think about scoring and scores. Do you score whiskies? How do you do it? Can you put scores on something as individual as taste? There are many rating systems I’ve encountered over the years, all of which have their pros and cons. I’ve seen systems using US school marks, some scales from 1-5, 1-20 and different variations of the 1-100 system. There are scores made up of individual sub-scores like Jim Murray does and then there’s those who don’t publish scores at all.

Continue reading “On scoring whisky and how I score”

Share this post

How to choose which whiskies to buy?

A recent birthyear bottling to be treasured and opened at a special occasion

A recent tweet by triggered my curiosity and reminded me of a topic I wanted to write about since I started this blog. Her question was:

What is your main reason to buy / purchase a bottle of ?

My response condensed into the 140 characters allowed in a tweet was:

1) distillery (if it’s a fave of mine that’s a plus) 2) flavour 3) price … 999) marketing and branding

Well, that was a very short response after all, so let me elaborate on a few points: Continue reading “How to choose which whiskies to buy?”

Share this post
Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner