September – The Month Of Billy

billyabbottBilly Abbott, our very own walking whisky Wikipedia, brings us a delicious double header this September. He is presenting two of our favourite formats that are sure to be a hit. Partly because they feature old whisky and sherried drams…but mostly because they are presented by Billy.

Whisky Squad #114 – Old vs New 3: Something something with a vengeance

In this third Old vs New session, we’ll again have three pairs of drams on the tasting mat, each the same whisky according to the label on the bottle, but all very different – can you guess which is which?

3rd September, 19:30 at The Red Lion, SW1Y 6PP

Whisky Squad #115 – Sherry, can you come out tonight?

In these days of austerity, hardship and greater whisky sales than ever before, fewer and fewer whiskies are matured in casks that used to hold sherry. These are the classic casks that made the great whiskies of the past, and their slow disappearance is much lamented. But not at Whisky Squad!

17th September, 19:30 at The King & Queen, W1S 6DL

Whisky Squads #114 and #115 will go on sale on Wednesday 19th August 2015 at 3pm.

Whisky Tastings for August

campbeltown

Another month, another couple of tastings. Look out, all the juicy detail are coming at ya!

Whisky Squad #112 – Capital of the Whisky World

Sometimes it’s nice to put all the wacky session themes aside and have a good old fashioned regional whisky tasting. So that’s what we’re doing! For the first time in our five year history we dedicate a session to a little town with a big history

6th August, 19:30 at The Ship, EC3R 7NB

Whisky Squad #113 – Dram, That’s Refreshing!

Other times it’s fun to tip the idea of a whisky tasting on its head and do something completely different. Sound like fun? Then check out this summery session, complete with whisky, BBQ and a bit of mixology.

Whisky Squads #112 and #113 will go on sale on Monday 21st July 2015 at 11am.

Island Hopping with Elise

One of the problems with running two tasting sessions a month is coming up with new ideas. We’re now at least 109 Whisky Squads down – our numbering is not necessarily as accurate as we might like, but we’re fairly certain that’s the minimum – and have done close to 100 unique sessions. Fortunately, Elise, the newest member of the so-called ‘management team’ has a bunch of ideas, and our first June session was one of hers – Island Hopping.

Continue reading Island Hopping with Elise

July – time for more whisky

With June drawing to a close, it’s time for another pair of Whisky Squad sessions to drag themselves into the limelight. This time, we’ll be welcoming back a friend and getting you lot to do some work for once…

Whisky Squad #110 – It’s all about the bass – 9 July

johnmccheyneRecently, the squad management gang have become slightly obsessed with how new make spirit has been made. But during some late night discussion we realised we’d been neglecting the most important bit of whisky production: the casks.

This sessions is our apology to the humble oak tree and the coopers of the world. We’ll have John McCheyne from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society on hand to feed us some excellent drams and talk about wood.

Whisky Squad #111 – Punter’s choice – 23 July

puntersWe’re busy folks at Whisky Squad and putting together two whisky tastings a month takes more time and effort than you might think, especially if you’ve been to a Squad session and seen how organised we are. That changes now: you’ll be organising Squad #111.

Now, we’re not mean enough to get you all to find venues and carry glasses (although suggestions for the former and offers of the latter are always gratefully received), but we will be getting you to choose the whisky. We’ll have six whiskies on the mat, all tasted blind, all chosen by the attendees. Will your dram be chosen? Will you be able to tell if it is..?

Whisky Squads #110 and #111 will go on sale on Monday 22 June 2015 at 11am.

Whisky Tastings in June: Part 2

We said last week that the announcement of the second session for June was imminent, and now that Billy has almost recovered from his trip to the fabled whisky island of Islay, we can announce:

Whisky Squad #109 – Fast Times at Islay High

During his travels around a pleasantly rainy Islay, Billy grabbed a few bottles and tasted a few whiskies. He’s brought a few back south with him and acquired another couple, all of which will be opened to taste at June’s second session.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 3 June at 11am.

Keep an eye on your email for news of July’s sessions – we’ll have something appearing quite soon. If you’ve not signed up to our mailing list, you can do so over here.

Whisky Tastings in June: Part 1

June is just around the corner and that means another couple of Whisky Squad sessions are rapidly approaching! We’ve got all the juicy details for June’s first tasting right here in this email.

As for the second session, well we’re going to make you wait just a little longer. Billy is cooking up something big! There is just a couple of last pieces to put in place after he returns from his Islay pilgrimage and once we have all the info we will send out another newsletter to announce the session. In the meantime, you can book on for a spot of island hopping with Elise.


Whisky Squad #108 – Island Hopping

Whisky Squad co-organiser, Elise, has been dreaming of an island holiday filled to the brim with wonderful whisky. But what kind of whisky can one find on a lump of land in the sea?

Is the sea-salty tang of a hebridean dram connected in some kind of spiritual way to it’s uisce beatha brethren the world over? (see what we did there?) Is there something about being an “islander” that gives a distiller a special perspective?

Tickets go on sale 28th May, at 11am.

Keep your eyes peeled, the second June session announcement is imminent!

Whisky Squad: a fine dictatorship

Who needs democracy anyway? All it does is cause elections that clash with Whisky Squad sessions.

Unfortunately, it seems that our first May tasting has fallen through due to the imminent exercising of people’s right to vote, so we’re down to a single session this month. Fortunately, it’s going to be a good’un, with Billy and Elise channeling their spirit guide: Carlos Estevez himself, Charlie Sheen.

Whisky Squad #107 – #winning#winning

There seems to be a new whisky competition appearing every week, so we thought we’d have a look at some of the lesser known gems that they flag up. We’ve got a range of excellent drams, all of which have picked up gongs at awards from around the world, and we’re not afraid to drink them.

Tickets go on sale on election day itself, 7 May, at 11am.

Buy Whisky Squad tickets early, buy Whisky Squad tickets often. See you there…

Now we are five

Our fifth birthday has been and gone, so it’s back to business as usual – two sessions a month, and lots of tasty whisky to drink. We’re starting that with a second April session:

Whisky Squad #106: Billy and Joel went to Scotland, and all they got you was this very tasty whisky
The title pretty much says it all, but click through for some hyperbole and tickets when they go on sale. We’re at a new venue this month, so make sure you know where you’re going – The Ship, EC3

23rd April, 7.30pm. The Ship, EC3. £18pp

Bookings for this session open at 11am, Friday 10 April.  Usual booking policy applies.

Whisky Squad tastings are designed to be an informal and informative, fun way of learning about and tasting whisky.  Whilst not an “introduction to whisky” session, we have people of all backgrounds and facets of whisky exposure, and everyone interested in whisky is very welcome!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO WHISKY SQUAD! And what a star-studded stylish bash it was.

What a swell do!  And a good-lookin’ crowd.

As promised, Thursday April 2nd saw a happy gaggle of Squad partakers of past and present converge on the wonderful Finborough Arms in West Brompton to usher in the 6th year of our informal and informative whisky tastings.

And no fewer than FIVE cakes!

It wouldn’t be a Whisky Squad without a few drams, so we toasted the occasion with a light & vivacious Bladnoch Forum 20yo Glen Ord from Jason’s collection, the sumptuous nutty & butterscotch notes of the new Arran 18yo, and finishing with the complex flavour Tour de Force of Master of Malt’s award winning Lost Distilleries Blend (batch 6).

Pizza was gobbled down with gusto, speeches were speeched, bonhomie was warmly evidenced and Dermot the Whisky Squad Dog kept a watchful eye on all visitors as well as the floor for potential scraps of anything interesting.  Thanks were generously thanksed, as we wouldn’t be here without the love & support of so many people and companies in the whisky industry.  And naturally we responsibly drank a pint or two of Jeff’s magnificently-tended selection of cask and keg beers.

So from Billy, Joel, Elise and Jason we’d like to once again say thanks to every one of you who came along & celebrated with us, who wanted to come along but couldn’t, who’ve ever been to a Whisky Squad, or presented a Whisky Squad, or is interested in either of those things in the future – this fun & awesomeness happens because you make it, and here’s to the next 5 years of just exactly that!

Photos by Duncan Ross and Toby Quirk – if you’ve got any you’d like to share/add, drop us a line or post them on Facebook and we’ll harvest/add them.

Happy Birthday to us!

On April 2nd it’ll be the 5th Birthday of the world famous WHISKY SQUAD.

For five years now we’ve been running our informal and informative whisky tastings, over 104 sessions (so far) and… well… loads of tasty & memorable drams (and some veering more towards “memorable” than “tasty”).

So we’re having a party to celebrate.

ws5bd_bannersqAnyone who’s a friend of the Squad – be it past participant, supporter, previous presenter, or had to listen to one of us babble excitedly about it at any point over the last 5 years – is welcome to attend.  Please fill out the booking form so we know how much cake to bring!