January 8, 2015

#101: Class of ’97

Rob Whitehead – Senior Spirits Salesman of world-renowned wine and spirit merchants Berry Brothers & Rudd – led us through a mystery selection of malts under the banner “Class of ’97”.  They turned out to be quite closely related, but gave a magnificent insight into the variance of single-cask whisky.  Every dram a contentious but tasty one!

Clynelish 1997 Cask #4706 (Berry’s Own Selection) (56.8% abv)

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Clynelish 1997 Cask #4704 (Boisdale) (46% abv)

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Clynelish 1997 Cask #6470 (Berry’s Own Selection) (46% abv)

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Clynelish 1997 Cask #6868 (Berry’s Own Selection) (46% abv)

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Clynelish 1996 (Berry’s Own Selection) Cask 6424 (46% abv) [BUY]

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Bunnahabhain 1997 (Berry’s Own Selection) (56.1% abv)

Jura 1976 (Berry’s Own Selection) (53.5% abv)

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January 22, 2015

#102: Uncle Billy’s Sweetshop

Squad inmate Billy Abbott presented a number of whiskies that show off his goto flavours when writing tasting notes: the sweets of his childhood.

Cardhu Gold Reserve 40%

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Balblair 2003 40%

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Teeling Single Malt 46%

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Sullivan’s Cove Double Cask (American and French Oak) (40% abv) [BUY]

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Talisker Port Ruighe 45.8%

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Edradour 2006 Oloroso Sherry Cask #240 59.2%

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February 5, 2015

#103: David and Goliath

Macallan 15yo Fine Oak (43% abv) [BUY]

15yo from
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Caol Ila 2004 Sherry Cask #306655 (Gordon & MacPhail for The Whisky Exchange) 58.5% [BUY]

9yo from
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Kilkerran Work in Progress 6 Bourbon Cask 46%

10yo from
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Old Scout 10yo Bourbon 49.5% [BUY]

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FEW Rye 46.5% [BUY]

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Templeton Rye 40% [BUY]

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March 5, 2015

#104: What?! Really?

Over the five years of Whisky Squad’s existence, we’ve almost always tried whiskies blind, to ensure that no preconceptions cloud the tasters judgement. This has had a strange side-effect: Squadlateers are pretty good at guessing a whisky from its nose and palate. This time, we decided to go for drams that noone would guess, and we did pretty well.

Glen Grant 1978 (40% abv)

5yo from
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Invergordon 2006 7yo (Whisky Broker) 50%

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Redbreast Mano a Lamh (46% abv) [BUY]

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Bunnahabhain 2005 (MacPhail’s Collection) (43% abv) [BUY]

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Yoichi 10yo (45% abv) [BUY]

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Millstone 2004 Cask #667 (Whisky Exchange Exclusive) (58.6% abv) [BUY]

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April 2, 2015

#105: The Whisky Squad 5th Birthday Party

Celebrating 5 years of Whisky Squad we elected to have a party rather than a regular tasting, but it wouldn’t be Whisky Squad without whisky – so we had some.

Huge thanks again must go to Jeff and the crew at The Finborough Arms for hosting us both on this night, and over the last 5 years.

Glen Ord 20yo (Bladnoch Forum) (54.4% abv)

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Arran 18yo (46% abv) [BUY]

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The Lost Distilleries Blend Batch 6 (49.3% abv) [BUY]

April 23, 2015

#106: Billy and Joel went to Scotland, and all they got you was this really tasty whisky

It seemed only fair that if the Squad management team went to Scotland, picking up some tasty treats while there, that they share the spoils with the gang. So that’s what Billy and Joel did. Six drams, picked up while roaming from Dornoch to Edinburgh, all a bit special.

Singleton of Glen Ord 15yo (40% abv)

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Tomatin 2003 Bourbon Cask #1903 (Distillery Only) (56% abv)

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Tomatin 2002 Sherry Cask #2036 (Distillery Only) (57.1% abv)

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Wemyss “Waves of Pepper” (Clynelish 1997) (Kingsbarns Exclusive) (46% abv)

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Benriach 1999 PX Finish Cask #10285 (Distillery Exclusive) (54.1% abv)

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Caol Ila 2004 Cask #306480 (Gordon & MacPhail for Whisky Shop Dufftown) (60.3% abv)

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May 21, 2015

#107: #winning

Awards a fixture of the spirits world and whisky is no different. However, what happens behind the scenes when deciding which whisky wins is often shrouded in mystery and the results often surprise. Fortunately, the Whisky Squad crew have judged awards and threw open the curtain and explained the strange machinations that lead to whiskies getting prizes, and we had a selection of weird and wonderful drams to try.

Mellow Corn (50% abv) [BUY]

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Highland Harvest Organic Sauternes Cask Finished (46% abv)

Aberfeldy 21yo (40% abv) [BUY]

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Old Pulteney 21yo (46% abv) [BUY]

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Benriach 12yo Sherry Wood (46% abv) [BUY]

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Ledaig 8yo (Dramboree 2014) (58.8% abv)

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June 4, 2015

#108: Island Hopping

What is an island anyway? We decided to look at the influence of island climates on some of the whiskies of the world.

The Six Isles (43% abv) [BUY]

Scapa 16yo (40% abv) [BUY]

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Bunnahabhain 20yo Pure Malt (40% abv) [BUY]

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Tiger Snake Batch 3 (43% abv) [BUY]

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Togouchi 12yo (40% abv) [BUY]

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Yellow Spot 12yo (46% abv) [BUY]

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June 25, 2015

#109: Fast Times at Islay High

2015 was a big year for a number of distilleries on Islay – Laphroaig and Ardbeg’s 200th birthdays, Kilchoman’s 10th and what seems to be the actual retirement of Jim McEwan, recently Bruichladdich’s whisky genius, who started as a cooper at Bowmore over 40 years ago. Billy went to the island, grabbed some bottles and found a few more back home to help celebrate.

Bruichladdich Valinch 11: Raymond Tibbs (Cask #2 R10/177 1992 ACEd in Calvados Cask) 49.9%

22yo from
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Ardbeg Perpetuum 47.4% [BUY]

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Laphroaig Cairdeas 200th Anniversary Edition 51.5%

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Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th Edition 50% [BUY]

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Port Charlotte Islay Barley 50% [BUY]

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July 9, 2015

#: It’s All About the Bass

An evening at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with ambassador and Squad regular John McCheyne, looking at what different types of casks do to whiskies.

Notes on this one yet to be updated...

July 23, 2015

#111: The Punters’ Choice

Rather than us choosing the whiskies, this time you did! All the attendees sent us some ideas, Joel picked a few and then we drank them. As usual, we tasted everything blind, so challenged everyone to pick out their dram – a surprisingly hard task.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony (43% abv) [BUY]

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Glenburgie 20yo 1994 Chivas Brothers Cask Strength Edition (50% abv) [BUY]

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Dry Fly Straight Triticale Whiskey (44% abv) [BUY]

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Great King Street: Glasgow Blend (43% abv) [BUY]

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Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated (50% abv) [BUY]

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Benriach 17yo Septendecim (46% abv) [BUY]

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August 6, 2015

#112: Capital Of The Whisky World

Long ago, in days of yore, it all began with a town call Campbeltown. Packed with distilleries and firing out whisky in all directions, it was the centre of spirit production in Scotland. However, a series of unfortunate events, from Prohibition to the quality of the whisky dropping to the point on undrinkablility, led to the folding of almost every distillery and the rise of the rest of the country.

However, there are still a handful of distilleries operating and they are still a region all of their own. In this session, Joel dug into the drams that are still flowing from Campbeltown.

Glen Scotia 12yo (46% abv) [BUY]

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Kilkerran Work in Progress 7 Bourbon Cask (54.1% abv) [BUY]

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Hazelburn 10yo 2003 Rundlets and Kilderkins (50.1% abv)

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Springbank 18yo 1996 (Cask Sample) (54.8% abv)

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Campbeltown Blended Malt (Cadenheads London Fill Your Own Cask) (59% abv) [BUY]

Longrow 11yo 2003 (Cask Sample) ?

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August 20, 2015

#113: Dram, That’s Refreshing! aka Refreshing Indoor Picnic

A session with several names, as the British weather’s penchant for change meant that from moment to moment we didn’t know what things were going to be like. In the end, we had a muggy night and an indoor feast of whisky, cocktails and food. From Scottish sushi to ribs and slaw, with a Manhattan that turned into a Boulevardier as its Campari ice cube melted, it was an excellent evening of drinks and more.

Singleton of Glendullan 12yo (40% abv)

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Great King Street – The Artist’s Blend (Compass Box) (43% abv) [BUY]

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Basil Hayden’s Bourbon (40% abv) [BUY]

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Old Scout 10yo Bourbon 49.5% [BUY]

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Templeton Rye 40% [BUY]

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Booker’s Bourbon (65.3% abv) [BUY]

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September 3, 2015

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

Billy yet again dug into his cupboard and brought out some old bottles and their nearest, recently-released equivalents. This time, it was really hard to guess which was which…

Bruichladdich “The Laddie 10” (46% abv) [BUY]

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Bruichladdich 10yo (Bottled 1990s. White and blue label) (40% abv)

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Chivas Regal 12yo (40% abv) [BUY]

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Chivas Regal 12yo (Bot.1980s) (43% abv)

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Talisker 1993 Distillers Edition (Bottled 2007) (45.8% abv)

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Talisker 2003 Distillers Edition (Bottled 2014) (45.8% abv) [BUY]

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September 17, 2015

#115: Sherry, can you come out tonight?

Fortunately, we’ve been planning ahead at Whisky Squad and despite the rising cost of sherry-cask-matured whisky, we’ve had a few bottles squirreled away for a rainy day. Billy and Elise dusted off a few gems from the archives, as well as some more recent releases, for a night of sherried whisky madeness.

Notes on this one yet to be updated...

October 15, 2015

#116: Bang for your Buck II

Whisky’s getting expensive, but there are still great bargains out there – they’re not all cheap, but they are great value. We scoured the shelves and found six drams that fit the bill.

Benromach 5yo (40% abv) [BUY]

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Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 (43.3% abv) [BUY]

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Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve (43% abv) [BUY]

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Singleton of Dufftown Tailfire (40% abv) [BUY]

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Springbank 1992 7yo Da Mhile (58% abv)

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Finlaggan Cask Strength (58% abv) [BUY]

November 6, 2015

#117: Burn It!

On Bonfire Night, 2015, it was only right to explore the smokey, the firey and the rebellious. We tasted six whiskies that all showed some peat influence.

Longrow Peated (46% abv) [BUY]

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Penderyn Peated (46% abv) [BUY]

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Blue Hanger (6th Release) (45.6% abv) [BUY]

Kings County Peated Bourbon (45% abv) [BUY]

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SMWS 66.73 – “Midnight feast at pony club camp” (61% abv) [BUY]

Kilchoman 2011 Madeira Cask (50% abv) [BUY]

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December 13, 2015

#118: A Dram for Movember!

Celebrating moustache growing and fund-raising for men’s health, we had an evening drams and matched moustaches. The links may have been tenuous, but the whisky was definitely connected to quality.

Glen Garioch 8yo Bottled 1980s (43% abv)

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Great Odin’s Raven – Ron Burgundy Blended Whisky (40% abv)

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Dimple Bottled 1960s (40% abv)

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 (43.3% abv) [BUY]

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Lg5 (Elements of Islay) 54.8% [BUY]

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December 17, 2015

#119: Happy Seasonmas!

Our annual charity ‘bring a bottle’ session raised over £200 for Shelter! Along with the money collected for tickets, we also (donated by Nigel of Sassenach’s Dram) had a raffle for a bottle of whisky. Good work, team.

Notes on this one yet to be updated...