6 Fabulous Whiskies To Make The Holidays Better

Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13-Year-Old Reserve – 57.3% 70cl


Toffee apples on the nose and toasted caramel notes emerge beautifully. The palate is complex and rich with notes of nougat and woody tobacco hints. Definitely one of our favourite’s!

Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky – 40% 50cl


The Taiwanese distillery, despite only being in business since 2005, has stunned the industry with their young but full-flavored whisky, focusing on their distinctively enjoyable tropical fruit notes.

Nikka Miyagikyo No Age Statement – 70cl 43%


Masataka Taketsuru, known as the; Father of Japanese Whiskey; created Nikka in 1934. The Miyagikyo distillery, located close to Sendai in northern Japan, produces this rich, fruity, and smooth Single Malt which presents flavours of honey, citrus peel, and freshly cut grass.

The Lakes Whiskymakers Reserve No.5 – 52% 70cl


The fifth edition in The Lakes Whiskymaker’s Reserve series is a great example of an outstanding English single malt! This bottling presents a distinctively sherried style, bottled at 52% ABV and made using a combination of Pedro Ximénez sherry, Oloroso sherry, and red wine casks.

Legent Bourbon – 47% 70cl

Legent bourbon is truly unique while remaining true to the core of bourbon’s principles, bringing together over 225 years of bourbon-making heritage and nearly 100 years of Japanese whisky artistry. Partially finished in red wine and sherry casks, it has a complex combination of spice and fruity undertones.

Lindores Cask of Lindores STR Wine Barique – 49.4% 70cl


This is the second release in the Casks of Lindores series from Lindores Abbey distillery, and has been matured exclusively in STR (shaved, toasted; re-charred) red wine barriques and bottled at 49.4% vol. A warming, sweet dram with complex spice.

 

Old or New Old Fashioned

Ok, I’m a fan of the classics. From Fall of Rome to Poseidon – as a sailor, his ability to create storms was a note to tread softly. Don’t forget the queen of the sea Amphitrite, or Escoffier the king of chefs and chef of kings…finisher of French mother sauces that are the basis for France’s stunning classical cuisine.

That also applies to Cocktails! Yep, classic cocktails. None more so than the Old Fashioned, named around 1880. Now there were claims from Kentucky to New York as to the original creator. No matter who it was, we are all grateful, as it’s one of the top most popular cocktails in the world!

Ok, so my point is there are many new variations, some ok, some good, and some brilliant ones. I am currently enjoying exploring it with Stalla Dhu Glenrothes Late hour port cask. That really hits the spot! More about new styles later, this is about my venture into classics.

So I’m in Edinburgh doing a little research *wink wink*, I decided to go for an old-fashioned solo walking tour, why not, this is the best city in the World to walk around. Where to start though!? Since the high-end Hotels are proclaiming to be top of the game for cocktails, that’s where I’ll start.

The first stop was the Caley, or Waldorf Caledonian as it is properly known, the place of my first job as a trainee manager back in the ice age! Anyway, it is also a Waldorf (claimed as the first to serve the famous cocktail at its namesake in NY). I sat in lovely Peacock Alley and waited for my first of the day after a prolonged wait (apparently needed to find someone skilled), it arrived with a wee bit of orange rind floating over the correct block of ice. I asked which bourbon was used and the charming young lady left, and returned a few minutes later with the answer; Woodford reserve! Well done, pleasant, light on bitters, no orange oil detected but all in all, pretty good.

Next, off to what used to be her sister hotel at the other end of Princes Street, The Balmoral. Formerly the Victorian North British. In the now deco-influenced bar, I grab a stool, one of the few available. I was pleasantly attended to by the suited-up deputy manager. I ordered and watch the preparation. Let’s just say, the service is the best of the day…although I could have done without the cherries! Correctly proportioned, correctly stirred, correct block ice, and orange rind rub made with the very acceptable Angels Envy. The result was very good. Hope filled with enthused anticipation, I follow off to the next venue. 

It’s an uphill hike to Hotel du Vin. It plays double duty as I can have a cigar in their little Bothy, so that’s a bonus. I Settled down with my Placencia Orchant Seleccion as I awaited my third of the day. In the shelter of the windy weathered hut, I did sit next to the timer on the fireplace to assure continuity of comfort.

Now, this is one of my go-to spots in Edinburgh, so expected a good result. Unfortunately what arrived was rather void of flavor and my rather preoccupied waitress was unable to advise what the bourbon was. No matter, the small ice cubes were rapidly diluting what flavor may have been there. 

Anyway, disappointed, I enjoyed the rest of my smoke and headed to Apex back at the east end of Edinburgh where I had a room. It’s a newish, rather slick minimalist hotel, but very trendy. So I thought maybe a trendy old fashioned? Oh boy, I should end it here because nothing to say but wow. Dreadful, watery demise of one of the greatest of cocktails. Poor Makers Mark couldn’t save this from the soulless presenter of libations…agh!

Ok, we shouldn’t go out on this note, so let me tell you of two brilliant Variations!

The Puffin Rooms; Old Tabashioned Late Hour with Stalla Dhu Islay and Perique Tabac Liqueur and smoked Bad Bitch Old Fashioned with rum of same name aged in the Gulf of Mexico soaked wine barrels made in Key West. Just wow.

Available at Cgars St James see Sam or fabulous Puffin Room in Liverpool where Lucy or Mark offer up superior-cocktail making skills

New or old, Sláinte to a cocktail for the generations.

 

RM

Skipper

Stalla Dhu arriving at The Mash Tun

The Mash Tun in Aberlour

One of my favorite places on the planet is Aberlour, the pulsating heart of Speyside! ”Whisky Capitol of Scotland’, perhaps even The World. 🙂

This lovely town is situated on the fast-flowing, ever-stunning, famous river Spey. On my trip up from Edinburgh on the A9 in torrential rain and flooding, it looked like the Highlands were discouraging my venture north! However, as I followed the road thru the beauty of the Cairngorms wee bits of sunshine started peaking thru and moist air made way to a fresh warming as the light bounced off the purple hills. By the time I made my descent into Aberlour the sun bathed the town, and I felt the warmth of its welcome embrace! Confirming in me this visit, as with all others, is excitingly satisfying. 

Heading directly to my favorite Scottish whisky bar, The Mash Tun! Wow, this place is just full of character. The Tun’s character is housed in an Iconic ship-shaped building designed by an old sea Captain in 1896 who missed the sea. James Campbell successfully created a maritime feel with views of the passing river. As a sailor and sea captain myself, I feel very much at home here. 

I am also extremely excited to add to the Tun, a selection of Stalla Dhu’s award-winning single cask whiskies to compliment their already stunning selection. 

If you need recommendations, chat with the brilliant whisky man Ryan and he’ll be able to guide you.

Keep an eye on this great wee spot there is a ton of exciting things happening at the Tun in near future. Worth the journey and worth the pause to experience it!

Slàinte, Ron

Stalla Dhu Taking Home 2 More Amazing Awards!

The 2022 Whiskies Awards was another successful competition for the Stalla Dhu range! Two high awards have been given to the Caol Ila 11 year and Truth Be Told 22. With Caol Ila taking World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt and Truth Be Told taking Best Scotch Blended Limited Release. That’s an amazing showing from a small family built independent bottler. It’s fantastic to see the awards keep rolling in!

Fortunately/unfortunately, after the announcement all of the remaining Caol Ila sold out within a couple days! There are still bottles of the Truth Be Told in stock.

Truth Be Told 22:

Some famous distilleries are fiercely protective of their whiskies and adapted a process called tea-spooning; as in adding a teaspoon of another malt.

This is so ‘Independent Bottlers’ cannot call it a Single Malt or use the Distillery name.

This exceptional cask in its previous incarnations was known as ‘Wardhead’ and clues to its identity lie within the label.

Taste: Soft sophisticated spice, toffee touches, lovely lingering long finish.

Stalla Dhu New Releases!

We have received 3 new bottlings from the Stalla Dhu lineup! We are definitely excited when new whiskies come through the door.

Stalla Dhu, if you don’t know, is an award winning range of independent bottlings. Each bottle comes from different carefully chosen cask or distillery that can bring something special to the table.

Here are the new additions:

Stalla Dhu Single Cask Ben Nevis Proven8

This particular cask was specially selected by Ron Morrison in a blind tasting between eight different casks from Ben Nevis to be part of the Stalla Dhu’s new Single Cask bottlings. Limited to 237 bottles.

Nose: Sweet and rich biscuity aroma, lime curd and fresh wood shavings.
Taste: Creamy, sweet almonds followed by slight citrus notes.
Finish: Nutty sweetness and lingering creaminess.

Stalla Dhu Single Cask BenRiach 11yo

Limited to 327 bottles!

Nose: Toffee caramel, peachy fruitiness, soft white grapes followed by an earthy rhubarb aroma.
Taste: Cake and ice-cream mouthfeel, nougat, and sticky toffee pudding notes.
Finish: Lovely leathery finish followed by spice notes.

Stalla Dhu Single Cask Royal Brackla 15yo

A distillery quite literally Fit for a King, Royal Brackla was the first Scotch whisky ever granted a Royal Warrant, by King William IV in 1833, The King’s Own Whisky, still reigning true today. It’s also quite rare to find Royal Brackla whisky as a Single Cask bottling. Limited to 310 bottles.

Nose: Pear, cognac, winter fruits and spice aromas.
Taste: Buttery richness, warm spices followed by a fruity sweetness.
Finish: Warm, palate coating, complex finish.

Random Spirits To Enjoy On That Random Holiday

We’re nearing that 14th of February Hallmark holiday again where it’s like Cupid threw up red and pink things everywhere! We are always up for making a list of spirits we are currently enjoying, so that’s what we did. Whether you enjoy celebrating this holiday or not, that doesn’t matter here. These fabulous drinks are sure to tickle your tastebuds and bring upon that warming feeling deep inside. So hopefully this completely random list can inspire you to try something new!

Weller Antique 107 Bourbon – 53.5% 75cl

I swear, it’s not because it is red! This is an absolutely incredible wheated bourbon that has been accompanying my evenings by the fire more often these days. A wonderfully crafted bourbon that is bold and complex, but offers delicious fruity and floral notes. This higher proof offering works well sipped or in cocktails.

Foragers Black Label Gin – 46% 70cl

This gin has been my go to for G&Ts and martinis since we got Foragers in stock. I don’t know how I’ve without this gin for so long! Praised by chef James Martin on his Great British Adventure. Intense and smooth juniper notes, with richness from the sea buckthorn. Wonderfully crisp and elegant.

Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Doblemente Anejado Rum – 70cl 40%

The rum for whisky lovers! This bottling from Brugal range is a beautifully distinct rum that crisp and dry, but not overly sweet. Double-wood aged for 6-8 years in White American Oak Casks, followed by 2-4 years in first-filled Spanish Sherry Oak Casks. The cask aging is where it makes it more reminiscent of a single malt.

Suntory Chita Japanese Single Grain Whisky – 70cl 43%

This is the first single grain whisky from the house of Suntory. Originally Chita grain whiskies have been used to enhance the flavours and harmony of Suntory blends. Now, it has gained a level of complexity and sophistication that allows it to walk on it’s own! Clean and mild, with wonderful rich honey & spiced oak flavours.

Stalla Dhu Single Cask Glen Elgin Port Wood – 48% 70cl

Can’t finish this list without our newest release from the Stalla Dhu range of independent bottlings. This Glen Elgin port wood finish is perfectly aged and bottled at the best ABV, hitting the sweet spot. Aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in first fill Port cask. Flavours of toasted almonds, fresh plums, and nougat. Intensely creamy!

Happy Sipping,

Andrew

Whisky to Enjoy on Burns Night

As Robert Burns’ birthday is approaching, we get our favourite haggis and our bottle or 2 of whisky to enjoy! This year is definitely going to look a lot different, but doesn’t have to be less enjoyable. We can embrace the suck and press forward with some delicious food and great whisky! It’s definitely going to be smaller, just your small pod of people, or a video gathering of all your favourite people. It’s up to you. Do something a bit more special or unique this year to compensate for the lack of gatherings.

We have put a small list of whiskies to help give you ideas for that wonderful Burns night tipple.

Stalla Dhu Caol Ila 11 y/o – 60.4%

This beautiful Islay is the newest edition to our Stalla Dhu range of independent bottlings. Bottled at cask strength and aged 11 years in a hogshead cask. You get a lightly salted sweetness, toasted almonds, slight pepper with smoldering embers. This is rich and peaty, sure to satisfy those Islay lovers out there. Limited to 287 bottles!

Singleton of Dufftown 17 Year Old Diageo Special Release 2020 – 55.1%

Part of last year’s Special Releases from Diageo, these are chosen to be a unique offering from some of our favourite distilleries. This is an unusual first-ever refill cask release of Singleton, being matured 17 years in refill American oak hogshead. This release lives up to the distillery’s smooth and balanced nature! Wonderfully creamy, fruity, a touch of fresh cut grass, and perfectly balanced.

Glendronach 12 y/o Original – 43%

A tried and true Highland whisky that brings the wonderful sherry flavours from Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks. A great after dinner dram to wash down your lovely haggis, neeps & tatties! This GlenDronach is just a fantastically smooth dram with creamy vanilla, dried fruits, and of course the heavy dose of sherry!

Arran Port Cask Finish – 70cl 50%

Another one for those that love the wine cask finished whiskies. This Port cask finish from Arran is a perfect pairing with a lovely cheese board, maybe bought from the Isle of Arran Cheese Shop! Charming and rich, with splashes of citrus, vanilla fudge, and ripe cherries.

Highland Park Triskelion – 45.1%

A special edition Highland Park, that for the first time was created buy 3 of the distillery’s legendary whisky makers! Three principal cask types were hand chosen by each of the distillers, then combined to showcase the influence of wood and cask seasoning. First-fill sherry seasoned Spanish oak butts, first-fill sherry seasoned American oak casks and first-fill ex-bourbon barrels and hogsheads casks. A complex, full-flavoured Highland Park that boasts vibrant orchard fruit notes, with heather honey, and just the right amount of peat smoke!