The Whisky Tasting Club


My idea of torture is to be told some confidential information with an embargo. And as that embargo time approaches it is put back again. And again. and again. ‘Tantalise’ is a word I understand better than most.

See, the thing is – and I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone – I’ve got a big mouth. On one side of the coin, I’m honest, transparent, passionate and trustworthy. On the other I can be offensive, crude, indiscreet and opinionated. And my big mouth has got me in to trouble time and time again.

I’ve had to learn to know when to shut up and when to speak out – and I’m still getting it wrong. Nevertheless, I must get it right a lot of the time because people still trust me with private and confidential information. A lot.

And never more so than this year. On a daily basis I have been told that the information I am being given is for me and me alone. AND IT HAS BEEN HELL. I’m a trained journalist, for heaven’s sake! You tell me things so i tell others. That’s the deal. It’s in the DNA.

This year I’ve been particularly bursting. I’ve been told information that is private and confidential at least three times a day.  And I’ve had to sit on an elephant’s worth of information, which conveniently divides up in to three packages, all of which will be revealed in the next four weeks.

But I’m delighted to announce the first of the batches now. It’s the least dramatic because it’s to do with news products at The Whisky Shop. But it’s particularly exciting for me because while some parts of the High Street are faltering The Whisky Shop is gathering momentum and picking up the pace even in the doldrums of January, and has a raft of new product ranges to announce, some of them exclusive to The Whisky Shop and some of them among my very favourite whiskies.

First up the Whisky Shop will be relaunching the much-loved and sorely missed Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve, which was discontinued when the Dalmore range was ‘premiumised’ a few years ago, much to the anger of a significant band of loyal supporters.

The new version has increased the percentage of Oloroso ‘Matsulem’ casks from 60 per cent to 70 per cent , and added in a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon cask Dalmore. I’ll be reviewing it this week.

The Whisky Shop is also planning exclusive whiskies with independents such as BenRiach and Glenfarclas, and will be stocking and promoting the new Glenmorangie Artein, a mix of 15 and 21 year old malts finished in Tuscany wine casks. It’s a stunning premium whisky and another addition to an increasingly impressive range.

And there’s more – predominantly a Scottish company, The Whisky Shop is throwing itself fully in to the Irish whiskey sector, a specialist area for me, with the reintroduction of the excellent Cooley range, new additions such as Redbreast 12 and 15 years old, Green Spot, The Irishman and Writer’s Tears, and the new pot still whiskeys from Irish Distillers including the world class Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength, which is as good as Irish whiskey gets.

To cap it all The Whisky Shop will be stocking whisky from my good friends Mackmyra. Result! We’ve been tasting Mackmyra here in Norfolk for six or seven years and have grown with it. It has a loyal following in this part of the world.

So lots and lots to write about. and with an extra issue of Whiskeria being published this year – plenty of space to write it.

Glad I’ve got that off my chest. But you won’t believe what’s coming next. No, I really can’t…

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