January 2014 Sessions

Loads of whisky fun for January 2014 –

2nd Jan: Whisky Squad 77 – “Berry Brothers, and Rob”

Our traditional year beginning with the tasting led by the incomparable Robert Whitehead and his selection of magnificent Berry Brothers & Rudd whiskies.

12th Jan: Whisky Basics

An afternoon session for anyone who’d like to go over some of the fundamentals of Scotch whisky, with Jason B. Standing.

16th Jan: Whisky Squad 78 – “Old and New II”

Billy Abbott takes us through a brace of currently available whiskies, and we sample them alongside their counterparts from further back in time.

31st Jan: Whisky Friday at SMWS

Not a tasting session as such – more a chance for us to meet up & have a nice social chat with a few tasty single cask drams.

Get into it!

Whisky Time Machine to be won

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a Balvenie Caribbean Cask.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me Bowmore 15, and a Balvenie Caribbean Cask.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me Yamazaki 12, Bowmore 15, and a Balvenie Caribbean Cask.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Tomintoul 14, Yamazaki 12, Bowmore 15, and a Balvenie Caribbean Cask.”

In many ways it’s probably just as well that the Drinks By The Dram Whisky Advent Calendar only gives you one dram per day, because unlike the song, there’s 24 days in it – and you’d be hard-pressed to finish off 300 drams before Christmas. Yes, you would.

At this point you’d be right to ask “What on Earth are you talking about?” – and you’d be right to do so!

Our fine fine chums at Maverick Drinks have given us one of their marvellous Whisky Advent Calendars to bestow upon one lucky person.


People raising squadrons of well-behaved mice will LOVE this calendar, as it features 24 little individual doors – more than ample for your mouse storage needs once you’ve taken all the whisky out. Oh yes, behind each numbered door is one of a great selection of whiskies in the universally popular Drinks By The Dram series. Traditionally you open one door each day leading up to Christmas, providing you with not only a quick & easy visual reminder of what day you’re up to in the month, but also with a great opportunity to try 2 dozen new whiskies!

You could employ some sort of random number generator to add further surprise to which whisky you’ll be assigned for the day. Or you could just open all the doors and laugh maniacally. It’s totally up to you, once you win it.

Oh – how do you win it? Easy!

There’s 3 ways to enter, and everyone can enter up to 3 times.

1) Sign up for the Whisky Squad mailing list.

The more astute of the folks who read this via the Whisky Squad mailing list will therefore have figured out that they’re already in with a chance.

2) Twitter users can tweet the following message for a second chance:

Win a @drinksbythedram #WhiskyAdvent Calendar with @WhiskySquad ! http://tinyurl.com/squidhats

3) Inevitably we’re going to post the story on our Facebook page, so if you’re one of Facebook’s 1.2 billion users then if you Share our story, you’ll get a third chance to win.

A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday November 27th, and provided they’re a non-fictional being of legal age for buying whisky the magical mail pixies at Master of Malt will despatch you your prize.

Awesome, no?

Incidentally, anyone who (correctly) thinks that a whisky advent calendar would make a terrific gift for a whisky enthusiast (or mouse wrangler) in their life can buy them for £149.95+p&p at the Master of Malt website!

Fine print: Open to UK residents only, must be 18+ years of age.  Winner selected at random by all entries counted up til 12 noon GMT on Wednesday November 27th 2013.

I’m the cream of the crop, I rise to the top

Allt-a-Bhainne-Batch-1 This is a bit of a first.

Back in April a dedicated band of Whisky Squadders made our way out to visit the Secret Headquarters of the chaps from Master of Malt, and one of the many wonderful activities we did was to select a cask of Allt-a-Bhainne to bottle for the Batch 1 release in the “That Boutique-y Whisky Company” range – and come up with a design idea for the label, famously featuring bizarre cartoons of whisky-related shennanigans.

And here we are!

Allt-a-Bhainne, a Speyside whisky from the Pernod Ricard (+ Chivas Bros) portfolio and not often seen as a single malt release, is named for the Gaelic meaning “Burn of Milk”.  A couple of the Squad quickly realised that the pronounciation “Ollt-of-Vain” sounded a bit like “House of Pain” – and so a label was born!

allt-bottleI don’t have any of the tasting notes to hand from the actual day, but the official Master of Malt notes are:

Nose: Fizzy apple belts, lemon curd and buttered toast.
Palate: Nice biscuits and green apple slices with oak influence developing.
Finish: Long with a little of everything that went before in support of delightful toasted oakiness.

If you’d like to read more about this release (and the other two in the same series which came out on the same day – featuring Edinburgh Whisky Blog and the Famous Loch Ness Whisky Parliament), check out the Master of Malt blog post.

Available from Master of Malt – £44.95 (49.2%abv, 50cl). 304 bottles.

Why settle for having a statue of yourself erected when you can own a bottle of limited-release whisky with a picture of yourself on it represented in cartoon cow form?

The full range of That Boutique-y Whisky Company whiskies (and their unique labels, drawn by Glaswegian illustrator Emily Chappell) can be found here.

Whisky-related hinjinks/tasting opportunities for those lucky enough to find themselves in October right now

(Apols – bookings opened a few minutes late cos I got stuck on the Tube.)

STEP RIGHT THIS WAY!  We have once again assembled 2 unique whisky tastings to appeal to you this month, and in typical Whisky Squad fashion they’re both worth getting excited about!

WS #71 – “Number One Drink(s) in the UK”

Scotch Whisky enthusiasts love trying Japanese whisky, on the basis of its allure and quality – and this session will showcase some very alluring and high quality morsels from Marcin Miller and Number One Drinks.

WS #72 – “Ang/Lee’s Supermarket Sweep”

Probing the whisky selection available in UK supermarkets today, Lee Tomlinson and Angus Martin showcase their favourite readily available options: an ideal opportunity to perhaps find some gift ideas, or stock up for any 4th Quarter social functions you may have planned…

Bookings for these sessions open at 1:30pm on Tuesday October 1st.

September’s lineup will make you green with envy… because there’s, uh, like, absinthe… never mind.

Our whisky tastings are like no other, and this snap from Billy’s session earlier this month really proves the point:


With that in mind (and it’s possible you won’t be able to get it out of your mind), September’s lineup is as follows:

Whisky Squad 69: Absinthe Squad

(Wed 11th September) Whisky Squad’s mission is always to educate, and few members of the spirit world are more misunderstood & misrepresented than French favourite, the anisey green Absinthe.

Whisky Squad 70: A Malt for the Whole Planet

(Thurs 26th September) Could a whisky taste different in different countries?  Explore the idea in this session featuring some very seldom seen in the UK drams.

Sessions will open for booking at 1pm on Friday August 30th.

For further info on bookings, see our How Bookings Work section.

In this most August of months…

Unfortunately due to a slight hiccup, we will only have one Whisky Squad session available to book today.

However we’re all very excited about it, and have a feeling it’s going to be one of those ones that people talk about in hushed tones of awe for months afterwards.

Whisky Squad 67: Billy’s Sensory Mindphucq

Experiential astronaut and serial beard proprietor Billy Abbott has a Whisky Squad session lined up for us which explores the nature of our sense experience and how it relates to whisky.  Not to be missed.

Thursday August 8th, 7:30pm, The Royal Oak (Borough) – £16pp

 Whisky Squad 68 will still be taking place later in August – stay tuned for details.

Some further tasting fun for July

Two Whisky Squad sessions coming up for July (plus a bonus free tasting put on by our chums at The Great Whisky Company)!


“Honey? Vanilla? We’re not making a cake, you know.”

Thursday July 11th – Whisky Squad #65

John McCheyne takes us through a selection of single cask whiskies from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and shows that though honey and vanilla notes are often present in whisky owing to the production process, there are many more flavours out there – and single cask whisky is an ideal place to find them!

“Beer Squad”

Thursday July 25th – Whisky Squad #66

With beer being the basis of whisky (more or less), and a flavour diaspora of its own, Tony Cripps presents a selection of beers & beer styles that may interest the whisky enthusiast.

Bookings for these 2 sessions open at 5pm on Tuesday June 25th.  For info about how bookings, please have a look at our easy-to-digest bookings policy.

and, if you’re not busy on Thursday the 27th of June, please also consider the Rock Town Distillery Tasting at Soho Whisky Club (free event – not part of normal Whisky Squad sessions).

Whisky Squad’s June Lineup…

The whisky fun continues in 2013, with 2 more great sessions to sample, discuss & learn about intricacies of the whisky world…

Whisky Squad #63 – 6th June – Better The Devil?

Berry Brothers & Rudd’s own Basingstoke-based superstar Mr Rocky Lancer takes us through some of their exquisite independently bottled whiskies, lining them up next to official distillery bottlings, giving us a chance to examine similarities and differences.

Whisky Squad #64 – 20th June – What’s it got to do with a Plasticene Parrot?

Our resident dramologist Mr Joel Eastman looks at the idea of “distillery polymorphism” – distilleries that produce multiple styles of spirit using the same equipment.  Perhaps it’ll open a discussion about what regionality means in a whisky?  Who knows?  It’ll be interesting, anyway!

Bookings for these sessions open Friday May 24th at 3pm.

For other info, have a look at our booking policy.

Good luck, and hope to see you in June!