The Inaugural Scottish Rum Festival Goes Virtual

*Press Release*

THE FIRST SCOTTISH RUM FESTIVAL GOES VIRTUAL WITH CHARITABLE SPIRIT

The inaugural Scottish Rum Festival due to launch at The Merchants’ Hall in Edinburgh this summer will now be a virtual event. Set to showcase Scotland’s nascent rum movement, the programme can now be accessed by rum lovers across the UK and beyond. The festival will also raise money for The BEN, Scotland’s drinks and hospitality charity.

The online event will be staged on Friday 24th July for trade delegates and Saturday 25th July for public ticket holders, and will present talks, tastings and unique brand experiences through a series of live-streamed sessions with Scotland’s leading rum distillers and blenders, using the festival’s social channels.

Festival tasting packs will be sent to ticket holders and will feature an expertly curated selection of rums to help connoisseurs and curious newbies alike to explore Scottish rum and support this growing sector.

The festival will feature a number of Scottish producers presenting their rums including VS Distillers, Brewdog Distilling Co., Matugga Distillers, Wester Spirit Co., Ninefold Distillery, Glasgow Distillery Co., Rumburra Scotland, Spirit of Glasgow and Deeside Distillery.

Dr Kit Caruthers, owner and head distiller at Ninefold Distillery, said: “This is a great opportunity for the burgeoning Scottish rum sector, and I am delighted to play a part in the inaugural Scottish Rum Festival. There is a growing band of producers who make rum authentically and honestly here in Scotland, and we’re looking forward to giving everyone a great rum experience.”

Public tickets are priced at £34.95 and are now available online at: ScotRumFest.com. £5 from the sale of each ticket will be donated to The BEN.

Chris Gardner, Chief Executive of The BEN, said: “It’s wonderful to see Scotland’s rum industry come together. Donations from the festival will help us to provide social, financial or emotional support to trade professionals affected by the coronavirus pandemic, for which we are very grateful.”

 

James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food and Drink, added: “Scotland’s drinks industry has a global reputation for quality, innovation and craftsmanship. We’re now entering an exciting time for the country’s growing rum scene, to be explored by consumers and producers alike. The Scottish Rum Festival will showcase the new wave of distillers and blenders that are putting Scotland firmly on the global rum map, while raising money for a vital cause.”

*End*

Further Information

The Scottish Rum Festival takes place on Friday 24th July for trade delegates (by invitation) and Saturday 25th July (12:30 – 21:30 BST) for public ticket holders. The festival programme will be announced soon and will be supported by spirits experts and educators Dave Broom and Peter Holland. The programme will also feature Mungo’s Hi Fi, a soundsystem and music production collective based in Glasgow.

A pack containing ten rum samples and a Glencairn festival tasting glass will be sent to ticket holders (UK addresses only).

Producers Attending

Matugga Distillers (Matugga Rum, Liv Rum)
Ninefold Distillery (Ninefold Pure Single Rum)
Spirit of Glasgow (Sugar House Rum)
VS Distillers (J. Gow Rum)
Wester Spirit Co. (Wester Rum)
Brewdog Distilling Co. (Five Hundred Cuts Botanical Rum)
Deeside Distillery (Devil’s Point Rum)
The Glasgow Distillery Co. (Banditti Club Rum)
Rumburra Scotland (Rumburra Orach)
Others to be confirmed

This all looks as though its lining up to be great fun

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

By the Dutch White Batavia Arrack – Indonesian Rum

A recent release from By the Dutch and complimenting their aged Batavia Arrack, this is their “White Batavia Arrack”. But what is it and what the hell has it got to do with the Dutch?

Batavia was the name of the capital city of the Dutch East Indies, known in the present day as Jakarta. Established in 1619 at the site of the razed city of Jayakarta, Batavia became the epicentre of the Dutch East India Company’s Asia trading network. The trade of Batavia Arrack was handled exclusively by the Dutch. All Arrack exported to Europe arrived in either Amsterdam or Rotterdam.

In its most basic form, Batavia Arrack is similar to Rum. It is a sugar cane molasses distillate produced exclusively on the island of Java in Indonesia. It can trace its roots back to the 17th Century. Fermentation is very similar to that of Rum with the main difference being the addition of local wild yeast cultivated on top of red rice cakes. The fermentation is open and takes place in wooden vats taking the wash up to around 8% abv. This wash is then pot distilled to an abv of around 30%. A second pot distillation takes the distillate up to between 60-65% abv. It is at that point that the distillate is placed in large teak wood vats for between 8 to 12 months.

Specifically relating to the By the Dutch White Batavia Arrack, the 8 to 12 month rested distillate is shipped to Amsterdam in large steel containers. This is then blended and bottled at 48% abv. The product carries no age statement. Weirdly, due ‘religious legislation’ in Indonesia the arrack is marked as ‘Medicine’ when shipped.

By the Dutch White Batavia Arrack – 48%abv – Indonesian Rum

Tasting Notes

Nose: It’s tough to pin down straight away……the aromas seem to span a wide range of the familiar yet don’t seem to completely correlate with any. With time, there is definitely the initial fresh sugarcane familiarity of Cachaça, the grassy notes of Agricole, the brine notes of pot distilled Rum and the earthy notes of a Clairin. But it doesn’t comfortably adhere to any of these fully. There is a freshness to the nose accompanying an underlying vegetal note. Earthy fresh turmeric root sets a basis for light, fresh unripe tropical fruit….reminiscent of walking through the fruit aisle of a mini-mart somewhere in the Caribbean…Freshly picked bananas, green mango skin and the aroma of almost ripe papaya still on the tree. Familiar notes of black pepper, vanilla and light pimento punch through and I can’t quite shake the cinnamon notes of Amburana wood which I know isn’t there…..but the light cinnamon definitely is. Both familiar and unfamiliar in equal measures.

Mouth: Far brighter and fruitier on the palate. A real sweetness to the initial entry and a medium body to the experience. Mango. Papaya. Maybe a hint of banana. It’s also lightly floral. Definite agricole like sugarcane notes. It turns down the sweetness and brings forward a hint of coastal brine, cracked black pepper spice, cinnamon and a light herbal note. Something mildly spicy and ‘green’…..warm freshly charred and salted padron peppers. Sweetness lingers on your lips and a return of banana, papaya and vanilla accompany further visits to the glass. The finish is longer than expected and is all sweet fruit initially leading into the brine and spice notes that made the mid palate so pleasant with a hint of wood and molasses at the fade.

In Conclusion: It’s a bit of a strange one that doesn’t sit in any one camp. Shades of Cachaça, Rum, Agricole and Clairin but not fully giving the individual experience of any of them. Sweet. Vegetal. Spice. Brine. Cane. It could’ve been a bit of a non-committal mess but it really isn’t…..its actually quite a pleasant thing to drink neat even though that’s not the intended use…..it just makes me want to get my hands on the two aged releases to fully explore this spirit further. Its not Rum, its not Rhum, its not Clairin and its not Cachaca, but it is a good distillate presented at the right abv.

4 / 5

As cocktails seem to be the aim of this release, there are plenty of suggestions on the bottle. I went with a drink that has been a favourite recently…..a twist on the Saturn with the Gin replaced with By The Dutch White Batavia Arrack and with the passion fruit syrup dialed up by 5ml. Beautiful.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rumnaissance…..Rum Diaries Blog at Manchester Science Festival

msf-logoThis one is a little bit of a personal post asking (pleading) for your support as I take my first steps into talking to members of the public about the Rum in their glass.

It is worthwhile pointing out that the evening will be in its most basic form, a Rum tasting, but with added information about production and categorization. The event title is Rumnaissance and I have pieced together a little look at the breakdown of how I plan to structure the night:

Rums classifications have become somewhat outdated. Location based style classification is difficult as many rums straddle a line between styles. Colour based classification along with such horrific terms such as ‘Premium’ and ‘Super Premium’ give no indicators of true intrinsic value.  A new classification system proposed by Velier’s Luca Gargano and backed by Foursquare Distillery’s Richard Seale highlights a category of identification based upon the method of distillation employed in the Rums production.

During the evening we will discuss the proposed categorisation which from the top down is split into the distillation categories of batch and continuous, and then into further categories. We will look at the basic principles behind each distillation method, how they are used in Rum production and further explore how this relates to the proposed categories. We will also look at the effects that contact with wood has on a new spirit and also how Tropical age delivers a different result to European age.

To help you along during all of this we will be tasting Rums that demonstrate these categories as we discuss them. You’ll get to try Rum-Bar Aged and unaged “Pure Single Rum” from Worthy Park in Jamaica, Doorly’s “Single Blended Rum” from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, Admiral Rodney “Traditional Rum” from St Lucia Distillers, “Agricole Rhum” from Martinique, and Ron Cubay “Rum” from Cuba. You’ll also get to try Glorious Revolution, an Unaged 100% Pot Distilled Rum made here in the UK by Spirit Masters. A few nibbles will be provided during the break, but even then, you’ll be tasting at least 6 or 7 Rums so it is advisable to fill up before you arrive.

The link to purchase tickets is here and it would be great to have your support if you can make it.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

cropped-business-card-2016-front.jpg

Drinks by the Dram unveil the Whisky (and Rum) Advent Calendars for 2016

*Press Release*

Drinks by the Dram 2016

Drinks by the Dram unveil the 2016 Whisky Advent Calendar

  • Drinks by the Dram launch the 2016 Whisky Advent calendar containing drams aged for over 50 years, and worth up to £600 per bottle as part of a range of 23 unique spirit-filled calendars.
  • This year’s new additions to the range include Advent Calendars dedicated to Scotch, American, Irish and Japanese whiskies, as well as collaborations with Glenfarclas, That Boutique-y Whisky Company and Origin Gin.
  • Drinks by the Dram also unveil the Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar, with an RRP of £9,999.95 and boasting a bevy of extraordinarily rare whiskies.

For the fifth year running, the range of Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendars has returned. The selection once again features classics like Whisky, Ginvent and Rum, while exciting new additions include calendars dedicated to Scotch, American, Irish and Japanese whiskies along with calendars full of Glenfarclas Single Malt, independent whisky bottlings from That Boutique-y Whisky Company and Origin Single Estate Gins made with juniper sourced from specific regions all around the world.

The Whisky Advent Calendar was launched in 2012, and has since become a tradition among whisky enthusiasts, letting them count down to Christmas and explore the world’s best whiskies. Each handmade, wax-sealed dram allows whisky fans to sample a new expression, tasting everything from single grain and bourbon to rare Scotch worth up to £600 a bottle.

Drinks by the Dram 2016 Box Image

2016 marks the debut of the Drinks by the Dram Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar (RRP £9,999.95), developing on the concept introduced by the Old & Rare Advent Calendar launched in 2015. Each calendar is a bespoke wooden box built by hand by cabinet-maker Simon Jewell Designs in Kent, and is available in a walnut or Macassar ebony finish. Within every calendar sit 24 individually numbered 30ml drams of some of the world’s most sought-after whiskies, including expressions from long-closed distilleries, a 60-year-old single malt and a whisky worth up to £19,000 a bottle.

Drinks by the Dram’s 2016 Advent Calendar range also includes calendars filled with single cask whiskies, mezcal, gin and more. The full range of calendars (listed below) will be available later this month.

 

Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar
Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar
Premium Whisky Advent Calendar Craft
Premium Whisky Advent Calendar Red

Whisky Advent Calendar Craft
Whisky Advent Calendar Red
Glenfarclas Whisky Advent Calendar
That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Advent Calendar
Single Cask Whisky Advent Calendar
Japanese Whisky Advent Calendar
Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar
American Whiskey Advent Calendar
Bourbon Advent Calendar
Irish Whiskey Advent Calendar
Cognac Advent Calendar
Armagnac Advent Calendar
Rum Advent Calendar
Mezcal Advent Calendar
Tequila Advent Calendar
Absinthe Advent Calendar
Ginvent Calendar
Gin Advent Calendar
Vodka Advent Calendar
Origin Single Estate Gin Advent Calendar
Naga Chilli Vodka Escalation Advent Calendar

Drinks by the Dram’s 2016 Advent Calendar range will be widely available from leading retailers including Amazon, Master of Malt, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason, WaitroseGifts.com, Ocado, GinKiosk, Majestic Wines and Laithwaites, with more being announced when they launch at the end of the month.

*End*

Rum-Craft

We all know that THIS is the one that you’ll be after! Last year was great so with a bit of luck we hope to get our hands on another one this year to see what delights await within!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Wray & Nephew Carnival After Party

*Press Release*

WRAY & NEPHEW PARTNERS WITH BOILER ROOM AND NTS RADIO FOR NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL AFTER PARTY  

Wray’s Rum Tings consumer summer events line-up comes to a close with Boiler Room and NTS Radio Carnival activity and music extravaganza

Wray Carnival

Wray & Nephew has announced a partnership with the world’s biggest online music broadcaster Boiler Room and NTS Radio, to entertain Carnival party-goers and music fans later this month. The Wray & Nephew Carnival after party is taking place on the last day of the Notting Hill Carnival, Monday 29th August, at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green.

The gig promises to be a night to remember with an amazing line up of the UK’s best underground acts. The full line up will be announced closer to the Carnival, although Boiler Room has revealed that top acts Grandmixxer, Neptizzle, Crazy Cousins, Siobhan Bell, Skinny, Daniel OG, A.G, Covco, Blaise Bellville, Nonsense, Lord Tusk and Dean Blunt will all be making appearances.

Eager gig-goers can apply for tickets via The Boiler Room (https://boilerroom.tv/session/wrayandnephew/) now, with tickets costing £15 each.

This is the first year that Boiler Room has officially partnered with the Notting Hill Carnival, so who better to drum up excitement alongside than Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum – as flavourful and full of character as Carnival itself!

It’s not just underground that Boiler Room and Wray & Nephew will be entertaining the masses however. The partnership also includes 3,000 exclusive, co branded free Carnival kits containing dual-branded flags and horns. These will be given away during the festivities on Monday 29th August while stocks last.

The Carnival kit giveaways and after party mark the last events in Wray and Nephew’s Rum Tings summer line up, which has seen sold out events in London and Birmingham.

*End*

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Emporia Christmas Cocktails

*Press Release*

Emporia

Emporia Brands HQ asked a number of their award-winning brands to send across their festive recipes, perfect to impress your friends and family with.

Ron Prohibido – ‘the forbidden rum’ – is a unique premium Latino rum from Mexico. Made in a traditional 12 year solera with a unique combination of column still rums, Ron Prohibido was, in the 17th century, shipped in used sweet wine barrels to Spain where the distinctive sweet and bitter taste it acquired during the voyage was much appreciated…so much so that local producers in Spain persuaded King Felipe V to ban it – hence “prohibido”, the forbidden rum. Now, over 300 years later, this delicious rum is available in the UK for the first time.

Try their simple ‘Prohibido’:

Glass: Mug

Ingredients:

60 ml Ron Prohibido

2 tsp caster sugar

½ cup hot fresh coffee

1 cinnamon stick

Orange zest

Method:

Stir the coffee and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in Ron Prohibido and add the cinnamon and the strip of orange zest. Garnish with whipped cream, grated chocolate and grated orange zest.

Prohibido

Osborne is one of the oldest and most prestigious wine and spirit producers in Spain. Founded in 1772 by Thomas Osborne Mann to supply sherry to the UK, it remains 100% family owned, and is now run by the seventh generation.

The brightest vinous jewels in Osborne’s considerable crown are the very old rare sherries (vors). these are exceptional sherries from very special soleras, all of which were established nearly two centuries ago, and the solera for Sibarita is in fact the oldest in Jerez, dating back well over 200 years to 1792. These precious sherries have found worldwide acclaim, and are found on the lists of top restaurants around the world.

Try out their ‘PX Reserve’ recipe:

Glass: Coupette

Ingredients:

40 ml Chairman’s Reserve

10 ml Osborne PX

2 dash Angostura

Method:

Stir all the ingredients within a mixing glass over ice, then strain into a coupette.

PX Reserve

*End*

Both cocktails look pretty tasty! Now we don’t have the Osborne PX here at Rum Diaries HQ but we do another bottle of PX and of course we have Chairman’s Reserve so we are odds on to fire one of those up at some point over the Christmas period!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Drinks By The Dram Advent Calendars Released

The occasion is nearly upon us where we need to, in the words of Sir Cliff Richard lifted from his modern Christmas classic Mistletoe and Wine, ‘rejoice in the good that we see’…………..Now we’re no popular music experts, but we have it on good authority that the ‘good’ that he is singing about is the now yearly release of the ever-expanding range of Drinks By The Dram Advent Calendars!*

DBTD FrontWe wrote about the upcoming releases earlier in September and now they are on general sale!

The Drinks by the Dram’s range of (Christmas) spirit-filled Advent calendars include such delectable treats as Rum, Whisky and Gin and are this year joined by new additions including Tequila, Absinthe and Vodka (you won’t be needing this one).

The Whisky Advent Calendar (£149.95) was launched in 2012 to help whisky lovers explore the world’s best whiskies.  Highlights among this year’s 24 drams include a rare 50-year-old Scotch, an award-winning Japanese whisky and the World’s Best Blended Whisky. Each handmade, wax-sealed dram allows whisky fans to sample a new whisky, tasting everything from single grain whisky to rare Scotch worth up to £350 a bottle.

Each calendar in the range takes the explorer on a different journey of discovery through the fascinating world of their favourite spirit, introducing them to rare and unusual expressions they may never have tried.

Whisky connoisseurs (or those with expensive tastes) can also enjoy the Premium Whisky Advent Calendar (£249.95), which contains rare single casks and whiskies worth up to £500 a bottle. This year also sees the launch of The Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar (£999.95) (for those with VERY expensive tastes) that contains whiskies worth up to £2,000 a bottle, including a 60-year-old Single Malt – one of the oldest whiskies in the world.

Drinks by the Dram’s 2015 Advent Calendar range also includes calendars filled with Armagnac, Vodka, Mezcal and horrible, horrible, you’ll regret it immediately and pay for it in the morning Chilli Vodka.  The full range of calendars is available now and is as follows:

DBTD Close UpWhisky Advent Calendar (Craft Edition)
Premium Whisky Calendar (Craft Edition)
Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar
Bourbon Advent Calendar
Ginvent Calendar
Botanical Ginvent Calendar
Rum Advent Calendar
Cognac Advent Calendar
Tequila Advent Calendar
Mezcal Advent Calendar
Armagnac Advent Calendar
Absinthe Advent Calendar
Vodka Advent Calendar
Naga Chilli Vodka Escalation Calendar

DBTD RearThe good news is that we have now got our wooly mittened fingers on a Rum Advent Calendar and it is a thing of beauty! 24 x 3cl wax sealed bottles of delightful Rum sitting there waiting for you……….Now I’m usually a really, really good boy (which is why Santa Claus is usually so nice to me) but even I had to have a little peep behind the first window………..I won’t give the game away just yet but to give a little clue….December will start off with a bang………….

We’ll look to upload each Rum revealed on a day by day basis as we progress through December so as not to ruin it for any of you that have also picked up a calendar!

If you are looking to buy one then the main selection is here with the best one (in our opinion) found here, though we do quite fancy getting our heads around Mezcal. Now you can reveal the Rums inside on the Master Of Malt Website, but we haven’t…..and if you want to impress Santa with your patience we’d suggest that you restrain yourselves and check back here every day through December! Ho ho ho and all that.

The 1st December is upon us and so #Rumvent begins…

Starting proceedings with a BANG is the quite epic Pussers Gunpowder Proof...Your tot for the 1st December

Starting proceedings with a BANG is the quite epic Pussers Gunpowder Proof…Your tot for the 1st December

The 2nd December reveals a very nice white Rum that has been covered on these very pages...Botran Reserva Blanca

The 2nd December reveals a very nice white Rum that has been covered on these very pages…Botran Reserva Blanca

Click here for our write up of the Ron Botran Range

So here we are at the 3rd December already and todays delight is a new one on me! Bristol Spirits Sancti Spiritus Fine Cuban Rum 2003...bottled in 2013 giving it 10 long years to mature...

So here we are at the 3rd December already and todays delight is a new one on me! Bristol Spirits Sancti Spiritus Fine Cuban Rum 2003…bottled in 2013 giving it 10 long years to mature…

The bottle of joy for the 4th December is Mezan Jamaica Barrique XO and its a really solid blend that we are more than familiar with...

The bottle of joy for the 4th December is Mezan Jamaica Barrique XO and its a really solid blend that we are more than familiar with…

Click here for our write up of Mezan Jamaica XO

December 5th gives us a drop of Admiral Rodney....some consider this to be one of the finest examples of column distilled Rum available...We are quite fond of it...

December 5th gives us a drop of Admiral Rodney….some consider this to be one of the finest examples of column distilled Rum available…We are quite fond of it…

Click here for our write up of Admiral Rodney

December 6th reveals this rather tasty little drop....Plantation 5 Barbados Grande Reserve....

December 6th reveals this rather tasty little drop….Plantation 5 Barbados Grande Reserve….

December 7th sees a drop of Flor de Cana 12 uncovered!

December 7th sees a drop of Flor de Cana 12 uncovered!

December 8th sees one for the sweet toothed amongst you...Ron Zacapa!

December 8th sees one for the sweet toothed amongst you…Ron Zacapa Centenario!

December 9th revealed the corking Angostura 1919..

December 9th revealed the corking Angostura 1919..

December 10th sees Santa Teresa 1796 revealed....we've drunk our fair share of this in the past

December 10th sees Santa Teresa 1796 revealed….we’ve drunk our fair share of this in the past

December 11th sees a spicy one show up....Rumbullion! We'll be submerging this one in some coke later today!

December 11th sees a spicy one show up….Rumbullion! We’ll be submerging this one in some coke later today!

The 12th December has given us El Dorado 25!

The 12th December has given us El Dorado 25!

The 13th....unlucky for some...but not with the amazing Doorlys XO being revealed!

The 13th….unlucky for some…but not with the amazing Doorlys XO being revealed!

A drop of the sweeter stuff for the 14th...Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva..

A drop of the sweeter stuff for the 14th…Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva..

The 15th has revealed a drop of the excellent Pussers 15!

The 15th has revealed a drop of the excellent Pussers 15!

*May or may not be true

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2015 Drinks By The Dram Advent Calendars Announced

*Press Release*

DBTD

Drinks by the Dram unveil the 2015 Whisky Advent Calendar as part of a range of 14 unique spirit-filled calendars.

Drinks by the Dram’s range of spirit-filled Advent calendar returns for a fourth year.  Old favourites like Whisky, Gin and Rum are joined by new additions including Tequila, Absinthe and Vodka.

The Whisky Advent Calendar (RRP £149.95) was launched in 2012 to help whisky lovers explore the world’s best whiskies.  Highlights among this year’s 24 drams include a rare 50-year-old Scotch, an award-winning Japanese whisky and the World’s Best Blended Whisky*. Each handmade, wax-sealed dram allows whisky fans to sample a new whisky, tasting everything from single grain whisky to rare Scotch worth up to £350 a bottle.

DBTD Whisky Advent

Each calendar in the range takes the explorer on a different journey of discovery through the fascinating world of their favourite spirit, introducing them to rare and unusual expressions they may never have tried.

Whisky connoisseurs can also enjoy the Premium Whisky Advent Calendar (RRP £249.95), which contains rare single casks and whiskies worth up to £500 a bottle. This year also sees the launch of The Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar (RRP £999.95), containing whiskies worth up to £2,000 a bottle, including a 60-year-old Single Malt – one of the oldest whiskies in the world.

Drinks by the Dram’s 2015 Advent Calendar range also includes calendars filled with Armagnac, Vodka, Mezcal and horrible, horrible Chilli Vodka.  The full range of calendars is available now (shipping in October) and is as follows:

Whisky Advent Calendar (Craft Edition)
Premium Whisky Calendar (Craft Edition)
Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar
Bourbon Advent Calendar
Ginvent Calendar
Botanical Ginvent Calendar
Rum Advent Calendar
Cognac Advent Calendar
Tequila Advent Calendar
Mezcal Advent Calendar
Armagnac Advent Calendar
Absinthe Advent Calendar
Vodka Advent Calendar
Naga Chilli Vodka Escalation Calendar

*End*

Click on the link on the side banner to take yourselves directly to Master of Malt to reserve your calendar!

I’ve often looked on from afar at the images of other people’s Rum Advent Calendars……there are some cracking spirits to be had in all of them….well nearly all of them! Maybe this year will be my year…Fingers crossed.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

SWIG Hip Flask

SWIG logoA new one on these pages…..its not Rum but it is something that most of us at one time or another will or have used to carry our precious beloved liquid……but what is the story behind the carrying of a hip flask?

Dating back from medieval times, initially ‘personal flasks’ were made of glass or leather with the ‘pilgrim bottle’ being associated with religious pilgrimages….flat on one side and rounded on the other, they often had rings attached to the base of the neck through which you could thread a chain, rope or leather to attach it to your person or to your horse’s saddle. The idea of a hip flask or pocket flask appeared in Georgian times (1714 to 1837) but rose in popularity during the Victorian era (1837 to 1901). Solid silver or pewter were the materials of choice in combination with other materials such as glass (to enable you to see the fill level) or leather. Occasionally they had a screw top that could be used as a vessel. Popular for pursuits such as hunting or fishing, a gentleman would require a flask of his favourite spirit to keep him warm during these pursuits. Ladies of the 18th Century would board docked British warships to smuggle gin in a makeshift flask made of a pigs bladder hidden inside their petticoats. I’d also imagine that flasks have made many trips to see in-laws more bearable…..I know that have improved similar weekends for me! Though they are not to be confused with the tools of alcoholism (such as a bottle in a brown paper bag) as they generally hold only 6-8oz of liquid and in my experience, that liquid is made for sharing.

IMAG1947_1As far as my own experiences go, I am an avid user of hip flasks. I have purchased hip flasks as gifts and have been given hip flasks as gifts. My gifts to my two best men on my wedding day were hip flasks and the gift that I received for my 21st Birthday from my employer at the time was a hip flask….in fact it is this hip flask that has served me so well for the 17 years that I have been using it! It’s a little tatty now but the most important fact is that I has never leaked. Rounds of golf are always better with a warming drop of something on a chilly Sunday morning and I always attend a wedding with a flask of good Rum in my jacket pocket! It’s the most important part of your attire for the day…..along with a cigar of course.

IMAG0437_1I had first encountered SWIG flasks when my friend Scott, the writer of The Whisky Moose posted an image of his new flask via Twitter. Fast forward several months and I was contacted and asked if I would like to trial a SWIG flask, as an avid user of hip flasks, of course I said yes!

SWIG are a fast growing London-based start-up, who produce high-quality hip flasks and pouches.

SWIG as a company is the brainchild of David Galbraith who in 2013 sold up and moved from Northern Ireland to follow his vision of making ‘the worlds most reliable hip flask brand’. SWIG flasks are of a seamless stainless steel construction which can be supplied with a wide range of accessories.

IMAG0432_1I was asked to choose which version I’d like to trial and so to keep personal tastes out of the equation for the purposes of writing, I chose to trial the naked flask in a gift box with the accompanying stainless steel funnel to fill up the flask. The flask itself arrived in a flat two-part red and black box, adorned with a black ribbon and brandishing the SWIG logo in the bottom corner. Once open, the beautiful seamless stainless steel 170ml flask lies upon a patterned black cushion and has a card set on top. This card holds the web address required to access the ‘SWIG Society’. This is a global membership club for owners of SWIG flasks with your status corresponding to your flask number….a little like the hierarchy in The Stonecutters from The Simpsons! Speaking of flask numbers, beautifully engraved on the flask that I am trialing is #03475. You receive a monthly email containing pictures from the community, information, articles and each month a SWIG Society member can win the prize of a bottle of whisky based upon their flask number!

IMAG0424_1The first thing that strikes you is the absence of any seam lines, save for the neck joint and one thing unfamiliar to me is the fact that the screw cap is not connected to the flask by any means. Something that I have never encountered previously. There is the ever-present fear that you could lose the screw cap….a fear that is further confirmed when you notice that spare caps are available for purchase on the SWIG website. There is also that familiar curved shape that enables it to sit comfortably in your jacket / trouser pocket. Everything is suitably chunky and solid feeling with no light metal on metal noise when screwing the cap open or closed. The biggest challenge of any hip flask is the desire to never have the liquid leak. So far in the five weeks that I have trialled the flask it has accompanied me to work, on various trips to visit friends and relatives and it has also made the short hop over to Paris. No leaks as yet and long may this continue. I would definitely advise you to buy a pouch as the flask does mark easily, especially if you intend to carry the flask in a bag of some sort. That said there is no flex in the body of the flask indicating that a suitably robust material thickness has been used. You also don’t get the feeling that this is a brittle piece of kit which is good as it commands a hefty price tag. The funnel which sadly does not fit in the gift box is the most impressive flask filling device that I’ve encountered. A large bowl means that there are no hesitations required when pouring as is the case usually which means that there are no spillages as a result of having to constantly slow pour the bottle. There is a real sense of occasion when receiving and opening the package and as far as gifts go, flasks in particular, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one. One thing to add is that engraving is also possible so that the flask arrives suitably labelled up with whatever message you choose. Aside from this, I may have found the replacement for my soon to be decommissioned 21st Birthday present. I of course reserve the right to revisit this article based on the performance of the flask and rest assured I will feed back any further observations.

The ‘Naked’ Flask is currently available for £41 with the ‘Naked’ Flask gift set that I have trialled currently available for £61.

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In the interests of clarity, I was provided with a flask by SWIG to trial for the purposes of this article

Historical us sources: Wikipedia and Hersey

Little Tipples

Imagine if you will, a world where no person is judged based on the preconceptions of others. Where you can remove the constraints that may cloud your judgement or expectations of a person allowing you to judge only at face value. To appreciate personalities, qualities, positives and negatives based only on an opinion formed by you, not by your expectations as a result of the things that you’ve been told. Imagine meeting that person again and forgetting all that you know, or thought you knew….now replace the word person with the word Rum. That over-dramatic statement with its origins firmly rooted in an episode of The Simpsons is, in my opinion, exactly what Little Tipples sets out to achieve.

LT Pack

I was recently followed on Twitter by @LittleTipples and after reading their profile, I was immediately intrigued. After speaking to Richard Stewart from Little Tipples both on Twitter and via email, it became clear that his intention was to try to lower the walls that potentially stop some people from tasting more spirits and to open up their range of choice by allowing them to experience something fun that will also allow them to inform their future choices based on their own experiences alongside the views and experiences of others.

The premise is rather simple…..You subscribe via littletipples.com to receive a pack every 2 or 4 weeks. This pack contains 2 x 50ml bottles of Rum that are unmarked aside from a code on each bottle. You then log into your account on their website, enter the codes and are then provided with information on the origins and flavours of the Rums along with instructions on how best to taste them. Once tasted (notepad in hand), you then enter your ratings. You have the option of tasting neat or mixed, but preferably both to inform your ratings. These ratings then count towards the positioning of the Rums on the Leaderboard. When you have rated the rums, their identity is revealed and you may be surprised by the results!

I likened it to being kind of like a Graze box….but awesome!

My experiences in my first foray into the world of Little Tipples is documented below! Wish me luck!

LT DarkI duly poured about half of each bottle into my tasting glasses and left them to sit for a little while to enable the alcohol vapours to dissipate.

The dark rum was deep and foreboding and 57% ABV…….my first little sniff revealed dark brown sugar and treacle….it was familiar…..I took a few more sips and all signs pointed to an old friend. That liquid treacle taste and that kick in the ribs….I entered my bottle code and up popped the tasting notes which I duly read and then sipped again…..I thought that I had worked this one out.

I then moved onto the white rum. This sat at 40% ABV and was a little abrupt on the nose to start with but soon softened to a really fruity aroma and what can only be described as coconut and marshmallow. It was familiar but I hadn’t found those aromas together in a white rum before. It tasted just as I imagined from the smell. Not too sweet and it had a real depth of flavour. I again entered my bottle code, read the notes and took a few more sips.

LT WhiteNext up came the mixing. The dark went with cola and I used the white in a mini daiquiri (using the most sorry-looking lime that I’ve ever encountered, but the juice was still good!)….both worked a real treat. I entered my decision on the website as to which way I preferred to drink each rum…..I found myself drawn to checking the ‘mixed’ box for the dark and much to my surprise, the ‘neat’ box for the white rum!

Once my choices were made the brands were revealed at the top of the page. The dark rum was Woods 100. I’m never without a bottle and recognised it instantly! The white rum was Doorly’s 3. An amazing coincidence as I’d picked up a bottle the previous day which clearly turned out to be an inspired decision. This once again, under blind tasting, proved to me that Foursquare Distillery produce some unbelievable rums!

I enjoyed my experience with Little Tipples. It really does focus your senses. I always try to approach each rum that I taste in this way but sometimes if it’s a rum that I’ve heard people raving about, it’s quite easy to have your vision clouded.

Would I do it again? Absolutely yes. I think for me though, I’d prefer to make a one-off order and then order again when the mood took me rather than signing into fortnightly or monthly tasting kits….fortunately it appears that you can cancel your subscription quite easily and then restart a new one when needed, all without having to re-register with the site. A damn sight easier than it was trying to cancel my Graze box subscription and a far more pleasant and welcome arrival at my office desk!

© Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, both written and photographic without the express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Steven James and Rum Diaries Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.