Welcome to The GreatDrams Review of 2016, a time for me to have a swift light hearted reflection of the year that was and my personal highlights of the year.
Well what a year it has been; Trump, Brexit, Leicester City, Nico Rosberg, several famous figures passing, Castro, I have moved up north from London and my wife and I are expecting our first baby.
Crazy to even start reflecting on most of the above, but thankfully I only need to reflect on GreatDrams, and of course what’s been going on in whisky.
This year has been amongst my busiest;
180,000 + GreatDrams readers this year
55k followers across social media and email
241 articles written
85 events attended
25 distilleries visited across Scotland, Ireland, England and France
15 whisky shows and festivals attended
11 spirits judging panels sat on
8 publications written for
3 awards shortlisted for
1 award win
1 award highly commended runner up
1 cask bought (at Arran)
1 David Beckham’s I have had a whisky with
Countless whiskies tried, enjoyed and commented on ?
Some particular highlights for me personally have been;
Having a whisky with David Beckham to launch the Haig Club Clubman
Visiting the Diageo archive (it really is epic)
Spending a day dramming on some ridiculous whiskies with Jan of Douglas Laing
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Jameson and Tom Thomson in Dublin
Working the stills and filling casks to become an honorary distiller at the Benromach
Visiting the Cameronbridge Distillery
Visiting the Glengoyne Distillery
Buying my first bottle of Port Ellen
Being made a founding member of the Aberlour a’Bunadh Collective
Writing the Scotch Report for The Spirits Business magazine
In whisky we saw the release of some incredible whiskies (in ALPHABETICAL order, not preference);
Ardbeg 21 Year Old
Ardbeg Dark Cove (Committee Release)
Big Peat Christmas 2016
Brora 36 (from Diageo Special Releases 2016)
Cadenheads North British 1985 31 Year Old Single Grain
Douglas Laing’s Single Grain Winter Warmers (all!)
Glenfiddich IPA / Project XX
Glen Grant 18 Year Old
Jameson Makers Series
Paul John Single Cask
Remy Martin Carte Blanche (Cognac)
Teeling Revival 13 YO
The Dalmore Quintessence
The Glenlivet Cipher
The Glenlivet Winchester Collection 50 Year Old
The Macallan Edition 02
The Trojan, from Exile Casks
Timorous Beastie 40 Year Old
Tullamore D.E.W. 18 Year Old
Along with all these stunning whiskies and a very busy year, we have seen Scotch exports up, volumes up and huge investment into new and expanding distillery operations throughout Scotland and Ireland in particular, with many new distilleries opening up in England too.
2017 looks to be another busy year with consolidation in the industry marking a strong growth trajectory, lots of distilleries who have been built over the last couple of years will be turning on and some will be releasing their first bottlings after three years of patience, and I’m sure a degree of nervous anticipation.
Thanks for reading, following, liking, Tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming and tagging GreatDrams across the web this year, I’ve had a blast and it’s been so lovely to help so many GreatDrammers with their whisky choices and to meet a fair few of you at events around the UK over the last twelve months.
As always, please do send me pics of your whisky exploration, or tag me in festivities so I can share with the wider GreatDrams Network and please also keep sending your feedback, questions and comments to me, I reply to every single email I get sent; [email protected]
Here’s to a prosperous 2017 for one and all, have a great Christmas, New Year and see you at the next show!