Welcome to The GreatDrams Review of 2017, 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; several disasters including Grenfell, hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the ascention of Trump and subsequent reduction of power and respect for the Oval Office, Brexit issues still rolling on making the UK government look like chumps, Neymar’s ridiculous transfer fee, Chester from Linkin Park passing away, I have settled into my new life up north in Poynton and am absolutely loving it and my boy arrived Feb 5th and visited his first distillery, Laphroaig, June 1st.
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;
237,000 + GreatDrams readers this year
65k followers across social media and email
1,043 articles now on GreatDrams (including a load scheduled for future publishing)
70 was the age of the oldest whisky I tried this year, along with several in their 60s and 50s… not bad eh?!
42 events attended (lower than usual due to hectic consulting schedule and family life)
30 separate trips from Poynton to London for meetings and workshop (despite not travelling Jan / Feb to be at home with our newborn)
28 flights to Scotland / Ireland for press trips and client meetings (despite not travelling Jan / Feb to be at home with our newborn)
24 distilleries visited across Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada and France
11 spirits judging panels sat on
10 publications written for
10 whisky shows and festivals attended / hosted
6 consecutive new monthly readership records on GreatDrams.com (thank you!)
5 casks bought (Ardmore, Aylsa Bay, Craigellachie, Dailuaine, Glen Moray)
3 awards shortlisted for
2 TV appearances (Sky News and BBC Worldwide)
2 stores stocking my GreatDrams exclusive Ardmore release – more to come, but is a good feeling!
1 award highly commended runner up award
1 GreatDrams independently bottled whisky, Ardmore 8, available here
1 book published and finally released, available here
1 award win – YEAH BABY! GreatDrams wins UK Food And Drink Blog of the Year 2017!!
Countless whiskies tried, enjoyed and commented on ?
Some particular highlights for me personally have been;
My boy being born, love that guy
Seeing how bloody brilliantly my wife has taken to being a mother
My book finally being released! Signed copies available here
Visiting Islay with my wife and baby boy, Archie
Going to Canada with Glenfiddich to launch their new Experiemental Batch release
Copper Dog blended Scotch making me an ambassador for them
Copper Dog also sending a personalised bottle for my boy’s birth
Attending Diageo Special Releases for the third year in a row
My masterclass at the Bristol Whisky Underground festival
Building The Dram Team with Chris and Jamie
Attending the Irish Whiskey Academy
Meeting so many GreatDrammers at different whisky festivals – you’re all awesome
Moving in to my new office, the tasting bar you can see in the background of my YouTube videos
The countless emails, Instagram posts and Tweets people have taken whilst enjoying my book, really raises a smile each time – thank you
In whisky we saw the release of some incredible whiskies (in ALPHABETICAL order, not preference);
25 Year Old Islay Vatted Malt from Cadenhead’s
All three Method & Madness releases… and the fourth
Ardbeg 21 from Cadenhead’s
Ardbeg An Oa
Ardmore 8 single cask bottled for GreatDrams
Ballantine’s 30 (not new, but I finally opened my bottle)
Basil Hayden’s Rye
Benromach Triple Distilled
Big Peat Christmas 2017
Bruichladdich 1985 DNA Series 25 Year Old
Bunnahabhain 46 Year Old
Colin Dunn’s very own 25 Year Old Vatted Malt
Craigellachie New Make
Deanston 40 Year Old
Fettercairn 1973 straight from the cask
Glenburgie 18 from Douglas Laing
Glenburgie 15 Year Old single malt from Ballantine’s
Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Experiemental Batch Three Ice Wine Finish
Glentauchers 15 Year Old single malt from Ballantine’s
Hand fill First Fill Sherry Port Charlotte 11 Year Old (epic)
Miltonduff 15 Year Old single malt from Ballantine’s
Rock Oyster 18
Roe & Co.
Scapa 23 distillery exclusive
Springbank 18 First Fill Sherry – Springbank Society exclusive
The Boutiqe-y Whisky Company 50 Year Old Blend
The Glen Grant Collection from Gordon & MacPhail
Yamasaki Limited Edition 2017
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.
2018 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 2018 for one and all, have a great Christmas, New Year and see you at the next show!