About Arquebus:

My first 'malt moment' was delivered by Laphroaig 10yo in the early 1980s and discovering smoke in a whisky. Before this I merely appreciated the added richness and smoothness of the readily available pub malts of the times - like Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie over blends (still both great whiskies). Laphroaig remains my top distillery, because of many memorable visits there, the highlight being a distillery tour In 2012 in which myself and a friend spent an hour deliberating over which bottle to take home from one the three casks which sat In front of us - a task that took so long that the warehouseman - Dave - had to leave us alone in the bonded warehouse  to go and get a cup of tea! 

2012 was also the year my whisky collecting habit began. It did so down the road from Laphroaig at Ardbeg with the purchase of two bottles of GalIileo - to be put aside as 'keepers'. My collection policy is to try to stock up on only whisky that hits the 'sweet spot'  between bottles I may want to drink, bottles with novelty and bottles which may appreciate over the years. I use the WB, The Bible, and especially Ralfy, and also various other website reviews before buying.

 I've broadened out my tastes from the Islay Peat Giants to try and explore as many different styles as I can. I was very skeptical of Bruichladdich (due to the bedazzling array of bottlings) However, the Feis Ile this year (2015) and tasting High Noon has really won me over on them.  I'm also very fond of Balblair following a sample of the 1983 - this and a Glenglassaugh Massandra cask were my first forrays into whisky over £200 a bottle. I'd recommend whisky tastings and festivals as a way of getting to try older (and more expensive whisky). I'm also a fan of Benriach - this is great value whisky and a good way of exploring whisky at different ages and expressions at a reasonable price.. 

My biggest pleasure is perhaps in the nose and development in the glass of a whisky - and then tracking the changes of flavour profile as you move down through a bottle over time. 

For me complexity and good dynamics the cornerstone of a great whisky. A good whisky should sing out and provide a range of smells and nuances.   

Memorable drams of 2015 include:

Bruichladdich Black Arts High Noon - in your face complexity, fruits and walnuts

Laphroaig 21 'Friends Release'. beautiful pear head note sits on top the laphroiag peat and smoke - a very distinctive and different expression and worth the outlay!

Ardbeg SNO15 committee release - Yes - it's huge on flavour and peat, but its just got style - class in a glass

Kilchoman 2011 1st fill Madeira Cask. Very different, not complex, but fantastic integration of a young quality peated malt and great quality casks. 

Glenlossie G&M CC 1995 - & Benriach 12 yr old Sherry Cask. I followed Jim Murray's advice on these - Some Sherried whiskies give the Malt a 'sherry overcoat' which hides the malt or stifles complexity. Not so these two, - masses of complexity and dynamics, delicate, entertaining drams to rival Glendronachs. The Benriach is exceptional value

Eagle Rare 10 yr old & Bulleit 95 Rye  :- Two recent forays into Whiskey from over The Pond - Eagle Rare being my first proper tasting of Bourbon and discovered at the Birmingham Whisky Fest. Both are full on tasting, great value and certainly different. I now aim to keep a bottle of Bourbon on the go (open) at all times.

2016 highlights: an obsession with Kilchoman - starting with the Madeira Cask which I've had on my open list since February for the past 10 months. Definitely a strong contender for Dram of the year for me  - every measure has been prefixed with an aahh yes, it's been a bottle that keeps on giving and giving. I'm also supping the Quarter Cask, Landrover Tour Machir, and the Sauterne Cask. Sticking with Islay the Bruichladdich Rennaisance (Feis ile 2011) - this is really hitting the spot on complexity. Finally, I succumbed to opening a Black Art 2.1 - another very different, distinctive and luxurious whisky which just about tops the Kilchoman.

On the mainland... over the sea... Springbank Green...a fabulous lick of subtle peat smoke on a rich traditional whisky.  Spey - Benromach 10yo Cask Strength following Ralfy's recommendations - another magnificent rich 'Whisky flavoured Whisky'....

My scores.... Whiskies are like people - they come in all shapes sizes and ages. We should not judge against external benchmarks, tasting is an individual experience, young or old each have their intrinsic merits. Young Whiskies can be just as enjoyable as older whiskies. They speak in different ways. Enjoy them for what they are.... 

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Ruadh Maor - For the members of Whiskybase

Selected a few months ago because we think it will appeal to a group of whisky drinkers. If you are looking for a nice drinking whisky: Ruadh Maor from Berry Bro's & Rudd for the Members of Whiskybase. A peated Glenturret matured in a sherry butt, not your average lemonade and a pleasant surprise. Limited to 120 bottles, we are not sure where the rest of the contents went. This bottle is now available in our shop.


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