Ah summer. It’s a concept we’re not too familiar with here in Scotland. Scotland and the sun himself are still in the courting stages of our relationship; we enjoy a few fantastic dates, but we seem yet to form a reliable co-habitation. We must be doing something right though as we’re certainly good pals with the long lasting daylight hours of this time of year.
The weekend saw the 2015 Summer solstice – the longest day of the year. In celebration, The Whisky Lounge and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society hosted the Edinburgh Whisky Solstice, because, well, it’s easy to pair whisky with a celebration of anything really!
The sun was a little shy but as the day went on the dismal forecast gave way to a bright sky over Queens Street Gardens. Just as well because SMWS was on hand with their whisky ‘Ice Dream Drams’ – ice cream created to reflect their 12 flavour profiles. Not only do these treats match your whisky, they’re 6% ABV themselves!
Inside the well-planned marquee, we put up our brand new R&B banners showcasing our uncommon provenances of Raasay and the Borders. What were we pouring? Tweeddale of course: Batch 4 of our blend, Tweeddale Single Malt 14yo, and Tweeddale Single Grain 16yo.
Tweeddale Single Grain, a single cask bottling from a refill Hogshead, is the base of our blend (50%) and was extremely popular on Saturday. The reoccurring comment was “that’s actually really nice”, we’re glad! With the often misconception of grain Scotch whisky being somewhat the lesser, little brother of malt, it was great to see more people trying it and discovering a side to whisky they perhaps hadn’t considered previously, and to see a revival of what is the base component of so many whiskies we love. Light, with sweet sherry notes, it’s the perfect pour for anyone new to whisky.
The Single Malt was the most popular Tweeddale of the day (though only outperforming the Single Grain by a quarter of a bottle). The youngest malt in our 14yo Batch 4 of The Tweeddale Blend, this lowland single malt was matured in ex-bourbon casks that previously held an Islay whisky, giving it its earthy, slightly peated profile.
Batch 4 itself was blended in great-grandfather Richard Day style by Alasdair in August 2013 (the month I moved to Scotland). A silver World Whiskies Awards winner, this is a small batch release of only 1,420 hand numbered bottles. Gal Granov at Whisky Israel wrote up some tasting notes back in October 2013, you can read them here.
We also took along our mock up bottles of Raasay While We Wait and the new Tweeddale due for release in September to get a little feedback – of both the encouraging and critical kind. It all helps, as the designs are still in development – in fact after a day to recover from the solstice event, when we regained our voices and rested our feet, we jumped on the train from Edinburgh to Leeds to discuss a few tweaks at Allied Glass.
Thanks to everyone we met at the Edinburgh Whisky Solstice event – come and chat with us anytime! Next on the agenda: we’re off to the Borders on Sunday 28th to recognise the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo at Peniel Heugh, with a special commemorative edition of The Tweeddale.