Milroy’s of Soho twitter tasting

On the 12th December last year I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with a number of fellow whisky fans on twitter to taste 4 whiskies from Milroy’s of Soho. Thanks to Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire for organising the tasting.

The four drams to be tasted were:

  1. Milroy’s of Soho Blended Malt
  2. Milroy’s of Soho Single Cask Longmorn 13 yrs
  3. Milroy’s of Soho Single Cask Cooley 2001 bottling, 11 years.
  4. Milroy’s of Soho Single cask Zuidam Dutch Rye, 4yrs.

I was particularly interested in the Dutch Rye which is a 100% rye mashbill. Here is my setup for the tasting:



Milroy’s of Soho Blended Malt

  • ABV 40%
  • Price £19.95

Nose: Slight Bruichladdich note (crumble and cream), buttery, dried apple then fresh pear, slightly coastal, creamy vanilla and madeira cake.

Palate: Creamy mouthfeel, touch of vanilla but spicy. A little young.

Finish: White pepper and a little dry oak.

Verdict: Where be the fruit? Nice nose but I wish there was some of the fruit from there on the palate. Good price for this one though.

Milroy’s of Soho Single Cask Longmorn, 13 yrs

  • ABV 46%
  • Age 13 years
  • Refill Hogshead
  • Price £35

Nose: Biscuits, umbongo, floral, tomato puree. Takes ages to open up.

Palate: Creamy mouthfeel like the standard 16, vanilla and barley with watery fruit juice.

Finish: Lots of pepper and creamy vanilla as with the 16.

Verdict: This is a nice whisky and the price is good. However, there are a lot of great Longmorns available from lots and lots of different companies and I think there are nicer ones out there, though you will probably have to pay a little more.

Milroy’s of Soho Single Cask Cooley 2001 bottling

  • Age 11 yrs
  • ABV 46%
  • Price: NA

Nose: Corn and rye. Big vanilla and banana milkshake. Bubble gum `cola’ bottles (the blue and pink ones).

Palate: There’s the rye! Vanilla, spice, like cinnamon-pepper. Slight liquorice note.

Finish: Liquorice, rye and hot oak.

Verdict: This is excellent. I wrote a note to myself to pick up a bottle after christmas and I’ve gone onto Milroy’s website and they don’t have any. This makes me sad!

Milroy’s of Soho Single Cask Zuidam Dutch Rye

  • ABV 46%
  • Age 4 years
  • 100% Rye
  • Price £75

Nose: Like being beaten to death with a sack of rye, in a rye field. Rye, sawdust, tea, iron filings, workshops, varnish.

Palate: Rye, creamy vanilla, freshly sawn oak shavings, cough sweets (fishermans friends).

Finish: More rye in a workshop with fishermans friends.

Verdict: This is a big Wow whisky! I’ve never tasted anything like it and to even have the opportunity to experience 100% rye was a real privilege. It’s £75 so it is not cheap, but, as they say on the website, this is the first ever single cask single rye whisky. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more 100% rye from Zuidam.

Overall verdict: Some very interesting whiskies to taste here. The Cooley and the Rye were real highlights. It just goes to re-enforce something I’ve been pursuing all year. The fact that some of the best whiskies can be found at really good prices bottled not by the distilleries themselves, but by independent bottlers like Milroy’s of Soho.



Reviewing SMWS 48.27

This is the second SMWS 48.? I have reviewed. Code 48 refers to Balmenach distillery, the largest distillery in the Inver house distillers family (owners of Old Pultney, AnCnoc and Balblair. One can only guess, but since Balmenach is so large and as the single malt itself is not fashionable, it is likely that most Balmenach ends up in the company blends, of which, Hankey Bannister is the flagship.

The last Balmenach I reviewed was  SMWS 48.33 ‘Marshmallows and chocolate eclairs and I loved it. A real sweetshop style dram. This one is called “Honey Roast Vegetables” and was sent to me by Tom Thomson founder of Tom’s Whisky Reviews. Cheers Tom!

For distilleries like Balmenach, independent bottlers like the SMWS can be our only chance to see what the distillery has to offer. As an SMWS member and buyer of lots of whisky, I still get drawn to the more famous names when looking to buy. This is a lesson to myself, and maybe anyone who reads this, that taking a chance on the rarely seen distilleries can really pay off. Here are the dramstats:

  • Age 12yo
  • ABV 59.9%
  • Balmenach distillery

Nose:  Baked pumpkin and butternut squash, roast parsnips, nougat (like you can buy at a fair), vanilla, honey. Water brings almonds, marzipan and icing. Time in the glass leads the almonds to become “toasted” which was quite fun as the tasting went on.

Palate: Lots of sweet honey, vanilla, nougat and a touch of pepper.

Finish: Vanilla and nougat. Pepper and drying oak in the background for an overall sweet finish.

Verdict: A lovely sweet single malt. Excellent nose with sweet roast vegetables as the name suggests, morphing into nougat from the fair. It definitely takes water but it does well neat. Look out for Balmenach from the indie bottlers!

The Coopers Choice, Bowmore 1998

No sooner than had I decided to jump in with both feet and start blogging about whisky, I came down with the dreaded autumn cold. If only I’d kept a back log of tasting notes!

Luckily I’ve come out the other side and was able to review a wonderful independent bottle of Bowmore from the coopers choice. I’ve really gotten into independent Bowmores lately. I’ve noticed, from conversations with other whisky geeks and listening to some of the more prominent experts, that there is not a lot of love out there for Bowmore. Personally I love the unique Bowmore character, but I do feel it needs a craft presentation. Done right, it’s a wonderful and unique dram and really takes me back to Islay.

This February, Mrs Dramstats and I rented a college a few doors away from here:


The first day of our stay was a Sunday and, as there were no tours of any of the distilleries on after 3pm (when we arrived), I headed to the local whisky shop to pick up a bottle for the evening. I didn’t want to pick up any of the Own Bottling’s for the distilleries we’d be visiting, as I usually like to pick my favourites from the tasting sessions and buy those. However, I did want to make sure the first bottle I bought was an Islay!

So I opted for an Independent bottling of Bowmore by The Cooper’s Choice. Here are the dram stats.

  • Distillery: Bowmore
  • Distilled: 1998
  • Bottled: 2009
  • ABV 46%
  • Cask: Refill butt
  • Non chill filtered, natural colour
  • Price: about £40

Nose: Signature Bowmore with ozone, floral, peat, smoked mussels, fisherman’s friends. Like smoking fish on the beach with perfume-wearing girls at Loch Indall!

Palate: Peat, fisherman’s friends, then a wave of sea spray with mild white pepper and more smoke.

Finish: White pepper and salty peat fades quite quickly in a pleasant yet clean finish. This one gets in, gets you, then gets out.

Verdict: A real session dram this one (only 1/4 of the bottle made it off Islay, despite picking up 5 more bottles of whisky on distillery tours). An enjoyable and engaging nose, a lovely delivery and a short clean finish that brings forward the next sip. It won’t be long before I pick up another independent bottling of Bowmore!