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Falling in Love again


Photo by Whisky Emporium photography, Mask by


At the end of last year the first cases of Coronavirus (later renamed Covid19) were starting to be reported mainly in China but this soon spread around the world eventually being defined as a pandemic. As I write this article in May 2020 there's still no known cure or even innoculation against it, although solutions are constantly being worked on and trialled.

Different countries reacted in different ways but eventually most enforced some kind of lockdown, restricting people's movements and even enforcing the closure of many businesses.

I work in Munich airport for Lufthansa selling luxury and premium goods but by mid-March there was almost no business as there were no passengers and the flights that were still operating were just about empty. It wasn't long before we were instructed to close the shops and stay home for what's called Kürzarbeit in German, or short time in English.

What the hell am I going to do with my time? Only the necessary shops are open (food shops, chemists, Doctors) and all bars and restaurants closed. Even my cat Shoshanna was confused and sometimes annoyed because I was suddenly at home all day, every day. Spring cleaning completed, a few things moved around the home to make it a bit more comfortable .. etc .... But that took care of only the first couple of weeks so what next?

In recent years, 4 to be exact, I've pretty well ignored my website, almost falling out of love with it so my reviews were static around the 1300 to 1320 mark. Suddenly I had the idea (and urge) to get back into reviewing the whisky samples I'd stockpiled over a few years.


From 2012 to 2018 I visited the Limburg Whisky Fair each year and purchased many whisky samples to bring home and try at some later point. Yes I love the fairs in Germany as usually there's no problem filling sample bottles rather than trying to taste everything on the day of the festival. Sadly many of these just sat on a shelf as I really couldn't keep up with the number of samples accruing each year.

Lockdown, my chance to sort them out, categorise them and start working my way through them, but first I had to bring online the many reviews I had hand-written and then ignored. What better excuse for a new spreadsheet too?

The photo left gives you some idea of the scale of my sample archive.


As if that's not enough I also still have quite a few left-overs or what I call Dregs from my 6 years of organising The Malt Maniacs' annual Awards competition.

Yes, they've decreased over the years but quite a few remain. Of course the ones I've kept are the more notable ones, in fact quite a few of the samples you see above are from MMA 2016.


Then to make things more interesting I've been buying a few bottles online to add to my so-called archive. Nothing expensive and I suspect not exactly mind-blowing as they're all old blends from the 1970's through to the 1990's. We're talking JW Red, JW Black, White Horse, Black & White, Haig, Dewars and quite a few more. My intention here was to invite a few Malt Mates over and open some during what I've termed "Bring a Blend 2020" instead of visiting Limburg this year. Sadly travel restrictions and Lockdown have put paid to that idea for now, as they have many gatherings and festivals. Can this be reorganised for later this year or will it now be Bring a Blend 2021? Nobody knows yet.

Actually the blends I purchased were all very reasonably priced, ranging from around €10 to the most expensive at €40 and I even splashed out on 3 sets of miniatures totalling 24 bottles for a price of just over €30. After some discussion with a couple of malt mates my collection of various blends have now become known as Acrid Old Crap but somehow I feel that only the word Old will really be relevant, but I look forward to finding out, I think.




So what's the point or conclusion of my pontifications here? Well I'm still in contact with all my colleagues thanks to a weekly conference call to update us with the latest situation at work and many of them are really struggling to cope with being permanently at home. I also see that many of my online friends are having similar problems which I can understand. Normal daily routines, contact with other friends and colleagues have been thrown into turmoil and in many cases boredom is becoming an obvious problem. As for me I'm just making the most of the situation and in categorising my samples in one of my infamous spreadsheets I seem to have fallen in love (with whisky) again.

Am I going crazy in Lockdown, Far from it, I'm loving making the most of my new home, the fabulous weather we're currently experiencing and of course falling in love with whisky and my website again. I tend to taste one or sometimes two whiskies each evening, writing my notes in a book then I bring one or maybe two reviews online each weekday. As for my books I'm just about to finish volume 6 and have already prepared volume 7 for action. This rejuvenation has seen my Dram-o-meter  or number of online reviews increase from that static 1300-ish to over 1400 within a month. 1450 and possibly even 1500 are now within sight, but of course I'll have to return to work at some point soon, maybe during July as retirement is still a good 6 years away.


Spreadsheets, sorting samples, volume 7 - am I just a sad old git? Quite probably but I'm happy that way. Slàinte Mhath and stay safe.




A selection of previous Dram-atics highlights


  The Liquid


Blair Athol with Klaus

Talisker with Klaus




Dalmore Constellation Collection


Fab Fo(u)rties

Elementary my dear Sukhinder







Prohibition Three Ways



Motor Maniac meets Malt Maniac

Malts & Music

Class of 64-65

Drams at Dawn




  Festivals & Events

Coming eventually

(postponed due to Covid-19)

"Bring a Blend 2020"

Or will it be 2021?





Limburg 2018

Limburg 2017

Limburg 2015

An annual Pilgrimmage




Limburg Crooks & Nannies

Limburg 2012


Autumn 2013 Speyside





  Getting About

St. Magdalene / Linlithgow

Islay Revisited

Saxa Vord - Shetlands




  The Maniacs

Anoraks Bottles & Castle

Nosing New Make

Blend of Maniacs




  The Malt Maniacs Awards - MMA  

MMA 2016 It just gets better & better

MMA 2015 The Gathering of the Drams

MMA 2014 Unplugged

MMA 2013 Unplugged



MMA 2011 Winners









A brace of luxury

Debussy plays Pitaud


Earlier Malternatives >>>




Other major features  

May 2013

Duelling Drams - Man vs Clipper  

April 2013

100 points - Perfect Percy, Eggs-otic Isles Egg & Mug, Sixy bunny  

March 2013

International Whisky Day - Raise a Glass & Raise Awareness  

February 2013

A Horse, A Bow & a Dear  

Autumn 2012

The Olympkins, Getting old and Grainy  

May-Jun 2012

Dalmore Constellation, Independence?  

Mar-Apr 2012

Investment grade madness, Glenglassaugh, 5th IWD, 1000th Review, April Fool, Going dotty, age verification  

Feb. 2012

It's a rum old do, Growing old gracefully, Four Imperial sisters  

Jan. 2012

Onwards & Upwards, Canadian Whisky Awards  

Dec. 2011

HP 70's Orcadians  

Sept-Nov 2011

Malt Maniacs Awards 2011 - A weekend in the life of a Postmaster General  

June-Aug 2011

Bits Bytes & Drams, Glen Garioch 1994, Angela D'Orazio - Mackmyra, Trinity of Two Earls

May 2011

Don't bug me with ads, A dram fine evening

April 2011

Cry me a River, Golden Oldies, The Shackleton Legacy, Two Weddings and a Whisky

March 2011

Masters of Photography, Memory and the Middle Cut, Sampling again, Dave Stirk 5, Choosing choice Choices

Feb. 2011

Festival time again, Spam Galore!, Drams & Trams

Jan. 2011

Lookback at 2010, New Job? Three Thirties, ToC, Overdosing on sherry casks

Dec. 2010

December's Advent-urous drams, Nant Distillery, The road to Certification


Nov. 2010

Journey to end of Scotverse, Wick, Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Homecoming, Tweetup, Chilling with Cooley  

Oct. 2010

The John Walker, Sampling with Master of Malts, Changing jobs, Whisky Round Table  

Sept. 2010

Playing Chinese whispers, Oktoberfest, SMWS Spirit Cellar, 500,000  

August 2010

Elementary my dear Islay, Handbags at dawn, Dram-arkable 500, Cheapo Challenge, Ah Dooagh, 1 from 3 left  

July 2010

Age matters. A series of whisky reviews concentrating upon 'Age'  

June 2010

Jules Rimet, pickles & crisps. Mon coeur, mon amour oh mon sherry. A taste of the great outdoors.  

May 2010

The highly-acclaimed and record-breaking "Desert Island Drams"  

April 2010

My peat's bigger than your peat, A foursome with a famous Scottish bird  

March 2010

Sample Mania tasting notes, The Good, the Bad & The Loch Dh-Ugly, A return to sanity, The Choice of Managers  

Jan-Feb 2010

Keep taking the medicine, It's Festival time, Maker's Mark, Sleeveless in Munich  

Dec. 2009

All power to bean-counters, protecting Scotch, seasonal drams, Definitive Xmas Drams, 2009 Whisky Awards  

Nov. 2009

How it all started, Bonfire night, Autumnal musings, EU Tax & Duty, What's in a (whisky) name?  



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