Zuidam Dutch Courage 44.5%


I received a rather lovely gift from my other half. She signed me up to a subscription with the Gin Crowd. This is the first one I tried and wanted to share this beautiful gin with you!

Located in Baarle-Nassau, around 2 miles from the Belgian border. Zuidam Distillers B.V create their products in the traditional way. With all 100% natural ingredients which are carefully selected and processed into the most fantastic products at their family owned and run distillery. All recipes are designed by father Fred and son Patrick van Zuidam.

This gin is a rich dry gin in style. It’s based on grain spirit, which is flavoured with 9 botanicals juniper berries and iris root from Italy, coriander from Morocco, angelica, sweet oranges and fresh whole lemons from Spain, liquorice root from India, cardamom and whole vanilla beans from Madagascar. Made in small batches, this is a crisp and full-bodied gin which works wonderfully in cocktails or equally on it’s own.


I poured this gin in to a glencarin glass and left it to develop in the glass for ten minutes. For the review I haven’t added any water or tonic as I want to judge this spirit raw.

The spirit is syrupy in the glass and coats the side leaving long legs. There is a slight golden tinge to the spirit.

The nose is a classic juniper heavy aroma up front. Hints of vanilla, caraway and orange follow. Notes of red berry, sea salt and a hit of exotic spice. the end of the aroma is slightly sweeter with notes of icing sugar and coriander right on the finis.

The flavour is initially sweet with notes of vanilla, roasted spices and citrus peel bursting through prominently. This of caraway, aniseed and some slightly floral almost rose water flavours follow. The mouthfeel is oily with huge notes of juniper wrapping everything up in a well balanced tangy bow.

The finish is long lasting with a bright bitter liquorice flavour!

This gin is an excelent example of a classic Dutch dry gin and in my opinion not many will come better than this!

This was available through the January Gin Crowd subscription or for around £29 on Master of Malt and is well worth looking in to for the experienced gin drinker!





Bowmore 37 Year Old 1968 (70cl, 43.4%)

Islay, whisky


Even the title of this review has me astir. To be honest it’s mostly just me gushing and I’m not even sorry for doing so. When you’re lucky enough to find a dram this special, you can try not to get caught up in the hyperbole of it all but I found that impossible.

The bar I found this in keep the bottle in a safe and serve the dram with a reverence which only adds to the theater of the whole experience!

As I carried the the whisky back to my seat guarding it like the most precious of jewelry I felt both exited and  scared of the journey which lay ahead!


The whisky was poured in to a Glencairn glass, no water was added to this dram but it was left to develop for ten minutes. The colour was dark gold with a slightly oily look rolling around the glass. A curtain is left on the side of the glass with medium length legs sliding down the inside of the glass.

The nose is rich with with notes of apricots and raisin. This is followed by a lighter note of sea salt and vanilla. As the nose develops the notes of dark fruit come forward more intensely with hits of cooked fruit and rich baking spices.

The taste is again very rich with oak and treacle coming forward. This is followed by dark toffee and victoria sponge. As the flavour evolves we see this move more toward fruit notes with apple pie and soft summer berries which come through at the end of the taste.

The finish is medium long with bread spice going to vanilla followed by dried fruit and apples.

It’s difficult for me to finish this review as it’s something I almost didn’t want to end. Of course this whisky is fantastic and of course if you see it and it’s in your budget you should try it. If you are someone who drinks whisky with huge peat content and live for that smoke, this is maybe not for you.

The whisky is excellent but not at all what was expected. There is a little trace of a traditional Bowmore but allows the other more complex and almost hidden sides of this whisky to come through.


Pittyvaich 1993 – Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail) (70cl, 46.0%)

Speyside, whisky


It’s always a little sad reviewing a whisky when the distillery is no more. There’s an excitement knowing that you are drinking a little bit of history but also a presentiment that this may be your final or only experience of this dram.

The Pittyvaich distillery, built in 1974 by Arthur Bell & Sons, was among the youngest Scottish distilleries while it was operating. It stood near the Dufftown Distillery in Dufftown.

Originally built to provide malt whisky for blends, Pittyvaich eventually did release an official bottling in 1991. Prior to the official bottling, a number of independent bottlers (including Signatory Vintage and Cadenhead’s) released Pittyvaich as a single malt.

The distillery was demolished in 2002.


I poured the whisky in to a Glencairn glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky to develop for ten minutes. The whisky pours a light honey golden colour in the glass it’s quite oily leaving long legs inside the glass.

On the nose there is a light almost smokey note. Like light peat smoke from a closed fire. This is followed by notes of Heather, honey, sweet grain and baked apples. As the nose develops more fruity notes come forward, Apple, peach and over ripe dark berries come through at the end.

The flavour is initially sharp with apples, this is quite pronounced as the flavour develops, notes of light smoke, soft citrus peel and sweet green grains follow. There are notes of dry oak and vanilla which is accompanied by a hit of white pepper and a drying grapefruit flavour at the end.

The finish is very long with a citrus bitterness throughout.

This particular whisky isn’t the most widely available and I was only able to pick it up at The Grill (A whisky bar in Aberdeen), but your luck may be better than mine!

I suppose this is a distillery that may have been seen as surplus to requirement in a town (Dufftown) which is awash with distilleries but I still feel that it was a shame to loose it!


The Deveron 18 Year Old 70cl / 40%

Highland, whisky


Look, I know it’s just after new year. You may have over indulged and hopefully you feel better and even if you don’t fancy a dram indulge me. I may save you being duped by the most gorgeous packaged whisky I’ve ever seen! But looks are not everything.

The Macduff Distillery Company was founded in 1962. During its history, the distillery’s official name has fluctuated between Glen Deveron and MacDuff with official bottlings mostly having been released under the former. In 1972, Glen Deveron/Macduff was acquired by William Lawson Distillers Ltd. (famous for a blend by the same name), which became part of the Martini & Rossi corporation in 1980. In 1992 the owners Martini & Rossi were acquired by the Bacardi Corporation.

Bacardi put their subsidiary John Dewar & Sons in charge of the Macduff distillery. Dewar & Sons also controls Royal Brackla, Aberfeldy, Aultmore, and Craigellachie.

Each have now been released as part of “The Last Great Malts of Scotland“. Having tried the majority there are two that particularly stand out in the Aultmore and Craigellachie.


Just look at the marketing of this bottle! Everything is simple and relevant and the price isn’t ridiculous for an 18 year old whisky, as such.

I poured the whisky in to a Glencairn glass, added a teaspoon of water and left the whisky to develop for ten minutes. The whisky is a light amber colour. On rolling round the glass it’s quite thick and oily.

The whisky is citrusy and sweet with notes of Fudge, red berry and a slight grassy salty note in the background this is followed by some subtle sea salt and tobacco smoke.

The flavour is light and smooth, notes of red berry and soft golden sugar come forward. And some bitter grain comes through at the end.

The finish is medium long with notes of coffee and Fudge.

As you’ll notice for me this is quite a short review. This is because there isn’t much more to say about this whisky. It’s a bit flat, there’s no real determinable character, it’s just a very well packaged easy to drink whisky and if that’s what you like all power to you! Macduff – Batch 1 bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company at 52% on the other hand was absolutely gorgeous, complex and feisty with all the citrus, spice and marine notes you could ask for. It showed of the true potential of this dram.

Bacardi or John Dewar & Sons have put together a group of whisky with a huge amount of potential and demonstrated the value of independent bottlers.