An 18th Birthday Party

The 14th March 1998 was a bright spring Saturday Morning when Alison and I opened the door to The Wee Dram, for the first time 1998. Little did we know then that it would become the most awesome and finest Whisky Purveyor of all time.

So in celebration of the shop being old enough to drink we had an 18th Birthday Tasting with age appropriate whiskies:


The Whiskies


Tomatin 18 – 46%  More Info

  • Situated south of Inverness on the A9. Founded in 1867.
  • In the mid 80’s Tomatin was the largest Malt Distillery in Scotland with 23 stills. Suppling bulk malt mainly to the Japanese Market.
  • Went bust in 1985, and was brought out by a consortium of two of its customers, becoming the first Scottish Distillery to be owned by the Japanese. – Takara Shuzo Co. & Okara Co.
  • When we opened in 1998 Tomatin concentrated on supplying whisky for blends, with only the one single malt.
  • Their single malt range has got better and better over the years we have been going, and now they put most of their effort into their malt range.
  • Quite a light bodied whisky lots of tropical fruit mixed with the oakyness.


Room looking goodGlengoyne 18 – 43%   More Info

  • We have a soft spot for this whisky as Glengoyne was the first Distillery that Alison and I ever visited.
  • They told us at the time that it was a “light gentle, sophisticated, whisky for the sophisticated pallets of nearby Glasgow.”
  • Situated on the edge of Campsie Fells just north of Glasgow and just inside the Highlands.
  • If you are ever in Glasgow it’s worth popping up to see it the number 10 bus from Buchannan Bus station will drop you off at the gate.
  • Glengoyne in general and this bottling in particular pulls of easy drinking gentle whisky combined with rich deep and complex.



The Wee Dram Highland 1997 – 46 %   More Info

  • Ok so this isn’t 18 or from 1998, but we did get our Licence in 1997, and that’s close enough for me!
  • This is our own bottling of Highland whisky, actually from Ardmore distillery, but quite unusual – Ardmore is usually a little bit peaty.
  • Ardmore was built in the 1890’s by Adam Teacher – of Teachers blend fame. Today it’s owned by Beam Suntory.
  • This bottling is been in a refill ex-Bourbon Barrel – a smaller cask perfect for maturing for a longer time, in this case 17 years.
  • This whisky smells old, like the furniture at Haddon Hall – a Tudor house near Bakewell.


ColoursGlenDronach 18 – 46%  More Info

  • This distillery is owned by Billy Walker and his two South African partners Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter.
  • They also own BenRiach, and GlenGlassaugh Distilleries.
  • Billy heard a rumour that the distillery was going up for sale and he wanted it because when he started in the whisky business back in the 60’s GlenDronach was the distillery everyone looked up to.
  • Also it was rumoured that Billy didn’t tell his partners he was buying GlenDronach before he brought it. I asked his son, Alistair, who said never mind that he didn’t tell my Mother. Apparently he just rang his wife and said “Don’t worry about tea, I’m going to the pub with some lads from work!” while in the pub he brought a distillery.
  • This is classic GlenDronach wholly matured in Oloroso Sherry casks – rich, deep fruit cakey.



Clynelish 1998 – G&M – 58%   More Info

  • Situated in the town of Brora – in Sutherland. I love this whisky as it tastes like a whisky made in the far north should taste.
  • The distillery dates back to 1819, founded by the 1st Duke of Sutherland – infamous for Highland Clearances.
  • In 1967 a new distillery was built next door also called Clynelish. The old distillery continued to be run off and on until 1983. Whisky from the older distillery is called Brora.
  • This bottling is from independent bottlers and whisky merchants Gordon and MacPhail of Elgin.
  • G & M buy spirit as new make and have it filled into their own casks, they then bottle it themselves. They’ve been doing this since 1895.
  • Gordon and MacPhail have been great supporters of The Wee Dram since before we opened. They are a family business now being run by the 4th generation of the Urquhart family.
  • David Urquhart and Helen Wainwright from G&M gave us invaluable help when we first started. I can still remember talking to David on the phone for the first time and telling Alison very proudly “I spoke to an Urquhart”
  • This bottling is big and warming with a bit of smokiness, and some seaside.

  Happy Guests

Bowmore 18 – 43%  More info

  • When we were looking into the possibility of having a whisky business, we talked to a lot of people – one of which was Denis Marmian who worked for Morrison Bowmore. Denis was extremely enthusiastic about the project.  And also arranged our first Tasting with the Legendary Jim McEwan.
  • So it’s apt that we finish this tasting with a Bowmore 18 year old.
  • Bowmore is the capital of the Isle of Islay and Bowmore Distillery is the oldest distillery on the Island dating back to 1779.
  • The Laird,  Daniel Campbell (the younger) founded the town and got David Simpson to move his distilling operation into the town.
  • Bowmore is a medium peated whisky, this 18 is very long, big and rich.

More Happy Guests