Finally our March Madness bracket reaches the final round: the Grand Final. Yes, what started out six weeks ago with 64 distilleries (technically 63 distilleries and 1 independent bottler) has been whittled down to just two. And our finalists?
In the red corner: Bruichladdich!
On the road to the final Bruichladdich overcame the number one seed, Glenfiddich, Tassie favourite Overeem and in a nail biting semi final they defeated the peated powerhouse Laphroaig by a margin of 59% to 41%.
And, in the blue corner, they will be facing: Ardbeg!
Ardbeg have taken down some sherried Scottish superpowers along the way with Glendronach, Balvenie and recently Glen Moray falling victim to the peat monster.
On the eve of battle, Whisky Waffle prepare for the army of the dead by releasing a podcast!
This episode contains:
– The Waffle, where we discuss Diageo’s new Game of Thrones-themed whiskies
– The whisky, where Ted brings something that may not be whisky, but has a subtitle in its name, which makes up for it
– Mystery Whisky, where Ted springs a surprise bottle and Nick muddles up his latitude by one degree; and
– Smash, Session or Savour, where Nick hurts Ted’s soul
That’s right, the ridiculous strength of the Tasmanian independent titan, Heartwood, was no match in the end for the Speyside pocket-pleaser, Glen Moray. Tim Duckett wasn’t the only Tasmania to fall, with elegant Overeem roundly smashed by indie Islay outfit Bruichladdich. In fact, there’s potential for an all-Islay showdown in the final, with Ardbeg seeing off Glenfiddich’s little sister Balvenie with ease and Laphroaig narrowly fending off the Orkney vikings from Highland Park. First we have to get through the semi-finals though and there’s some tough choices ahead. It really comes down to sweet vs peat – where do you fall in the battle? Cast your votes now at http://www.whiskywaffle.com or on our social media platforms.
Some big results, fellow wafflers. Overeem win the battle of Tassie dominance, the two remaining Islay behemoths narrowly overcome their opponents and Highland Park knock out champion Tassie distillery Sullivans Cove, all by only a couple of percentage points. It was an unbelievably close round, with many results only decided by the final few votes.
And now our quarter finals take shape. Bruichladdich have not had too much trouble dealing with opponents so far, but will Overeem prove a sterner test? Glen Moray, everyone’s favourite underdog have scraped through so far, but face Tasmanian independent title favourites Heartwood in the next round. Elsewhere, Highland Park take on Laphroaig and two Whisky Waffle favourites in Ardbeg and Balvenie go head to head.
Who will win? YOU DECIDE! It’s getting easier to vote these days – just send us four names via a comment, email or social media and we will add them to collection of votes!
If you haven’t already, check out our podcast where we discuss the results up to round 3.
After a longer than planned absence, the Whisky Waffle Podcast is back with more slightly-tipsy rambling from the two Waffle boys, discussing serious and silly whisky topics in their typical tongue-in-cheek style.
This episode contains:
The Waffle, where we discuss the results of our March Madness bracket
The whisky, where we sample some cask strength Edradour
Whisky Would You Rather, where Nick poses two unlikely but true scenarios; and
Smash, Session or Savour, where Ted presents three whisky-ish options
The suspiciously April-y March Madness Whisky Waffle bracket powers on into Round 3: the round of 16! Once again we’ve halved the field in a vicious round 2 which saw a number of shock results and big guns fall.
Gone is Australian whisky’s founding member Lark, Australian whisky’s high-selling Starward and all remaining American and Irish representatives. Possibly the biggest shock of all is the defeat of number 3 seed Lagavulin, knocked out by the dark horse, Glendronach.
Below is the full list of results, including the match ups for Round 3:
We now move into the pointy-end of the competition and once again there are some juicy match ups.
In another gut-wrenching all-Australian match up Overeem take on Belgrove, Macallan verse Balvenie in a battle for Speyside supremacy and the last remaining non-Australian or Scottish drop, Paul John, loses to takes on Heartwood. Perhaps the one that kills me the most, however, is my favourite Islay distillery fighting to the death against my favourite mainland distillery: Ardbeg vs Glendronach. Only one can progress to the quarter finals. Who will it be?
YOU DECIDE! Let us know in the comments, on social media or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Vote by whatever rules you feel you’d like to live by. Skip any you can’t decide upon and get us your thoughts throughout the week sometime!
Ok, I know, technically it’s no longer March, but Whisky’s greatest elimination challenge continues unabated, pitting distillers from around the world in a series of tense and often unfair head to head bouts. Round 1 has been run and won and the results are as follows:
There were a number of tense tussles throughout the initial qualifying round – several of which involved local drams. In an all-Australian affair, Starward narrowly defeated recent award winner Hellyers Road by claiming 54% of the vote. Whisky Waffle also bid a tearful adieu to Bunnahabhain, defeated by Tassie champion Sullivans Cove which enjoyed 58% success. The other Tassie dram to bow out was Nant, defeated by regular pocket-pleaser Glen Moray.
However the fun does not stop there; as we fondly farewell 32 grand drams, we turn our attention to the subsequent 32. And my, what decisions we will have to make! The round is headlined by some all Australian bouts: Limeburners take on Overeem and Belgrove come face to face against the godfather himself! Elsewhere, the salty kings Laphroaig and Springbank go head to head and there is a battle of the Glens: Glenrothes vs Glenfarclas. A battle sneaking under the radar, but causing me much grief, is the number 3 seed Lagavulin taking on another favourite of mine: Glendromach. Holy. Crap.
How will it end? Who will triumph? YOU DECIDE! As with the previous round, leave your votes in a comment or on social media – or in an email to email@example.com
Vote for as many as you like, but feel free to leave any you’ve not tried. The more people who vote the better – and drumming up support for your personal favourite is most definitely allowed. Happy voting fellow Wafflers. Lets see who comes out on top!
Tasmanian whisky has been smashing gongs on the world stage again. The winners at the World Whisky Awards in London, widely recognised as the pinnacle for the industry, have just been announced and little ol’ Tassie has strutted it’s stuff in style. Repeat offenders Sullivans Cove, widely lauded for picking up Best Whisky in the World in 2014 and launching our little state squarely into the spotlight, has picked up the award for Best Single Cask Single Malt for the second year running. The drop that seduced the judges this year was TD0217, a rich, spicy, fruity French Oak cask release.
Even closer to home for Whisky Waffle was the winner of the Best Australia Single Malt, with Burnie locals Hellyers Road taking home the award for their Slightly Peated 10yo. When I congratulated Master Distiller Mark Littler and his team on the win he told me that “all of us at the distillery are very excited about receiving this global gong for the Slightly Peated 10YO. It is a London seal of approval supporting not only the quality of our whisky, but also our vision to create a world class whisky business from the North West Coast of Tassie”.
Congrats to Mark Littler and the Hellyers Road team!
Also worthy of mention is the winner of the World’s Best Single Malt (aka, the best of the best), the Teeling Whiskey 24yo Vintage Reserve, the first time an Irish drop has picked up the prestigious award.
What’s that stuff called when you chuck leaves in your whiskey and forget to distil it? Oh yeah, beer. Yep the difference in DNA between a pint and a dram is about the same as us and orangutans. Therefore, it stands to reason that the two should compliment each other quite nicely (and indeed they do, hence the existence of boilermakers).
Another thing that beer and whiskey share (at least sometimes) is being aged in oak barrels. So what happens if you pull a switcheroo on the barrels after they’ve been used? A conversation in a pub in Cork, Ireland, led the master distiller at Jameson Distillery and head Brewer at Franciscan Well Brewery to try to find out. Jameson barrels were sent over to the brewery to age stout and then returned again to create the Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition Whiskey.
On the nose the Caskmates Stout Edition has that light, smooth, honey and floral triple-distilled nose with a hint of mass production shared by the standard Jamo’s. The mouth is creamy, as stout should be, before finishing on a bit of a herbaceous note. Could that be the hops…? Nah.
Look, here is my problem with beer cask aged whiskeys. Because of that shared DNA, I just don’t think that the beer casking ever shines through enough, particularly with a stout cask, which is not terribly hoppy in the first place. Perhaps an ultra-hoppy American-style IPA would smash through… but would it be nice?
At the end of the day the Caskmates Stout Edition is a solid entry level Irish whiskey, but no better really than the original version, perhaps just a tad creamier. As of 2019, Fransican Well has apparently been replaced by Eight Degrees Brewing, but I’ve tried them both side by side and can’t report any discernable difference. The good news is that the Stout Edition is not much more expensive than the vanilla version, so if you like the novelty factor, go for it.
Whiteboards across America are currently full to bursting with the scenarios and machinations of the National College Athletic Association Division One Championships, which is, apparently, a basketball tournament. Across the country sports fans go AWOL for the month as they construct their own brackets to try to predict the direction the results may take.
While the Whisky Waffle boys are not so interested in the basketball, we are somewhat curious about the format. So, with much excitement, we present our own spin on the competition: March Whisky Madness!
Lagavulun vs Pappy Van Winkel! Ardbeg vs Kilchoman! Jack Daniels vs Knob Creek! Who wins? You decide!
Starting now, and finishing… whenever we finish, we’re putting the vote to the people! Through comments on this post and on social media we’ll tally up support for each whisky to decide who will progress to the next round. Then we’ll post the second round and go again!
There is no criteria to your vote – decide however you like! If you’ve not tried one before, bad luck for that whisky! If you don’t want to vote on every match up – just skip that one! If you own a bottle or two, why not set up a head to head tasting to truly decide!
Post a comment with the list of your choices, or if you don’t want everyone knowing your opinion, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’re also constructing an email list for each round, so send us an email if you’d like to be included.
It’s meant to be a bit of whisky-nerdery fun, so start voting and help us find the 2019 March Whisky Madness Champion!