By founding "The Whisky Chamber" in 2006 I have turned my passion for Single Malt Scotch Whisky into my profession.
I had come to appreciate Scotch Whiskies quite early, already as a student. And then an extended tour of Scotland (and the distilleries) in the 1980ies taught me about the additional subtleties of cask strength and single cask bottlings of the "water of life", as those had still been fairly unknown outside of Scotland at the time.
That trip marked the foundation of my whisky collection: at first I focused on collecting rare and special whisky bottles. But with more visits to Scotland and growing relationships at various distilleries I started to invest in individual casks of whisky - new make as well as matured.
When I select the cask for The Whisky Chamber (TWC) bottlings, I am looking for unusual whiskies with special traits and flavours that emphasise the spirit of the distillery with a distinct character. Here is where I like to experiment by maturing or finishing the whisky in special casks like Rum, Madeira, Port...
Twice a year - in spring and autumn - I aim to bottle between 7 and 9 whiskies that fit the season and reflect the wide range of flavours available from the different whisky regions in Scotland.
I will only take a single malt out of a barrel and into bottles with my label when I am convinced that it is ready and has a certain something. If I feel that a cask is not optimal yet, I'll leave it some more time to mature and develop the characteristics I am looking for in my whisky bottlings.
A lot of people believe that aged whisky of 20 years or more is "better" than a young one because of its longer maturing time in a cask. And a 21 year old Springbank is certainly a splendid dram to me! However, some Single Malts are great already at 7 or 9 years – and it is not a given that keeping them longer in a cask would further improve their taste and flavour.
I believe that age does not matter as long as you like the taste and smell and just enjoy your dram! Participants in my blind tastings or vertical tastings of specific distilleries often have been surprised by the new discoveries once preconceptions have been set aside.
In the end it's a matter of personal taste, which Whisky you prefer: young or old, peaty or fruity – and with the TWC whisky range I try to provide something to enjoy for everybody.
Let yourself be surprised at one of my tasting events.
Thomas B. Ide
"Youthful, but so classy...
Yep, 95 points for a 4-year-old. Though it is worth every single mark... the citrus and barley sit beautifully with the gently spiced, pulsing Phenol."
"The smoke drifts in with menace... Light spices and delicate fruit chocolate... Enjoyable, at times refined and always complex...
"How often do you find stunning praline on the nose?
... one of the most beautifully sweetened finishes of the year... with matching spices of course."
"... subtleties of marzipan, dessicated coconut and rogue spice notes. At once warming, astringent... and compelling.... there is a gorgeous citrus lilt to the barley.... so splendidly nutty..."
"...The first couple of beats are soft, vaguely silky and sugar laden. But then the spices and spirit bit deep... dry after the maple and Manuka honey start.., no shortage of cocoa attached to the soot..."
Meaning of the scores in Jim Murray's Whisky-Bible.
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