8O8 whisky hasn’t got your traditional background story, but an intriguing one none-the-less.

Who would have thought i’d be mentioning DJ TommyD in a feature on whisky? But then again, sometimes the best spirits just need passion of creation to be behind the reasoning of their existence. DJ’s are creative people, needing to be on the pulse of their audience to create the sounds they wish to hear. Whisky distillers are the same, having to think of the trends and tastes of their ideas years in advance. So it makes sense then that DJ TommyD has come together with his business partner Paul Pullinger and whisky legend Jonathan Driver.

After designing their liquid, they took it to the North British Distillery in Edinbrugh, and one of the oldest grain producers around. Using this inspiration, they created a finished liquid using a blend of different grains including maize and barley.

The bottle and label itself has been designed by Mark Farrow of the Pet Shop Boys fame. The name though comes from the Roland Tr-8O8, an electronic drum machine, said to give ‘soul’ to the beat, now 8O8 gives ‘soul’ to the whisky experience.

So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

8O8 – 40%

Very light and thin on the nose, with hints of lemon juice and subtle grain. Thick texture of oat and damp charred oak, with a butter profile following into a very light, yet dry cracked black pepper finish.

Good to sip over ice, but take a look at some of these recipes for some mixer inspiration –

808 - Saint 08
Saint 08

Saint 08

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

40 ml 8O8 whisky
25 ml St Germain elderflower liqueur
20 ml Rosemary syrup
25 ml fresh lemon juice
1 Lemon
2 Sprigs of Rosemary

Method – 

First fill your wine glass with crushed ice to chill it as much as possible. Add 40ml of 8O8, 25ml St Germain, 20ml Rosemary syrup and 25ml of fresh Lemon juice to your shaker. Fill your shaker with cubed ice and shake hard. Empty your wine glass and refill with fresh crushed ice and strain the cocktail over the ice. Give the drink a gentle stir and cap with more crushed ice. Garnish the drink with 2 Rosemary sprigs and a Lemon wheel.

Or perhaps,

808 - Coco8 Hiball
Coco8 Hiball

Coco8 Hiball, by Ryan Chetiyawardana (Mr Lyan, International bartender of the year 2015)

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

35 ml 8O8
35 ml Coconut water
Ginger ale
Mint sprig

Method –

Build in a hiball over cubed ice, stir briefly, then add spanked mint sprig. Serve on a beach…

A whisky for the Summer, especially with its versatility. Good on its own, but a great mixing grain whisky! One for the cabinet for sure.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The London Sessions Have Been Busy


… But in a good way. Yesterday they held their 13th session, the fourth in New York, with Monkey Shoulder and Dale DeGroff. They almost thought about skipping straight to 14 incase it was unlucky, but it turned out to be one of the best yet. They were there, and they still watched it online after. You can too, right here.

1caa6cd9-9a8b-48a6-a38c-e254110c53bcTuesday they presented with ‘the nicest man in the business’ Mr Lyan, photos here, and a couple of weeks back they were graced with the presence of the formidable Simon Ford with Fords Gin. Click for photos.

Wednesday they were at Dead Rabbit for the launch of their new menu. And if you wanna know how Sean, Jack, Jillian and Richard create a menu – from the ideas, illustrations, design and drinks, then stay tuned – we’ve asked them a lot of questions and we’re writing it up for Difford’s Guide. Their next session is TBA real soon. As always, keep an eye on their social media for more news!

WIN! – Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan & Friends


Just as a good home-cooked meal can bring friends together, good things to drink can turn great occasions into incredible ones. Cocktails add sparkle to gatherings and make ordinary catch-ups extraordinary. But they’re not just for fancy nights out and snobby mixologists – and they needn’t be time-consuming or complex. In this book, Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan, the man behind award-winning London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan) brings cocktails into your home, taking the fuss out of creating impressive drinks for any get-together, from lazy brunches to summer parties.

If you’ve got a big group to keep entertained, there are batch cocktails that are easy to scale up into bottles, bowls and pitchers. If you’re on a chilly winter ramble, opening a flask of something rich and hot will make you even more popular with your companions. Among 60 easy-to-make and innovative recipes, Mr Lyan shows you how cocktails can become part of your everyday life. He perfects classics such as the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan, and experiments with new intriguing combinations and ingredients. And he demonstrates how making cocktails at home is the natural next step in our foodie revolution.

MR LYAN (aka Ryan Chetiyawardana) is the man behind White Lyan and Dandelyan bars in London. He’s celebrated around the world for his inventive cocktail menus and magic way with a shaker. His long list of awards includes being crowned UK bartender of the year (twice) and winning the Best New International Cocktail Bar 2014 at the Spirited Awards (for White Lyan). Mr Lyan is currently nominated for the following Tales of the Cocktail’s 9th Annual Spirited Awards: Best International Bar Team – White Lyan, International Bartender of the Year – Ryan Chetiyawardana, Best International Cocktail Bar – White Lyan, World’s Best Cocktail Menu – Dandelyan, Best New Bar – Dandelyan, Best New Product – Mr Lyan’s range of bottled cocktails.

Fancy winning yourself a copy? I’ve one ‘Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan & Friends’ to give away, and all you need to do is quite simply answer the following question:

What two bars in London does Mr Lyan himself currently own?

If you think you know the answer, tweet me @DrinksEnthusist before November 15th with your answer and the hashtag #MrLyan to be in with a chance of having your very own copy sent straight to you!


By entering this competition, you agree to the Terms and Conditions which can be found below.

“By entering this competition, you agree to the following terms and conditions of entry: You are  entering from and resident of one of the eligible countries listed below.  The competition closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 15th November. To enter the competition, you must tell me ‘What two bars in London does Mr Lyan himself currently own?’, tweeting your answer to @DrinksEnthusist and using the hashtag #MrLyan. One winner will be randomly selected from all complete & correct entries. One entry per person, no bulk or third party entries. The prize is a hardback copy of ‘Good Things to Drink with Mr Lyan & Friends ‘. There is one prize to be won, and no cash or prize alternatives. No purchase necessary. The winning entrant will be drawn at random from all valid entries received before the deadline. The winner will be notified by email and no responsibility is taken for incorrectly supplied email addresses. You give consent for Drinks Enthusiast and Jacqui Small Publishing to use your name and photograph on Drinks Enthusiast and Quarto Publishing Group website/social media, in association with this competition. Drinks Enthusiast reserves the right to amend, vary or withdraw the Competition at any time owing to circumstances beyond its reasonable control. This competition will be governed by laws of England & Wales. The Promoter: Drinks Enthusiast, 12 Hilton Street, Manchester, M1 1JF

Countries eligible to enter the competition: UK

Competition closes on Sunday 15th November, the winner will be selected at random and notified on Monday 16th November.