24 Days of Whisky | Pt. 3
A tour through an Advent Calendar
As we move into our third week of the reviewing the Scotch Whisky advent calendar from Drinks by the Dram, we have so far been impressed with the mix of whiskies featured. As was the case last year, we already have some new distilleries in mind to try again. Last year, we tasted our way through the Drinks by the Dram standard Whisky Advent calendar, which featured drams from around the globe; this year, we opted for their scotch advent. The idea of the spirits advent calendar exploded this past holiday season, with several companies offering calendars for Scotch, bourbon, and other spirits. We highly recommend the experience to those looking to expand their knowledge.
The best whisky we tried this week was another bottling from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. This one was a Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old, and while the whisky was certainly emblematic of the distillery’s style, it was unlike most of the drams in the calendar. The sweetness was very balanced and palatable, not unlike the Glenfarclas we had reviewed a few weeks back.
The biggest surprise of the week was in the Scallywag blend. We read up on the dram and saw that it was a blend of Macallan, Glenrothes, and other Speyside distilleries. With this in mind, we had expected the blend to be full of sherry oak flavors. Instead, we found the whisky to be tannic and oak heavy, even a little on the bitter side. They can’t all be personal favorites, but we’re happy to have tried it.
Dec. 13 - Dalwhinnie 2002 Oloroso Cask Finish Distillers Edition (2017)
On the Eyes: Lighter gold color, with a medium thickness in the glass.
On the Nose: Aromas of grape, red apple, and fresh cut wood. A bit of old library.
To the Taste: Light, and sweet at first with notes of sugar cookies and fresh baked soda bread.
And the Finish: Tannic and a little oak heavy at the end. Not as pleasant of a finish.
Good nose and palate, the finish is a bit heavy handed. Our least favorite of the Distiller’s Editions we’ve had.
Dec. 14 - Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera
On the Eyes: Dark, reddish golden hue. Reminiscent of herbal tea. Thinner texture.
On the Nose: Aroma of fruit punch, or lots of apple juice. Very potent but sweet and pleasant.
To the Taste: Clean at first, with lots of pepper and oak mixing in mid palate.
And the Finish: The finish of the dram covers a lot of ground, with dry oak and black pepper followed by some quiet notes of vanilla and honey.
The nose is amazing, but the palate is a bit tannic and spicy for our taste. The finish is pleasant. Overall a good whisky, just not remarkable.
*We were eager to pour our dram this night and finished it before we had a chance to take a photo.
Dec. 15 - Glen Scotia Double Cask
On the Eyes: Bright, molten gold color. Medium texture.
On the Nose: Floral and fragrant nose, a mix of sourdough bread dough, fresh strawberries and apples
To the Taste: Spicy and even a bit bitter notes (fresh endive with olive oil) battle with vanilla sweetness underneath.
And the Finish: A mix of strawberry strudel, oak and spice characterize the finish.
Good American Oak / PX mix, a bit younger tasting and dry for our tastes but still enjoyable.
Dec. 16 - Bruichladdich Scottish Barley The Classic Laddie
On the Eyes: Pale gold color, light texture in the glass
On the Nose: Floral and oily nose. Mix of fresh bread dough, wet grass, and honey.
To the Taste: Honey sweetness up front with a wave of heat and oak tannins shortly
thereafter. The bulk of the palate is cereal grain heavy with the character of a strong olive oil
And the Finish: Citrus and vanilla flavors seep into the long lasting finish.
If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know we have an affinity for Bruichladdich. The Classic Laddie embodies the essential traits of the distillery.
Dec. 17 - That Boutique-y Whisky Company Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old Batch 9
On the Eyes: Dark gold and amber, rich texture with long lasting legs
On the Nose: Clean, fresh nose with scents of cold apple juice. A helping of olive oil and fresh cut flowers.
To the Taste: Very sweet, creme brulee or a waffle with a lot of real maple syrup.
And the Finish: Lingering syrup flavor
Sweet throughout, but not without depth or too harsh. A very good dessert whisky.
Dec. 18 - Scallywag
On the Eyes: Color of herbal tea, something like a medium amber. Thinner texture
On the Nose: Buttery nose, a lot of cereal grain and yogurt
To the Taste: Press of oak taste up front, fairly dry with dandelion green flavor mid palate
And the Finish: Buttered popcorn flavors in the finish, the best part of the dram
A bit of a blase dram, more on the dry side and oak heavy but nothing too distinct
This week continued the variety of cask strength, single cask, double cask, and blended malts. We particularly liked comparing the unpeated Islay whiskies (the Bunnahabhain single cask to the Bruichladdich flagship malt) which gave a full taste of a lesser known side of Islay Scotch. So far, this calendar has had enough of a mix to of styles and surprises to keep things very interesting.