Dràm Mòr Tasting

I got to know Dràm Mòr at the Whisky Festival in Ghent, 2020. Coincidentally, this was just before the whole lockdown started, face masks were reserved for medical procedures and social distancing was deleting your Facebook account.

I vividly remember Kenny, one of the owners, insisting we’d try his bottles: a Caol Ila, Benriach, Glenrothes and Glen Garioch. I remember all of them being very interesting, and thought they would do better outside the festival environment.

Since then, Kenny and Victoria, the owners, have released multiple batches of new whisky, with some getting quite some buzz in little Belgium.

I was able to acquire some samples of their newest releases and decided to try them out with a friend. All of these are finished in a variety of casks, which is always something I’m a bit wary of.

For transparency, these samples where bought by myself, there was no involvement by Dràm Mòr or other industry sources.

Deanston 9 years old

Most whiskies we’ll try in this lineup are from distilleries I’m a bit less familiar with. So let’s try something I do know. This Deanston was finished in a Malvasia Madeira cask, which is the sweetest Madeira available.

Nose: Quite a nutty start, mostly hazelnut, with some yoghurt and buttermilk, which is one of the usual markers of Deanston for me. I’m also getting winegums, dried apricot and orange zest. It reminds me of Fino sherry, which is undoubtedly the Madeira casks talking.

ABV: 51,4%

Distilled: 2012

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID197717

Palate: Cereal and biscuits, green plums and pear finished with some almonds

Finish: A little peppery bite at first, transitioning into lemon zest, green apple, green grapes and a hint of salt.

The longer you let it sit in the glass, the rounder and sweeter it becomes. 86/100.

Tomintoul 15 years old

Tomintoul’s tagline is “the gentle dram”. Quite daring to finish such a fragile malt in a Calvados cask.

ABV: 55,1%

Distilled: 2005

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID197683

On the nose, we get green apples, red apples, yellow apples,…. Did I mention there’s a hint of apple? There’s a floral character as well, backed by some cereal. It’s a very fresh nose, but the longer you leave it in the glass, the better it becomes.

The apples continue on the palate as well, together with some frosting, green grapes and key lime. Again, a very fresh, lively dram.

In the finish we get apple sorbet and some yoghurt. It leaves quite a creamy mouthfeel as well.

This one took me by surprise, and certainly grew on me throughout the tasting, showing once again it’s important to give these whiskies some time. 87/100

Glen Moray 10 years old

Glen Moray is pumping out a lot of official releases lately, often using interesting casks at ever more interesting prices. Just like this one, once again on a Madeira cask.

Nose: Very fruity with notes of apricot, lychee and golden kiwi fruit. There’s some coconut shavings, blood orange and cinnamon. After quite some time in the glass, I got some cigarette smoke. No idea where that came from!

ABV: 54%

Distilled: 2010

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID197682

Palate: A Dame Blanche sunday: Vanilla cream with dark chocolate sauce. Some prunes and mandarin oranges and coffee too.

This continues on the finish, with mainly the oranges and some tannins drawing it out. 86/100.

Glenrothes 9 years old

Another Speyside, another Madeira finish. Not the first Glenrothes brought to market by Dràm Mòr, and the previous one I tasted was quite good.

ABV: 57,4%

Distilled: 2012

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID197685

Nose: Quite a nutty nose with tons of milk chocolate and baking spice. Perhaps a tad less expressive as the Glen Moray, but still nice.

Palate: Chocolate again, paired with walnuts and toffee. With some time I got some mushrooms. Madness!

Finish: A short, sudden burst of strawberry followed by coffee, leather, spice and all things nice.

I really like this, especially the somewhat funky palate. 87/100

Speyside 6 years old

Another Speyside…from Speyside. Sorry not sorry. I can’t remember having a lot from Speyside distillery, although some of the official bottlings out there are interesting. This one is finished in a tawny port cask.

Nose: Fruity and nutty, mostly almonds and macadamia nuts this time. There’s some cheese cake, heather, red apple and I’m getting something reminding me of Amontillado sherry. Not an easy nose, being a bit of a shapeshifter, but that’s what makes it fun!

ABV: 53,5%

Distilled: 2015

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID197681

Palate: Grass and heather, some lemon too. Of course, there’s something special going on here as well, with a pineapple – andive mix.

Finish: Quite delicate and floral, with some lemon, parsley and Ricotta cheese.

Incredibly fun whisky with a strong personality. 88/100.

Tomatin 10 years old

I can’t remember ever having a white port finished whisky, or maybe I had and it wasn’t disclosed.

ABV: 53,1%

Distilled: 2010

Bottled: 2021

Whiskybase ID197686

Nose: Tulips getting drunk on white wine. Nectarines and pears make for a very fresh, lively nose. I absolutely adore these fruit forward expressions.

Palate: Elderflower, asparagus and olive oil. In case you haven’t noticed, all these whiskies have some funky edges creating unexpected, unusual flavors.

Finish: Medium long with some sweetness, but also artichoke hearts and shiitake mushrooms.

Crazy, unique and a bit challenging. What a great way to round out this tasting. 87/100.

I had an incredible time doing this tasting. Every single one of these whiskies has a story to tell. They take time in order to fully develop and show themself, and reward you for taking that time. This was one of the most difficult lineups to score as they are all very good, but simply vary in terms of personal preference.

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