Another Tweet Tasting is upon us, and this time it’s the inaugural tasting pack from The Dram Team.
Each tasting pack produced will contain six drams sent by post and you can buy them one-off or subscribe to one per month. The first pack is a tasting tour of the six whisky regions of Scotland.
Up first, the contender for The Highlands…
Nose: Toffee, heather honey and cereal with green bananas and Ester-rich pear drops. Rum-soaked raisins and a malty beeriness. There’s a lot of funky notes incongruous with the style: pickled onions, soy sauce, Manzanilla, sulphur, and fermenting fruit.
Palate: Sour cider apples and green peppercorns. Beery malt and hops. Sourdough bread and grappa. Very young and new-make-ish for an 18 year old.
Finish: Short and chalky.
Frankly, for eighty pounds a bottle I know plenty of other 18 year old expressions I’d prefer to buy. This is a flawed whisky, full of new-make character and off notes. I’m a fan of unusual flavours (in fact I prefer whiskies that surprise me) but this isn’t the kind of surprise I enjoy…
Next up, the Lowlander…
Auchentoshan Three Wood
Nose: Oloroso sherry notes, nutty and sweet. Hot cross buns. Cough mixture and cola cubes.
Palate: Looks viscous in the glass but it’s lighter on the tongue. Gentle barley sugar sweets, old fashioned cough mixture, and a rising pepper spice. Dusty sherry.
Finish: Oaky vanilla and rum raisin ice cream.
This isn’t bad, though it is somewhat over engineered. I prefer Auchentoshan as it comes out of the cask, without watering down, chill filtering, or caramel. This just tastes like whisky-flavoured whisky.
From Campbeltown now…
Nose: Soft cotton, like sheets out of the dryer. Freshly sliced banana. Dark sugar and cracked black pepper.
Palate: Thick and resinous. Bourbon barrel spice with vanilla, cinder toffee, and caramel sauce. Sweet and tasty.
Finish: Lipsmacking with gingerbread.
Amazing nose! Really impressed all round, for an affordable NAS this is eminently quaffable.
I’m definitely getting a bottle of this on pay day!
And weighing in from Islay, we have…
Nose: Leathery and coastal, like a wax jacket on a clifftop walk. Dark chocolate with prunes and dates. A little marzipan with tangy marmalade.
Palate: Sumptuous sherry with juicy raisins and figs giving way to that signature Bowmore floral peat.
Finish: Dry oak and flower petals.
A classic! One of the better sherried peaty whiskies on the market. If you like this, I also recommend a bottle of its cask strength cousin, Laimrig.
Up next, the Speyside candidate…
Nose: Fierce! That ABV packs a punch. A drop of water reveals ripe apple flesh, and soft toffee. Really dark bitter cocoa and burnt treacle with a touch of rubber plimsol.
Palate: Café mocha with dark berries and orange peel. Creamy and spicy, like nutmeg in rice pudding.
Finish: Warm oaky chocolate.
Great value for the ABV. This is in the same league as A’Bunadh, a sherry bomb fresh from the barrel. Both need water in my opnion, so they’re almost like a whisky cordial. The ‘farclas is a more subtle and complex beast though, some great dark low notes in it.
Finally, we go to the Islands for the sixth dram of the night…
Highland Park 21 Year Old
Nose: Calm and gentle, soft and delicate. Chamois leather with a hint of clifftop sea breeze petrichor. Fresh blossoms. There’s an ice cream van in the distance.
Palate: Divinely balanced. Smoky grilled pineapple with black pepper. Vanilla cream and condensed milk with a handful of baking spices and waxy fruit skin.
Finish: Peat smoke reveals itself with gentle wafts that stay with you long after your last sip.
Oh, wow. I love old Highland Park and this does not disappoint. Classy, balanced, delicious. Absolute heaven.