Whisky Tasting With Great Drams
Great Drams is the brain-child of husband and wife team, Greg and Kirsty Dillon, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Fine Food North Show in Harrogate. What Greg doesn’t know about Whisky isn’t worth knowing, and I learned a very interesting fact from him; there are two types of whisky: Malt (made with only malted Barley) and Grain (made with any type of grain, but commonly Rye, Wheat or Corn), both very different in character. I never knew, either, that a ‘single’ malt whisky (widely regarded as better than ‘blended’ ones) doesn’t mean that the whisky is one, pure whisky; it can still be a blend but the whiskies come from a single [origin] distillery and are malt ONLY, whereas blended is a blend of grain AND malt and from multiple distilleries. Interesting stuff, no?
Whilst we stood chatting, Greg offered me a taste of the Lockdown, Lock-In 12 year old blended malt whisky, 48.2% ABV, that he had produced during the pandemic when we were all confined to barracks, so to speak. Which reminds me, the age you see on whiskies corresponds to the youngest component of it, so even if there are two elements in the whisky, one 3 years old and one 25 years old, it can only be described and sold as a 3 year old whisky!
The Lockdown Lock-In whisky proves that out of adversity come great things; this is beautifully smooth on the palate with its honeyed, vanilla tones and it really warms the cockles without burning your throat as it goes down. This is most certainly one to sip and savour rather than glug down willy-nilly, and Greg kindly gave me some to take home to the nest and enjoy with The Man Bird; we sat and sipped it on a chilly night and let its warmth cocoon us.
I also had two more whiskies to try and the first one we got to was the Islay 7 year old single cask, single malt, 48.2% ABV. This one split the nest’s opinion right in half! I have always said that taste buds are highly individual and this whisky proved the point; you won’t believe what I experienced... I remarked that this was ‘an altogether different beast’ as I sniffed at it in the glass. There was an unmistakeable smoky note to this, as well as a leather aroma too, which was pleasing to us both, but that’s where the harmony ended. I took a sip and instantly got the smoky, peaty taste; but then I got a completely different taste, one not dissimilar to antiseptic – yes, really! It’s long been demonstrated that taste and memory are intertwined and an image popped into my head, of a pink ointment in a tin: Germolene! As I declared this, His Nibs looked at me as if to say “you need committing, dear!” and said that this was his favourite so far, as he got beautiful hints of Cinnamon on his tongue and a citrus bounce. Id got absolutely none of these, which just goes to prove that there’s nowt so queer as taste buds!!
Our final tipple was the Deanston 11 year old whisky, a single cask, single malt that is 48.2% ABV. This particular whisky has a gorgeous pale gold colour to it and tasted beautifully honeyed in my mouth. I also got Vanilla’s rounded warmth coming through and a touch of fruitiness, making this a lovely creamy, mellow tipple that delighted me with its heat in my belly and absence of burn as I swallowed it. Of the three samples, this was my favourite; hands down. The Man Bird said that this was his least favourite and he found it the least interesting on his palate! As I said, we all interpret tastes differently and lean towards certain notes depending on the composition of taste buds on our tongues. That’s what makes food and drink blogging so interesting.
Greg and Kirsty have a wide selection of single- and blended-, multi award winning scotch whiskies on offer on their website, many of which are limited to very low numbers globally, making them a thoughtful gift for whisky aficionados. One thing that they also offer, which I think is brilliant, is the virtual whisky tasting sessions – how fab is this idea?! For more information, and to order any of the whiskies, head to the website www.greatdrams.com
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