Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Dram Review

And we're back!  Thanks to the lovely people at Master of Malt, I received a lovely box of 5 dram samples. Four whiskies and one rum!
Cragganmore 20

Whisky the first: Cragganmore 20 Year Old 1991 Single Cask.

This little Speyside beauty is a MoM bottling, and comes in at just over 108 proof. The first thing that came to mind as I sipped was "SWEET"!! I wracked my brain trying to nail down why I was thinking that someone slipped a dessert into my whisky glass, but kept on tasting. Yep, there it was, a delightful vanilla custard taste. Like a slightly spiced vanilla pudding, there in my glass.

As I taste everything neat, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the stronger whiskies. Not in this case. Totally drinkable, and the alcohol content just brings a nice warmth to the dessert flavors. Yum.

Dailuaine 27

Whisky the second: Master of Malt Dailuaine 27 Year Old.

Another MoM bottling of a Speyside whisky, this one was distilled and put into a refill sherry hogshead when I was 8 years old. The end result was another dessert in my whisky glass!! Ohboy! Coming in at just over 107 proof, this whisky brings all the lovely wintery spices to the table. Gingerbread, honey, vanilla, and more.

In general, this one was similar to the Cragganmore. A sweet malt, yet it had a lot more spice. Perfect for these upcoming cool autumnal nights.

Dalmore 14

Whisky the third: Master of Malt Dalmore 14 Year Old 1996 Single Cask.

From Speyside to the Highlands, this time MoM got their mitts on a hogshead from Dalmore. This 14 year old is bottled at cask-strength, a whopping 111 proof.  And boy, can you taste it! This one is a bit boozy, malty, and spicy.  Another good winter warmer, but definitely not for the faint of heart (or palate)!

If you're in the mood for a really nice "sippin' whisky" to get you through the cold winter months, this surely is one to try. Or at least put on your wish list for Hanukkah or Christmas (or winter holiday of choice).

North British 20

Whisky the fourth: North British 20 Year Old 1991 Single Cask.

Next, we're down to the Lowlands of Scotland. MoM nabbed a cask of this bourbon-casked grain whisky. Yep, it's a grain whisky but it drinks like a bourbon. This indeed makes me happy.

Coming in at the strongest of the set, this one packs a wallop at 112 proof. But it's sweet! And spicy! And bourbon-y!  Wait, it's whisky, not bourbon. Oh heck, who cares? It tastes great and is full of happy little flavors. Those folks in Edinburgh have done themselves proud.  I think I'll put this on my OWN Hanukkah list..

Now, I was happy with the latest bottlings from Master of Malt, and there was one more to try. Staring at me from the little label was the face of Ron Jeremy. Um. WHAT? Yes, folks, it's the rum you were waiting for..

the adult rum!

Ron de Jeremy, the adult rum.

As a rule, I don't like rum. There was an unfortunate tasting of a glass of coke when I was younger... a glass of coke that had RUM in it! I was caught unawares and put off the taste. In my later years I was able to drink rum only when masked by lovely fruit juices (hello Planters Punch!!), but I had never actually enjoyed the taste itself.

So there I was, staring at the tiny face of Ron Jeremy, unable to pawn off the sample to my Dad for a tasting.  So I sacrificed my tastebuds, poured the dram into my whisky glass and took a sniff.  Hm...not bad. Rather spicy and fruity.

On to the tasting. At a fairly standard 80 proof, I wasn't worried about getting  overpowered by booze. A very SMALL sip. Well, that wasn't scary. Actually, it was rather nice.  Smooth, spicy and fruit. Not overly sweet. I was impressed!

This rum is very drinkable straight.  I can't comment on how it compares to other rums, as I have never sampled them straight! However, if you don't like rum, give this one a try. You might be as surprised as I was!

(really hard to get through that one without all the jokes..)

Well, that's the end of the box of samples.  Hopefully I will get more soon!  Leave a comment and say hi!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


As promised, but maybe a little late, is another short and sweet whisky review!  A while back I ordered a bottle of Smokehead Whisky, a single malt from Ian MacLeod (of the clan MacLeod, no doubt).

The Smokehead!!
Now, I decided to take my time with this one.  Instead of just taking a sample taste and blogging right away, I kept it around and had it as my evening dram.  Ok, let's get was more likely 2 fingers or so, not just one. Who can drink just one?

So back to the whisky.  It's an Islay malt, and nice and peaty. And smokey. Very very smokey.  The first taste slams you hard. Holy cow. Was it going to be TOO strong?  Thankfully, at only 86 proof there wasn't an underlying sting of "too much booze" to overpower.

Back for the second taste. Ok, much better. The peat and smoke, although strong, mellow out a bit once you know what to expect. And it gets really tasty.

It might look like a gimmicky whisky, not worth your time and/or money.  But it isn't a gimmick.  It is a well-crafted single malt to blow the pants off you! Rather like those old cartoons with the smoke pouring out of the ears, this one is a mind-blower.

If you're in the mood for something new, something to keep you a bit warm through the upcoming Fall and Winter months, give this a try! Go on, it's easy... just click on that link.  However, if you need something now, click on that other link.. the Master of Malt one. See it? Right over to the right of this post. I think I bought the last bottle of Smokehead until stocks are renewed..