On the eve of Wee Dram Fest each year we do a tasting evening where the proceeds go to Charity. This year’s chosen charity was Pancreatic Cancer Action.

The Line Up

Pancreatic Cancer is nasty – only 4% of Patients Survive more than 4 years – worst rate of all common cancers. It only receives 1% of all cancer research funding.  This is very personal to us, my Mother died of Pancreatic Cancer, and last year we lost our friend Jonathan to it, at the young age of 49 leaving a wife and 4 children.

We raised £1,500 on the evening.

 

The Whiskies

Strathmill 2002 – Connoisseurs Choice – 46%

This whisky is donated by Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin, Independent bottlers of Malt Whisky since 1895. They buy the whisky as new make spirit and mature it in their own casks. One of their Connoisseurs Choice Range. Situated near the town of Keith and founded 1891, today it’s owned by Diageo. Produces 2.6 million Litres of spirit per year, almost exclusively for blending. They use a Purifier on the Lyne arm – to collect heavier spirit making a lighter more floral style.

 Whiskies Tasted

Glenmorangie La Santa – 12 y/o – 43%

Donated by the famous Glenmorangie Distillery, which is the forth most drunk single malt in the world. The distillery gets its water from springs which rise up through granite rock. The stills are the highest in the Highlands measuring 17 feet high, these  high stills give a lot of reflux which results in a softer lighter bodied whisky which picks up the flavour of the casks well. This 12 year old bottling has spent the last part of its maturation in Sherry casks.

 

Arran Madeira Cask Finish – 50%

Donated by Isle of Arran Distillers. First distilled on 29th June 1995 – founded by Harold Currie. A gentle Island whisky unlike many of the Island, Islay and Campbeltown whiskies. This whisky is a new bottling that has spent the last part of its Maturation in a cask that previously held Madeira Wine.  Gives a bit more of a sweet, syrupy flavour. Bottled at 50% abv – so none of the flavours are watered out.

 

High West Campfire Whiskey – 46%

This whiskey has been donated by Marussia Brands an importer of really interesting booze. High West Distillery is situated in Park City, Utah at 7000 feet of elevation. Founded in 2004. It’s a fantastic looking building a Saloon and Distillery – serves great burgers. Owned by David Perkins and his wife Jane. Dave is a Biochemist by trade and a big American West fan- perfect for becoming a distiller. It is a small craft distillery – small pot stills – small batch.

This is their Campfire whiskey, Dave and Jane were visiting Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay. One morning at the B&B, they smelt peat in the air - the great ladies that made the meals were simmering a bottle of peated whiskey and sugar! Later that night, they brought out dessert of melon drizzled with the peated syrup. The combination of melon and sweet smoke really worked - so why not mix sweet bourbon and peat? So this blend is the result:Raffle Prizes

Sweet from a straight bourbon whiskey from 75 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and 5 percent barley malt.

Spicy and floral from a straight rye whiskey from 95 percent rye and 5 percent barley malt.

Smoky: A blended malt Scotch whiskey, made of 100-percent barley malt that has been peated.

Age of the whiskies: all are 5 years or older.

Source of the whiskies? The bourbon and rye are from the old Seagrams plant in Indiana.

Proportions of the component whiskies? Top secret

 

Dalmore 15 y/o – 40%

I love 15 year old whiskies.  Donated by Dalmore Distillery, which sits on the side of the Cromity Firth. It was founded in 1839. Three Mackenzie brothers took over in 1867, hence The Mackenzie stag on the bottle. Produces 4 million litres a year, use a lot of sherry casks.  This 15 year old spends 12 years in American Oak casks ex – Bourbon. Then at least another 3 years in one of these 3 sherry casks; Amoroso, Apostoles and Matusalem. The whisky is then married together in sherry butts. The casks come from Gonzalez & Byass -  Matusalum – 30 years old Oloroso sherry. Apostoles – 30 y/o Palo Cortado – dry sherry. Amoroso – sweet Oloroso sherry.

 

Benromach 15 – 43%

Donated by the Urquhart Family, owners of Benromach and Gordon and MacPhail.  Made at Forres on Speyside. Was closed by its owners Diageo in the 80’s and dismantled. The family brought it in 1993 and re – opened it in 1998 – 100 years after it was originally founded. They wanted an old fashioned style of Speyside whisky, a lot of distillers had lightened up their style in the 1960’s. At Benromach they wanted a style more like the 40’s and 50’s style. At Gordon and MacPhail they had samples of whisky that had been made that long ago as well as whiskies which had been bottled then so they knew what they wanted. This is my favourite of the Benromach range, 15 years old.  Also favourite of the distillery manager Keith.

 The Guests

Ardbeg 17 y/o – 40%

From the Murray Family Private Collection, a real generous and modest contributor.  Ok so we had these and thought what better way to end this tasting than with this now legendary dram, from the Magical Isle of Islay.  Ardbeg Distillery was closed in March 1981 by its owners Hiram Walker. Between 1990 and 1996 the owners, now Allied Domec started to run the distillery part time to make malt whisky for Ballentines blend. Allied also owned nearby Laphroaig distillery so used staff from there to run Ardbeg, including their Assistant Manager Mickey Heads who is the current manager at Ardbeg.

In 1997 The Glenmorangie Company brought the distillery and started to produce again. The Glenmorangie Master Distiller at the time, Dr Bill Lumsden, needed to come up with a bottling of whisky with the age profiles that he had. This 17 y/o is the result, it was bottled from 1998 – 2002 and will never be repeated, as the methods at Ardbeg are now very different form the late 1970’s and 1980’s.

My sincere thanks to all the contributors and all who attended.

Raffle Winner

Raffle Winner