And now for something completely different: The Dramathon

Dramathon Logo

Dramathon. A week long Netflix binge of Emmy Award winning silver screen dramas? Nope. A 24 hour marathon session of whisky drinking? Not even Lukasz would attempt that. A series of long distance races along the Speyside Way culminating in a grandstand finish at Glenfiddich Distillery? You got it! Wait… what?

At the beginning of each year, I put together my ‘Race Calendar’ for the following twelve months. I’m one of those sad bastards who thinks the idea of running for hours on end is fun, who obsesses over intervals, hill reps, LSRs and Fartlek (Google it, it’s a thing), and who isn’t afraid to admit that he quite likes the feeling of smothering his nipples in Vaseline. Ahem. Anyway, in the middle of last year as I was looking ahead into my autumn races, The Drinks Lady noticed a series of races taking place in Speyside. Fifteen minutes later we were signed up for the 10k and on the look out for accommodation – a huge thanks must go to Sandy McIntyre, Tamdhu Distillery manager, for hosting us for the weekend, and to the whole Ian MacLeod team who were an absolute riot!

Aside from ‘after-hours’ warehouse tours and other such what-happens-in-Speyside-stays-in-Speyside extra curricular activities, the main focus of the weekend was the Dramathon; a series of trail races ranging from 10k, to half marathon to full marathon. The longer the distance, the more distilleries you pass on route to the finish line, and thus more miniatures in your goody bag at the end (along with a rather unique medal made from an old cask stave). A bit of rain the night before the race didn’t do anything to dampen our spirits (ALL the puns), but did make for some ‘interesting’ terrain on the Speyside Way as we made our way from the start line at Aberlour, through Craigellachie and past Convalmore and Balvenie to the finish line at Glenfiddich.

After making it back to Tamdhu House for a quick shower and change of clothes, we headed back to Dufftown to enjoy the post-race dinner at the Malt Kiln at Glenfiddich followed by a rousing gig in the Royal British Legion from whisky supergroup, The Copper Dogs. The later the night wore on, the hazier my memory becomes… which may or may not have something to do with the generous round of drinks sent over to our table by Frank from The Pot Still pub in Glasgow…

Overall, it’s a fantastic weekend, full of banter, whisky and faultless Speyside hospitality. If you’d like to get involved, just click here to go to the Dramathon website and get yourself and a few mates signed up. Just one thing – the 10k wasn’t exactly 10k… it was closer to 14.5k, which I suppose means you get even more value for money! As all the races finish at Glenfiddich, I thought this would be an appropriate time to post a little review of this rather silly cask sample passed to me by Glenfiddich Scotland Ambassador, Mark Thomson, a few weeks after the Dramathon at Glasgow’s Whisky Festival. It was distilled in 1992, matured in an ex-bourbon cask until 2004, and then transferred to an ex-rum cask for 13 years before being drawn late last year at 25 years old. I told you it was silly.

Glenfiddich 25yo Cask Sample
1992/2017
Maturation: 12 years bourbon cask, 13 years rum cask
51% ABV

Nose: All the big juiciness you’d expect for something spending such a long time in a rum cask; plump sultanas, plum jam, stewed apples and pears, cacao powder, then nougat, sugared almonds, Cherry Bakewells and honey glazed walnuts. The wood element is aromatic, with cinnamon, pine resin, cedar and pencil shavings. Very welcoming.

Palate: Really very viscous, with fruit loaf, Demerara sugar, molasses, toasted vanilla pods, Black Forest Gâteau, toffee and dark treacle. Poached pear and cooked apple too. There’s also a dark chocolate bitterness, with some cask char, dying wood embers and a hint of black pepper.

Finish: Dark chocolate, cask stave and a real plummy sweetness. Just gorgeous.

Overall: Firstly, the race. It’s fantastic. Even if you don’t like running, get yourself signed up as part of a 4 person marathon relay team. If a weekend in Speyside, copious amounts of whisky and great local hospitality don’t do it for you then I don’t know what does. In case you can’t be arsed scrolling back up the page, you can click here to go to the Dramathon website. Now to the whisky. Quite a remarkable dram – I don’t think I’ve ever tasted something which has spent quite so long in a rum cask. The influence is moderate though, and the apple-y, pear-y distillery character is still there which really lends a good balance. Will we ever see this being bottled? Or is it purely an academic exercise by Brian Kinsman? We may never know, but I have everything crossed it ends up in Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series at some point.

 

 

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