A Trio of GreatDrams

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Things have changed dramatically since my last blog article, but in order not to drag anyone’s mood down even further (we have the media and general world events taking care of that) I’m just gonna keep talking about whisky and this wonderful industry of ours. There have been several wonderful initiatives and gestures from major brand owners (Diageo and Brown Forman to name but two), independent retailers (such as Royal Mile Whiskies), small distillers (including Leith Distillery and Lindores), breweries (check out this awesome upcoming beer from Fierce) and the wider whisky community. The end might not yet be in sight, but while we’re all under lockdown, I may as well put my self-isolation and quarantine time to good use and bring three new, and unusual, bottlings to your attention.

Just under a year and a half ago my good friend, and chief maestro at GreatDrams, Greg Dillon, bottled a couple of lovely single cask whiskies. I said at the time they were of great quality, and were very competitively priced. Fast forward to the present day, and he’s bottled another three whiskies, one single malt, one closed single grain, and one blended whisky.

The single malt is a 10yo single cask Glentauchers, the single grain is a 10yo single cask Port Dundas (which closed in 2010), and the blend is quite unique in that it’s comprised of three singles casks from three distilleries, and showcases three different cask types; a North British 13yo, a Glen Moray 11yo ex-bourbon cask, and a Knockdhu (or AnCnoc, if you please) 7yo 1st-fill ruby port barrique.

Let’s dive in.

Port Dundas 10yo Single Cask
GreatDrams Rare Cask Series
193 bottles
£65 here (50cl)

Nose: Some wood glue, pine resin, and green wood. Then moves to vanilla yoghurt, peach, unripe lemon, and a root ginger nip.

Palate: Balsa wood, raw sugars, creamy vanilla, lemon zest and a touch of fresh oak.

Finish: The oakiness lingers, with tarty fruits and gingersnap biscuits.

Glentauchers 10yo Single Cask
GreatDrams Single Cask Series
203 bottles
£65 here (50cl)

Nose: Green apples, melon, pear, sweet limes and kiwis, and some sawdust. Very light and clean.

Palate: More apple, with banana, vanilla Angel Delight, tinned fruit salad, dried coconut, and some pink grapefruit. Just the merest touch of oak.

Finish: Now the oak comes through, with a gingery spice and some Juicy Fruit gum.

Blended Cask Batch 02
GreatDrams Blended Cask Series
150 bottles
£45 here (50cl)

Nose: Apricot, gooseberry, pomegranate, and red berries. Then some vanilla sponge, fresh flowers, and sweet wood sap.

Palate: White grapes and green bananas, then some honey, caramel barrels, and butterscotch, followed by breakfast cereals and freshly chopped logs.

Finish: Moves to a citrusy thing, with light spices and gentle oak.

Overall: Of the three, the Glentauchers really stands out for me – lots of juicy fruits and sweet citrusy notes. The Port Dundas comes across as very youthful (which it is for a grain whisky) and would really have benefitted from longer maturation; for me, and very generally speaking, grain whisky tends to need at least 20 years in oak before it really shines. However it’s always a pleasure to taste something from a closed distillery and this may be the youngest Port Dundas I’ve ever tasted, which from a self-confessed whisky geek’s perspective is a treat to explore. The blend is very well put together too – I thought it may have come across as disjointed or flabby given how different the three constituent parts are, but they come together very nicely indeed, and provide a rewarding and rounded tasting experience. Three very unusual, and very different, whiskies. Great work, Greg!



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