Dràm Mòr’s Spring Release 2023 arrived a little later than expected. Then it took me a while to review all of them. And even now I’m just posting tasting notes for 3 out of the 6 single malts that Dràm Mòr launched – a Mannochmore, Blair Athol and Benrinnes.
All of these matured in a refill bourbon hogshead, so I thought I’d neatly group them together. The three other malts, a Tullibardine, Glen Garioch and Speyside, received a finish and are markedly different from today’s group, so you’ll get my reviews of those sometime in the coming weeks. Probably sooner than later.
About a month ago I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Kenny MacDonald, who founded Dràm Mòr together with his wife Viktorija. Well, I say sit down, but the interview was done over Zoom. Either way, a nice chance to catch up and learn about their company, which you’ll be glad to hear is doing well.
Of course, it’s not easy for small independent bottlers to survive, but Kenny and Viktorija seem to have everything under control, including plenty of stock to keep them going for the next couple of years.
The entire interview will soon be published in Whisky Passion, a Dutch magazine. Be sure to pick it up (assuming you can read Dutch). For now, let’s taste some whisky!
Mannochmore 2010 13 Years (54.8%, Dràm Mòr, C#3088)
Nose: A mellow combination of sweet, ripe fruits and vibrant citrus fruits. Thinks whiffs of lemon peel with touches of nectarine, pomelo and pineapple. Also a whisper of chalky minerals and some peanut skins. Taste: Creamy mouthfeel. Slivers of exotic fruits underpinned by subtle spices. Jammy apricots, a hint of quince, white pepper and some ginger-y heat. But also some Werther’s Original and honey to add a sweet layer, as well as a touch of spearmint and some hoppy IPA. Finish: Medium length. Lingering spices, dry, and with a zesty quality too.
A spirit-led offering from Dràm Mòr that certainly surprises. Very pure and precise, this Mannochmore punches above its weight.
Blair Athol 2011 11 Years (56%, Dràm Mòr, C#308610)
Nose: A hint of nail polish quickly makes way for a cereal-led nose with touches of pear drops, lemon pith, golden syrup and violets. There are whiffs of dried grass too. Rather elegant. Taste: Syrupy with hints of melted butter, sultanas, barley husks and green grapes, yet also a gentle spiciness that never crosses the line. Oh, and let’s not forget the citric acidity that nicely cuts through the sweeter notes. Finish: Lingering spices slowly transform into soft orchard fruits. Pears mainly.
Another clean bourbon-matured single malt, this Blair Athol keeps the spiciness in check, which means you’re rewarded with syrupy fruits and some interesting floral aromas.
Benrinnes 2013 10 Years (57.5%, Dràm Mòr, C#300745)
Nose: Tingly. Peppery. Don’t stick your nose in too far. A hint of draff with touches of cedarwood, blackcurrants and furniture polish, as well as some potpourri (not off-putting at all) and a whiff of wildflower honey. Chalk too. Taste: A spicy arrival with plenty of sweetness to keep things relatively balanced. Touches of baked bananas, caramel, and milk chocolate with a tinge of cloves and white pepper. Along with oak tannins, burnt toast and fennel. Finish: Medium to long. Vanilla custard, caramel, stewed apples and a certain bitter grassiness.
It has some really enjoyable aspects, but there are also some elements that diminished the tasting experience somewhat. I really enjoyed complexity of the nose of this Benrinnes, but the oak spices and tannins are less up my street.