I have to be honest about the state of the industry, and this general comment has nothing to do with the specific bottler or these bottles. I’ll just come out and say it: I’m really happy I’m not an independent bottler at this junction. What we’re seeing out there from most independent bottlers (at least those who don’t have over three decades of cask collection) is a slew of young refill ex-bourbon casks, that need a powerful finish to stand out, at prices that were for 18 year olds several years back. Now this is the price level that the industry is at, and I don’t want to turn this note into a rant. But I do want to acknowledge that that being an independent bottler at this time is not easy.
I was sent a selection of samples of the new Dràm Mòr releases (Autumn 2020), and I have already reviewed the inaugural bottle, a 2009 Glenrothes matured in ex bourbon and finished in Oloroso Sherry (reviewed here). When the five samples arrived, I tried guessing which would be my favorite, and put these in the second and third place, right after the 15 year old Tomintoul finished in a Sauternes Barrique. I actually expected the 8 year old Glan Garioch to be either in fourth or fifth place, despite my personal affinity with the distillery. I was wrong about the rankings.
So what we have here are two Glenrothes sister casks which have matured for eight years in a refill bourbon cask, then finished for four months in a Muscatel and in a Spanish red wine cask respectively.
Dràm Mòr Glenrothes 9 year old, Refill Bourbon and First Fill Moscatel Wine Barrique, Finished for 4 Months, Cask 2851 (58% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Rose gold, well spaced legs running off a sturdy necklace.
Nose: Sweet white wine greets you, with dried fruit (apricots, prunes and figs) and fresh peaches with hints of sultanas. Left to sit a bit, the maltinesse comes through, with some gentle wood spice.
Palate: The fruit and spice basically merge into a single flavor, with the pepper Coming through as the whisky stays on the tongue.
Linger: spicy sweetness on the tongue and a long finish of spice down the gullet.
There’s definitely some Muscatel in there, which is always nice, and the whisky works. You’ll definitely enjoy it and it’s quite drinkable, but it does not rank quite as high as I expected it to be when I thought of my expected ranking before the tasting.
Dràm Mòr Glenrothes 9 year old, Refill Bourbon and First Fill Spanish Wine Barrique, Finished for 4 Months, Cask 2850 (55% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Rose, thin legs off a necklace made up mostly of largish droplets.
Nose: Pretty weak with the red wine front and center. Tannins, berries, touch of oak, and a hint of malt.
Palate: Flat spices with black pepper, a hint of clove and a drop of cinnamon, With some wine dryness and a hint of red fruit.
Linger: Very spicy both on the tongue and down the gullet, with the Warm dryness extending down.
I’m a big fan of Wine matured whisky, but this expression isn’t the classic example of those. I feel this cask needed more time in the wine cask, as well as a lot more time in the ex-bourbon cask.
Official samples provided by Dràm Mòr. Thanks!!