INTRODUCTION

Join with me for the next twenty-four days as we countdown to Christmas with the Drinks by the Dram Premium Whisky Advent Calendar. Each day will present a new whisky adventure ranging from Elijah Craig Barrel Proof to The Half-Century Blend. Check back every day for a brief review of each whisky tasted. I plan to give a quick review of the nose, taste, finish, and general cost range, if I can find it, of the dram with an overall A, B, C type score. Since each sample is only an ounce, the letter grade system allows for a more generalized overview of the whisky. The latest update will be posted to the calendar on the right, so check back throughout the month of December!

The scoring scale:

A+ = 95 and higher, A = 94-93, A- = 92-90, B+ = 89-87, B = 86-83, B- = 82-80, C+ = 79-77, C = 76-73, — and hopefully there will not be any whiskies at these levels, but just in case C- = 72-70, D = 69-60, F = 59 and lower

On to the fun . .

Dec
1
Fri
2017
Dalwhinnie 25 Year Old 1989 (Special Release 2015)
Dec 1 all-day

Dalwhinnie 25 Year Old 1989 (Special Release 2015)

ABV: 48.8% Cost: $375-$500


  • Nose:  honey, floral, crisp green apple and citrus notes – a beautiful richness
  • Taste: spice greets the palate, cinnamon with honey returning along with green apple
  • Finish: medium overall, dry at the end – with a touch of oak
  • Overall: expectations wanted more – did not seem like 25-year old; pleasant dram, but I would not pay for a bottle at those prices (5,916 bottles released)
  • Score:  B/B+ borderline
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Dec
2
Sat
2017
The Balvenie Peat Week – 2002 Vintage
Dec 2 all-day

The Balvenie 14 Year Old Peat Week – 2002 Vintage         

ABV: 48.3%     Cost: $95-$110


Nose:  definitely not Islay peat; musty vegetal note, citrusy lemon, honey, wet wool

Taste:  like better than nose, earthier smoke, smoke dissipates into dry honey – Bit-O-Honey

Finish:  medium-long, smoky sweetness, a little honey malt, very pleasant ending – nice mouthfeel

Overall:  interestingly Jeremy and I sat down and started preparing a review on a 750 ml bottle of this a couple weeks back – a pleasant unique Balvenie (estimated at 3,000 bottles released)

Score:  B+

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Dec
3
Sun
2017
Mackmyra Moment – Malström (Swedish Single Malt)
Dec 3 all-day

Mackmyra Moment – Malström (Swedish Single Malt)

ABV: 46.4% Cost: $150-175


  • Nose:  salty sweetness, berry fruits, some dustiness, honey, caramel, oak with a touch of spice

  • Taste:  definitely get the oakiness and spice, a touch of vanilla and some slight smoke on the palate
  • Finish: short-medium finish, remnants of the wood (plus astringency) and spiced butterscotch at the end
  • Overall:  first Swedish whisky for me – I’d rate the nose as the best part (1,500 bottles)
  • SCORE:  B/B- borderline
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Dec
4
Mon
2017
The Dalmore King Alexander III
Dec 4 all-day

The Dalmore King Alexander III

ABV: 40%   Cost: $225-$300


  • Nose:  luscious red fruits, tart cherries, sweet barley malt, an orange zest note, caramel and butterscotch – very pleasant nose for this dram
  • Taste: blood orange citrusy note, plums, some wood char, raisins – nice whisky, a lot happening here
  • Finish: solid medium length finish, more spicy notes emerge – a touch of spiced caramel, cinnamon
  • Overall:  a blend of six different cask finishes, and you definitely get the varied cask influences; a pleasantly refreshing dram that I’d like to spend more time with; would be interesting at 46% versus 40%
  • SCORE:  A-
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Dec
5
Tue
2017
Old Particular North British 27 Year Old
Dec 5 all-day

Old Particular North British 27 Year Old 1988 (cask 10938)

ABV: 50.2%   Cost: $100-$125


  • Nose:  orange sherbet citrusy notes, honey syrup with some vanilla – a cotton candy like sweetness, but not cloyingly so
  • Taste: the candied sweetness continues with a heavy vanilla note, an ever so slight honeyed spice peeking through at the end
  • Finish:  medium-long, with the nearly three decades of first fill bourbon barrels shining through – a little vanilla and a touch of spice again
  • Overall:  a unique and different single grain dram – the 50.2% ABV is not noticeable, wish I had one of the 168 bottles released sitting on my shelf
  • SCORE:  A-
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Dec
6
Wed
2017
Glenfarclas 25 Year Old
Dec 6 all-day

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old

ABV: 43%   Cost: $150-$185


  • Nose:  oh, the sherry – raisins and figs, a thick molasses sweetness, with some caramel and vanilla, pears in light syrup; such a very pleasant nose
  • Taste:  a joyously viscous mouthfeel – dark dried fruits with a slight touch of spice, liquefied fruit cake, some chocolate covered almonds peeking through
  • Finish:  a long finish, the sweetness continues – a honeyed toffee with a bit of dark chocolate and the background spice reappears
  • Overall:   if you like sherried whiskies you need to give this a try; nicely balanced – I want to add to my collection after this first interaction with the Glenfarclas 25
  • SCORE:  A-
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Dec
7
Thu
2017
Deanston 18 Year Old
Dec 7 all-day

Deanston 18 Year Old

ABV: 46.3%      Cost: $125-$165


  • Nose:  heather honey sweetness, touch of floral, some tartness – lime, subtle vanilla note 
  • Taste:  hefty on the palate – mouth coating, some dark sugars and a little pineapple, spicy peppery notes with some ginger take over at the end; definitely get the tannins from the barrel
  • Finish:  a solid medium-long finish, with no unpleasant or disparate aftertastes
  • Overall:  first interaction with Deanston Distillery for me, a solid dram with a little more tannin note on the taste than I prefer; one I’d revisit
  • Score:  B
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Dec
8
Fri
2017
Caol Ila Distillers Edition 2015
Dec 8 all-day

Caol Ila Distillers Edition Moscatel Cask Finish (2015)

ABV: 43%      Cost: $100-$125


  • Nose:  sweet fruit notes wrapped in lovely Islay peat, raisins, vanilla, some floral elements, a touch of salt – I could sit and enjoy the nose on this one for quite some time
  • Taste:  honey malt sweetness, crisp apple, very pleasant peat smoke – not overpowering, cinnamon spice notes break through at the end
  • Finish:  medium finish that leaves you longing for another try, a nicely balanced wine cask finished Islay scotch
  • Overall:  distilled in 2003 – bottled in 2015; I’ve not come across this Distillers Edition on the shelves in Colorado, but when I do I’ll definitely consider adding to the collection
  • Score:  B+
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Dec
9
Sat
2017
Big Peat
Dec 9 all-day

Big Peat Drinks by the Dram Edition

ABV: 48%      Cost: $75-$90


  • Nose:  a syrupy sweet, briny, seashell, peat smoke concoction – with a touch of caramel and vanilla, some citrus, and iodine
  • Taste:  smoky ash, seaweed, salty caramel sweetness peeks through, a peppery spice with some tar, and a light tobacco note wisping through it all
  • Finish:  a lengthy finish as the smoky dying embers of a campfire and some honey ginger come to rest in your mouth, slightly fading as the minutes pass by
  • Overall:  this blended malt scotch whisky made from Islay malts is intriguing, especially for someone like me who enjoys the smoky wonders that come from the Isle – obviously, not for someone that does not like peat; not the top of my Islay list, but one I’d welcome for a revisit
  • Score:  B
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