As it is all Hallow’s Eve, I thought it appropriate to let you all know the drams in disguise I’ll be drinking this evening…
For any Whisky Adventurer, there is nothing more thrilling than picking up a whisky from a well known distillery and being completely shocked and taken aback by the flavours oozing from the bottom of your glass. As consistency has been at the heart of our Scotch Whisky Industry for the past 150 years or so, these surprises are becoming less and less frequent. So let me give you a rundown of the drams with a trick or two up their sleeves:Ballechin
Ballechin is a heavily peated whisky from Edradour. Peated to 50ppm, this adds an incredibly full bodied smoky finish to one of Perthshire’s hidden gems. This is a whisky that punctuates any trip I make to Pitlochry
. A great way to end a weekend, or indeed announce your arrival!Ardmore
Probably the first whisky to ever take me by surprise. A Smoky whisky from the mainland was an unknown phenomenon to me back in 2008, but a whisky tasting 3 years ago to a group of bartenders took me on just as much a journey of discovery as the audience themselves. A lovely savoury, bacony note balanced with a sweetness from the fact that Ardmore is finished in quarter casks. So impressed was I , that I blagged my way onto a distillery tour at Ardmore where I was blown away by the attention to detail and historical references. It’s still one of my favourite distilleries.Serendipity
A Doctor Jeckyll and Mr Hyde of a dram. Serendipity was the result of a mistake at the Glenmorangie Company’s bottling hall. Basically a cask of Ardbeg and Glen Moray were unwittingly married together. The result: A gorgeously balanced dram with a lovely peaty finish to ease you into those dark alleys of whisky dreams.Bunnahabhain Darach Ur
This is a Bunnahabhain from New Oak casks. Take the grassy, malty, seasidy deliciousness we expect from Bunnahabhain and inject a big sweet spicy oaky flavour to warp your mind.Bruichladdich Black Arts
Simply the most complex Bruichladdich I have tasted recently. A secret marriage of casks including bourbon, sherry and Chateau Ycem, this is simply Jim McEwen doing all the things that a Whisky Maker should never be allowed to. This is a whisky that seems to seduce everyone, always leading to a second glass. This tastes like After Eights in a glass, and just like After Eights, the contents usually empties very quickly.PC9
This is a Whisky I had the pleasure to disgorge before bottling. 10 carefully selected wine barriques were combined to give a hugely smoky whisky the sweet touch of tropical fruit and red wine. Balanced to perfection, with only 6000 bottles worldwide, this is a rare stunner.SMWS
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society do Whisky differently. There are a huge plethora of surprises on their back bar. If you are looking for one place to be surprised over and over again, find a venue and get comfortable as the bar staff delight and surprise your tastebuds throughout the evening. The 4s and 24s particularly through up single casks the public never usually see. These well known distilleries have Sherry Cask policies in place, so the Bourbon barrels the Society bottle give a completely new face to these spirits.
Let me know what you’re enjoying this Hallowe’en and drop me a line if you manage to find any of these unusual whiskies and how they haunt your evening!
In my glass: