A reader reviews the mystery dram he won…

As you know, dear readers, I recently began giving out free whisky samples to those who try to figure out the “Mystery Dram” of the week.  If you’re not familiar, an example of the mystery dram series (and how to win your own mystery dram by participating) can be found here in this post as well as many more mystery dram posts.

Well, our first winner has received his mystery whisky and was kind enough to send me his notes.  Reading his notes, I was surprised and pleased to find that A) dude can write, but well!, and B) his notes were dead on.  So, I asked if he wouldn’t mind me posting his notes so you, the reader, can try to guess what mystery whisky I sent him.  Quick hint: It’s Scotch whisky!

Take it away Matthew and, thanks for your readership, participation and great notes:

Ok, maybe it’s a little late, I’m a little sleepy, but I can’t resist doing this tonight. My mystery dram arrived today and a little while ago I popped the top, just to take a little whiff. Oh, and what a whiff I whiffed. Oily smoke from a beachfront campfire, brined Spanish olives, fig cake…

So, into the glass. I’m afraid I don’t own a Glencairn (what an amateur!), so I will be tasting in a Riedel Sommelier Series Single Malt glass.

First, the visualslovely straw color, legs like a good Sauternes. Reminds me a lot of 1989 Caol Ila, an impression perhaps influenced by that first whiff.

The new whiff the smoke is still there, but the first impression is medicinal, more briny, like sea-salt flavored Korean roasted kim (seeweed). A few more minutes, and a touch of manzanilla sherry enters in, along with a little oaky vanilla. I’ll risk sounding cliched here and say this is getting interesting.

On the mouth good lord, Joshua, what have you sent me? This is everything I like in a whisky! Firm peat, not overwhelming. A hint of Fisherman’s Friend. Blackstrap molasses (or should I say treacle), minerally edges. Just enough alcohol to really carry the flavors to the palate. Nice, coating mouthfeel without being too cloying.

The finish the minerals (Himalayan sea salt, a touch of CaCl) linger, slowly being replaced by a warm, oily smoke flavor that seems to have crawled up into my sinuses and taken up residence. This is lasting several minutes….

I am going to ante up here and give a free mystery dram whisky sample but, for this post, I’m going to change the rules a bit.  In the past, you were in the running for posting a guess (you didn’t have to be right, you just had to participate).  To win a mystery dram (a small 5cl sized sample of whisky) you need to guess the whisky expression.  Or, at the very least, guess the distillery right.

Have fun and may the best guesser win! (guesses can be posted as comments on this post).  The answer will be posted one week from today on Friday, July 23rd 2010.

7 thoughts on “A reader reviews the mystery dram he won…”

  1. When I think Saltiness I think of Bruiladdich Rocks, but don't think this is it, I am going with a Bowemore, but couldn't tell you which one exactly.

  2. Ok, Friday is here and so is the big reveal.

    I am sorry to say that no one wins a sample this time around. The whisky in question is… Springbank 12 Cask Strength! A really cracking dram that took me a while to warm up to but now that I am warmed to it, I'm in love with it. A real cracker!

    Matthew, thanks again for your notes!

  3. I have to admit to everyone that I, too was fooled into thinking this was an Islay whisky. This was one of the most intriguing drams I've had – the character changes, develops each time you approach it (much like the best Cuban cigars that transform completely as you smoke them). I'm going to keep a bottle around for those evenings where I just need to get wrapped up in a drink, forgetting about the rest of the day. Easily one of my favorite malts.

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