The 12 drams of xmas: Day 2

Today we continue the series of reports on the 12 drams of xmas twitter tasting event. I introduced this event here where we started with the Tomatin provided Tomatin 15 year old.

To give you a quick reminder, 11 online whisky enthusiasts poured half a bottle of whisky into 10 sample bottles and sent them to the other 10 taking part. The bottles were marked only with the number of the day we were due to start. On the given day, we all blind tasted the chosen dram and tried to guess what it was.

Though I did well on some of the drams and embarrassingly badly on some others, I thought I’d post my tasting notes, my unedited guesses and reveal the answers. I will understand if, having read this series, you decide to take my word in the future with a pinch of salt!

Dram #2 was from David Carson @TIA568B on twitter and author of Glen Untitled, a very good whisky blog. Here are my notes:

Nose: Fresh lychee, apple and peach. Zesty and summery, lemon and lime with sherbet and vanilla.

Palate:  Savoury notes with cheese straws and plain rich tea biscuits. Apple juice, comes through too

Finish:  Fruit juice with drying oak and cream crackers.

My guess: This was not a big whisky. Light, not sherried and not rich with fruit so I thought it might be a lowland style. I went for Auchentoshan Classic at 40% ABV.

The answer: Glengoyne burnfoot NAS highland whisky, 40%ABV (travel retail).

Actually I’ve not done so badly here. This was an unusual Glengoyne. This distillery, sitting right on the border between the highlands and lowlands, matures almost exclusively in sherry casks. I don’t believe that this expression is sherry matured, so this was a pretty tough one. Also Glengoyne is Auchentoshan’s nearest neighbour. Still, just a few points for getting the ABV right, maybe I got points for stating a NAS whisky, but I doubt it.



Glengoyne 17 year old

This is an excellent dram that I bought in October after doing a tour of Glengoyne distillery.

Glengoyne is a nice little distillery just north east of Glasgow. It is technically a highland region single malt, though it sits right on the highland-lowland border. According to our tour guide, the malt is distilled in the highlands and matured in warehouses across the road which are technically in the lowlands. To me it looked as if it should be the other way around, but who am I to argue?

Actually, as distillery tours go, it wasn’t a great one. Our guide insisted that blended whisky is really clear unmatured spirit with caramel added (don’t worry, that is spectacularly untrue), and generally misinformed our party regarding the particulars of the whisky making process.

The tasting at the end though, was pretty good. Glengoyne make some excellent whisky. You can’t really go wrong with the 10 year old as an entry level malt, the 21 is a lovely rich ruby red and is very rich and fruity, but, for me, the 17 was the pick of the bunch.

Most Glengoyne whisky is sherry cask matured for the entire time of its maturation, so this malt is heavily fruity, whichever expression you buy. Here are the dramstats for the 17 year old:




  • Age 17
  • ABV 43%
  • Price £50

Nose: Moist christmas cake, raisins, sultanas and dates with soft brown sugar, fig rolls, warm buttered toast, cinnamon and oak barrels.

Palate: Bitter muscavado sugar, bitter dried fruit, buttery, caramac bars.

Finish: Blackcurrant liquorice, drying oak, melted butter and bitter dried fruit.

Verdict: Glengoyne have now gotten rid of the 17 year old and replaced it with an 18 year old expression. It is worth getting hold of a bottle of the 17 if you can, and if you shop wisely I think you can pick it up for under £40.