Monday, December 14, 2015

Lassie's top 10 memorable drams for 2015, #10 the Unicorn!

This time of year many people start to ask me what my favourite drams for the year were. I do indeed keep a log, if not by bottle photo than those I take notes for, in my little black moleskin note book. Thank goodness I do because at the end of the year, I also have a tendency to count how many new whiskies I've tried. This year, as of today's date: 406. Revisited drams 197. That... is a lot of dramming! Before you think I may have a drinking problem, take into consideration that I flew off to Victoria in January to attend their whisky festival and spent 5 glorious days in jeans/t-shirt weather, then spent 3 weeks in Scotland in May which included multiple visits to the Bon Accord Pub in Glasgow, two whisky festivals on the west coast, 18 distillery visits, 2 independent bottling company tours, including their warehouses, and sharing drams with many... many friends. On to the month of June where I was in New Orleans for a week attending workshops and huge amazing parties then on to Toronto in September - 4 more distilleries. November = Fredericton at one more whisky festival where over the course of 4 days I tried 58 new drams and then finished off the whisky year with our final society tasting of silent distilleries...  So you can see how easily and quickly the tally reached 406!

How do you pick 10... Just 10... Near impossible you would think. My criteria is rather simple I think: 

1. Sometimes there are drams that knock you into outer space and all you can do is sit there gobsmacked because the experience is simply lovely. 

2. Other are memorable because you were not expecting "it". 

3. Whereas other drams simply strike you as delicious and your tasting note simply says: "Fuck yeah! 

So let's start with Number 10 shall we!?

My poor mother is from a different era, so a few years ago when I told her Graham and I were going to Scotland and staying with people we had met on the internet she almost fell out of her chair in concern. "You are staying with strangers you met over the internet??!", she said clutching her sweater around her neck a little tighter. No matter how much I tried to explain #whiskyfabric, or Skype technology or anything else for the next couple of months, my mother feared for our lives... Sigh...

It's not uncommon for me to meet up with all sorts of people from the #whiskyfabric. Hell some of the best memories this past year are as a result of just that. "Hey twitterverse!! I'm going to be in Toronto for 5 days, who's game for a meet up - Show of hands...?"  12 people greet us at a local pub! How cool is that!? I know if you've experienced this phenomena, you know exactly what I mean because you are sitting there smiling as you read this thinking back to your own crazy meet ups, sharing of drams and photos!

So dram 10 is as a result of that type of experience. Sometime in 2014, Darren McInnis (co-founder of North Shore Whisky Club) and I started chatting on Twitter. Not sure if it was because his last name is the same as mine, he's also a Patriots fan or if it was related to whisky. 

Either way we became fast twitter friends often having some pretty funny or interesting conversations. He advised me once that he would be driving through my hometown on a family summer vacation and would love to meet up for a dram. As the date arrived, he texted and Graham and I went to pick him up. After all, what's the harm in a couple picking you up at your hotel to bring you back to their house because your drams are way better than any hotel bar?! (Yes, I can see how my mother could be mortified by these interactions!?? hehe)

So after a trip down to the piano, Darren, Graham and I settled in for a few minutes of talking and simply enjoying some drammage! There were so many he wanted to try but eas trying to ensure he wasn't blotto by the time we drove him back to the hotel so of course we went and got sample bottles and let him pick and choose a dozen drams to bring with him for his trip. What good is the #whiskyfabric if you can't share in good dramming and stories with new friends! And of course Darren (God love him) didn't arrive empty handed either...  He kindly shared the following. 

St. Magdalene G&M Reserve, Distilled 1975 - Bottled in 2005 exclusively for Brookline Liquor Mart in Boston, Massachusetts. 1 of 270 bottles, 46%ABV.

This was a first for me as far as the St. Magdalene distillery goes. It closed in 1983 so of course it's now one of those silent distillery bottlings that will get more and more rare and expensive with time. (Just looked up one similar to this and at auction it sold for £450)

Nose: Green fields of wild flowers, apple blossoms, almost a bit of mint or eucalyptus in the backdrop. Fresh, light and very delicate dram...

Palate: There is a barley/cereal flavour that reminds me of fresh and warm oatmeal cookies quickly followed by a lush and mouthwatering orange marmalade that leads to a slightly drying finish with the background being the pith of the orange.

Finish: Sweet but didn't linger for very long.

Darren and I enjoying a few drams...
So dram #10 fits in the category of "wow wasn't expecting that at all". I would have never anticipated Darren pulling that out in a million years. Besides, who travels with a St. Magdalene in his suitcase? Apparently, Darren does and I'm super happy he brought it with him for Graham and me to try. I want to thank Mr. McInnis not only for the lovely dram and time spent at the house that day but for also being another great friend in the #whiskyfabric I have come to love. The epitome of which I often praise is to simply share great whiskies and create lasting memories. Graham and I look forward to seeing them in Boston sometime in 2016.

My door is always open to anyone who wants to come and visit us and it's not mandatory to bring any drams, but surprises like this one are certainly appreciated and most of all, treasured. Darren and George can be found on twitter:  @noshwhiskyclub and their blog is:

Tomorrow brings another fantastic dram and story. Number 9... it's utterly, very Canadian indeed!


1 comment:

  1. I live on the North Shore and must meet these guys. Would love to be in on a 2016 meet up here. I've tried a 32 yo St Magdalene. Didn't impress but then again I'm an Islay girl. Ready for #9.