Sometimes... either due to being stubborn or maybe it's more about genetics but some of humans have a tendency to make decisions about something and then stick with them for the rest of our lives. My father is a "domestic car" kinda of guy because the foreign stuff is crap (his words not mine so don't send me hate mail please)... He's bought North American Cars since before I was born. Me, well I've been an American Football Fan since I was 13 and for those 36 years I have been a true New England Patriots FAN through the good and the bad!!!!
This bring me to drams (yes there are two this year that taught me a huge lesson...) number 9's. The first is as a result of my father instilling in me that anything but Gibson's Canadian whisky was SHITE... The second stems from trying one dram of a particular distillery last year while at the Campbeltown Festival with Mark Watt and saying to myself, oh my gawd... how can anyone like this at all?? It's... SHITE, but as I looked around the warehouse at the other 20+ participants I quickly realized just about everyone but me was enjoying that dram. Just not my cup of tea I said to myself quietly as I gave my dram to someone else.
Let's jump right to it:
Dram #9.1 -> Crown Royal Monarch 75th anniversary blend. I actually got to taste a small sample in December of 2014 but spent much of 2015 enjoying & sharing it with many people. I picked this one as part of my top 10 for a few reasons. In all my years as a whisky drinker I had mostly (due to my dad) turned my nose up to anything that was made by Crown Royal. I had an aha moment last year and shamefully declared how much I had started to enjoy tasting CR's but still had never actually bought one. So, in February of 2015 this was the first bottle of Crown Royal whisky I ever bought and I've since bought a few more as a result, including the Northern Harvest Rye in June (BUT I STILL DON'T THINK IT'S A 97.5!!!)
The Monarch has become the CR I will recommend to friends/followers if they are looking for something unique from CR to bring home to friends or enjoy. It retails for a little more than the regular CR but in my very humble opinion of not being a fan for way too long, it is well worth the $60.
Dram #9.2 -> The Pearls of Scotland Littlemill CS, Distilled 1991, cask 116 (23 years old). As I stated up above, I was in a warehouse tasting with Mark Watt (WM Cadenhead) in 2014 when some crazy American named Matt yelled: Hey do you have any casks of Littlemill?" The crowd went wild when Mark walked over to an area and opened the cask. We all received a small sample and as I watched Matt and most of the participants go quiet and enjoy the dram fully. Me... not so much. I didn't even write a single tasting note, it was simply Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Fast forward to Toronto Canada in September and our good friend Rick Culver says: "Hey do you and Graham want to come to a Littlemill exclusive tasting". I will not lie to you when I say I told Graham: "I'll go but I know I really won't like them". Fast forward again to that evening, I'm the only woman (meh so what)... and when Igor handed over the Pearls sample I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I looked over at Graham a bit gobsmacked. Then 4 other gorgeous Littlemills, one after the other and I not only really enjoyed every single one, I immediately sought out to buy a bottle as soon as I could, and buy we did! Probably one of my best discoveries of 2015 is good quality Littlemill bottlings.
I LOVED the Littlemills so much, a friend of mine in Québec and I are having a vertical tasting of 7 of them over Skype on December 27th and I am beyond thrilled... I may not have "got" it at the time what the hub bub was about in that warehouse in Campbeltown, but I certainly do now.
LESSON LEARNED from drams 9.1 & 9.2
Just because you tried one bottle from a distillery or independent bottler doesn't mean the lot of them are SHITE... Educate yourself, ask questions, get the history and keep trying the whiskies.
Cheers and off to Dram 8 tomorrow...