The Dram Team Incredible Indies Twitter Tasting

A follow-up to the inaugural tasting from The Dram Team, Thursday 27th October 2016 saw their 2nd twitter tasting – a much less formal affair – based on their latest tasting set release, focussed upon independently bottled scotch whiskies. As a staunch supporter of Indie bottlers, without them my attempt to sample output from every Scotch distillery would have been severely hampered. I was more than happy to join in with this tasting.

The Dram Team Incredible Indies

Independent bottlers often offer unusual whisky from most distilleries which rather then being married to produce a uniform product (such as a 10 year old expression) are more likely to be a product of a single cask and thereby much more variable in character. However, as the reputation of an Independent bottler is dependent upon the whisky they bottle, they carefully screen their casks for quality and bottle only when the time is right. Therefore quality of Indie bottlings is at least comparable to official bottlings. This allows Indies the freedom to offer casks from a given distillery at any age, strength and even maturation type – as they are unrestricted they have much more room for experimentation with their whisky. A recent pleasing market trend has been the release of young whisky that displays much more distillery character and lesser cask influence than the standard 10 or 12 year old official bottles from the same distilleries. On an industry currently fascinated by the dominance of wood effects and cask finishing/maturation I find this trend refreshing and a return towards simpler quality distillates rather than the somewhat homogeneous cask-dominated offerings.

Our not-quite exhaustive list of Independent bottlers is here, in fairness this is a fertile field at the moment with new bottling companies arising & releasing whisky on a regular basis. however some have stood the test of time and are very well-established.

Anyway, back to the tasting from The Dram Team which consisted of the following:

girvan-10-year-old-rum-finish-the-creative-whisky-company

Girvan 10 Years Old 2006 Rum Cask Finish ~ 50% (The Creative Whisky Company)

fettercairn-10-year-old-2005-10943-provenance-douglas-laing-whisky

Fettercairn 10 Years Old 2005 cask 10943 Provenance ~ 46% (Douglas Laing)

craigellachie-12-year-old-2004-a-rare-find-gleann-mor-whisky

Craigellachie 12 Year Old 2004 A Rare Find ~ 57.2% (Gleann Mór)

hoebeg-islay-single-malt-robert-graham

Hoebeg Islay Single Malt ~ 40% (Robert Graham)

tobermory-21-year-old-that-boutiquey-whisky-company-whisky

Tobermory 21 Years Old Batch 4 ~ 51.2% (That Boutique-Y Whisky Company)

mortlach-21-year-old-1994-cask-2-mission-gold-murray-mcdavid-whisky-tin

Mortlach 21 Year Old 1994 cask 2 Mission Gold ~ 50.4% (Murray McDavid)

The result – at least 3 of these whiskies scored very highly by our ratings (with 89 ,90 and 91 points – you will have to read our reviews to find out which!) confirming the quality of Independently bottled whisky currently available, plus not all the high scorers have RRP’s which would severely damage your bank account – in fact one of them I’m sure will soon sell out it is priced so competitively! Herein lies the ephemeral nature of Indie bottlings, almost all are limited to a specific number of bottles and once they are gone, they are gone!