The Dram Team, English Whiskies – May 2021
May’s box from The Dram Team focuses on English whiskies. Now a couple of mostly Scotch drinkers we’ve not really tried many (if any!) English whiskies before, so we were very excited to see what they have to offer.
This was our first experience of a completely self-led tasting. Although it felt a little bit odd not having someone talk us through each whisky, it was a lot of fun to sit and discuss them between ourselves. Preparation is key! We would highly recommend having multiple glasses and water available to make the most out of the tasting box.
Circumstance Distillery, Barley in Progress – 48%
Nose: light, creamy, milky porridge, citrus fruits, green apple, pear, honey
Palate: very sweet, lots of honey, more citrus notes come through, sherbert lemon, buttery biscuits, hints of chocolate
Finish: honey and lemon lockets
A one year old spirit, it is always interesting to see the journey that distilleries go on with their spirits. We were impressed with the collection of flavours present in this spirit, it feels like a solid foundation to build upon in the future.
Spirit of Yorkshire, Filey Bay Flagship – 46%
Nose: lemon meringue chocolate (from Thornton’s!), pear drops, sweetness, chocolate malt biscuits, milky porridge, some red fruits and blackberries
Palate: jammy porridge with honey and chocolate sprinkles
Finish: very short, pears and honey
This is a lovely sipping whisky, with bags of flavour on the palate initially – very jammy! It does have quite a short finish, but that doesn’t detract from the taste.
The Lakes Distillery, The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No. 4 – 52%
Nose: Christmas cake, red berry crumble, LOTS of deep dark fruit jam, dark choclate, hints of vanilla, toasted walnuts and pecans
Palate: sweet, rich, dark, fruity, very jammy, fruit and nut chocolate, feels very festive and decadent
Finish: peppery spice, honey and red fruit
A bit of a corker at 52% this whisky has been aged in Oloroso, PX and red wine casks – so was already one that I was excited for in the box. It did not disappoint! With a lovely oily, rich texture that coats all the corners of your mouth, this whisky has a long finish that keeps developing.
Cotswolds Distillery, Founder’s Choice – 60.5%
Nose: stewed plums, VERY dark chocolate, some wood notes come through, rich but fresh
Palate: dry hay, buttersctoch and toffee, tonnes of fresh red fruit
Finish: punchy spice and lots of grapefruit
We found that by adding a couple of drops of water it really began to open out. The nose had fresher notes as well as apricot, raisins, and sultananas. The palate developed more of an oaky flavour too. Overall, a great balance between wood and fruit notes.
English Whisky Co. The English 11 y/o – 46%
Nose: honey, vanilla, banana, pineapple, lemon, baked apples, bakewell tart
Palate: tobacco smoke, very oaky and woody, muddy fields, outside grass, dry VERY dry
Finish: whispers of smoke and wood
This was the first overtly age-statement whisky in the box, and the information card states that this is the oldest English age statement whisky that you can find!
Bimber, 125 PX Finish, Exclusive Cask Sample – 53.9%
Nose: dried fruits, Christmas cake, honey, vanilla, brown sugar, mince pies, red fruits galore, hints of toffee, old leather chairs, golden syrup, polished leather
Palate: rich, fruit, warming, very tasty wood notes, golden syrup, fruit covered in melted brown sugar, toffee and oak
This was the final 10ml sample in the box – something a little bit special. There was never any doubt in my eyes that this was going to be tasty, and it did not disappoint. A very luxurious and decadent mouth feel complimented the deep, dark, red fruit flavours. A solid favourite in the box!
As already mentioned this was our first completely self-directed tasting box. It was definitely a different experience to our other tastings, and not one I’m sure we would have been as confident with even a couple of months ago. That being said, there are some fantastic whiskies in this box and I enjoy the smaller 10ml sample of something a bit special to finish the box off. It is also a bonus that despite arriving at the beginning of the month, we can fit it around our other plans instead of being focused on one specific evening.
I have seen that next month’s box is already out for delivery and called ‘cask magic’ which sounds very exciting! Let us know in the comments below if you’ve done many self-directed tastings.