I think it’s safe to say that the world of Scotch Whisky has rarely, if ever, intersected with the Techno music scene but I’m about to review a bottle that represents possibly the first meeting point between the two…
The Slam Dram is a blended scotch whisky released to mark 25 years of Glasgow record label Soma Recordings. Soma was founded in 1991 by Dave Clarke along with Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle – better known as DJ duo Slam. For a quarter of a century their label has released forward-thinking electronic music while simultaneously running events in their home town and taking the Soma sound all round the world.
Soma is part of the very fabric of Glasgow nightlife and as a resident who has seen this first hand, it’s hard to imagine life without them. My wife and I spent a lot of time at Soma parties when we first met and who knows where we’d be now without the shared experience of those good times? (In a bizarre twist of fate, the Slam Dram is available to buy at the Good Spirits Co, a great wee Glasgow shop which previously housed 23rd Precinct -the record store where I used to buy tickets for Soma parties all those years ago.)
It might seem strange for a techno label to mark their anniversary with a whisky but it’s part of an ongoing series that has seen the Soma name on both Rum and Gin releases in the last year. Naturally though, we’re only interested in the whisky round these parts.
I suppose the obvious question – would this whisky appeal to anyone beyond the relatively small group of Soma fans willing to spend £85 on a whisky? – is best answered by explaining who put it together.
The Creative Whisky Company was founded in 2005 by David Stirk and specialises in bottling whisky from all over Scotland – both single malt and blended. I’ve come across them before, most notably when I reviewed their ‘Exclusive Blend 1980‘ last December. That was a whisky of exceptional quality so when I saw that Soma had approached them to put together the Slam Dram I knew this wasn’t going to be some cheap gimmick. Instead, what we have is a serious 25 year old blend, created by one of the best in the business.
The Scores: About the Scoring…
Smell: 19 / 20. Rich and complex with Buttery Shortbread, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Custard and Cream.
Taste: 18.5 / 20. Caramel, Toffee and Honeycomb with Chocolate and Creamy Vanilla. Changes and evolves with time in the glass.
Value for Money: 8 / 10. £85 may be a lot of money to spend on a single bottle but when the contents is 25 years in the making it’s pretty reasonable. A wee note re: packaging, the Gin and Rum expressions that Soma released featured a label with specially commissioned artwork whereas here they’ve opted for a text-based, clear plastic wraparound that to be honest, looks a little bit cheap up close. Fortunately, it’s whats inside that counts, and I’ve no complaints there.
Overall: 45.5 / 50. It may be an oddity from some fantasy land where whisky and techno hang out together, but it is also a damn fine dram that more than justifies the price and you can’t say fairer than that.