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I think it’s probably safe to say that Scotch Whisky has rarely, if ever, intersected with the Techno music scene but there is a first time for everything, and this week I’m reviewing a dram that must surely represent the first meeting point between these two vastly different worlds.
The Slam Dram is a blended scotch released to mark 25 years of Glasgow record label Soma Recordings. Soma was founded in 1991 by Dave Clarke and DJ duo Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle – better known as Slam. For a quarter of a century now they have released a seemingly endless supply of forward-thinking electronic music whilst simultaneously running club events in their home town and taking the Soma sound all over the world.
Soma has become part of the very fabric of Glasgow nightlife and as a local, it’s hard to imagine my life over the last decade or so without them. When my wife and I first met, we spent many a weekend at Soma associated parties and who knows where we’d be now without the shared experiences of those fun, if hazy, nights. By a rather bizarre coincidence, the Slam Dram is now retailing at the Good Spirits Co which occupies the site of the old 23rd Precinct record shop where I used to buy tickets for Soma parties all those years ago.
On the face of it, it must seem a little odd for a techno label to mark an anniversary with a bottle of scotch but Soma have been building up to it with the release of both Rum and Gin in the last 12 months. Whether or not this bottling would appeal to anyone beyond what I imagine to be a relatively small section of Soma fandom willing to spend £85 on a bottle remains to be seen, though it comes with decent provenance.
The Slam Dram has been put together by the Creative Whisky Company, mentioned previously in my review last year of the ‘Exclusive Blend 1980‘. This was a whisky of quite exceptional character, so when it became apparent that the Slam Dram had come from the same stable, I knew I would be in for a treat. This is no gimmick, but a serious 25 year old blend, bottled at 46% for a fuller flavour.
Smell: Rich and complex with Buttery Shortbread, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Custard and Cream.
Taste: Caramel, Toffee and Honeycomb with Chocolate and Creamy Vanilla. Changes and evolves with time in the glass.
Value for Money: £85 may seem 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 at all.
It may be an oddity from some fantasy land where whisky and techno hang out together, but it is also a damn fine dram which more than justifies it’s price.