Dràm Mòr Independent Bottlers
Dràm Mòr is a family-owned business that bottles Scotch whiskies and the occasional rum. Specialising in single-cask expressions, it is based in Dumbarton, a town around 15 miles from Glasgow. Dumbarton has something of a whisky pedigree itself, having once been home to a grain distillery that was crucial to brands like Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal.
The distillery may be long gone but Dràm Mòr have gone some considerable way to putting Dumbarton back on the whisky map and they’ve done so in some style. In the short time the bottler has been operating, it has developed a reputation for quality, unique whiskies.
Dalmunach 6-Year-Old Single Malt
Dalmunach is one of Scotland’s newer distilleries. Located in Speyside, it was built in 2014 on the site of the old Imperial Distillery, primarily to produce spirit for use in Pernod Ricard’s various blended Scotch brands.
This Dràm Mòr bottling has been matured for six years in a first-fill bourbon barrel. It’s bottled at 58.2% and retails for around £57.
Smell: Lots of vanilla. Butterscotch. Toffee. Big buttery bourbon. Some peppery heat. Apple and citrus fruits. Oak char. Lots of bourbon but there’s a young, fruity spirit under that first-fill cask.
Taste: Toffee. Caramel. Pepper. Ginger. Cinnamon. Brown sugar. Molasses. Oak. More of the char note from the nose – almost an ashy quality. Wonderful texture – it has a really chewy mouthfeel. Dark chocolate. Orange. Wee touch of liquorice.
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this dram. There’s a wee bit of heat but nothing extreme for a young malt. I suspect some young Speysides may have been swamped by a first-fill bourbon cask but this one has the weight to carry it. It has some real backbone. Sure, there are some tell-tale signs of youth but overall, it’s surprisingly well-rounded and actually rather delicious.
Price: To be perfectly honest, at £57, I’m tempted to snap one up myself. Great bang for your buck.
Macduff 9-Year-Old Single Malt
Another Speyside distillery, Macduff was established in 1962. It is currently owned by Dewar & Sons, a subsidiary of Bacardi.
This 9-year-old single malt was matured in a refill sherry butt and bottled at 58%. Retails at £78.
Smell: Oddly, I didn’t get sherry from this at first. Instead, it was creamy with coconut and almonds. Then there was a wee bit of a struck match note and suddenly the sherry was there. The dram seemed to get deeper and richer the longer it sat in the glass. The nutty almond note morphed into walnut with some leather and citrus oak. Floral honey. Apple and pear. Even some malt and straw notes. Complex.
Taste: This time the refill sherry is there straight away. Dried fruits. Walnut. Ginger. Nutmeg. Clove. Runny honey. Caramel. Fruity and malty underneath the sherry. Oily texture.
Thoughts: The palate was a little more straightforward than the nose but it was still a really enjoyable dram. Like the Dalmunach before it, there’s some serious weight on the palate – something which always ticks a few boxes for me. Great weight, good intensity to the flavour and lots of enticing, layered aromas.
Price: Another cracker. A bit pricier at £78 but I still don’t think that’s extreme in today’s market and the quality is spot on. Worth a purchase.
Inchmurrin 11-Year-Old Single Malt
Inchmurrin is a brand name given to a style of spirit produced at Loch Lomond Distillery. It is generally unpeated with a lighter, fruitier profile than some of the other variants from the same distillery.
This version of Inchmurrin has been matured for 11 years in a refill bourbon barrel. It’s bottled at 58% and retails for £73.
Smell: Fruity and fresh. Melon and pineapple. Apple. Pear. Lemon. Also malty and biscuity. Wee bit of brown sugar and some cinnamon. Slight wood resin note. Some dusty barley flour. Muesli.
Taste: Honey. Toffee. Caramel. Another dram with a bit of weight about it. Malty. Toasted oak finish – and a little bit of dry spice. Less fruity than the nose – although a splash of water brought some fruitiness back.
Thoughts: Pleasant enough. Liked the fresh fruits of the nose but didn’t get enough of that on the palate. That said, it’s big enough that it can take a bit of water without losing its fullness of flavour – which means you can play around and find new layers. Simple and straightforward in that there’s no fancy cask finish – Loch Lomond creates such diversity in its still-house that it would be silly to fill into highly active casks – but all the same, it feels like the nose promised more than the palate delivered.
Price: £73 is perfectly normal for such a bottling but not sure it excited me enough to tempt me. It’s still a decent malt but I’d always be reaching for one of the others in this wee trilogy.
For more on Dràm Mòr visit https://drammorgroup.com/