Whats in a Dram ?
There are now as many Whisky Pundits, Opinions and “Experts” as there are good whiskies.
Not too long ago, at the end of every operating shift in the Distillery, each Stillman, Mashman & Warehouseman received a measure of new spirit.
That measure was termed a dram.
These were the men that could tell you about a dram, fresh from the still….but as we now know its in the maturation that the real characteristics are developed, the final taste profiles emerge. It is in each individual Cask that the DNA is imprinted. Over the last twenty years the Whisky Industry has become increasingly aware of the impact, ( good , and bad ) of the Cask on the finished quality of the Dram. It has been said ” you can make a good spirit great through good wood maturation, but you can’t make an inadequate spirit good.
There has been significant rise in interest in the wee dram, which is no bad thing. However its hard to believe that in the 1980’s, there were lochs full of the golden spirit. At that time many Distilleries were operating below capacity and Single Malts were seen as the supporting partner in the marriage blend….ooh how things have changed. Now Older Malts , mostly gone are being replaced with “no age “ statements. the Iconic ones are still there, but sadly no Brora or Rosebank or St Magdalene, no Port Ellen.
The Innovators are playing with the wood, changing the staves, modifying the tops….looking for spices, nuttiness and herbs. They are experimenting with the Barley, toasting it to reach for the chocolate and the toffee. The Peat addicts and the Sherry seekers search to find the citrus, the rubber, even the bubblegum. Understanding the importance of the wood, they are removing the golden liquid from its “mother cask” and finding it a new oak home to finish; from the Port Pipe to the Armagnac in an attempt to uncover the sultanas or the raisins
Perhaps we should go back and ask the Stillman, the Mashman, or the Warehouseman before the computer takes over
Young, Old, Malt or Grain remember …………its just a Dram .