End of the year 2021 live booster dram

Can you remember getting a top-up dram at the end of a live tasting session?

The year that was

2021 has been a dramatic year for live tastings. Well, live anything actually. The more we detested our Teams or Zoom sessions at the office, we certainly could not get enough of it when our alcohol levels had to be boosted. That’s why my off-license ran overtime when hundreds of 4 cl teeny weeny pygmee bottles had to be filled, enveloped and posted for next week’s online whisky gathering.

LIVE whisky versus SCREEN whisky

Does a screen session offer us the equal equivalent of real live whisky fun? Are live tastings not meant to sit shoulder to shoulder in the back room of your local whisky shop? Is it not so that real tasting pleasure comes from an almost physical exchange of appraisals and opinions? And can any digital gathering for that matter replace the slight chaos that live tastings occasionally generate whenever friends disagree on colour, smell or taste ? Well, I don’t think so. Therefore three LIVE beverages that stood out for me this year.

One: My friend Rob van Otterdijk poured me a 24 yo the other day. A North British single grain bottling of 53.3 % abv, cask strength by Càrn Mòr. Butterscotch, layers of subtle grains and nuts and raisins. I know now: elevation does exist.

24 year old

Two: I managed to get my hands on a Whiskybase bottle (Rotterdam) from their own Archives series. Again, a single grain, cask strength from Cameronbridge (53.4 % abv) in the prime of its matured life, just 26 y.o. …… so soft and layered.

26 year old

And three, very surprisingly I was drawn into the world of rum (never thought I would be) by an invitation of Broekmans Drankenshop in Heusden-Zolder (Belgium). Host of the evening Joshua Sing ( founder of 1423 bottler, Denmark) was invited to guide us through his ‘Worthy (Park) Rum Experience’. Broekmans own indie brand The Nectar had a Long Pond 2005 15 yo (55% abv) bottled, acquired from Singh’s 1423. A triple melasse mashbill and a 3 to 4 week fermentation in open wooden vats (wild fermentation does the main part of the job). Further reading (in Dutch I’m afraid) on Legbeforewicket.

15 year old

Dear readers, this is what live tastings do to you. Enjoy your live Christmas , Hootenannies, Hogmanays or other live gatherings. Stay safe.