Visit the Are You Tasting The Pith? site

It's not something that I blog about, but I'm quite keen on whisky. I'm not a collector, I just like to buy good whisky and drink it. There was a time when it would be usual for me to have few bottles on the go - maybe an Islay, a Highland and a blend. Sadly, it's a habit I seem to have got out of - I'm not sure why, but probably a combination of time and money (the old excuse).

So needless to say I was delighted when the splendid folks at Masters of Malt got in touch to tell me about their Drinks By The Dram service. In fact, they went one further - they offered to send a trio of drams for my perusal, and very nice they are. Here are some tasting notes:

Bowmore 26yr Old Single Cask (53.4%abv): bright, tangy attack with - implausibly - notes of raspberry and lavender. Initial attack on the palate is more perfumed fruit, evolving mid-palate into smoke and sea spray. More raspberries in the finish, layered with smoke and lavender. Complex, and more confrontational than I make it sound. [link]

Rosebank 1990 19yr Old (Douglas Laing) (50%abv): soft smokiness, marzipan, soft oak and tropical fruit. Faint perfumed/floral notes. Very appealing, right in my comfort zone. Soft, creamy, marzipanny core, with more soft oak, fruit and spiciness (pepper) emerging in the finish. [link]

Elmer T Lee Single Barrel (45%abv): spirity, a bit hot, with vanilla oak and corn on the cob. One dimensional, and faintly turps-like, but in an enjoyably raucous way. [link]

The Bowmore is stunningly good, incredibly classy and polished, with just enough Islay wildness to remind you of its origins, but benefiting from the slow rub of time, with layers of flavour slowly unfurling on the palate. Out of curiosity, I looked it up on MoM website, partly to check the price, and partly to look at the tasting notes - you can see both here. It's a £100 bottle of whisky. So the nice thing about buying by the dram is that you can see what a £100 bottle of whisky tastes like for only £6.45 for a 3cl sample. And as you can see, the samples come in cool little wax-dipped bottles.

Drinks By The Dram is a great idea, and for anyone with even a passing interest in whisky, a great way to expand your palate, and drink some fine whiskies into the bargain. The little 3-pack of whiskies I received would make a great gift for any whisky-lover, and in case you don't quite get what I'm saying, I'm saying that you should buy me some whisky now.

This is the solution to all your tricky dad/uncle/grandfather present-buying problems. Should you feel that picking out a selection of drams is too much of a faff, there is also a whisky gifts page (hint: the Japanese Yamazaki 18yr is an amazing whisky, at a great price) Now, if only there was some large pseudo-religious, gift-based festival on the horizon....