Welcome to My GreatDrams, a series on GreatDrams where I feature a different person from the whisky world. They might be blenders, distillers, marketeers, ambassadors, brand owners and others. The premise is simple; they answer five questions so we can get to know them better.
This week it is the turn of Vic Cameron, independent whisky ambassador and educator, Whisky Lecturer for the University of the Highlands and Islands, Organiser of the prestigious Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival School, whisky writer for the Northern Scot
I have always loved Caol Ila 18YO since we got to buy some cheap 20cl bottles from the staff shop many years ago. Not sure why we got them but they were being sold off very cheap. I got a few and then “sourced” some more by phoning round other company shops.
It always reminds me of my Dad, who passed away a couple of years ago. Before he got really ill he wanted to walk up Benrinnes, a Corbett (that’s a hill just smaller than a Munro) close to home. We had a dram of Caol Ila 18 at the top and I have a picture of him placed on top of my whisky shelves holding the bottle just as we approached the summit.
Talisker 25 YO reminds me of a great bunch of friends who I worked with at Diageo. When I left to pursue my vocation as a Minister (and go self employed as a part time whisky consultant at the same time) they bought me this bottle as a leaving present. It was very special to me; we’d had my official presentation and then they took me aside to give me this gift in private. It was a very special moment, with very special colleagues and friends, and the memory will stay with me always.
This also reminds me of family, as the day I left Diageo all my kids came home and we opened the Talisker 25 and had a great dram together, on the day I started my new life.
I’ll always have a soft spot for this dram as it was the one that introduced me to the delights of 100% ex-bourbon American oak expressions. Fortunate enough to have been asked to be on the panel of experts for the initial round of judging for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards last year, I tasted something completely different and wanted to know what it was. After the judging I found out it was Glenrothes Alba and have since been exploring this type of expression, finding that I really enjoy them compared to their ex-sherry rivals.
That’s quite an easy question, as I’ve just tasted the Benromach 35 YO. I got a sample through the post along with the traditional 10YO for comparison; it’s great being a “whisky journalist” sometimes!
I was a bit wary of tasting it as I’ve had some really old whisky that was too old, if you know what I mean. This however was a wonderfully balanced yet deep and rich dram, and I enjoyed it very much.
Being a fan of Talisker (I have eleven different expressions currently open and being consumed) I think I’d put a Talisker 30 YO on my list, maybe an early expression, 2006 for example. I’d like to extend my collection, for drinking obviously, and what I’ve found with Talisker (which is not always the case) is that in my experience the older it is the better it is.
My favourite discovery over the last couple of yeas has been the Glenfiddich 14 YO Rich Oak expression. I’ve rediscovered Glenfiddich recently, having overlooked it a lot in the past.
The combination of virgin American and European oak in the finished product is simply wonderful, and I think quite unique. The combination of aromas is a delight, and the taste does not disappoint, although it is the smell that really does it for me.