Friday 29 July 2016

Dramnation: World Whisky Tour

As you may know, we're a big supporter of local whisk(e)y figures that continue to inspire and educate people on the industry and its whiskies. Earlier this month, our friend Matt Wooler, founder of Dramnation hosted their first inner city tasting at Pocket Bar in downtown Sydney. Continuing from the first World Whisky Tour tasting series in May which was held at Crooked Tailor, Castle Hill , the second series of the tour expanded the tasting collection to also include whiskies from Brittany, France and Arkansas, USA.

As we'd written last year, Dramnation was founded with the aim of imparting knowledge and introducing whisky appreciation for individuals, and it's great to see them continuing that mission.

We were invited by Matt to join the tour and to celebrate their inaugural inner city tasting. As with all Dramnation tasting events, guests were welcomed with a cocktail. This event saw the classic Whiskey Smash cocktail back in action (based on the Old Forrester Bourbon), which proved to be quite a refreshing opener to the night. The second series of the tour revisited a number of highlights from the first tasting, and there were whiskies from different regions of the world too, including:
  • The Hakushu Distiller's Reserve (Japan)
  • Armorik Classic Single Malt (France)
  • Kavalan Port Cask Finish (Taiwan)
  • Starward Solera (Australia)
  • SMWS B3.2 Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Bun (US)
  • Paul John Edited Single Malt (India)
The line-up included one very special bottle from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) - B3.2 or so cheekily titled 'Ooey-gooey cinnamon bun' - a bourbon whiskey from the Rocktown Distillery in Arkansas, USA. The 2 in the B3.2 denoting that this was a second Society release from the Rocktown Distillery. The inclusion of a Society bottle added to the eccentricity of the line-up and helped ensure guests were treated to an extensive range of profiles of the different world regions.

What has always stood out for me at each Dramnation event is the immaculate setup and the superb attention to detail on the setup. As much as you can touch and feel (and taste) the whiskies -- you can equally explore different sensory experiences that are scattered across the tasting tables. Bottles filled with barley, rye and corn -- showcasing the mix for bourbon whiskies, cinnamon sticks, licorice and chocolate are just few of the items that are presented for guests to appreciate. Mozzarella and cheddar cheeses were also made available on each table with the notion being that the different cheeses can invoke or cleanse one's palate. The mozzarella cheese was what Matt described as a palate cleanser, a type of cheese that help to neutralise your palate. The cheddar cheese complements the tasting, by being a palate exciter, a good cheese to have before each dram.

The night itself was co-presented between Matt, Matt Bailey of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Jeremy Daunay, founder of Le Baron des Spirits who was there to represent Armorik (a distillery we'll soon be featuring in detail in an upcoming post).

Jeremy opened the night with the Armorik Classic Single Malt; a clean and light malt from Brittany, France. Armorik, being a recent addition to the local market certainly pleased the crowd and will be one whisky to watch over the next year. It wasn't that long ago that Jeremy presented the Armorik series at The Wild Rover and I recalled truly enjoying the different expressions.

Each host spoke to the different whiskies, outlining the differing factors that make up the individuality of each, and how the extent of maturation in the different regions varies. Perhaps the adage that age is just a number rings true in certain circumstances. This was certainly true for Kavalan, Starward and the Society B3.2 (Rocktown Bourbon) where they have all been matured for 3 years or less and yet their punchy profile certainly did not disappoint.

Full tasting notes on all the whiskies presented on the night were provided to all the guests and have also been published on the Dramnation site here.

The inaugural Dramnation tasting at Pocket Bar was a success and it was fun, insightful and introduced people to the whiskies from the different regions. The night even saw a beer into the mix with the Gage Road ESB being introduced to complement a couple of the whiskies.

Keen to check out the next Dramnation event? Dramnation have published the dates for their next events through to October. Taking a similar themed approach to whisky appreciation, the upcoming events will focus on different aspects of whisky distilling and whisky appreciation. For more details or to book on the following events, visit the Dramnation site. Specific upcoming dates are:
  • 30/07 - Wine Cask Whiskies Session 1, 2016 at Crooked Tailor, Castle Hill
  • 20/08 - Smoke Stacks Session 1, 2016 at Crooked Tailor, Castle Hill
  • 22/10 - Southern BBQ Boilermarkers at Crooked Tailor, Castle Hill attended the Dramnation World Whisky Tour Tasting Class as a guest of Dramnation, with thanks to Matt Wooler.


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