The Digestive Dram, Blended Malt Whisky, 27 Years Old, 56.1% ABV, Bottled by Cask 88 for Highlander Inn
RICH AND ROUND
Note: We assign every bottle we review to one of five Flavour Camps, based on the most dominant flavours found. The Flavour Camps are : (1) Fragrant and Floral, (2) Fruity and Spicy, (3) Malty and Dry, (4) Rich and Round and (5) Smokey and Peaty. To learn more about each Flavour Camp, please click here.
This well-aged blended malt, intriguingly named "The Digestive Dram", was made from a blend of four malt whiskies, they are often symbolised by the following: a cat, a stag (looks like a deer), a giraffe, and finally another cat. I'll give you another hint, this proverbial zoo has their locations centered around the Highlands.
These four single malts (one starting with a C, one with a D and two G's) were blended together right from the start and then matured together for 27 years. Pretty impressive I'd say. It was bottled by Cask 88 for Highlander Inn, an inn and whisky bar run by the wonderful Tatsuya Minagawa, located in Craigellachie, right at the heart of the Scotch Whisky Trail.
A certain Distillery C. (Image Source: Whisky.com)
So to address the elephant in the room, why "Digestive"? A digestive (or digestif) is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal to aid digestion. Digestives are typically richer, high proof alcohols that are usually less acidic, sweeter and generally more relaxing on the stomach after what would have been an exciting dinner. They are served to help the stomach wind down and be lulled.
Which should give you some hint as to what this whisky is going to be like. Rich, sweet, with more depth. So that's what we'll be looking out for.
Color: Deep Amber.
Nose: Fiery hot! Already on the nose you can get a whiff of how rich and deep this blend is going to be. It is almost syrupy thick, with sweet melted brown sugar, rich raisins and prunes - classic Sherry notes. Lush dustings of nutmeg powder is noticeable as well. Spoonfuls of honey and a light bit of cracked black pepper.
Lots of fruitcake notes on the nose. But with a twang of minerality. (Image Source: King Arthur Baking)
There's also a chalky minerality flaking in and out here, with specks of black tea astringency.
Distilleries C and D are pretty apparent on the nose, with that classic Distillery D Cigar Malt hitting the spot.
Clue #2. Distillery D. (Image Source: Planet Whiskies)
Palate: Velvety, luscious spiced honey here. The texture is waxy and oily, with a treacle sort of mouthfeel. It has loads of sweet prunes and and something reminiscent of cognac. There's also the bittersweetness of dark chocolates here.
Deep bittersweet notes of dark chocolate. (Image Source: Healthline)
It's deeply warming but none of that young whisky hotness here. It is 27 years old after all. In the mid-palate there's a creaminess and the minerality returns. Here there's notes of praline, similar to Loacker cookies.
This goes on and on, with the back palate bringing surprising bright citrus notes of oranges and sweet lemon zest. There's just ripened apples here, very succulent.
Ripe red apples make a miraculous appearance on the mid-palate. (Image Source: Around Michigan)
A light smoky touch as well that reminds me of Bak Kwa (a Singaporean delicacy of barbequed sweet glazed meats).
A local Singaporean delicacy - BBQ sweet glazed sheets of pork. (Image Source: Honeycombers)
The Distilleries beginning with C, D and one of the G's are prevalent on the palate.
Mysterious No. 3 - Distillery G. Think Giraffes. (Image Source: TripAdvisor)
Finish: The heat truly lingers with an incredibly long finish. Here there are light bits of bitterness that you'd also find in champagne foam (or as they called it, the "mousse"), coffee grinds and more praline.
The light bitterness of a champagne's mousse. (Image Source: iStockPhoto)
This was a biggie of a dram. Very big on the nose, on the palate, in the finish. It's just meaty and succulent all round. Which is what you'd probably expect from such a well-aged blend of four really solid Highland malts. There's a deep Sherry-ness to it and while I'd have expect it to be fruitier (on account of the character of its component malts), I'd piece together that because of the sheer age, it's turned into something closer to a fruity cognac or glazed baked fruits.
The sticky sweet layer (called the "lamination") of a Kouign Amann is what stands out in my mind about this digestive dram. (Image Source: Bakery Brera)
There's sweetness, fruitiness, light bitterness, but really what stands out is just how laminated it tastes, the best example I could probably give is something close to the coating of a Kouign Amann pastry. It's sweet and rich but thoroughly satisfying - a real digestif.
Last but not least, the second of the G Distilleries. (Image Source: Whisky.Com)
Another thing about this that really impresses me is its constant evolution. Throughout the palate, it continues to evolve from front to back palate, each one taking their turn right on cue as the other closes out. It feels like several whiskies going at it sequentially. Very interesting.
Does it live up to its name as a Digestive? Very much so.
🍯 🥐 🍇 🥂Thoroughly rich, with lots of honey, pastries (more specifically a Kouign Amann but there's no emoji for that so a croissant will do), raisins and something so familiar to Champagne or Cognac.