Each day of Advent, we'll focus on Dram de Jour, taste it with you, and navigate you through the aromas and flavors. We’ll update this guide daily, so consult it whenever you're ready to open a new vial and remember this mission's objective: to become a seasoned Whisky connoisseur by Christmas. All set? LAUNCH!
(Clarification: The EU Edition of Flaviar's Whisky Advent Calendar differs from the US version due to different preferences of our Members and the availability of sourced Spirits.)
Vial #1: Brenne Estate Cask
Prepare to take off with Lieutenant Uhura of the Whiskyverse! We’re teleporting you to the planet of Brenne - a world of French elegance, ballet-badassery, and most of all - matured fine Spirits.
Allison Patel took everything the region of Cognac has to teach about ageing Liquor and French oak barrels and turned to Single-Malt-Whisky crafting. The results are tres ace. No age statement on this small-batch Dram - every release is individually bottled. Thus the average age is 7.
Bottled at 80 proof, the brightest star in the tasting-note galaxy is the exquisite fruity and floral aroma introducing the smooth and complex palate of Orange blossom, almonds, blueberry, hibiscus, spice, anise, and chocolate.
Vial #2: Stork Club Straight Rye Whiskey
One small step for the world of Rye, but one giant leap for German Whiskey. This gem is from the Spreewald Distillery near Berghain, ups, Berlin, founded by three friends.
This multiple awards-winning expression is a 45% ABV ‘best of both worlds’ hybrid of USA and EU Spirits-making traditions.
It’s matured in a combination of American oak, Napoleon oak, ex-White Wine, and ex-Sherry casks. Taste the pure grain magic in every sip of the mix of local German Rye and malted Rye in this delicious Dram.
It hits the nose with ample oak, a surprising Nutella twist, toasted rye bread and dark fruits. What follows on the palate is a pure flavour-fest of ginger, butterscotch candies, cocoa, and walnuts.
Vial #3: Stauning Whisky Rye
How about heading off to Denmark for some pretty special Rye? Stauning Whisky Rye wouldn’t make it on the list of ordinary and basic Ryes — its mash bill is too extraordinary for that. This unique Danish Rye is crafted from malted rye with a touch of malted barley, Yes, malted! All the malting is done on-site at the distillery. Plus, it contains zero corn.
Double-distilled in copper pot stills and aged in new American oak, it’s bottled at 48% ABV. First, notice the dark amber hue before the nose greets you with the smell of fresh-baked rye bread with spread melted butter. The nose is warm with more black pepper, menthol, and a tad of dark fruits.
The palate is surprisingly fruity, don’t you think? There are berries and lemon oil before oak, vanilla, and cinnamon take over. The finish is long and warm with a touch of spicy pecan praline. Not an ordinary Rye at all, this Stauning, not at all.
Vial #4: Starward NOVA
Melbourne’s wildly varied weather might not be the best for dressing weather appropriately, but it is kind of the best for aging Whisky.
Starward NOVA is a lush expression that reaps the benefits of intense aging in carefully selected Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot barrels. The barrels are not charred to better preserve the character of Wine and oak.
Bottled at 41% ABV, this red Aussi beauty first gently caresses you with dried tropical fruits that mingle with complex Wine and spicy-sweet notes on the nose.
What about the palate, you ask? Well, it’s ruled by red fruits, fresh oak spice, and of course, more red Wine. The experience ends on a savory and dry note.
Shinning in your near distance is a true American star and a Holywood celebrity at that, having shinned in a few small cameos alongside Gary Oldman in Léon and Newman and Redford in The Sting.
Ezra Brooks Black Label Bourbon is a well-balanced, award-winning 80 proof daily sipper(star) that went through the Lincoln County Process (charcoal filtering), so set your nose and palate controls for the amped-up sweet vanilla notes of the charred white oak barrel.
With the mash constellation of 78% corn, 12% rye, and 10% malted barley, every sip is born under the signs of corn, spices, dark chocolate, maple syrup, honey, and peppery rye, with a warm, peppery after glimmer and lingering notes of dried fruit and oak.
Vial #6: Deanston 12 Year Old
If you look to your right, you’ll see an old cotton mill-turned distillery, grinding away one no-frills Scotch after another. It’s an environmentally-friendly place, self-sustaining its energy with a water turbine.
And among its gifts to nature and men is this 12 YO Single Malt, matured for 12 years in ex-Bourbon barrels.
Take a deep breath and smell its fresh notes of fruits, citrus, dried apricots, coconut, rich toffee, sweet oak, and barley sugar, then taste the magic of nature in all its glory with malty honeyed spiciness, soft vanilla, allspice, citrusy syrup, and sour apples.
It’s your go-to daily-ration-of-Whisky from the Highlands.
Vial #7: Dingle Single Malt
Day 7 of our Whisky Advent(ure)! Today, we're tasting the most-Sherried jingle of all Dingles: Dingle Single Malt 2021 Release.
It's a wonderful Irish Whiskey from the westernmost part of Ireland, the Munster province. The Dingle distillery has been producing Whiskey since 2012, and this one's their first permanent release.
It's a delightful marriage of first-fill Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks (61%) and first-fill Bourbon barrels (39%). You'll notice a refreshing nose with notes of sweet pear, lime zest, and mint.
Take a sip, and you'll find yourself in a world of caramel, apples, raisins, and vanilla. Fun fact: this gem is made in an old sawmill in custom-made copper pot stills. What's your verdict?
Vial #8: Wolfburn Aurora
We're flying to Scotland today, namely to Caithness, far up in the North. Another sherried delight, but from a different angle. Wolfburn Aurora is a tale of wood and its magical influence on Spirits. This Single Malt is a holy union of ex-Bourbon barrels and hogsheads that once held Oloroso Sherry.
What are the aromas and flavours you're expecting? Is it a Cognac-like character with precious notes of rancio? If not, you're in for a treat! It all starts with a bouquet of Sherry, freshly cut meadows, fine dark chocolate, and almonds.
The palate is seduced by sweet vanilla and melons, counterpointed by spicy notes in the background. The lingering rancio is accompanied by another wave of spiciness.
The Ultimate Spirits Challenge gave it 92%, while it won Wolfburn the title of The Best Scotch Craft Distiller at the 2019 Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition.
Vial #9: Green Spot Chateau Montelena
New day, new Mission! This journey begins with Zinfandel wine from Napa Valley, California, and the French Oak barrels that used to hold the 10-years-old Irish Whiskey with an elegant 46 ABV upon bottling. From one of the most exciting Whiskey brands out there in cosmos.
One Victorian preference switch led to another, and Whiskey quickly surpassed wine in popularity. Thus Green Spot was born from The Mitchell & Son.
The Green Spot Enterprise already is a sip of legend, but the lavish treatment of the extraordinary juice makes it even more extra. Enjoy the cranberry, pomegranate, and maraschino cherry on a super-silky palate and observe the wine influence. Brilliant!
Vial #10: FEW Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Yeehaw, we’re tawking Bourbon today! Not all three-grain Bourbons are made equal and FEW Straight Bourbon Whiskey was born from the finest grains. Hailing from a craft distillery in Evanston, Illinois, this lovely dram was aged in charred Minnesota oak barrels, which have a tighter grain. That cranks up the character of the liquid and you can really feel that on the palate.
Coming in at 46.5% ABV, the nose of this lovely three-grainer starts with a maltedness that continues all the way to the finish.
Greeting with sweet caramel, rich malt, and spiced cloves, the rich and smooth palate screams cinnamon, caramel, toffee, tangy wood, and malt. The finish makes a long-lasting impression with malt, malt, malt.
Vial #11: Westward American Single Malt
If you want to experience a true miracle this Christmas, try this American Pale Ale turned Single Malt. That’s true, ladies and gentlemen, this exceptional American Whiskey started its flavourful journey as a hoppy beer, before being double distilled and matured in lightly toasted new American Oak barrels.
Expect an unexpected combination of herbal aromas, followed by a hint of cinnamon, lemon curd, oak, and butterscotch. Just as the APA transformed into a beautiful Whiskey, so does the herbal nose develop into orange peel, baking spice, orchard fruit, and oak on the palate, while the long herbal finish with a touch of orange peel, cocoa, and lemon leaves you wanting for more.
No surprise this one is so surprising—the distillery was founded by a graduate of America’s oldest brewing academy with extra experience from working at craft breweries and a vineyard.
Vial #12: Joe Got a Gun Small Batch Whiskey
On the twelfth day of Advent, we're going to the Land of Elvis! Joe Got A Gun Batch No.1 Tennessee Whiskey is a three-year-old Whiskey from twenty cherry-picked private barrels.
It's made by a former senator who helped turn Tennessee into a new distilling powerhouse, using the traditional Lincoln County Process, where the Spirit is filtered through charcoal. With one exception: Joe Got A Gun is pumped instead of relying on gravity.
The mash bill is 80% corn, 10% rye, and 10% malted barley, and what you get is an elegant nose with notes of smoke, sweet corn, orchard fruits, and spices, and a complex palate with flavours of the campfire, apples, pears, and more spices. The finish is long and a bit smoky. Balanced and warm.
Vial #13: Old Pulteney 12 Year Old
It’s an iconic Scotch day! Prepare your palates for a trip right up to the Zenith of Scotland, where it all began in 1826 with the Old Pulteney Distillery - founded in honour of local influencer (well, politician) Sir William Pulteney.
Savour the distillery’s chief expression in all its traditional glory. Observe the effects of long-gone methods on the exquisite juice.
Prepare for a rocket of the Maritime Malt flavour to launch at your palate with a full-on sweet and briny blast of lush vanilla and citrus notes.
At 40 ABV, the 12-years-long (cryo)sleep in ex-Bourbon casks shows off the magic of the Highlands perfectly.
Vial #14: Rebel Yell - Rebel Yell 100
Let’s open up this one with an anecdote. When Billy was asking for More, more, more, he was talking about Rebel Yell. The Whiskey, that is. True story. Now the original that Billy Idol and his friend Keith Richards were such fans of is coming to you stronger — at 50% ABV instead of 40% ABV. Show Billy and Keith how it’s done!
On today’s menu, we’ve got big Bourbon boss notes of roasted nuts, toffee, oak, and cocoa on the nose that echo on the palate, supported by biscuits and warm butter. The finish brings some more PB&J flavors. It’s the perfect combo of heat and smoothness.
Vial #15: Auchentoshan Three Wood
Time is relative, especially when our journey takes us into the uncharted no-age statement territory. Auchentoshan Three Wood spends relative time in three different cask types, first in Bourbon barrels, next in Spanish Oloroso Sherry, and finally Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks.
This final maturation gives the three times distilled sweet and delicate Scotch Whiskey extra nuances and intriguing flavours, resulting in a dangerously drinkable dram with notes of nuts, fruits, burnt coffee, orange, dates, marshmallow, and Sherry.
With a long, gentle and warming finish, the time sipping this one truly becomes irrelevant.
Vial #16: Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish
Here's what you're tasting today: a Port-finished Whisky from a Taiwanese distillery that won in a blind tasting during the 2010 Burns Night dinner and defeated three Scotches and an English Whisky. Intrigued?
Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish is a continuation of that legacy and bets on the lush influence of Ruby Port, which is immediately noticeable on the nose.
The notes of red grapes are accompanied by aromas of vanilla, tobacco, and clove. As you sip and swish, you'll get a wave of brown sugar, white pepper, and cinnamon, followed by rich flavours of fine Port and oak warmth.
The finish is also "Portish," with an extra echo of vanilla and spice. Smooth, balanced, and subtly complex.
Vial #17: The Dalmore 12 Year Old
Resistance to this flavour is futile for sure. There’s something powerfully alluring about The Dalmore. Considering it was founded by the profits of an illegal opium operation in 1839, it only adds to its already iconic seduction power.
Another raw Whisky with a warrior vibe and ties to Scottish clans is the Clan Mackenzie.
Dalmore 12 ages 9 years in ex-Bourbon barrels. Then, half goes back to Bourbon barrels, and the other half to Matusalem Oloroso casks for 3 additional years. The latter is the primary source of this tipple’s 40 ABV awesomeness.
Not to mention the gorgeous palate of dense chocolate, spices, and citrus fruit.
Vial #18: Mackmyra BJÖRKSAV
When was the last time you tried a Swedish Single Malt? We think that day 20 of Advent is the perfect time for you to taste this øutständing Swedish Single Malt with a wonderful twist.
It spent a sufficient amount of time in a combination of three casks: ex-Bourbon, Oloroso-seasoned American oak barrels, and Swedish/American casks that held birch sap Wine from Grythyttan.If you take a sniff, you’ll notice floral and fruity aromas of spices, vanilla, cedarwood, and toast.
Bottled at a decent 46.1% ABV, the palate is refreshing, fruity, and spicy. It first releases flavors of vanilla, raisins, pears, and lemon. After a while, notes of toasted oak, honey, sandalwood, and anise join the party.
For the finish, light, fruity, and slightly spicy tones shine through. Whether this is your first Swedish Single Malt or not, we’re sure you loved it.
Time for a quick and tasty pit stop at the port of Tawny and try a superb thrice-distilled Irish Whiskey from the prominent Hyde family.
It was here, inside the Tawny Port casks from Northern Portugal, where Hyde No. 9 Iberian Cask spent 9 months getting properly flavor-tanned, after working out its character in charred ex-Bourbon barrels for 8 years.
Take 15 minutes to replenish and take in its aromas of lush dark fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, blackberry, and raisin coming from the Port, followed by a fruit-forward palate of green apples, dried fruit, hazelnut, honey, citrus, spice, vanilla, and black pepper.
Vial #20: Armorik Double Maturation
Day 20 of Advent, and you're already a seasoned Whisky connoisseur! Let's go to France today and taste the proud descendant of their first Whisky.
Armorik Double Maturation Single Malt is a grandchild of Élixir d'Armorique from the 19th century. It spends some quality time maturing in local Breton charred casks before they give it a lovely Sherry finish.
Wood #1 imparts unique terroir flavours, while the second maturation rounds it off with rich fruitness. On the nose, you should get notes of dark fruits, vanilla, malt, and Sherry. Sip on it, and your palate enjoys a wave of fruits, dark honey, vanilla, wood, and cocoa.
All flavours and aromas translate beautifully to the long and lavish finish. This dram might be obscure, but we bet you'll remember and cherish it.
Vial #21: High West Double Rye
Here we are, approaching the end of 2021: A Whiskey Odyssey, but there are some tasty sip-stops left along the way. And if you're looking for a spicier Rye than High West Double Rye!, you might want to jump on a nearby Tardis and leave Earth behind.
Today's sample comes from the 1st legal distillery in Utah since Prohibition, the High West Distillery.
The expression at hand is a bold and complex blend of two Straight Rye Whiskies aged up to 9 years with solid rye spices, menthol, mint, eucalyptus, herbal tea, and allspice.
We don't know much about the recipe except that one is 95% rye, 5% barley malt from MGP, and the other is 80% Rye, 20% Malted Rye from High West Distillery. Enjoy the 46 ABV exploration!
Vial #22: The Tottori Blended Japanese Whisky
That’s it, your palate is so close to being its most refined self. But first, a tribute is to be paid to the famous Matsui province in Japan where Shochu and Sake have been distilled for centuries.
A newer expression, The Tottori Blended Japanese Whisky was aged for three years in ex-Bourbon casks, which is especially intriguing for a Japanese dram.
Bottled at 86 proof, this bottle is not chill-filtered for a purer and more authentic taste. It starts off sophisticated with a balanced nose with notes of ripe fruit, spices, and oak that continue on the lavish palate where they transform into complex floral flavors, supported by vanilla and chocolate.
The finish is distinctly oak-forward and long-lasting. How’s your palate? Feeling super sophisticated? We figured.
Vial #23: Hellyers Road Original Roaring Forty
Please return to your seat and fasten your seatbelt, we’re expecting some tasty turbulence due to coastal winds—40 km/h strong to be exact, coming from the northeast coast of Tasmania.
The winds called Hellyers Road Original Roaring Forty bring with them strong notes of vanilla and lemon, reminiscent of meringue cookies, hints of toffee, banana, oak and nutmeg.
Named after the winds that bring rainwater needed for Whisky production, this celebrated Tasmanian Single Malt hails from a distillery established in 1999 by a group of dairy farmers who decided to swap milk for Whiskey. Smart move.
Vial #24: Paul John Edited
And we're here! The last dram of the Whisky Advent-ure. Does your palate feel sophisticated? You should get it a monocle. Today, we're tasting an intriguing Single Malt from India with a lovely Scottish twist.
Paul John Edited Single Malt Indian Whisky comes from Goa and is a blend of two terroirs: most of the barley came from the northern regions of India, but 15% came from Scotland - and it's peated!
Master Distiller Michael John matured this delight in ex-Bourbon casks to add extra complexity. On your nose, you should detect notes of chocolate mint and a combo of smoke and brine from the Scottish portion. On the palate, you should taste barley, chocolate, sweet molasses, and of course, peat.
The finish is long and rich with notes of spice, vanilla, and tannins. Is it good, or is it good? What a way to wrap up the tasting journey.
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That's it for this year! You've tasted two dozen new Whiskies and travelled around the Whiskyverse with your glass as a vessel. Thank you for joining us on this tasty trip. Here's to you and your seasoned taste buds. May 2022 be flavorful and exciting.