Top drams of 2011

I like to do a review of things gone by at the end of the year. Not just to sum up stuff that happened but more to think of things that impressed me. Of course, a review of the year in whisky also has to happen.

I will not just make a list of the most positively reviewed drams of the past year, since the point system is changing quite often, and I find I rate whiskies in a rather inconsistent way, depending on many environmental and state-of-mind factors. I will, however, list the whiskies that I recall from the top of my head that impressed me most. Some events will also be listed to give you an idea of what happened in 2011.

Most impressive drams:

  • Sazerac 18, 45%
    Part of the Buffalo Trace Bottle-Share and I gave it the maximum amount of points. Although that was a bit ridiculous, it still is a fantastic dram.
  • BenRiach 35, Asta Morris, 1975, 51%
    I bought a sample of this from a Belgian Bottle-Sharer and absolutely worship this whisky. I’ve tasted some more BenRiachs from 1975 and 1976 and I want a bottle of one of those! (Not on the blog yet…)
  • Rittenhouse Rye 23, 50%
    A very different character than the Sazerac with more focus on the spicy variety of rye whisky. A terrific dram as well. Got myself a bottle of this in San Francisco and am still waiting for a perfect moment to open it.
  • Rosebank 8, bottled around 1960, 40%
    I tasted this one on the Hielander whisky festival in Alkmaar in Februari and it moved into my top 5 ever right away. A very fragile whisky, unfortunately, and way too expensive for me, but the very very best Rosebank I ever tasted.
  • Caperdonich 1972-2011, The Perfect Dram, 58.4%
    Another sample from Belgium from this now closed distillery. This might have been the best whisky I’ve tasted so far. Read the review here!

Some other highlights in a different way also happened in 2011. They were more event releated or some special dram in a different way.

  • Taking part in the first pre-release review of the An’Cnoc 35 that still has to be released. This tasting was hosted by the chaps at together with Inver House distillers to select their new premium bottling of An’Cnoc. The whisky was tremendous and the fact that I could take part in something like that was absolutely stunning.
  • Drinking a dram of Old Mork 1916 bourbon. Prohibition era bourbon that still tastes good. The taste wasn’t the best part but the scents that came of it made it noseable for hours on end.
  • The Blind Tasting Competition was a tremendous success too. Some great and some lesser drams but bloody good fun! I really hope to partake again next year!

And in general, what made this year great was being able to share many drams with friends and acquaintances. There were many tastings, festivals and other events that I visited and I loved all of them. From the Bottoms Up in Den Bosch, to the Left Over tasting in IJmuiden, several festivals, the Club Bottling selection for the Usquebaugh Society, the Bottle-Shares and club tastings. I can’t wait to find out what 2012 will bring!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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1 Response to Top drams of 2011

  1. Very good summary my friend. this has been an exciting year for me too, with 100’s (literally) of drams consumed and tasted for the first time, and some for the who knows what time.
    It was also a great year to have met super whisky people like yourself, and many more NL and world wide whisky friends who enjoy sharing their experience online from this wondeful drink we call whisk(e)y.
    thank you for a lovely whisky year, and those lovely whisky bottle shares (i can count 3! i have participated in).
    Let us just hope that 2012 will be as good and even better than 2010.

    happy new year!


    Gal, Israel.

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