About This Dram
It’s always nice to have a second chance. When we received our allotted six bottles of Hedonism The Muse over a year ago, I was looking forward to cracking one open to share with the Dram Association. Unfortunately, that simply didn’t pan out. We sold it all too quickly! So when the agents came to us a few weeks ago and said they had one last case turn up out of the blue – I knew it was our duty to make up for past regrets. Special thanks to James at Authentic for not only giving us the chance to get this last case, but also help us share it with The Dram Association by splitting the cost. It’s not often that you get to try a $450+ bottle for only $5!
So what is so special about “The Muse”? It’s a very special edition based on the fantastic Compass Box Hedonism, a thoroughly important Scotch whisky that has already firmly planted its place in the history books. It was a trilogy of firsts when it debuted in the year 2000. The first-ever release from Compass Box. The first known release of a “Blended Grain Whisky”. And finally, and quite shockingly – the first known bottle of whisky to feature a woman on the label. Let that sink in for a while, in the entire history of Scotch prior to the third millennium there had never been a woman on a label. How weird does that seem now?
A lot has changed since the year 2000. Compass Box has gone on to be one of the most successful and well respected blending houses in the world. Blended Grain Whisky has become a category in its own right, with other companies jumping on board with the idea. And women (who have been integral in the creation and enjoyment of Scotch throughout history) are coming together and being heard like never before in the whisky community. Groups such as Whisky Angels in Toronto and the international Women Who Whisky are leading the charge, inspired by prominent female role models in the industry. Women such as Canadian Club’s Tish Harcus, Balvenie’s Jamie Johnson, and a personal hero of mine Rachel Barrie – the master blender at GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh and BenRiach. In fact, Compass Box’s own staff are now more than half female!
Compass Box naturally found this progression inspiring, and when an extra special cask of whisky was sourced – Compass Box blender Jill Boyd took the lead on creating this wonderful homage to women in whisky. The cask in question was a 33-year-old sherry butt containing an unknown Scottish grain whisky. What a find! Jill blended this with North British, Port Dundas, and Strathclyde whiskies between 17 and 29 years of age. The resulting whisky still has that Hedonism fingerprint but is very much centred on that 33-year-old cask which served as Jill’s muse. It was released on International Women’s Day in 2018, and in a statement to the growing strength of women in whisky, this special edition was even bottled at full cask strength.
Here at the Dram Association, we put every effort into supporting our local female whisky lovers and encourage you all to speak up and be proud. It is our intent to be a fully inclusive club, and if there is anything that we can do to make you feel more welcome, please reach out. In the meantime enjoy Dram E70, and join me in toasting all of the women in our community.
On the nose, we got a heaping dollop of honey up front. Strangely though, while it had all of the delicate nuances of honey, such as the mild spices, the floral notes and the creaminess it was missing one key part – sweetness. I mean, it was sweet-smelling, don’t get me wrong – but nowhere near as sweet as actual honey. There were soft vanillas and nuts in the aroma too. Altogether highly inviting.
The palate was a little broader than the nose, with fruit notes such as Meyer lemons, blackcurrants and just a hint of coconut. There was a touch of ginger too, and even a dash of burdock. There was a little pastry note also, perhaps an Aberdeen buttery. It was all being held together by that same luxurious honey that we found on the nose.