Drinks by the Dram
Some ideas are so brilliantly simple you wonder why no-one has thought of them before. The wheel for example... or... film rental by post or perhaps samples of amazing whisky in small measures. The latter particularly interests us: just get a bottle of Glenfarclas 40 year old, divide it into beautiful little wax sealed 30ml sample bottles, and sell it to whisky fans who are considering spending £289 on a full bottle but would rather spend £14.95 checking their investment was a good one.
We caught up with Ben Ellefsen, of Master of Malt, who have recently launched "Drinks by the Dram" - a range of whisky samples in beautiful little wax sealed 30ml sample bottles:
This isn't the only whisky sample scheme is it? So what makes DBTD different?
DBTD was set up for one reason and one reason only – to give our customers the opportunity to try whiskies before they buy. There are a couple of other sample schemes out there, but from what I’ve seen, they’re more focused on commercial return in their own right (ie selling units of old and out of production bottles) than being a decicated ‘try-before-you-buy’ service.
We do have a few rare and hard-to-find whiskies available in our sample service (such as several old Ardbegs), but the focus is very much on allowing people to try a bottle before making the investment.
Lets say I've tried a few standard malts and got the taste: can you recommend 5 DBTD samples that will take me to the next level?
Sure thing – well let’s take a real world example – let’s say that you’re a real fan of Talisker and Ardbeg’s Standard Expressions (both 10yo’s) but want to try some other full-flavoured peaty whiskies without splashing out hundreds on bottles you’re not sure about.
I’d suggest the following list to tempt you deeper into the world of powerful peat, and hopefully give you a little steer on where your preferences lie:
Jim Murray's 2009 World Whisky of the Year from Ardbeg. Try a dram
Ardbeg Supernova 2010
Quite possibly the most exciting new whisky release for 2010! Try a dram.
Kilchoman's Summer 2010
Kilchoman's Summer 2010 Release marks another excellent addition to the new Islay farm distillery. Try a dram.
Port Ellen 26 Year Old 1983 - Old Malt Cask
This was distilled not long before the Port Ellen distillery closed for good. Try a dram.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Released in 2004, this bottling was aged for five years before being finished in a quarter cask for seven months. Try a darm.
What has the reaction been like since the launch?
Astonishing. We’ve been completely bowled over by the response from whisky consumers, brands, and of course blogs and the press too. Most heartening of all though have been the comments we’ve received from our long-standing customers who are absolutely delighted at being able to try a huge range of whiskies at a reasonable price, and venture into malts that they’d never have tried and got to love otherwise.
How many expressions are currently available in DBTD?
Currently we’re at about 350.
Are you planning to add more in the coming months?
Yessir. Our ultimate goal is to have a sample available of (pretty much) every whisky you can buy on our site, and I’d be absolutely amazed if we didn’t have over 500 samples available when it’s time to start thinking about Christmas presents…
Any more exciting plans for MoM in the near future?
Absolutely – we’ve got dozens more fantastic ideas lined up and waiting, it’s just about finding the time to implement them all at the moment! There are at least a couple more ideas that are ‘game-changing’ in the same way as DBTD has been, but we’d prefer to keep these under our hat for the moment.
What I can tell you though is that we’ve got a couple more competitions coming up before Christmas, one involving Compass Box Whiskies, and one involving DBTD itself – both of these are absolute scorchers, so be sure to keep your eyes on our homepage!