Type: Single Malt Irish Whisky
Added coloring: No
Owner: Dream Whisky
Official website: dreamwhisky.com
I remember when I had my first encounter with Marco Maltagliati and Federico Mazzieri’s creature, at the Milano Whisky Festival in 2019 where they presented their first bottlings, Dream N°1 and N°2: it was a very brief meeting, with Marco explaining in a few words steeped in passion the ideas behind those two bottles, and a tasting on the fly from which my partner Vincenzo and I were impressed.
My blog had been born just a few months earlier, and it is funny to think how far both of us have come since then, in obviously different directions: Dream House has become a solid reality in the Milan scenario, the collection of Dream-branded bottlings has grown, enriched with new projects and ideas, while I have begun to curate tastings both online and live, and to participate in the MWF no longer as a spectator but as an active participant behind the stalls.
I know, all this may not be of much interest to those who read me, but there is a subtle thread that unites me to these two scoundrels who have managed to give life to a solid reality, and it is a bond of affection that, I hope you will forgive me, cannot but transpire when I speak of them.
And here we come to the latest trio of bottlings, born in mid-November of this year, debuting in the Atelier collection which, as the name suggests, draws inspiration from the world of fashion, embodied in the illustrations from the 1980s paper patterns made by Federico’s mother and in the idea of sartorial creation reproduced in the workmanship of the bottles and their contents.
Three Irish single casks, three women’s names, three bottlings in which several details remain shrouded in mystery, starting with the length of ageing, which is practically unique when it comes to single casks.
Because a designer never reveals all his secrets….
Ageing cask: Ex-Sherry PX hogshead finished in ex-Jamaican Rum barrel
Price: € 100.00 on Dream Whisky
The initial impact with the nostrils marks the triumph of the ex-Rum cask: muscovado sugar, intense tropical fruit (pineapple, banana, mango), candied orange and cedar and a faint note of acetone. But this is only the beginning, because the aromas soon become imbued with new evocations, with cocoa beans, cherries in spirit, leather and a dusty note, of old books long forgotten on a shelf. Over time, citrus fruits grow with the addition of mandarin and a vague impression of Cointreau. Two worlds that intertwine and chase each other in a carambola of fragrances.
The palate becomes more compact, as if the influences had found the right balance in a lively spicy liquid (black pepper, aniseed), which alongside the tropical fruit (less pronounced than on the nose) places evocations of coffee, chocolate, marzipan and rediscovers the brushstrokes of citrus fruits, concretised in mandarin and orange. Sour cherries, sultanas and a vein of tannins mark a not inconsiderable presence, with brown sugar and acetone peeping through, overturning the hierarchies of the nose.
The finish is quite long and dry, with a sparkling citrus note on cocoa, anise, pineapple and marzipan.
The strange pair of casks incredibly works, when it seems to lean more to one side here come the evocations of the other, in a very fascinating mirror game between nose and mouth that keeps the attention high and brings freshness and playfulness to the dram.
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon First Fill
Price: € 110.00 on Dream Whisky
The nose immediately leads towards peat, not exactly common in an Irish whiskey, but it’s a component of wood smoke, of resin and pine slowly burnt in a campsite, toasting marshmallows while munching on nuts and savouring dried orange slices: not quite what you would take on a trip out of town, but you just don’t question the aromas! Liquorice root, a hint of herbs (thyme, rosemary) and a few drops of honey complete the picture, suspended between delicate sweetness and non-invasive smoke. Seductive.
More citrusy on the palate (chinotto), with the peat playing again on the woody tones of the accentuated roasting, which, accompanied by some jaunty pepper, lead towards notes of tamarind, nuts (macadamia, pistachio), liquorice, Catalan cream and a slight but clear balsamic note that becomes present along the length, together with an impression of green cheese.
Long, citrusy finish, in which the green cheese returns with dull embers, nuts and vegetable notes.
The dram was following pleasant but all in all ‘ordinary’ tracks (as ordinary as there can be in whiskey), until that bizarre note of green cheese appeared, which required a second try some time later to make sure it was not a blunder. A surprising note that gives a little extra point to a whiskey that deserves attention.
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon First Fill and finish in ex-Rum Demerara 20yo
Price: € 200.00 on Dream Whisky
A persuasive explosion of dulce de leche and marron glacé on the nose, a triumph of soft, warm sweetness that would make you dive your fingers into the jar, slowly opening up to panoramas of espresso, baked apple and floral hints. Over time, it becomes more elegant, gliding towards waxy notes and, if possible, even more comforting notes of hot chocolate with marshmallow. Classy gluttony.
In the mouth, it shifts to rougher tones with coffee and chocolate taking the lead, combining hints of tropical fruit (pineapple, mango), apple and pear with a bitter streak of almonds and aniseed, while the sweet component that dominated the nose deflects at the top of the palate, re-emerging towards the nose in a rather peculiar reminiscence. Cane sugar and vegetable notes peep through the length, in a complex interplay of contrasts between nose and mouth.
Long finish of vegetal notes, brown sugar, coffee, almonds and cocoa.
If the olfactory onset presages a caloric bomb, the palate turns the tables, dragging the dram into a deeper and more jagged experience than expected, a pop whiskey full of contradictions that amuses and engages.