When I was a kid, the two best things about Christmas were the food, anticipation and the presents. Wait that’s three. Can I say the anticipation of the food and presents? Does that count? Let’s hope so because that perfectly selected lead-in brings me neatly to the memory and joy of Advent Calendars; a perfect combination of anticipation, presents and chocolate. Of course, everything about Christmas, even the Advent Calendars have evolved since I was a kid; big ones, small ones, you can even get ones with proper chocolate in them these days. But, time goes on and I’ve grown up *sigh*. No longer will I feel the unadulterated joy of the Advent Calendar, or so I thought…
Then I got an email from Drinks By The Dram.
‘Hey RobsRibs’ they said. ‘Do you like Whisky? We make grown-up Advent Calendars with all different kinds of whisky in them, would you like to try one?’ They said. I said:
‘ARE YOU SERIOUS? AN ACTUAL ADVENT CALENDAR FILLED WITH PROPER ACTUAL WHISKY?!’
In the interest of maintaining some form of dignity I should disclose that I didn’t really say that to them, it probably would have seemed needy and a little bit desperate. Instead, I screamed with delight at Mrs P, with whom I lost all dignity many years ago and who simply gave me ‘the look’ and attempted to remind me that I’m far too old to get excited by this sort of thing. Well, I managed to remain calm for the next two days until the box arrived and I ripped it open like a seven year old who had just mainlined six grams of sherbet.
Before me sat a box with 24 little perforated doors, each one hiding 3cl of Christmas cheer. The box itself looked pretty classy, the style of the brown printed cardboard with gold numbering fits in well next to my whisky bottles with its suggestions of cold days out but warm evenings in. The text on the back was also promising, describing whiskys from across the globe and although I do enjoy a drop of the hard stuff, I can hardly claim to be a connoisseur. The ability of this little box of goodies to widen my experience on such matters filled me with significant excitement.
As I have previously mentioned, I am technically a grown up and so despite the intense temptation, I simply couldn’t crack open the doors to try the goods before the time is right. Lucky for me, Drinks By The Dram also sent through some of their insanely awesome Christmas crackers, which also contain whisky. You shall discover more about this in our upcoming Ultimate Night In post. Needless to say, those did see their way into the tasting glass prior to the 1st of December.
Listen, these things are not cheap. At £150 for the basic calendar and £70 for the crackers they are a proper treat purchase but they do add that extra little bit of magic to Christmas, to help you feel like a child once more. I’ve not had enough experience to talk with authority about the whisky, although, just as with wine – I do know what I like! I essentially follow two golden rules to ensure I can guarantee whisky pleasure; first, get your hands on anything as old as possible, the older the better (this will not be cheap, so brace yourself beforehand). Second; I do not like West Coast or Island Whiskys, they taste like paint stripper that’s been left in a kipper shed. Therefore, I was intrigued with Drinks By the Dram’s selection and tasted samples with due carelessness and abandon of not just my favoured whisky types but also new fresh bottles and ones with Japanese, Swedish and other non Scottish heritage.
Some I liked, some I didn’t but that’s not going to help you because whisky is such a personal thing. The point is really that there is more than enough choice here in the advent calendar (OK I’ll admit it, I opened the box and took a sneaky peak shhhhhh), to batter even the toughest whisky fan into admitting that there are loads of new tastes to try. Then once you throw in the crackers as well, you have got yourself a proper party.
Don’t worry, you’ve still got time to order your advent calendar or crackers, so do it now and re-live your childhood glory days, but in truly grown-up style.
We got sent these samples but you can see the range at Drinks By The Dram and get yours from Amazon or a few other stockists.