Editor’s Note: This product was provided to us as a review sample by Designer Dram. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
As a whiskey reviewer, I can happily say I love the work, if you can call it work, of tasting and developing my palate with countless amazing samples from both traditional and craft distilleries from around the world. I have grown to appreciate and trust the master distillers who are tasked with creating the perfect blends of whiskey for the myriad clientele who look forward to the innovation and curation of spirits. All that said, I was happy to be given the chance to become my own Master Distiller with Designer Dram’s at home Experience Kit, a bespoke whiskey experience, giving the power to the consumer to sit in the driver’s seat and blend their perfect bottle of whiskey.
The at home kit includes five 50 ml samples of 5–10-year-old barrels, a glass graduated cylinder, a stylish Copita, and a helpful Whiskey and Blending Guide. The kit includes a Pure Bourbon, Rye Bourbon, Pure Rye, Barley Rye, and Wheated Whiskey. While we don’t know the exact distilleries the individual expressions are sourced, Designer Dram does guarantee quality and distinct flavor profiles that will contribute to a uniquely personal bottle of whiskey.
I started my experience by tasting each expression and getting a feel for each whiskey on its own. Without knowing the mash bills of the whiskeys, I explored the tasting on a purely instinctual level. It was interesting tasting each bottle as they are all 43% ABV, generally low proof compared to my normal tastings. As per the instructions in the guide, I read through the flavor profiles as they were presented, but also left room for my own interpretation of the whiskey.
I found different aspects of each sample that I enjoyed but surprised myself by utilizing only small percentages of the bourbon expressions in my blends. I normally love a good bourbon but found the Rye and Pure Bourbons to lack a depth of flavor that I rely on. They both presented as thinner and more watery than other bourbons, blending did little to accentuate the whiskey so I stuck with the rye expressions, which contained more complexity.
The Pure Rye has thin legs, but there’s nice caraway, spice, and floral notes that contribute nicely to the blend. The Barley Rye gave notes of lavender, toasted barley, and bold pepper that were pleasing to both the palate and nose. I experimented with several variations of the blend and in the end found a nice, balanced variety of three of the whiskeys that I could sip and enjoy. I did include very small amounts of the bourbons that added minimal benefits.
Designer Dram’s at home Experience Kit is a fun experiment for both seasoned and newer drinkers. For those who order this $219 kit, the final step in the process is to visit the site, input your redemption code, and enter your personalized whiskey recipe, as well as your desired ABV with options of either 43% or 47%. A full-size bespoke bottle is included in the Designer Dram experience, and you are also able to create a custom label that will include the name of your whiskey and a fun, personalized description. Designer Dram is a fantastic gift idea and also a very fun event for a lively evening with friends.