How To Read A The Manager’s Dram Label

The single malt whiskies you were never allowed to buy.

How To Read A The Manager’s Dram Label

Soon after United Distillers (UD) was formed by the merger of the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) and Guinness in 1987 the new business launched an in-house competition. The idea was to bottle the best cask of whisky selected by a panel of distillery managers from the 27 malt whisky distilleries in the group.

When the The Manager’s Dram competition was launched it was part of UD’s attempt to build a new company culture following the disruption of the merger, and to restore a little professional pride among distillery staff, the single malt whisky makers. The competition was overseen by United Malt and Grain Distillers (UMGD), the operational company within United Distillers with responsibility for whisky making, and so began the annual tradition of selecting special casks to bottle for staff.

As United Distillers eventually became Diageo so the competition evolved from its original mission to become something more like a showcase for the range of distilleries in the group. But The Manager’s Dram continues to be bottled each year and remains available only to staff to this day.

So, what are the whiskies like? From what we can tell, in the early years heavily sherried whiskies tended to win the popular vote but with the change in selection process it became the distillery character that took on greater importance.

The complete list of The Manager’s Drams since 1988:

 

 

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Oban 13 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled 17 November 1990, 75cl, 62% ABV

Manager Ian Williams

This was the first of three Obans to be bottled in the early 1990s.

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Glen Elgin 16 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled  31 October 1993, 70cl, 60% ABV

Manager Harry Fox

The second Glen Elgin in the series was selected by the distillery’s new manager, Harry Fox.

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Oban (200th Anniversary) 16 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled 1 July 1994, 70cl, 64% ABV

Manager Ian Williams

This, the second Oban in the series, was bottled to tie in with the distillery’s 200th anniversary.

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Oban 19 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled 1 December 1995, 70cl, 59.24% ABV

Manager Ian Williams

The third Oban in the Manager’s Dram series.

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Talisker 17 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled January 2012, 70cl, 55.20% ABV

Manager Mark Lochhead

The 2011 Edition wasn’t released until 2012.

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Knockando 12 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled September 2012, 70cl, 59% ABV

Manager Andy Cant

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Auchroisk 16 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled December 2015, 70cl, 55.6% ABV

Manager Joe Sammons

Glen Ord 16 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled December 2016, 70cl, 62% ABV

Manager Rachel Forsyth

The Singleton of Glen Ord.

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Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled November 2017, 70cl, 58.1% ABV

Manager Sean Phillips

Mannochmore 10 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled October 2018, 70cl, 58% ABV

Manager Annelise Hastings

Blair Athol 10 Year Old, The Manager’s Dram bottled October 2019, 70cl, 57.1% ABV
Manager Derek Younie