Helping others with a Drams for Fams whisky fundraiser…harnessing the camaraderie of whisky to help the local community fight hunger.

Bigger than us

Whisky tastings are fun, I’ll admit. Good friends, good whisky, good times. And sometimes whisky tastings can be harnessed for the greater good. Back in 2016, the Edmonton Scotch Club (in Edmonton, Alberta) hosted a whisky tasting to raise funds for their local food bank, then challenged other whisky clubs to do the same…a Drams for Fams whisky fundraiser, as it were. Now there are 12 locations across North America hosting tasting events raising money for their local communities, and over $50,000 has been raised so far.


Drams for Fams, Kavalan Taiwanese whiskey, Nikka Japanese whisky, Kavalan, Nikka
The top benefitting the bottom for our Drams for Fams whisky tasting


Here in Boston, the North Shore Whisky Club recently hosted their second annual Drams for Fams whisky fundraiser to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank. Their goal is to continue having the event each year, and to exceed the previous year’s donation (and I believe they did this year!). Laura Kanzler of Hotaling & Company presented a spirited class (see what I did there? I crack myself up) about the history of whisky in Japan and whiskey production in Taiwan while featuring a wonderful lineup of Nikka Japanese whisky (and a gin) and Kavalan Taiwanese whisky. Not only that, I paired Dark Chocolate Whiskey Fudge with the Kavalan Distillery Select to serve as dessert for the evening, and everyone was pleased. Good times.


Drams for Fams, Kavalan Taiwanese whiskey, Nikka Japanese whisky, Kavalan, Nikka
Dark Chocolate Whiskey Fudge waiting for their entrance


Drams for Fams, Kavalan Taiwanese whiskey, Nikka Japanese whisky, Kavalan, Nikka


Drams for Fams Whisky Tasting featuring Nikka & Kavalan

Hosted by the North Shore Whisky Club, presented by Laura Kanzler, May 17, 2019

 Nikka Coffey Gin


  • Nose: green bushes, juniper, Meyer lemon
  • Taste: Meyer lemon, juniper, black pepper, eucalyptus, oily mouth feel
  • Finish: ends in black pepper and light eucalyptus
  • Comments: the juniper is secondary to the lemon and eucalyptus


Nikka Coffey Grain


  • Nose: vanilla, toffee, oatmeal
  • Taste: soft entry, toffee, then brown sugar and white pepper rise
  • Finish: white pepper with some light menthol
  • Comments: vanilla and brown sugar oatmeal in a glass, drinkable and pleasant


Nikka from the Barrel

51.4%ABV, represents all the parts of Nikka from all over Japan

  • Nose: butterscotch and caramel sauce, cedar, cinnamon stick, brown sugar candy
  • Taste: medium body, toffee, basil, light smoke, baking spices and white pepper
  • Finish: long finish with baking spices and white pepper
  • Comments:  approachable with a higher hit, sherry adds so many flavors underneath


Drams for Fams, Kavalan Taiwanese whiskey, Nikka Japanese whisky, Kavalan, Nikka


Nikka Miyagikyo

45%ABV, single barrel

  • Nose: floral and fruity, roses
  • Taste: plums, pears with cinnamon, oak, thyme, caramel, thick and oily, creamy body
  • Finish: lingers on cloves and thyme, sweet honey syrup
  • Comments: lots of flavor from the plums and cinnamon


Nikka Yoichi


  • Nose: green herbs, hay, honey
  • Taste: hay, honey, caramel, white pepper, ash, medium body
  • Finish: smoke slowly enters and lingers long with menthol and light honey
  • Comments: soft smoke slowly enters after initial honey…very sneaky…just knocks on the door after all the clean flavors are at the party


Drams for Fams, Kavalan Taiwanese whiskey, Nikka Japanese whisky, Kavalan, Nikka


Kavalan Distillery Select 

43%ABV, used for making the Dark Chocolate Whiskey Fudge

  • Nose: chocolate, black coffee, charred oak, hint of vanilla
  • Taste: chocolate, smoke, leather, slightly buttery, black pepper
  • Finish: finish long and dry, leather, tobacco, hint of sea salt
  • Comments: dark flavors complement each other, the slight tanginess adds complexity; good choice for fudge


Kavalan Concertmaster


  • Nose: coffee, caramel
  • Taste: plums, toffee, cloves
  • Finish: coffee and baking spices
  • Comments: like a cinnamon caramel spiked coffee


Kavalan King Car Conductor


  • Nose: deep fruit, brown sugar syrup
  • Taste: honey, then sharp baking spices, higher hit of white pepper
  • Finish: baking spices linger with prunes stewed in brown sugar
  • Comments: bourbon influence is strong in this one, more like sherried bourbon


Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Oak


  • Nose: hay, stone fruit
  • Taste: honey, apricot, pears, mango, cinnamon
  • Finish: strong fruit finish with cinnamon and cloves
  • Comments: a jam filled cinnamon roll in a glass


Kavalan Sherry Oak


  • Nose: deeply cooked fruit, creamy oak wood, raisins
  • Taste: rum, raisins, gingerbread
  • Finish: finishes with coffee and rum raisins
  • Comments: rum fruitcake, deeply flavored


Kavalan Vinho Barrique Cask Strength

57.8%ABV, aged in CA red and white wine barrels, an extra special pour

  • Nose: molasses, raisins, dark rum
  • Taste: strong entry, raisins, tannic, gingerbread, medium body
  • Finish: raisins, dry and astringent, ginger and cinnamon lingers long and rich
  • Comments: deep and rich; an after-drink drink…excellent way to end of the night


Drams for Fams, Kavalan Taiwanese whiskey, Nikka Japanese whisky, Kavalan, Nikka


Being able to share good whisky with good friends is wonderful, and helping to fight hunger in the community is even better. If you’d like more information about a Drams for Fams whisky fundraiser, head to their website. Better yet, seek out these events in your neighborhood (they’re usually held in April or May), or encourage your local whisky club to join the movement. Let’s harness the power of whisky camaraderie for the greater good!

Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!


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