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"Never delay kissing a pretty girl
or opening a bottle of whiskey."
This issue I look at Glenfiddich (Glen-fidd-ik) 12-year-old. I chose Glenfiddich as it is the world's best-selling single malt, and most people, if they have tried a single malt will have tried this. It is, therefore, a good reference point and combined with the flavor map should help in guiding you to another similar whisky, or should you prefer it, an entirely different flavored whisky.
I have tried most of Glenfiddich’s range and they consistently produce great whiskies, and I can and do recommend their whiskies.
I can also recommend a visit to their distillery.
One unlooked-for advantage in drinking Glenfiddich is the bottle’s shape, being triangular, if you lay it on its side it won’t roll away (always a good thing).
Glenfiddich was the first Scotch distillery to export its single malt outside of Scotland. Glenfiddich is much more than a famous single malt, it is a real ambassador for Scotland around the world.
The image of the Whisky bottle (to the right) may seem slightly out of focus, you should use this as a guide. While drinking look at the picture, when it comes into focus, stop drinking you’ve had enough.
You can buy Glenfiddich 12-year-old for around $30.00 a bottle.
Color - Gold/Sunshine
Nose - Honey, Butter, Fruit, Toast
Palate - Buttered toast, slight clove & pear
Finish - Short finish with a little heat
At this point, I wish to thank my American friends of Scottish descent for waking me up to my heritage, I had drunk whisky for a number of years but took it for granted and really didn’t pay that much attention. Thanks to them I no longer take my birthright for granted. This issue I look at a Whisky that was for many years my drink of choice, Lagavulin 16 years old. This one is not for the faint of heart, arguably the most intensely flavored, smoky and rich whisky of all.
The one word that constantly comes to mind when I drink this whisky is “elegant,” there are many good smoky whiskies out there, but this one stands above them all (in my opinion).
When I let my wife taste the Lagavulin 16, her less than appreciative comment was “it tastes like horse manure smells” not the best of recommendations. Let that be a warning to you, if you are not inclined to strong smoky/peaty whiskies, then Lagavulin is probably not for you.
You can buy Lagavulin 16-year-old for around $60.00 a bottle.
Nose - Smoke, Chocolate, flowery
Palate - Dry, Sweet, Smokey, Peaty
Finish - long, elegant peat-filled finish with lots of salt and seaweed
Fancy a bite to eat with your whisky;
Pork or Beef Sausages. - The pepper, herbs and intense meatiness of high-quality sausages are enhanced by this smoky-sweet Lagavulin Single Malt with sea salt flavors and a huge finish For more whisky food pairings go to
My original plan was to put this newsletter out once a month, but surprise, surprise, I found that I liked tasting different Whiskies and writing about them.
So the Newsletter will now be every two weeks.
This issue I look at a Whisky I thought was extinct; the St. Magdalene 19-year-old. The St. Magdalene Distillery (also known as Linlithgow from the town where it is situated) was established around 1765 and closed in 1983. This is now a very rare single malt whisky (and cost me $38 for a dram).
I chose this after discovering it in the “Whisky Attic” of the “Freakin Frog” bar in Las Vegas, which boasts the largest selection of whiskies in America. The reason I chose this particular whisky is that I toured the St. Magdalene distillery when I was 12-years-old on a school tour.
The distillery is built on the site of a 12th-century leper colony. During a number of reconstructions, it was converted to a convent and later to a hospital before it was turned in to a distillery.
You can buy St. Magdalene's 19-year-old for around $1800.00 a bottle.
Nose - Citrus/fruity, Vanilla, Peppery
Palate - Dry, Toffee, Acidic
Finish - Long, warm and slightly Acidic
I would recommend a dash of water with this one as it comes in at 63.8%. The water also releases more of the flavors.
OK; let’s start with something that is not only a personal favorite, but something that I don’t believe will be too contentious among my friends.
“The MACALLAN 12-year-old” from the Speyside region of Scotland. Described by Paul Pacult, the renowned international whisky writer, in his book Kindred Spirits as: "simply the best 12–year-old single malt around."
For those who are looking for a mild-mannered smooth whisky, this is it.
If you are just discovering single malt Scotch, and you like rich sherry flavors and cooked/stewed fruits this is a perfect place to start.
If full-bodied flavors are too much for you, this might be a bit much of a starter whisky for you, it is wonderful, but not for the faint of heart.
This is my every occasion Scotch and I highly recommend it.
The “Flavor map” on page 3 will fill up with a new whisky each week, and shows where I believe each whiskies flavor profile puts it, in relation to the
Nose - Sherry, orange, honey
Palate - Sherry, raisins & sultanas
Finish - Slightly warm medium finish
I am currently drinking a bottle of Appleton Estate 12 Year Old and thought to myself, I can do a special issue on Rum for those former Navy guys that will appreciate it.
I hope this issue brings back memories and brings a smile to your face.
Color - The rum has a deep, rich, mahogany color to it.
Nose - The first note to reach your nose is the fruity scent of orange peel, followed by the warm aroma of toasted walnuts. There’s a very pleasant bit of vanilla at the top, just above the earthy and fruity notes.
Palate - The entry is slightly sweet, with notes of vanilla, oak, and fruit. The orange peel flavor appears and gives way to an almost cherry sensation followed by almonds.
Finish - The finish is warm and clean, with touches of pepper and spice, but leaving you with almost no burn in the throat.
This is a special issue to coincide with the release of Whyte & Mackay’s
“MacKinlay’s rare old Highland Malt.” The original MacKinlay’s rare old
Highland Malt whisky was taken to the Antarctic by Ernest Shackleton and his British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition crew in their 1914-16 attempt to cross Antarctica. This was to turn into one of the greatest survival stories of all time and is a testament to heroism and human endurance. All twenty-eight men survived nearly two years in the barren, frigid Antarctic when their ship was caught in pack ice and eventually crushed.
Almost a century later, in January 2006, The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust found several cases of spirits lodged in the ice under Shackleton’s hut; Three of which were MacKinlay’s whisky (now owned by Whyte & Mackay).
Vijay Mallya, the owner of Whyte & MacKay’s, provided his private jet to fly three of the bottles to Glasgow earlier this year for analysis.
Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte and Mackay, described the find as “a gift from the heavens” for whisky lovers, and has analyzed the whisky after extracting small samples from the bottles with a syringe and has recreated the original whisky. The age of the malts used in the replica is given as between eight and thirty years old and the cost of a bottle of this whisky (if you can get hold of one) is expected to be around $160.00.
The original bottles are now back in New Zealand on their way to being returned to the ice underneath Shackleton’s hut.
Why would you want one? There were only 50,000 bottles made and people like me (and possibly you) are going to drink them, a few months from now there are only going to be a few bottles left. If you have one, I would imagine that it would have increased in price very quickly and would continue to do so. A bottle or two might be a good investment.
For myself, I have admired Ernest Shackleton for many years. The leadership he showed when things went wrong and the fact that he sailed a 1000 miles with a few shipmates in a lifeboat across the southern oceans, then crossed mountains to get help for his men and finally rescued all of them, for me that deserves a toast to with this, a scotch whisky that he would recognize.
As I, and almost every other person on the planet have not tasted this whisky, I cannot comment on it’s attributes, therefore;
The official tasting notes are below:
Color – Light honey, straw gold with shimmering highlights.
Nose – Soft, elegant & refined. Delicate aromas of crushed apple, pear and fresh pineapple arouse the senses. The spirit is exciting and vibrant with attractive notes of oak shavings that release hints of
buttery vanilla, creamy caramel and nutmeg. A whisper of marmalade, cinnamon and even a tease of smoke, ginger and muscovado sugar completes this spectrum of delight.
Taste – With a generous strength of 47.3% this gives the spirit plenty of impact on the palate but in a mild warming manner. Harmonious and exhilarating. Whispers of gentle bonfire smoke slowly give
way to spicy rich toffee, treacle and pecan nuts. These enticing flavors linger lovingly on the palate but are soon combined by a sensual, complex array of creme brulee, orange rind and freshly baked
bread. It is a remarkable tapestry of tantalizing taste sensations which truly rewards the palate.
Early reports are favorable, with Dave Broom (whisky expert & writer), who also tasted the original recovered sample) being quoted in Whyte & Mackay’s press release as follows:
“The Shackleton whisky is not what I expected at all, and not what anyone would have expected. It’s so light, so fresh, so delicate and still in one piece – it’s a gorgeous whisky.
“It proves that even way back then so much care, attention and thought went into whisky-making.
“I think the replication is absolutely bang on. Richard has done a great job as it’s a very tricky whisky to replicate, because you have this delicacy, subtlety and the smoke just coming through.
“The sweetness, fragrance and spice, and the subtle smoke, are all there in the replica. I’m blown away.”