Scotch Tasting at the Food and Beverage Restaurant
Walkerville Ontario, October 17, 2017
Chris Tremblay, Canadian College of Whisky Knowledge
October 17th, 2017 was a truly memorable day for me. I had the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful Scotch Whisky Expressions from the Macallan and Highland Park distilleries.The tasting consisted of three Whiskies from the Macallan group of Whiskies and two from the Highland Park group. Cameron Millar, Portfolio Manager for Edrington Americas was our leader, educator, and whisky companion. It was a delight to have his wealth of whisky knowledge available to us.
The Macallan Double Cask 12 yr Old
Our first sampling was The Macallan Double Cask 12yr Old, a Highland Single Malt, put to rest for at least 12 years in sherry seasoned American and sherry seasoned European Oak casks.
From the Macallan tasting Notes:
On the nose: Creamy butterscotch toffee, with hints of candied orange and newly felled oak
On the palate: Smooth and well balanced with honey sweetness, citrus & caramel
The finish: The oak lingers, warm sweet and drying.
This is a smooth, easy drinking whisky. I would have guessed it to be older than 12 due to it’s overall gentle nature. For a relatively young whisky it is very worthwhile in every way. The Cask Debate is an interesting new world vs old world dispute. Does the hard American white oak with its tight grain embrace the whisky more successfully than the looser grained longer growing European oak?
This product sells for $99.95
The Macallan Edition No.3
Next we sampled a soon to be released The Macallan Edition No. 3. It is not often that I have the privilege of enjoying a preview event like this. This whisky comes in a bright Lamborghini striking Yellow box.
For this whisky The Macallan Master Whisky Maker Bob Delgarno and Master Perfumer Roja Dove combined a mixture of 5 first fill casks and 1 second fill cask. European and American oak casks were used. Sherry casks and ex Bourbon casks worked their magic to provide a complex aroma and taste.
It is bottled at 48.3% ABV. Adding water will bring out the summery lemon zest flavor the the box colour represents.
On the Nose: Complex aroma like a fine fragrance thanks to Master Perfumer Roja Dove with notes of flowers, vanilla ice cream and oranges leading into chocolate and oak
On the Palate: Vanilla continues intermingled with sweet fruit, rich fruit cake and raisins along with lemon zest, toffee, and fudge.
Expected price: in the vicinity of $175.20
The Macallan Rare Cask
For our last tasting from The Macallan Distillery we were treated to The Macallan Rare Cask. This is another No Age Statement Whisky at 43% ABV. It was the most expensive whisky out of the 5 we sampled and gets its Mahogany Red color from the 100% Sherry seasoned casks which are 10 times more expensive than ex-Bourbon casks. Some of these casks used for Rare Cask will never be used again as they are from cooperages and bodegas that no longer exist. Rare Cask is crafted from 16 different Cask styles, which are predominantly first fill American and Spanish oak of various sizes. The Casks, according to Macallan, account for the whisky’s distinct depth of flavor and rich character as this whisky is 100% natural colour.
On the nose: Vanilla, raisin, cinnamon, dark molasses and toffee aroma that gives way to a sweet apple,citrus lemon, orange and with nutmeg and hints of ginger and clove in the background. It’s basically Christmas in a bottle.
On the palate: A whisky that you can “chew” with a complex of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, black cherry and black pepper, spicy citrus that lend it to be like sipping a mulled wine in front of a fire on a snowy winter day.
This was one of the favorites of the day. Another Rare Cask Whisky from Macallan is The Macallan Rare Casks “Black”. It is out there but extremely hard to find. This Rare Cask Whisky uses pre WW II casks from a time when Macallan used more heavily peated whisky.
This product sells for $399.95
Valkyrie from Highland Park
Our second to last tasting of the afternoon was Valkyrie from Highland Park 45.9% ABV No Age Statement. It comes in a quite striking bottle in a nice looking box. Highland Park Distillery is located on the northern Scottish Isle of Orkney where it’s very windy and rocky so windy that nothing higher than heather can grow there. The peat from Orkney is quite different than the peat from Islay.
Valkyrie is the successor of the Highland Park Dark Origins and is the first in a series of three special Viking Themed releases. Like all Highland Park Whiskys there was no color added and it is made with around 50% fully peated stock and is matured in 100% Bourbon Casks
On the nose: It’s a very unique peat whisky very sweet green apples and smoky a fruity lightly smoldering campfire to the nose. It is 12-25ppm smoke
On the palate: Vanilla with spicy pepper notes, light ginger spice, and Dark Chocolate with a salty peaty taste there is some sharpness due to the higher ABV Adding some water really smooths this one out.
This product sells for $99.95
Highland Park 18 year old
Our last whisky of the day was the highly sought after three times spirit of the year winner, Highland Park 18 Year Old. This Whisky has no color added, is aged in American and European sherry seasoned oak casks, and is 43% ABV.
On the nose: Sweet heather peat and honey flavor with sea salt, Carmel apples and a nice hint of peat smoke not heavy about 5-7ppm
On the palate: Chocolate orange, honey, fruity sweet slightly peat taste
This product sells for $199.95
The HIghland Park 18 year old was a great way to wind up the tasting. My personal favourite for the day was The Macallan Edition No. 3. I look forward to being able to buy it locally. Perhaps in time for Christmas?
I’d like to thank Glen Le Capelain from Beam Suntory for the invitation, and Cameron Millar for the excellent presentation and tasting experience. The Food and Beverage Restaurant in Walkerville did a great job of hosting this exceptional Whisky event.
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Canadian College of Whisky Knowledge