The Tasting Panel magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 96

SCOTCH REPORT BeyondSuper-Premium T by Ian Buxton he trend to premiumization continues. The Scotch whisky industry seems convinced that consumers are set to drink less but better and, perhaps because we’re heading to the holiday season, are releasing a bewildering number of new expressions— some at stratospheric prices. Place of honor must surely go to the Highland Park 50 Year Old release. This is, I must confess, probably my single favorite distillery, and the whisky itself is stunning—dark, mellow and rich with hints of dark brown sugar and subtle reminders of Highland Park’s signature smoky notes. Unusually for a super- premium, the packaging is quite restrained, even elegant. A simple outer box of hand- carved Scottish oak presents appealingly softened edges, as though eroded by the elements. Each box is individually detailed, with a Sterling silver porthole through which you glimpse the bottle. Each bottle is, of course, unique, encased in an intricate “net cage” of ornate handcrafted silver created by New York–based Scottish jewelry designer Maeve Gillies, who took inspi- ration from Orkney’s elemental forces. Maeve’s bottle design celebrates Orkney: its seas, island life, wild elements, incredible natural light and the passage of time. On its front, a single piece of sandstone carries the Highland Park logo—hand-carved, naturally. At a recommended retail price of $15,000, just 275 bottles will be released, though we’re promised some more will be along in 2014. So, simply save around $75 a week for the next 200 weeks and a bottle could be yours! Normal mortals could do worse than the new designer packaging for the Chivas Regal 18 Year Old expression. Created by Christian 22 / the tasting panel / november 2010 Lacroix, it’s as direct and dramatic as Highland Park is understated. But you can’t argue with success. Last year, Lacroix carried off the Jury Prize at the Monaco Formes de Luxe Awards for his Chivas 12 Magnum, the fi rst time that such an award Jeweller Maeve Gillies’s bottle design for the Highland Park 50 Year Old was inspired by Orkney’s elemental forces. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K has ever been presented to a spirits brand. So naturally Chivas has gone back for more. It’ll certainly stand out on shelf! Expect this to retail at $500 and up. Finally, unlike Scotland’s single malt, Irish pure pot still whiskey is made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley which is then distilled in traditional copper pot stills. Remarkably, only three examples of the style remain available in the world. Welcome then to Redbreast 15 Year Old, now a permanent addition to its justly famed 12 Year Old stablemate. Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers have, com- mendably, bottled this at the higher strength of 46%, and it’s non-chill fi ltered. Like all good Irish pure pot still whiskeys, it is strongly fl avored and assertive, making it a rare treat for the connoisseur of fi ne aged whiskey. And, at around $75, it’s an accessible whiskey for real people! PHOTO COURTESY OF RÉMY COINTREAU PHOTO COURTESY OF PERNOD RICARD PHOTO COURTESY OF PERNOD RICARD

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - November2010