The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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Page 34 of 136

34  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2014 SCOTCH REPORT More Malts . . . and Older Too! H ot on the heels of the 50-year-old whisky from The Balvenie that I featured last time comes news of two venerable drams from longtime U.S. favorite The Glenlivet. The brand's Winchester Collection—named for the distillery's amiable Master Distiller Alan Winchester—comprises whiskies dating from 1964 and 1966 which have now been released worldwide (expected pricing: $25,000 per bottle). Says Winchester, "This release marks a milestone for The Glenlivet. Casks of this age and quality are such a rare thing these days that I'm immensely proud to introduce the first of these rare vintages of preserved stocks from the distillery's rich past." In an era where really old whisky is getting harder and harder to find and more and more expensive to buy, Chivas Brothers really is in a privileged position. Little wonder that, as their competitors proclaim the virtues of "no age statement" expressions, they take immense pleasure in revealing such treasures. Dewar's has long been known as a blending house, but the company has finally woken up to the hidden possibilities of their portfolio of five single malt distilleries and released a collection they call The Last Great Malts. The collection begins with Aberfeldy, much admired for its honey notes and displaying a classic Central Highland style rarely tasted in single malts today. It's avail- able now as a 12-year-old and 21-year-old, with plans to launch a 16-year-old Sherry finish and a 30-year-old in 2015. Alongside it is Aultmore, a rare Speyside malt rated "top-class" by blenders and sought after for its gentle grassy notes. Aultmore will be available from November with a 12-year- old and in limited quantities as a 25-year-old. For the first time in history, the Craigellachie distillery has released a portfolio of single malts. The distillery stays true to its traditions of whisky making, including the use of worm tubs to cool the spirit. A challenging Speyside whisky, it was described as "old- fashioned" even in 1891, but single malt fans appreciate its remarkable meaty character. Look for a 13-year-old, 17-year-old and a limited 23-year-old. Coming through 2015 will be a new range of 12-, 18- and 25-year-old single malts from Dewar's MacDuff distillery, branded as The Deveron, made where the River Deveron meets the open seas, and more from "The King's Own Whisky" at Royal Brackla. To be released in March 2015, the 12-, 16- and 21-year- old expressions will come from this once-famed distillery, which was the first to receive a Royal Warrant and the only one to have received this distinction twice. That is a lot of single malts from a company known for its blended Scotch. To style them The Last Great Malts may seem a trifle grandiose, but the whiskies are interesting and different and will intrigue malt enthusiasts looking for some- thing new. As will the latest from bou- tique blenders Compass Box, who have brought us the partner to their Great King Street Artist's Blend, which I mentioned here back in 2011. This is the Glasgow Blend—a very tasty drop of fuller-flavored whisky, which to Compass Box's very great credit, is no more expensive than it's opposite number ($42). Now that's something we can all drink to! by Ian Buxton

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