The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 132

30  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2014 SCOTCH REPORT The Gift of the Prince Changes Hands B y the time this column appears, we will know the result of the referen- dum on Scottish Independence, so there is little point in speculating here. I discussed this contentious issue on a few months ago, and since then the opinion polls have swung strongly towards a "yes" vote. (!!!— Ed.) If it happens, I'll revisit the subject and consider the implications for whisky in a future column. Meanwhile, it's all change for one venerable and well-respected brand, Drambuie—reputedly the secret elixir of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Long renowned for its independent family ownership, the pro- prietors have finally decided to call it a day and the company has been sold to William Grant & Sons, owners of Glenfiddich. Though also family-owned, that's a much more substantial business and, the hope must be that with their wider portfolio and greater financial muscle, they can restore Drambuie to its glory days. After-dinner liqueurs have rather fallen out of fashion, but Drambuie has worked hard to promote the brand as a cocktail ingredient or a long drink. I'll admit I'm partial to the Drambuie 15 expression, which I liken to a ready-to-drink Rusty Nail. The Grants also own The Balvenie, which has just announced two 50-year-old single malts. While only 15 bottles will be available in the U.S. at a recommended retail price of $38,000, I do have some good news: I tasted both at an exclusive private tasting at the Cromlix House hotel in Dunblane (recently purchased and extensively refurbished by tennis star Andy Murray), and I strongly preferred the whisky that will be headed to the U.S. So, if you are fortunate enough to see and taste this unusually old whisky, you will experience something quite remarkable. The Glenlivet is a longtime U.S. favorite, and so news of a second, new permanent expression in its innovative Nàdurra range will be wel- comed by malt enthusiasts. This comes as a cask-strength style, at a mighty 63.1% ABV, making the suggested SRP of $80 excellent value. Naturally (Nàdurra is Gaelic for "Natural"), it's non-chill filtered and bottled at its natural color. There's plenty of depth and body in this, with a creamy mouthfeel and complex fruit notes bursting from the glass. Collectors or lovers of the more obscure single malts will be interested in bottles arriving about now on U.S. shelves from the little-known Aberdeenshire distillery of Glen Garioch (ultimately part of the Beam Suntory stable). This rather unfairly underrated distillery has launched the first chapter of a four-part story focusing on the resurgence of its fine single malt. The hearty Highland character of Glen Garioch has been captured in an exciting series which aims to chart the evolution of flavor over a four-year maturation period. The result is an anthology of four exclusive editions—15-, 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds— entitled the Glen Garioch Renaissance Collection, to be released annually to 2017. The inaugural 15-year-old release should be worth picking up, but you will need to keep a sharp eye open for the future releases to compare and contrast the whiskies. Problems, problems! by Ian Buxton

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - October 2014