Wine Whisky Lovers,
Some hae meat and canna eat, And some would eat that want it; But we hae meat, and we can eat, Sae let the Lord be thankit.
It’s Rabbie Burns time again. Monday sees the one day of the year when we all pretend to be Scottish, start talking in mock-tavish and confidently misquote poems about a Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, when in actual fact we should be reciting Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
And we eat. We eat cock-a-leekie soup, and we eat haggis and neeps and tatties, and we tell our children to stop sniggering at the soup, and we tell our children that they must try a mouthful of the great chieftain of the pudding race, that it tastes like spicy mince, and that no, we can’t remember what it’s made of but, my gosh, isn’t it tasty, have another bite…
And we drink. We drink Champagne because we can and it’s an excuse for an end of January celebration, we drink Sparkling Shiraz if you’re name is Alex and you have really done a lot of research, we drink reds from the Rhone, and we drink whites from everywhere, and we sing and we dance and we still don’t know what a Scotsman keeps under his kilt…
But what Whisky do we drink? Do we have one for the toast, a different one for pouring on the haggis and a third for pontificating over afterwards? Of course we do, we’re proper Scots tonight, it’s Burns Night and tomorrow is for wimps and whimpering…
And here’s what we’re drinking:
Glenalmond Highland Blended Malt £29.99
This is a blend of only Highland malts. Sweet and peaty on the nose showing caramel, roasted nuts and honey character. The palate is spicy, displaying once again the honey and caramel character but now joined by cloves, peat and a hint of ginger. A medium length finish with a touch of smoke.
Finlaggan Islay Single Malt £30.99
Bottled by the Vintage Malt Whisky Company, it is a well-guarded secret as to which distillery on Islay this actually hails from. For a long time we thought Caol Ila, then someone suggested Lagavulin and then someone else said something else and deep discussions ensued. It has a full and pungent nose with a peaty earthiness and a salty ozone character you only get when faced with tumbling waves. The palate is dry, medium peated with a slightly medicinal sweetness and hints of tar in the background. A long smooth finish with burnt oak smokiness and a pleasing richness. It comes as no surprise to us that this is our perennial best seller.
Benromach 10 years old Speyside Single Malt £36.99
We loved this from the off. Forest fruits, herby smokiness and honey/toffee tones. When we added a drop of spring water the fruits came through even more including a ripe apple character and some almost sherry nuttiness. Soft yet complex, with a cheekily spicy finish.
Speymalt from Macallan Distillery 2006 Single Malt (bottled 2015) £37.99
Gordon & MacPhail buy the whisky and then mature it in carefully selected high quality casks. A touch of smoked toffee on the nose with hints of ripe citrus fruit in the background. The palate displays notes of beeswax, ripe apple and perhaps tropical fruit with some gentle peppery spice on the finish.
Linkwood 15 years old Speyside Single Malt (matured and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail) £46.99
The nose is all sweet furniture polish and Oloroso sherry. On the palate these flavours open up with sweet summer berry fruit and some cake spice characteristics. Silky smooth and very long on the finish.
Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Royal Brackla Distillery 1998 Highland Single Malt (bottled 2014) £46.99
One of only three distilleries ever granted permission to use ‘Royal’ in its name due to it being the favoured tipple of King William IV. Sweet vanilla and exotic fruits dominate the nose whilst the palate adds some black pepper and a hit of milk chocolate on the finish – all of which serve to make it deliciously smooth and moreish.
Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength Highland Park Distillery 2006 Single Malt (bottled 6th May 2015) £50.00
A cask strength (57.9%) bottling from four first fill bourbon barrels. Hailing from Orkney this is one of Wayne’s favourite distilleries and it’s easy to see why. There is a lovely contrast between sweet malty fruit aromas and an underlying bonfire smokiness. Perhaps the perfect all-rounder, pleasing those who like peat and those who prefer fruit in equal measure.
The Vintage Malt Whisky Company Coopers Choice Glenrothes Distillery 1997 Single Malt (bottled 2014) £69.69
Glenrothes is in the very heart of Speyside and this Coopers Choice is a very special bottling. 16 years old, from cask 15715, and thus one of just 300 bottles. Creamy, sweet complex dark fruit and a magnificently smooth, lingering palate. They have done a truly excellent job here.
MacPhail’s 21 years old Speyside Single Malt £69.99
The MacPhail’s Single Malt is distilled to their order and matured in their own casks. The distillery of origin is a closely guarded secret (although they do own Benromach…) which, like the Finlaggan above, gives the malt an air of mystery. Full bodied, deep amber in colour, rich and slightly smoky, with hints of sweet sherry cask. A classic Speyside in truth, with raisins, smoke, leather, toffee and overripe fruit in abundance. A seriously good dram.
So that’s what we’re drinking – which do you fancy? If it helps your decision making, we have the Finlaggan, Benromach, Speymalt and Linkwood all open for tasting!
Last orders please ladies and gentlemen
It’s the penultimate weekend of the month so a couple of things are starting to draw to a close.
First up, our fabulous 6 for 5 deal is entering its twilight hours – don’t start February understocked, especially if you are one of the 2 million people ‘doing’ a dry January (thanks for the stats, Jacqueline) – the offer will have finished at close of play 31st January, you have been forewarned.
Second, we have a few spaces left on our Wine School which starts next Wednesday, 27th January. You’ve all read enough from us about it so I won’t labour the point; suffice to say if you’re tempted, the time to let us know is now. We’re not entirely sure when we will run this again, since we might do something a bit different next term, just so you know.
Third, and not nearly as short dated as the previous two, places on our various tastings are starting to fill so I have attached the confirmed dates for you to check against your diary.
That must be it from us; we’ve been going on for ages. We will have wine open this weekend, the white will be the Ktima Gerovassiliou Single Vineyard Malagousia 2014 £19.39 that one of us bought by accident this week – it’s the posh version of the one we usually have, so you’re all in for a huge treat. For the red, we’ll crack open the Domaine Treloar One Block Grenache 2012 £11.99 which could be a match for your haggis but is equally delicious with a broad spectrum of sausage related dishes!
Wine, Whisky, Wine School, 6 for 5 – there be your bulletpoints!
Lang may yer lum reek!