Burns Night Tasting – 28th January 2017

On Saturday 28th January we gathered to celebrate the life of Scotland’s National Bard Robert Burns who was born on 25th January 1759.

We of course did this in our own “Wee Dram” way, other Burns Suppers have a lot of poetry, songs, many speeches, and a lot of toasts – to the Lassies, the Laddies , guests, family, mice etc. However we don’t go in for too much of that, we address the Haggis of course, have our Piper Jess, and we toast the Immortal Memory.  We, however, have by far the best selection of whiskies of any Burns supper – since the one we did last year.

We had six Single Malt Scotch Whiskies alongside a supper of Scotch Broth, The Puddin Haggis neeps and tatties, and Cranachan.

 The Line Up

The Whiskies

 

Tullibardine 225 Sauternes Finish – 43%   

Situated in Blackford, Perthshire, built in 1949 by the famous Architect William Delme-Evans. The owners, Whyte & MacKay, closed it in 1994. In 2003 it was reopened by an independent consortium, all was going well until the 2008 crash.  In 2011 it was sold to a French family business Picard who bottle Burgundy wine and make a Pernod like spirit. Since taking over they have been going from strength to strength, and expanded. The bottling we shared was Finished (spent the last part of its maturation) in Sauternes Wine cask. Sauternes is a sweet French wine, and the cask imparts some of the rich sweet, sponge cake like flavours into this very gentle soft  whisky.  Buy

 Piper Jess

Loch Lomond 12y/o – 46%

I think that Loch Lomond is a Lowland distillery; it is situated at Alexandria, which is basically a dormitory town for Glasgow. Not that that’s a bad thing it’s certainly lowland style, light and gentle. The distillery was converted from a dye works in 1965, by the Littlemill Distillery Company; they were just down the road in Bowling and wanted to expand.

The distillery, along with Glen Scotia was brought out in 2014, by the management team backed by Exponent Private Equity. Since then they have come out with some really good single malts including this one, and have been doing commercially very well they sell in 80 countries and employs over 200 people. They also make Glen Vodka – which is the second bestselling spirit in the UK – but we don’t hold that against them. The Loch Lomond Malt whisky is an easy drinking softer whisky.

 

Benriach 16 y/o – 40%

Situated on Speyside. Originally founded in 1897, it was brought in 2004 by Billy Walker and his 2 South African Partners. Was a massive success resulting in becoming a small group including GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh.  Last summer they sold out to Brown Forman (owners of Jack Daniels) for a massive £285m. This bottling is a lovely  example of a light bodied Speyside – light fresh with plenty of age to round it off.  Buy

 

Dalmore 12 y/o – 40%The Arrival of the Haggis

Dalmore was founded in 1839, in 1891 it was brought by 3 Mackenzie Brothers, which is where their Iconic stag emblem comes from, it’s the badge of Clan Mackenzie. Most of the Dalmore new make spirit starts of in ex-bourbon casks – white American Oak. They are finished (receive a second maturation) in ex-sherry casks. There are a couple of secrets to the success of making this such a rich sherry  wood influenced whisky. Firstly the length of time in the second cask is much longer than other distilleries use, which means the age of the whisky is usually much more than the age statement, ie in the 12 year old they use whisky up to 20-25 year old.

Second the quality of the sherry casks used is exceptional. Dalmore for many years has had an agreement with Gonzalez Byass, arguably the world’s finest sherry Bodega.  Byass make a sherry – Methuselah – which is aged for 30 years, Dalmore buy all of these casks. The other not so secret component is the great blender and Master Distiller Richard Paterson. So this 12 year old is a rich fruit cakey whisky.   Buy

 

Benromach 10 y/o – 43%

Situated in the Speyside town of Forres.  One of my favourite whiskies. Originally founded in 1898, closed in 1985. Was brought in 1993 by the Urquhart family, who also own whisky merchants Gordon and MacPhail.  It needed completely refitting so they didn’t reopen until 1998. A lot of Distilleries on Speyside lightened up their style in the 1960’s. The Urquhart ‘s wanted a spirit like it used to be before the 60’s – heavier and a little smoky. At Gordon and MacPhail they had whisky in cask from the 40’s and 50’s, also they had whisky which had been bottled in the 40’s and 50’s.

This is the result – their standard 10 year old bottling. It’s smoky, big and robust for a Speysider.  Buy

 While thro your pores the dews distil like amber bead

The Wee Dram Islay – 2006 – 46%

Our own bottling of Peaty, Smoky Whisky. This is a neAn cut you up wi ready sleightw expression bottled in November 2016. We had 2 cask samples  to choose from, this one a 10 year old, and a 12 year old. This was significantly better, more rounded and with more flavours than the 12. I think this is down to the fact that it was matured in an ex-Bourbon barrel, which is smaller than a Hogshead. The spirit gets to see a bit more wood.  Buy

The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns was toasted with full Highland honours. 

 

With full Highland Honours