Mackinlay’s ‘Shackleton’ Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

Anyone who was around the whisky blogosphere back in 2011 can’t have avoided the media fervor surrounding the discovery of several crates of antique scotch whisky preserved beneath the Antarctic heritage site of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated ‘Nimrod’ expedition base camp. … This version, bottled at the bare minimum 40% ABV, is comprised of Highland single malts aged in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry (Spanish oak). Unlike the more-expensive prior re-creation, we know little to nothing about the composition of…

The Ardmore Legacy

Ardmore is one of the pantheon of venerable scotch distilleries that nobody has heard of, because the vast majority of its output goes into blends – in this case mostly Teacher’s. The Aberdeenshire distillery was built in 1898, straddling the imaginary line that divides Speyside from the arbitrary region called The Highlands. Ardmore’s lightly-peated malt serves as…

Glen Grant (15 year)

This 15 year is aged in ex-bourbon for 15 years and bottled at 50% ABV without chill filtration (color is not mentioned, so it might be color-adjusted). While Glen Grant does use sherry casks in some of its expressions, this is a purely ex-bourbon bottling. The bottle says “Batch Strength” which is a little odd when you think about it. Isn’t every batch…

Deanston (18 year)

I could drink this all day. It’s a very middle-of-the-road kind of Speyside malt: honey, orchard fruits, light malt, little oak, but it’s executed very nicely and there’s no tell-tale grassiness or bitterness. An easy-drinking pleasure from start to finish. That said, you expect a lot from an 18-year label…

Highland Queen “Majesty” Single Malt (16 Year)

So it turns out that when I see a 16 year-old single malt for $23 on sale, I should buy a lot more than 1 bottle. This stuff, which is essentially 16 year-old Tullibardine, retails for $60! Now that’s a steal … The brand website is devoid of useful information, but assume this is 16 year-old Tullibardine single malt bottled at 40% ABV after chill filtration and added color. The label says it was aged in “oak casks”. Duh.

Highland Queen “Majesty” Single Malt (12 Year)

Highland Queen, which I confess I’d never heard of before I saw this bottle on sale, is a line of blended scotch and single malts owned by Picard Vins & Spiritueux SA, a family-owned firm based in France that also owns the Tullibardine distillery. Picard acquired the brand from Glenmorangie in 2008, but the name dates back to 1893 when a blended scotch was named after…

Dalwhinnie – Game of Thrones “House Stark: Winter’s Frost”

Dalwhinnie is not one of my favorite whiskies. I’ve always felt it was trying to do the same thing that The Balvenie does but with less success. That’s a totally unfair characterization, so let’s forget I said it and proceed with tasting the whisky. An an ex-bourbon matured single malt without an age statement, and at the now-fairly-standard 43% ABV…

Glenfiddich (14 year) Bourbon Barrel Reserve

If you’ve been around the single malt scotch market for any length of time, you probably had the same reaction to this label that I did. “Uhh… basically every single malt is aged in bourbon barrels.” So what’s so special about this particular bottle that they felt the need to slap it in large type on the label? Let’s not forget that “Reserve” means absolutely nothing….

Inchmurrin (12 year)

Inchmurrin is (confusingly) one of the brands of single malt produced by the Loch Lomond distillery near Glasgow. The brand is named after the largest island on Loch Lomond (the lake). … The custom stills at Loch Lomond are fascinating: By using a modified rectifying column instead of a traditional swan neck, the distillery is able to artificially “lengthen” the neck that condensing spirit vapor travels up before…