There are some whisky explorers who are collectorswith their bottles that sit on display. Then, there are others who are selectorswho add to their collection but choose to open that special bottle(s) with friends who share a similar passion for the unique discovery of the ultimate whisky experience. Such was a gathering of friends and family on Boxing Day when we spent an evening with a Macallan 21 years triple cask matured, a Bruichladdich Black Art 1992, a Glengoyne 21 years, a Speyburn 10 years, a Tomintoul 12 years Portwood Finish, and a GlenDronach 21 years Parliament all of which were the generous offerings of Joe and Roseanne.
The experience of tasting these amazing whiskies was both an honour and a huge delight given that these whiskies are not for everyone’s pocket book.
The backstory is that a year ago Joe introduced Dan to a $900 bottle of Macallan 21 which was the catalyst that led to Dan becoming passionate about single malt whisky. This is not about drinking, but sipping and discovering why those like Joe, Dan (and others like us) are passionate about the world of single malt. Boxing Day was our opportunity to discover the Macallan 21 as well.
Here is what we discovered: The Macallan 21 was brilliant with its wafting tones of Vanilla, a hint of peat, and its rich spicy notes of orange and passion fruit. This is a whisky that is matured in three distinctive casks marrying the Bourbon with the Sherry and the oak. Obsessed with quality, Macallan 21 stands alone among the industry giants.
Bruichladdich Black Art has created, as they roguishly describe, an “esoteric relationship between the spirit and the wood”. Not peaty, unlike most of Bruichladdich single malts, but a great example of a blending together of the best of Bruichladdich casks, with the youngest whisky being 24 years. Cleverly, they describe the Black Art as complex and mysterious for only those who can see the stars. As for us, a stunning whisky deserving of all the positive comments they have received.
Glengoyne, a Highland single malt, is highly suited this time of year with its Christmas cake, honey, apple strudel and cinnamon expressions. A beautiful mix to inspire a heartfelt conversation about loving memories and emotions of childhood.
Speyburn 10 was a nice surprise for this Speyside malt. Drawing its clear crystal water from the Granty Burn, the nose is filled with citrus and orange peel along with a bit of pine and a touch of mint. This is a smooth well-balanced whisky with a gentle grainy finish. Excellent choice given its price point.
Tomintoul 12 is another gentle Speyside single malt with lots of Oloroso Sherry notes, a bit of freshly cut hay, some honey and blackberries that add to a nicely-balanced finish.
Lastly, for me at least, was GlenDronach 21 Parliament matured in both Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. A beautiful blend of casks producing a light smoky, a bit of raisin with lots of citrusy appeal to both the nose and palate. A great end to an exquisite evening, paired with great stories, as well as a selection of cheese, smoked salmon, dark chocolate and other food pairing to complement the taste of the whisky.
A gracious thank you to Joe and Roseanne and to Dan and Ellen who have opened Blue Collar & Scholar’s world to a new range of whiskies and, as well, opportunities to explore with new friends what has truly been tastings like no other.