However, you can also get your hands on a good number of bottled single grain whiskies including Cameron Brig, North British and this one – Haig Club Clubman.
If you’ve had your ear even close to the whisky news grapevine you’ll know all about Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky, and the bottles discovered in the Antarctic in 2007.
A couple of years ago Whyte and Mackay (owners of the brand) recreated the contents of that bottle as a limited release replica. The end result was a pretty decent dram.
Recently I tasted an older version of Mackinlay’s, bottled in the 1960s.
Whisky and food pairing, well executed, is a match made in heaven – or in this case Scotch Malt Whisky Society Edinburgh.
At the Queen Street premises of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society we were introduced to stars of Scottish cuisine and whisky making with chef Mark Greenaway and Morrison Bowmore’s Master Blender Rachel Barrie.
Mark spoke first and briefly (straight from the kitchen in his whites and apron) about next month’s #EdinWhiskyFest where he and Rachel will be running a whisky and food masterclass, touching very briefly on the culinary wizardry we might expect. No sooner had he arrived, he was gone again back to his kitchen.
The secret of a good tasting is that air of enchantment, the stories, the quirks, and the provenance.
I can’t think of a better location than Channings Hotel, the former Edinburgh home of Sir Ernest Shackleton for a tasting that includes Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt, the whisky painstakingly recreated from samples of the bottles the explorer abandoned in the Antarctic, frozen in the ice for nearly 100 years.
The windows don’t cast a great deal natural light in here, but that’s okay, the gloom is comforting, especially if you’re hiding from the temperamental Edinburgh weather. If you hide yourself in a corner somewhere, you can almost imagine yourself in a 1930s speakeasy at the height of prohibition in the USA, but way more slick, and well, nothing like a speakeasy in fact.
Well, I woke up this morning… Yes, it sounds like the start of a morose blues tune, but in fact it’s World Whisky Day.
27th March 2012 (exactly 70 years since the birth of whisky writer Michael Jackson) has been spreading across the world as the date for a celebration of all things malty.
My first proper tasting in Edinburgh at the Tolbooth Tavern on the Royal Mile, courtesy of Cadenhead.
“It’s not for whisky nazis” I’m reminded; it’s for open minded lovers of a good dram, where all are equal and (apart from maybe wrongly identifying a blind sample) there is no wrong answer. My kind of people.
Whisky aficionados and amateurs alike, everybody loves a good master class. Even the most experienced and geeky of us sometimes find the geographical journey through Scotch a bit like the drive to work – it’s all a bit hazy, with no specific memory.
However, the master class at the Scotch Whisky Experience does it a bit differently.
They’re in the process of a refurbishing the shop with flavour and style rather than geography taking precedence as the main drive for the customer experience.
In my glass, and in my imagination, I’m back over to the Isle of Jura; it’s getting dark and a blast of icy wind howls across the landscape.
Like I say, I’m only imagining it, and with a dram of Jura 1976 ‘Feith A’ Chaorainn’ I can’t imagine even the worst that Mother Nature can throw at me would be even slightly annoying.
So, what’s it like being wrapped up in in this snug, straw-yellow Jura blanket?
I’ve got to say, it’s a really pretty looking bottle, it will definitely be reused as a candlestick. I’m talking about the premium offering from The Edrington Group’s Grouse portfolio, The Naked Grouse.
They’ve kept it nice and simple. With the discrete neck label and embossed grouse design on the bottle, I can understand the philosophy behind the marketing; they want the spirit to speak for itself without any label influenced preconceptions.