November 04, 2008

Two Fine Scotches, One Fine Whisky

The Canadian Association of Radiologists wrapped up their 71st Annual Scientific Meeting, in Ottawa earlier this year, with a tasting of three fine whiskies, presented by Carol. After braving several days of intense meetings, the large group was greatly invigorated by the sampling. The multi-day conference was organized by First Avenue Events and was a great success. Here, a little background and a few notes on the whiskies tasted.

Glen Breton Rare Canadian Single Malt Whisky
This whisky, matured 8 years in Bourbon casks, is produced in small quantities at Glenora Distillery in the Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia, by traditional methods. The soft water of Maclellan’s Brook combines with lightly peated malted barley from Scotland to produce a clean, light malt, which many liken to Dalwhinnie. The copper still and other equipment comes from the Bowmore distillery in the island of Islay. Only Single Malt Whisky produced in Scotland can be called Scotch, hence the name whisky.
Tasting Notes: A lovely golden amber colour, with heather-floral and butterscotch aromas. Light to medium bodied, with a creamy, nutty taste and a nice, refreshing finish. Nicely balanced, it makes a good pre-dinner drink. Serve it with a little cool spring water to bring out additional fruit flavours.

The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years Old

One of Scotland’s most respected distilleries, The Macallan, in the heart of Speyside, has been distilling whisky legally since 1824. Today it offers a range of single malts, aged in Sherry Oak or triple cask matured Fine Oak. Following its launch, The Macallan Fine Oak 15 years old was awarded Best Whisky of 2004 by renowned whisky expert F. Paul Pacult. In a different league, a bottle of The Macallan Fine and Rare 1926 sold for £36,000 in 2005. Made from barley grown on The Macallan Estate and using soft, pure local water at several stages of production, The Macallan ranks amongst the five best-selling malt whiskies in the world.
Tasting Notes: A rich, straw colour and a lovely, full nose with hints of citrus, roses and vanilla. No smokiness, due to use of unpeated, malted barley. Luscious on the palate, with hints of fruitcake and chocolate orange, the 15 Year Old has a long, lingering finish. Delectable and beautifully balanced.

Highland Park 18 Years Old

Established in 1798 and licensed in 1826, Highland Park, on the island of Orkney – a World Heritage Site, is the world’s most northerly distillery. Using Orcadian peat and, unusually, hard local water, the Highland Park range of Single Malts is favoured by Whisky lovers the world over. Judicious use of peated malted barley and Bourbon and Sherry oak casks gives a toffee sweetness and mouth-watering, smoky finish. Highland Park 18 Years Old is a multiple Gold Medal and First Place winner, including the ultimate accolade of Best Spirit in the World in 2005, by aforementioned F Paul Pacult.
Tasting Notes: Burnished gold in colour, with a rich and mature bouquet, redolent of toffee, dried fruits, marzipan and smoke. The palate is rich and full, sweet and dry. Take time to measure the flavour developments in the mouth. The finish is long, smoky and satisfying.