Unbelievable that the time is here to begin our 5th Scotch Whisky Adventure together. This year we welcome a whole new community of delicious dram drinkers from the USA, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and New Zealand. It is really exciting to share this journey with so many and experience how incredible Scotch Whisky truly is together.
Our 5th edition has stretched my wife and Secret Spirits partner Cindy and I to exciting new limits. This edition boasts not just another 25 days of life altering drams but for the first time we have two whiskies over 30 years old and more Secret Spirits bottlings than ever before. Hold onto you hats ladies and gents this is going to be a fun ride.
Firstly lets all punch out that big middle hole and grab our Aurora glasses. Those of you that have been drinking along with us from the begining will know that every year we source a different whisky glass to build up a library of options for you. In years past we have had the Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler (1st Edition), Samaroli Custom Spiegelau (2nd Edition), Neat Glass (3rd Edition) and Spey Glass (4th Edition). For our half decade milestone we wanted to do something a little more artistic with a splash of pizzaz. The Aurora glass is a twisted tumbler that feels great in the hand, can handle whisky stones or ice easily and has enough room for even the heartiest splash of your favorite dram. Boasting the largest opening on any of the glasses so far it will work well for those high alcohol cask strength whiskies but may require more nose engagement for delicate drams. As an added bonus the Aurora can even handle some epic whisky cocktails with ease.
Before we get going Cindy and I would like to thank a few people that are coming along for the ride this year as our guest blogger/tasters. Firstly we have The Whiskey Tribe weighing in at an astounding 133K subscribers on their Whisky Vault Youtube channel and backing that up with their Whisky Biscuits channel, Crowded Barrel Distillery and Fang & Feather whisky bar. Daniel and Rex are awesome and I know you are going to enjoy their take on these whiskies. Secondly we have the intrepid duo at Scotch Test Dummies, Scott and Bart have built up a very loyal following on their popular Youtube channel. With a funny and relaxed tableside tasting style I know these guys are going to have a blast on this adventure with us.
Right then with glass in hand it’s time to grab that booklet and get ready to add some tasting notes for our first dram.
Day 1 – Single Cask Nation MacDuff 14 Year Old – Distilled in 2003 – Refill Sherry Cask No. 900026 – Highlands – 57%
Single Cask Nation is a small independent bottler based in the US. Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin have made it their ongoing passion to select extremely good casks of whisky from all over the world. They always bottle at cask strength with no caramel coloring added or chill filtration. This is their first time in the covetted day 1 slot. We always like to start the adventure with something especially delicious and a touch unusual.
MacDuff distillery is more commonly known by the proprietary label Glen Deveron. Founded in 1960 production began in 1963. William Lawson purchases the MacDuff in 1972 and eventually sells to Bacardi in 1993 when it is made part of the John Dewars & Sons operation. Outside of the Glen Deveron range of Single Malts that are not always easy to find it is independent bottlers like Single Cask Nation that select those outstanding single casks and rescue them from being washed into the every day shelf expressions.
Colour: Refill sherry imparts a lot less colour and this is very evident with the lovely antiqued gold shining out of this bottle at me.
Nose: Rich honey overtones with wafts of the tropics. Sometimes pineapple, sometimes lychee….sometimes that more pearlike nose that is often a hallmark of a lot of Highland Malts. This nose is doing a lot for me and I could quite happily sit and sniff this for ages. The sherry influence is nicely in the background with the use of a refill cask. No doubt it is why I am getting more tropic notes.
Palate: That 57% big mouth feel is there but does not overpower the abundance of ripe fruit that fills every inch of my mouth. The honey is definitely a strong contender for biggest note with flaky pastry and some nutty qualities. I would say that for me it’s reminicent of when I was in Rhodes Greece. The honey there had a special floral and fruit quality that I am getting on this. That honey was wrapped in Phillo pastry complete with pistachios and served daily to my wife and I as part of our daily afternoon Baklava adventure. This dram takes me back there in spades.
Finish: Lingering on and on with a zesty edge that tingles the sides as it all goes down to a warming glow. The fruit, honey and flaky pastry all roll together for a dram to remember.
Thanks Jason and Joshua for such a memorable day one whisky. What a great way to start our milstone 5th year of Scotch Whisky Adventures. I am really looking forward to sharing the next 24 days with you because I know whats coming bwahahahahaha.
Day 1 of our 4th edition was the truly delicious 18 Year Old Tamdhu from Hunter Laings Old Malt Cask Range. It’s always fun to go back and remember these limited edition drams.
Tomorrow we have a fantastic whisky from Wemyss Malts that will also bring up some fun discussion about US labelling laws.
It is so amazing to be here with you our Secret Spirits community. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to share our love of Scotch Whisky with you all.
Dram up baby yeah……