Monday, 11 November 2013

Mackinlays Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky

I am very excited for this weeks post. Last year my wife gave me a bottle of MacKinlay's Rare Old Highland Whisky (AKA Shackleton's Whisky) for our fourth anniversary. I have been waiting for a special occasion to try it.  This week I finally received my degree in the mail and I can't help but feel special about that. So special in fact that I am also playing the Grateful Dead for this tasting.

In 2007 the curators of Ernest Shackleton's Cabin in the Antarctic found several bottles of whisky stashed under the floor boards. These bottles would have been left there in 1907. Some of the bottles were returned to Whyte and McKay the owners of Mackinlay's. They then painstakingly recreated the whisky in those bottles. In essence this whisky should taste as whisky would have 100 years ago. In order to replicate the whisky single malt whiskies of various ages were used. This allowed Whyte and McKay to release the product quicker, and it also makes this my first vatted or blended Malt Whisky. The presentation (shown below) is quite nice. It comes in a wooden case with straw. A spare cork in a burlap sack is also included, as is a booklet detailing the story of the whisky. I would highly recommend that you look up Ernest Shackleton. The story of the whisky is fascinating, but not nearly as incredible as the harrowing details of the expedition.     

For music I threw on The Barton Hall show from 1977.05.08. This show is really the one that got me  hooked on The Grateful Dead. The band is on fire, the set lists are full of hits and the jams (especially the Scarlet>Fire) showcase the bands groovier side... This was '77 after all.

and now for the sipping...

Nose: prickly. honeyed perfume and a wisp of smoke.

Palate: leather smoke and creosote. It tastes as I would have imagined the cabin would have smelled while in use over a hundred years ago. I also get notes of pepper and other spices. 

Finish: The finish is long. The smoke is ever present. There is a spicy tingle that gives way to what I can only describe as a crude oil flavour. A whisper of mint arrives right at the end.

Since this is a celebration I'm going to make this a double. This time I am going to use the "Vinturi" aerator. This was part of this years anniversary gift. It is a flute glass looking contraption. You pour your whisky into the top and then place it over a glass and push the button. This tool supposedly enhances the tasting experience. We'll see if that is the case....

Nose: honey sweetness the smoke is also present. The nose is less perfumed, and does not prickle like it did before.

Palate: a sweetness embraces the spices. like sweetened cinnamon. The smoke although certainly present is milder and cleaner than the first drink.

Finish: The finish remains long. It maintains that smoke and oil while introducing a bit of perfume. The mint returns as well.

It appears that the aerator did enhance the scents and tastes of the whisky. It did not add or remove anything but did alter their intensity a bit. it also seemed to change the order in which the sensations arrived.

This tasting could not have happened without the help of my wife, Liza. She provided not only the whisky and aerator but most importantly the motivation and support necessary for me to complete my degree. For that I will always be grateful.

Thank you    

1 comment:

Micah said...

Great write up Mark. Congrats on the degree! This aerator sounds interesting, perhaps you could bring it to an event sometime? Also, very jealous you were able to get a bottle of that whisky!