Glengrant – The Major’s Reserve

Special thanks to Doug Doughty for submitting this whisky review. A very active member of Clan MacAulay international and a huge help to me in participating in events here in Canada and abroad, Doug likes to be referred to as “First Dude of Western Canada”. 

When I think of single malt whisky, my first thought tends to the highlands, and never to Mexico.  But recently, on vacation in Mexico, Joan and I were in a wine shop looking for a specific Mexican wine when I discovered a new single malt that I hadn’t heard of previously. Glengrant, The Major’s Reserve was distilled in Rothes, Speyside, Scotland.  And the price point appealed to the Scot in me.

I didn’t open the bottle while in Mexico but I did open the box.  What struck me was the colour of the whisky.  It was not the traditional golden caramel colour I’m used to seeing, but instead was a pale yellow.  I thought to myself, this looks like a very thin whisky, but would reserve judgement until I had tried it first-hand.

When I got home, I poured a dram into my glen cairn. I held it up to my nose.  The initial bouquet was smoky with a medicinal hint to it.  It was not what I expected to smell, but I persevered.

I took my first sip, and it was subtle, a slight peaty taste, but the finish was truly amazing.  The box describes the taste as “The superb Single Malt offers a fresh and vanilla palate with a slightly dry and hazelnut finish”.  It had a definite taste of vanilla, but the hazelnut was lost on me, which is ok, because I am not a fan of hazelnut.

Overall, the visual impact was less than I was expecting, the nose was interesting, but the finish was subtle and silky, and worth the wait.

I can honestly recommend this whisky, and sometimes it’s fun to gamble on the unknown, particularly when it pays off.

Still haunted by whiskey drinking!

They say that taste has a memory. Perhaps because of this not everyone has acquired a taste for the water of life. Is it because certain persons imbibed in the distant past with unexpected and unfortunate results? Laurence McAulay, Clan Commissioner for Northern Ireland, kindly shared the very sad tale of his long ago experience with whiskey (note the Northern Ireland spelling!). I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did!

“Sorry to say Karen and I are not the people to ask re the delights of whiskey (notice the correct spelling)  … it is not a drink we would gladly partake … OK we’re lightweights!

From my point of view whiskey still haunts me from the past… since my workmates took me out to celebrate my stag night in the late eighties. My so-called friends plied me full of double ‘Black Bush’…yes our very own County Antrim so-called nectar, named after the local Bush River, from the oldest legal distillery in the world…1608 I think.

This was my first real taste of whiskey and boy did I suffer…the last thing I remember was crawling around the floor of a popular night spot in Portrush, Northern Ireland’s premier beach resort! Then it all went blank.

It took me a good few years even to get over the distinct aroma of whiskey and it wasn’t until a quite recent visit to Bowmore Distillery, on the island of Islay, that I plucked up the courage to have a few drams (I had no choice as the kind lady in the bar set us up three large tumblers full to make up for us missing the fully booked tour…so it would have been rude to leave them). We both left the distillery quite jolly to say the least.

So you see my experience of whiskey drinking taught me that it is an acquired taste…and I just haven’t acquired it!”

Laurence, I hope someday you’ll find a newly found appreciation for whisky/whiskey and join us for a few wee drams!

Aberlour 12 – liquid awesomeness!

I love the words that greet you as you enter the Aberlour website. “Obar Lobhair, or Aberlour means the mouth of the chattering burn in Gaelic”. Beautiful. We drove past its idyllic location in Speyside; next time we’re in Speyside it will be on our list of distilleries to visit. And yes, I know that ‘awesomeness’ technically isn’t a word, but in the case of Aberlour, it should be. Continue reading

Aberfeldy 12

Never underestimate the power of your GPS to amuse. Lily, our GPS, had distinct issues with pronouncing Aberfeldy. She liked calling it a-BUR-fuldy. The problem is, we’ve now started saying it that way too. On our way from East Haugh to Oban for the International Gathering this summer we stopped at Dewar’s Aberfeldy World of Whisky. Continue reading

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Did I mention I don’t enjoy a heavy peat? Slight smoke, yes. Heavy smoke, not so much. The Laphroaig Quarter Cask was a gift from a dear friend at our meet-the-house party last year and he happens to love this whisky. And, as Laphroaig is in its 200th year of distilling, we wanted to include it. Let’s face it, a lot of people love whisky from Islay and I have to admit that after a few sips, it kind of grows on me. Continue reading