April 2013 Archives

The Famous Jubilee, Special Edition Reserve

famousjubilee.jpgThe Famous Jubilee was globally released last May to coincide with the commemoration of Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Bottled at 40% A.B.V, this limited edition expression is the creation of The Famous Grouse master blender Gordon Motion and contains a blended selection of aged single malt (including The Macallan and Highland Park) and sweet grain whiskies to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne. 

Canada was one of only a handful of export markets for this special edition blend and about 200 cases found their way to the LCBO. It must have been a long, tedious, voyage for this shipment. The neatly packaged bottles only appeared on the shelves earlier this year in January, 8 months after release and 6 months after the mighty flotilla cruised the Thames. While others in the Commonwealth toasted to Her Majesty's health with a special dram, we didn't know what we were missing.

Until now.

Here's your leg up on one of the best, limited run, values for blended scotch whisky in the LCBO.

Lagavulin: Icon of Islay



We set out just after dawn. Our boots steadily scrubbing the well weathered pavement as we crossed the faces of the white wind-rattled harbourfront homes. The sun shone down gloriously from a pristine blue sky as we turned left onto Lennox Street, now heading uphill with a quickening pace. It was a perfect Islay spring day in every way imaginable, and yet somehow all of this was secondary to the destination. 

There were just the three of us alone on that road. Marching over the hills; past the stone-walled fields; beyond Laphroaig. The only sounds: our footsteps, the wind, and the ocean. Then, past the old croft on the left, while rounding the bend to the right around the hill, it came into view. An alabaster visage as though conjured from a dream. Simultaneously surreal and hyper-real. 

We had arrived at Lagavulin.

We certainly enjoy writing about whisky here. By and large we write about the whisky itself, once it's in the glass. Here's a pared down description of the whisky-making process from start to finish. The overall steps in the production of all whiskies are the same everywhere on earth, but I'll only discuss the processes specific to single malt Scotch making, and I'm using a lexicon appropriate to that region. Other whisky-making regions have their own special techniques and nomenclature but in the interest of brevity I shall skip over these variations.

Album Grain Processing: Malting, Milling, and Mashing.


Malting is the process of generating enzymes within a grain which will allow the conversion of starch into sugar during the mashing process (outlined below). The malting process results in malted grain, or "malt". Grains are steeped several times in warm water, allowed to germinate and dry, and then kiln dried using either hot air or smoke. It is during the kiln drying that peat smoke may be used which imparts peat flavour into the malt.

Only about seven distilleries malt their own barley, the balance buying malt directly from malting houses.


Recent Comments

  • Isabelle Gurble commented on The Famous Jubilee, Special Edition Reserve:

    This looks amazing, something my husband would love. His birth is coming up soon as well.

  • Ryan commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Hi Sherry, I think you might be outta luck on this one. Only 9000 bottles of this delicious whisky were produced and I'd wager most - if not all - purveyors have been sold out for quite some time now. If you're looking to sample it, I'd recommend visiting your local whisky bar and checking their list of Canadian whisky offerings. Your only other option would be to try and track down someone willing to give up their bottle? I've got one 2oz sample tucked away and, sorry, I'm keeping it all to myself! :) Good luck! Let us know if you find a bottle!

  • Sherry commented on Forty Creek Heart of Gold:

    Do you know where I can purchase this item?

    Sherry Boutilier

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