Opened in 1898 by the sons of merchant whisky blender John Dewar, John Jr. and Tommy, the Aberfeldy distillery was built in Perthshire, Scotland near the legendary Pitilie Burn. Famed for its gold deposits, the stream is the water source for the distillery and is somewhat of tourist attraction in its own right appealing to both salmon anglers and prospectors who've panned gold here for nearly a millennium. The "golden dram" has long been the core component of Dewar's line of blended scotch whiskies and has been available as a 12 year old single malt expression since around 1999. Recently re-released as part of parent company John Dewar & Sons "Last Great Malts of Scotland" range, Aberfeldy 12 years old was aged in ex-bourbon barrels and then bottled at 40% ABV.
The Macallan's Select Oak expression is exclusive to the travel retail market and is often found in 1L bottles reduced to a strength of 40% ABV. Bearing no age statement, the Select Oak label is light on details except that it forms part of the 1824 Collection and that it's composed of "an exceptionally wide and unique combination of five cask types, delivering extraordinary smoothness, remarkable sweeness and depth."
- Examine your intended recipient's existing collection as I will do my best to provide you with some flavour profiles to provide a frame of reference in determining which palates a particular whisky will likely appeal to.
- For Ontario readers, make use of the embedded links to check stock before heading out to your local store. It is important to remember that the LCBO does provide for free inter-store transfers of bottles, though delivery times will vary from 3 to 7 days depending on distance between your store and the store of origin. Lastly, for any locations showing one bottle of something, be sure to phone the store confirm availability.
Hearing Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore speak about his latest creation, J.P. Wiser's Hopped Whisky, it's hard not to get swept up with his enthusiasm. A dedicated student of flavours, he's got advanced degrees in both brewing and distilling and his passion for whisky-making is palpable. At a media event at CC Lounge & Whisky Bar in Toronto, a few weeks back he explained that the idea for a hopped whisky was born from a conversation he had nearly ten years ago with a friend in the brewing sector that grows hops; "looking at how the hops were used, we realized there's an opportunity to use them in a different way, with whisky."
Earlier this week we were invited to attend the Canadian launch of Beam Suntory's latest premium blended whisky, Hibiki Japanese Harmony, at Kasa Moto restaurant here in Toronto. Assembled media guests were treated to a component tasting of 5 of the main whiskies from Suntory's Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries that were blended to make this expression of the Hibiki blend. Hands down, this was definitely one of the best component tastings and elemental deconstructions I've had the opportunity to enjoy.
- a sweet, almost Bourbon-like, 100% grain (corn) whisky aged in 1st fill ex-Bourbon barrels from the Chita distillery;
- a malt whisky aged in American white oak barrels made at the Suntory cooperage with a slightly oily body
- a rich single malt whisky aged in a cask that formerly held Oloroso sherry and was reminiscent of a classic Macallans
- a single malt whisky aged in a rare Mizunara oak cask that imbued complex flavours of sandalwood, estery fruit, with an interplay of new leather and smoke;
- and finally, a single malt velvet hammer of buttery vanilla and smokey peat from Hakushu distillery.