A Guest Blog – by Chris White www.edinburghwhiskyblog.com
Driving up to Kinross House is what I imagine rolling up to a country mansion in Downton Abbey is like. This magnificent building sits on the shores of Loch Leven and was the first neoclassical Palladian mansion to be built in Scotland, in 1685, and was the recent setting for a rather special whisky tasting.
Our guests, from all over the world, had requested the ‘Connoisseurs Tasting’ which really kicks things up a notch when it comes to interesting, old, and rare whisky. Moving away from entry level 10 year old and 12 year old whiskies, the Connoisseurs Tasting allows for a great deal of freedom when it comes to the line up of drams we can showcase. What about whisky from a closed distillery? What about a single cask, cask strength whisky bottled by a private members club? What about a whisky as old as me (FYI I turned thirty earlier this year)? The Connoisseurs Tasting allows for all of these… in the same line up.
To start with, I spoke about the now-demolished distillery of Imperial; a classic Speyside distillery which was a key component of Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal until is closed its doors in 1998 and was finally demolished in 2013. The Imperial we brought along was a 1997 vintage bottled earlier this year by Elgin-based independent bottlers Gordon and MacPhail. A strong start to the night indeed.
We then moved onto the first of two bottles from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which was a 30 year old Glen Moray. This silky, exotic dram really piqued a lot of people’s interest before we moved on to the hard hitting Aberlour a’bunadh. This whisky took quite a few people by surprise with its rich, fruity, spicy notes and strength of 61.1% ABV!
The fourth whisky provided a real medicinal, barbeque-y and smoky finish to the evening’s proceedings; a single cask, cask strength 18 year old Laphroaig, matured entirely in an ex-oloroso sherry cask and bottled by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. This no holds barred Islay peat monster ensured our guests went to bed, and probably woke up with, the lingering taste of some wonderful whisky still in their mouths.