Seeing in 2022 MCLEANSCOTLAND will be welcoming 25 years in the tourism business, the last decade and a bit in the whisky tourism. Looking back, I didnee aim to be a whisky tour operator, I envisaged bringing people to Scotland, to see what a fantastic country it is, all its’ castles, lochs and glens, palaces and peoples, our culture and eventually a drop of whisky to celebrate the trip.  Many years ago it all changed in favour of whisky tourism and ever since, whisky has been my life – sad but true!  Thinking on this, I came up with a wee list of what can be available in the 25 year old bracket … here we go;

Laphroaig 25 Year Old The Bessie Williamson Story – honours the first female distillery manager to own and run a Scotch whisky distillery in the 20th century (all you folks now screaming Cardhu! Read on). Williamson accepted a summer job at Laphroaig in 1932, working under owner Ian Hunter. Following Hunter’s stroke in 1938, she took over responsibility for US distribution. She is thought to have been among the first to anticipate the coming trend for single malt Scotch and is credited with positioning the Laphroaig whiskies for the American market. John Campbell, Laphroaig distillery manager, said: “Laphroaig is a globally recognised whisky thanks to Bessie”. It is well documented that Bessie was universally loved and respected by her colleagues at Laphroaig and the people of Islay. The 43% ABV expression has been aged in refill American oak hogsheads and refill barrels, resulting in a whisky with “lingering warmth and unmistakable character”.  The whisky comes with a book that details the story of Williamson’s legacy, along with tasting notes and a message from Campbell, available exclusively in global travel retail for an RRP of £700 (US$861). Laphroaig is owned by Beam Suntory. I would love this dram, Liz would probably leave the room!

OK, THE IAN HUNTER STORY BOOK ONE: UNIQUE CHARACTER – John Campbell, Distillery Manager LAPHROAIG 30 YEAR OLD A series to celebrate the legacy of Ian Hunter, the last man of the Johnston family to own and manage this iconic distillery, between 1908 and 1944. I know Ian Hunter, but he was a lead man in Mott The Hoople!

Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie 25 Years Old  Only 1,600 bottles of Timorous Beastie 25 Years Old will be released through specialist retailers, priced at £150 (US$187) per bottle. The whisky was mostly matured in ex-Bourbon barrels, and has been bottled at 46.8% ABV without caramel colouring or chill filtration. Cara Laing, director of whisky at Douglas Laing, said: “Timorous Beastie 25 Years Old is a beautifully balanced marriage of single malts distilled in the Scottish Highlands. This expression carried the trademark Timorous Beastie vanilla and honey style – as a result of being matured predominantly in ex-Bourbon casks – as well as an orange tang and sweet spiciness, perfect for autumn evenings.” Timorous Beastie 25 Years Old is priced at RRP £90 (US$112).

Royal Salute unveils new 25 Years Old  Pernod Ricard has unveiled the latest addition to its Royal Salute range — a 25 Years Old whisky, The Treasured Blend, exclusively for duty-free stores and available from November 2019. It is the first 25-years-old expression in the Royal Salute portfolio and The Treasured Blend has been created by master blender Sandy Hyslop. The Royal Salute Treasured Blend is contained within the iconic porcelain flagons the brand is famous for and embellished with a gold detailing and sapphire jewelled stopper. Each flagon is numbered. Royal Salute 25 Years Old is available exclusively in GTR from November 2019 for a RRP of US$260.

Bruichladdich Black Art 7.1: the casks were selected from 1994 were matured for 25 years. It was the year when Bruichladdich was closed, so this whisky is a witness of the last months the distillery’s production before it was mothballed and waited for its revival in 2001. Head Distiller Adam Hannett chose casks for the Black Art 07.1 – a bit of mystery has to be kept for a Black Art bottling. What we know is the number of bottles this release it limited to: 12,000 bottles are available of the Bruichladdich Black Art 7.1. The new Bruichladdich was bottled uncoloured and un-chillfiltered at 48.4% ABV.

What is possible, very possible;  Tullibardine 25 Year Old 70cl / 43% Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Distillery Bottling. A stunning aged dram from Tullibardine, the top of their relaunched 2013 range. Honey, spice and fruit packed in with cream toasted oak. £122 ish, can you beat that?

Glen Moray 25 Year Old 1988 Port Cask Finish (70cl, 43%) £159.95   A 1988 vintage, 25 year old Glen Moray single malt, which has been treated to a Port cask finish before bottling. Comes with a handsome presentation box and a scroll. Aye, we do have one of these beauties in the cupboard!

Well, hopefully something there for everyone, will we be getting them all? Easy – no.  But looking around on our travels for something that will make us happy, who knows, it may even be a Lidl or Aldi bottle!  There are many 25 year olds out there, this has just been a sample smattering of what you could get – if lucky. You may notice an obvious bottle missing? We have no time for the hellishly over-priced and over-loved Macallan, sorry Edrington, until your prices get real, we shall no bother with your drams. We will also be celebrating by selecting our own 25 year old dram, an exclusive for friends, family and travel guests to enjoy as we bottle this for exclusive drinking – we might even make this a superb 25 year old, 25 bottles only! Currently working on this with industry contacts.