Friday 8 June, off again the half mile from the house doon to Exel Wines in Perth, for a whisky evening behind closed doors. Hosted by Keron and Denise, talk, whisky, entertainment courtesy of Peter MacKay, Morrison & MacKay. A group of whisky lovers gathered once again in the great whisky shop to test some drams. We started the evening with a dram of Miltonduff, from the strictly limited range. A 2009 bottling, this had only been bottled three weeks ago, one of 321 – M&M are a few bottles short now! A nice opener, a wee bite, a dram from the Pernod Ricard stable and a large part of Chivas Regal and Ballantines blends. Nice and creamy, vanilla, value for money at just under £39. Nothing duff about this dram.
Quickly followed by Fettercairn 2009, another from the strictly limited range. Personally, I could have left this one out, I did leave some, not like me. Found this boring, aye but it did come out of a de charred, re charred cask, a rejuvenation wood, not the best of the evening. Imagine a car tyre, end of its’ days, then retreaded, you get some mileage out of it, but not a lot. Ah well, on we go. Next up a real smacker of a dram, I did try and buy what was left in the bottle! Strathmill 1994, Celebration range – the best. Single Malt, cask strength this also goes into blends (JW) which is a waste of good whisky if you ask me (which you are not). Came from a Sherry hoggie 2nd fill, I was lucky, Keron gave me hers also – she was driving. A Diageo dram, 48.2%, it was like licking a plank of mahogany! Beautiful, but at £142.50 am unsure really.
On to an Old Perth, bottling No. 3 and peaty! At £31 this is a winner. To me it smacked of Caol Ila and a touch of Isle of Mull (Ledaig), very good if you like a not too peaty, peat dram. Now here’s an interesting ditty; Mr Thomson was drinking with us – grandson of Peter Thomson’s, Perth 1890’s, and in 1908 Peter acquired a shop on Perth High Street, creating Peter Thomson (Perth) Limited. The shop dealt primarily in wines and spirits. Thomson was a skilful blender, what was originally Peter Thomson’s Whisky was re-branded as Beneagles during the 1920s. Peter Thomson died in 1939, the company remained in the family, with the last retail shop closing in 1973. In 1983 the firm was acquired by hotel magnate Reo Stakis, and subsequently became part of Waverley Vintners Ltd. Thomson’s ultimately came into the hands of Whyte & Mackay Distillers in 1993, and ceased to be a registered company in 2011. The MacKay factor – M&M who now produce the Old Perth blend once again. It was this Mr Thomson who hired Peter’s dad Kenny, by the way years back! This I enjoyed. All Old Perth blends feature only single malts, nae grains, apart from the St Johnstone bottle. Another story. Oh, there will be a 41 year old coming soon, watch this space. Notice the chimney on the label – another blog called for here, Kenny MacKay has a fascination with Perth chimney’s.
We took a break, crackers and oatcakes, before heading into an Ardmore, 2009, strictly limited range. One of my favourite distillery tours (thanks Ali), they also produce the Teachers dram here, this Ardmore was a touch peaty, now it is hard to guarantee where the peat is dug up, does it enhance any dram? Actually, I am told 7 of the Islay distilleries use mainland peat sources, suck that one and see. Under 40 quid, a good dram this one. Peter saved the best till last, Highland Park 1995, dark, smouldering, beautiful nose, sherry finish, smooth and more-ish. Like my second wife, great legs, at 54% this was a “chase the other drams out the room” whisky! The story here goes like this; a London wine merchant took delivery of the sherry, but in a hoggie, as the butt wouldnee fit down the trap door! It did the dram no harm I can assure you, best of the night by a long way. At £225, am unsure of buying one.
Apart from the Old Perth (obviously) I have visited every distillery featured this evening, some more than others. OVERALL a very enjoyable night, Peter was (as usual) very good, great stories, knowledge and a good sense of humour fell out of him in buckets. The “crowd” enjoyed the night, as a casual observer and taster (I do this for valuable research & development), I did also. I have attended many classes with Peter and each time I learn something new, tonight was no exception. Many thanks Keron and Denise and Exel for inviting me along, keep the invites coming girls!
MORRISON & MACKAY are Independent Scotch Whisky Merchants and Compounders (Producers) of the Finest Scottish Liqueurs. Based in the Heart of Perthshire (under 7 miles from Paul’s house), family owned and managed. Three generations of experience in Scotch Whisky creates an unrivalled passion for our national drink. Morrison & MacKay Whisky is the home of such liqueurs as Columba Cream, Bruadar, Ginger Tam’s and our new Fruit Liqueur Range, also home to the Carn Mor whisky collection. www.mandmwhisky.co.uk