There were several classes to choose from, however, by the time we arrived at the Find Rare Whisky show, known as the “Nth” (to the Nth degree!) Universal Whisky Experience, some were sold out. Lucky to be there as press at all, as this event is the epitome of whisky events for aficionados, we were thrilled to get in on three before they also sold out.
This was the offering of Master Classes at press time: Glenfarclas – Forty for Forty, Suntory Japanese Whisky – The Art of Blending, Macallan – What’s New with The Macallan, Classic vs Cult: Glenmorangie vs Ardbeg, Five Generations of Blending Excellence with Chivas, Brown Forman – A Family of Brands, The Glenlivet – Understanding the Wood from the Trees, The Ultimate Lagavulin, Interbevgroup – From the Caithness Coast to the Fertile Planes of Morayshire, Gordon & Macphail – Welcome to Scotland’s liquid library, Hennessy – From Grape to Glass, A demystification of Dewar’s Malts and A Sensory Exploration of the Redbreast 21 Year Journey.
These are the three we got in on:
What’s New with The Macallan
From new age statements, to a new collectable range, to our decanter series, there’s a lot going on with The Macallan this year. Learn all about these expressions and much more, with National Brand Ambassador, Kieron Elliott. Sherry Oak and Double Cask 12yr, Edition No.1 and No.2, Rare Cask and Reflexion.
Elliott set up six tastings with two of each from The 12’s, The Editions and 1824 Master’s Series. But before we settled in to nose and taste we reviewed:
- The Macallan is from the Speyside region of Scotland.
- A darker whisky is an older whisky, no color is ever added to a Macallan.
- They have never released a non-sherry seasoned whisky.
- They spend $1,000 per cask.
Of the 12-year-old aged sherry oak cask we got aromas and flavors ranging from cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and other spices. The 12-year-old Double cask, released six months ago, aged mostly in American ex-sherry cask, had some citrus, vanilla, butterscotch and Crème Brûlée. Onto The Macallan Edition #1, started in 2015 with only 130 casks and heavy sherry seasoning, caramel, toffee, chocolate and ginger notes in the nose and mouth. Edition #2 was released at he end of 2016 and is a collaboration with the number one restaurant in the world, Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca, here we found orange oil, orange peel, and butterscotch candy. Our third group started with the 1824 Master’s Series Rare Cask (a non-age statement, a range of 18 to 27 year-olds) had toffee, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, clove and more…outstanding. And our final whisky, coming in a $1,500 a bottle, the 1824 Master’s Series Reflexion was the second bottle in the Master’s series with lots of American oak, Hogshead cask, a much higher percentage of oak flavors that included vanilla, caramel, toffee, chocolate, dried fruit, cinnamon, raisins and cloves.
A Family of Brands (Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve)
Join Chris Fletcher (Assistant Master Distiller at the Jack Daniels distillery) and Greg West Woodford Reserve (Woodford Reserve Brand Ambassador) discuss and savor you on both these iconic American Whiskies.
“As the most flavor and color imparting process of whiskey, aging the distillate in charred, white oak barrel is the single most important journey for Bourbon. Now if we are talking, Tennessee whiskey, we take it one step beyond and put Jack Daniel’s through a final progression called “The Lincoln County Process” which definitive of Tennessee Whiskey and law”.
- Fletcher started by saying that he is the first Assistant Master Distiller Jack Daniels has employed, he moved up the ranks from his beginnings as a tour guide.
- As far as the barrel importance all of the color is from the barrel aging and natural.
- The second most important ingredient is the yeast they choose to add to the rye, malted barley and/or corn.
We started the tasting with the Single Barrel Select Whiskey that had notes of green apple, banana, apricot, vanilla, butterscotch candy, cream, toffee and espresso. The Single Barrel Rye Whiskey had aromas and flavors of caramel, banana split, butterscotch, cinnamon, sweet earth and a little mint. The Single Barrel Proof Tennessee Whiskey had caramel sauce, orange, leather, cinnamon, clove and oak.
Woodford Reserve Brand Ambassador West led us through a tasting of: The Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey used all white American Oak, with only seconds of toasting and charring, nine months of seasoning, loosing a whopping 50% in the angel’s share – evaporation – and had notes of malt, cream, orange peel, cinnamon, apple, melon, marzipan and spice. The Barrel Finish Select Double Oaked, with a lot more toasting, had notes of cream, oak, marzipan, molasses, anise, cinnamon and clove. The final tasting was of the Distiller’s Select Rye Whiskey that has been on the market for less than two years. Aromas and flavors included toffee, butterscotch and orange zest.
Dewar’s Malts – A Demystification of Dewar’s
Even though they look young and fresh faced, between them Gabe Cardarella, North American Dewar’s Ambassador, and Georgie Bell, Global Malts Ambassador from John Dewar and Son’s have over 20 years of experience in the whisky world and a plethora of awards and accolades to match. Of course, not as many as Dewar’s – the most awarded blended scotch in the USA. Join us as we investigate the complexities of blending and the integral single malts found within:
– Dewar’s 12 – Craigellachie 23 – Aberfeldy 16 – Aultmore 12 – Royal Brackla 16 – Dewar’s 18
- Bell told us stories of John Dewar in the past: marketing his whiskies via bicycle and boat, for the latter Dewar put messages in spent bottles, chucked them over the side, and if you found one you were rewarded with a case.
- The number one market for Dewars, Bell said, is with the U.S.
Dewars 12, a blend of everything we were to taste and no flavors coming from an “exhausted” cask, had notes of toast, honey, citrus, lemon, vanilla, toffee fudge. Aberfeldy 16, new to the U.S. though around since 1898, aged in a sherry cask, had notes of caramel, brown sugar, honey and walnut. The Aultmore 12, very light in color, had a nose and taste of cream, hazelnut, orange peel and seawater. Craigellachie 23 had notes of chocolate, vanilla, roasted nuts and coffee; we also got to try the 21 that had more of a sweet sherry note, with caramel and toast. Royal Brackla 16 had sweet raisins, powder, dust, chocolate, almond and what Bell described as potpourri. Our final whiskey, the Dewar’s 18 had more dense caramel then its 12 year old predecessor, as well as chocolate, walnut and earth.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com