Five Star Magazine - by Blair Bowman
For their first release the Directors of Golden Decanters, Ann Medlock and Julia Hall Mackenzie-Gilanders, went on a two year journey to source the four unique single cask whiskies which are presented in impresssive bespoke etched bottles and oak boxes designed by renowned Scottish designers Timorous Beasties. On their two year journey they sampled hundreds of whiskies and travelled hundreds of miles, in order to curate a collection of four whiskies of diverse age, flavour and natural hue. In their own words they decided to “tear up the rulebook and grab the Scotch Whisky industry by the sporran”.
The debut collection respectfully pays homage to Scotland, with a nod to golf, shooting, fishing and the most iconic of cows, the Highland ‘coo’. The beautifully etched illustrations on each bottle elegantly string the whole collection together without distracting from the importance of the liquid inside the bottles.
The four single malt whiskies chosen by Golden Decanters are:
- The Golf Widow, 22 year old Auchentoshan, 59.8% abv
○ Lemon sherbet, fresh petals, balsa wood shavings and crunchy pears.
- The Highdrive, 26 year old Bowmore, 46.8% abv
○ Soft smoke, candle wax, salty sea air with gentle salty toffee notes.
- The Tightline, 34 year old Glenlivet, 41.8% abv
○ Poached apples with maple syrup, dark chocolate and soft spice.
- The Highlander, 19 year old Ben Nevis, 55.5% abv
○ Victoria sponge cake with clotted cream, wood polish, sichuan pepper spice and heather honey.
All the whiskies have been bottled at cask strength, are non-chill filtered and have no added caramel colour. To put it simply, this means that the whiskies are bottled just as they came, without being changed or altered in anyway before being bottled. There is always something quite special about drinking a whisky at cask strength, this really allows the cask influences to shine through. It also allows the drinker to decide if they would like to drink the whisky neat, or add water to taste.
The Golf Widow, is from a 22 year old single cask of Auchentoshan Distillery. The Auchentoshan distillery is famed for producing a light and fruity whisky. Unlike most distilleries in Scotland that distill their whisky twice, Auchentoshan is unusual in the fact that they distill their three times. This extra distillation means that a very light spirit is produced giving notes of spritely green fruits, think apples and pears. The Lowlands is also home to a vast number of golf courses, and for this reason many ‘golf widows’ whose partners perhaps spend more time out on the golf course than at home. The name of this bottling is a tongue-and-cheek reference to this, the illustration of the Black Widow spiders on the bottle also hint at this.
The High Drive, is a 26 year old single cask from Bowmore Distillery on Islay.
The island of Islay is home to eight whisky distilleries, and is most well known for producing a peaty and smoky style of whisky. Whisky from Bowmore is no different, however during the maturation of this whisky some of the smoky peat notes have become more subtle and are much less pronounced than a younger Bowmore whisky would be. The name for the High Drive refers to the practise of giving game birds a ‘sporting chance’ during a driven shoot, the most traditional of outdoor-pursuits in Scotland. The name also gives a suggestion of the smoky nature found in this whisky, in recognition of the smoky smell from the ejected gun cartridges.
The Tight Line, is from a 34 year old single cask of Glenlivet. The oldest whisky in the collection it is a deliciously sweet and fruity whisky. Glenlivet Distillery is in the heart of the Speyside whisky region, home to over half the whisky distilleries in Scotland. After the introduction of the Excise Act of 1823, Glenlivet Distillery became one the first ‘legal’ distilleries in the Highlands of Scotland. The Speyside region is named after the river Spey, which is famous for its world class salmon and trout fishing. To wish someone ‘tight lines’ while fishing means to wish them luck, as having a tight fishing line means you have must have hooked a fish, the name of this bottling is a nod to this expression.
The Highlander, is a 19 year old single cask whisky from Ben Nevis Distillery. Like the name would suggest the Highlander is from the Highland whisky region of Scotland. The bottle depicts a Highland cow and Thistles, the national flower of Scotland. The distillery takes its name from Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. The distillery is in Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis which has a summit of 4406 feet above sea level.
This unique collection of single cask single malt whiskies is very special indeed. Never again will these exact whiskies ever be available, this is the beautiful nature of single cask whisky. Once these whiskies are gone they are gone.
There is also one very unique benefit of being an owner of a set from Golden Decanters. Once you have completed the purchase of one of the numbered sets you will be given the opportunity to come to Scotland and go on an exclusive whisky tour to visit these four unique distilleries.
All in all, this is an exceptional collection of whiskies. With only 180 collections available worldwide this is certainly a very exclusive club for the discerning whisky collector or connoisseur. Each whisky can easily stand up on its own but as a collection they work wonderfully together. The first four whiskies from Golden Decanters are indeed golden drams very worthy of being in such a fine collection.
- See more at: http://fivestarmagazine.co.uk/treats/golden-decanters/#sthash.C2pC4jtk.dpuf