Speyside, the undisputed center for whisky in Scotland, boasts the highest concentration of distilleries with more than half the distilleries in Scotland being located there. Although the Speyside region is geographically part of the Highlands, it is considered a separate region because of its unique characteristics. The region receives its name from the river Spey, which cuts through the area. Many of the distilleries use water straight from the river Spey or streams that flow into it in their production process. Speyside scotches are thought to be the country’s most complex, and are known for their sweetness and elegant flavors and aromas. We’ve already begun selecting our flight.
Macallan Fine Oak 17 y.o. – The fine oak series (10 – 17 years) was discontinued for the Canadian market years ago (as well as their core range of sherried oak), and was replaced with a new no-aged statement line. They’re following in the lines of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg in an attempt to challenge some of the established norms that have developed in relation to age-statement whiskies. I scooped up this bottle from the BC liquor store two years ago before they went extinct. The fine oak series boasts soft citrus and tropical fruits. That’s because Macallan spares no expense when it comes to casks, that’s why they’re typically pricy! Although Macallan claims they’re a Highland malt on the bottle, they are geographically located right on the river Spey!
Longmorn 16 y.o. – Longmorn is another one of those distilleries you might overlook when perusing the scotch shelves. Opened in 1894, Longmorn is one of the remaining distilleries from the Scotland whisky boom about 130 years ago. Glenfiddich is also in that list. The 16 y.o. replaces the 15 y.o. which was in production for a long time. As far as I know, their core range consists only of this bottling; however, they occasionally have a special release. From what I’ve read, this dram is very elegant; can’t wait to taste it!
Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 49 – The village of Aberlour lies in the heart of Speyside. This distllery uses soft water that rises from the granite of Ben Rinnes. In 1826, ‘let the deed show’ was the motto of founder distiller James Fleming, which still stands today as the philosophy behind all Aberlour’s bottlings. A’bunadh is a natural single cask strength whisky! Though it has no age statement, it is released in limited run batches, each batch carrying a unique number on its label. Each batch of this whisky is blended from barrels ranging from 5 to 25 years old. A’bunadh is exclusively aged in Spanish oak Oloroso sherry butts which gives it a sweeter, softer flavor than most scotch. It is a go to scotch on a cold winter’s day.
Craigellachie 13 y.o. – Another distillery from the boom, the name Craigellachie means ‘rocky hill’ and refers to the cliff that overlooks the river Spey across from the Macallan distillery. The 13 y.o. is one of the three official Craigellachie bottlings released in 2014, and handsomely shows off the bold, robust character of the distillery’s output. Oodles of dynamic fruit notes with a distinctive current of smoke running through the middle. Single malt Craigellachie hasn’t been seen much outside of indie bottlings recently, so it’s nice to see a dram return to our glasses from this distillery! Kudos to the BC liquor distributors for adding this one to their stock!
Darkness Dailuaine 15 y.o. – Only 24 bottles out of 96 produced of this 500 ml whisky made it into Canada! Bottled at 53.9% by Master of Malt under their new “Darkness” label, this 15 year old Dailuaine was finished for 3 months in a custom 50L Pedro Ximenez sherry cask. Darkness is a new range of whiskies from Master of Malt. The company had Speyside cooperage build them custom 50L Octave casks from Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The whiskies were only finished in them for 3 months, but given the reduced ratio of surface area to whisky, the results were stunning! Thank KWM for bringing this limited whisky to Canada. The KSFSS is very excited and proud to give its members a unique chance to taste a very limited and boutique style of whisky.
Balvenie 12 y.o. Single Barrel – The Balvenie Located is another classic Speyside distillery located in Dufftown on the river Spey. They have a great selection of core range whiskies including the Doublewood, Caribbean and Portwood finishes. The Single Barrel is a 2013 addition to The Balvenie’s range, a younger sibling to the 15 year old single cask. These are limited edition bottlings: it’s one of around 300 drawn from a single cask made from American white oak. Bottled at 47.8% ABV, there’s no chill-filtration and no addition of caramel colouring added. Complex enough to intrigue veteran cask strength whisky drinkers but also delicate enough to be a nice introductory cask strength whisky.