This is another sample purchase during my visit to the Whisky Collector’s bar in Dornoch at the Castle hotel. If you’re ever in Sutherland or visiting a nearby distillery such as Glenmorangie or Balblair, then I’d seriously recommend the detour. Whisky bars that offer such a wide range of whiskies from across the world and from bygone eras are very rare. So put down that copy of Whisky Magazine with their suggested whisky bars for a moment and pencil this one in.
Above might read like a sales pitch but it is only my opinion based on my experiences. Next time I’m in Sutherland visiting relatives, I’ll be sure to drop by once again. A real advantage of this whisky bar is you are able to purchase samples, which is fantastic if you are driving or want to indulge yourself when you return home. The pricing is very attractive given my experiences of bars and hotels that charge ridiculous prices for mainstream whiskies never mind rarely seen oddities.
This sample comes from an Ainslies Royal Edinburgh Choice Scotch Whisky blend bottled in 1972. The bottle was sourced in Belgium and does feature the Brora distillery within the blend so my expectations are high, as few distilleries can rival the illustrious sleeping cat. Mmm, thinking about1972 again in context with Brora - wasn't this in the midst of the golden age of its Highland peaty style? Fingers crossed.
Ainslie & Heilbron were officially dissolved in 1993 however from 1896 they owned the original Brora distillery, which was known as Clynelish. Now most readers will be aware on the same site just outside the village of Brora we have the original distillery and what is known as Clynelish today, which was built in 1968. Over the years there has been a degree of name swapping which does make things a litlte more cloudy than necessary. Brora became Clynelish 2, it was reopened due to events elsewhere before finally closing in 1983. Confused? You certainly wouldn't be the first or last!
Enough of the history, lets move onto the contents that matter most:
Aroma: coconut, freshly squeezed lemon is evident with more citrus notes in pineapple, green banana and vanilla custard tart. Upon returning to the empty glass; crushed digestive biscuits.
Taste: this just glides across the tongue leaving a lasting essence of smoke as the finish - something I wasn't expected especially with that nose. Before all that the oak is noticeable, a charred note and peat, followed by honey, marzipan almost pastry-like with the butter note that hints at waxiness.
I cherish opportunities like this to experience malts from a bygone era. Much is said about computerised Scotch today compared to what the human craft aspect produced decades ago. Only by tasting releases such as these can I make a judgement for myself.
Labels: Ainslie, blend, brora, review, royal Edinburgh choice scotch, taste, whisky, whisky collector