14 April 2011

Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland "Replica-licious"

Over the last year or so you’d probably of needed to have been on the moon or a Chilean coal miner, not to of heard about the recovery of century old bottles of whisky in the Antarctic, belonging to polar explorer Earnest Shackleton.

After a period of tense anticipation during the recovery process, and time spent thawing at the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand, three of the eleven recovered bottles were then flown to Scotland for analysis.

In just under three months not only had these bottles been given a good going over by scientific dramming types, but thanks to the hands and indeed nose of Richard Paterson, Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay, a replica bottling of the ‘Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt’ had been produced.

Now I can’t say that I was one of the privileged few to of sampled the original recovered bottles, but I was fortunate enough however to sample the replica bottling ahead of its release.

The nose kicks off with a sensory seduction of all that is great about late spring and early summer. Rolling fields of flourishing and fragrant wild flowers along with a subtle whiffette of Turkish and Moroccan rose initially draw you into this cornucopia of captivating confident drammage.

An orgasmic orchard overload of Granny Smith apples, pink grapefruits, Williams’s pears and unripened ortanique’s make for the next set of sensations along with the sweet soggy aroma from a kiwi fruit that’s spent one to many days sitting idle in a fruit bowl.

A toasted infusion of cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet oak help add a superb level of balance, along with a warm slice of egg custard tart and a scoop of Hockings vanilla ice cream from the van at Westward Ho! in North Devon.

A plummeting petering plume of post beach barbeque smoke then drifts into the proceedings, before evolving into something more reminiscent of a subtle hit of sweet smoked paprika.

In a sort of reverse order roll call, the palate pretty much manages to recreate the plethora of pleasing delights that did it so proud on the nose, along with a few cheeky additions.

This time round the beach barbecue smoke evolves into something more burnt caramel-esque, with waves of sherbet enhancing and frolicking with all those aforementioned fruity wonders, using the palate as one big zinging pinball machine.

A brioche bread and butter pudding oozing with thick cut marmalade makes for the next set of sensations along with a warm wonderlicious slab of peanut brittle.

There’s nothing understated and there’s certainly nothing overstated about this drop of drammage. It finishes and exits as elegantly as it did when it first let itself loose on the senses, and is a truly bountiful balanced blend that deserves some serious one on one dramlaxing time.

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