Friday, December 02, 2005


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Three of your clubsters talked their way into the Macallan/Highland Park tasting treat in Glasgow on St Andrew's Eve.

With an eye on future events - and please watch this space very carefully for an absolutely stonking announcement - Andy, Ken and Toshie (pictured with Highland Park's Gerry Tosh in the light suit) schmoozed their way round the canapes, oysters and little bits of biscuits with dark things on the top.

The first surprise was the offer of a 'long dram' - Highland Park 18 over ice with ginger beer, lime juice and a slice of lime. I can see the purists shuddering, but this is an astonishingly refreshing drink and if the Edrington gang are happy to see their malts taken this way, who are we to argue?

After a short welcome from Ken Grier, Director of Malts from the Edrington Group, Gerry Tosh, the Global Brand Ambassador for Highland Park, took us through the intricacies of tasting, turning the glass, watching the legs, nosing and finally the tasting.

This was no stuffed-shirt session; this was an enjoyment of Highland Park at its glorious best done with panache and humour. The main part of the evening was simply a relaxing chat with people who share the love of a dram (sounds like a slogan).

I spent most of the evening ensconced at the Highland Park table, while Ken and Andy shuttled between HP and Macallan. I was honoured when Gerry opened the bottle of 16 YO that had only been on the market for three weeks, and which is duty free only.

It is a light, citrus taste with pear drops on the tongue, followed by that traditonal HP effect - dry mouth, then a sudden swoosh of flavour as it comes back to dance on the tongue.

The 25YO and the 30 were absolutes giants - but gentle giants - the 30 reminding me of Terry's Chocolate Orange , only much, much nicer.

Highlight of the night for me was Gerry's HP25 and ice cream combo - a concept that sounds so ridiculous but which works beyond all expectations. Take one spoonful of vanilla ice cream, (Gerry suggests Haagen Dazs, but any good ice cream will do) down it and immediately follow with a generous sip of HP. The taste sensation is quite extraordinary. Please do try this at home.

My overall impression of the night was that the Edrington people obviously respect and indeed revere their products, but firmly believe they are there to be enjoyed. Whether it's a dram you take straight, or with ice, ginger, or scoopfuls of ice cream, the message is the same - it's your dram; have it as you like it.

Bill Mackintosh

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