Sunday, June 18, 2006


It’s £32,000 a bottle, there were only 12 made, and Toshie has tasted it. The Dalmore 62 year old, the most expensive dram in the world, was the jewel in the crown when Glasgow’s Whisky Club organised a tasting night for Holyrood Magazine, the influential political publication that circulates among the good and the great in Scotland’s political village.

Richard Paterson, whisky legend and master blender for Whyte and Mackay, kindly agreed to host it at his brand new sample room in Glasgow. Apart from Glasgow’s Whisky Club members Alex, Toshie Andy and Ken, there were journalists from the magazine, other media representatives, local council politicians, press officers and public relations exectuives and even a Professor of Economics.

After a comprehensive history lesson, Richard showed us into his new sample room where the alchemy that is whisky blending is carried out.

On offer for tasting was the new range of Whyte and Mackay in its new packaging for a major brand re-launch. In addition to the well-respected standard bottling, now renamed Special, there were bottles of 13, 19 and 22. The magnificent 30YO capped the line up. The distillers’ single malts were also on show, including the Tamnavulin, Dalmore and Jura, which club members have already enjoyed under the expert tutelage of Willie Tait.

Richard’s talk was both all-encompassing and illuminating, but his fun side came to the fore when he invited Toshie to sample an unknown malt. This turned out to be the 62YO derived from 1868, 1878, 1926 and 1939 casks. Over the years it has been racked several times and finally finished in an Oloroso "Mathusalem" Sherry butt from Gonzalez Byass, Spain. Distilled and matured by The Dalmore Distillery, at Alness. It is bottled at natural cask strength of 40.5% volume.

It was a deep, deep colour, with a rich honey nose and Terry’s chocolate orange in the centre. The taste was sensational. Held in the mouth, it laid an oily coat over the tongue and when swallowed there was more chocolate orange with spices and a warm nutty aftertaste. Accompanied by a giant party popper, it ensured the night went with a bang

Sadly Toshie’s palate may never recover, rendering as mortal every other dram he ever sips. He’s prepared to battle through this disappointment, however.

Simply stunning.

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