Scotland September 2012 – Day 2 – Glenisla and Scottish Liqueur Center

From my hotel in Edzell I made my way west toward the foot of the Grampiam Mountains and a mountain bike ride. I found a list of some trails online and took a chance on one near the Kirkton of Glenisla near Glen Prossen. It was largely fire road with some quick descents and lovely views but no single track. After my ride I continued driving west through Blairgowrie and beautiful little hamlet of Dunkeld. The scenery was incredible with a rich green canopy over the road and sun glinting off of small lochans through the trees. At Dunkeld I headed down the A9 to Bankfoot and the Scottish Liqueurs Center.

The Scottish Liqueurs Center produces its own whisky liqueurs as well as others for different clients including Edradour distillery. The liqueur business is still doing well, but it is their single malt business that I’ve come to see, which is really taking off. I was here to meet with Kenneth MacKay, the manager and his Canadian importer Bob Kyle of Rare Drams. Since 2005 the company has been owned by Brian Morrison (of the Morrison Bowmore Morrisons), who brought Kenny MacKay along with him when the family sold the remainder of its interest in its three malt distilleries: Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch and Bowmore. The SLC was founded on the Isle of Mull some 30 years ago.

Brian Morrison brought some casks with him from Morrison Bowmore and with Kenny MacKay some expertise in selecting individual casks to bottle as single malts. The company bottles single malts under the Càrn Mòr line. Càrn Mòr is the name of a mountain in the Nevis range, and is translates from Scots Gaelic as “big cairn”. I sampled five whiskies at the Scottish liqueur center:

  1. Càrn Mòr Arran 1996 – 46% – 15 Year – Refill Sherry Butt – My Tasting Note: Nose: toffee, floral-barley, white chocolate Hershey’s Kisses, marmalade and orange peel with chocolate caramel; Palate: very honeyed, some chewy malt with toffee, candied orange, more marmalade with grassy floral tones and emerging dark fruit with spice; Finish: soft and a little creamy with more grassy malt. - $76.99 + GST (approx.)
  2. Càrn Mòr Clynelish 1995 – 46% – 16 Year – 2 Hogsheads – My Tasting Note: Nose: classic Clynelish with notes of beeswax, lemon drops, floral tones and honeyed sugary malt; Palate: still very honeyed and creamy, Highland toffee, big citrus notes and floral tones; Finish: drying with more beeswax and cream. - $87.99 + GST (approx.)
  3. Càrn Mòr Bunnahabhain 2001 – 46% – 10 Year – Sherry Puncheon – My Tasting Note: Nose: immediately nutty, peppery and leathery then some dark chocolate and clove; Palate: nutty but very soft with creamy sherry and leather with dried fruits: raisins and cranberries;Finish: drying, spicy and leathery with more clove. - $75.99 + GST (approx.)
  4. Càrn Mòr Celebration of the Cask MacDuff 1991 – 55.3% – Bourbon Barrel – My Tasting Note: Nose: very floral and minty with vanilla cream and Old English Butterscotch; Palate: rum raisin, more Old English Butterscotch, loads of toasty oak, caramelized honey and bags of sugar; Finish: drying with toasty oak. - $225.99 + GST (approx.)
  5. Càrn Mòr Celebration of the Cask Glen Grant 1965 – 47% (approx) – 47 Year (approx) – Ex Bourbon – My Tasting Note: Nose: pineapple, coconut cream, brown sugar, melons, toffee chews and papaya; Palate: very layered with a balance of sugars, toasty oak and exotic fruits; nectarines, more papaya and pineapple, heather honey, coconut cream and French vanilla; Finish: rich, coating and warm with more coconut, cream and pineapple. $669.99 + GST (approx)


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