Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Sherry Cask Finish
THE 12-POINT STAG
Legend has it that in 1263, Colin of Kintail, Chief of the Clan Mackenzie and apparently a badass, was out hunting when he somehow saved King Alexander III from a charging stag. Whether he was hunting illegally on the King’s land or was a member of the King’s hunting party is hard to determine but let’s continue. In recognition for saving the King’s life, the Chief and his Clan were granted the right to use the 12-point Royal stag.
emblem on their coat of arms. When the Mackenzie brothers bought the distillery in 1886, they displayed their coat of arms anywhere except prominently on the bottle. It was in the bottom left of the label, the back; basically anywhere but where we see it today. While the Mackenzies were clearly fierce hunters and good enough businessmen to buy and successfully operate a distillery from 1886 to 1960, their understanding of branding was not terribly sophisticated. The stag eventually made its jump to front and center after the distillery merged with Whyte and Mackay in 1960.
WHISKY N’ CHILL
You may have seen the note on whisky packaging and didn’t give it much thought or perhaps you’re the type that looks for the note as a prerequisite to purchase. I’m referring to chill filtration and specifically any indication explicitly saying, “Non-Chill-Filtered” or “Not Chill-Filtered” or “Chill-Filtering is For Punks,” you get the idea. It’s an odd term. Are you filtering the chill or are you chilling the filter? Before I get to what it actually is, let’s talk about the problem that it solves. Whisky bottled at under 46% ABV will get hazy in low temperatures or when water is added to it. You may have even experienced this yourself. If you have there is a hotline you can call (1-800-WHY-ME) that can set you up with a therapist to help you get over this trauma. But seriously you’ve likely seen the occurrence and probably forgot about it by the time you put the glass to your lips. Personally, beyond the curiosity of “how the hell did that just happen?” I never gave it much thought because it doesn’t affect the aroma, flavor, finish, or any other meaningful characteristic of the whisky aside from the way it looks in the glass.
It must matter to someone because many of the larger distillers employ chill filtering as a standard process on their lower ABV bottlings. In simplified terms they chill the whisky down to trigger the haze, then filter out the newly formed particles, let it return to room temp, and bottle it. At this point, a massive argument ensues between hardcore whisky purists and chill-filtering distillers. The purists believe that filtering removes not only the haze particles but also some of the flavors and textures of the whisky, a fair argument to be sure. There have even been some well-known distillers who were on the chill filtering train that have relatively recently jumped off.
At the end of it all it is up to you to decide how you feel about this. As for me, I don’t think that the haze was a big enough problem to begin with so I’d just as well do away with the practice altogether. At the same time I am not so concerned with it that I will stop purchasing a whisky because they are chill filtering. That seems silly to me. If I enjoy the whisky as it was bottled, I will continue to enjoy it. If a whisky I loved suddenly started filtering and I found that I didn’t enjoy it as much, I’d simply take my business elsewhere. I’m not a fighter I’m a chiller but in case you were wondering, all of the whiskies in this installment of 5 to Try have been chill filtered except for the Glenmorangie Nectar D’or.
A complex aroma with a combination of blood orange, spice, and sherry balanced by rich notes of walnut and vanilla. The palate continues with more citrus, sherry, and vanilla but this time it’s accompanied by chocolate and oak. The characteristic that sets The Dalmore 12 apart is how elegantly the sherry cask finish comes through every part of the experience.
CIGAR PAIRING: Illusione Fume D’Amour
The Fume D’Amour by Illusione brings the perfect amount of creamy, nutty characteristics to this pairing while having just enough pepper and subtle earth to stay afloat. The cigar and single malt complement one another beautifully. The smoke settles the spice and dried fruit from the sherry casks and the cigar takes on an even creamier texture with every sip.