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The Big Strand
The Big Strand is a single malt Scotch whisky from an undisclosed distillery on the Hebridean island of Islay. The product of independent bottler, Morrison & MacKay, it is named after the golden sands of Islay’s longest beach, which stretches for more than 7 miles from Laggan Point in the North to Kintra in the South.
Morrison & MacKay began life as John Murray & Co., founded by the Bartholomew family on the Isle of Mull in 1982. The young business specialised in the creation of fine liqueurs, enjoying great success with their Caledonian Cream brand. By 1996 they had opened the Scottish Liqueur Centre in Perth, beginning a long relationship with the city at the very heart of Scotland.
In 2005 however, John Murray & Co. was purchased outright by partners Kenny MacKay, Rob Starling, Brian and Jamie Morrison, all formerly of the Morrison Bowmore group and with experience of working with distilleries like Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch. They set out to re-invent the company as a whisky trader, bottler and blender whilst simultaneously using their location to restore the long lost whisky industry of the city of Perth.
Today the company are the proud owners of the Bruadar Liqueur brand and bottle fine single cask whisky under the Càrn Mòr label as well as paying tribute to their location with the Old Perth blended malt brand. In recent years a range of mystery single malts have been introduced, hailing from undisclosed distilleries across the country. The Big Strand represents Islay and has since been joined by ‘Riverflow‘ from Speyside and ‘Kirkwall Bay‘ from the the Orkney islands.
Bottled at 46% abv, The Big Strand is available for around £35 a bottle in the UK.
Smell: Young and Fruity, a bit of a New Make character with very subtle wood influence. Vanilla and Cream, Lemon and Lime with freshly cut Grass and subtle Peat Smoke.
Taste: Buttery Vanilla, Liquorice, Sea Salt and Peppery Spice, Lemon and Cereal with that undercurrent of Bonfire Smoke.
Thoughts: The Big Strand is a mouthful of seriously coastal flavours with smoky undertones for a very reasonable price. It’s young, salty and smoky. Full of the character you would expect and best of all, it won’t break the bank. Islay on a budget – which is becoming a rare thing these days.
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