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The Whisky Store and The Quaich Bar
Since 2005, The Whisky Store, and later, The Quaich Bar, have been providing Singapore with a hub for all things whisky but 2021 saw the launch of the Collectors Club, a members program that aims to make exceptional single cask whisky more available to local consumers. Club members will be able to buy new and exclusive bottlings individually or as a set of 6 or 12. A three-tier pricing structure will also make it advantageous to purchase the whisky earlier. The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay.
The first selection of bottlings to be made available to the Collector’s Club have been selected by Scotch whisky industry veteran Frank McHardy. With an illustrious career taking in spells at Bushmills, Tullibardine and Bruichladdich, McHardy is perhaps best known for his time at Springbank where he oversaw the refurbishment of Glengyle distillery, home of the Kilkerran single malt.
McHardy has selected 12 single casks. I reviewed the first three in the range here. For my thoughts on the next three, read on…
*Full disclosure: I was sent the samples featured in this article free of charge. As always, I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the spirit.
Glen Grant 23-Year-Old (53.0%)
Glen Grant is a Speyside disitllery, founded in 1840 in the village of Rothes. The distillery is owned by the Italian Campari Group and its single malt is especially popular in Italy.
This single cask was distilled in 1997 and aged for 23 years before being bottled in 2021 at 53%.
Smell: Caramel. Toffee. Apple and pear. Orange marmalade. Lemon. Baking spices. Some old oak. Water brings out a wood varnish note. The longer it sits in the glass, the more prominent the toffee note becomes.
Taste: Lots of honey and woody spice. Wonderfully rich. Lots of caramel. Golden syrup. Cinnamon and ginger. Cloves. Black pepper. With water some lovely citrus notes come through. Dry spices return on the finish.
Thoughts: There’s a lovely oily texture that gives this whisky a luxurious feel and that works beautifully with the caramel / toffee character. The cask’s impact is well balanced meaning the dram shows its age without ever being dominated by oak.
It’s got just about everything you could want in a drop of old Glen Grant: it’s classy, it’s sophisticated and it has a traditional Speyside character with the added depth that only comes with years in cask. Exceptional.
Dailuaine 18-Year-Old (57.4%)
The distillery was established in 1852, in the famous Speyside region of Scotland. Today it is owned by Diageo and spends much of its time providing spirit for use in their blended Scotch brands. Single malt bottlings are limited to a solitary release in the Flora & Fauna series, though independently bottled versions are becoming more common.
This expression was distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2021 at 57.4%.
Smell: Dailuaine is one of those unusual Speyside malts with a slightly meaty note. Despite being 18 years in the cask, that unique personality is still in evidence here. There’s also lemon curd and toasted crumpets. Cinnamon. Baked apples. Vanilla and a little bit of aniseed. Water releases some tropical fruits and sweet pastries.
Taste: Fantastic arrival. Burst of fruits and berries on the front of the tongue before things turn dry and spicy. Sultanas. Leather. Tobacco. Big helping of pepper. Water tones down the spice and brings that meaty undercurrent back.
Thoughts: I have a real soft spot for the weightier Speyside whiskies and Dailuaine can often fall into that category. This particular bottling is a very fine example of the quality the distillery can produce. It has body, it has character and it has complexity. The little bit of spice mingles so well with the oak and forms a foundation upon which the fruitier notes can leap from. It all comes together beautifully. A great single cask from an underrated distillery.
Speyside 25-Year-Old (60.9%)
The Speyide Distillery is located near the village of Kingussie in the Speyside region of Scotland. The distillery currently produces spirit for use in their Spey and Beinn Dubh single malt brands.
This expression was distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2021 at 60.9%.
Smell: New leather and walnut. Chocolate truffles. Balsamic vinegar. Furniture polish. Sultana. Oak. Cinnamon and a touch of brown sugar.
Taste: Very much in sync with the nose. It arrives with more of that balsamic note. Raisins and sultanas. Orange zest. Cinnamon and star anise. Treacle. Lots of tannins on the finish. Oak char.
Thoughts: A wonderfully rich whisky. At 60.9% it packs a bit of a punch but it’s perfectly drinkable at cask strength and despite verging close to sherry bomb territory, it hasn’t been over-oaked. The sherry is prominent, certainly, but the dram isn’t one dimensional. The longer it sits in the glass it reveals more of itself. There’s even some orchard fruits peeking out from under the sherry. A wee touch of malt, too.
A cracking whisky for a cold winter’s day or other any time you’re in need of a big comforting hug in a glass.
For more information on The Quaich Bar / Whisky Store Signature Reserve Series and Collector’s Club, visit here.