Bottle #5 of our 13-year Anniversary themed event – The Far Flung Regions of Scotland. The Northern Selection:
For this aged group of dedicated ET members (13 years!) I am of solid opinion that every anniversary needs a Unicorn. The Valhalla Collection from Highland Park celebrates the Norse Gods of Freya, Loki, Thor and Odin, one released per year from 2012 to 2015. HP later released 2 additional similarly packaged bottles in 2016, Fire (celebrating Ragnarok) and Ice (celebrating the Ice Realm). We all know HP has carried on with several more bottles celebrating the northern Scottish Island of Orkney, HP’s blustery home, and its roots in Norse mythology.
Alas, the entire Valhalla collection is as yet out of reach. But even a piece of this rare collection, the few bottles of which are left in existence sitting on private collector’s shelves, was a Viking Honour to sample…
Bottle #4 of our 13-year Anniversary themed event – The Far Flung Regions of Scotland. The Islay Detour:
Betcha thought we were headed north! But we shall take a brief jaunt to the very distinct and beloved Islay, the most populated and popular (distillery-wise) of the remote Scottish islands. Hunter Liang’s Old & Rare Platinum range brilliantly picked up enough for only 209 bottles of Laphroaig 18, before the vintage was discontinued by the distillery in 2016 as it started to phase out some age statements in exchange for other special release drams. Hence it now being both old and rare! Hard to come by even from independent bottlers, this wee beastie is beautifully packaged and, of course, boldly peated. Sure to be a bottle auction hot topic for this Club, it’s the perfect she-be-gone cask-strength sipper for a cold Canadian winter night. (The club loved it – wish we had more!).
Bottle #3 of our 13-year Anniversary themed event – The Far Flung Regions of Scotland. The Southern Selection:
Officially Scotland’s southernmost distillery and representing the lowlands, Bladnoch 17 was matured in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in California red wine casks for 10 months. Look for dried fruit, cherries, vanilla and oak. An interesting compare to our eastern selection, aged its entire life in red wine casks! Bladnoch is one of Scotland’s largest distilleries to maintain privately owned status. Our 13th anniversary dram was bottled in 2017 to celebrate the distillery’s 200th anniversary. Been around for a while, but a new distillery to the Club! Sourced out-of-province.
Bottle #2 of our 13-year Anniversary themed event – The Far Flung Regions of Scotland. The Eastern Selection:
Distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2014, this Small Batch Limited Edition represents the most eastern distillery available to us (Glenugie is further east, but alas, cannot be found). Packed full of red fruit flavour, it is a sweet and spicy dram with wine at the forefront, having been matured for all 16 years in an ex-wine cask. Leave it to Glen Garioch to refuse to shy away from experimenting with whisky!
Bottle #1 of our 13-year Anniversary themed event – The Far Flung Regions of Scotland.
In a challenging time of physical distance, what a better way to celebrate such a remarkable year of remote and modified gatherings and tastings than with whisky selections from the most geographically distant Scottish distilleries (that we could get our hands on in Ontario anyway)!
Our Western selection was released under Diageo’s Rare by Nature theme. Big, sooty and earthy, with hits of ripe citrus and warm spice. Classic coastal and a new distillery to the Club. Sold out everywhere and sourced out-of-province. A much enjoyed bottle!