A Special Wee Dram

By Franz Scheurer


Time is a funny thing; it can be too slow when we eagerly wait to grow up and it is mostly passing too fast for us later in life, measured, sometimes frighteningly, by the height of our friends’ kids. But time also blesses some of the wonderful whiskies, slowly maturing in barrels hidden in dark, wet warehouses all over Scotland. Here are some superb examples:


The Macallan 1952

The last tram left London. Albert Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Jonas Salk invented a vaccine against Polio and Britain developed its own atomic bomb. At Macallan they distilled one heck of a dram and filled it into an ex Sherry butt. If you’re buying vintage Macallan then the 1952 is a terrific example of age not killing the fruit. This is not a wood-dominant whisky. You’ll discover Demerara sugar and citrus notes on the nose with faint, cedary undertones. On the palate a hint of peat leads into raisins, white chocolate and nutty, earthy flavours with a finish that is long, sweet and alluring. It might be expensive, but it’s terrific value for money.

For more information contact Andrew Skehan at Maxxium on Andrew.Skehan@maxxium.com


Ardbeg 1977

Our Prime Minister was Malcolm Fraser and the NSW Premier was Neville Wran.

Don Dunstan governed South Australia and Sir Bjelke Petersen reigned supreme in Queensland and a family in Canberra celebrated the arrival of future food and drinks journalist Pat Nourse.  Storms and howling winds greeted the ‘birth’ of the 1977 Ardbeg, a particularly wonderful ‘baby’. This is Islay’s ultimate malt. An amazingly complex nose with aromas of peat, tangy seaweed and malted barley, it reveals a million things at once on the palate. Easily the sweetest expression of Ardbeg in the mouth this is one to savour and reminisce over for eons.

For more information go to: http://www.ardbeg.com



The year was 1879 and the day was the 28th December when the first spirit flowed from the stills at the Glenrothes distillery, built next to the Burn of Glenrothes in the heart of peaceful Speyside. The rest of the world was not so peaceful with the start of the Zulu wars in South Africa, the Cheyenne’s’ prisoner revolt under Dull Knife at Fort Robinson and Chilean troops occupying Antofagasta whilst British troops conquered Kabul in Afghanistan. Thankfully, like the reputation of Albert Einstein, also born in 1879, Glenrothes continues to enchant and mystify us. Here are some of my favourites (all bottled at 43% a/vol):



1972 (bottled in 2004)

Nose: Japanese boiled lollies and cinnamon.

Palate: Sweet at first with spicy undertones and strong Seville oranges on the mid palate. Slowly drying and quite biscuity, with a hint of cigar box.

Finish: Long and progressively dryer.


1973 (bottled in 2000)

Nose: Shortbread and malted barley with a hint of wood varnish.

Palate: Luscious, palate-coating with the malty notes confirmed. The sweet notes so prevalent in the 1972 are much more subdued although the Seville oranges still persist.

Finish: Medium long, dry with a hint of raisins.


1985 (bottled in 2005)

Nose: Uncharacteristically closed at first. Reluctantly releases bouquets of dried fruit and hay.

Palate: Dry at first with lots of dried prunes and a touch of heather. Slowly meatier notes assert themselves with a definite memory of haggis.

Finish: long and austere.


1991 (bottled in 2005)

Nose: fruit-forward, like a raspberry and vanilla milkshake.

Palate: creamy, lots of red berries with the vanilla notes confirmed. Sweet, butterscotch and burnt sugar flavours assert themselves on the back palate.

Finish: Medium long, quite floral with lingering coco-pop notes.


And finally


Select Reserve

Is this Glenrothes’ answer to the typical consistency found in blends? Only time will tell. For now it’s a beautifully balanced dram.

Nose: Spicy cinnamon and cloves fight for dominance with stewed fruit.

Palate: Sweet at first with blackberry and nutmeg it slowly dries as it coats your palate. Oodles of malt and dry biscuits.

Finish: Dry, quite long and very moreish.


For more information on any of the Glenrothes range contact: Samuel Smith & Sons, Mr. Ashley Presser on 08 8561 3253


Blue Hanger 25 y/o

Berry Bros. & Rudd can trace its origins back to 1698 when the Widow Bourne founded her shop opposite St. James’ Palace. 300 odd years later this is still a family owned business. One of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s best customers in the late 18th Century was William ‘Blue Hanger’ Lord Coleraine, who earned his nickname as the best-dressed man and the inevitably blue colour of the garments he wore. Today’s Blue Hanger is a tribute to Lord Coleraine. This is a soft ‘Scots Whisky’, with perfect balance and integrated oak. 25 years have further mellowed this wonderful dram and the high alcohol (45.6% a/vol) caresses every last nook and cranny of your palate. Lemonade and grape fruit aromas turn to custard, William pear and orange peel flavours and the finish progresses from sweet butterscotch to dry, smoky memories of a terrific dram.

For more information contact: Graham Wright at the Odd Whisky Coy on graham@oddbins.com.au