The Nation was invited to the famous Tour & Taxis buildings in Brussels to witness the launch of what is called “The Last Great Malts”. It all sounded very definite, ominous even, so we couldn’t miss it.
Upon arrival we were welcomed with a Penicillin cocktail by Frank Symons. Very refreshing, we liked it a lot, quite spicy though. The original recipe was created by Sam Ross of the Milk & Honey in NYC, Frank told us. This one was made with Dewars 12, Lemon juice, honey, fresh made ginger syrup and a peated whiskey.
The typology of whiskey drinkers
Stephen Marshall, Bacardi’s Global Marketing Manager of Whisky, showed us a summary of their marketing research, which was very interesting. They defined whisky drinkers into 6 categories, with their own distinctive characteristics:
The ones who seek guidance and accessibility:
1. Guidance seekers: they tend to buy the whisky they know and need guidance to explore new tastes. (you know, the guy who always orders steak, even at a fish restaurant)
2. Taste loyalists: these stick to what are called ‘the flavour classics’. (the one who always orders steak with pepper sauce )
The ones who seek trusted and/or impressive brands:
3. Reputation followers: they need ‘whisky with distinction’. (the guy who insists on going to a fancy, reputable restaurant and then orders a steak with pepper sauce)
4. Passionate influencers: are looking for ‘intriguing whisky’. (you know, the kind of whisky that looks at you over her shoulder, blowing blue smoke from her ruby lips, asking you to go look for Jimmy in the dark part of town, saying that the reward will be substantial)
The ones who seek interesting products:
5. Treasure hunters: always on a quest for new whisky to discover. (the one who always orders something else in restaurants, ‘because he hasn’t tasted it yet’)
6. Knowledgeable experimenters: who seek whisky that challenges them. (you know, whisky that makes a feint to the left and then hits you with a right hook)
The Cocktail Nation obviously belongs to a mixture of the last three categories. You know the guy who always wants a new dame that is looking for Jimmy and when you are finally about to collect your reward, she kicks you in the nuts. That kind of dram.
The “Last Great Malts”
The following whisky is obviously material for the treasure hunters and they will be very happy I think.
Called “The Golden Dram” not only because of its colour, but also because the Pitilie Burn, the river they use as water source, contains gold. It’s a typical central highland whisky, which has become a rare thing these days. Full of herbal fruitiness and wild honey.
This one is a rare Speyside malt that is known to many, but tasted by few. That’s probably because nobody can find the distillery, always surrounded by the thick mist of the aptly named Foggy Moss. The water from Foggy Moss gives it a distinct grassy flavour and nice herbal tones.
We were told that this whisky was considered old fashioned even in 1891, when it was founded by Peter Mackie in the heart of Speyside. So again an uncommon style. Apparently they still use worm tubs, which gives it a very strong, full taste. It’s like being head butted. It’s not smokey, it’s sulphurous and we quite like that.
Produced at the Deveron river, this whisky enjoys itself best when it’s blowing a gale outside and you’re next to the large fireplace, rubbing your hands in anticipation. It is made in the distillery of MacDuff, which has five of Scotland’s smallest distillation columns. A fruity whisky with lots of green apple, toffee and some herbs. At this point Stephen told us a strange story about a quack in the village who “cured” people by putting them in an electric chair. And he did that with every illness, like a sore knee or upset bowls, … Bit of a cough? Have a seat sir! BZZZZZZTTT!!!! When family would turn up to inquire about the “patients”, he would say that the disease was too strong and the patient hadn’t made it. (well he did say his knees were killing him) Obviously a lot of people started to be missing and they chased him out of the village with pitchforks or something.
There was a 35 year old limited edition of this one, years ago, that made 15.000 dollars per bottle, we were told. It got a royal warrant under William IV and quickly received the moniker of “The King’s Own Whisky”. Royal stuff apparently. I was still wondering who on earth was William IV. We weren’t able to taste the Brackla, but it is described as nutty with a sweetness of natural muscovado and dates and a strong sherry flavour. A luxury single malt.
End of story?
So that’s it? No more great malts after this? We’ve had everything, shop’s closed? What you see is what you get now?
May be. But those that are there, will do, I think. And if you want new stuff, you’ll want to look at the rest of the world once in a while.
Anyway, it’s a nice selection of malts, we especially enjoyed the Craigellachie. More information on Last Great Malts.