Had a first world problem the other day, thought I’d share. See, I’m suppose to limit the amount of alcohol I have for health reasons. You know, living in a country where I can go to a doctor and have my health assessed and have any concerns fixed without going bankrupt. Pretty rough, eh?
And then I have to cut back on that luxury drink I love so that I’ll live a happier life. How fucked up is that?
Finally, here I am, coming closer and closer to review number 150, a major milestone of something I find fun, and I have too many excellent, interesting whiskies to choose from. Oh, and great friends came in this weekend, we had an amazing time, however I had to do my reviews two days later.
Also my gold shoes don’t quite fit and there’s too many 100 dollar bills in my wallet. Life is so hard.
Anyway, once I finally stopped whining and looked through, I decided to do one of the High Level Malts, the Mackinlay’s Shackleton: The Journey. I have to keep on believing, and hold onto that feeling I guess.
Seriously though, this is an interesting dram. It’s made to commemorate the Shackleton Epic Expedition, which is, based on the website, a recreation of the 1916 expedition from Elephant Island to South Georgia. And let me tell you, I’ve been to South Georgia, and I hope they avoid the planters in the middle of the road, my dad nearly drove through one at night.
The Journey is the second edition, with The Discovery being the first. The Discovery was an attempt at recreating the whisky found in 10 bottles in the Antarctic. Whyte & Mackay gave them over to their blender, Richard Paterson, to analyse (see: drink) and bring these 100 year old malts back to life.
Where the Journey differs is that it’s not a straight recreation; it’s building on what was done with Discovery to make a better dram. They use the same single malts (Speysides, including Dalmores and Glen Mhor), and I believe they still use Orkney peat to dry it and age it all in American white oak sherry casks.
Let’s see how they did.
Price: $259.95 (CAD)
Colour: Light, dead grass
Nose: Mango, smoke, salt air, raisin, sugar pie, licorice
If you’ve never had sugar pie, you’re missing out. It’s wonderful diabetes in a buttery pie shell, made in Quebec, where the food is amazing and the people look like they don’t eat it. Ever.
This has a nice mixture of flavours in it. There’s a distinct molasses like nose to it that is really sweet.
Taste: Licorice, basil, chili, chocolate, lemon pepper, tar, coffee
Holy shit it’s like drinking Sambuca! After letting this rest for 20 minutes, all I could taste was the heavy, heavy licorice taste. Very strong. After sipping for quite a long time, it eventually subsided into a coffee/chocolate flavour, but damn, that licorice flavour was out camping (it was intense).
Finish: Nutmeg, smoke, salami, fennel, parsley, lemon zest
Long finish. Very long, and very spicy. Again, the fennel is the main flavour here, and any and all sweetness is all gone. It’s a nice aftertaste, however I like black licorice, so take that with a grain of salt.
Conclusion: Great nose, very interesting, mostly one note taste, and then a relaxing finish. I think the main thing to take away from this is it’s a good blend, save for too much licorice. I can see what they were going for, and appreciate it; it’s historical, it’s celebratory, and it is the kind of thing that all whisky manufacturers should dream and aim to do. There’s no colouring, they use great techniques, and the Abv. is a respectable amount.
That said, holy balls there’s a lot of licorice flavour in this one. Just… I mean, let it sit for a LONG time, longer than normal, and it’s nice. I still think this is almost worth the money, I just think that the singular flavour profile means that I won’t be buying a bottle.
I’d still be interested in trying the Discovery though.
Scotch review #149, Blend review #11, Whisky Network review #195
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #116