Family Silver 19 2001 Cooper’s Choice

The other night I was talking to some non-alcohol nerds. You should try it, they screech less and don’t smell of onions and bourbon.

I kid. It’s not onions, it’s desperation.

So I live in Ontario, Canada. We have a provincial location to purchase alcohol. This is due to some backwards thinking from a time when vaccines weren’t safe, certain minorities aren’t human, and constant build up of wars killed off the poor en masse. Thank goodness we’ve grown.

Yes, that last paragraph made me sad too.

There was a time when the selection of wine and spirits was extremely limited. 100 wines for the entire province. You ordered based on the type of alcohol, rather than the brand (in some cases).

I feel like new whisky nerds have a similar dilemma due to marketing. Original Bottlings (OB) are everywhere. They sell more. They aren’t all bad: In fact some of them can be great. But you do get cut off from cask strength, different filtration, experimental casks, or even single casks. That’s not to mention the amount of airport duds out there.

Obtaining Independent bottlings (IB) can be difficult. Going back to my backwater province’s store (that buys almost more alcohol than anyone else save for Costco), they require free cases for “testing” and run things like a cross-eyed owner of a shooting range. They get about as much respect as Wendy Williams deserves.

When a bottling has 100 or 200 bottles total it can be difficult to find more popular distillery releases.

Today’s whisky is potentially teaspooned Macallan. That’s what the preamble is: I split a bottle on the idea that’s what it was. Note that Family Silver 19 2001 Cooper’s Choice doesn’t say Macallan anywhere on it. For all we know, it’s a teaspooned Speyside of 19 years that was aged in a 1st Fill Oloroso sherry cask.

So we have Macallan (again) that is outside of Macallan’s control. That’s interesting. Also it would cost me a lot of money if it had the Macallan name on it. Also it would sell a whole lot better in China than here because it’s beloved there (so I’ve been told).

So is it necessarily better than a standard 19-year-old Macallan? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: € 139

Region: Speyside “Blend” (most likely teaspoon Macallan)

Vintage: 2001

Bottled: 2020

Cask type: 1st Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask

Cask number: 4630

Number of bottles: 330

Abv: 44%

Colour: 10R 3/10

Nose: Cherry, anise, pie crust, apricot jam, cloves

Note to self: Try adding a bit of anise to the next cherry pie I make.

Fruity, bit sweet and buttery, some nice spice as well. The sherry notes are coming on strong. I’d probably say the butter note is the main aspect of the “Speyside”.

Taste: Walnut oil, cocoa, orange, apricot, apple jam

Wow. That went from very sweet to “balancing sweet with bitters” super fast. Lots of walnut going on.

Again, sherry is pretty dominant here, though I’m getting less sweet and aspects I’m having trouble associating with the sherry: The apple, the walnut, and maybe even the cocoa aspects. Granted I’m having a hard time thinking back to ex-bourbon Macallan, so it’s hard to determine.

Finish: Brown sugar, lots of walnut, honey, cantaloupe, button mushrooms

Wow that’s a lot of walnut flavour. Sure, there’s molasses and floral sugar and fruity notes trying to balance it out. It’s not really enough.

On the other hand, I have a mild allergy to walnuts. This is a pretty cool loophole to have walnuts without my taste buds exploding and my breathing screwing up.

Conclusion: Walnut heaven. Perfect for people who want sherry casks and want it to be unsweet. Also perfect to show a different view on Macallan, if this is Macallan. Which people seem pretty sure about.

Regardless, should you buy this? Yeah, definitely. There’s an age statement, it hasn’t lost too much to being watered down or the angels (I don’t know which it is), and it didn’t feel like the sherry dominated too much.

I debate if I’m happy with my purchase. I do like sweets. This isn’t that, it’s more bitter and acidic. It’s unique in that way. It’s impressive. So I’m gonna enjoy it.


Scotch review #1454, Speyside review #409, Whisky Network review #2148

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