Food And Drink : Whisky Gold

Why does Scotch whisky taste as it does and where do the flavours come from? Is mature whisky always worth spending more on, and what is the best investment for the collector?

For those new to whisky, this show will cover everything you need to know – whether you should add water to your whisky, and the type of glass you should drink it from.

With Christmas nearly upon us, we may need to top-up the drinks cabinet before our friends and family join in the festivities. For many, whisky is the perfect way to warm up the festive season, making now the ideal time to brush up on your whisky knowledge before buying that special bottle.

Find out all you need to know and more by watching this live and interactive WebTV show with whisky expert and aficionado Charles MacLean.

Charles has spent almost thirty years researching, writing and lecturing about Scotch whisky. He was elected a Keeper of the Quaich, the industry's highest accolade, in 1992 for 'his services to Scotch'.

Charles will be tasting and analysing 5 different whiskies, ranging from an entry level Hakushu 12 year old malt Japanese whisky (retailing at £45) to a breathtaking 58 year old Dalmore Selene priced at £12,000 – one of only 30 decanters in the world. Also whetting Charles' palette will be a slightly less expensive Dalmore Candela at £7,500.

Completing the tasting menu is a limited edition Hazlewood Reserve 17 year old single malt - one of only 500 bottles made, and an Aberfeldy 18 year old single cask – both of which are exclusive to World of Whiskies.

Whisky expert Charles MacLean joins us live to educate, inform and inspire us about this array of marvellous malts.

For more information visit

M: Murray Norton, host
C: Charles MacLean, whisky expert

H: Hello.  I’m Murray Norton.  Welcome to the Food and Drink Show.  Now whether you’re new to whisky or you’ve been consuming it for some time, one thing is definitely for certain, it’s a truly wonderful and diverse drink.  And with Christmas around the corner, no doubt you’ll be stocking up on the drinks.  Joining me today is a man who spent almost 30 years stocking up on the drinks cabinet, as well as researching, writing and lecturing about Scotch Whisky, he was elected keeper of the Quaich, and - the industry's highest accolade by the way – back 1992.  We’ve just heard that only a fortnight ago he was made Master of the Quaich, Charles MacLean.  Welcome to the show, good to see you

C: Great to be here. 

H: Now listen this has got to be the best job in the world, hasn’t it?

C: What my job?

H: Yes

C: Many people say that, and they often say you know, how do you get to get a job like that? And I say well the simple answer is practice, plenty of practice

H:  Practice.  Well we’re going to practice some today and in fact today if you’re watching, wherever you happen to be watching today, live with us, you’ll see a little box right below the screen, use that to send your question off to us.  We’ll do our best in the next 30 minutes or so to get round to your question, best we can.  We’ve already had some questions already and we will get some more in in just a little while.  Now as you can see our master of the Quaich here, Charles, is pouring our first whisky.  Let’s – we’ve got 5 to taste today, from World of Whiskies and I just want to first of all start with a good entry level whisky

C: Yes this is perfect. Perfect one to start with.  Hakushu. Japanese whisky from Hakushu distillery.  Hakushu means the white strand or white sand or something like that

H: I’m very new to Japanese whiskies, like a lot of people are, and I’m – we have a question about that which I’ll come to in just a second, but I’m just wondering how many whiskies do they make?  Are they prolific whisky makers in Japan

C: Five, I think there are five distilleries in Japan and there’ll be many expressions from – it’s not as common, a Japanese single malt whisky is not as common as the likes of some tory blended Japanese whisky.  I think the important point to make about Japanese whisky, or indeed Irish whisky or American whisky is that they are not necessarily the poor relation to Scotch, just indeed Scotch blended is not necessarily the poorer relation, they’re just different

H: Right

C: And this is a beautiful crisp, look at this wonderful colour, this telling us it’s from American oak, this lovely gold colour.  The nose is fresh, clean, very slightly smoky funnily enough

H: Yes there is a bit of smoke on that isn’t there?

C: Just a hint.  And then I would take a tiny sip straight.  Sweet, acidic, short finish

H: Bit of fruit in there?

C: Definitely

H: Yes

C: Fresh fruits, acidic fruits - lychees

H: Bit of peaches?

C: Could be peaches.  Put a little bit of water, whisky always benefits from the addition of water

H: This is a burning question that everyone will want to know Charles,

C: Often asked

H: With water, without water, with ice, without ice – I mean how should you really be getting the taste of whisky?

C: The simple answer is you should enjoy whisky as you choose, and if you want to drink it straight or with ice or with soda or with Coca Cola – drink it like that.  Frankly I think it’s a shame to treat malt whisky in that way, and for the full and better appreciation of malt whisky, the first thing is to get the right glass, which is a glass such as this, because the aroma is so important for appreciation, and so you need a glass this is  -

H: But everyone serves Scotch in a square block glass that’s quite wide

C: Well they were designed, it’s an old-fashioned glass and designed for drinking whisky and soda, with ice.  Great for that, but not for this – what we’re doing, this appreciation.  Nose again.  It’s changed slightly

H: Yes it has

C: It’s become very slightly -

H: It’s a lot softer actually

C: It is, I’m reminded of fresh, clean clothes. Laundry

H: Yes

C: It’s very slightly soapy but it’s still crisp and fresh and fruity. 

H: I’m enjoying that much more with the water in.  Room temperature water in as well, not cold?

C: This is slightly lower than room temperature and I think that’s about right.  15 degrees they say is the ideal if you’re going to be precise, but it makes it so much easier to taste.  It also raises the aroma.  That’s why you add water

H: Good.  One question just in, and it’s a question that came in from Mark, thank you Mark for your question.  A devoted Scotch whisky drinker, likes the taste of smoky and peaty malts, and the odd sherried malt as well, when the mood takes him.  He’s yet to venture into the world of Japanese whiskies and he wants to know which one would you recommend as a good starting place?

C: Well when you say a good starting place, I mean this is a good starting place but it’s not either smoky or – very lightly smoky but it’s more like an oben in terms of its smokiness – very, very light.  In terms of sherried, I mean the thing to do, I mean you’d be better to look at some of the Yamazaki or Yoichi expressions and look – look at the colour.  If it’s dark it will be matured in European oak, ex-sherry wood, and sometimes in Japanese wood as well.  Japanese oak is very interesting, it’s interesting flavours.  So the thing to do, I mean go to World of Whiskies and ask the guys to show you some samples from – and find one that suits you.  I would emphasise the point that it’s not – Japanese whisky is not the poor relation, it’s just a different style of whisky

H: Ok.  Well good point you made about World of Whiskies there, and in fact before we taste our next whisky, and we have got five of them to get through here, tough job I know.  Before we taste our next one we’re going to be hearing from Stephanie McCloud, because what they do at World of Whiskies is they make exclusive blends  - brands should I say, just for World of Whisky, and they’ve been choosing between three different ones too, to come up with

C: Three different casks – it was a cask selection exercise

H: Right

C: And the chief executive of World of Whiskies, and the main whisky buyer and some of the other guys, we know – and I went up with them as well and we nosed under the guidance of Stephanie McCloud, three casks that she had chosen, and chose which one we liked best

H: Well we’re going to be tasting that next. Before we do, let’s hear from Stephanie McCloud on how they chose that cask

Stephanie McCloud:  This one makes an impact because it’s got those wonderful, rich, amber hue coming from it.  It was the spiciest out of all the three.  It had wonderful dried fruit aromas, so it’s really moreish and mouth-watering.

H: Well that was Stephanie there, and now we have the whisky in front of us.  Just tell us about this whisky because it looked gorgeous there.  That’s a lovely case to come with it isn’t it?

C: Yes look at that

H: It’s quite something

C: Single cask, look at the colour – ex-sherry butt. 

H: That means that what they’ve done is they’ve aged the whisky in an ex-sherry barrel - butt

C: Exactly.  European oak, ex-sherry.  And this is bottle number 247

H: Presumably you’ll get a flavour of that sherry coming through? 

C: Well we’ll find out.  We’ll find out. The colour comes actually from the wood, not from the sherry itself, and sometimes you do get distinct traces of the sherry, but in other cases it’s not really the sherry you’re tasting it’s these flavours that are coming from the wood – fruit cakey flavours, nutty flavours, tannins.  You’ll find it’s quite mouth-drying

H: Sounds like quite a Christmassy -

C: It is, it’s a real Chrismassy number.  This is bottled at cask strength, which is in this case 59.6% alcohol by volume.  I’m just trying to find out how many bottles

H: There’s so much information on those labels isn’t there?

C: Yes.  Yes it doesn’t tell me how many bottles but there’s – this is a finite number of bottles obviously

H: Ok

C: But it is – it is – it’s bottled, it’s Aberfeldy bottling, so it’s a proprietary bottle

H: Right.  What we should point out is the whisky that we were talking about before, which was the Japanese whisky, that would retail about £44 / £45 something around that?

C: I think so yes

H: Yes around that. And what would we be looking at on a -

C: £350 I think

H: £350?

C: Or is it £250, I can’t remember

H: It’s around that  -

C: It’s more expensive -

H: World of Whiskies

C: I think it’s about £250 but it is a finite number of bottles

H: Yes I’m getting that sherry straight off the top

C: Now this is a bit cold and I’m just warming it up a little.  That’s one of the reasons why it’s useful to have a bowl to swirl it.  Entirely different profile from the first one

H: Completely different.  Very rich,

C: It is rich.  There are slightly woody notes, there’s a slightly waxy note coming through. 

H: Almost as if you’ve just got a mince pie or a Christmas cake and just opened it

C: Yes, yes, yes.  Very good

H: All the fruit coming out of there.  Very warming

C: Oh yes.  And there’s some citric fruits there as well you know.  Very -

H: Charles I’m not waiting, I’m straight into tasting

C: Well I’m going to add water before I even attempt to taste it

H: I think I need, yes.  That’s a lot richer than I thought it would be.  Thank you

C:  By all means add more.  The -

H: What’s the percentage of water to whisky – is that just to taste or is there a -

C: It is to some extent a matter of personal taste, the blenders people like Stephanie and so on will use – will tend to work at 20% alcohol

H: Right

C: So they would add a lot more water than I’ve just added now.  I generally work at around 30%.  Some whiskies, especially very, very old whiskies – some of the ones we’re going to look at later, I mean literally if any water, I mean a drip, just a drip

H: Course it does make it go further

C: It does that

H: Not that I’m being mean

C: The other interesting question is why bottle at high strength, since you’re going to add water, and interestingly enough high strength alcohol holds the flavours in much better. You get a catastrophic fall away in flavour at under 40% alcohol, and that’s why you cannot bottle and call it Scotch if it’s under 40%.

H: That is tasting so good

C: It holds the flavours in, and you’ll notice that the – oh it’s gorgeous

H: Oh that is -

C: It’s much more aromatic

H: Trust me this is fantastic, this is a fantastic whisky

C: It’s very natural.  It’s very kind of rural – it’s sort of – I mean Autumn woods

H: Yes you’re getting that.  This is the whisky from now until the end of February for you to drink.  Fantastic

C: And surprisingly sweet.

H: Is that the sherry?

C: No.  It’s the make itself, Aberfeldy is a sweet whisky

H: Right

C: They often describe Aberfeldy as being honeyed, and do you notice there’s a sort of – very slight textures of honeycomb on the teeth

H: Yes

C: Just sort of – it’s what they call mouth coating.  So it’s got this big, honey, it’s got a lovely big -

H: It’s quite viscous

C: Yes very viscous.  Not much acidity, medium length finish, but honey is the key -

H: Got a question for you.  Plenty of questions coming in, keep them coming in, thank you very much for them.  “I want to get my wife” – says Matt – “drinking whisky.  How can I convince her of the merits of this delightful tipple?” It is a male-dominated drink isn’t it?

C: Yes it is, certainly in the UK market it is, but the – funnily enough in many other parts of the world it’s as many women as men that enjoy whisky, and younger people, more than in the UK.  I would suggest – I would say to people who are novices, find a good bar, go along with a couple of friends.  A good bar, ie. One that has a reasonable stock of whiskies, and ideally a reasonably knowledgeable barman, and get him to – you know get let’s say 4 different whiskies, swap them around, nose, taste -

H: You need to compare with different whiskies don’t you?

C: Absolutely.  And the first point of comparison is that they’re different, do you know?  And so you start with a smoky one and maybe a very light one, a Glenfiddich and a Laphroig – extremes

H: Yes

C: And which one do you like of these?  And add a little water, you know – well I don’t mind that one but you know – well let’s have – try the next one which is not quite as smoky or not quite as – you know - 

H: This sounds like a really good night out!

C: It’s great fun experimenting, I tell you!

H: Great fun.  Whilst we’re experimenting here we have this wonderful Aberfeldy that we have in front of us here, I’m just going to keep that one just there.  We have another one to try

C: Oh this is an astonishing whisky, I’ve poured it ahead

H: Good

C: Let it breathe a little bit

H: This is called Hazelwood, there you’ve got the case there for it

C: This is an astonishingly unusual whisky.  It was from Kininvie distillery, it’s the first and only bottling ever done from Kininvie distillery.  Kininvie is owned by William Grants, the makers of Glenfiddich and of Balvenie – as you can see it’s a Balvenie bottle.  This was originally – this is 17 years old. There was a 16 year old done in 2006 I think it was. It’s named Hazelwood because the original bottling was done to celebrate the 100th birthday of William Grant’s granddaughter that was in 2006

H: And this is limited to only 500 bottles isn’t it?

C: I believe so, yes.  500 bottles

H: Wow

C: Price –

H: We’ll find out in a few minutes

C: I can’t remember

H: We’ll find out in a few minutes. I know that we’ll get told in a few moments time

C: But this – this will fly. They will absolutely – they may say on the – bottle number 120 this one.  Distilled in August 1990 and bottled in February 2000 – oh no sorry – February 2008. 

H: It’s £365 so

C: 365

H: So 365 – if you have the tiniest nip every day of the year it’s a pound a day.  Just look at it as great value that!

C: I can tell you what Murray, most of this will not be drunk, it will be collected

H: There’s a question in actually from Sean, whose in Wembley, thank you very much indeed – and he says “it’s taken me a while to move into whisky from wine, but I’m really there at the moment.  I’m not spending more than about £20 a bottle.  Will I really notice the difference if I spend more?”

C: Yes you will

H: Yes

C: I’m afraid you’ve got to raise your threshold to let’s say £30.  It’s a bit like wine -

H: That’s not much of a threshold, that’s not a bad thing

C: No it is, it’s like the £5 threshold with wine

H: It’s important while we’re saying this that actually we are tasting some fairly expensive and quite rare whiskies here

C: Well we are

H: This isn’t all that you’ll find at World of Whiskies

C: Well that’s right

H:There are whiskies right the way through the range

C: Right the way through, and the great thing is I mean if he ever goes – is travelling and is going through airports, he will have the opportunity to taste the World of Whisky stand, so allow plenty of time and the guys – the staff will -

H: It’s a very good point

C: Will advise

H: That’s a very good point

C: And that’s a good way of exploring.  This is very interesting

H: Whilst you’re looking at the interestingness of that I want  - Jonathan from Suffolk, thank you Jonathan for your question as well. “What whisky has proved to be the best investment over recent years and would Charles suggest you invest in whisky?”  Big question for you Charles

C: There are certain – there are certain big names that have, over the, over the years achieved higher prices at auction.  Macallan is one, Port Ellen – most of the smokys – Laphroig, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Highland Park has done very well. Springbank has done exceptionally well.  I think I’ll probably single out Springbank as – but all these ones will – they all appreciate in value, particularly those additions that have been limited or done for special occasions, this sort of thing

H: But it’s there for drinking isn’t it?

C: Well it is there for drinking but I do have a certain sympathy with collectors – I don’t collect myself – you will certainly get your money back, and in some cases you’ll get much more.  I mean we’re going to taste one of these Dalmores later on – one of which was sold very recently, last week in fact in Edinburgh for £27,000.  Now that was a one-off but we’ll talk about this more when we come on - 

H: Alright

C: We’ll come onto this -

H: Before we get to that let’s just go to the Hazelwood reserve

C: Gorgeous colour, now this looks to me like a butt, a European oak, but its nose is more like a -

H: Quite something

C: It’s toffeed you see and I’m very confused by this -

H: It’s a very caramel-rich feel to it

C: You expect that from – from American oak.  No it is, it is a butt.  Yes. 

H: A butt we should point out -

C: Which is 500 litres

H: Is a 500 litre ex-sherry wooden – ex-sherry butt

C: Yes

H: Just in case you were wondering what butt we were referring to

C: And it’s surprisingly mild.  Did we know the strength of it? Did I say the strength?  52.5 and it is quite mild

H: I think it’s the toffee sweetness is making it seem mild but -

C: But that nuttiness is there and it’s fruit and nut

H: I’m also getting – remember all those years ago you used to do Balsarwood plains and there is a spiritedness that comes over the top

C: Well that’s interesting, that’s – that’s a sort of ether acetate and the  -

H: In a nice way as well

C: Absolutely

H: It’s that lovely smell that you think oh I’m in a workshop somewhere, yes?

C: I think the chemical term is esters and the – this is a typical speyside, this is a speyside whisky

H: Right

C: And when you taste it you get that sweetness which again is a hallmark of speyside whiskies

H: Water please sir.  Got to happen

C: Oh it’s got a nice -

H: Thank you

C: It’s like an apple – apple -

H: Autumn apple pie isn’t it?

C: Apple pie, or Eve’s pudding, sponge and apple, baked apples.  And the aftertaste -

H: I’m getting hungry as well as thirsty now, this is great.   With the water fantastic

C: Again very autumnal

H: Yes.  Another great autumnal one

C: That’s a cracker

H: £365 that is a real -

C: and the only ever bottling of Kininvie – it’s astonishing.  As so far as I’m aware the company has no intention of – this really was a one-off and this one, I believe – I think I’m right in saying it’s exclusive to World of Whisky so you can’t buy it anywhere else

H: So that’s where you’re going to have to go and have a look at it

C: That’s when – go fast because I can tell you, that will fly

H: They’re going to be gone

C: That will fly off the shelves

H: Now talking of World of Whiskies, they’ve just launched their flagship store at Heathrow Terminal 4, complete with a tasting bar, interactive screens and all the advice you could hope for.  It really is a whisky haven, very much like this.  Let’s take a look

Video footage

“World of Whiskey’s is firmly established now at the major airports in the UK, we offer whiskies from newcomers right through to specialists and collectors, and we appeal to people who are here only for a short time before their flight, and to those who can linger longer.  We started in 1996, we were one of the first – I think the first specialist whisky shop at any airport in the world, and we’ve grown since then.  We’re very proud of our new store here and new concept at Terminal 4.  For the first time ever we’ve been able to offer a really wide range of whiskies for passengers to sample, and that’s helped by our wonderful new bar that passengers can sit comfortably at and discuss the finer points of their whisky. Probably the best drink in the world”

H: Well we’ve moved from those – and doesn’t it look great there?  The great thing Charles, I was just thinking whilst we were watching that there is that they’ve got this tasting bar, so you’ve got the experts on-hand and just as you were saying before, if you can find a good bar where you can get two, or three or four different – if you plan in advance as you were saying, going on a trip somewhere, you’re at an airport, you’ve got time to kill – this is the perfect time to explore your whiskies isn’t it?

C: Yes absolutely and especially nowadays when you’ve got to be an hour ahead or sometimes two hours ahead to go through security and all that.  Once you’ve gone down your security bit then you can spend your time getting a bit of an education 

H: And they’ve got the experts there which is the great thing about it, that was Tony Edwards – Anthony Edwards actually is the official – he’s one of the whisky specialists for all the whiskies that you saw on camera there.  Great

C: I’ve been terribly impressed at how well informed these guys are in actual fact

H: Good.  What have we got here because these are – these are rare samples aren’t they?

C: Yes. These are not the sort of whiskies you’ll be able to taste at World of Whiskies.  One is 50 years old and the other 58 years old

H: Wow

C: They’re both Dalmores, they come from Dalmore Distillery which is a North Highland malt

H: They don’t come like that do they, by the way

C: Oh no no no, they come – this is a sort of mock-up, they’re so new -

H: That’s the case they come in

C: We don’t have – well I – this isn’t actually the case, I think the case is more glamorous than that, but they come in a similar bottle to this one, but the stag’s head is silver and the label is solid Hallmarked silver.  But it’s in that kind of bell-shaped bottle

H: Can we just look at – the first one of those here that we’re going to try here – that would retail at about £7500 a bottle

C: I believe so

H: That is just how specialist this is.  I feel very, very lucky to be looking at these here

C: This is 50 years old, it’s called Candella

H: The Candella one is the one – 77 bottles of the stuff

C: The Dalmore Candella

H: What makes this worth £7500?  I know we’re just about to try that, and we’re putting – what’s in this little test tube with a screwed lid on here is worth about – well we reckon about £400, £300 something like that?

C: For the little, tiny drop we’ve got in our glass, you know?  The – this in fact is a vatting I think of 5 casks, some of them – the youngest cask is 50 years old.  The oldest goes back to I think 1886 or something like that, two if not three of them – of the 5 casks, go back to the 19th century.  Very very little left in these casks, because of course – and that’s one of the reasons why you pay – why you pay so much for it.  You pay for rarity and this is very rare.  And you pay for age, because while the cask is maturing, it’s breathing, it’s losing volume and it’s losing alcohol. And Customs and Excise allow for 2% per annum.  2% volume per annum which is 50 litres in 10 years

H: It loses a lot doesn’t it?

C: You know it loses a lot, so the contents of these 5 casks – there was probably only small amounts left before they were vatted together.  So we’re tasting whiskies here which were made during the reign of Queen Victoria

H: That’s an astonishing thought -

C: Astonishing.  I haven’t nosed this before

H: Queen Victoria was alive when this was – when this first came about.  That is – that’s got -

C: I tell you the – it’s so interesting – nosing and tasting whiskies of this age, one of the things that’s apparent is the slight smokiness

H: I was going to -  it’s a muskiness almost

C: Well it’s a sort of city smoky, a coal smokiness

H: Yes

C: Which I often associate with whiskies of – whiskies made before about say 1970, during the 60s

H: If you go into one of those old Victoria houses

C: It’s opening up beautifully now

H: Yes.  If you go into one of those old Victorian houses

C: Yes, yes, yes

H: Where you go into a Victorian house where it’s still got the open fireplace

C: Yes

H: And you get that – that slightly woody but musky smell

C: Yes, yes.  But it’s changing.  That, that that – that sort of empty fireplace which I fully agree with you is now changing.  It’s getting sweeter and it’s getting richer. 

H: It’s like someone’s lit the fire

C: It’s – no it’s more fruity. There’s a fruit cake now in front of the fire, and possibly some Madeira

H: We could -

C: The interesting thing is – these are aromas that you really don’t find in – in any other drinks, or even in whiskies.  They’re – extraordinary novel aromas

H: It’s extraordinary that a place that you would, as you’re zipping through an airport, looking at everything from – let’s face it the usual, normal, ad hoc duty free and everything else – right in the middle there, there will be somewhere that has something so rare

C: It’s amazing isn’t it?

H: You just – you need to seek it out.  It’s quite something.  Now drinking for this – water?

C:  No I’m going to take straight

H: I’m going to take your advice on this, you’re the expert.  That was probably about £100, that mouthful. That is quite something

C: It’s astonishing isn’t it?

H: That it so smooth.  I actually, I almost missed it!

C: There’s something that’s extremely tannic.  There’s a sweetness to start with, and then it’s tannic, mouth-drying.  I’m getting certain – I’m getting quite a lot of wood actually in the – incredibly long finish.  The chap who makes this, Richard Patterson whose a brilliant master blender, who – he looks after Dalmore distillery, for Mike McCay, and he is a great – now it’s getting more orangey, it’s like a pomander – sorry he’s a great believer of holding it in your mouth. So next time – really I’m very nervous about putting any water in this, but – so take it in your mouth and hold it there, hold it there, hold it there – he says that you should hold it for a second per year, so according to his theory we should hold it for 50 seconds!  Which is impossible

H: It would be too silent a program, it really would! But the taste of that has changed in the last two minutes, and that is so different

C: Incredible isn’t it?

H: It’s like finding something very, very rare in the ground and unearthing it and then it becoming a national treasure

C: There are earthy notes, it’s almost like – it’s almost like truffles and things like that

H: Yes and again the same sort of thing, it keeps giving more

C: Leave some in your glass, and we’ll try the other one

H: Ok

C: It’s the same distillery, Dalmore distillery

H: If that’s not, you know – richness in a glass, now we’re going for something more

C: Rinse

H: Rinse? I’m taking every bit of advice you’re giving right now Charles

C: Always useful advice.  I tell no lies

H: Yes.  When are these going to be available?

C: I think they’re going to World of Whiskies in the next month

H: Oh December, yes.  They’re going to be available from December, so – if something rather special – and again this is not the sort of thing that evyerone’s going to rush out and buy but it is great to know about these things isn’t it?

C: Yes

H: It’s like admiring some of the finest cars in the world

C: Yes exactly

H:  Not everyone’s going to buy them but you need to know about them.  So what will you get that’s different from a bottle that’s worth £12,500 to one that’s worth £7500?

C: Well we’re shortly going to find out.  You’ll pay more for the extra time.  Again I’m afraid I can’t remember the precise cask mix but it’s the same sort of thing, that you’ve got a range of casks going back to the 19th century

H: Just checking on the notes, from the 14th December you can pre-order these at so they’re online, pre-order now

C: Now that is – this is lighter in colour, I don’t know if you can see that

H: Yes it is, it’s a paler colour isn’t it?

C:  It’s a slightly paler colour, and that suggests the use of American oak. European oak is a darker colour, it’s more tannic, American oak is – gives a paler colour and it’s generally more – it’s lighter and more fruity, and when you smell this, this is like – well my first impression is it’s like face cream, it’s got a perfume to it.  That’s already gone. 

H: Ok.  Without -

C: It’s not as big, but it’s more complex than the other one, which again is perhaps what I’d expect from that additional age. 

H: I’ve got another question come in – I want to enjoy this first

C: Ok

H: Because this has to be enjoyed

C:Now hold it in the mouth.  Astonishing.  It’s not nearly as tannic.  Still quite mouth-drying

H: Is that what -

C: It’s got – it’s softer, it’s easier to drink.  I wonder what strength it is

H: It is much easier to drink.  It -

C: Oh it’s only 45%. It’s interesting and the other one’s 51

H:  Yes

C: 45%’s – so you don’t need any water in this one, but the -

H: Is this one of the – one of the best whiskies that you’ve tasted?  I -

C: Oh it would be in the top league.

H: It’s certainly for me and I’m a novice at this.  It’s the finest whisky I’ve ever tasted

C: Never go public on scores but the – privately or if I’m chairing a nosing panel I ask the panel to mark out of ten, and I’ve never encountered a ten out of ten in 20 years of chairing panels.  Ten out of ten you find only in heaven, you know?  But I have come across 9 1/2s and I think that this would probably be in the 9, possibly even in the 9 ½

H: I feel very, very lucky today because I’m tasting something that will probably never come by again unless someone is being very generous this Christmas for me

C: The most valuable whisky that was every sold at auction was a Dalmore and it was 62 years old and it was sold, I think, in 2002 and achieved if I remember rightly £28,000 and it was finely, and then it was sold again, and it was ultimately sold for £35,000.  It was bought by a hotel in Kent and they sold it to a customer who was a local man, he lived locally, great connoisseur of spirits, extremely wealthy, he arrived at the hotel one night with 5 friends and he said to the maitre’d  - sommelier, you know, have you got any interesting whiskies in?  And he just bought this bottle.  Right, great, let’s have 5 drams of this and one for yourself.  He said I’m terribly sorry sir but we’re only selling it by the bottle.  So he said I’ll buy the bottle. £35,000. And he opened the bottle and drank it there and then with his friends and including the sommelier

H: Lucky sommelier.  Lucky sommelier

C: But there we are.  So we’re – and that was a Dalmore as well

H: Let’s see what happened to this, because we’ve been talking for a little while, it will have opened a little bit now won’t it? 

C: It’s fascinating to compare it with the other one. 

H: Cleaner, softer, easier to drink

C:  Yes.  And that’s gone – that’s real treacle toffee and it’s got a sort of burnt – burnt sugar. 

H: Yes

C: And it’s still got that sort of coal smoke, it’s like steam engines.  Old-fashioned steam engines

H: That is – that is quite something.  They are so different, they couldn’t be more different

C: But I think you probably would agree that – I think in a blind tasting you’d probably agree with me it’s the same whisky.  Dalmore is a heavy style

H: Yes.  Great whiskies, the finest whiskies I think I’ve ever tasted and you can find out more about them – excuse me – by going online – I’m enjoying it far too much.  But you’ll find them by going online to  we’ve got a question in that I just want to – because Christmas is around the corner and we are in illustrious company with these two whiskies we’ve got there, so ignoring those because I don’t think people are going to be rushing out s pending £7500 or £12000 for a bottle of whisky every day – Dan has sent a question in – “As a Christmas dinner digestive if you like, what type of brand of whisky – what type, or brand of whisky would you recommend to bring to the table to share with the chaps in my wife’s family if I want to impress them?” Now there’ll be a lot of impressing doing with all sorts of drinks over Christmas

C: Oh impressing, that’s the key word.  I think Dan what you’re looking for is something which is rich, as in sherry wood, or smoky, and that’s whether you and the company would prefer rich, rich and sherried style.  That’s more Christmassy.  And then it’s a case – so there are certain makes, Speysides tend to be sweet, I mentioned earlier on

H: Yes

C: You’ve got makes like Maltler, Benruness, Macallen – World of Whiskies, by the way is shortly to have an exclusive Macallen which I tasted yesterday which is extremely good.  It’s called Whisky Maker’s Reserve

H: Oh right

C:  Watch out for that, but that’s exclusive to World of Whiskies, but – so Glenfachless, now Glenfachless have a fantastic range of heavily sherried-style of whiskies at the moment

H: He’s got plenty to go on

C: And those ones go right back, I mean 1952 sort of thing.  I mean you can -

H: He could really show-of - if you want, or not quite so bad if you don’t want it

C: That’s the great thing about whisky, you can buy within the budget

H: Yes

C: I was saying to the – earlier – enquirer of the – it is better perhaps to go over the £20 limit but the – you can buy within a budget

H: Charles we are out of time

C: Ah too bad, too bad

H: Sadly and there is so much more I wish to talk about, but thank you so much for coming in

C: Murray it’s been a pleasure

H: It’s been an absolute pleasure

C: Let’s hope this is the first of several encounters

H: I sincerely hope so, I really do.  How do you top that though?  Thanks Charles for coming in, and if you like the sound of some of the whiskies that we’ve been tasting today then visit as I said, where you’ll find exclusive member offers, so don’t delay, get signed up. And next time you’re booking a flight make sure you plan enough time and visit this fantastic new World of Whiskies store at Heathrow Terminal 4, or any of the others at the 7 major UK airports where they’re based. Thanks again for watching and we’ll see you again next time.  Cheers!

C: Slancha!

H: Slancha!