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Independent Bottlers Tasting

Posted by on April 16, 2021

In late March the River City Whisky Society met for a tasting of Independent Bottlers. For years distilleries would sell barrels of whisky to blenders and independent bottlers as a means of making additional income. The independent bottler would then bottle the whisky with their name on the label and may or may not add the name of the distillery.

We had 42 tasters in attendance on a perfect spring evening for this out-door event. There were five to taste. Below is how our tasters ranked them against each other with a #1 being the highest. With each I have added a few of the notes made by the tasters.

#1 Duncan Taylor Octave – Bunnahabhain 15 yr, 53%, $183
Only 64 bottles yielded. For many years, Duncan Taylor has experimented in the use of differing cask sizes for the maturation of single malt and single grain scotch whiskies.
Tasting notes: Very dry, Starts sweet, Smooth, Very even from start to finish, Oaky and earthy with caramel, Great soothing finish.

#2 Gordon & MacPhail – Glenburgie 21 yr, 43%, $152
A major player in Ballantines, this Moray coast distillery is rarely seen in single malt guise.
Tasting notes: Light aroma, Slightly peated, Light in texture, Citrus on the palate, Very crisp, Short finish.

#3 Murray McDavid – Fettercairn 19yr 1st fill bourbon, 46%, $145
Limited Release, 296 bottles. After 17 years maturing in a refill American oak cask, Fettercairn was finished in a fresh bourbon cask.
Tasting notes: Light on the nose, Peppermint on the palate, Complex taste, Sweet up front, Good but not very special, Finish is too short.

#4 Chieftains – Glenrothes 13yr Barolo Wine Finish, 46%, $80
Tasting notes: Raisins on the nose, Light taste, Boring, Taste lingered nicely, Taste of apple, Floral, Good finish.

#5 Murray McDavid – Ordha Meas 13 yr (Blend) Sherry butt, all regions, 46%, $46
Only 742 bottles released. This was the USA exclusive made from Highland Park, Glenrothes, Glengoyne, Port Dundas, and Cameronbridge. Bottled from two casks. Ordha Meas means Golden Fruit in Gaelic.
Tasting notes: Maple on the nose, Very mild, Notes of brown sugar, Taste very different from the smell, Sweet vanilla but bland, longer finish.

In these posts we try to point out that cost is no indication of great taste. In this instance, however, the ranking actually fell along the lines of the cost per bottle. I cant recall this ever happening before.

Thank you to all those in attendance!


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