A little bit about Murray McDavid
- Murray McDavid [MM] was established in 1996 by Mark Reynier [interview], Simon Coughlin, and Gordon Wright. The company was named after Reynier’s grandparents, Harriet Murray and Jock McDavid.
- MM is an independent bottler offering the whole range of Scottish whisky from rare & vintage single malts to select grains and crafted blends.
- MM was bought by Aceo in 2013. Aceo are one of the biggest whisky brokers in the industry and are currently based at the former Coleburn distillery. Their services include ‘brokering of casks, storage and a full bottling and labelling service’ SW.
- Dean Jode, MM Brand Ambassador [interview], was responsible for the fabulous redesign of the MM range that was launched [last year] in 2016. The striking & colourful packaging is accompanied by the most candid information on the labels regarding the whisky you’re likely to see from any independent bottler. In addition, I can’t help thinking the ‘Clachan a choin’ rebranding cleverly incorporates a tribute to Bruichladdich.
- MM was the first independent bottler to buy a distillery, acquiring Bruichladdich in 2000 [for £6million]. This led to a hugely successful partnership between MM and Jim McEwan until Bruichladdich was sold to Remy Cointreau in 2012. Many of Murray McDavid’s current expressions were cask selected and blended by Jim McEwan during that time. Let’s start with one of those right now.
As a tribute to Jim who was responsible for this blend, ’Right Seumus’ is said to be translated as ‘King James’ from Gaelic.
- N: An unusual mix of all sorts – see the label: from bourbon, wine and sherry casks with a first-fill bourbon finish.
- T: Unsurprisingly, it’s an edgy & ballsy blend,…
- F: …. with a good all-round roughness.
- C: It’s fabulously unconventional, rather like both Jim and MM. Serge calls this ‘A blended malt like no other’.
Scores 84 points
Let’s move on to a pre-Bruichladdich blended malt.
This is said to be Glenmorangie with a teaspoon of Glen Moray.
- N: Tastes more like Moray than Morangie, but either is just fine.
- T: A soft & salted malt.
- F: Salted caramel.
- C: It’s delicious juice, buy buy buy!
Scores 87 points
- N: Nothing much to see here.
- T: …
- F: … I’m thinking, which mixer?
- C: As an 18yo LL grain [from one of it’s two Coffey stills SW], take note of it’s controlled/tempered neutrality.
Laphroaig 2001/2015 14yo Murray McDavid cask #365 [170 bts] 46% WB0
- N: Sooty and vegetal.
- T: Dry and light, dry-sweet and no TCP – a note often absent in independent bottlings.
- F: Soot, ash and [a three day old] bonfire-dry.
- C: Imagine an 18yo kilchoman, potentially only a few more years away.
Scores 84 points
Let’s finish with a rare vintage from Murray McDavid’s ‘Mission Gold’ series, alternatively coined [so aptly by DJ], as being part of the ‘intensive care range’.
Tomintoul 1967/2015 48yo Murray McDavid cask #150031 & 150032 [566 bts] 40.1% WB89.67
Given the abv was slipping away, as tempting as it must have been for Murray McDavid to hang on for another two years, for the whisky’s sake, there’s been no harm in bottling this now.
- N: From two refill casks with a 6 month finish in first-fill bourbon, this grand oldie starts fruity with soft-spongey [Irish] mash and sweet mash potato. Those dry floral almost tropical dry fruits are the loveliest.
- T: Overripe fruit and sugars. Soft-sharp throughout – some water sorts that out significantly yet not surely.
- F: Bourbon sweet with a soft, wood dryness. I’m pleased to stay it’s never chalky, something that i’ve found residing in much of the standard Tomintoul range.
- C: It’s not a perfect masterpiece but one can’t deny the form and pedigree with a thoughtful/softly softly presentation that includes an extremely complimentary finish. It must be frustrating for the Tomintoul distillery team to see yet another independent bottler [Daily Dram; Dewar Rattray; Blackadder; Edition Spirits; Hunter Hamilton; Jack Wiebers; Liquid Sun; Samaroli; Sansibar,….], trump their oldest released whisky to date WB [by eight years] – and then there’s the price! This is priced very reasonably at £338. I wonder how much it would have been as a 50yo?
Scores 87 points
This post was inspired by highlights from the Whiskylive show, London , with many thanks to Dean.