What does one see when perusing the whisky selection on a cross-channel ferry? Aside from anything else [price, offers, exclusives], this is an opportunity for some brand/company/distillery re-revision.
[wiki] says: ‘MV Mont St Michel is a ferry operated by Brittany Ferries. She was built at Van der Giessen de Noord shipyard in the Netherlands and has been sailing for Brittany Ferries since 2002’.
The ferry’s single malt whisky selection [in January 2020] featured:
- Aberfeldy – Dewar’s [Bacardi]
- AnCnoc – Inverhouse
- Ardbeg – [The Glenmorangie Co.] LVMH [Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy]
- Ardmore – Beam Suntory
- Arran – Isle of Arran Distillers
- Auchentoshan – Beam Suntory
- Balvenie – William Grant & Sons
- Benriach – Brown-Foreman
- Bowmore – [Morrison Bowmore] Beam Suntory
- Bruichladdich – Remy Cointreau
- Dalmore – Whyte & MacKay
- Glenfarclas – [J&G] Grant family
- Glenfiddich – William Grant & Sons
- Glen Garioch – Beam Suntory
- Glenlivet – [chivas Brothers] Pernod Ricard
- Glenmorangie – [The Glenmorangie Co.] LVMH [Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy]
- Jura – Whyte & Mackay
- Laphroaig – Beam Suntory
- Macallan – Edrington
- Old Pulteney – Inverhouse
- Shackleton – Whyte & MacKay
- Singleton [Dufftown] – Diageo
- Talisker – Diageo
Of all the distilleries Diageo owns, for only two to be featured is interesting.
The next section belonged to ‘world’ expressions and the ‘usual suspect’ blends: Penderyn, Jameson, Tyrconnell, Slane, Chivas, famous Grouse, Dewar’s, Kavalan’s King Car, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels….. I don’t see Johnnie Walker. I wonder who owns the ferry company?
Let’s look at those companies and refresh ourselves on the [Scottish] distilleries they own.
- Arran Distillers: Arran, Lagg.
- [Morrison] Beam Suntory: Ardmore, Auchentoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch and Laphroaig. Also of interest: Teacher’s, Tyrconnell, Connemara, Greenore, Kilbeggan, Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki, Chita, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek. Booker’s, Old Grand-Dad Courvoisier, Starbucks liqueurs!
- Bacardi [Dewar’s]: Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Macduff, Royal Brackla.
- Brown-Foreman: Benriach, Glendronach, Glenglassaugh.
- Diageo: Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol, Cameronbridge, Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glen Elgin, Glenkinchie, Glenlossie, Glen Ord, Inchgower, Lagavulin, Linkwood, Knockando, Mannochmore, Mortlach, Oban, Royal Lochnagar, Strathmill, Talisker, Teaninich.
- Edrington: Glenrothes, Highland Park and Macallan [as well as Famous Grouse blend].
- [J&G] Grant Family: Glenfarclas.
- Inverhouse: AnCnoc, Balblair, Balmenach, Pulteney, and Speyburn.
- LVMH: Ardbeg, Glenmorangie [and brands Bailie Nicol Jarvie, Westport and Queen of Scots].
- Pernod Ricard: Aberlour, Glenlivet, Longmorn and Scapa [as well as Chivas Regal, Jameson, Powers, Passport, Redbreast, Royal Salute, 100 Pipers].
- Remy Cointreau: Bruichladdich. [Also of interest: Domaine des Hautes Glaces, Westland, Remy Martin, Mount Gay, Cointreau, Metaxa].
- Whyte & Mackay: [Ben Wyvis], Dalmore, Fettercairn, Invergordon, Jura and Tamnavulin as well as blends Shackleton, Stewart’s and Usher’s.
- William Grant & Sons: Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Kininvie. Blends and other spirits brands include Monkey Shoulder, Grant’s, Tullamore Dew, Sailor Jerry, Hendrick’s, Drambuie.
Over several crossings, I took on a Glenfarclas 18yo [WLP81] and a 105 which I’m struggling with. Neither has it gone down well with others I’ve shared it with. [Around 79 tops right now], a full bottle review will follow in good time.
Until then, and whilst we are on the high seas, here’s a rum [from a family-rum independent bottler come distillery owner], I’ve recently polished off.
Uitvlugt 1999 16yo HL Kill Devil Guyana [355 bts] 46%
This is a bottle I inherited after RumFest 2018. It was a shame not to see HL at RumFest a year later, but hopefully, they shall return – in the Craft Rum Area – in 2020. Roughly pronounced ‘owt-flut’, this Guyanese distillery was closed in 2000. This culmination of notes and observations spans a year.
- N: Like I find with many candid/unadulterated [pure sugar cane] rums, the resemblances to grain whisky aren’t lost on me, but I do wonder what drives that likeness the most – the maturation or the distillation process, or is it the sugar cane itself? Starting off with firm notes of varnish, with a salty mineral edge, the vegetal aspect is rather more subtle. I come back to this a year later, a year wiser. The richness has diminished though the grassy sweet sugar cane base shines through and through. As for the grain likeness, it’s not as stark, but then I wonder whether this rum was even distilled in a [wooden] Coffey still, or was it from a Port Mourant still [or a combo] as I think Uitvlugt might have had both – anyone? Furthermore, sugar cane, compared to aged wheat/corn/barley spirit offers up different fruits with different weights, a different rubberiness, different salts,… One could argue this is as rum-like as rum could be, on the green-yellow fruit spectrum with no heavy, dense crystallised, molasses-driven sugars in sight. Totally alien juice for the Diplimatico gang, there’s beauty in this.
- T: Starting sour > > sweet-sharp grassiness, a little water evens it out and makes for a more relaxed driver. Like on the nose, it’s firmly salty [body salt] and with a creamy < waxy-grassy=vegetal floor-varnish-protector-dryness. This makes for a unique beguiling mouthfeel, an impressive a combo of chewed grass, metallic-y dried grapefruit and < gelatine = sap rubberiness followed by a sour fruit-sweetness with the emphasis on sour – the ‘Cardhu of rum’ perhaps [WLP] a good likeness reference [for maltheads] – but what’s that heat coming round the corner?F: Long finish starting with vegetal > rubber-wax cacao powder touches on the turn [first bottle half], the grassy sugar cane base talking throughout. Dry peppery aspects drive through till the finish.
A year later, it’s more about the lingering dry soft < sharp waxed-vegetal radish/rocket peppery grassiness=nettles with Milk of Magnesia at the death. A long finish either way.
C: Initially: ‘Plenty left to sample, we are looking at around 86/87 points but it’s one of those bottles that I’m finding hard to get through’. A year later, I’m on board with the idea that this is what rum is/should be, a ‘pure’/unadulterated/integrity rum I can imagine drooling over on a beach in the tropics [probably in a punch or with sugar, lime, and ice added, as might be customary in Guyana]. I give this to my sister in a blind challenge. It stood out, she loved it. I too got there, in the end.
Scores 86 points