Whisky Focus - Scottish Craftsmen's Association 22 Anniversary Whisky Experience

Scottish Craftsman's Association 22nd Anniversary

15th April 2018
Review of the Scottish Craftsman's Association 22nd Anniversary event and the whiskies tasted on the night by guest writer and Scotch Malt Whisky forum member, Companion of the Quaich, Murray Cohen.

Murray Cohen (right) and John McIntosh at the Scottish Craftsman's Association 22nd Anniversary Whisky Experience held in Port Dalhousie Ontario, Canada.

The Scottish Craftsmen's Association Twenty-Second Anniversary Whisky Experience was held in Port Dalhousie Ontario, Canada on April 12, 2019. The dynamic evening featured a pair of highland dancers, the Niagara Police Pipe Band and of course five specially selected single malts with 80 attendees for the structured tasting. The host and presenter for the evening was John McIntosh. The event has garnered great interest in the Niagara Peninsula from its inception and the quality of the whiskies presented year after year is most notable. The single malts this year represented Elgin, Moray; Campbeltown, Isle of Arran, Pitlochry and Dufftown.

The gentlemen of the Scottish Craftsman's Association.

The whiskies tasted by the gentlemen of the Scottish Craftsman's Association pictured above during Scottish Craftsman's Association 22nd Anniversary event were:

  • Longmorn 16 Year Old
  • Kilkerran 12 Year Old
  • Arran The Sauternes Cask
  • Glenfiddich Winter Storm 21 Year Old
  • Blair Athol 23 Year Old

You can read the tasting notes below, all of the whiskies are available from LCBO stores in Canada and outside Canada most are available from specialist online whisky shops such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt


Longmorn 16 Year Old Review

Longmorn, a Speyside distillery has had a cult following for some years and its whisky has also been used in blends and now is becoming more and more popular as a single malt. An interesting aside is that one of the father’s of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru spent some time working at this distillery in 1920. The whisky is aged in ex-bourbon casks. Bottled at 48% ABV

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Fragrant fresh-cut summer flowers fill the olfactory sense. Pumpkin seeds freshly picked and sweetened Danish pastry with icing flecks impress. Cantaloupe, pistachios and sweet potato pie come in waves with the late arrival of buttermilk pancakes.

Taste: Full-bodied, smooth and creamy yielding a spice and caramel melange. Tangerines and limes entertain with shades of peanut butter and banana split.

Finish: Long, vanilla sherbet with peaches, crème du menthe and nutty nougat reach out.

Comment: This is a multi-dimensional, complex and well-balanced whisky.

Score 93.5/100

Kilkerran 12 Year Old Review

The new Kilkerran 12 Year Old is the first official core release from Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery. Back in the 19th century there were at least 34 legal distilleries in the area. This whisky uses a mixture of cask types: 70% ex-bourbon casks, and the remaining 30% in ex-sherry casks. Bottled at 46% ABV

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Exotic fruity essence with vanilla, butterscotch and sugary notes awaken. The second act presents cereal notes, citrus gummy bears with a progressive build-up of dark chocolate and marble halvah.

Taste: Medium to full-bodied and somewhat drying. Mocha and corn flakes enter the scene then spice, marshmallows and pimento flakes. A batch of flapjacks is served late.

Finish: Lingering. Spice, leather and espresso crema appear with late whipped coffee and a hint of smoke.

Comment: A refreshing whisky which would have wide appeal to the fairer sex. It has a lovely continuous candied nose.

Score 89.5/100

Arran The Sauternes Cask Review

The Isle of Arran has just one single malt distillery. Watch out for the Golden eagles circling around the crags above Glen Chalmadale. This single malt is aged for 8 years in traditional (previously used) oak before transferring to ex-Sauternes dessert wine casks. Bottled at 50% ABV

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Earthy sweet, piles of straw, pea soup, celery heart and bicolor corn spawn an interesting interplay of aromas. Rice pudding with nutmeg, Christmas cake, mocha, sultanas, apricots, mangoes and figs line the perimeter.

Taste: Full-bodied and creamy. McIntosh apples, caramel sauce, bananas and spice take a bow.

Finish: Warming to be sure, medium to long, red laces (licorice), lemon biscuits and echoes of high tea desserts.

Comment: A dessert dram with a “nose” and some cask strength punch to remember.

Score 86.5/100

Glenfiddich Winter Storm 21 Year Old Review

Glenfiddich Distillery shines as one of the most known Scottish distilleries with the water known as “the single source of inspiration”. This is batch two of Winter Storm. The third entry in the Experimental Series. The whisky is finished in French-oak ice-wine casks from Canada. The dram is recommended to be served with a single frozen grape in the glass. Bottled at 43% ABV

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Dried apricots on a cream soda float, caramelized bananas, almond praline spread, stewed fruit, muscatel grape skins and lychee nuts in syrup build like an ecological aromatic map.

Taste: Full-bodied, smooth and creamy. There is a mix of Neapolitan 3 flavor ice cream with mocha and Turkish delight.

Finish: Lingering and drying; dark chocolate and ice wine reminiscences satisfy.

Comment: The whisky is a work of finesse and creativity, embellished by the ice wine wood.

Score 94/100

Blair Athol 23 Year Old Review

Blair Athol’s ancient source of water is the Allt Dour – in Gaelic “the burn of the otter”. It is this constant availability of pure water which led John Stewart and Robert Robertson to found the distillery on the moorland south of Pitlochry in 1798. The whisky is the first official release since 2003 and also the distillery's first appearance in Diageo's annual Special Releases. Matured in European oak butts that have undergone scraping, toasting and recharring. The butts were refilled with fortified wine in the UK before being filled with whisky. There were only 5514 bottles produced. Bottled at 58.4% ABV

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Red plums “runneth” over the fruit bowl. Almost concurrent hits of musky melon, stewed black cherries, crab apples, sour cherry jam, apricot compote and Australian black licorice. Texas BBQ rub adds to the mystique.

Taste: Full-bodied and chewy with thick tree-like legs. Black licorice, anise, spice, walnuts and chestnuts revolve on the palate. A waterfall of intense flavors at your service.

Finish: Long and drying. The licorice theme repeats with a sweet undertow and earthiness that perseverates.

Comment: A voluptuous, meaty and thick dram with massive layers of flavor and aromas.

Score 96/100

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