Whisky Focus - Scottish Craftsman's Association 21st Anniversary Whisky Experience

Scottish Craftsman's Association 21st Anniversary

17th April 2018
Review of the Scottish Craftsman's Association 21st 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 (2nd from right) and the organisers of the Scottish Craftsman's Association 21st Anniversary event.

One of the premier whisky events of the year in Southern Ontario, Canada took place in St. Catharines on April, Friday 13th. The event featured 5 single malt whiskies and a cornucopia of entertainment for the scores of guests including contributions by the Niagara Police Pipe Band, Highland dancers and of course the Ode to Robbie Burns. A lovely roast beef dinner also accompanied the evening.

The whiskies tasted during Scottish Craftsman's Association 21st Anniversary event were:

  • Singleton’s of Dufftown Tailfire
  • Royal Brackla 21 Year Old
  • Craigellachie 23 Year Old
  • Bruichladdich Black Art 5.1 Edition
  • BenRiach 1997 Cask 85103 18 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 and Master of Malt

Singleton’s of Dufftown Tailfire Review

Here is an offering from Dufftown with the highest concentration of distilleries in Scotland. This one is aged in European oak casks. The water is supplied from “Jock’s Well”. Bottled at 40% ABV

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: The elegant aromas here seem infinite: pumpkin, sultana raisins, peach fuzz, bananas, lilacs, Lowery’s cherry blossom chocolate candy, mixed nuts, fruity melange with late figs and intense apricots.

Taste: Full-bodied, smooth, creamy with watermelon, honey and caramel taking the stage initially followed by a grand entrance of passion fruit, salt water taffy and coconut.

Finish: Long, the espresso crema merges with mild spice and crests with Swiss chocolate.

Comment: This whisky has a spectacular nose with a fruity and candied kaleidoscope of aromas and flavors

Score 89.5/100

Royal Brackla 21 Year Old Review

This Highland single malt is bottled at 40% ABV and is aged in Oloroso sherry casks. It has the honor of being recognized as King William IV “King’s Own Whisky” and hence the “Royal” prefix.

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Dried fruit on steroids begins the journey with candied orange peel and freshly ground peanut butter. Crème brule, marble halvah (crushed sesame seeds) and buckwheat honey appear in layers with the late arrival of pungent pipe tobacco.

Taste: The honey hangs on the palate with marshmallow. Medium-bodied and drying, there is a sweet oaky halo with a dollop of apricot jelly.

Finish: Chocolate shavings swirl in mocha foam with a stir stick of black licorice and cubes of Turkish delight.

Comment: This whisky performs a sweetish curtsey with fruity essences wafting endlessly.

Score 93.5/100

Craigellachie 23 Year Old Review

High on the Rock of Craigellachie, this distillery built in 1891 offers this Banffshire single malt at 46% ABV.

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: A vegetable Farmer’s Market explodes onto the scene. An oaky aura gives rise to celery heart, paprika, lemon peel and a charming breakfast tea.

Taste: Full-bodied, spice, sweet salad dressing and cocoa powder complement each other. Mandarin oranges in sugary syrup join the fray with chocolate and fudge notes.

Finish: Long, the purple plums stand tall with spice, leather and bold hot chocolate.

Comment: A multidimensional whisky with distinct olfactory and taste parameters that are balanced in spite of at times sharp contrasts.

Score 92.5/100

Bruichladdich Black Art 5.1 Edition Review

This is an offering from Islay’s most westerly distillery built in 1881 by William and Harvey. A secret combination of casks belies the possible American, European and wine cask remembrances. This Black Art 5.1 Edition is Edition 24 Year Old Unpeated and was bottled at 48.4% ABV.

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: A summer meadow grows before us. Strawberry jelly melds with bulrushes in the marsh. Berries and nuts in a basket with a dark fruit extravaganza erupt. The black cherry burst is memorable.

Taste: Full-bodied and syrupy. The sweetish tinge builds and waves goodbye to guest appearance of delectable spice. An explosion of vanilla nougat and praline ice cream satisfies.

Finish: Long. Throat warms like a hot toddy. This whisky oozes dessert. Late tobacco essences entice.

Comment: A robust voluptuous single malt which wins from beginning to end.

Score 95.5/100

BenRiach 1997 Cask 85103 18 Year Old Review

Exclusively bottled for the LCBO, this single cask has spent 18 years in bourbon barrel and was bottled at 51.3% ABV.

Murray Cohen's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Marzipan soothes with butterscotch and aromatic summer flowers. Peaches, sunflower seeds entwine with vanilla bean and coconut shreds.

Taste: Full-bodied, smooth with thick sweetness, exuding shades of chocolate, nougat and delightful syrup.

Finish: Long, malty, mocha-frappuccino and lychee nuts.

Comment: Cask-strength magnificence with balance and aplomb.

Score 93.5/100

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