Lending an expert hand

Whisky specialist curates guest list of 30 old and rare bottles

Whisky expert Charles MacLean has handpicked a guest whisky list of 30 old and rare bottles for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s new Kaleidoscope bar in the capital.

• Whisky expert Charles MacLean selected various old and rare malts for Kaleidoscope bar.
• Whisky expert Charles MacLean selected various old and rare malts for Kaleidoscope bar.

The Edinburgh-based whisky specialist, and star of 2012 film The Angels’ Share, sourced 21 Scotch whiskies at auction, including a Dufftown-Glenlivet 12 year old distilled in the 1960s; The Balvenie Founder’s Reserve, distilled in the early 1970s; and a Mortlach Flora & Fauna 16 year old.
A further nine whiskies were drawn from MacLean’s personal collection and around the world, and includes the Hakushu 18 year old Japanese single malt whisky and the Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry Cask from Taiwan.
The launch of this list signals the first time The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which bottles single cask malt whisky, has offered non-society whiskies alongside its own bottlings at its bar.
Charles MacLean said: “The Scotch Malt Whisky Society looks at whisky through the lens of flavour, and my idea for this guest selection is to encourage everyone to explore how whisky flavours have evolved over the past decades.
“All of these expressions are discontinued so there are very few places in the world you can taste them, making a visit to Kaleidoscope a unique experience for whisky fans.”
Elsewhere, MacLean has shared his expertise in the form of detailed tasting notes for two new whiskies.
Speyside Distillery has released its first ever peated single malt Scotch whisky – one of two limited edition expressions from the Spey range.
Fumare, which translates from Latin as smoky, is said to add a different dimension to the portfolio and, according to MacLean, has an “appearance of full gold, like vintage Champagne” and a “sweet and lightly salty” taste with a “smoky and medicinal” finish.
The second whisky, Trutina, also stems from Latin and is said to signify something which is balanced and pure.
Described as a “nod to its traditions”, Trutina is pale gold in colour, with MacLean comparing it to white wine; describing its flavour profile, he said it has a “sweet start then considerable crisp acidity, with scented sweets, and an aftertaste of white chocolate”.
Speyside Distillery chief executive John Harvey McDonough said the launch of a peated malt is new territory for the distillery.
“We’ve never before released a malt using our peated barley,” he said.
“We have kept our peated malts sleeping quietly in our maturisation warehouse and have now awoken them to create the beautifully smoky Fumare.
“We wanted to launch another expression – a twin for Fumare – that would be the polar opposite. Trutina brings that balance and together these new expressions continue our journey at Speyside Distillery.”