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The Joy of Highland Scotch

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highland scotchIf you are looking for a scotch that has beautiful balance between sweet and smoky, look toward a good Highland scotch.

Not all scotch drinkers will agree with that statement, however.

Highland scotches often get a bad rap. Hard-core scotch lovers will argue that they are not peaty or smoky enough to wake up their taste buds. Yes, they have more intense fruit flavours and delicate smoke, but they deliver the smoke with a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer.

Not to disparage Islay scotches, there are lots of good ones that have plenty of fruit to accent the deep peaty smoke. More than half of the scotch drinkers are likely to sing the praises of Islay scotches with their rich smoky characteristics.

When it comes to flavour enjoyment any great chef or beverage expert will always state that balance is the key.

This is where a well made single malt Highland scotch will shine.

The Macallan 1824 series is a perfect example of the true expression of great Highland scotch.

The series is comprised of the 10 year old Gold, the 12 year old Amber, the 15 year old Sienna and the 18 year old Ruby. The names correspond to the deepening colors as the whisky ages in sherry seasoned casks.

The lightest of the bunch is the Gold. Starting out with wonderful aromas of orange and lemon peal, but on your palate the citrus translates softly and hints of vanilla follow. The finish is a chocolate and cinnamon delight.

After 12 years, the Amber develops an intricate bouquet of floral notes, sweet vanilla, plum and toffee. Flavours of green apples and ginger swirl in your mouth. This scotch has a light dry finish of toasty grains with a hint of mixed fruit.

The Sienna delivers scents of apples, orange zest and vanilla. Scrumptious white chocolate, dates and oak delight the palate. The finale is gentle, smooth and warming with a bit of nutmeg and a return of the orange and vanilla.

For dessert the 18 year old Ruby is beyond compare. Every scent and taste expressed by all the other scotches in the series are magnified. The oak has deepened with hints of resin with cloves. The finish is a long, lingering caress.

A quick look at Highland Park scotch shows that they express more smoked peat flavours than Macallan. These are the perfect scotches for a palate ready for a bigger hit of smoky goodness. Highland Park distillery produces scotch aged from 12 years to 40 years. The flavour profile runs a full gamut of citrus, caramel, vanilla, mixed fruit, toasted cereal and smoked peat in varying degrees.

Whisky club this month at Luckys Liquor will feature tastings of both Macallan and Highland Park scotch. This event is a great opportunity for whisky sippers to savour the delicate pleasures of Highland scotch. Join us on May 20th at 7 PM on our Gourmet Mezzanine and sample some of the world’s finest. For more info visit us at, call us at 250-585-2275 or find us on Facebook.

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