Translate Caskstrength!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

By Royal Appointment

Some time ago, I was thinking about the heritage of the British Isles and in particular, its drinking history. For a small island, we can lay claim to a not inconsiderable number of tremendous inventions, happy accidents and liquid gold concoctions, representing every corner of our green and pleasant domain.

I thought that maybe, with the right presenter/celebrity or even better, a double act, you could clearly have a marvelous television programme where all the key drinks of Britain are explored, maybe even pitted against each other in some crazy historical 'drink off'...

So, as I feverishly reached for the telephone to dial Channel 4 and notify them of my programming gold, a familiar face appeared on BBC2 announcing of all things...

-maybe-even-pitted-against-each-other-in some-kind-of-crazy-historical-drink-off'.

Hurrah for 'James and Oz drink for Britain!!'

My timing has always been lousy and this just proved it. Oh well. A great programme it has turned out to be, in any case.
I did have another thought about drinks with Royal patronage, of which there are many well known ones- whisky being no exception. Prince Charles likes his Laphroaig, the Queen, her gin and Princess Margaret? well, she liked pretty much anything she could get her hands on... but what about whiskies with 'Royal' in the name??

We recently got to try the following elder statesman -and before you could say 'off with its head' we'd written a bunch of tasting notes for you...

Glenury Royal - 36 years old - distilled 1968 - 51.2% vol - 70cl

Sherbet lemons, thick woolly sweaters, old tweed, hints of leather, mint, cedar, sandalwood and some more closed medicinal notes spring to mind... the overbearing note has to be this wool, which whilst not at all unpleasant, acts as a more dominant fragrance than the rest.

Palate: More sherbet, (yummy) leading into fragrant notes of bourbon, caramelised fruits, well seasoned lamb and a touch of red wine dryness from the oak. Definitely a whisky that hasn't been in a desperate hurry to escape its woody slumbers for the past 36 years.

Finish: The robust meaty flavours of the lamb give way to a much dryer and slightly sour, lightly charred, fruity finish, which lasts for a hell of a long time.

Overall: Slip on a medium weight richonich tweed suit and enjoy this after a hearty Sunday lunch with your best briar pipe full of a decent Balkan blend. It certainly isn't bright and breezy, but it doesn't need to be. A really 'old school' whisky, from a sadly closed distillery that feels a little ruddy cheeked, but certainly has enough about it to give a great after dinner speech.