Rhosdhu 12yo 1996/2008 (46%, Murray McDavid, Bourbon Cask, 2.000 bottles)

Murray McDavidNext we are going to have a look at three bottlings by Murray McDavid. Murray McDavid was founded in 1996 by Mark Reynier, Simon Coughlin, and Gordon Wright, naming it after Mark’s grandparents, Harriet Murray and Jock McDavid. The motto “Clachan a Choin” translates as “the bollocks of the dog”, so yes, the logo has a dog in it. Besides being an independent bottler, maybe their biggest claim to fame was acquiring Bruichladdich Distillery in the year 2k. In 2000 the distillery was still mothballed, but Mark and his mates quickly turned it into a working distillery. Less than 12 years later in the summer of 2012, Bruichladdich was sold to Rémy Cointreau UK Limited, as well as the independent bottler Murray McDavid. Rémy Cointreau didn’t know what to do with the bottler, so less than a year later they sold it to Aceo Ltd, a supplier of casked whisky and distillery services like cask storage, bottling and labelling.

So the first of three bottlings from Murray McDavid will be a rendition of a Loch Lomond Whisky: Rhosdhu.

Rhosdhu 12yo 1996/2008 (46%, Murray McDavid, Bourbon Cask, 2.000 bottles)Color: Gold.

Nose: Spicy and briny. Funky, with some prickling cigarette smoke. Lots of grain, but also some traits I get from Rhum (of the Agricole kind) and Bourbon itself. Actually more like a Rye Whiskey. A dry and sweet fruitiness mostly. Definite cask toast. Vanilla and tangerine. Lots of saw dust and dare I say it (again), cardboard. It smells like an old (sweet) Single Grain, at the fraction of the cost. Dry powdery and again (citrus) fruity. Give it some air, and boy, does this need some air, and it’s even tarry sometimes.

Taste: Again quite grainy and fruity. A bit raw but therefore it needs the fruity sweetness it has. Vanilla powder and smelling like an old vanilla pod. Noticeable paper and cardboard again, but in no way is this disturbing in this one. Slightly weak in the finish, but otherwise a decent Whisky, helped by quite an active cask. Some acidity enters the fold when it’s time for the finale. The finale has great depth, with a toffee and caramel sweetness. Part of this caramel is even slightly burnt. The sweetness is just right, helped along by the leafy and spicy backbone.

I remember this when freshly opened and it didn’t do too much for me then (79 Points). This time around, with some more oxidation, this turned out nicely. This is a Whisky that needs a lot of air and really benefits from the heat of your hand. Keep it in the palm of your hand, don’t hold it by the stem. Knowing its secret, and if it was available today I would most certainly buy it. If you have it, remember how to treat it. Heat and air will do the trick.

Points: 83

Inchmurrin 15yo (46%, OB, 2012)

Bottled on the 14th of november 2012, we have here an Inchmurrin which is a Single Malt Whisky made at the Loch Lomond distillery. Loch Lomond was founded in 1965 and distillation started a year later. On site there is a malt distillery as well as a grain distillery. The distillery has two copper pot stills and four stills with adjustable rectifying columns (for Single Malt production). Because of these different stills and the fact that the rectifying columns are adjustable a series of different Single Malts can be made. Today Loch Lomond produces the following Single Malts: Loch Lomond, (Old) Roshdu, Inchmoan, Craiglodge, Inchmurrin, Croftengea (heavily peated), Glen Douglas and Inchfad.

Inchmurrin 15yoSince 1993 also a Coffey still is placed for Grain Whisky production and therefore the company is able to produce a Single Blend named Loch Lomond (you’d think they were good at making up names for their products)

Color: White wine.

Nose: Extremely malty, grassy and has notes of lactic acid. How’s that for a start! We continue with cardboard and a strange kind of acidity. Vegetal and woody. Toasted wood which makes the whole rather spicy. Slight whiff of menthol. When you let it breathe a while in your glass this is actually not a bad nose, the strange funkiness that was there in the beginning dissipates, to give us a more normal nose.

Taste: Grainy, very grainy. Neutral. It tastes like a Vodka on wood. It ís a Single Malt, so what happened in those casks over all those years? Grain and wood, not a lot more actually. Freshly cut baguette with its paper bag. Hint of vanilla. It isn’t sweet and has only a hint of bitterness. Finish is uneventful, and the higher strength gives it some staying power. But nothing really special stays behind.

First of all let me say that the bottle looks very nice when you have it in front of you. Highest marks on the packaging. The Whisky itself seems almost like a Grain Whisky that was aged in a bunch of rerererefill casks, very inactive indeed. Probably the most neutral Single Malt Whisky I ever tasted. Let’s make it my 70 points benchmark.

Points: 70