Secret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 10 – December 10th
A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.
Contrary to the way I’ve approached most of the whiskies in the advent calendar, when it came to this one I simply had to do a bit of checking into who the heck Lord Elcho was and why he merited a whisky named after him. The Lord Elcho site was easy enough to find, and contained this little blurb:
“David, Lord Elcho, eldest son of the 5th Earl of Wemyss, was one of the most celebrated supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the ill-fated Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Born in Scotland and heir to the vast Wemyss Estate on the rocky shore of the Firth of Forth, Lord Elcho was educated at Winchester College, England and then military school at Angers, France before travelling to Italy where he met the young Charles Edward Stewart in 1740.
For the significant role that he played in the uprising, and in recognition of his loyalty and uncompromising bravery at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745, Elcho was appointed colonel of the Prince’s lifeguards. He remained with the Young Pretender until his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 when, as punishment for his part in the uprising, Elcho was stripped of his lands and title and forced into exile in France. He pursued a military career on the continent, but sadly was never able to return to his native Scotland.”
It never ceases to astound, the depths of Scottish history, lore and fancy that are plumbed in christening new whiskies. The romance behind it all is a good part of the reason that Scotch whisky holds as much appeal for me as it does. But at the end of the day what really matters is whether or not the whisky is good enough to live up to – or surpass – the hyperbole and hyper-marketing.
Happy to report that Lord Elcho 15 y.o. blended whisky is a rock solid offering. Owing largely, I’d suspect, to a ratio of malt to grain that is well in excess of industry standards. Lord Elcho boasts a respectable 40% malt content. As we all know by now, grains are relatively neutral, while the malts bring the character. What this immediately suggests is a blended whisky with a bit more personality than the mixing-fare you find on the bottom shelves at most spirit sellers.
I like this one. Much better than 90% of the blend canon out there.
Nose: Beautifully soft, underspiced cinnamon buns. Celery salt. Creamy caramel. Glossette raisins. Jam-filled thumbprint cookies. A great balance struck here between sherry sweet and bourbon spice. I can only assume that is the casking, but if I’m wrong…well…that’s what it SEEMS like.
Palate: Great spices; mild and restrained. Molasses cookies. Chocolate and creamy vanilla. Caramel Apple. Again…a very well-built dram. Leaves some grassy dry notes at the end.
Thoughts: Another rather surprising constructed whisky from Wemyss. These guys obviously know what they’re doing. Not sure whether I prefer the slightly advanced maturity here or the younger and smokier ‘The Hive’. Good thing I don’t have to choose.
Bonus: My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season. Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at SingleMalting.com.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt