Charlie Maclean

"I was impressed by these first bottlings from Tri Carragh and look forward to seeing more. Their cask selection is clearly sound!”

For our three inaugural bottles of Tri Carragh we asked Charlie Maclean to give us his personal opinions and findings of these three unique and characterful single malts.

Charlie has spent over 40 years in the Scotch industry and travels extensively teaching, tasting and judging. His experience has lead him to select casks for the most major whisky companies in the world.

Indisputably a world authority on the subject, he was elected Master of the Quaich in 2009 and has been honoured by her late HM The Queen for his services to Scotch whisky, UK exports and charity.

Charlie's Tasting Notes

Single Malt from Bunnahabhain Distillery

Appearance: Pale gold, Chardonnay. European oak 2nd-fill cask? Moderate beading (owing to its youth).

Aroma: A mild nose-feel, with considerable prickle. The first impression is of fruit loaf (with sultanas) – very light, and soon joined by light medicinal and maritime notes (Elastoplast, sea salt, edible seaweed), on a base of warm sand. The latter becomes more earthy at reduced strength; the fruit loaf notes return and maritime notes reduced.

Taste: A creamy mouthfeel and a taste which starts sweet, becomes slightly salty and finishes hot and spicy (at natural strength). Similar at reduced strength, but more accessible

Comment: Fresh and light-bodied, with the light phenolic and maritime notes showing its West Coast origin.  A picnic on a beach on a warm day came to my mind! 

Single Malt from Linkwood Distillery

Appearance: Deep umber, cream sherry. First-fill American oak cask? Excellent beading, good legs – both indicating texture.

Aroma: A mild nose-feel, nose drying with light prickle. A shy nose which takes time to open, the top notes start faintly herbal and mentholic (spearmint?), then develop towards caramel toffee (even chocolate coated toffee). A little water introduces a spicy note and also, for me, a fleeting suggestion of Turkish Delight!

Taste: A smooth texture and a taste which interprets the aroma in every particular: lightly tannic overall, but with a sweetish start, some spice in the medium-length finish and a mouth-cooling aftertaste.

Comment: An unusual example of Linkwood, which is usually matured in refill American oak to preserve a ‘green-grassy’ spirit character. This cask has filled out and developed the flavour in an interesting way.

Single Malt from Tomatin Distillery

Appearance: Deep 23CT gold, old Sauternes. American oak re-fill cask? Light beading; very good legs.

Aroma: A mild and mellow nose-feel. The top notes are fruity – a fruit salad with ripe Ogen melon, tinned pear, mandarin, and possibly a spoonful of double cream. A light medicinal-herbal note emerges in the development, becoming faintly meaty with a drop of water.

Taste: A voluptuous texture and a sweet taste overall, with mixed fruit flavours in mid-palate, some white pepper in the finish and white chocolate in the aftertaste, with just a hint of desiccated coconut. No change at reduced strength.

Comment: A delicious example of the make which remains fresh after all these years and has not been dominated by wood-derived flavours.

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