Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Type: Single Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrel: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: The Ultimate Whisky
Average price: € 55.00
Official website: www.ultimatewhisky.com
A bottler of Dutch origin, The Ultimate was born in 1994 out of the passion of Han and Maurice van Wees.
These two select casks from all the distilleries in Scotland, creating single cask bottlings with a consequently limited run.
Initially they also produced miniatures, and today they have a portfolio of around 25 bottlings, some of which come from other parts of the world.
All production is with natural colouring and without chillfiltering, an ‘honest single malt’ as they say.
On their website there is a list of the current production as well as a handy pdf with all previous bottlings: the one under review is No 800068, distilled in 2008 and bottled in December 2016, so an 8 year old.
Another characteristic of these bottlers is the decidedly affordable price of their bottles, which makes it possible to vary from the core ranges of the various distilleries without spending a fortune.
And at a time when prices seem to have gone crazy, that’s no small thing.
Very pale yellow colour, almost transparent.
The nose is greeted by a soft, moist peat, with just a hint of smoke. Caramel, citrus and a touch of spice wrapped in a saline puff, all without any interference from the alcohol. Very delicate.
In the mouth, sweetness dominates: plums, vanilla and caramel with an accompaniment of candied orange. To break up the risk of mellowness, the coastal wind sprays damp peat and salt over the aromas. There is also a slight hint of spice, which provides a good counterpoint, and fresh bread. The smoke seems to have vanished, but the alcohol is present and at times arrogant.
The finish is saline and dry, quite fleeting.
A more haphazard variation on the classic Diageo, sacrificing some elegance for more personality by offering a variation on the theme that isn’t excellent, especially the ending.