Murray McDavid exclusive release for the 2022 Spirit Of Speyside Festival - distilled 2016 - 53.6% - Oloroso Hogshead
Murray McDavid appeared in 1994 and has become extremely well known across the globe as an independent bottler. They profess to having a bit of a hankering for maturing whisky in casks that are "interesting", with an emphasis on wine casks.
Historically, they're actually responsible for reopening a certain Islay distillery at the beginning of the 21st Century that you may have heard of - Bruichladdich. Both the Bruichladdich distillery and Murray McDavid were then bought up by Remy Cointreau in 2012. Today, Murray McDavid is owned by Aceo Limited. All these changes of hand get confusing.
This particular whisky was bottled especially to celebrate the 2022 Spirit of Speyside Festival. It was distilled in 2016 where it was then transferred into a single Oloroso Sherry Hogshead. With an out-turn of just 299 bottles (because hoggies aren't very big), there wasn't an awful lot to go around. Luckily, I was very fortunate to be able to get hold of one.
Appearance: Dark tea. Very lazy & thin oily legs
Nose: Caramel sauce drizzled over vanilla ice cream with a side order of booze-soaked raisins, prune juice, sherry, more sherry, and some toffee. A second sniff from ones conk reveals some warmed, soft muscovado sugar, gentle peppery spice prickle, freshly mown wet grass, and some more toffee(!) A slight sourness appears along with rhubarb & custard boiled sweets and a gentle dusty dunnage-y note right at the end. Quite spectacular.
Palate: It’s almost like I’ve thrown spice, sweetness of caramel, sourness, and some gentle white pepper into a blender and this is the result. On first contact, it’s mainly sweetness and a little heat, but once the palate is primed, the floodgates are opened and the flavours really burst through. Now there is an emphasis on burnt sugar, vanilla sponge cake, and dryness that quickly gives way to a thicker, oilier sweetness. More of a dry/tannin note now step up. The oiliness feels almost like mildly salted creamy butter.
Finish: Long with a lingering sweetness that’s like a butter-rich oily toffee. There’s a gentle numbing to the sides of the tongue with some liquorice root right at the end.
Water adds…: Fruitier on the nose with more of a dry Oloroso nutty-sour note. Nuttier on the palate with a fantastic dunnage note coming through. The finish is creamier.
Conclusion: 5 years old and competing like an Olympian. What the hell would this be like at 7, 10, or 12 years old? Murray McDavid, I salute you for bottling this. Incredible. It's absolutely mahoosive. I am so going to keep an eye on these guys from now on.
Price per bottle £59.95 (at the time of writing this review)
More about Murray McDavid here