Mey Selections debuts Glen Ord whisky and Dunnet Bay ginBy Nicola Carruthers
Mey Selections, an initiative that supports produce from the Scottish Highlands, has released a limited edition 12-year-old single cask whisky from Glen Ord distillery and a gin made in collaboration with Dunnet Bay Distillers.
Mey Selections was created in 2005 with the support of Prince Charles. It was named after the Highland home of Prince Charles’ grandmother.
The venture was created as part of a charity initiative to support the food and drink industry in the Scottish Highlands.
The new expressions are Mey Selections Rare Cask Release and Mey Selections Traditional Scottish Gin.
The Mey Selections Rare Cask Release is the first in a series of rare whiskies selected for Mey Selections by a team of Highland whisky experts including whisky maker Max McFarlane.
The non-chill-filtered 51% abv expression is a cask strength 12-year-old from the Diageo-owned Glen Ord distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Casks from the distillery are usually reserved for Diageo’s Singleton single malt brand. The cask was selected by Goldfinch Whisky Merchants.
“I sampled casks from all over the north of Scotland but this particular cask had superior sensory and palate qualities,” said McFarlane.
“It has the wonderful flavours of a Sherry cask which is filled with whisky for the first time. It is fresh and fruity on the nose with hints of white grapes and aromatic spices followed by a breath of warm butterscotch.
“Beautifully formed and well-rounded on the palate, sweet notes of vanilla and prunes are enriched by suggestions of malted barley and linseed oil.
“A whisper of light spice heralds a deliciously smooth and lingering finish. Add all this to good maturation and natural colour and we have a product fit for a king.”
Following the sale of the first cask, Mey Selections said that “further bottlings from other notable and distinguished distilleries in the Highlands are planned”.
Mey Selections Traditional Scottish Gin is made at the Dunnet Bay distillery in Caithness, producer of Rock Rose gin.
The new gin contains botanicals from the Rock Rose recipe, as well as three herbs that grow close to the castle of Mey: sweet cicely, applemint and bog myrtle.
“Applemint gives a slightly sweeter flavour than other mints and grows in the local forests,” said Martin Murray, founder of Dunnet Bay Distillers.
“Sweet cicely, gathered from the hedgerow, has a gentle aniseed flavour, whilst the bog myrtle from the walls of the castle itself lend a herbal, menthol flavour.
“It is a great gin for a gin and tonic with a slice of orange or grapefruit peel.”
The Mey Selections Rare Cask Release and Traditional Scottish Gin will be available to buy at the Castle of Mey Games on Saturday 3 August.
Afterwards, the gin will be available for purchase online from Loch Fyne Oysters and the whisky is available through Goldfinch Whisky Merchants.
The Mey Selections Rare Cask Release is priced at £118 (US$143) and Mey Selections Traditional Scottish Gin retails at £40 (US$48.46).