Oct 10, 2013
Checkers LiquorShop is using its clout and contacts to source extremely rare, small batch whiskies from some of the world's finest producers and retailing them at very competitive prices.
These whiskies are being released under LiquorShop's recently launched flagship label, The Private Barrel Co, and are exclusive to its House of Fine Whisky selection.
The newest collection comprises four hand-picked single malts, between 14 and 17 years old, chosen after scouring Scotland's most famous distilleries. No more than 600 of each have been bottled. They are all individually numbered, with tasting notes.
The range currently includes the Private Barrel Co Benrinnes 15 Year Old, Glenlossie 15 Year Old, Glen Grant 17 Year Old and Mortlach 14 Year Old.
Ranging in price from R550, these single malts amplify the chain's drive to bring gourmet goods to shoppers at unbeatable prices.
New, equally unique specialty editions will be released on an ongoing basis. These select, small-run bottlings will be sourced on the basis of feedback from LiquorShop whisky connoisseurs and their preferences under the Private Barrel Co brand.
For details of LiquorShops featuring the House of Fine Whisky collection, go to http://www.checkers.co.za and select the Store Locator.
The distillery was first licensed by Peter McKenzie in 1834 and sits at the foot of the hump-backed Ben Rinnes Mountain in Moray, northern Scotland. Its many springs have for years provided crystal clear water for making whisky in the valley. The distillery is now owned by Diageo, the biggest whisky maker in Scotland.
The whisky from the Benrinnes Distillery has always been considered amongst the best by blenders and its style contributes body and intensity to many fine blended whiskies. As the savoury, sulphury spirit needs time to mature, it is not normally bottled until it is 15 years' old.
The whisky features as a component in the J&B and Johnnie Walker blends, but on extremely rare occasions is released as a single malt.
Benrinnes 15 year old Bourbon Cask
Aroma - Sweet dough and raisins
Palate - Sugared almonds with apricot and some maple syrup
Finish - Lovely and elegant with light notes of sweet tobacco
Situated just beyond Elgin, the Glenlossie Distillery, established in 1876, lies next to the Mannochmore Distillery, built in the 1970s. The two share the same whisky-making team.
Founded by John Duff, the former distillery manager at the Glendronach Distillery, Glenlossie was bought by giant, DCL in 1919 and is now part of Diageo’s collection of distilleries.
Official bottlings are normally 10 years old with a light green and grassy character. The whisky is used in blends and forms a significant part of the Haig whisky range, a top seller in the UK in the 1960s and '70s.
Glenlossie 15 year old Bourbon Cask
Aroma - Fresh and summery with gooseberries
Palate - Pineapple with some subtle spice and honey
Finish - Long and smooth with hints of dark chocolate
GLEN GRANT DISTILLERY
Glen Grant, with access to a plentiful supply of water and excellent quality grain from the nearby lands of Moray, was founded in 1840 by two brothers, James Grant, a solicitor in Elgin, and John Grant, a local grain merchant whose knowledge of whisky making supposedly came from supplying the region’s illicit distillers.
The distillery stayed in the Grant family until 1977, when it was sold to Seagram. Its 5 year old single malt became extremely popular in Italy and the distillery is now owned by Campari. A visit to the safe built into the rocks in the beautifully restored Victorian gardens is a must for visitors to the distillery.
About 50% of Glen Grant production is used in blends, most notably Chivas Regal.
Less than 10% of all its whisky is aged in sherry butts and is reserved mostly for the 10 year old edition. This 17 year old release is extremely rare.
Glen Grant 17 year old Sherry Cask
Aroma - Butterscotch, chocolate and pears
Palate - A lovely palate of ginger, peppered spice and roasted nuts followed by some banana and pear drops
Finish - Long and very warming with a velvety texture and traces of liquorice
Established by James Findlater in 1823 on the edge of Dufftown, Moray, the Mortlach distillery had shaky beginnings. It was sold within seven years of start-up, fell into disuse for many years, became a brewery for a while, and was then restored as a distillery in 1897 by George Cowries.
William Grant was Mortlach’s most famous employee, spending 20 years there as a loyal bookkeeper before handing in his notice in 1886 to leave and start up his own Glen Fiddich Distillery.
Dufftown, which now boasts seven distilleries, is the unchallenged whisky capital of Speyside.
Mortlach's robust, spicy and toffee sweetness makes it very popular single malt. It is often in short supply because it is a key component of the Johnnie Walker Black Label blend.
In one of the spirit stills called the Wee Witchy, the charge is redistilled twice and with all the various distillations taking place, it can be said that Mortlach is distilled 2,8 times. One run of the spirit from the Wee Witchy is essential to give it its true character.
Mortlach 14 year old Sherry Cask
Aroma - Fruity with smoky vanilla notes
Palate - Treacle, chocolate and maple syrup notes flow into some spiced ginger and fudge
Finish - Deeply satisfying with some chocolate and ending with a hint of tobacco