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November 2006


WINE & SPIRITS

Highland Fling

(Page 3 of 3)

"This malt has kaleidoscopic layers of flavor," Lumsden continued. "On the nose you should detect aromas of toffee, apples, gingerbread, citrus, caramelized bits, orange fudge, marshmallows, and cherry cake. Do you smell sweet rolling tobacco?" As instructed, we took the snifter in our hands to warm up the Scotch. "Whisky is like a Scotsman," said the distiller. "It's shy and needs to be warmed up." Lumsden directed us to add a few drops of water. "You're releasing the serpent," he said. "Now you should get hints on the nose of clementine, tangerine, pineapple, peach, walnut and leather."

As we sipped the "silky, oily, soft, chewy, mouth-filling" whiskey (Lumsden has a way with adjectives), he rolled off a laundry list of flavor notes: orange zest, black currant, plum, black pepper, melon, juicy raisins, cinnamon, gingerbread, cocoa powder, dark bitter chocolate, rich double cream, espresso. "Do you get eucalyptus on the finish?" he asked. "Some pepper with orange zest?"

The Margaux finish made this wondrous malt a jolting start to a decadent morning. You might try replacing mimosas with wood-finished whiskey on your next fall brunch. Of course, it's still plenty fine by a fire. I'll take mine on a fur rug with a big bear of a Scotsman curled up at my side.

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