Blog Water of Life – McNair

Water of Life – McNair

Posted Sept. 7, 2020, 9:21 a.m. by T

Advertisement
KFAI - Roar of the Underground

Water of Life – McNair

 

We have covered the fantastic Speyside distillery GlenAllachie and their tremendous expressions in all their glory as part of our series before, so when I became aware that its master distiller was going to channel his alchemy in blending peated and unpeated whiskies from both Speyside and Islay, it instantaneously established itself firmly on my to-try list.

Under the moniker McNair, a triumvirate of blended whiskies was released housed in a striking packaging and it could not wait to see what the new expressions were going to be like.

McNair’s entry level peated Lum Reek clocks in at 46% ABV and having been matured in a variety of casks, i.e. first-fill Bourbon, Oloroso sherry, virgin oak and red wine casks, hopes for an exquisite complexity were set high from the get-go.

Given my preferences, I was quite delighted when wafts of gentle smoke were amongst the first aromas that tickled my nostrils, framed by peaty outlines that are inhabited by apples, vanilla, pears and overall sweet notes that nuancefully play with the Islay notes.

The top of the roof experiences an extension of what the nose promised, i.e. honeyed peat, highlights of dark chocolate sprinkled with gingery spice, just a tad of zesty, citrussy tanginess and a seaside saltiness.

As expected, McNair’s Lum Reek 12-Year-Old takes things up a notch in terms of the aforementioned aromas and flavours being more pronounced: On the nose, the hint of smoke now enters bonfire-y territory and the accompanying aromas are more subtle, with cinnamon, dark chocolate and citrus being amongst the more prominent.

The palate is caressed with a nice creaminess texture that carries a foundation of delicious peat on which cocoa, gingery cinnamon and honeyed chocolate.

The medium-length finish is informed more of the delicate creaminess that now reverberates the bitter lemony chocolate notes around butterscotch flavours and keeps riffing on the peatiness.

Now, going about this feature in a vertical manner, we now come to the expected crescendo, i.e. MacNair’s Lum Reek 21-Year-Old.

Upping the ABV to 48% and having been matured in Oloroso sherry, Virgin Oak and red wine casks, this one ups the game quite significantly.

Upon uncorking, the nose is greeted with a bouquet of mouth-watering smoky peat. Ahhh! In the peaty aftermath there is a lot to be discovered, as there are stone fruits, nutty chocolate, pineapple, coconuts and cherries.

On the palate, things get complex fast: Everything that the nose promised is there, however, it is no longer compartmentalized and now the peaty smoke cross-pollinates the berries, tropical flavours interact with heathery honey and dark chocolate is married with liquorice. Delicioso!

The elongated finish bookends a veritable experience, that draws on the beauty and power of peat without being overwhelming, with loads of subtle nuance to discover.

In my world, McNair just raised the bar in blending excellence with smoke at its very core and I can only join in with the traditional Scottish toast and chant "Long may your lum reek!", i.e. an encouragement to ensuring that your chimney keeps firing on.

---

image from company website

Leave a comment
Share this content

Other recent blogs

The Formative Years – Rockpalast

Posted by T
Sept. 21, 2020, 8:12 p.m.

The Formative Years – Rockpalast In times long before the advent of the internet and its algorhythmic echo chambers along with the possibility to check out any music and gain ... read more

Water of Life – Borders Distillery

Posted by T
Sept. 20, 2020, 10:21 a.m.

Water of Life – Borders Distillery   The Borders Distillery is based in Hawick, which used to be the home of Scotland’s renowned plant hunter William Kerr, to which Borders ... read more

Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Akasha Brewing

Posted by T
Sept. 19, 2020, 7:29 p.m.

Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Akasha Brewing   Akasha has been one of the breweries that almost got away as it has been on my to-cover list for the ... read more

The Formative Years – Falco

Posted by T
Sept. 18, 2020, 6:11 p.m.

The Formative Years – Falco   Talking about formative years, the influence Johann "Hans" Hölzel’s exerted long before my exposure to punk cannot be overestimated. I do not believe in ... read more

Water of Life – Puni

Posted by T
Sept. 17, 2020, 9:08 p.m.

Water of Life – Puni   Italy is not exactly an epicentre when it comes to the distilling of whiskies and after attending a tasting about two years ago, I ... read more

Advertisement
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.