The Exceptional Malt
Don Sutcliffe, an American who lives in California has over 35 years in the spirits business with a background in Cognac and with his longtime friend Willie Phillips (managing director of Macallan from 1978 -1966) have created a range of small batch Scotch whiskies.
Don has a connection with Scotland, initially through ancestry and then over a lengthy working relationship through the whisky industry. Initially the two friends were looking to purchase a independent Scottish Distillery but unfortunately the deal fell through. This was due to the whisky stock they were looking to purchase as part of the deal with the distillery dramatically increasing in value making the deal unrealistic for the seller.
Years later with purchasing a distillery almost an impossibility the plan to make a whisky that suited their ideals and tastes grew. With the contacts made through Willie’s term at the Macallan, the usual problem of obtaining whisky was not an issue and quality was the absolute key. The remit of both partners was a whisky that had character and individuality not another blended Scotch whisky. The first whisky has balance, sublety and finesse and not a whiff of Peat as Don’s passions are for Speyside and Highland Scotch whiskies and that peat hides the true flavours.
The second whisky produced a year later was created with the same passion and dedication to quality. This time the Exceptional Malt was born, again using the best casks available. An extraordinary range of mature casks, including Glenfarclas, Ben Nevis, Alt-a’Bhainne, Auchroisk, Glenallachie, Westport (Predominantly Glenmorangie with a touch of Glen Moray ) Macallan and a vatted barrel of three storied family owned Speyside distilleries, blended and married in first-fill Oloroso sherry cask.
Opening nose and palate are effusive with weight and added substance. The mid palate evolves into raspberry fruit with intriguing notes of tarragon and spice. The finish lingers with notes of sherry, toffee cream and a returning hint of anise. The addition of 3/4 drops of water transforms and opens up an initial relatively closed nose with Christmas cake, tangerines and aniseed with a multi layered palette which grows and evolves in the mouth – a mouthfeel of elegance with an addition of weight and substance but so refined.