Sunday, March 22, 2015

Double Tasting – Muirhead’s Silver Seal

Muirhead's Silver Seal 12yo and 16yo
Have you heard of Muirhead's Whisky? Possibly not as it is just starting to enter into the Australian market. We had been lucky enough in recent past to have received samples to showcase at our recent club meeting.

There is not a lot to say about this whisky from a market point of view here in Australia. What I have been able to find is that Muirhead’s is not a distillery but in fact a brand and a bit of transient brand at that. After establishment back in the early 1800’s under the name Charles Muirhead and Sons the brand has seen a handful of owners. Muirhead’s currently falls under the flag of Tullibardine Highland Single Malt Distillery who purchased the brand in 2008. In turn saw Tullibardin purchased by French spirits company Picard Vins & Spiritueux in 2011. Does the spirit in Muirhead's actually come from Tullibardine Distillery I cannot say though we would have to assume some of it at least would have too now. Maybe?

Muirhead’s is being distributed in Australia through Kollaras Group, one of the largest privately owned liquor organisations nationwide. Though Muirhead’s has a wide range of both blended and single malt whiskies, at the time of receiving these samples it was in was indicated that we should see the Muirhead’s Silver Seal 12yo, Silver Seal 16yo, and Silver Seal Chassagne Montrachet Wood Finish. I had asked several times about distribution details and pricing but alas had nothing supplied.

Muirhead's Silver Seal 12yo
Silver Seal 12yo
Producer: Muirhead’s
Location/Region: Speyside, Scotland
Alcohol/ABV: 40%

Colour: Thatch yellow

Nose: Fruity, floral and spicy with a strong touch of acetone to furniture polish. Delivers a very old school whisky nose.

Taste: Sweet and soft at first across the lips, old wood and varnish begin to appear soon after. Fruit notes remain across the palate in the sense of spices dry tropical fruits.

Finish: Long and burning in the chest that eventually gets spiked but a spice return in the palate.

Overall I find the nose off putting as it does not relevant even after a couple of sips. This is certainly an old school style whisky from yesteryear and very reminiscent of whiskies my parents use to have in the cupboard. Out of 7 I would be delivering a 4.

Muirhead's Silver Seal 16yo
Silver Seal 16yo
Producer: Muirhead’s
Location/Region: Speyside, Scotland
Alcohol/ABV: 40%

Colour: Sunny orange

Nose: Very nutty with a medium floral scent and dry smokey leaves. Very different nose to the 12yo and much more appealing. After a dram this all quickly turns into a much more pleasant pistachio nuts and vanilla ice cream with only hints of acetone we saw in the 12yo.

Taste: Old woods that get very dry turning into the results of cigar tobacco. Soft, sweet and cushioning overall the dryness intensifies as the finish decays.

Finish: Long and warming in the chest with a light dry spice on the tongue that outlasts the finish.

Overall much more rounded and balanced but dull. This whisky does not niggle at the senses like the 12yo and I feel I could happily sit and watch a movie with a dram and not think too much about what is happening in each sip. Out of 7 I would give this a 5.

Looking at how these whiskies ran on the night of the D.T.W.C. tasting the 16yo came out a clear favourite of the two. Samples of the 12yo were tried and not returned too by most while 3/4 of the 16yo was drammed happily. Members that have an affinity for Speyside styles of whisky certainly were very much drawn to appreciate these whiskies. For me they are an older style whisky reminiscent of what we expected our grand parents to be drinking. A much more aggressive flavour profile that may not appeal to the audience far more used to NAS finishes. In saying that it appears Muirhead's has several finishes in the family so it will be great to see how they are someday.

Thanks to Kollaras for the samples. We will be sure to give more clear distortion details when they are provided.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was supplied a sample for review. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.