Recently, Whic.de sent me a sample of part two of their Tarot series. The whisky in question is a 13-year-old Deanston called “The High Priestess”. Like its predecessor, it originates from the stock of indie bottling giant Signatory Vintage and comes in a heavy, beautifully designed bottle – a bottle filled with a well selected, top quality Highlands malt! I tasted it back to back with two single cask whiskies that had already been with me a bit longer. The first is a Macduff 14yo from Claxton’s and the second is an Orkney 12yo from North Star. Originally, both of these drams were released in 2018. While the Macduff is still available at various online shops, the Orkney is already sold out. If you are interested, however, I am sure that you will still find it on the secondary market for a reasonable price. And “The High Priestess”? Well, she produced no less than 812 bottles, some of which can still be bought exclusively at Whic.de. Happy buying or – in case of the Orkney – hunting!
Deanston 13yo 2007/2020 “The High Priestess” by Whic
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • 1st fill sherry • 50.2% • 812 bottles)
From the High Priestess’ chamber in Deanston Distillery evaporates an alluring mix of powdered spices and dried fruits. These scents are accompanied by parchment, wood and straw. Whereas the bouquet is mostly dry and powdery, there is also something juicy underneath: fluffy caramel pudding, creamy milk chocolate and dark plum jelly. The tasty treats the High Priestess offers us are rich and beautiful, too: fine cocoa, soft blueberry, sweet licorice, crisp peach, chewy sultana and zesty orange – all wonderfully balanced out with each other. The lasting finish has lots of black berries and red fruits alongside licorice and – now also – a variety of grassy notes. I gotta give it to the High Priestess: She got me under her spell at ease!
Macduff 14yo 2003/2018 by Claxton’s
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Sherry butt • 55.9% • 652 bottles)
I must confess that Macduff is not a distillery that finds its way into my nosing glass all too often. Yet when it does, I am usually enjoying it a lot – like this 13 years old single cask bottling from English whisky mavens Claxton’s. Its nose is creamy and full of vanilla, strawberry, tangerine, macadamia and also an ounce of powdered nutmeg. With an ABV of almost 56 per cent, it puts quite a tickle onto the tongue at first. Once the electricity has discharged, a full-flavored mixture of fruity, milky and chocolatey flavors unfolds. It reminds me of caramelized pear with whipped cream and dark-choc sauce on top. The strong and long aftertaste emphasizes on the chocolate. Plus wood, nuts, vanilla and caramel pudding. This yummy, yummy dram totally has me drooling!
Orkney 12yo 2006/2018 by North Star
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Refill ex-bourbon hogshead • 57.8% • 362 bottles)
When that unique mixture of thick honey, blooming heather and fine pipe puff enters your nostrils – there’s a good chance you are drinking a Highland Park. In this great bottling from North Star, the classic Orkney fragrances are joined by soft apples, sliced peaches, white pepper and even a pinch of cayenne. In the mouth, the whisky feels heavy and oily. The apples and peaches from before get a little mushy now. Alongside them, there is also grilled pineapple and slightly burnt cake. And a whiff of sweetish smoke that passes by swiftly and fleetingly. The smooth finish offers lots of honey, toffee, zest, fruit and grass. I give this excellent offering from the Orkney Islands not one thumb up, but two!
Deanston 13yo “The High Priestess” (Single Malt / Highl. / 1st fill sherry / 50.2% / 90 Euro)
Macduff 14yo by Claxton’s (Single Malt / Highl. / Sherry butt / 55.9% / 100 Euro)
Orkney 12yo by North Star (Single Malt / Islands / Ref. bourbon hogsh. / 57.8% / 80 Euro)
*** Whisky samples kindly provided by Whic, Claxton’s and North Star. Thank you. ***