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The off-yellow color is more leathery than golden, as if to reflect a century of entombment in ice amid the tackle and truck of an Arctic expedition. The complaint among the smart drinkers regarding a manipulative tie-in to the Shackleton expedition seems rather hasty to me: in the end, you’ve got to admit, it’s a helluva story, and the sheer opposite of manufactured prestige and heritage. Shackleton truly braved the Arctic, and he really took along with him a now laughably extravagant supply of Mackinlay’s blended scotch. This gentle approximation bears marks of pride and careful craftsmanship.
This is a warmly perfumed scotch, like a scent rising from a cabaret dancer. It’s a trite and effete word, but I can’t describe this one without using the word “bouquet.” The overall effect is that of a room crowded with sweet ladies, smoky gentlemen, and waiters bearing lemon merengue pie, mingling so amiably that you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.
The flavor sits on the back of your tongue like a banana confit. There’s the distinctive Scottish peatiness like a farmer’s field with cows. Honey, caramel, lemon, and pear make appearances in the sweetness.
To sum up, this is one of the best blends I’ve tasted. In some parts of the world, the price is roughly the same as Monkey Shoulder, but I would say it’s better than that for quality. Though it has an adequate body, it’s a little on the light side, and won’t sit long in the bottle.
It is entirely unclear to me how many editions of this whisky there have been; the one I reviewed appears to be the latest version.