Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Review / MacNair's Lum Reek 12 years old & 21 years old

The MacNair's Lum Reek range forms part of the new wider MacNair's Boutique House of Spirits from The Glenallachie Distillers Company. The two whiskies are both blended malts and are joined in the revamped range by three rums from Panama, two at seven years of age and one at 15 years old. MacNair's is a revival of an old Scotch whisky brand that had long disappeared, but that was founded by Harvey MacNair in 1830.

Both whiskies include single malts sourced by Billy Walker, the Master Blender for the range and owner of The Glenallachie Distillers Company. These have come from Islay and Speyside, and are then married with aged whisky from Glenallachie. The whisky is then re-casked and matured for a period of time to allow flavours to settle and new ones to develop. The name refers to the famous Scottish toast ‘lang may yer lum reek’, which is used to wish someone a long life and prosperity. 

The MacNair's Lum Reek 12 years old is bottled at 46% ABV and costs £50/ $66 US. It has seen the extra marrying period in American oak ex-bourbon, French oak ex-red wine and ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. The MacNair's Lum Reek 21 years old will cost £125/ $165 US and is bottled at 48% ABV.  The extra maturation has been in ex-Oloroso sherry, French oak ex-red wine and virgin American oak barrels. Both are available in selected world markets through specialist whisky retailers. 


Our tasting notes

MacNair's Lum Reek 12 years old
The colour is golden yellow and the nose is highly fragrant with initial aromas of honeycomb, caramel and earthy peat smoke evident. Underneath are further aromas of baked apple, vanilla fudge and milk chocolate, all rounded off by a pinch of baking spice and a whiff of walnut and brazil nut. 

On the palate this whisky has a delicious initial sweetness in the form of caramel, toffee and honeycomb notes. Then comes a lovely note of stewed fruit - think of baked apple and poached pears especially - and this is joined by dried fruit. Raisins, sultanas and candied orange are all present along with a hint of chocolate covered dates. The peat smoke gives an earthiness and drifts around all of the elements, enveloping them as it does so. Late hits of cocoa powder, coffee grounds, crystalised ginger and baking spice round everything off nicely. The finish is of decent length and becomes maltier and spicier with time, especially once the sweet and fruity notes fade.


MacNair's Lum Reek 21 years old
The colour is a deep coppery gold and the nose is rich and elegant. There are initial aromas of caramel, dried fruits (especially raisins) and a drop of orange oil. These are supported by further aromas of heather honey, golden syrup and a hint of ginger cake. An underlying elegant and savoury peat smoke adds depth and is reminiscent of old leather and cigar boxes.

On the palate this whisky is robust and rich yet velvety, silky and luscious. Expressive sweet notes kick things off - imagine floral heather honey, caramelised pear and dried fruits such as raisins and sultanas. The peat smoke has an ashy and charcoal-like feel to it and sits in the background. It combines superbly with later woody oak characteristics. These are reminiscent of waxy polish, antique furniture shops and that old cigar box again. This savour edge is underpinned by some robust malted cereal notes and the returning hint of ginger cake. Even later hints of menthol along with something aromatic and herbal (think of eucalyptus and fresh thyme) give even further complexity. The finish is long and savoury and seems to stretch on forever.

What's the verdict?
These Lum Reeks are two superb whiskies and show just how good blended malts can be with some skillful composition. The combination of the single malts with the differing cask types work very well in both cases. The 12 years old is fresh, vibrant and sweet with a lovely savoury depth and multiple layers of flavour. The 21 years old is exquisite and shows an evolution towards deeper and darker flavours. The luxurious set of aromas and flavours are well balanced and extremely pleasing.

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