...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NOT Single Malt Report: Highland Queen Blended Scotch (bottled in 1964)

The Highland Queen brand was started by the McGraw/MacRae family just before US Prohibition took a chunk out of the whisky industry.  For a few decades James McGraw & Co. had a cheap blended whisky named Highland Gold.  But in 1916, during a brief trip to Ireland, James's daughter was accosted by two Irish sailors at St. John's Dock.  His daughter escaped unhurt, but the sailors weren't so lucky as she strangled them both to death with the brassiere she had just purchased in Dublin.  Her family rushed her back to Scotland before she had to face the Irish authorities.  In honor of her bravery, James McGraw renamed his brand after her.  But since Highland Biddy probably wouldn't move too many bottles, he instead named it Highland Queen.

None of what you have just read is even remotely true.  If you're interested in more information about Biddy McGraw, click here with a too-ri-oo-ri-oo-ri-yah**.

For some more accurate information about Highland Queen see this link from her owner.  Thanks to the former whiskysamples site, I have a sample of a 1964 bottling of the ol' Queen.  (For another review of this whisky online, see the The Coop's post.)

Let's drink it up.

Brand: Highland Queen
Current Ownership: Terroir Distillers (also owners of Tullibardine)
Type: Scotch Blended Whisky
Age: not stated
Bottling year: 1964
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

The color is gold, very gold, almost DiageoGold™.  Lots of very contemporary (but not necessarily in a good way) buttery oak in the nose.  A bit acrid, cheesy, and vinegary; perhaps some cream that has turned.  Mild notes of orange oil, caramel, and peat moss.  Some brighter floral notes come out after the whisky has been aired out for a long time.  The palate is less off than the nose.  It's a little gritty, softly peaty, with the occasional bite of green peppercorn.  It's otherwise pretty blendy and unexciting.  It sweetens up with time, adding in vanilla and caramel.  Not much of a finish at first.  Maybe some tingly menthol and orange candy.  Towards the end of the glass, it sweetens and spices up.

Water doesn't do anything for the nose and might even bring some of the uglier parts back in.  The palate definitely goes the wrong direction when watered down; nothing but rough immature grain spirit.  This is proof positive that there were blah bottom shelf blends back when our grandfathers were hitting the sauce after their lodge and union meetings.

**Yes, I know this is a Irish tale, but c'mon a bottle of Highland Biddy would be pretty sweet.

Availability - Maybe via an auction?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 70 (neat only, much worse with water)