Willie Phillips, former managing director of The Macallan, and Don Sutcliffe, who developed The Macallan on the west coast of the US, have joined forces to create a series of exemplary small batch Scotch whiskies called The Exceptional by Sutcliffe & Son. While it used to be available only in the US, they recently partnered with Number One Drinks (of Karuizawa) to bring their whiskies to Europe.
We’re trying The Exceptional Malt, a vatting of different casks spanning four decades, sourced from distilleries like Glenfarclas, Ben Nevis, Balvenie, Kininvie, Glenfiddich, Alt-a’Bhainne, Auchroisk, Glenallachie, Westport (GLenmorangie), Speyside and (of course) Macallan. The resulting blended malt was married in first-fill Oloroso sherry butts.
The Exceptional Malt
(43%, Sutcliffe & Son 2016)
Nose: quite sweet, with butter pears and dark cherries, some thick honey and milk chocolate, on a background of meaty notes and dried mushrooms. Orange peel and delicate oak.
Mouth: still sweet but a little underpowered. More classic sherry notes now (raisins, baked apple, orange peel) with some added vanilla. Gingerbread. Dark crust of a cake. Anise and pepper.
Finish: medium long, on nutty notes and a vague sweetness.
There are some nice (older) elements in this Exceptional Malt – 2nd Edition, but clearly also younger whisky. No faults but the result isn’t quite… exceptional. Around € 100.