Review: 3 Alexander Murray Whiskies from Flaviar
Ah, what a find to discover this trio of independently bottled Alexander Murray whiskies in Flaviar’s new quarterly subscription club. (To refresh your memory: $95 gets you a single shipment or $300 buys you four shipments over the course of a year. Each shipment includes a tasting kit of three themed 50ml samples plus a full-size bottle valued at at $60 or less — all of which are selected at your choice. Shipping is free.)
For my latest shipment I nabbed these three Murray bottlings, which you’ll rarely find in small formats like this. Note that the bottles themselves (pictured above) are unlabeled so you can taste them blind, but their identities and full tasting notes are included underneath the ceramic coaster that comes with each kit. (I tasted them all blind, then added their identities later.) Prices noted are representative of 750ml market prices.
So, let’s dig in!
Alexander Murray Bon Accord – A marriage of casks of various ages from a single (unnamed) Highlands distillery, so still a single malt. Malty and fragrant, with a youthful but sweet cereal note on the nose and an undercurrent of vegetation. The palate brings a clearer focus on those vegetal notes, with a cookie dough character that masks the lightest influence of smoky and wood. Short on the finish, with a blunt, brown sugar note and notes of fresh toast. Simple, and approachable enough for a bargain bottling. 80 proof. B / $30
Alexander Murray Monumental Blend 18 Years Old – A blended whisky (including grain spirit). There’s both bourbon and sherry casking in the program here, along with a bit of peat that gives the nose more of a petrol character than an ashy/smoky one. The palate has an oily, winey consistency that reminds me of red wine and offers notes of licorice, sandalwood, and a gentle dusting of peat. With a little time in glass, the finish coaxes out red berries and chocolate. This is a whisky that starts off rather innocuously, almost to the point of being boring, but picks up plenty of steam at the finish line. 80 proof. B+ / $60
Alexander Murray Laphroaig 12 Years Old – No need for mystery here, this is clearly a heavily peated Islay single malt, with a nose of sea spray, iodine, and richly intense barbecue smoke. I called it as Laphroaig (and was correct), there’s so much family DNA in this. At cask strength the whisky is intense with phenols and heat, giving it a chewy texture and a load of competing flavors. The smoke is clear and a bit blunt up front, to be sure, but there’s a lot of delightful sweetness in the mix, too, including notes of chocolate sauce, caramel, spiced pecans, and brown butter. Fans of Laphroaig will find this a very familiar whisky, as Murray has done little to alter the inherent structure of the expression. Nothing wrong with that. 108 proof. A- / $100