Why the Boisdale has decided to bottle its very own series of limited edition single malts
I felt like I had finally made it.
To my right was sitting a beautiful columnist from Wallpaper, to my left was the editor of Whisky Magazine. Other guests included Doug McIvor, Spirits Manager of Berry Bros & Rudd, a freelance journalist I swear I've seen on the telly and our host Ranald Macdonald, 24th Chief and Captain of Clanranald and proprietor of the Boisdale.
After a hearty meal of fine Scottish fare and plenty of Boisdale of Belgravia's own label wine, to a soundtrack of the Boisdale Blue Rhythm Band's hot jazz. Later with fine Cuban cigars in hand, we got down to what I was actually here for, sampling Boisdale's limited edition malt whiskies.
There is currently a trend for bespoke bottlings at London restaurants – what with oaked gin at Hawksmoor, own-brand gin at The Dorchester Bar and design-your-own shochu at Saki Bar & Food Emporium.
The Boisdale malts were first conceived during an "excellent lunch" that Macdonald and McIvor had shared. Berry Bros & Rudd hold some of the finest rare malt whisky reserves in the world; the problem with which, however, is that these reserves are often restricted to a single cask. Macdonald mulled over the problem, as he puffed on a limited edition Hoyo de Monterrey, when it struck him – why not release limited edition whiskies.
And so the three whiskies were selected by McIvor from Berry Bros & Rudd's reserves: Appearing in ‘Boisdale red', ‘Atlantic green' and ‘heather purple' labels, respectively, are a floral Clynelish 1992 Single Malt (Highland), a briney Caol Ila 1996 Single Malt (Islay) and a subtle Glen Grant 1972 Single Malt (Speyside).
With their beautifully designed bottles (hence the journalist from Wallpaper, no doubt), these are truly exclusive gems, available at the three Boisdale sites and from Berry Bros & Rudd. Although they are at wide variance as whiskies and as examples of their regional styles, they are all majestic in character.
Which is (probably) as close to majesty as I'm ever likely to get.