Ewan, Jamie and Lachlan MacLean became the first three brothers to row any ocean, the youngest trio, and the fastest trio to ever row the Atlantic, gaining worldwide publicity in the process. These brave lads also happen to be the sons of our dear friend and renowned whisky writer, Charles Maclean.
In their preparations for the feat, they undertook a training row around the west coast of Scotland, ‘pillaging’ whisky from Ardbeg, Ardnamurchan, Arran, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Girvan, Glen Scotia, Jura, Kilchoman, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Oban, Springbank, Tobermory and Talisker.
These distilleries kindly donated their spirit so a talented team from the whisky industry, led by Charles himself, were able blend two unique whiskies to support his sons chosen charity: Feedback Madagascar. These whiskies are now being sold exclusively by Royal Mile Whiskies, with every penny going to this worthy cause (bar the VAT).
Argyll based Feedback Madagascar build “Broar holes” providing clean water for life to more than 3,000 people in a country where, shockingly, 20% of childhood deaths are a result of water-borne diseases. A worthy cause indeed.
Charles, who missed greeting the boys on the arrival from their world record-breaking row because they were five days quicker than anticipated, said:
“What a blender is trying to do is make something that is more than the sum of its parts. To my knowledge, this is the first time that all the distilleries on the west coast have collaborated and we’ve tried to balance the personalities of the different whiskies to create two unique, attractive and very rare blends. Each bottle contains a small amount of whisky, which accompanied the boys on their 3,000-mile voyage“
“This whole adventure - helping my boys get organised for the row, watching them break three world records and working with them to create these whiskies - has been a life-changing experience for them, and for me. I’m incredibly proud of them“
£275 - On sale here, Friday 17th July @ 10am
Charlie took advice from Richard Paterson before leading a blending team comprising of Alex Bruce (Adelphi and Ardnamurchan), Keir Sword and Arthur Motley (both Royal Mile Whiskies). Their goal was to produce a delicious blended malt that highlighted what Charlie saw as a perfect example of the old West Highland style. The malts were categorized into three distinct groups by character: mild, wild and very smoky. Three base blends were made up of these, and varying ratios explored, before final adjustments made with individual makes. A fascinating and amusing afternoon was concluded with a small-scale vatting named Maclean’s Pillage that delighted all present, and truly typified the dramatic character of the West Highlands. Limited to 168 bottles bottled at 47.1%
Nose: Rockpools, seaweed, sea crystals, and dry rope. Nose drying, prickly and with a light peat.
Palate: Light sweetness, spice, saltiness and finishing with light smoke.
Overall: Profound, wild and pleasingly nautical.
£95 for 70cl / £25 for 5cl - On sale here, Friday 17th July @ 10am
After Pillage had been assembled, we were left with remnant stock that when vatted was delicious but rather fiery. We tempered this with sweet single grain from Girvan distillery to produce a blend that while constructed without thoughtful design, resulted in a nonetheless impressive dram. Limited to 299 70cl bottles, and 700 5cl miniatures.
Nose: Maritime, with a beach-like scent and a ham-like meatiness. A coal tar/carbolic character (but no smoke yet), and a dry grassiness like dunes.
Palate: A sweet but salted popcorn flavour, lightly acidic with a phenolic, medicinal finish.
Overall: A gentle, coastal experience. Like paddling in the shallows.
Documentary following record-breaking ocean rowing team Broar rowing the West Coast of Scotland, collecting whisky donated by distilleries, to create two special blends to raise money for charity.
The Blending Process
Whisky expert Charlie MacLean guides us through the blending process involved with creating two unique blends of whisky, to raise money for charity.