VETERAN WHISKY MASTER VENTURES INTO RUM AS MACNAIR’S IS REBRANDED
Whisky icon Billy Walker delves into a new spirit category as MacNair’s becomes a Spirits House encompassing whisky and rum
Independently owned and managed whisky firm, The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, led by industry stalwart Billy Walker, is unveiling its first-ever rum as their MacNair’s brand is repositioned as a Boutique House of Spirits.
MacNair’s Boutique House of Spirits will comprise both their new-look Lum Reek Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, and a brand new small-batch rum line named Exploration Rum.
The multi-award-winning Lum Reek whisky sub-range will continue to feature the 21-year-old (UK RRSP £125, 48% ABV), which scooped World’s Best Blended Malt at the World Whiskies Awards 2020 and Best Blended Malt Scotch at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021, as well as the 12-year-old (UK RRSP £49.99, 46% ABV), which won Double Gold at the same San Francisco competition.
To create Lum Reek, experienced Master Blender Walker sourced the finest vintage Speyside and Islay single malts to be blended with aged GlenAllachie in pursuit of the perfect balance between gentle peat and rich, fruity character. Once expertly blended, the whisky underwent a secondary maturation period, highlighting Walker’s passion for innovative wood management.
The 12-year-old was laid to rest for over 12 additional months in premium American oak barrels, sherry casks, and French oak barriques, whilst the 21-year-old enjoyed secondary aging in Spanish sherry casks, French oak, and virgin oak casks. This supplementary maturation period allows the flavours to marry and extract additional depth from the wood.
Both small-batch whiskies are proudly offered at high alcohol strength, and without added colouring or chill filtration.
The new Exploration Rum sub-brand sees Walker search out the world’s finest rums to be further enhanced by superlative blending and world-class maturation, assured by an almost half century’s experience.
This first instalment of Exploration Rums were sourced from Panama, renowned for its volcanic soil which provides the ideal growing environment for rum’s key ingredient, sugar cane. The range features a 7-year-old Peated (UK RRSP £46.99), 7-year-old (UK RRSP £42.99), and 15-year-old (UK RRSP £64.99) bottling.
Each expression was initially matured in American oak in the tropical Panamanian climate, before being transferred to the cooler maturation environment at The GlenAllachie Distillery in Speyside to be elevated by Walker.
The innovative 7-year-old Peated rum underwent secondary maturation in casks that previously held heavily peated whisky distilled at GlenAllachie, whilst the 7-year-old and 15-year-old were filled to red wine, virgin oak and ex-Bourbon casks for over 2 years.
The rums are each presented at 46% ABV, with no added colouring or chill filtration. This first batch is limited to approximately 400 cases per expression.
Commenting on the brand repositioning and landmark move into rum, Walker comments:
“I’ve long held a desire to explore and apply my expertise to a new spirit category, curious as to what the outcome could be. Rum was an exciting prospect as, in a similar vein to whisky, it allows for greater scope of innovation and experimentation, particularly in regard to maturation.
“I’ve spent a great deal of time sampling and tracking down what I deem to be the finest rums from across the world to bring to my lab at The GlenAllachie Distillery and put my own distinctive twist on. The result in this first batch of Panama experiences is what I believe to be a trio of really exciting and unique rums which explore the influence of wood, but also the impact of maturation in a cooler climate.
“I’m also delighted to see the Lum Reek blended malts be presented in a more contemporary and eye-catching pack with an intricate hand-drawn illustration, reflecting the quality of the award-winning spirit within. Blended Malts are widely underrated within the whisky world; however, I truly believe MacNair’s Lum Reek can sit proudly alongside even the best single malts.”
MacNair’s Boutique House of Spirits products are available to purchase via global specialist retailers, with further releases in the pipeline for the coming years.
MacNair’s Lum Reek 12-year-old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – 46% ABV
- Colour: Copper Bronze
- Nose: Sweet peat reek, butterscotch, warming mocha, and gentle nutmeg
- Taste: Lashings of heather honey, rich toffee, and sweet spices, all with undertones of peat
MacNair’s Lum Reek 21-year-old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky – 48% ABV
- Colour: Rich Butterscotch
- Nose: Subtle peat smoke, dark chocolate shavings, runny honey, and vanilla fudge
- Taste: Old leather, cedar wood and gentle undertones of peat, alongside oodles of cocoa, vanilla pods, and sweet spices
MacNair’s Exploration Rum Panama 7-year-old Peated – 46% ABV
- Colour: Sunset Gold
- Nose: A rich presence of plantains, apricots, coconut, and cigar smoke
- Taste: Layers of peaches, mango, and pineapple, with burnt sugar, mocha, and orange zest
MacNair’s Exploration Rum Panama 7-year-old – 46% ABV
- Colour: Burnished Bronze
- Nose: Mango, peaches, and plantains, fused with ginger
- Taste: Waves of bananas, papaya, and mango, with coconut, toffee, orange zest, and a hint of pineapple
MacNair’s Exploration Rum Panama 15-year-old – 46% ABV
- Colour: Golden Bronze
- Nose: Rich notes of plantains, pears, and almonds, fused with mocha
- Taste: Full of pineapple, mango, and peaches, followed by treacle, coconut, and orange zest