Halo Single Malt Mates,
Whilst shopping for mo Mac’s Nollaig present at a local liquor warehouse, for the best price me being a Scot and all, I stumbled on an expression that I’d never heard of before.
The Company started at Leith a suburb of Edinburgh where Mary Queen of Scots landed from France. Mo clann and I visited the dock there. Didnae even know aboot HRH Mary Queen of Scots being their.
Here are some facts
Highland Queen Profile
The image of Mary Queen of Scots on a prancing horse after landing at the port of Leith in 1561 became the constant design motif for Highland Queen blended Scotch. It has appeared on every label since its launch in the late 19th century, even after a change in ownership.
The brand encompasses a range of standard blends (NAS, Sherry Finished, 8 Years Old, 12 Years Old); premium blends (Highland Queen 1561, 30 Years Old, 50 Years Old); and single malts under the Highland Queen Majesty brand extension (Classic, 12 Years Old, 16 Years Old, 1986 Limited Edition, 40 Years Old and 52 Years Old).
Today the range is produced by The Highland Queen Scotch Whisky Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Picard Vins et Spiriteux, owner of Tullibardine distillery. No doubt a proportion of Tullibardine single malt makes it into Highland Queen.
Highland Queen History
Highland Queen was introduced by Leith-based whisky blender Macdonald & Muir in 1893 and rapidly became the company’s flagship brand. The company took inspiration for Highland Queen from its proximity to the port of Leith, where Mary Stuart (later Queen of Scots) landed in 1561.
First distributed locally, Highland Queen soon became a household name in markets around the world as Roderick Macdonald spread the word for the brand overseas, regularly sending orders back to Leith.
In 1924-5 it was one of a handful of blended Scotch whiskies selected for sale at the British Empire Exhibition, held at Wembley, London. During this period and despite Prohibition, it became very popular in the US being ‘transhipped’ by importers from Nassau, St Pierre and Miquelon. It was also popular in Canada and Australia.
After the Second World War, in the face of intense competition in the blended Scotch markets, Macdonald & Muir renewed its focus on the UK market but also explored markets often overlooked by the big industry players, such as Finland and Venezuela. The brand was relaunched with new packaging, presentation and label design in 1976.
In 2008, The Glenmorangie Company (as Macdonald & Muir had become) sold Highland Queen and other brands to Picard Vins et Spiriteux, which proceeded to repackage, redesign and extend the brand range to its current corpus.
Here is a blended Scotch from them which means it is a blend of single malt and grain whisky
Highland Queen Blended Scotch Whisky (70cl, 40%)
Highland Queen Blended Bottling Note
The standard release of Highland Queen blended Scotch whisky, named after Mary Queen of Scots. Like much of the range, it offers very good value for money.
Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt
Nose: Some dark honey, caramel, allspice, cooked apples and pear drops.
Palate: Crisp apples now, nougat, more honey, subtle vanilla, perhaps even some tarragon.
Finish: Clean and quite short.
Overall: For a basic blend, you could do a lot worse!
In three words: Novelist and screenwriter
Thoughts on whiskey: “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.”
I quite agree especially if it is free.
I myself tend to focus on single malts but if offered I ne’er pass up a whisky!
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi’tippeny, we Fear nae evil;
Wi’usquabae, we’ll face the devil!
Here is to those who loes us or gives us a lift!
Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannach
Great health and every good blessing to you.
Your Scotch Spirit Master