A Literary Review: The Authors’ Series
Each one had been carefully chosen both for its incredible flavour, and also as homage to a great author whose values the Hunter Laing experts believed to be reflected by the liquid.
We thought it was about time to perform a little literary and literal whisky analysis to discover the parallels between each author’s ethos and the dram ascribed to them. Let us talk you through each of the exciting Authors' Series expressions that you can shop here today.
Macallan 1993 - Charles Dickens
Anyone even vaguely familiar with literature is likely to know the works of Charles Dickens and, likewise, anyone with even the most basic knowledge of whisky is sure to have heard the name ‘The Macallan’. Already, then, Hunter Laing's pairing begins to make sense!
But there’s more to it than that. Dickens’ ubiquitously known work A Christmas Carol is, ultimately, a warming story that conjures memories of spiced fruit cake and old fashioned, comforting hospitality and The Macallan 1993 reflects this. Consider further the progression from tragedy to heroism Dickens almost always followed in his works – it’s a perfect balance of storytelling that incites universal pleasure and acclaim in every incarnation, much like the world-revered The Macallan whiskies.
Both classics in their own right, it seems like a no-brainer for the Victorian age’s most enduring storyteller to lend his spirit to a Speyside whisky of worldwide notoriety.
Probably Speyside's Finest - Robert Louis Stevenson
Thought to be from one of the most famous independent distilleries in Scotland, this whisky is a fine example of what the East of Scotland has to offer.
An ambitiously adventurous dram, it’s the perfect pairing with a true Scottish legend, pioneer of dauntless spirit, and East Coast native: Robert Louis Stevenson. One of the most translated authors of all time, Stevenson’s works have been widely admired amongst the literary community since early in his career.
His best known works Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde provoke readers’ imaginations with bold ideas and strong characters – much like the delicious whisky chosen to represent the author!
Always one to forge his own path, and eternally charming with it, Robert Louis Stevenson shares many qualities with this sensational dram!
Springbank 1993 Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy is known for writing some of the most enduring novels to come out of England, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far From the Madding Crowd. His works were all rooted in real life problems - he often wrote about the social limitations of Victorian society and the negative impact that these limitations were having on people's lives. Hardy's books were powerful, affecting, an full of heart.
To represent this in a dram, Hunter Laing have chosen a 24-year-old single malt from Springbank. Complex yet gentle on the nose, there are notes of orchard fruits and honeycomb with a subtle hint of smoke. On the palate, there are dried fruits and toffee which leads into a long and dry finish. Soft but impactful, this whisky pairs wonderfully with the realist works of Thomas Hardy.
Ardbeg 1993 - Rudyard Kipling
Rich, peaty and mysterious, the Ardbeg 21 Year Old expression is deeply complex and was chosen to represent Rudyard Kipling. Hailed as a game-changer in short story writing, he was not only the first ever English-language winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, but also its youngest ever recipient.
Considered a controversial figure for his right-wing political stance and his literary representation of the British Empire, Kipling is most widely known for his children’s novel The Jungle Book.
Take these attributes and apply them to whisky, and what do you expect? A contentious dram – one that will have the crowds divided.
His love for the outdoors is highlighted through the earthy, woody flavours that are present in the whisky. To represent Kipling’s time in Asia and Africa there are hints of spice, maritime notes, and a sense of the exotic and enigmatic.
This richly peaty Islay whisky is intriguing and enchanting. It tells a story in one short sip – we can’t think of a better dram to represent Rudyard Kipling.
Clynelish 1996 - Edgar Allan Poe
Playfully referred to as ‘the father of the goths’ in modern culture, American author Edgar Allan Poe’s name immediately summons images of the maudlin and macabre, with his best known-works considered to be classics of Dark Romanticism and Gothic fiction.
So, how does this written personality translate into whisky?
Imagine a wonderfully light Clynelish dram that is curiously and seductively sweet. Delicate and mysterious, it will romance you with subtle, thought-provoking nuances…
Highland Park 1996 George Sand
George Sand was one of the most popular writers in Europe in the mid-1800s. Born Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, Sand is remembered for her works such as Indiana, Jacques, and Valentine. In her prime, she was more successful than any of her male counterparts and she remains one of the most renowned authors of the Romantic era to this day.
Sand was seen as a deeply rebellious figure in her time for her refusal to comply with societal norms – she often wore male clothing, smoked tobacco in public spaces, and had many well documented love affairs at a time where none of this was seen acceptable for a woman. Her distinctive nature is characterized in this unique sweet and smoky Highland Park single malt. With only 230 bottles having been produced, this bottling is as rare a character as Sand herself.
The novels of George Sand were majorly influenced by her love for the countryside as her home province, Berry, featured as a setting for many of her stories. It is therefore unsurprising that this dram reflects Sand's great love for the natural world. This golden whisky is warming with subtle peaty hints, characterised by inviting notes of honey, heather, and vanilla before leading into a long, satisfying finish.
Tormore 1988 Frederick Douglass
Renowned for his works against slavery, Frederick Douglass was a former slave who went on to become one of the most influential figures in the abolitionist movement in the United States. The writings that he produced about his experiences in slavery were monumental and completely destroyed slaveholders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capability to live fully independent lives. The work that Douglass did in his lifetime helped shape the world into what it is today, and he is a source of inspiration to millions of people around the globe to this day.
This whisky celebrates the man that Douglass was and the impact his writings had on the world. This 28-year-old Tormore is intensely powerful. Matured in a sherry butt, this whisky is sweet and smoky on the nose with notes of chocolate and tobacco. On the palate there is cinnamon and brown sugar which leads into a long and enduring finish.
Impactful and dynamic, this whisky is an exceptional dram that pays tribute to the indomitable Frederick Douglass.
Bruichladdich 1990 Jules Verne
As one of the brightest minds in literature, it is no surprise that this innovative dram has been created to celebrate Jules Verne. Hailed as the "Father of Science Fiction", his works such as Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea remain as some of the best-loved adventure novels to this day.
Much like Jules Verne's writings, this Bruichladdich will take you on a journey. Starting with sweet notes of vanilla and apricots on the nose, deeper flavours of rich dark chocolate reveal themselves on the palate. The finish is dry and lasting with oaky hints. Toast to Jules Verne before exploring this adventurous expression!
Jura 1992 Washington Irving
Washington Irving was the first great American writer. A bold claim, perhaps, but not unfounded. He was the first internationally best-selling American author as his works became hugely successful in Europe. He was also one of the first authors to write with the simple goal of entertainment in mind instead of trying to tell a story with a moral message.
While his best-known work is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving was an extremely multifaceted writer - from comedic short stories to detailed biographies, he could do it all.
Irving was pretty revolutionary in both his work and his advocacy. Passionate about the rights of writers, Irving pushed for better laws to protect authors from copyright infringement.
So, how does a man like Washington Irving translate into a dram? The resulting expression is a sweet and malty Jura, full of flavours of caramel, citrus, and peaches with hints of liquorice and mint. A versatile expression for a versatile author!
Tormore 1988 30 Year Old - Charles Baudelaire
Infamous for his at-the-time scandalous works, Charles Baudelaire is one of Europe's most famous poets. His writings often dealt with themes of sex, alcohol, corruption, and death. His poems were seen as being so improper that Baudelaire, his publisher, and printer were actually prosecuted for offending public morals. Today, he is remembered as one of the best poets to ever have lived.
To commemorate Baudelaire, Hunter Laing have released this resplendent 30-year-old Tormore single malt. On the nose there is plenty of honey and toffee apples with a subtle hint of melon. The palate is slight waxy and malty with notes of citrus before leading into a long, sweet finish.
Probably Speyside's Finest 1968 50 Year Old - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Best known for his historical novel, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne is a revered American author. His thought-provoking stories largely focus on the New England region of American and deal with the themes of guilt and sin, as well as the overwhelming power of love. Along with Poe, he is one of the best authors of Dark Romanticism.
Hawthorne translates into a rich and sumptuous dram. Having spent 50 years slumbering in an Oloroso sherry cask, the resulting expression is full of red fruits, chocolate, and coffee. It is a whisky to sit and truly savour - perhaps with a Hawthorne novel in hand!
Tullibardine 1993 25 Year Old - William Thackeray
An original icon in satirical humour, William Thackeray was best known for poking fun at 19th century British society. His most well-known novel is Vanity Fair, which was published in 1848. In his time, he was thought of as being the only writer talented enough to rival Charles Dickens. While this might be surprising to us today, William Thackeray was a force to be reckoned with in the mid-1800s.
So, how do you represent a man like Thackeray in a whisky?
Apparently with a light and playful Tullibardine! This 25-year-old single malt was matured in a single cask which has resulted in a bright golden coloured dram. On the nose there are sweet notes of oak and apricots. The palate is malty with a hint of honey, which leads into a long and lingering finish.
Port Ellen 1983 - Alfred Tennyson
Hailed as one of the finest poets of the Victorian era, Alfred, Lord Tennyson is best known for his poems In Memoriam A.H.H and The Charge of the Light Brigade. He is also the longest serving Poet Laureate of all time, maintaining the role for a whopping 42 years. Tennyson was the epitome of a Victorian writer - overwhelming moral undertones, Christian beliefs, and a fascination with the science of the day was ever-present in his works.
So, how is it possible to convert someone as influential as Tennyson into a whisky? The answer is a gentle yet impactful Port Ellen dram. The nose is full of gentle notes of peat and lemon before moving into a citrusy palate with gentle hints of smoke. The subdued smokiness is present in the lingering finish.
While it is soft and smooth, after trying this whisky it'll be unlikely that you'll be able to forget it any time soon.
Springbank 1997 21 Year Old - Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde was an author and playwright. He remains one of the most iconic Irish writers to this day. His best-known work is his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Despite being his only book, Wilde managed to master the Gothic novel and created one of the best-loved works of the genre. Rife with the theme of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an intriguing tale about living in excess.
It's no surprise, then, that the dram Hunter Laing have paired with Wilde reflects the decadent nature of his most famous work. This rich, sherry cask matured Springbank single malt has notes of dried fruits and orange on the nose. The palate is full of rich Christmas cake, sumptuous dark chocolate, and sweet cherries before fading into a dry and smoky finish. A mysterious, full-bodied dram fit for a titan like Wilde!
So, there you have it! An exceptionally rare and innovative range from Hunter Laing. Curl up with your favourite book and one of these novel drams in hand.