A single cask, single malt evening

I recently had the good fortune of attending a tasting of 13 whiskies from the fabulous John Milroy Selection brand (shopjohnmilroyselection.com) of independently labeled, single cask, single malt Scotch whiskies.

While events like this are always fun, I especially enjoyed this for several reasons. Those who have been loyally reading my alcohol-focused scribbles these past 6-plus years, indulge me a little — those of you less familiar with this space, hang tight. The booze is coming, I promise.

The first element that made this evening enjoyable was the setting.

This tasting was held at the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in the District of Columbia. The Jack Rose Dining Saloon is a must-visit whisky bar. Since its opening in 2011, Jack Rose has amassed more than 2,700 whiskies, making it, according to a recent Washingtonian magazine article, “the largest collection in the Western Hemisphere.” I don’t often have occasion to write about Jack Rose, but anyone who enjoys drinking great whisky out of the house in a saloon setting should definitely check this place out.

Another element making the event great was the people there — not just the usual crowd of my fellow Jack Rose whisky-geek peeps.

The tasting was held under the auspices of the importer, Spirit Imports, a family-run company with a solid history of bringing sensational distilled spirits products to the U.S. market. Representing the company was its president and founder (and landsman) Alan Shayne, and his daughters Gabby and Lauren (the gantze Shayne mishpoche are old friends). Whisky industry hero Ronnie Cox — the brands heritage director of the venerable Berry Bros & Rudd, which owns the John Milroy Selections brand and chooses the whiskies bottled under its label — was there. Spending time with the Shaynes and with Cox would make any evening a success — much less a boozy single cask, single malt one.

Last, though not least, these John Milroy Selection whiskies are super, and they make a nice addition not only to the Jack Rose collection, but also to the U.S. consumer market.

Under this label, consumers should expect to find fabulous single cask, single malt Scotch whiskies from all across Scotland. While one certainly pays for the privilege, the pricing of the John Milroy Selections is very reasonable for whiskies of this general rarity and caliber of quality. Those who know their modern Scotch whisky history would expect no less from any whisky associated with John Milroy.

It was brothers John (better known as Jack) and Wallace Milroy who got the single malt ball properly rolling in the United Kingdom back in the 1960s via their shop, Milroy’s of Soho — still located at No. 3 Greek St., London.

Wallace, who died last year, was also the author of the then-popular “Wallace Milroy’s Malt Whisky Almanac” pocket guides. There were seven editions which collectively sold more than 350,000 copies around the world.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Milroy brothers helped make single malts a thing in the United Kingdom in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and then just a little later in Japan.

All of which is long way of saying I really enjoyed myself with these wonderful whiskies. So seek out some John Milroy Selection whiskies for yourself. Consider this gem:

The John Milroy Selection, Aultmore 10 year old (55.7 percent abv; $95.99): This fabulous dram offers inviting, even absorbing, aromas and flavors of citrus, malt, and caramel, some lovely licorice undertones, a bit of spice, and an overall charming complexity, ending in a rich and smooth finish. It is delicious and not to be missed if you can help it. L’chaim!

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