By Kurt Maitland
This is an old brand, named after the Gaelic word “uisge beatha” meaning “water of life”. The blend dating back to the 1700’s and was trademarked in 1877. It has had several owners since then – Ross & Cameron, William Grigor & Sons, and Twelve Stone Flagons Ltd. For a fair amount of time, it was out of circulation but since 2005 Cobalt Brands has owned the brand and has been distributing Usquaebach worldwide.
The Usquaebach 15-Year Blended Malt (43% abv) is a mix of Highland single malts, aged for at least 15 years (there are a few that are as old as 20) in oak and sherry casks.
Usuaebach was served at two Inaugurations, those of Nixon (via Twelve Stone Flagons, who introduced the brand in the States) and Bush, Sr., and had many a fan. Now that it is back and more accessible, and this is what you should expect from it.
Color: Old copper.
Nose: Rich, full, fruit notes, Christmas cake, a great nose for a blend.
Taste: Crisp, dry, with apple and citrus notes prominent in a mix that includes toffee and caramel notes. The mouthfeel is slightly dry. With water, it becomes drier and nutty with the addition of water.
Finish: A little spicy/dry with a long finish.
This goes down really smooth and I could see it easily doing double duty as a go to drink or pairing up nicely with desserts. I can see why this was missed.
Prices vary, and from what I’ve seen they float in a band of between $65 and $76.
Gold Medal, “New Release” – 2010 International Whisky Competition
Silver Medal, “Blended Whisky Over 10 Year Old” – 2010 International Whisky Competition
Silver Medal,“Best Scotch Whisky” – 2011 International Whisky Competition