The Chieftain’s Range Rare Single Malt Scotch Whiskies Sunday – Scotch Whisky News


The Chieftain’s Range “Rare Single Malt Scotch Whiskies”


“Since 1936, Ian Macleod Distillers, through its dedication to tradition and quality, has amassed an unrivalled cask stock from Scotland’s many distilleries. This enviable collection includes extremely rare malts, some from closed or mothballed distilleries. The Chieftain’s collection hallmark is that each bottling must be fit for a King, a Leader or in the Celtic world, a Chieftain.

The new look Limited Edition Chieftain’s will appeal to the specialist, connoisseur, collector, enthusiast and those seeking an exceptional premium malt whisky gift. Each bottle is signed by our Chieftain’s Rare Malt Manager, and provides details of the wood type, cask number, number of bottles, vintage year, age and bottling date.

The small batch releases of Chieftain’s are selected for the Spring and Autumn collections each year with a variety of distilleries, vintages, wood maturations and strengths being made available.

The new, elegant antique bottle is reminiscent of a 1900 whisky bottle. It is decorated with a new style label design complete with new branding, calligraphy and watermark illustrations of Scotland, representative of the 5 different whisky producing regions. Each region is colour coded to signify the differences in the style of each whisky.

The new more individual rigid presentation gift box, surrounding the antique bottle, in ribbed and matt black with gold lining, is a true reflection of the quality of the whisky, and with its folding back head beautifully presents the product. On the rear of the box you will find a label describing the various styles of whiskies you can get from the different regions of Scotland, all of which are represented in the Chieftain’s range.

Chieftain’s is bottled at natural colour and unchill-filtered to preserve all the natural esthers of the whisky for fuller flavour and smoother taste.

Each Chieftain’s bottling has its own personality and may vary in strength, colour and style. From the very pale, bourbon cask matured to the very amber sherry cask matured.

When finishing the whisky in a variety of wood, each cask is checked and selected by our expert noses and released only when we believe it has reached its peak and has not masked the personality of the original spirit.”


Caol Ila 17yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, HHD, C#4719)

The nose is very nice right off; loads of peat smoke (Dettol, seaweed, iodine) followed by hints of biscuits (dry crunchy malt, Weetabix) and some sweetness in the shape of light toffee and warmed pears. The peat smoke characteristics are the dominant features of the three however. There are also hints of wine like notes which bind everything together. The taste is peated and dry with some dark chocolate, lashings of the malt biscuity notes followed by even more peat smoke but not it has deepened to become coal smoke like (think of walking through a quiet Scottish village on a fall evening when the coal fires are burning). Later hints of the wine notes. A bit more of the biscuity notes. The finish is at first all peat/coal smoke then the malty/biscuity notes enter but the peat/coal smoke remain throughout; everything is secondary to the wonderful combination of peat and coal smoke. Cracker! The finish is very long and even, alternating between the peat smoke and the malt. Hints of cloth bandages at the very end of the finish, after a number of minutes. After 10 minutes there are hints of diesel, just to remind you that you’re drinking a coastal whisky.

Wonderful stuff.


Score 88 points


Port Ellen 25yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, HHD, C#1522)

The nose is slightly sour at first but his quickly gives way to some lovely honey and peat smoke/coal smoke  (iodine, bandages and pipe smoke – nosed in the big jar in the shop) along with some liquorice, heather, wood spice, coconut matting and tiny hints of roses. Not a big Islay nose but an Islay nose none the less. The taste is very subtle at first and then the Islay notes described above come to the surface. Light coal smoke, iodine, light pipe smoke and some cereal/malt notes well integrated with the honeyed sweetness. The finish is honeyed, malty at first and then the gentle coal smoke makes and appearance and the two casually walk down the beach in front of the distillery remnants together. After a few minutes the malt & coal smoke are much more aggressive and still a force. Handfuls of peated malt scooped from the malt kiln. Quite a long finish; maybe a little more complicated after all?

Not the most in your face Islay however still a well crafted dram. An interesting Port Ellen.


Score 86 points


Springbank 39yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, HHD, C#1542)

The nose is earthy (think of their dunnage warehouse with the earthen floor), ‘antique’ old string musical instruments, beautifully fragrant (but not perfumed) and some what different from the current bottlings of Springbank which are excellent but this is different; hints of malt and honey and barley sugar, hints of white pepper and gentle oak. The taste is gentle, honeyed with tinges of peat smoke and some of the fragrant/heather notes. It’s delicious. This is a quality dram and after a few moments the smoke builds a little but never over powers. Hints of Weetabix and then also some hints of a dessert wine (despite this being from a Hogs Head.  The finish is gentle with the barley sugar and honey working well with the malt dust, hints of smoke and the fragrance. It is long and very enjoyable.

This is really very good; don’t be dissuaded by the lack of an official bottling label, this is a steal at $399.  Do some quick online research and see what other 39 year old whiskies are selling for.

Score 89 points


Longmorn 13yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, HHD, C#74879)

The nose has hints of heather and juniper, oats, further hints of tinned fruit cocktail and cedar shavings. Some what closed or perhaps simply not a huge collection of aromas. With the addition of water leather and further sweetness comes to the fore and just the tiniest hint of peat smoke (so there is more going on than first noted). The fragrant notes increase in stature. The taste is peppery, malty and all nicely pulled together by the fragrant dry oak notes followed by a moment or two of the peat smoke (this is very fleeting). The combination of the malt and the tinned fruit cocktail and the dry spice and peppery is very alluring. The finish is lightly peated followed by malt and the sweetness and then it becomes quite dry with some dark bitter chocolate and then more malt. The finish is long and does not fall off the edge of the cliff with any unhappy characteristics which is a very pleasing development. After a few minutes the sweet malt is the last man standing.

Some what different from the official bottlings but this is not a criticism, this is very enjoyable. Clean, uncluttered, focused.


Score 84 points


Linkwood 16yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, HHD, C#7956)

The nose is delicate at first blush but grows in the glass. There are hints of white wine, loads of malt, cedar and fragrance in the form of heather and wood lined boxes (but from across the room, not right up close). It’s very pleasant. Pipe smoke also (unsmoked and nosed straight from the jar in the tobacconists). More malt after a time. The taste is gentle at first with some good honey, more malt, barley sugar and then some rich oak spice and cedar for fragrance. Everything is working together here and it’s very good. No complaints what so ever. The finish is like a straight line; more of the malt, the tobacconists, the barley sugar and the oak spice/fragrant cedar. Despite these last two it is not mouth suckingly dry however the dryness is in residence and it adds to the overall effect. There’s some late arrival of crème Brule which is a nice surprise.

The pale colour of the sample does not provide any hints of the quality waiting inside.

$70 Another great dollar value with this one.

Score 87 points


Glen Rothes 14yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, Burgundy Finish, C#90851)

The nose is a departure from previous samples, mildly industrial, rich, loamy, wafts of warm chocolate brownies and field berries. The richness continues to build, hints of the Glen Rothes characteristics in the back ground below the wine finishing. The taste is quite fruity with some black pepper, hints of malt, the afore mentioned industrial notes (however they are very light and give some back bone). After some moments in the mouth there is further fruit, black liquorices and a creamy end much like a creamy sherry or a cream of tomato soup, oddly. The finish is more of the tomato soup this time with mild black pepper, lashings of fruit and now a fizzy candy right towards the end. The finish is not big in the Islay sense but still quite significant however it does not blast into the head. Still it’s good and quite long. After a few minutes some really good malt moments struggle through the wine.

Nice. The Burgundy finishing has not dominated the whisky but added another layer of complexity and they are well married.


Score 84 points


Glen Moray 18yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, HHD, C#7279)

The nose is of straw, malt along with some sweetness, a very delicate collection of aromas. A slight creaminess, fruit and after a few minutes in the glass more of the malt and some delicate hints of pineapple (warmed not cold straight from the fridge). Very nice. The taste is malty, sweet, and fruity along with some really nice oak characteristics (cedar spice, hint’s of leather & tobacco Fry’s cocoa, cold unsweetened black tea) along with some more mare, the afore mentioned fruit (pineapple and apples – Fuji rather than Granny Smith etcetera). The finish is gentle and quite long for such a delicate whisky however it is very good. The malt is the pre eminent characteristic and it holds strong for a very long time; indeed it seems to grow with time. After 10 minutes there is dusty malt and hints of white wine…

Another very good dram from Chieftain’s; very well balanced and a delightful combination of malt, fruit and oak spice.

$90 What a steal…

Score 86 points


Glencadam 22yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, HHD C#3996)

The nose is fruity; pears and malt with hints of leather and tobacco. After a few minutes in the glass the nose opens and becomes significantly sweeter and very pleasant. There is also sweet oak (whatever that is) perhaps a sap wood? Either way the combination of the pears, malt and oak make for a compelling combination. The addition of water brings out wet sand paper but other wise it stands firm. The taste is once again fruity (pears) but the oak and leather have a slight advantage here; the leather and tobacco take over in the later parts of the taste. Very good. With water it is nicely gentle with the pears and malt, the leather and tobacco are muted. The finish is warming and gentle with a continuation of the pears and fruit along with the others descriptors. The gentle aspect continues and after a number of minutes the malt makes the final appearance which is good.

Well balanced. Good, straight forward. Water helps but don’t add too much.


Score 85 points


Allt’ A’ Bhainne 31yo (43%, Chieftain’s Range, C#23041)

The nose is strong, fruity and there are hints of smoke which is a small surprise. The smoke is not huge but it is there. Which is nice. After some moments in the glass the smoke increases and it takes on some characteristics of Springbank. There is also sweetness and some fragrant notes; heather and flowers on a warm evening. The heather and floral are accompaniments and are not over whelming or dominant. The add to the quality. Hugely pleasing. The taste is actually quite smokey (but not peaty in the Islay sense) along with the fruit and heather (the flowers have gone). Oak, sweetness and some crème Brule along with barley sugar. A sensational combination of flavours. Some oak and cedar come to the party too. The finish is much the same as the taste and is very good, no off notes. It’s long, flavourful and very pleasant. Not a single off note and loads of happiness. After a few minutes the finish is continuing at full pace.

World Cup moreish, one dram won’t be enough.


Score 88 points


Dalmore 11yo (43%, Chieftain’s, Madeira Finish, C#90522)

The nose is sharp, buttery and mildly sour however this quickly turns to tree fruits followed by some oak and hints green (green malt). There is also white chocolate and Skittles. The taste is solid Highland at first quickly taken over by a creamy sweetness along with the white chocolate and some really good oak. There are also some hints of bitterness and then some really good depth from the raisins. Malt and more fruit. A good creamy taste to be sure. A reappearance of the of the raisins.  The finish is full of the sun drenched raisins along with some tobacco, more fruit and some dark unsweetened chocolate. It is long and filled with flavour. After a while the malt (and banana) pops up from underneath the raisins. After a few minutes the faintest hint of smoke makes a surprise appearance.

Pleasant and enjoyable. The Madeira brings some welcome depth and extra flavour to the party.


Score 82 points

Many thanks to Sam Filmus of ImpEx Beverages for the samples. Visit Ian Macleod Distillers and the Chieftain’s Range at  and ImpEx Beverages at

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