Information is sparse on the internet about this malt, so I tested my sleuthing skills. If you google this whisky, many bottles that look the same fluctuate between the old English proof system and the adapted alcohol by volume. The latter coming into effect as of January 1, 1980. Some bottles even have both the proof and abv with the imperial and metric volumes. This was a common practice right around the change for people to adapt to the new system. I would personally guess this to be bottled in the early 80’s (of course I have been wrong many times before in my life). So we can reasonably assume this vatted malt was distilled in the 70’s. I believe there is malt in here much older than 8 years, which could put it being distilled into the 60’s. Very cool.
According to the back of the bottle Mar Lodge means 3 things: A royal residence on the head water of the River Dee, a famous salmon fishing fly, and a superb scotch whisky...let’s see about the last one.
N: Decadent. It’s full and rich with absolutely no rough notes or alcohol. Certainly not today’s “8 year old”. Creamy chocolate cherry ice cream. Walnuts, raisin, banana bread without the banana. Something of a Campbeltown feel with damp wool and soft minerals.
P: Creamy as the nose promised. Raisin, cherry, milk chocolate and coffee notes. Some crushed rocks that bring memories of Campbeltown again. Dare I say the word that shan’t be mentioned... it’s smooth as hell.
F: Very short finish, but pleasant on chocolate and creamy coffee notes with a salty edge. No off notes whatsoever.
If this is your supermarket house malt of yesteryear, give me a time machine. My grandma used to make a Christmas cake with nuts, raisins, dried fruits and cherry, baking spices. It’s like drinking that memory. No modern spikes of flavour here (like todays Octomore’s or A’bunadh’s) I would keep an eye on this stuff at auction. A cork chucker. Thank you again to my friend for the sample.
A brief history of Findlater’s:
1797 - Alexander Findlater is born (one of 11 children to a Scottish farmer father)
Alexander’s uncle (also named Alexander) was Robert Burns supervisor of excise in Dumfries.
1823 - A. Findlater moves to Dublin and starts up a business as a whisky merchant. Then expanding to teas, ales and wines.
1838 - Well established in Ireland Alexander expands to London into the lucrative English wine market with partner Ivie Mackie.
1856 - Business expands again with other partners including Bruce Beveridge Todd (forming Findlater, Mackie, Todd & Co)
1863 - The company moves to a spot facing the London bridge, known for generations as Findlater corner.
1873 - Alexander Findlater dies forming the start of a legacy that can still be seen today on whisky bottles, trendy restaurants, and street signs.
1873 - present - Upon his death, Bruce Todd bought part of his business and grew it with his three sons for the better part of 94 years, peaking in the 1960’s with almost 50 locations around London. They sold the business in 1967 to Bulmers who sold the retail branches off before being acquired yet again 3 years later, this time to the Beechum Group. Findlater, Mackie, Todd & Co was purchased in 1993 by the Waitrose & Partners (a giant British supermarket chain) a subsidiary of John Lewis Partnership (83,000 employees, £10.2 billion revenue 2018). Findlater’s gave rise to waitrose-direct and then waitrose cellar in 2015, which has delivered over 3.5 million bottles of wine since.
This bottle holds a royal warrant from the Queen. So who can hold a royal warrant?
“Companies can apply for a Royal Warrant after they have supplied the Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales with goods or services for at least five years out of seven” - royalwarrant.org
*The queen has granted a total of 686 royal warrants
*Royal warrants are only awarded to tradesmen.
*Current holders are Berry Bros & Rudd (The Queen, Prince of Wales) and Laphroaig (Prince of Wales)
* I cannot find any information as to when the royal warrant was awarded to Findlater, Mackie, Todd & Co, and when it was removed.