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The Singleton Concludes Epicurean Series with 40 Year Old

The Singleton 40 Year Old was finished in specially-selected Ron Zacapa rum casks.

By Alex Martin

The Singleton of Glen Ord has brought an end to its flavor-focused Epicurean Odyssey Series with a new Scotch whisky that is said to be the most indulgent yet. The Singleton 40 Year Old becomes the third and final inductee into the series, standing as the oldest whisky of the three.

The Epicurean Odyssey Series has pushed the boundaries of secondary maturation, with each whisky release spending an inordinate amount of time in secondary casks. Whisky is often transferred to a new cask for the final months or years of its maturation to inject a new dimension of flavor. In the case of the 40 Year Old, the secondary maturation went on for 28 years, the longest ever recorded by the distillery.

Following an initial 12-year maturation, the liquid was placed in a combination of ex-rum, ex-bourbon, and seasoned Pedro Ximinez and Oloroso sherry casks for almost three decades. Finally, it was moved into specially-selected rum casks formerly used to age Ron Zacapa’s XO and Royal Rum for a short few months.

Master of malt Maureen Robinson has been the driving force behind each of these experimental releases. Robinson, who officially retired last year, continually pushed the boundaries of whisky maturation during her 45 years in the industry. The 40 Year Old follows on from the 38 Year Old and 39 Year Old in that it offers a multi-layered flavor profile with influences from each of the varied casks.

[See also: The Singleton 54 Becomes Diageo’s Oldest Single Malt]

The Rooms of Maximalism was designed to heighten all five senses before tasting The Singleton 40 Year Old / ©The Singleton

Robinson said: “The Singleton 40 Year Old is one which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed crafting and have drawn on my own personal journey of flavor from my career as a whisky maker. At the end of this very extensive secondary maturation we sought out specially selected Ron Zacapa XO casks for a final indulgent finish to the whisky, which deliver an intensely rich, fruity and smooth finish to bring deep notes of dark chocolate. The result: a whisky that epitomizes my desire to seek out new flavor through craft, and a whisky at its most maximal.”

To celebrate the whisky’s release, The Singleton worked with neuroscientist Katherine Templar Lewis to explore the concept of ‘Sensorial Maximalism’ as a new neuroscientific theory. This theory develops the idea that our sensorial consciousness can be heightened through the curation of our external environment.

[See also: The Most Exclusive Scotch Whisky Experiences]

To put it to the test, The Singleton partnered with various artists to create a sensory experience in the heart of Shanghai. The Rooms of Maximalism took guests through interactive installations, each stimulating one of the five senses. At the end, with their senses heightened, they sampled The Singleton 40 Year Old.

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Templar Lewis said: “Neuroaesthetics tells us how outside influences can heighten our senses and prime them to create the ultimate tasting experience. Through deploying various tactics which affect the five senses and beyond, individuals can achieve this state of Sensorial Maximalism before they enjoy The Singleton 40 Year Old. In addition to my research and collaboration with some incredible artists, I’ve also created a guide (find that guide here) on how individuals can strive for this experience at home.”

The Singleton 40 Year Old presented at the interactive art experience in Shanghai / ©The Singleton

The Singleton 40 Year Old – Tasting Notes

Nose: An immediate hit of cut grass and green apples, two signatures of The Singleton of Glen Ord. Following some time in the glass, the whisky’s long and winding maturation starts to reveal itself. There are sweeter notes of toffee and caramel mixed in with wood spices and pencil shavings.

Palate: Similar to the nose, the whisky starts off sweet and fresh before moving into more savory notes. There is a fizziness to it, like sugared candy, that can take the unprepared palate by surprise. There is a lot of talk about chocolate from the distillery’s official notes, but I didn’t get much of that. Instead, the freshness evolved into tropical fruits, with the rum cask influence standing out.

Finish: A fairly long finish that eventually evolves into wood spice, which is unsurprising considering the age.

Conclusions: Senses heightened or not, The Singleton 40 Year Old packs a punch. This whisky is completely different from what has come before. The 39 Year Old was finished in Bordeaux wine casks and was therefore sweet to an aperitif level. This is different. It’s fresher and lighter and retains more distillery character. The rum casks have had a significant influence, taking the profile over to the tropical fruits side of the spectrum. It suits those who like a sharper, drier whisky with a typical Speyside profile.

The Singleton 40 Year Old is limited to 1,716 bottles and available for an RSP of $3,755 excluding local taxes. Visit malts.com for more information.

[See also: Diageo Reveals Third Release of Prima & Ultima Series]

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