James Catto, an Aberdeen grocer, is certainly one of the pioneers of blended Scotch whisky; his Catto’s Rare Old Scottish Highland whisky was introduced in 1861.
The original formula included malt whiskies mainly from three local distilleries – Strathdee, Devanha and Bon Accord (all closed before the World War II) and Lowland grain whisky. W. & A. Gilbey took over the brand in 1916 and since 1990 it has been part of Inver House Distillers portfolio. When the latter purchased the brand they weren’t giver formula and Inver House blenders had to recreate the blend. Today Catto’s formula is based on malts from Inver house own distilleries, predominantly Balmenach, Knockdhu and Speyburn. The huge 4.5-liter bottle of Catto’s Rare Old comes with original cradle.
Nose: light, slightly spirity, malt, freshly mowed grass, nut shells, honey, vanilla, lemon peel and buttered toast.
Palate: light and sweet, hard candy, orange and lemon zest, breakfast cereals, vanilla, hints of hay and mixed spices.
Finish: medium long and sweet, vanilla, honey, brown sugar, dash of pepper and little oak.