I’ve been sitting on a bottle of Scotch for some time. Actually, I started out with two, but you know how that goes…..anyway, this bottle in question is Old Masters from Lombard Distilleries.
I got this scotch shipped to me over 6 months ago and I think my sending a note to Br. Chris Hodapp caused him to pick some up too and write THIS post (of which I will be stealing a few pieces of content).
Old Masters is packaged as a Masonic Scotch, with many symbols of Freemasonry displayed on the label.
IF you can find it, it makes a great gift or wonderful bottle to break out if a Brother Mason comes over….which is exactly what happened last night.
Old Masters is one of the few blends I drink, but I wouldn’t check it off as a Novelty Scotch. Yes, the esoteric symbols on the bottle are cool….but the whisky is actually DAMN FINE.
Technically available in the US only through Vici Wine and Spirits, it seems impossible to get it from them.
Br. Hodapp emailed Vici and got this response from Chuck Squires:
"Unfortunately, it is illegal for us to Import that product. There was a lawsuit started by the Free Mason Society."
Br. Hodapp then points out:
I find that explanation questionable, since there is no national Masonic group that could do that, and courts have long held that the square and compasses, as a generic symbol and not a specific copyrighted piece of artwork, is much like a cross in its ubiquity.
Finally, his blog sources another Email that sheds some light on the subject:
Brother Ruben J. Levy in Panama contacted Mr. Richard Lombard-Chibnall at Lombard's in Scotland, and was given this somewhat more encouraging response:
"Old Masters gain(ed) USA Federal label approval on Friday, so we are certainly looking to move forward in a positive direction
As you can see, there is hope….but it doesn’t appear to be anytime soon. I do plan on picking up 3-4 more bottles on my next UK trip…just for those special occasions.
This does leave some of you in the lurch if looking for it yourselves, although The Whiskey Exchange carries it and you run the gauntlet of importing bootleg booze (now I would NEVER do that <Wink>), that is IF they have it.
Nose- Floral (reminds me of wildflowers) with a fruity sweetness.
Color- Light gold, great legs on the glass.
Taste- Smooth mouthfeel, the fruit (I get oranges out of it) comes out when splashed with water. There is very little bite, as to be expected with blends, and only a slight hint of peat. The true flavors brought forward is caramel and malt. Not overly bold, but definitely well-rounded.
Finish- A dry and oaky finish with a hint of wild mint and black pepper.
Overall, a very nice blend and one I would not be ashamed to serve.
I would give it 4 out of 5 based on taste, and 5 of 5 on presentation. In addition, I would like to say that this scotch doesn’t pair as well with cigars as most “peat bombs”. I envision this to be a more relaxing evening drink vs a smoky room type. This is not a downcheck, you just need to know how to pair it…..I personally think this would pair awesomely with chocolate or fruit plate.