The Sovereign: The Cambus distillery was founded near Stirling in 1836 by John Mowbray. Just like two other grain whisky distilleries, it was located not far from the Deanston Single Malt distillery. Its owners UDV decided to close Cambus in 1993 making this one of the rarer single grain brands on the market. However, Hunter Laing, a privately-owned bottle company, have decided to bottle a very rare 50-year-old Single Grain – under The Sovereign range. Aged in a refill bourbon barrel, bottled at cask strength – non-chill filtered and natural in colour.
The nose: replete with notes of toffee, apples, vanilla, peppermint, cinnamon and oatmeal. Notes in the form of coconut, banana, almonds, and milk chocolate start to appear. This is followed by spices, a touch of lemon zest, fudge and light floral notes. Rounding-off the nose are notes of lavender, candyfloss and a hint of coffee. On the palate: those initial notes of toffee and apple are present, followed by chocolate, custard and vanilla. There are suggestions of spices, cinnamon, roasted coffee beans, butterscotch and coconut. The palate is completed with notes of coconut, fudge, marzipan and a certain nuttiness. The finish: long, smooth, spicy with lingering coffee and liquorice.
The verdict: There is a bit of stigma attached to single grain whisky, however, this 50-year-old expression of Cambus – bottled by Hunter Laing & Co. – is nothing short of brilliant. Filled with all the notes you’d expect from a single grain whisky but with much more depth and balance. This is perhaps best enjoyed as it comes but if required, then add some water.
Info: ABV 49.2% in a 70cl bottle
Chronomètre Souverain: To create a timepiece such as the Chronomètre Souverain requires tremendous skill. It is far easier to create a super-complicated high-end timepiece than it is to create one that simply tells the time. That said, the Souverain is just pure, stripped back, stunning simplicity, high-precision haute horlogerie at its best. It is the dichotomy of complicated watchmaking and for François-Paul, it is inspired by early 19th century marine chronometry.
From the outset, the clean appearance of the dial is rather refreshing. With the use of Arabic numerals, which nicely taper towards 7 o’clock to accommodate the running second’s subsidiary dial, railroad track minute scale and power reserve gauge at 3 o’clock, the dial exudes classical elegance. The clean look of the dial is completed with the use of F.P. Journe’s drop shape hands.
Turning the Chronomètre Souverain over and peering through the sapphire case back you’ll be able to see the sublime 13-linges movement. The balance and escapement are mysteriously detached from the movement, beating without apparent motive power. Housed in a 40mm case that is water-resistant to 3 ATM. There is an option of 18-carat red-gold or Platinum for the case which comes on either a brown or black alligator strap.
The Chronomètre Souverain showcases François-Paul Journe’s commitment and discipline in creating true horology and in it, displays his skill in crafting a strikingly simple yet stunning timepiece with distinctive features that draws your attention.