Nose: Oh my. The very first whiffs confirm what the colour had suggested – we’re talking very seriously good old sherry wood here. Beautifully nutty with hints of dark chocolate, black forest gateau, some balsamico and the famed ‘old church pews’. There’s so much going on here, if I started listing it all I feel sure the door would shortly be kicked in by the anti-maltoporn brigade on an urgent mission from Turckheim. Here goes: Crushed almonds, Frazzles, old libraries, apricots, rosehip…Help!… Let go of me, you Alsatian bullys!!
Palate: Big and chunky mouthfeel. The sherry is very prominent, there’s big woodiness, but lots of delicious fruit and honeyed sweetness to compensate. Dense and almost bewilderingly deep. One of those wonderful drams that tastes slightly different every time you go back. There’s a tremendous bitter dark chocolate note sitting alongside the thunderous oak underpinning everything. I love the savoury qualities too, it’s not too sickly sweet. This is how sherry casks should be.
Finish: As you’d expect, long and mouthwatering. Savoury and slightly drying but not too tannic and certainly not too woody despite the age. Even the last drop left for a half hour keeps coming up with wonderful new aromas.
Comment: Well, bless my boots. This is a really special whisky. It goes without saying that sherryheads only need apply, and of course it’s not cheap – but this is fabulous stuff. If I had a bottle I’d love to keep it for my grandkids to show them what great old sherried whisky was like – but I’m probably too selfish. A fabulous, irresistible dram.
Nose: rich and fragrant with beautifully elegant sherry. It shows classic notes (raisins, chocolate) but they’re overtaken by fresh and bursting fruits: raspberry and other red fruits, oranges, gooseberries, guava… A little eucalyptus. All spiced up by precious wood, llibrary aromas and a floral element (whiffs of old roses and peonies). Remarkable for a 32yo. Rich and what a balance!
Mouth: intense with different layers. There’s plenty of wood, but enough fruit to compensate (lots of orange cake, some apricot, raspberries again, prunes). Cinnamon, a little nutmeg. Almonds. Hints of cough syrup, but never crossing the line of becoming too oaky.
Finish: fading very slowly on big chocolate notes and liquorice. Hints of tea.
In terms of luscious fruitiness, this Glenugie reminds us of the famous Longmorn 1972 by Whisky Agency or some of the best GlenDronach. A great nose with pretty well-controlled oak on the palate. Very expensive but part of a disappearing whisky tradition.