Colour: full gold.
Nose: starts aromatic and generous, with big notes of ‘old style club Speysider’ if you see what I mean. Very traditional old malt, reminding me a bit of some old sherried Macallans. Nice combination of touches of menthol and eucalyptus with everything ‘old style sherry’, that is to say prunes, raisins, hints of chocolate, whiffs of old wine barrel (hints at Burgundy in a certain way), blackcurrants and just a little old leather and cigars. Very, very classic.
Mouth: even more a classic that on the nose, this time more on orange marmalade and various spices such as cinnamon. Good mouth feel. It’s also a little ‘brandified’ but I doubt they added brandy to this baby at the time (did you know that some Scottish bottlers used to add cognac to their whisky casks to enhance them, a few decades ago? Not kidding!) Anyway, a very nice dram that keeps going on with more notes of coffee and liquorice.
Finish: rather long, all on bitter oranges and coffee.
Comments: as I wrote, this is really classic old style malt whisky. Good sherry balance – to sip in a gentlemen’s club with a bunch of old friends – preferably politicans. What, that’s a tad too cliché for you? As for global quality, I think it’s just a notch below the terrific Linkwood and Clynelish in the same series. SGP:551 - 90 points.
Nose: Richer and very forward, with a beautiful dark chocolate and christmas cake character: heady notes of mixed peel, old leather, polished wood, almost like a rancio – yes, there’s definitely strong hints of OCP (Old Church Pews) going on here. Like an aged chocolate orange liqueur, if there ever was such a thing (and if there wasn’t, there definitely should be on this evidence). Opens up beautifully after 10-15 minutes. I could happily sit here and nose this all night, but the pool hall is calling.
Palate: Big and assertive oak again, with the added sweetness (by comparison to the Linkwood) of what I’m guessing was a top, top, top quality refill sherry hogshead but again this has been bottled just in time before the wood takes over. Treacly and very chocolatey, with more than a hint of mocha and rich marmalade. So characterful. Not just old, but very old-fashioned Speyside whisky (and I say that with pride).
Finish: Immense. The orange returns and the coffee and treacle linger for a very long time. Epic.
Comments: Well, this is just superb. Again, I know I would say that - but believe me, fans of old-fashioned sherried Speysides will lap this up. An incredibly classy whisky, with just the right balance of oak and sweetness and as much depth as you can handle.