Since I am stuck in the airport at the moment, with absolutely nothing to do but write and read, I might as well do another post with some older whiskies I was lucky enough to get to try recently.
The first, a blended malt from the Thompson Brothers of Dornoch Distillery at an easy 40 years old and the other is even older, brought to us by The Whisky Agency via The Whisky Exchange. These old Speyside single/blended malts have a serious reputation among those that know old whisky. Especially seeing as there aren’t that many distilleries with those very old stocks.
1977 Blended Malt Sherry Thompson Bros 42.9%
Nose: Takes me back to the decades tour at Glenfarclas. The Sherry here is pretty classy, raisin, fresh cherry, leather, there's a little medicinal/soap note that I normally get from older Glenfarclas, and a subtle meaty-ness, orange, pomegranate, flowers at your newly made bed in the hospital, quite crisp and fresh for 40! Oh, how did I forget to mention good quality coffee, almond and marzipan, Amaretto, marzipan log and sugared almonds. And honey. And old liqueurs. And old cupboards with spice boxes in them.
Taste: Sweet at first, a little thin but builds, the whole is a bit shy to start, and then its building with spice, oak and swells of sweetness. Giving this one time in the mouth is crucial. Fantastic strawberry fruit pastille (the red ones), leather, some orange peel and subtle floral tones. I wouldn't say it’s over oaked but it’s just lost a little too much of the strength. Chewy texture but not as complex as the nose.
Finish: Long/Very Long length. Sweetness stays with a little strawberry then darker and darker (but losing power) with the oak, chocolate, orange and leather staying and staying.
Bottled early 2018 at 40yo. Pretty stunning stuff, particularly the nose, it’s just lost a little too much of the strength after all those years. Price was about £200, which I thought was pretty reasonable until Vega brought out their 40yo at £135. Anyway, great to try.
Speyside 1973 The Whisky Agency 47.4%
Nose: Fresh and old at the same time. Lots of oak, subtle Sherry, orange, raisin, cherry, prune, date, brown sugar, leather, wild strawberry, red and green apple. Super complex nose that balances everything wonderfully.
Taste: Full on oak to start then goes very very soft, wild strawberry, awesome brain tingling fruit, emotional, lovely balance and mouthfeel, raisin. Delicate mixed spice, leather and dark chocolate development. Again, complex and wonderful.
Finish: Long/Very Long. Strawberry fruit pastilles, no oak here which is a minor miracle, still fresh.
For The Whisky Exchange, bottled 2017 at 43yo from a Butt. Little aside, Billy of TWE says there was a labelling mistake as this was actually a Blended Malt not a Single Malt. I see nothing on the label saying either? Just Speyside.The similarities to the 1977 are obvious though, especially with the strawberry notes. This one clinches it, with a touch more power and the balance of a ballerina.
Aw hell, tell you what. Since I’m here, let’s go just a tad older again shall we? And this ain’t no blended malt neither…
Tomintoul 1973 Vintage 44.5%
Nose: Expressive, rich and sweet. Leather and chocolate and strawberry, red apple, complex and quite delicious, beautiful nose actually but I have a funny feeling the palate will be a let down... Loads of stewed dark fruits and little deserts (the kind you get on a little tray together with a coffee), chocolate cake. More complex over time with liquorice allsorts, ethereal slightly funky heather.
Taste: Weak arrival, there it is, disappointing start, lots of dry oak then loads of leather and musty dark chocolate, some honey, some florals in there with geranium and lemongrass, lavender, heather. Complex but not completely balanced. Oh cherry too with a tobacco thing going on.
Finish: Long length. Darker again with dark chocolate and late plum, not too much oak here, leather again.
A brand new one. Bottled 2018 at 45yo, Sherry finish. This is an example of a Sherry finish (although they don’t tell us for how long) that has worked pretty well for an old whisky. It saved the nose but not the palate. Older doesn’t always mean better, as we all know, but its worth remembering when you’re trying a whisky that is costing thousands of pounds and comes in a fancy wooden box and heavy decanter.
Thanks for reading!
Scotch Reviews #682-#684
Whisky Network Reviews #816-#818
Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.