The price of miniatures has risen significantly over the last two years as we’ve all become more aware of the price & value of 1cl, an awareness born in part from pay-as-you-go whisky shows as well as miniature services from small & big whisky suppliers.
In 2016, these Inverleven’s could be had for less than £2 a pop. They are now going for nearer £10. It makes sense when you take the average price of 70cl bottle and divide it by 14, also taking into account the rarity and scarcity of Inverleven. But are these miniatures worth your time and money?
Inverleven 1984/ GM Licensed bottling 40% [5cl bottle code: IE/GF] WB83 [WB]83.33 WM70
- N: Mild peppery & raisin-y with a touch of hot rubber when first opened. The next day finds it sweeter with apple blossom=apple cider>vinegar<crisp apple strudel<apple snow, cut apple and Galia melon with a sprinkling of toasted oats on top. Fairly innocuous besides that but those apples in all their forms are quite charming.
- T: Starts with a sour bite and doesn’t do much besides offering an tart apple pie in desperate need of sweetening & seasoning. There are attempts at a sharp grassy, oily-sour mouthfeel, neat. Water allows for a more forgiving chalky-dry, aspirin-like and waxy sour mouthful on dried grapefruit. Tough love.
- F: Savoury-sour with a mild [chemical] freshness, sweetening a tad with a reprise of grapefruit-y grassy apple tart/cider vinegar. Comes with an inoffensive coppery, peppery astringency throughout. Coppery, peppery stewed apple alongside a touch of limescale at the death.
- C: From memory, in the same ilk as Glen Grant’s 1975 5yo WB0. This one scrapes the boards for the nose and the second half of the palate [with water], but it’s tough love indeed.
Scores 75 points
Let’s see if an earlier vintage can raise the bar a little.
Inverleven 1979/ GM Licensed bottling 40% [5cl bottle code: IB/B0] WB0 [WB]81-85 WF73 WM70
- N: Similar ‘house’ style to the 1984 but with heaps more malty<caramel that buries the more subtle apple notes of the later vintage. Additionally there are base notes of flint, iron filings, bastard files, a mini pot of metal paint, a hint of washing powder/white spirit,… The sweeter side sees more caramel>toffee apple, a few orange Quality Streets and a drop of rose water…. different peeps, different things I’m sure. Opens up with more of a fruity bouquet later on but the flinty caramel remains strong. Let’s see how this pans out, given the divide between the sweet vs the more industrial side.
- T: A chaotic arrival of pepper and caramel, neither able to do much for each other. Moves sweet to bitter to sour, travelling as one ungainly blob. Settles far more acceptably with water, providing a decent paper-dry>waxy yet wandering mouthfeel that captures a two-sided profile of sour-grapefruit>blood orange vs sweeter caramel.
- F: More peppery caramel into an invigorating spicy ginger tea, followed by hints of apple skin, rose water and orange essence. – always juxtaposed against the less subtle bitter-sweet caramel. A fairly decent length finish that concludes with a piece of chewed textbook.
- C: More tough love. For different reasons, same score as the 1984.
Scores 75 points