More delving into my old & rare samples.
- N: Colour: nearing prune juice levels. Smells of sherried prune juice too, giving away dessert-sweet aromas with a desirably murky underbelly. It’s a truly lovely snifter with all sorts of descriptors and nasal textures, one that is heading towards a dry savoury herbal tincture territory.
- T: A tart-resinous yet fruity malty sweet reveal, a touch prickly/peppery before turning decidedly more malty, putty-ish and grainy. Plenty of teak furniture and beeswax on the turn.
- F: Foosty/damp-fresh fruits and forests, with a sweet herbal polish. Quite an exquisite landing [I’ve been watching a lot of Commonwealth Games diving and gymnastics of late]. At the death, vanilla, compote fruits and some ash.
- C: At times I felt it could have stayed in the oven longer, and as delightful as I found it, the cask and its previous contents were a tad heavy.
Scores 88 points
Glen Grant 1952/2005 53yo G&M 40% WB93.26
I’ve been here twice before, scoring it 88 & 90 respectively.
- N: Sweet citrus culminating in a mixed grocery bag of clementines, limes, satsumas and rose apples as well as mango juice and an undercurrent of metallic-chalky paint. Lovely stuff but with a narrow depth of field. Don’t these wonderful fruit notes and grand old vintages deserve more than the minimum abv?
- T: Tasty yet thin juice, though firming up slightly on the turn.
- F: Soft, sweet chalky>fruity<dry finish.
- C: Is it fair to hold the opinion that 40% abv strength is unacceptable at this level, especially when it appears to have an adverse effect on this rare final product? It’s back to 88 points but I feel it could/should be 90+/<43% easily. Also, this very possibly struggled after the SMWS powerhouse.
Scores 88 points
Banff 1966/2015 49yo G&M Rare Old cask #RO/15/03 45.2% WB91.10
- N: Only my fourth Banff, so… Overall a grainy/woody, dry fruity, savoury-sweet number accompanied by yeasty vanilla, a few small mushrooms, a pinch of miso, cake decorating candy pieces and foosty glue. Not overly complex.
- T: Without losing all its richness nor certainly its vitality, it’s plenty woody & drying [understandably], and becoming malty. Add water for a far more thrilling mouthfeel & development, one that swells and blossoms around the palate. Establishes itself as a malty, fruity and woody number, a touch oily-dry.
- F: Rather like a very decent old grain whisky with a long sustained woody vanilla finish.
- C: Not much wrong with this given it’s age, though you may want to sample this old timer at a whisky show rather than committing to a full bottle – given the price.
Scores 88 points
- N: Raising the age level even higher comes an equally rare Tamdhu. Colour-wise: in-between the all-bourbon Banff & the thick dark 1972 Glen Grant, this one offers a more complex chemical makeup that speaks of murky umami, lambs lettuce, French polish, linseed oil, bees wax, echinacea, ash/soot/coal tar, dried/cured meats, a Chinese buffet, fruity miso boiled sweets, hints of confectionary chocolate bars, garage oil biscuity tones, treacle, tinned fruit syrup, cucumber [on the turn], Tokaji, garden pesticides, emulsion,… it goes on. The timestamp on these descriptors is unmistakable, old & rare personified. I was going to say ‘little these days comes close’, but in some ways, Ben Nevis fits the bill.
- T: 53 years in a refill cask gives the spirit a fighting chance and provides the palate with a similar oddly concocted [Ben Nevis-esque] experience as on the nose. Despite all that cask time, the grain does still peek through, the refill sherry cask thankfully low-key. Adding water doesn’t do it any favours at first, bringing forth industrial paints, metals and plastics. Plainly it’s woody barley [no shit Sherlock!], with many murky/oily notes of curiously encroaching alongside.
- F: Old rusty paint tins, dry woody [pine sap – Serge], and vanillin – though it seems less mollycoddled by the cask than the Banff. Serge says ‘What’s noticeable is that it’s extremely oaky, but also that this is one of the rare occurrences where over-oakiness became an asset because of the oak oils that leached into the whisky’.
- C: As bizarre as it is unique.
Scores 87 points