Old & Rare 2020: Blends [and rye], Part 2/2

Following on from Part 1, here’s another oldie from the Skinner stand.

Smith’s Grand Liqueur Scotch Whisky [1910s] Ob. [no other info] WB82.50[2]

Smith's Grand Liqueur.jpeg

  • N: Is this liquor liqueur or sugar-flavoured fortified liqueur? This unquestionably tasted of coffee liqueur, and/or much like coffee liqueur-flavoured rum with complimentary walnuts and hazelnuts. Crazy!
  • T: Bonkers! Again, we likened this to a soft/flat column still coffee liqueur-flavoured rum.
  • F: Aside from the lingering sweetness of the coffee liqueur, it dies on the turn.
  • C: A ‘spirit’ that might be appreciated more favourably as a ye olde rum than a blended scotch whisky. I see no point in scoring this one.

[Not scored]


More from Skinner

Bellows [1885] Scotch Whisky [no other info] tOMoH6/10

A few years back I acquired two bottles of 1930’s Bellows & Company Choicest Liqueur blended scotch [WLP86]. For what it’s worth, I was keen to try this older bottling for a secondary reference point.

Bellows 1885.jpeg

  • N: Another old oily < grain-led blend that, despite some understandable fading, is reasonably intact. The Foz calls “toilets” – as a tasting note – and he is spot on. I call “museums”, so it’s museum toilets, at best! Also of note was soil and compost from the garden centre. How’s this one going to play out?
  • T: Peculiarly, that’s how! More toilet action at first with something of a burnt [rushed?] spirit note and a distant bitterness.
  • F: We are soon into barley sugar, dried rose petals and creamy vanilla-flavoured milk.
  • C: A costly disappointment this one. We find this bottle has expired ‘,… gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life,..!’

[Not scored]


To the Catawiki stand now for a Glen Brora.

Glen Brora [+/-1970s] Carradale Blending Co. 40% [750ml] WB90.50[6] WF90 WM89[5] tOMoH8/10

We shouldn’t have any problems with this one, should we?

Glen Brora Carradale Blending Co. .jpeg

  • N: A decent-enough Glenfiddich-esque nose, meaning it’s as light a nose as it is in colour [though the picture does this observation no justice].
  • T: A subtle all-bourbon-matured soft sweet blend that becomes a tad gacky then chalky sour > sweet. A little jaded overall.
  • F: Salty, dry, and peppery with some grapefruit pith is all we mustered.
  • C: A very different experience in comparison to Serge’s review in 2013 [WF90]. Wouldn’t be the same bottle, would it? Nah, the bottle’s way too full. Another one [three in a row] we found rather tired > expired. Too bad. It goes with the ghost-hunting territory.

Scores 82 points


In general, the large proportion of whiskies at the show [that I tried or heard reports of], were adequately intact at the very least. Amazing when you think how old these bottles are.



Let’s take a whisky detour in an attempt to pick this session up a bit. Back I go to Skinner for rye. It was at the first Old & Rare Whisky Show in 2017 that Joseph [on the Skinner stand], presented those lucky enough, that glorious 1909 Overholt rye [WLP93] for a steal. Plenty has changed in the last three years with regards to awareness and price of all whisky.

Baltimore Pride 1935 7yo Ob. 100 proof [946ml] WB86[1

Baltimore Pride 7yo Private Stock 100 proof.jpeg

  • N: Fresh/modern/contemporary rye. From 1935 you say?
  • T: You have to be kidding me?! This is [like] a full-on straight bitter > sweet contemporary rye slugger with leafy [curry-leaf] herbal tones.
  • F: Light creamy/milky finish with ginger biscuits [Foz], and a tonic water [quinine] & mixed dried herb bitterness.
  • C: Hard to believe this was bottled in the early 1940s. Extremely contemporary in style for a pre-war rye or any spirit frankly. Still, very nice. Let’s have another, older yet younger rye to finish this session.

Scores 84 points


Good Old Guckenheimer 1911/1917 6yo Ob. Bottled In Bond [no abv stated]

‘Potpourri rye’

Guckenheimer 1911 6yo.jpeg

  • N: Texturally a waxy < Vaseline nose that carries with it, an abundance of tropical floral potpourri fruits so abundant that I immediately give up on describing individual flavours and instead resort to ‘dad noises’. After all, one could be here all day with a nose like this. We compare it side-by-side with a 1995 George T. Stagg at 142.8 proof [WB]. It turns out that, to smell, they are remarkably comparable in character and complexity. [Amazing to think the Stagg is still alive & well after all those years open at a lowish level].
  • T&F: Medicinal, floral, herbal with furniture polishes, treacles, syrups,… leathers, oils, mechanisation, oodles more potpourri,…. We ditch the shopping list once again and instead conjure images of a small convenience store in the mid-West, or a large Georgian kitchen within a manor house on a private estate.
  • C: Emotional rye that can transport you. A bottle, please! The chances?

Scores 92 points, for both the Guckenheimer and the Stagg.





Old &amp; Rare Show 2020

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