The Whisky Show 2022: Old & Rare, Part 1

As in previous years [WLP], Whisky.Auction continues to offer the opportunity to try some cracking drams of yesteryear at incredible value.

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After spending quite some time at the Boutique-y stand [WLP],…

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,… word has it the Whisky.Auction stand has already been severely hit and we are only an hour or so in on day one! Many of their bottles won’t last the night let alone the entire weekend! Friday has become the new Saturday much to everyone’s surprise.

In no particular order, we start with a grain.

Invergordon 1974/2019 45yo Single & Single [btl #155] 46.6% WB90[4] WN89

  • C: Grain really needs to be up to the 40+ year mark, and from a compliant cask, if there’s any chance of complexity beyond the spirit, glue, and vanilla which is the case here. Alongside all the fruits, there’s plenty of waxiness too. Oh, it’s one I’ve tried before, last year in fact at this very stand [WLP87]. Happily one point more in 2022!

Scores 88 points

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Balvenie 1979/1991 [12yo] SMWS 40.4 [258 bts] 59.8% [75cl] WB89.75[4]

  • C: Exquisite, elegant, dignified, distinguished – precisely what you want from an old vintage Balvenie. If a little hazy on the palate, we are all peachy [good and fruity] by the finish. Delicious whisky now unable to fulfil its inflated secondary price point.

Scores 89 points

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What’s that I see, 1967 Glenugie for a fiver?!

Glenugie 1967/1995 G&M Old Map Label 40% WB85.47[17]

  • C: At just half a Dream Dram token [you heard that right], I decant nearly two pours into a sample bottle for further introspection at home, saving just a nip for this moment in time. I write ‘fruity, ahhh!’, and ‘thin not thin’.

Back at home, this requires the Blender’s Glass!

  • N: No doubt, some unfathomably healthy bottle ageing has contributed to this intoxicating umami-sweet root-vegetal TTR [tamarind/tomato/rancio] nose that includes a philosophic-inducing fruit punch riper than is humanly possible. Unworldly!
  • T: Drats, it is thin, watery, and a little drying. Shame, as the legs were sufficiently oily. Nevertheless, it musters a salty peppery [perhaps gingery] fruity root-vegetal attack followed by a somewhat lacklustre blend-like maltiness that harks to more potent/vibrant days. After all, this has been stored – somewhere, somehow – in glass for 27 years. Second wind helps us towards a finish. Filling in the gaps, there’s the sense of barley-rich, chocolatey malty salty oakiness and dried [sultana] fruits behind the faded fragility.
  • F: Really salty [Pulteney 17 vibes], ashy echoes, congealed oil,…
  • C: Hindsight is a fine thing. Not just the whisky, nor the time in glass or how it was stored, the incredible legacy of G&M is marred by decades of presenting historic gems at 40%. From another perspective, we are lucky to have these archives at all. Plenty to be gleaned from this bottle as is. That nose in particular, stunning!

Scores 87 points

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Port Ellen 1969 16yo G&M CC Brown Label 40% [75cl] WB91.53[21] WF92 WM91[6]

Keeping the theme going with another 1960s presentation from G&M at 40%, bottled long ago. Unlike a number of [G&M 40%] Glenugie’s of this era [WB], the Port Ellen’s tend to fair rather splendidly indeed. I mean, it’s Port Ellen!

  • C: I take it back. G&M – all is forgiven. We are in the same quality ballpark as the 15yo [WB/WF92] of the same year, and in the glugging stakes also – just imagine! Incredible complexity from a 16yo and at the abv minimum [and now lower no doubt]. Another for my desert island wishlist.

Scores 92 points

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