Bottler: official Long John bottling
Distilled: late 60s/early 70s
Bottled: late 70s / early 80s
Age: 10 years
Colour: orange-ish gold
On the nose you immediately get a hard to define smell from yesteryear, something lost in modern day whisky. In this case it is comprised of waxy fruits, oranges, red apples, apricots and sweet tinned peaches+tangerines wrapped in wax paper. This reminds me of a 30 yo Tomatin I have yet to review – that kind of fruitiness is lost in modern whiskies. Very lovely stuff indeed. Not over-the-top complex or mid-90s score worthy, just oh so much more lovely than 99% of current mass-market supermarket whiskies (which, essentially, is what this was 30-some years ago). Back to the nose. The fruitiness is paired with background notes of an old leather book cover, pickled ginger, the tiniest hint of menthol, chewing gum base rubberiness (Hubba Bubba chewed on for 2 hours?) and a whiff of makeup powder sprinkled over an oak stave used for maturing Cointreau (as if…). Very delightful stuff indeed, perfect for this hot summer weather! Let’s check the palate! Ah yes! I was afraid to take a sip, fearing it might fall apart due to the 40% ABV, but that’s not the case. Well-rounded and soft but mouth-coating and not without a slight alcoholic nip. Great to see the profile unchanged from the nose: All the aforementioned fruits (with an added mango and a bit of papaya) with a touch of honey on top wrapped in wax paper paired with a slightly dusty leather note, a drop of orange oil, orange blossom, a touch of sweet herbal cough syrup (the good, tasty kind), the old sooty kind of newspaper ink, pickled ginger and a touch of oak (granny’s oak cupboard) to balance everything out. Oldschool through and through. Every bit as delightful as the nose, just a smidgen weaker in density. The medium long finish is mellow upon swallowing featuring all the aforementioned fruits with a touch of honey and beeswax upon swallowing followed by a hint of spices. Mellowing down nicely with an aftertaste of wax, oak and a hint of yeast.
How to sum it up… Let me put it this way: If you could buy whisky like this in supermarkets today, specialist retailers and indie bottlers would be in big trouble because that’s the kind of daily dram I’d enjoy 9/10 days. A very consistent, fruity, balanced and overall delightful dram from yesteryear. A lost profile. Yes, I’m repeating this once again. Just the way standard releases should be. One can only dr(e)am…
(Nose: 87 Palate: 85 Finish: 85)
Thanks a lot to Keith Wood for the generous sample!