Dram data: Distillery: Highland Park
Bottler: official bottling
Age: 40 yo
Casks: refill casks
uncoloured / unchillfiltered Whiskybase link
Finally, there it is: The culmination of the vertical Highland Park tasting. The coveted, sought-after, eye-wateringly expensive 40-year-old. Let’s see what all the fuss is about!
The nose is surprisingly light and fragrant. If the 30 yo was a Rock & Roller on crack and steroids, this is a laid-back soul singer. Err, yeah, enough with these silly comparisons, what do we actually smell? Undeniable oak in the background. Think disused, aged, dusty library shelves someone now uses to bake Christmas bakery on, infusing them with spices (star anise, allspice) and sprinkling rum aroma on top of dark fruits (dried plums and dates). Vanilla-infused icing and dark chocolate are also involved. All of this happened a few days ago and the aromas are muted and starting to fade slowly. A very intriguing, complex nose, but someone turned down the volume just a bit too much. Let’s check the palate!
Dram data: Distillery: Convalmore
Age: 40 yo
Limitation: 522 bottles
unchillfiltered / uncoloured Whiskybase link
Another whisky in the stunning lineup to celebrate Cadenhead’s 175th anniversary! I only have a very small sample left, so I’ll make the best of it to get my first tasting notes for a Convalmore up!
The nose is still surprisingly vibrant and alive for a 40 yo whisky! Definitely not an overoaked, dead dram (hey, I’ve seen it happen, they usually come in crystal decanters and expensive lacquered boxes!)! A massive waft of orange peel up front, mixed with gooseberries, apricots, mangos, sweet grapes, pickled ginger – let’s call it a seasonal (summery) fruit basket. But there’s more to it! A few mint leaves rubbed onto a lacquered oak box (ahem) held together by a leather belt, a cinnamon stick and a pinch of ground allspice. Noses more like a 25 yo whisky at first, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, does it? Give it time and time and time again, and it settles down, with the fruity notes getting darker / more condensed. Continue reading →
This 40 yo Banff, distilled in 1976, was part of the 175th anniversary bottling by the independend bottler Cadenhead’s, and we got the chance to try it during the matching tasting with Mark Watt during the Campbeltown whisky festival 2017. I liked what I tasted (I had it at a tie with the Rosebank), so I brought most of the sample home for a proper tasting session. Let’s do this!
Colour: coppery gold
The nose is anything but weak – still going strong after 40 years in a hoggie! What did they do differently in the 70s? Many drams from that era (even ones bottled at a relatively young age) have such a rich, fruity, waxy palate that has rarely been produced since. We’ve got orange peel, waxed red apples, tinned peaches and tangerines, brown banana, banana bread, strawberries in milk chocolate. In short: a complex, rich summer fruit salad served on sweet bread. (Please, hipsters, don’t make that a thing!). Oak, you ask? Well… just a smidgen of oak influence and a light generic herbal note holding everything together in the background, but this is mostly distillate and age talking here. With extended time in the glass, the herbal notes intensify a bit.
Dram data: Distillery: undisclosed
Bottler: The Whisky Agency
Age: 40 years
Casks: Fino Sherry Butt
unchillfiltered; uncoloured Whiskybase link
When you get the chance to taste a stunning dram like this one, you better bring your tasting notebook with you! Because it was originally handwritten, this review is slightly shorter than the usual ones, but I’ll try to keep it interesting nonetheless!
The nose promises great things right from the first contact. Deep and rich, with old, sweet tropical fruits. We’ve got Mango, papaya, dried apricots, all stored on the oak shelving of an old-style Scottish candy shop with un-lit beeswax candles being stored nearby. Very rich, dense and interwoven, a style only lots and lots of time and a good cask can create. Continue reading →
Dram data: Distillery: –
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Limitation: 1080 bottles
unchillfiltered and uncoloured Whiskybase link
It’s not every day I get to taste 40 yo whisky (or any whisky older than me, for that matter), so I guess today is a special day, despite it being an ordinary workday 😉
The nose smells of.. aaahhhhh! old whisky! Or should I say well-matured whisky? There’s a perfumey fragrant oak character up front which only appears in old whisky – but not too oaky, just the right amount of oak! Rich and complex, with old banana, molasses, sweet fruit syrup, gingerbread with quite a lot of aniseed and frosting, assorted wine gums. Like entering an old-fashioned candy store with oak shelving, it features a very layered, complex set of sweet aromas which are impossible to dissect. Oh, this is right up my alley! Let’s see if the palate: can compete with the nose: Continue reading →
Dram data: Distillery: undisclosed (see below…)
Age: 40 (stated; actually 43yo*)
Casks: ex-bourbon (my impression)
Unchillfiltered; uncoloured Whiskybase link
Unless I’ve lost the ability to count, this is whisky review #200 – time for a small celebration! How about… oh, a 40yo “undisclosed” Single Speyside malt by William Cadenhead’s? Only they could be so cool as to print the completely unrelated letter combination “Glenfarclas” just above the bottling number. No, I’m sure these letters don’t mean anything to anybody… I love you guys up there in Campbeltown!
40,2% ABV – this better not be weak on the nose! Ah…. no! Oh! Ah! Properly aged whisky from a refill ex-bourbon cask, that’s a style I love! Golden honey with a bit of beeswax, majestic oak jam cupboard (just the right amount of oak) with a leather jacket and garden herbs for drying hanging from a hook on the side, sweet summer sunset in an orchard captured in a glass, tropical fruits (dried mangos and papayas ), condensed orange juice, slightly vanilla-flavoured Virginia pipe tobacco (non-vulgar vanilla!), ah, what a lovely, dense yet still elegant and fragrant mixture. Just the dram to pour those “age doesn’t matter” folks, that’ll teach ’em! Continue reading →