The limited edition Antiquary 35 year old was launched in September 2015. Just 800 bottles of this very well aged whisky were produced at an RRP of £300 – which you’ll still be able to find as of writing. A little research suggests that this blend might just have two components – 50% Tomatin single malt, 50% Girvan single grain – though take that with a pinch of salt – the Internet rarely being the font of 100% accurate knowledge. Nevertheless, there is one thing which I can tell you with absolute confidence – this whisky demands that you rest it. Those with patience will be justly rewarded.
Nose: Elegant and compelling. An immediate fruit-fest – massively pronounced orange and tangerine alongside apples, pineapples, apricots and a pile of dried berries. Late 70s/Early 80s Tomatin completely in charge here. Honey, roasted almonds, tobacco and old, but still somehow still lively wood add to the mix, marrying quite perfectly with the fruit salad. Rested for between 30-60 minutes, takes this up another level – clementines, mangos, guavas, brass polish, chocolate digestive biscuits, vanilla and a touch of ginger. The addition of water (be oh so sparing) brings out more patisserie-led aromas – cream buns and choux pastry. Utterly enthralling and worth the long resting period.
Taste: Somehow even better than the amazing nose. Refined, indulgent and awash with pronounced fruitiness. Tropical now – pineapple, guava, mango, fresh bananas still on the tree. Furniture polish, dusty old books, honey and heathery florals and grasses. Incredibly fresh and all incredibly balanced. Rested, again this one excels – waves of bright, crisply defined fruitiness, biscuits, vanilla cream and orange liqueur. In the back-palate, yet more fruitiness – syrupy and from a tin. Water – barely more than a drop here brings out the cask influence – sappy, still remarkably fresh with swirling cinnamon and a mere sprinkle of ginger powder. Wow.
Finish: Medium to long and packed full of orange juice concentrate, white pepper and a sprig of mint.
The Antiquary 35 year old is quite remarkable and possibly the best blended whisky I’ve had the pleasure of tasting to date. Tasted blind, you’re highly unlikely to peg this as a blend at all, such is the quality and emphasis on old style fruity Tomatin. Complexity levels are through the roof here – this is the type of whisky you could sit and write about for hours – aromas and flavours transforming and merging within your glass. Totally enthralling stuff.
N.B. Those of you intrested to try this one, but not wanting to commit £300 to a bottle (I don’t blame you, that’s a lot of £s) might want to consider the Drinks by the Dram option available – we all need a treat sometimes, and my goodness,this is a glorious one.