Bottle Name: Glentauchers 1991 25 year old Whiskyshop Dufftown Exclusive
ABV: 56.4% Distillery: Glentauchers Bottler: Gordon and MacPhail Region: Speyside
A few months ago I dropped in on the excellent Whiskyshop in Dufftown – a veritable treasure trove of original, and independent bottlings. There’s lots to like about this small, but stocked to the rafters store – from the welcoming and friendly staff to the large selection of open bottles which provide visitors with a wealth of opportunities to ‘try before you buy’. I’m all for taking a punt on a bottling once in a while, but given the chance, I'd always recommend pre-sampling if its available – particularly when it comes to the idiosyncrasies of single cask whiskies. Sampling conducted, I walked away with a well-aged bottling of Glentauchers – perhaps I should have bought two?
Glentauchers has long been one of my favourite under-rated distilleries. The Speyside distillery (which is sadly closed to the public) operates long fermentation and slow distillation which result in a light but fruity style that is suited to both a wide variety of ages and also to an extensive selection of cask styles. Tauchers is both versatile and characterful – and compared to many of its Speyside siblings still rather under the radar.
This Glentauchers was produced by Gordon & MacPhail as an exclusive for the Whiskyshop. It was matured for 25 years in a refill ex-bourbon barrel which produced 216 bottles, and was released in July 2016. Remarkably, despite the aged pedigree and the not out of this world price of £134, bottlings are still available for purchase.
Nose: Bright and expressive with the trademark Tauchers lemony-polish very much at the fore. Seville orange, kiwi, overripe bananas and plenty of lemon juice are joined by candy canes and sherbet – the end result being something akin to Haribo Tangtastic – sweet, sour, zingy and tart. All very neat indeed. Woodiness levels are as you’d expect for a quarter of a Century of maturation, but they’re highly polished and lacquered, with plenty of wood sap, camphor and beeswax. In the background, both grassiness and steeliness – graphite and slate, alongside fresh white wine. The addition of water is quite beneficial, losing none of the definition of aromas, but adding in some lovely cut stem flowers and honey suckle.
Taste: A fulsome, oily and demi-sweet arrival that delivers big citrus flavours (peels, balm and juice) from lemon and grapefruit alongside orange segments and chopped mango. The tart varnish from the nose is well represented here – shoe polish, wood preservative and linseed oil. The development is interesting and sustained – plum liqueur, heathery honey, camphor and white pepper as well as cooking oil and steely flint. The back palate is just slightly too tart from polish and bitter from spice for my liking – water softens both of these elements, introducing barley water, slight earthiness and sweetened lemon peels. Lovely neat, super when reduced just a touch.
Finish: Long, with charred wood, tingly white pepper, cut grass herbalness and slight chalk.
The Whiskyshop Dufftown picked a real gem with this Glentauchers 1991 25 year old - there is heaps of lemony-polish (very much my scene when it comes to ex-bourbon whiskies) and plenty of well-matured character to explore here. Complexity levels are high and as such, this benefits from both time in the glass, as well as playing with dilution – it’s a dram to take your time over and savour. Only a slightly bitter and sour back palate keeps this whisky from achieving true greatness – but, nevertheless I find this to be quite excellent. It’s bemusing that over two years after release this is still available – Glentauchers fans should be all over it – and those who have not yet experienced this under-rated distillery would do well to consider this bottling as a first-rate example of ex-bourbon maturation. Highly recommended.
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