Small Swedish independent bottler Svensk Whiskeyförmedling is located in Örebro about 200 miles west of Stockholm. Founded around 2012 by a group of whisky enthusiasts, the company provides brokerage services, whisky tasting events, and a growing range of special releases of Scotch whisky produced under several different house brands. Their Chairman’s Private Reserve line originated in 2013 with a bottling of 1985 27 year old Longmorn for their friends and family, but, fast-forward to 2017 and there’s been 18 further releases covering a wide and interesting range of distilleries.
Most grain distilleries are located in the southern and central parts of Scotland. Invergordon is therefore something of an oddity, being located in the far North East, just a few minutes down the road from Dalmore distillery. Established in 1959 and operational in 1961, it was joined in 1965 by the short-live Ben Wyvis distillery which was built on the site to provide malts to accompany Invergordon grain in blends, but was torn down 12 years later in 1977. It seems everything comes around in circles in the whisky industry as there’s still something left of the Ben Wyvis legacy – the stills are in situ over in Campbeltown at Springbank’s Glengyle distillery.
Today’s Invergordon is an example of a long-aged grain. Distilled on 12th December 1972 and bottled 43 years later on the 18th January 2016 to become the twelfth bottle in Svensk Whiskeyförmedling’s Chairman’s Private reserve. It was drawn from a single Bourbon barrel (#130000005), and is bottled at 49.9% ABV.
Nose: A breakfast packed full of fruits and cereals. Immediate vanilla is joined by Granny Smith apples, grape juice and some very zesty and tart limes. Golden cereals are amalgamated with bakery and cooking aromas – apples turnovers and crème brulees – and some gentle oak flavours, which includes a decent slug of deck varnish. There are some dusty aged notes here, and a very unusual almost onion-like piquancy. Water brings out more of the natural sugars and some toffee notes, whilst diminishing the varnish slightly. It also draws some inherent earthiness and damp soils into the mix.
Taste: Full, mouth coating and with a host of sweet grain flavours. Roasted cereals, golden syrup and vanilla get things started, but we’re swiftly moved into grapefruit and sharp citrus and much cask influence in the form of cinnamon and cloves. Quite a lot of wood here – sawdust, balsawood and sappy oak. A few drops of water radically changes the structure of this whisky, removing the tart and sharp edges and allowing for a dreamy creamy honey texture alongside some sweetshop flavours of candyfloss and vanilla custard.
Finish: Fairly long and picking up notes of varnish, oak and cask spice.
This 1972 Invergordon from Svensk Whiskeyförmedling is really good stuff. Despite its high age it’s still fresh, lively and quite dynamic, offering a high degree of fruitiness alongside, aged flavours and just the right amount of cask influence. It takes the addition of water exceptionally well, but is truly tasty both with and without it.