Secret Speyside 1987

Posted 24 August 2020 by Matt / In Speyburn
The Dramble reviews Mystery Speyside 1987 32 year old Whisky Sponge

Bottle Name: Secret Speyside 1987

ABV: 45.8%
Distillery: Speyburn
Bottler: Whisky Sponge
Region: Speyside Age: 32

Salmon heads, cannons and a breast-feeding Jon Beach. There are times when writing before breakfast proves to be a correct decision. Dramboree (oh how I miss thee) in-jokes a plenty here – so I’m going to peg this as hailing from Speyburn. It's been matured in a refill hogshead since 1987 and has been bottled at 45.8%.

Nose: Polished orchard and white fruits – apples, kiwi and grapes - present a precision which is bolstered by notes of white wine vinegar, brassy pipes and fermenting cider. Mossiness is joined sunflower oil, whilst cut grass and chives sit with overt barley and golden cereals. All rather lovely. Water adds melon and lychee alongside dusty powdered ginger.

Taste: Rich and fatty (Sponge really does like textured whisky – good on him) with an orchard fruit salad lifted by candied lemon peels and lemon balm before a generous dollop of fresh-from-the-hive golden honey is applied. Grape juice and barley sugars are joined by back-palate cliff-faces and light cereals. Reduction presents a softer arrival with amped up tartness in the development – grapefruit segments alongside lemon barley water.

Finish: Medium with developing lime juice, effervescent ginger spicing and a gentle intrusion of white pepper.

This mystery Speysider from Rothes is all spirit and little hogshead, despite over three decades of maturation. Whilst the Sponge tasting notes imply a fishy sense of fishiness, I’m pleased to report that the actual contents of the bottle are much more elegant, offering a wonderful demonstration as to why refill wood often brings out the best in a whisky over and above the raw power of 1st fill vessels. Here there’s a relaxed confidence that has only been possible through a long slumber in a refill cask. No salmon – but all class.

Score: 88/100


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