Speyside Single Malt 1989 TWE Exclusive

Posted 01 April 2022 by Matt / In Undisclosed Speyside
The Dramble reviews Thompson Brothers Speyside Single Malt 1989 TWE Exclusive

Bottle Name: Speyside Single Malt 1989 TWE Exclusive

ABV: 51.3%
Distillery: Undisclosed Speyside
Region: Speyside Age: 32

I’ve got a veritable smorgasbord of Thompson Bros. releases on my sample desk to wade through (sorry chaps – I’ll get to them soon – promise!), but in the meantime and also being released today is a TWE exclusive Thompson in the form of a Speyside Single Malt 1989 32 year old.

What is it I hear you ask?

Don’t know. TWE don’t know either, and nor do the Thompsons.

As best as everyone can tell, this was earmarked as blending stock and was re-recked into refill ex-bourbon for four years before being bottled last month. However, with secrets comes opportunities and this venerable mystery Speysider is being offered at a cost of £199 via The Whisky Exchange website. Not too shabby considering the price that could (would?) have been charged were the producing distillery named. There are 255 bottles from this particular refill barrel (note that the original casks were re-racked) and they clock in at 51.3% ABV.

Nose: Effervescent. Peach sorbet alongside mandarin and guava syrups with bright asides of lemon-y polish. Golden barley sits with sunflower oil whilst chopped almonds and press flowers join split vanilla pods and candy sugar. Dilution expressed buttercream and popcorn alongside a developing grassiness – fresh and lively.

Taste: Wonderful texture. A real weight delivery of oils and waxes that helps translate vibrant fruitiness from oranges, tangerines and mirabelles. Jellies, gels and candies offer additional sweetness, lime sharpness and sour apples provide a wonderful balance in terms of preventing things from going too far down the saccharine route. In the background, a tingle of white pepper and char tempered by toasted almonds and desiccated coconut. Water retains much of the weight of the spirit – there’s still plenty of mouth cling and coating. It offers white grapes, nectarines and again a developing underlying grassiness.

Finish: Medium to long in length. Orange sherbet and toasted oak join candy cane sweetness.

This might have been destined for blending, but boy should we all be glad that it’s been rescued and bottled up ‘as is’. This is everything you could want from a three decade+ ex-bourbon Speysider – marvellous expressive definition coupled with pin-point cask integration which feel harmonious at all times. It might lack the allure of being from a named distillery, but the quality is unquestionable.

Review sample provided by The Whisky Exchange

Score: 91/100

Master of Malt
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