ABV: 48.6% Distillery: Undisclosed Bottler: That Boutique-y Whisky Company Region: SpeysideAge: 50
Today is a mini milestone for The Dramble - our 500th review. Golly, where does time fly? It’s been an amazing 18 months for myself and Danny, and we’d like to thank you all for the support, encouragement and feedback you’ve provided on the journey so far.
We thought we’d pull out something special to mark our 500th review with....after a whole August of 1978/40 year old whiskies that’s no easy task! But, our good friends over at Boutique-y Whisky came to the rescue with a release perfectly suited to celebrations - Speyside 50 year old Batch 1.
Hailing from an undisclosed distillery, there’s been a lot of chatter online about the origins of this malt. There are not too many distilleries with enough stock (of the sherried kind) to be able to provide liquid for such a release - Mortlach, Glen Grant and Macallan have all been suggested (and feel wrong for various reasons - particularly price!) as, of course has Glenfarclas - which would be my logical guess. Regardless of background, this 50 year old (still available if you hunt around) has an RRP of around £600 - of course, a lot of money, but considerably less than an original bottling of that age would cost from any of the distilleries highlighted above.
A sherry fanatics dream, this is as dark as treacle and is delivered at 48.6%.
Nose: Cavernously sherried with intense and highly concentrated aromas. The darkest Peruvian chocolate that has been combined with blackberries and macerated cherries to form a thick, rich slice of gateaux. Alongside, further reduced fruits - plums, raisins and figs...all sticky, sugary and packed full of richness. Woodiness is pervasive, but refined - mahogany panelling and lacquered bar tops. It sits with ancient cracked leather and dusty affections - ginger, a pinch of cinnamon, and Burley pipe tobacco. The addition of water adds a sense of creaminess - milk chocolate rather than the high % cacao solids of earlier. It also brings out a gentle umami note - cream crackers and bread pudding.
Taste: A full-force arrival that doesn’t mess around - viscous, rich, deep with flavour, but also quite spicy. Black and red fruits lead off - part fresh and juicy, part reduced a syrupy. They’re joined by chilli chocolate, cracked hazelnuts, gingerbread and plenty of maltiness. In the mid to back-palate, woodiness intensifies....old, well-worn and polished - a library in a stately home. At the same time, a tingle of pepperiness steadily develops into a concentrated punch of wood spice. There’s a solid vein of struck match running through here. It’s quite flinty rather than sulphurous, do I’d hazard a guess at paxarette being at play here. Water lightens everything up - raspberries, strawberries and cranberries as opposed to blacker fruits and berries. It also adds a sense of dustiness...just to make sure you’re aware this is half a Century in age.
Finish: Long and peppery, with mingled dense fruits, chilli spice and some drying wood tannins.
This undisclosed ancient Speysider is as intense and powerful as most high strength whiskies that are a fraction of its age. As such, this malt is perhaps more suited for the ‘sherrybomb brigade’ than it is for those who are fans of well-aged refinement. There’s plenty of wood here, but the sherried aromas and flavours keep it in check and likewise mask most of the grippy tannins one might expect with this level of maturity. Bold, packed full of flavour and, whatever the distillery, surely substantially cheaper than an OB.
A venerable whisky to celebrate our 500th review with. We hope you’ve enjoyed the journey so far and always look forward to sharing a dram with as many of you as possible. Slainte!
But don't take our word for it..
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