We are nearing the end of the inaugural High End Blind Tasting. This is sample 6, and I am not ashamed to say it reduced my linguistic capacity to a prehistoric level of stammering and guttural noises at one point during the tasting of it. I will attempt, having teased my higher brain functions out from their hiding place behind a large rock, to explain.
This is one of those whiskies where the process of writing notes and determining what it is exactly that you smell or taste becomes laborious. Not for lack of aromas to describe, mind you, but because the primitive parts of your brain are enjoying it so much that the analytical side is left with a severely reduced capacity, secretly wanting to throw out the notepad and join the party.
When first smelling the nose, it is clear: this is old. This is american oak. This is great. It starts with some super glue (always a good sign, as it tends to indicate a well-aged whisky about to reveal itself), then (yup!) explodes into heaps and stacks of tropical fruit. Ripe banana, passion fruit, lychee and pineapple fill the nose. Under the fruit is vanilla and cream and a tiny bit of wood spice. With time, the nose weakens slightly, but transforms into something reminiscent of a good, middle aged cognac. It also gains a slight (and welcome) bitter-sweet note. Spec-ta-cu-lar.
At first, the taste is very closed and soft. There are hints of ripe fruit again (banana, pear, sticky tropical fruit) as well as that cream. Together they form what could be a creamy fruit yoghurt. The weak nature of the taste compared to the nose is disappointing at first, but it improves over time, gaining liquorice notes as well as some more wood-influence, which continue into the moderately long finish. Still, this plays a demure second fiddle to the nose’s solo concerto.
Overall this is a cracker. The nose is among the best ones I have had the privilege to experience. The taste lacks power, but holds its own. Then again, who cares about the taste if the nose is this great? Time for a modicum of sense in terms of scoring: world class nose combined with good taste? 92 points
Right. Guesses. 33 years old. 42% abv. Refill bourbon cask. Distillery? I haven’t the faintest idea. I’d say Speyside, but that’s as far as I dare to go.
Glen Albyn 21yo Gordon & MacPhail 40% Distilled 1963 for Sestante