New Whiskies

Batch 36

by
Two 50-year-olds from Glenfarclas and Last Drop, plus three Singleton of Glendullans and The Trojan.

A pair of elderly 50-year-olds – one a single malt and the other a blend – demonstrate maturity with class in this week’s tasting notes from Dave Broom’s inbox. Meanwhile three travel retail exclusives from The Singleton of Glendullan are found to be perfect fruity examples of the Speyside distillery’s character, and there’s plenty of promise with the first release from independent bottler Exile Casks.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Glenfarclas 50 Years Old

    Score 9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenfarclas 50 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    41.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    A rather lovely dustiness opens here, followed by grilled nuts, raisin and mulberry, then a light meatiness, fresh blackberry and a hint of smoke. Quite broad but with elegance.

    Palate

    This is more delicate than you might anticipate (perhaps the low strength) with a silky texture. You need to tiptoe carefully through here. A tiny drop of water seems to revive it on the tongue allowing fruits to emerge alongside slightly dusty tannins. After three hours in the (covered) glass the aroma of dry heather appears. 

    Finish

    Drying. 

    Conclusion

    Just as well they bottled it now! An element of faded grandeur here but a great dram. 

    Right place, right time

    Lying deep in the heather in autumn. 

    The Last Drop Double Matured Blended Scotch, 50 Years Old

    Score 9.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Last Drop Double Matured Blended Scotch, 50 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    51.8%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Let’s say from the outset that this has remarkable strength for a 50-year-old whisky. It is the colour of polished walnut and has an immediate mix of rosin and wax, followed by big rancio notes, dried cherry, incense. Time seems to slow as each aroma eases itself off its leather armchair for a solo in the spotlight, dried fruits one moment, then persimmon, peppermint the next. 

    Palate

    A perfumed, attar of rose start and then the tannins grip and things become darker and dry. Then, amazingly, like the sun coming out from behind a cloud, it blooms into green mango, papaya, and dried apricot before gently closing back down. It’s quite extraordinary. Give it time and this burst of fruit lasts right through to the finish where it mingles with cask and a hint of smoke. Water should be left on the side. 

    Finish

    Long and lingering.

    Conclusion

    An incredible bottling that just gives up waves of increasingly luscious fruit every time you return to the glass. There’s 898 bottles available. Best get saving, because its £3,000. 

    Right place, right time

    Listening to John Tavener in an old concert hall.

     

    The Singleton of Glendullan Classic

    Score 7.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Singleton of Glendullan Classic
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Sweet fruity opening of blueberry syrup, white currants, apple, and cassia. This holds water well, increasing the aromatics but never making them heavy. Fragrant and effusive, heady and scented.

    Palate

    Quite fat and chewy, it takes time to open. Give it time and once the air gets into it you get the light side of Glendullan’s fruits, a dusting of white pepper and then acidity as the other side of white currant emerges. It’s much improved with water which injects some energy and momentum.

    Finish

    Slightly tart and a little bitter. Falls off quickly. 

    Conclusion

    It won’t offend the Trades’ Description Act. This is, indeed, a classic Glendullan and a rather lovely one. 

    Right place, right time

    Blueberry pancakes on a Sunday morning in summer.

    The Singleton of Glendullan Double Matured

    Score 6/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Singleton of Glendullan Double Matured
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round.
    Nose

    The fattest of this trio, but also the least immediately expressive. Reminiscent of apricot jam with some spice, and with water, some dark fruits. Solid.

    Palate

    A sweet and thick opening with a little orange zest, touches of oxidised wine, currant and that sloe note once more. Touches of old wine cellar. Water makes things more slick. Quite a bulky feel overall. 

    Finish

    Short and slightly bitter.

    Conclusion

    Matured separately in American and European oak, then married in ‘a special cask’. 

    Right place, right time

    Rootling around in the cellar for the bottle of last year’s sloe gin. 

    The Singleton of Glendullan Master’s Art

    Score 7.6/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Singleton of Glendullan Master’s Art
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    40%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    More robust than Classic, with mature elements from the off. It remains identifiably Glendullan, but here you get blood orange, sloe, crème brûlée, milk chocolate and baked apple with raisin and, in time, some dry grass. Things are given extra lift when diluted moving into toasted marshmallow then flamed citrus. 

    Palate

    The palate is lighter than expected. It starts slowly, but picks up in the middle where there is some spicy drive. Dilution helps make things more coherent and mouth-filling, if a touch slippery. There’s a mix of steamed pudding and spotted dick on the back palate. 

    Finish

    Dried peach and bitter chocolate.

    Conclusion

    Has been given a period of extra maturation in Muscat casks. If there’s a minor criticism here it is that it is almost too well mannered.

    Right place, right time

    The table groaning with food as you come back from a summer evening walk while glamping in Dorset.

    The Trojan 25 Years Old

    Score 8.8/10
    Scoring explained >
    The Trojan 25 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    57.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Positive mature notes with an initial whiff of fresh varnish, then cassia, citrus, gingerbread and nutmeg. Things then begin to open moving towards hard toffee and after a long time in glass there’s old pineapples and a little leather.

    Palate

    A burst of slightly peachy fruits before a combination of high alcohol and tannin calm the more exuberant members down. With water, peels and a big concentrated hit of yellow plum skin. Give it time and there’s mace, dark chocolate and a background aroma that brings to mind dunnage warehouses. Becomes increasingly gingery.

    Finish

    Long with calamus root and ginger. 

    Conclusion

    The first of a series of casks ‘liberated’ by our heroes Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley and sold at a price that would make even Lidl surprised. Maybe the Trojan horse being alluded to here is the one they have dragged into the Citadel of High Price. Distillers cluster around and our bespectacled champions of integrity leap out in their baggy shorts and throw down their handmade fencing gloves in a challenge to the establishment. Whatever, you’d be a fool not to buy it for quality and for price.

    Right place, right time

    Ginger Geezer.

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