Rare bottlings

Rare Batch 14

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Rare Batch 14

Another hard-to-come-by trio of Scotch whiskies has been plucked from the vaults for Dave Broom’s assessment.

There’s a rare OB of the lesser-spotted Glenallachie bottled in 2005, which was only sold at Chivas Brothers-owned distilleries.

This is followed by Glenmorangie’s Artisan Cask, made from Ozark Mountain oak, which helped to usher in the firm’s famous bespoke wood programme.

And lastly, Broom shares his thoughts on a very unusual blend from the 1940s made for the Hudson’s Bay Company, which had a long history of importing liquor to the Canadian frontier dating back to the start of the 18th century.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Glenallachie 16 Years Old (Cask Strength Edition)

    Score 6.9/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenallachie 16 Years Old (Cask Strength Edition)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    56.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big, dark and Sherried. Chicory coffee and cherry notes to start, then a touch of chocolate bitters backed up by gentian. With water you pick up walnut and a little lift of Sherry vinegar (but in a good way). Becomes increasingly like an old oloroso before there’s some added resin and a little clove.

    Palate

    Powerful, hefty and quite tannic, and as a result slightly bitter. Roasted and full, with tight grip. There are some dried fruits in here and, while sultana and fig are helped to the surface by a drop of water, they continue to play second fiddle. In time there’s some roasted cereal.

    Finish

    Hot while neat. Softens with water, but the astringency is still there.

    Conclusion

    A Sherry monster for sure, but the distillery is obscured.

    Right place, right time

    Drinking builders’ tea with a grizzly bear.

    Glenmorangie Artisan Cask

    Score 8.3/10
    Scoring explained >
    Glenmorangie Artisan Cask
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Rather gentle and soft, with plenty of lime leaf and a little of the distillery’s passionfruit. There’s a very light floral edge with notes of honeysuckle and slight powdery character. The cask is actually very discreet. In time you pick up some Mackie’s ice cream and a gentle perfume, all of which are enhanced – albeit subtly – with water.

    Palate

    Immediately cool and sweet, with the citrus, fruit and flowers of the nose now, with added hints of mint coming through. Ice-cool and poised, with the merest dusting of cinnamon. Probably best neat.

    Finish

    A suggestion of freshly-baked white bread, melon. It then becomes vanilla-accented.

    Conclusion

    Balanced and quite discreet – and rather lovely. 

    Right place, right time

    Grace Kelly wearing Jo Malone grapefruit and jasmine.

    Hudson’s Bay 1670 15 Years Old Blended Scotch

    Score 7.7/10
    Scoring explained >
    Hudson’s Bay 1670 15 Years Old Blended Scotch
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    43%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Immediate smoke with mixed coal and wood. There’s a briny note which makes me (probably wrongly) think of Campbeltown malts being used. Concentrated, pulpy fruits politely push the smoke aside, allowing an added whiff of snuffed candle and oiliness to develop alongside a green element. In time, there’s slippery tinned peach. Has the impression of slightly faded power. With a drop of water you get Oolong and rosewood.

    Palate

    Very soft start, with butter toffee/fudge. Then the fruits return, now with the smoke only peeking out. This element does, however, grow in presence, introducing a charcoal/spent bonfire element on the back palate.

    Finish

    Gentle and slightly short.

    Conclusion

    Although water manages to anchor things slightly, you’re left with the feeling you’ve been chasing a ghost as the fruit leaves, followed by the smoke, leaving you with a buzz of alcohol and a memory of a whisky which once was juicy and elegant. Still, it’s a lovely experience to have.

    Right place, right time

    A little nostalgia with The Caretaker.

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