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New Whiskies

Batch 189

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Benromach Heritage 1972, Glengoyne Legacy Series Chapter 1, Octomore 10 Years Old Dialogos, GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993, North British 1990 Gordon & MacPhail, Rosebank 21 Years Old, Jealousy

Dave Broom runs the gamut of Scotch whisky styles this week: from a light oak influence to hefty Sherry, unpeated to smoky, both malt and grain, and, if regions are your thing, Lowlands to Highlands, Speyside and Islay.

The tasting kicks off in Speyside, with a dram of Benromach’s ‘full-bodied’ 1972 vintage, one of two new releases in the distillery’s Heritage collection. Matured in a single American oak hogshead for 46 years, Broom says the whisky has that rare ability to ‘take you into a different flavour world’.

Moving eastward beyond the Speyside border, GlenDronach’s exclusively Sherried 25-year-old malt delivers a ‘meaty’ punch, and proves a highly rewarding if slightly dry whisky, concludes Broom.

The first in a new series for Glengoyne, Legacy: Chapter One is a heavily Sherried malt brimming with dried fruit and chocolate that’s perfect for those who prefer their whiskies cask forward.

Things take a dark turn with a 28-year-old single grain from North British, matured in Sherry casks and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail. It’s a rarity to see grain matured in Sherry, but despite some thick, mentholic sweetness, Broom ‘can’t see the distillery for the wood’.

Skipping over to Islay for the much-anticipated fourth expression in Bruichladdich’s Octomore 09 series – the 10-year-old Dialogos. It’s a complex drop, both ‘relaxed and confident’, with a ‘sense of deeper maturity’ than you’d expect for a whisky of its age.

Back to the Lowlands for the third edition in Elixir Distillers’ Rosebank Roses collection, a 21-year-old single malt with a fruity, floral and creamy palate that Broom describes as ‘utterly gorgeous’.

The playlist is equally wide-ranging this week, taking us on a journey through the genres from jazz to blues, metal and even opera. Follow the links in Right Place, Right Time.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Benromach 1972, 46 Years Old, Heritage Collection

    Score

    92

    Benromach 1972, 46 Years Old, Heritage Collection
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    55.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Full-bodied, mature yet graceful. There’s a distinct oiliness to begin with sitting alongside cedar/hinoki, light incense and a little dried apricot. A green, herbal element (chervil and sweet cicely) then lifts off, before we bed down in wax polish, red apples and soft orchard fruit. The richness of age is on show here – beautifully balanced, layered and complex. It encourages watering so it can show off more resinous elements. Savoury, exotic, with scented woods. Sophisticated.

    Palate

    There seems to be a tickle of smoke, but the palate is dominated by super-ripe fruits – both hedgerow and tropical. There’s light grip but the waxiness keeps any tannic attack well at bay. As with the nose, water is welcome, adding a further dimension and an increase in spice.

    Finish

    Ripe tropical fruits with the slight dustiness of age – and a hint of wood ash. Remains highly complex.

    Conclusion

    Some (but not many) old whiskies take you into a different flavour world. This has that quality. That’s what 46 years in refill can do. Relaxed, complex, layered.

    Right place, right time

    Night time, sprinkled by Stardust

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    GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993, 25 Years Old

    Score

    89

    GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993, 25 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48.2%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    The meatiest GlenDronach I’ve had for a while – a Maillard reaction in a glass. Initially, you pick up the richer elements: heavy treacle, barley miso, charred red pepper, Darjeeling tea, roasted chestnut and almond. Then comes fruit: damson, sultana, a lift of apple syrup, and finally spices: star anise, five spice. Water pushes the fruits forward with a welcoming touch of Sherried funk.

    Palate

    Initially it’s drier with more grunt and structure than the nose suggests, maxing out on the ‘Dronach mix of earth, sootiness, cocoa nibs and Armagnac-like pruniness. By the mid-palate though the black and purple fruits come through. Water both adds length and softens the tannins, re-establishing a balance by bringing out those dense, dark fruits and some orange peel.

    Finish

    Powerful and lightly tannic.

    Conclusion

    A highly rewarding, meaty offering.

    Right place, right time

    Where the mood is Indigo

    Glengoyne Legacy Series, Chapter 1

    Score

    81

    Glengoyne Legacy Series, Chapter 1
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    48%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Earthy, dunnage notes backed with tobacco (rough shag) then some spent firework, bourbon biscuit, chocolate, coffee grounds and a little malt extract. When diluted you can get the maltiness of Assam tea, then a hint of walnut, date, raisin and sweeter fruits.

    Palate

    Dried fruit to start: all fig and sultana cake, then comes a return of the chocolate. By the middle of the tongue you’re getting peanut brittle and, retronasally, the scent of a just-fired shotgun. Water does improve things considerably as a gentle sweetness more in alignment with the distillery character now begins to come through, alongside blackcurrant and toffee.

    Finish

    Dry. Roasted spices.

    Conclusion

    For those who like things cask forward.

    Right place, right time

    There’s an ominous sense of dread as we enter the Danger Zone.

    Available to buy from The Whisky Exchange and Amazon. It may also be stocked by these other retailers.

    North British 28 Years Old, 1990, Connoisseurs’ Choice (G&M)

    Score

    78

    North British 28 Years Old, 1990, Connoisseurs’ Choice (G&M)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    61%
    Production type
    Single grain whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Dark as pitch. Woodpile, spent charcoal, liquorice allsorts and a struck match. In time, some charred elements and autumn woods. With water, there’s some violet root, old briefcase and the sensation that you are in the back of an old wardrobe. Steadily builds a mix of oak essence and flat cola.

    Palate

    Thick and treacley on the tongue, with some sweet raisin in the centre, then liquorice root and bitter molasses. Water brings out some Tunes cherry menthols, cherry cola, sarsaparilla and a growing astringency.

    Finish

    Iron, blood, coffee. Bitter.

    Conclusion

    Of interest, due to it being a Sherry cask-aged grain, and while some might like its impact, I can’t see the distillery for the wood.

    Right place, right time

    Gazing around we realise we’re Lost in Space

    Octomore 10 Years Old, Dialogos

    Score

    90

    Octomore 10 Years Old, Dialogos
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    56.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    Complex from the off, with highly concentrated sweetness. The sweet/bitter notes of freshly-made tangerine marmalade contrasts with dried lavender, blueberry jam, then salted caramel toffee. Steadily, the smoke asserts itself: hickory, cigar box and sandalwood incense, or, if you prefer, eating smoked oysters and brown bread beside a beach bonfire. Water brings out a light waxiness, vanilla, some mead/metheglin, barbecued pineapple, smoky grist and an increase in the scented elements, all backed with characteristic sweet grassiness/cow’s breath.

    Palate

    The smoke is totally integrated, adding a little dry touch to balance the soft honeyed fruits, and adding accents to the scented, herbal notes of wild mint and sage. All pool (and pull) together in the middle of the tongue, building a chewy feel before some heat kicks in alongside a whiff of burning wool. Water brings the sweetness further out, adding in some goji berry and tart fruits. As on the nose, the waxed leather gives a sense of a deeper maturity than you might expect from a 10-year-old. Though dilution means you lose a little of the feel, you do get more smoke, so take your pick.

    Finish

    Starts flinty, then there’s smoke, oak tones, pipe tobacco, light cereal, sweet fruits and finally, camphor.

    Conclusion

    Relaxed and confident with just enough hot embers and smoke to remind you it retains an element of danger. Excellent, and marked in its competitive set.

    Right place, right time

    We have become a Mysterious Traveler.

    Available to buy from The Whisky Shop. It may also be stocked by these other retailers.

    Rosebank 21 Years Old, ‘Jealousy’, Roses Series (Elixir Distillers)

    Score

    90

    Rosebank 21 Years Old, ‘Jealousy’, Roses Series (Elixir Distillers)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.5%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Light, gentle yet clearly mature. Castor oil, pears poached in white Burgundy, then a hint of vanilla, white peach purée, cut flowers and sweet spice. The impression is of utter purity of character, with a growing tropical fruit element: mango juice, green banana and sweet jellied fruits. Water firms it up slightly, adding a rustle of dry leaves, then some strawberry and Milky Bar.

    Palate

    Remarkably thick on the tongue, with light cream and a bright, zesty, orange-accented acidity. The ripe, tropical fruits unfold fully in the middle, along with cinnamon sprinkled on hot pancakes. The spiciness has a slight needling quality, so add water. The texture isn’t diminished by water. If anything, you get more cream and fruit syrups.

    Finish

    Lightly floral and still thick with that hot spicy attack.

    Conclusion

    The third in what will build to a seven-strong series from the soon-to-be revived Lowland distillery. Jealousy should only emerge if someone with a bottle refuses to share. Utterly gorgeous.

    Right place, right time

    Returning home with Rosy Steps to greet the dawn.

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