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New Whiskies

Batch 193

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Berry Bros & Rudd Perspective Series 21-year-old, 25-year-old, 35-year-old, 40-year-old, William Cadenhead 20 Years Old, Scapa 30 Years Old, 1988 Connoisseur's Choice, G&M

Dave Broom turns his attention to blends this week, with a look at the new Berry Bros & Rudd Perspective Series and the second batch of Cadenhead’s 20-year-old expression. Plus he still finds time to consider a new Scapa single malt from Gordon & MacPhail (G&M).

First up is the Perspective Series’ youngest entry. The 21-year-old is rich and resinous, and demonstrates some ‘lovely blending’ at play, though you may need to focus.

Notes of dry leaves, apples and cinnamon in the Perspective 25-year-old blend leave Broom reminiscing of autumn. Despite it being gentle and crisp, he finds the blend still holds its weight when water is added.

Old wax, tobacco smoke, ripe fruits, Brazil nuts – the 35-year-old Perspective blend is the most complex and restrained expression in the collection, according to Broom.

Finally, the 40-year-old offers a surprising seashore aroma on the nose, but despite its freshness Broom is left with the impression this blend has a hollow quality to it.

Moving on to the second batch of William Cadenhead’s 20-year-old blend, which is filled with super-ripe and plush textures. While not a complex whisky, Broom finds its feel-good richness difficult to ignore.

Finishing with a single malt from Scapa, Broom discovers an estery sweetness dominates. ‘It may not be to everyone’s taste,’ he says. ‘For me though, it’s a delicious afternoon dram.’

The playlist leaps from Snapped Ankles and audiobooks (sic) to The Meters, and raises a parting glass to the godlike genius of Scott Walker. All will be well.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • The Perspective Series, 21 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)

    The Perspective Series, 21 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Big and richly resinous – the smell of a violinist, bow rosined, trapped inside a heavy oak wardrobe. Add in melting chocolate, black cherry, then a whiff of (slightly old) pot pourri. As things develop so you get old waxed leather mixed with jelly babies, blackcurrant cordial, deep spices and mixed nuts. With water added it takes on a more classically mature cast: beeswax, toffee apple and orange Pekoe tea. Water mellows things without diminishing the richness, while adding in a little overripe banana and a more honeyed element.

    Palate

    Medium-bodied with a very gentle flow – the grain is particularly elegant – allowing it to skim the palate. You do need to pay attention to find the dried fig fruit, sugared plums, and then caramel, before things deepen into liquorice and dark chocolate, all bound together with this toffee-like grain. Be careful with the water. A splash allows it to expand in the mouth.

    Finish

    Lightly drying with fine-grained tannin. Long.

    Conclusion

    Lovely blending here. Take your time, relax and concentrate.

    Right place, right time

    Just Drink and Glide.

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    The Perspective Series, 25 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)

    The Perspective Series, 25 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Fresh, yet mature with subtle depths of linseed oil, chimichurri, birch sap and apple. A delicate, woody aroma. In time there’s a light dustiness reminiscent of dry autumn leaves, and with water a floral and slightly fruity element emerges alongside a gentle maltiness.

    Palate

    Much more expressive. It starts sweet and the silkiness from the lovely old grain begins to come through more clearly alongside crème brûlée, a mix of black and red fruits, toffee and cinnamon. The grain works hard to add texture while balancing the malty elements. That said, overall it remains light and bright. Water adds a little weight with some vanilla, but does not diminish its punchiness.

    Finish

    Gentle, then crisps up.

    Conclusion

    Light but with lovely balance. Take with water or an ice ball.

    Right place, right time

    A reminder that it’s the Little Things (That Keep Us Together).

    The Perspective Series, 35 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)

    The Perspective Series, 35 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    The most restrained in the Perspective Series, and also the most distinctly waxy: snuffed candle, old Barbour jacket, dried banana peel, a hint of roast chestnut and just the tiniest whiff of solvent. Elegant and gently refined. Water brings out rich, ripe fruits, light coffee, what seems to be a small aroma of smoke rising from moist pipe tobacco, walnut cake and rancio. Complex and mature.

    Palate

    A remarkably fresh start of plums and berries to this, before the rancio accents come through: wax polish, dried apricot and unctuous malt. It’s beautifully layered and soft with this slight fragility which makes you tiptoe into its mid-palate mixture of fruits, Brazil nut, hard toffee, treacle and dark chocolate. Somehow it manages to be rich, yet ethereal. Water adds in more mature qualities alongside tropical fruit and tutti frutti.

    Finish

    Bittersweet and then long-lasting, ripe black fruits.

    Conclusion

    The most complex of the quartet. The delicacy adds an almost wistful quality to the sense of time passed.

    Right place, right time

    Gather around for The Parting Glass.

    The Perspective Series, 40 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)

    The Perspective Series, 40 Years Old (Berry Bros & Rudd)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Smoky & Peaty
    Nose

    A real surprise after the previous trio as the nose is full of smoky and seashore aromas: sel gris, drying seaweed, wild herbs on wet rocks, peat, then green notes of shiso, geranium and tomato leaf before graphite comes through. Intense and mezcal-like. Water accentuates the salinity but also calms things by adding in a touch of vanilla pod, light and sweet yellow fruit, and bone broth. Finally it seems to relax.

    Palate

    More varied than the nose. Although the smoke and salinity still comes through, there’s more gentle grain to calm the waters. There’s a light dip in the mid-palate where things wobble slightly and the firm dry oak shows its hand, before stone fruits come into play. Water adds nutty sweetness and a slight oiliness.

    Finish

    Dry. Smoky.

    Conclusion

    Amazing freshness for its age, but there’s a slight hollowness to things here.

    Right place, right time

    A blast of Hot Salt.

    Scapa 30 Years Old, 1988, Connoisseurs Choice (G&M)

    Scapa 30 Years Old, 1988, Connoisseurs Choice (G&M)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    53.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islands
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Fresh mineral elements along with Creamola Foam powder, currant leaf and some heat. There’s then a slightly odd melange of anise, intense green apricot, envelope glue, preserved lemon and fresh ginger before everything is dominated by estery pineapple. Water gives things a cool pastry base, plus pear drops.

    Palate

    Comes across in three distinct parts: the first, bright and estery (all pineapple, sour apple and pear drops); the middle has Scapa’s bouncy, juicy fruit quality, then the back palate is taken over by a real tingling gingery spice. Water pulls out more sweetness and some floral notes, before the esters return.

    Finish

    Red fruit, strawberry chews and dolly mixture.

    Conclusion

    Absurdly estery and as such may not be to everyone’s taste. For me though it's a delicious afternoon dram best served chilled, or with soda.

    Right place, right time

    This will keep you on your Tippi-Toes.

    William Cadenhead 20 Years Old Blend, Batch 2

    William Cadenhead 20 Years Old Blend, Batch 2
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Blended Scotch whisky
    Region
    n/a
    Flavour camp
    Rich & Round
    Nose

    Super-ripe, rich and sweet. Cherry cola, chocolate ganache, Seville orange and sweet ginger develop into muscovado sugar, plump raisin and a hint of clove. Things dry ever so slightly in time but continue to head toward a hot, buttered, Demerara rum. Water adds sweetened coffee and a slightly more savoury quality, but ‘slightly’ is the operative word.

    Palate

    As you might expect, a very soft delivery, with a thick, plush texture: old roses, red velvet cake and a jam-like sweetness (damson, mulberry and sloe). Although things remain sweet when it’s diluted, there’s also some black cherry, cassis and finally a little (and much-needed) grip.

    Finish

    Lush.

    Conclusion

    Completely the opposite of the Scapa expression – and equally some might not go for this heart-on-the-sleeve richness. It might not have massive complexity, but by goodness it’s a good glass.

    Right place, right time

    One sip and you think that All Will Be Well.

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