Old & Rare

Rare Batch 17

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Rare whisky tasting notes Batch 17

Two cask strength whiskies have been plucked from the vaults on this occasion, along with a slightly lower abv release to balance the books.  

The first chosen whisky is one of the famous Manager’s Drams from Speyside distillery Cragganmore. The single cask release was originally selected by the distillery manager and designated for the ‘malt distillery management’, according to its label. This particular bottling has been matured in a Sherry cask for 17 years before being bottled in November 1992.  

Next comes a 34-year-old Glenturret, distilled in 1977 and aged for 34 years. Bottled in August 2012 by Berry Bros & Rudd, hot off the heels of the Cask #1 bottling that same year, the single malt whisky was drawn from Cask #2.

And to complete the trio, a cask strength bottling from Rosebank that was distilled in 1981 and aged for 25 years in refill Bourbon casks. Only 4,710 bottlings were released.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Cragganmore 17 Years Old ‘Manager’s Dram’

    Cragganmore 17 Years Old ‘Manager’s Dram’
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    62%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Speyside
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    How strong? Actually, you can’t tell from the nose, so well covered is it in cask-generated aromas. There’s a lactone thing, then charred notes that drift steadily towards sulphur (question is, cask or distillery? The impact of the wood suggests the former). There’s touches of freshly rolled cigar, heavy sweetness and an increased Sherry-like funkiness, before freshly-felled pine tree and celeriac, trimmed hedge and raw meat. With water, you get a full-on firework display, but to be fair after 15 minutes that sulphur goes and it becomes softly chocolatey. 

    Palate

    Now you get the alcohol, but the cask is boldly assertive as well. The two of them tussle while Cragganmore sits on the sidelines watching. Water is needed. It immediately becomes soft, in fact too soft and slightly dumb, though again after time some of the distillery’s ripe orchard fruits develop. It remains edgy.

    Finish

    Medium length.

    Conclusion

    An exasperating whisky.

    Right place, right time

    Guy Fawkes Night at a food market. 

    Glenturret 34 Years Old Cask #2 (Berry Bros & Rudd)

    Glenturret 34 Years Old Cask #2 (Berry Bros & Rudd)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    47.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Initially, this is very Glenturret – all cut flowers and boiled travel sweets – then a touch of lentil soup, some inky newsprint and, steadily, a creamy note, which turns first into crumbly Caerphilly cheese. Water increases this lactic note, along with some old bottle aromas.

    Palate

    The milkiness now dominates, churned butter, soft goat’s cheese. The floral elements have been retained, but there’s also a dry, flinty background. Water doesn’t help at all.

    Finish

    Soft and gentle when neat. Harder when diluted.

    Conclusion

    Another one which teeters on the brink of faulty but just saves itself. 

    Right place, right time

    Three hours into the drive he began regretting not putting the cheese in a cool box.

    Rosebank 25 Years Old

    Rosebank 25 Years Old
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    61.4%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A more sleek, and muscular Rosebank than you might normally expect. I didn’t want to say ‘oily’, but it does smell of extra virgin olive oil along with supple soft fruit, maple syrup, some banana and what seems to be a smoky edge. Water brings out a slightly powdery background, which contrasts nicely with those oils. 

    Palate

    Old books, almond and more of a grapefruit/yuzu-like edginess. The oils helps to anchor the more flighty elements but it seems to be just a little fragile. This is borne out when water is added where a needly edge comes through that could be the acidity and citrus breaking free, or the whisky starting to break down. 

    Finish

    Long with lemon touches.

    Conclusion

    A lovely example of Rosebank, albeit one showing the time spent in bottle.

    Right place, right time

    Sucking on lemon sherbets in an old bookshop.

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