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Old & Rare

Rare Batch 56

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Signatory Tullibardine 26 year old, Glen Scotia 33 year old by Prestonfield Whisky Co, Bunnahabhain 25 years old Signatory

Angus MacRaild has accrued an interesting trio of whiskies representing Campbeltown, Islay and the Highlands, with the only unifying theme being that they were all bottled by the folk behind Signatory Vintage.

First up is a 25-year-old Bunnahabhain distilled in 1969 and matured full-term in a first-fill Sherry cask. MacRaild finds it ‘brilliantly talkative and expressive’ with a textbook ‘60s Bunnahabain-in-Sherry’ profile that works ‘wonderfully’ with a little patience and water.

Similarly, the Glen Scotia 33-year-old, distilled in 1977 and bottled by the Prestonfield Whisky Co., Signatory’s sister company, is a slow-burning, funky, coastal dram that MacRaild finds to be both hugely entertaining and extremely enjoyable. A great example, he says, of how old Glen Scotias are so often underrated.

Speaking of underrated drams, capping things off is a 26-year-old Tullibardine, distilled in 1973. MacRaild finds it a classic example of a more full-bodied, waxy Highland style of malt whisky. A delicious ‘wee gem’ of a Tullibardine that comes highly recommended.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Bunnahabhain 25 Years Old, Cask #2024, Bottled 1995 (Signatory)

    Score

    92

    Bunnahabhain 25 Years Old, Cask #2024, Bottled 1995 (Signatory)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    52.8%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Islay
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Classic late ‘60s, Sherry-driven Bunna’. Clean, rich, salty Sherry full of almonds, walnuts, coffee, bitter chocolate and earthy rancio. Digging deeper there’s notes of cherry Bakewell, rosewater, Turkish delight and generally lovely autumnal leafiness. A few sharp raisins peeking out. Water makes things more bready and minty. More coffee notes, strawberry pipe tobacco, juicy fruits, and elderflower cordial and cinnamon buns. Excellent.

    Palate

    Lots of salted caramel, bitter chocolate, espresso, unlit cigars, flints, sultanas and warm gingerbread with lemon icing. Also fruity muesli full of chopped dates and toasted walnuts, some game meats, aged Pinot Noir and delicate notes of mint leaf and hessian. With water there’s more swollen dark fruits such as prunes, dates and figs all stewed in old Cognac. Chocolate-covered bittermints, almond croissant paste, chilli-infused cocoa and a little black pepper. Swims like a hungry salmon.

    Finish

    Long, leafy, earthy, mushroomy and increasingly towards wood spices, red and dark fruits, dried mint leaf and waxy black truffle notes.

    Conclusion

    This one just got better and better as it went along. A perfect Sherry cask with terrific distillate. What’s not to love? Thrillingly complex and really rewarding in the way it keeps unfolding and developing with time and water. A talkative old Bunna’.

    Right place, right time

    Plotting world domination in a shed to chase away January blues.

    (Image courtesy Whiskybase.com)

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    Glen Scotia 33 Years Old, Cask #2749, Bottled 2011 (Prestonfield Whisky Co.)

    Score

    89

    Glen Scotia 33 Years Old, Cask #2749, Bottled 2011 (Prestonfield Whisky Co.)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    49.1%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Campbeltown
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Honey-glazed green fruits and salty beach pebbles; many kinds of yum! Hints of red cola cubes, marzipan, sardines in olive oil, sheep wool and lemony brine. With a little time it opens up towards a curiously custardy note with aspects of sweet wines and salty almonds. Very nice.

    Palate

    Dry at first, mineral, flinty and lightly waxy with elegant citric notes. Lemon and lime peel, soot, camphor, milky breakfast cereals, fruit jelly sweets, bracken and some green mossy notes. Minty sandalwood, preserved lemons and some slightly bitter chalky notes that veer towards carbon paper and crushed aspirin.

    Finish

    Long, lightly ashy, slightly lemony, sooty, oily, mineral, salty porridge, some waxy old Chenin Blanc and a bit of shoe polish. Classic Campeltown funk.

    Conclusion

    Underrated, like so many older Glen Scotias. At times it’s a bit weird, but it’s never dull, always entertaining and pretty damn tasty overall.

    Right place, right time

    The man from Gateshead competently kills the Campbeltown karaoke night stone dead.

    (Image courtesy whiskyauctioneer.com)

    Tullibardine 26 Years Old, Cask #2401, Bottled 2000 (Signatory)

    Score

    89

    Tullibardine 26 Years Old, Cask #2401, Bottled 2000 (Signatory)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    49.6%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    Nicely waxy and cedary at first nosing. Some very pleasant notes of honey, wood polish, white pepper and touches of cough syrup. A tad straightforward and simplistic perhaps but at the same time clean, rich and very enjoyable. Some salty, sooty and herbal notes emerge over time as well. A fairly classical Highland profile and certainly on the good end of the Tullibardine spectrum so far.

    Palate

    Surprisingly syrupy, oily and fulsome. More of these cedar wood notes, cigar boxes, dried herbs, sandalwood, coal tar soap, fruit syrups, green tea and lemon balm. Some milk bottle sweeties and toasted marshmallows along with golden syrup provide some sweetness. And this white pepper note still hangs around giving bite. Quite excellent.

    Finish

    Long, resinous and nervously lemony. Earthy notes of clay, with white flowers and honeycomb. Some tertiary spice notes, fruity waxes with hints of mirabelle eau de vie.

    Conclusion

    A wee gem of a Tullibardine. One to look out for. Simple but very pleasurable.

    Right place, right time

    Listening to unexpectedly enjoyable weird jazz of the style that’s usually only preferred by distinguished French marketeers. 

    (Image courtesy whiskyauctioneer.com)

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