Ancient Malts Tasting – Thursday March 21st 2013


Tonight’s Ancient Malts tastings was another barn burner with 7 exceptional and interesting whiskies. The tasting was built around sampling the new Glenrothes 1970 Extraordinary Cask 42Yr ($5,192.99). We also sampled 6 other whiskies between 30 and 50 years of age including a single grain, single blend and five single malt Scotch whiskies. the whiskies were sampled in a blind tasting.

Here is the range:

  1. Duncan Taylor Black Bull 40 Year Batch No. 3 – 41.6% - 85.6% Single Malt – 14.4% Grain – Whiskies from Ben Nevis, Bunnahabhain, Caperdonich, Glen Grant, Glenlivet, Highland Park and Invergordon – My Tasting Note: Nose: faint smoke, white chocolate, chewy malt, thin filaments of grain whisky, caramel sauce and topical fruit; very soft and delicate, hints of lemon custard, big floral notes, raspberry compote and tangerines; Palate: clean, toasty, floral and fruity; very delicate , though it is showing some brittle oak age; subtly decadent: chocolate, white chocolat, vanilla, some faint floral smoke, chewy oaky oils and then some light tropical fruit, more raspberry puree and caramel sauce; Finish: the early smoke fades leaving room for the caramel sauce, raspberry compote and tropical fruits to loiter. – $265.49
  2. Glenrothes 1975 – 43% – 30 Year – 3708 Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: “Waxy and honeyed, very floral and soft, with lemon infused goat’s milk cheese, creamy oak and some faint tropical fruit notes; very orangey, candied orange, orange peel and orange pulp; Palate: medium body, sweet toasty oak, tangy citrus and waxy white chocolate; becomes drier and more floral with coffee grounds, peppery spices and a touch of new leather sofa; Finish: floral (almost minty), honeyed and still leathery with coating oaky oils. – $355.99
  3. Glenrothes 1970 Extraordinary Cask Collection – 40.6% – 42 Year – Ex-Bourbon American Oak Hogshead – Cask 10573 – 179 Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: barely in the glass I can tell this is a special dram, tropical and fruity; delicate notes of fine white chocolate, dewy botanical gardens, coconut cream icing and some candied citrus; on the tropical fruits side cantaloupe and honey dew melons appear first and most strongly, with some banana and guava; Palate: a little bit of toasty oak right off the bat which very quickly mellows into layers of sugar, fruits and even a little barley; there is next to no bitter oak, a sign of too much age, instead layers of honey, cream, and more coconut icing; the tropical fruits are a little slower to develop under the weight of its age but they are there with more melon, flambéed banana and a touch of apricots; the floral top notes are still there, but only in the lightest of brush strokes; Finish: smooth, decadent, toasty and long; sugary oak, fading tropical fruit and soft-elegant floral oils linger long; the final note is a flourish of anise, Demerara sugar and subtle oaky oils; Comment: any concerns I had about how the delicate Glenrothes spirit would hold up to 42 years in oak have been assuaged; this is a very pleasant, eminently drinkable, old whisky!- $5,192.99
  4. Fettercairn 40 Year – 40% – Distilled March 18th 1969 - 463 Total Bottles – Non-Chill Filtered – My Tasting Note: Nose: seductive, soft and enticing; melons, tropical fruits, and soft Christmas cake notes; no sharp edges are to be found though there is caramel, toffee and fruits galore; this is a nose you can come back to over and over again with something new to discover; Palate: still soft and fruity with fruit flan, cantaloupe, honeydew and other melons; mango and papaya notes develop along with darkening spices: anise, fennel, cinnamon and clove; there is an oiliness to the palate which remains fruity and oak, but oak which is every so deftly layered onto the palate so as not to spoil it; Finish: the finish only disappoints in that it marks the end of the palate, and the fabulous fruits: melons and tropical fruits linger long with creamy-sweet never bitter oak. - $1515.99
  5. Glenglassaugh 1972 KWM Cask – 42.6% – Distilled 1972 – Sherry Hogshead – 150 Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: “My Tasting Note: “Nose: heavenly; molten brown sugar, candied fruits, toffee cake, Demerara rum and candied orange; hints of melons, coffee and chocolate too; Palate: sweet, sugary and spicy with more Demerara rum, molten brown sugar and an assortment of festive spices: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon and fennel; there are elements of chocolate covered coffee beans, candied orange and treacle sauce too; Finish: exceptionally smooth, rich, spicy and sweet with soft fading oak, lingering spices and more Demerara rum; melons and tropical fruits come out with a flourish of Dolce Leche at the end.” - $699.99
  6. Adelphi Invergordon 46 Year – 51.5% – Distilled 1966 – Cask No. 4 – Single Grain Scotch Whisky – American Oak Ex-Bourbon Hogshead Matured – 257 Total Bottles – KWM is getting just 8! – My Tasting Note: Nose: soft and floral with some peppery spice; candied ginger, celery salt, rum raisins, mixed fruit bowl, Graham Wafers, white chocolate and linseed oil; Palate: decadent with lovely coating oils, loads of honey, marzipan and more mixed fruits; clean but flavourful there are few if any rough edges to this very toasty dram; there is some floral grain, but overall it quite rich and sugary with a hint of Kirsch; Finish: coating, clean, toasty, sweet and long; the finale is decadent and elegant. - $382.99
  7. Adelphi Lochside 47 Year – 54.6% – Distilled 1965 – Cask No. 6779 – Single Blend Scotch Whisky (malt & grain blended at birth before ageing in oak) – Williams & Humbert Sherry Butt – 552 Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: leathery, Christmas cake, dark chocolate, tobacco and pine resin; very spicy: some clove and fennel, with candied nuts, Dunnage warehouse and musty oak; Palate: loads of complexity with waves of fruit, spice, leather, sugars, tobacco, musty oak and candied nuts; the first sip was a little overwhelming, the second is elegant and refined with more balance to the spice, tobacco, polished leather shoesand Christmas cake notes; rich and robust for a blend, there are some faint traces of soft grain but it is the European oak driving the palate; Finish: more polished leather shoes, sweet candied fruit, and plummy pipe tobacco linger long. - $401.99

After the sampling participants were given the opportunity to vote on their favourites before the whiskies were revealed. The three favourites in order were:

  1. Glenglassaugh 1972 KWM Sherry Cask – $699.99
  2. Glenrothes 1970 Extraordinary Cask – $5,192.99
  3. Fettercairn 40 Year – $1,515.99

My favourites were the same three, but in a slightly different order:

  1. Fettercairn 40 Year – $1,515.99
  2. Glenglassaugh1972 KWM Sherry Cask – $699.99
  3. Glenrothes 1970 Extraordinary Cask – $5,192.99

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