Inchgower 1994-2007, 13yo, 58.9%, The Manager’s Dram

During my last Blog Birthday Bash buddy TT left me a sample of this. Contrary to what usually happens (I’m trying to improve this, it’s going better) it didn’t disappear in my nigh-infinite sample stash but I drank it soon.

The Manager’s Dram is a series of whisky releases from Diageo during the 2000s in which they released a whisky from a lot of their distilleries to showcase the distillery. While they were acceptably priced in those days, they’re pretty expensive now. Funny enough Diageo tried this again a few years ago with their Manager’s Choice series, but they tried to pass of 8 year old whisky for hundreds of euros. As you might imagine, this didn’t work out too well. A lot of the distilleries’ whiskies are still available and the only ones gone are the ever popular distilleries like Lagavulin, Talisker, Clynelish and Oban. Maybe I’ve missed one, but a lot of others are fairly easy to get, at heavily discounted but still high prices.

Now, back to the Manager’s Drams. I’ve had the Caol Ila at a tasting ages ago. It was great. I had the Clynelish a few years ago when I visited Jon Beach. That is one intense dram.

Diageo usually releases their special releases at really high ABVs. A lot of the annual premiums are high ABV, a lot of the Rare Malts are over sixty percent. This one, actually, is at a surprisingly ‘mellow’ 58.9%.

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

It’s surprisingly well ‘finished’ for a 13 year old dram and smells much more mature than expected. There’s a light scent of barley and white bread. Some fresh herbs like mint and some pine scents. Red chili pepper too, peach and apple sauce. A tad of oak too.

The palate is pretty sharp with some alcohol heat. It’s sweet and rich with brioche style bread on the palate. Peach, dried peach and some baking spices. Rich with flavors of ‘ontbijtkoek‘.

The is a fruit bomb before the spices and herbs come back. Again that ontbijtkoek. It’s long and strong with less oak than I expected.

Somehow the style of this whisky reminds of a lot of SMWS bottlings. Highly complex with lots of different flavors. There’s more wood influence on one hand because of the complexity and influences. On the other hand there’s less since it doesn’t actually taste like oak.

This one is a gorgeous example of a young whisky that taste much better than you’d randomly guess from a 13 year old Inchgower. Maybe the expectations are heightened because it’s from the Manager’s Dram series, but I still was positively surprised.

Great stuff, and recommended if you can get it!

Inchgower 1994-2007, 13yo, 58.9%, The Manager’s Dram. £ 175 at TWE


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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