I’m not sure if you realized it while skimming the title of this post, but we’re talking about a 65 year old whisky that’s been bottled at 59.3%. That means, according to general practice in Scotland and the press release, that this only lost 4.2% of alcohol in 65 years.
I got this sample from Wealth Solutions for reviewing purposes. They’ve sent me samples before of their whiskies (and Cognacs, but I hope to educate myself a bit before I review those), which previously were a 58 year old Glenfarclas, a 48 year old Karuizawa and a 66 year old Glen Grant.
This Glen Grant is the first time they’ve released a whisky to their investors that is not the oldest one bottled by that particular distillery, at the time of bottling. Glenfarclas has since released a 60 year old and Karuizawa went for a 50 and a 52 year old by now.
Anyway, Wealth Solutions is a Polish investment company (they ‘solve your wealth’…) which focuses heavily on collectible items like great bottles of whisky, cognac and wine, but also paintings and other art objects.
The distribution of their first release, the Glenfarclas, was handled by Master of Malt. That’s the way I got on their list, because I don’t think they would otherwise have noticed my wee blog. Anyway, I’m very grateful for them continuing to send me samples. I waited a while before reviewing this sample, because I wanted to give it proper time and attention and not just squeeze it in on a random Thursday. Christmas seemed appropriate.
The nose is surprisingly smooth and gentle for a whisky at almost 60%. I get lots of oak and wood pulp, but there are also more crisp notes. Pine, mint and a gently sweet vanilla cream. Sweet caramel too. Strangely, though there are significant wood notes, it doesn’t really betray it’s age. Quite vibrant, at retirement age. At one point I got a whiff of paper, but that’s not really in the way of anything. It’s simply gorgeous.
The palate is rich, but also quite a bit sharper than the nose (not surprisingly, although I had forgotten the ABV during the tasting). White pepper and oak, with a gentle sweetness. Some baking spices with pine and slightly bitter caramel. Quite spicy with lots of oak, but it’s all in a very fitting way. Grilled peach with the charry bits on, in the end.
The finish is a revival of everything you’d expect from such an old whisky. Oak, spices, dried fruits. Caramel too, peach, dates and figs. Glorious and long.
Let’s be honest here, just for a second. Normally I love to taste these whiskies, but generally I find that whisky of this age has been kept too long. Normally the oak is dominant and the spirit is interchangeable. Normally, it’s just the oak flavors that remain.
I think, with this one, that’s not the case. The whisky is still strong and very much alive. The oak has mellowed the alcohol flavors and integrated the oak flavors well with the spirit. It’s remarkable how such a strong whisky can be such a smooth experience when drinking it.
In short, this is truly a great whisky. Everything fits, everything is right. It’s plainly awesome. This is the stuff that makes the year, although I’ve had some bloody amazing whiskies this year.
Glen Grant 65 years old, 14 October 1950 to 2015, Sherry butt, 59.3%, Gordon & MacPhail for Wealth Solutions
Thanks to Wealth Solutions for sending the sample. Much obliged!