Spey Chairman’s Choice, 40%

Those very tall Spey bottles have been eyeing me at the liquor shop for some months, but I never picked one of them up. While they look nice they don’t really fit my shelves, and Speyside distillery isn’t one that I blindly trust.

I was quite happy to get a sample of this a while ago when picking up some booze from a guy I met at Maltstock. Anyway, I don’t know the slightest bit of information about the whisky (it’s a NAS whisky, after all) or the distillery.

What I do figure out is that it’s quite unheard of for a brand to revamp their entire line and then stick to 40% instead of the more regular 43, or even better 46. They do provide some story about the Chairman of the distillery picking the best casks for a small batch release.

It’s very sweet and rather rich. A combination of older, smoother whisky and some sherry. There also is a younger, more spirity side to it. Sweetness from the alcohol too, with a light wood influence. Rather timid with sweet fruits, orange, pear and peach.

The palate is smooth and has some bite to it. Wood and alcohol mostly. A light dusting of pepper and not as rich as the nose was. Sweet, soft fruits, peach, orange and mostly pear.

The finish focuses clearly on the younger whisky with the spirit shining through clearly. Some peach, rather long but a lot of pear again.

So, what to think of this one without dismissing it right away? The fruity flavors are nice, but not spectacular. The focus is heavily on the pear, with some more tropical stuff in there too. Apart from that, there’s not much going on.

In short, a boring whisky that is a blend of older and younger. I guess the younger whisky is very young indeed and it’s quite clear that there’s a lot of it in there. Also, in marketing speak ‘older whisky’ can be 10 years old, or 30 years old. I have no clue what’s in there, but I doubt there’s a lot of ‘really’ old whisky used.

I wouldn’t buy this. Not at the current price of some € 85 (it’s cheaper in Germany). But, after all is said and done, it’s still a top shelf whisky. Mostly because of the size of the bottle not fitting anywhere between shelves.

Spey Chairman’s Choice, 40%, available from Master of Malt


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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