Last week the guys from WhiskyBase released five new bottlings in their Archives series. Three ‘Speysides’ from 1973, 1973 and 1998, and a Glentauchers and Glen Keith, respectively from 1996 and 1992.
The first two are in a new series, no longer the Fishes of Samoa, but the Echinoderms from Australia. I feel they could have picked an easier species to name their whisky after, but what the heck.
They sent me samples of these drams, which is pretty awesome, and I decided to not wait a year before ‘getting around to them’. Of course, it’s been a week so almost everything is sold out by now, because that’s how the world of whisky works nowadays.
I’ll review the three Speysides first. Shall we?
Speyside 1973-2017, 43yo, Cask 9, 46.5%
On the nose it starts with old wood with a hint of vanilla and caramel. Some peach stone, almond and dried fruits. Smooth and sweet with buttercream, baked apple and some cinnamon. The palate continues on the fruit with grapes, apple and peach. A lot of oak with some slightly bitter almond. A tinge of butter and some spices. The finish is long and showcases the age of the whisky with it’s oak and smoothness. Some spices near the end too.
This one is slightly more fruity at first, a bit richer as well. Banana and mango, with oak and the greasiness that goes with those fruits. A bit more fresh, and even slightly acidic, like pineapple. Lots and lots of fruit. The palate is smooth (not very surprising) with lots of oak and yellow fruits. Pineapple and banana, with that tinge of acidity. Slightly oxidized, indicating age and maturity in this case. The finish is great with more of that ‘old whisky’ woodiness and complexity. Fruit, but surprisingly, red fruit. Blackberries and raspberries, also some apple.
Both of these ancient whiskies are pretty damn awesome (and sold out). The first one is a bit more focused on the oak, where the second one is slightly more fruity. Apart from that they are very comparable, I think. I do prefer the fruitiness of the second dram, though. That does not mean I wouldn’t be perfectly happy going through a bottle of the first one!
A very much darker whisky than the previous two, even though they’re all three from a butt. That doesn’t mean it’s European oak, and based on what scents and flavors I got on the first two, I think those are from American Oak butts. This one might be different, though.
On the nose I get lots and lots of sherry with hints of leather and nuts. Hazelnut, dark and crusty bread with some slightly bitter caramel sauce. Spiced cake (not Christmas cake, but a drier version that’s not uncommon in The Netherlands) with rich sherry. The palate is sweet and thick with sherry. Quite dry and bitter, and very intense. Lots of oak, dried plums and dates. Mole even, with some peppery heat. The finish is predictable and continues on the mole. Dark chocolate, some coffee and even some notes of old rum. Dry and long.
A very different beast, this. Initially I wrote down a score of 88 points, but upon reading my tasting notes again, I really think this deserves more, so the score is upped to 89 points. The sherry is gorgeous and even though it does mask the distillery character, the flavors are tremendous and have a lot to offer.
This one clocks in (and is still available) at 115 euros. Apart from this being much younger, I think the value for money ratio is better here, although the whisky is not cheap. Still as said, highly recommended!
Thanks to the guys at WhiskyBase for keeping me in good spirits!