Inchgower 1985-2005, 20yo, 60.8% – Usquebaugh Society

A few years ago when I was still a member of the Usquebaugh Society, a few of the older club bottlings popped up at some whisky shops in The Netherlands. There was a Clynelish, I believe a Caol Ila (which I didn’t buy) and this Inchgower from the mid-eighties.

With a 20 year old Inchgower, from a period of good Inchgower popped up at a reasonable price, I bit the bullet and bought the bottle. Of course, when I opened it I shared about half of it, after which I started slowly sipping away at the remainder.

It was one of those weird bottlings that have to grow on you a little bit. It’s ridiculously strong, which I consider something to be a weary of. Also, it just didn’t do much initially. However, as things progressed and the bottle got emptier and emptier, I started liking it more and more. And no, this wasn’t on one evening where I was getting more drunk.

Just before I had the last sip I decided to do a quick review and tasting notes, so here it goes!

Lots of barley, barley sugars, with quite a lot of oak. Toffee and fudge, with caramel apples, cinnamon and other baking spices.

Sharp, and drier than expected. Barley, oak, toffee and fudge. Baked apple, ontbijtkoek, baking spices.

Dry and very warming, but the sharpness is gone fast. Still rich with caramel, barley sugars and toffee.

While it does have its charm, I think the cask was a very lazy one. The insanely high ABV is an indicator of that as well. Surprisingly there was quite a lot of oak on the nose and palate, but somehow it hasn’t tamed the whisky much, or given it a bit more complexity.

So, a very straight forward dram that is saved a little bit by the baked apple and toffee notes, but otherwise is of not much interest.


Inchgower 20yo, 26/06/1985 – 16/08/2005, 250 bottles from cask 5633, 60.8%


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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