Wemyss Glentauchers Liquorice Spiral 1992

Wemyss: Glentauchers: Liquorice Spiral: 1992 (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 21 Years: 46% ABV)

Visual: Pale, slightly murky.

Viscosity: Medium thick streaks.

Nose: Not well defined. Spiced apple. Cinnamon sticks. Water adds alcohol air, light sulphur and sugar dusting.

Body: Caramel. Fire. Turmeric. Vanilla fudge. Nutmeg. Much bigger with water. Creamy and honey styled. Apples. Light sweet raspberry and strawberries.

Finish: Apples and tannins and oak. Almonds. Fudge. Ginseng. Water changes to cream and light chocolate. Coconut and stir fry notes.

Conclusion: You know, an old whisky like this should not need, nor benefit so much from adding water. Because it really does. The whisky doesn’t show much up front at all – the nose is closed, giving up very little. The problem seems to be that the notes are not well defined, for me at least – so I was nervous going in to try it.

Sipping without water was better, but not so much so to excite me. It was a bit sweet and slightly spiced – however add a bit of water, and give a bit of time, and you find the whisky as it should be.

Now it is smooth and creamy, like a honey yogurt, an introduction of which makes for a lovely first few moments. This then seeps out into red fruit, then finally, as you have swallowed and the experience fades you get a twist of tannins and ginseng. Thankfully lightly done in those last elements, as done too heavily it would be abrupt – as is it adds just the slightest almost stir fry note and grounded character. I know that element is usually considered a bad thing to have in whisky, but here it gives a kind of umami final feel which is unusual and welcome.

Neat this doesn’t live up to expectations, but with water it is remarkably complex – mixing sweetness, grounding notes, and such a range of flavour. This is a genuinely intriguing whisky, and one with lots to examine, and well worth the time it takes.

Background: Burn on! or, this was the third whisky of the pre Burn’s night tasting at Independent Spirit. I had only just tried Glentauchers for the first time a few weeks ago, and now this nicely aged example fell into my lap. There were only 339 bottles of this produced, so I considered myself lucky to get to try it – as before this was a tutored group tasting so my notes ,may have been influenced despite my best efforts.