Tag Archive: 40 Years


Glenury Royal: 1970 – 40 Year Old (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 40 Year: 59.4% ABV)

Visual: Moderately darkened gold, with very slow puckering coming from the spirit.

Nose: Cooked apple pie. Honey. Golden Grahams. Almonds. Cinnamon apples. Vanilla toffee. Cherry pocked biscuits. Wisp of smoke. Clotted cream. Water makes spicier. Peppery. Thai seven spice jars. Crushed hard boiled sweets or the aroma of old style sweet shops. More clotted cream.

Body: Treacle and honey. Becomes warming if held but never burning. Fudge. Clotted cream. Thick. Scones with raisins. Cherries. Water adds apples. Cinnamon. Lots of vanilla fudge. Crumpets. Fatty butter.

Finish: Dry oak. Tannins and tea bags. Malt chocolate. Chives. Very drying. Water adds a rum touch. Makes spicy. Plums and red wine. Fatty butter. More chives. Almonds.

Conclusion: Ok, pretty much the most important thing early on with this was that I was really nervous about adding water. Despite in coming in at nearly 60% abv it somehow doesn’t burn at all. I guess 40 years in the oak can do that. Most of my, admittedly very limited, experience with 40 year old whisky found them to be generally very light. You really had to take your time and dig in to get the complexity from them – which is why I generally prefer to max out my whisky at 30 years. I prefer the extra umph.

This, well this is smooth, but very full flavoured and thick mouthfeel which both grabs my attention and makes me wonder if it is already at the sweet spot without adding water.

It is solidly sweet, rocking lots of honey and even some treacle mid body. Give it some time to air and it brings out a lovely, thick clotted cream character which I adore. The aroma has light, sweetly spiced apple notes, and the finish is very dry, though packed with a bit too much oak and tannins. Generally though, especially main body, this is big, rewarding and sweet with lots of subtler side notes to examine as well.

Ok, let’s take a risk. Water play time!

Water makes it a lot spicier, with more peppery notes and some Thai seven spice character – though the release from the high abv also lets more subtle sweetness come through mid body. It also makes for a much better finish – the simple dry tannins and oak now gain complex spirit and red wine notes along with spice. It is a genuine improvement, but also adds a fatty butter character which isn’t as complementary as the previous clean sweet body. Despite that both neat and with water are very good.

A very impressive whisky. Complex, deep, weighty for a 40 year old and smooth for a 60% abv one. Ok, this is a rare case where a 40 year old whisky earns it’s place beyond its slightly younger cousins. I adore this.

Background: So, how I came to pay attention to this one was noticing it was nearly 60% abv at 40 years old. With the angels share I would have though this was damn near impossible, but after contacting my better informed whisky friends it turned out it is true. Was distilled at a very high abv and probably had many other evil magic tricks to keep it this way. So, while looking I noticed that The Whisky Exchange sold it by the measure. Not just a chance to try a dead distillery that I have never tried before, but a 40 year old one. So yes I treated myself. Think that is my silly expensive whisky money gone for a long time now! Anyway the distillery was closed 1985 and has since been sold for housing development so I don’t think we are seeing this one coming back. Went with the ever awesome Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues for background music when drinking.

timorous-beastie-40-year

Douglas Laing: Timorous Beastie: 40 Year (Scottish Blended Malt Whisky: 40 Year: 54.7% ABV0

Visual: Custard gold.

Viscosity: Slow thick streaks.

Nose: Very floral. Slight menthol. Vanilla. Oily and waxy. Heather. Light smoke. Battenberg. Grapes. Cream soda. Water adds sour grapes and sulphur. Butterscotch.

Body: Grapes. Caramac sweet bars. Definite alcohol. White wine. Cream soda. Water makes more marshmallow front and citrus back. Apples in a calvados style comes out over time.

Finish: Strong alcohol. Gin. Elderberry. Grapes. Waxy. Cream soda. Drying. Tropical fruit and white chocolate. White wine. Water adds more grapes and a slight make spirit style fruitiness.

Conclusion: This is not what I expected of a 40 year old whisky, not at all. It has all the vibrancy of a young whisky – especially a fruitiness that hints to make spirit, but it is matched with a smooth character and a very white wine style character that speaks of its age. It even has a very unusual cream soda style side of sweetness. It matches very vinous notes with butterscotch and even a slight sharpness in the fruitiness in a way that is very rarely seen in whisky.

There are elements that range as wide, and are as unexpected as a waxy battenberg, a sharp butterscotch, and a vinous soda. Combinations of words that you would not expect to be seen together, even less so to work as well as they do. It is very distinct and different. Most old whiskies I try are good, but feel so smooth as to be understated – the strong abv of this means that it is still forceful in its odd complexity.

Water integrates the notes and smooths it out a lot, but it still keeps a slight sharpness – what gets brought out is more white chocolate and tropical fruit – really emphasising the bourbon ageing influence.

A spritzy, unusual, gin influenced, winey, butterscotch whisky. It feels like it has been influenced by far more spirits than it can possibly have been – white wine, grappa, gin, rakia, calvados. So many styles resulting in a whisky unlike any other. It does have slight rough edges at times of sourness and alcohol, but I have not seen many spirits this fascinating and unique. So, not the best, but unique and that earns it a heck of a place in itself.

Background: 300 whisky tasting notes! I actually had a bottle set aside for this, but ended up hitting the 300 at Independent Spirit‘s uber whisky tasting. A 40 year old blended malt is one well worth the 300 mark, so what a wonderful coincidence! Sorry the photo is a bit rubbish on this – I started drinking then realised I hadn’t done the photo yet so it is a bit hurried and half empty. My bad. As before as this was a social event with five different whiskies my notes may be shorter and more scattershot than normal but I do my best.

Dalmore 40 Year (Highland Scottish Single Malt Whisky: 40 Years Old: 40% ABV)

(Note: Due to being tried at the whisky show, these were smaller measures done in a packed and friendly social environment, so are not as full notes as normal, however the chance to tasting note such a range of high quality whiskies was not to be missed)

Visual: Dark honeyed bronze with rich red traces.

Viscosity: A few surprisingly fast steaks and a batch of middling speed and thickness.

Nose: Figs, raisins and milk chocolate. Rich plums, backed by slight dust and mellow oak.

Body: Golden syrup, red grapes and oak. Raisins, an almost custard sweetness, lots of milk chocolate and then building charring.

Finish: A light air, chocolate, charring and raisins. The bitter chocolate hits first then smoothes into a chocolate gateaux style.

Conclusion: A wonderful expression of the already distinctive Dalmore whisky. The nose is fantastic and full bodied, a meal in itself with dark fruits and sultry sweetness.  By comparison the body can but seem slightly a let down with comparative simplicity, even though the chocolate it brings through is delicious in itself.

The finish more than makes up for it, with a distinct creaminess and wonderful expanding chocolate from bitter to milky smooth. A chocolate elegance in a glass.  Most definitely a top notch Dalmore, and one that I would consider the peak of the style if later that day I had not had the opportunity to try the amazingly complex Dalmore King Alexander III which wowed me to new heights (and at significantly cheaper cost).

Still one of the few spirits that reaches this age with such style and panache, worth a try if you get the chance without selling a lung to pay for it.

Highland Park 40 Year Old (Scottish Whisky: Orkney Island Single Malt: 48.3% ABV)

Disclaimer: tasted at a whisky show, this was a comparatively short measure so the tasting note is similarly reduced as I did not get time to contemplate the full range. However I still felt it worth sharing my thoughts on these whiskys I would otherwise have been unable to experience.

Visual: light gold

Viscosity: Fast thin streaks.

Nose: Touch of smoke, very clean smell. Some vanilla and almost floral comes through. Trace of light salt.

Body: Sweet, the alcohol punch is surprisingly present. Burnt wood roams around and light saltiness. An unexpectedly light and sweet expression.

Finish: Floral, vanilla. Light and airy. By far the cleanest finish on a Highland Park.

Conclusion: An amazingly light and smooth expression of Highland Park, with the elements introduced in a far more easy going and laid back manner than we
have become used to. It takes much more time to reveal itself and dances lightly where the earlier expressions assault the senses.

This may show my lack of culture, but I found the still smooth but just slightly more forceful highland park 25 year a more enjoyable dram. But this speaks more to the heights of that drink than the weakness of this one.

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