“I’m going to preface this review by saying I haven’t tasted a lot of old scotches–a handful, but not enough to claim any sort of extensive experience on this front. Of the three whiskies used in this malt blend (Ardbeg, Fettercairn, and Dalmore–respectively 25, 21 and 19 years) I have only tasted the Ardbeg, so I won’t be able to tell you how each particular whisky contributes its characteristics to the overall blend. I will, however, be able to tell you this is a damned fine whisky.
Nose: Rich, sweet Ardbeg peat smoke with molasses and leather and a hint of ash. Breathing in deeper, you’ll discover a really fresh, lively zest underneath the smoke orange and lime rind (more lime than orange), sea air and sharp aniseed. A real dichotomy of aged earthiness and sprightly youth. If it didn’t taste so good, I could just breathe this in all day. Moving along
Taste: Slow graceful arrival–like the few old whiskies I’ve had. But in the later stages of the development there is a bit of a youthful suggestion on the tongue. I can’t help but wonder if this is an effect of the new casks this blended malt was aged in after blending (I’ve read they age it for an additional 15 years, however the label only specifies “over a decade”). Quick and relatively subtle malt notes off the top. Evolution then to pipe tobacco, very mild mannered spice and bitter sea-salt chocolate.
Finish: Not as long as I usually like, but very nice nonetheless. Pipe tobacco sticks around but the chocolatey spice reveals hints of prunes and evolves to old, clean leather. It leaves with a soft, fresh, wet woodiness. Like a mossy wood stack after heavy downpour.
Summary: This whisky left my glass much quicker than I wanted it to. As much because it is delicious as because it was a bit of an adventure trying to pick out the flavours. Just as I figured I had a flavour pegged, it would change or elude me so I’d have to have another sip to rediscover or catch up to it again. Really wonderful stuff. And at this price point, an excellent value for someone wanting to broaden their “old whisky” experience without having to fork out a wallet-load of cash.