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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Glen Elgin 26 year old 1985 Blackadder, cask 1527

If you studied every frame of the first episode of Killing Whisky History—and I'm sure you have—then you'll know White Horse Distillers obtained Glen Elgin distillery in 1930, utilizing its production for the White Horse blend.

Glen Elgin had foundered almost immediately upon opening in 1900, closing after five months of production. It was mothballed and sold off the following year. A wine company bought it in 1906 restarted production, then sold it to Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD), the owners of White Horse, two decades later. SMD became UD which became POS Diageo.

Glen Elgin provided an official 12 year old to the Flora and Fauna series for a couple of years before becoming part of the "Hidden Malt" series in 2002. There was a Manager's Choice bottling eight years ago, but there were no "Special Releases" of it until this year. (I don't know what's going on with the "quotes" here.)

Today's sample is a single cask from Blackadder, distilled before Glen Elgin had its current set of stills installed. This cask was all of 46.3%abv, so I'm anticipating some quirk.

Distillery: Glen Elgin
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Blackadder (Raw Cask)
Region: Speyside (Lossie)
Age: 26 years (May 1985 to November 2011)
Maturation: "Oak cask" or what was left of one
Cask number: 1527
Limited bottling: 218
Alcohol by Volume: 46.3%

(Sample purchased from LASC for an event I couldn't attend in 2015.)

Its color is very light, with Raw Cask Shmutz®! The nose......yes, some quirk. There are two sides to this creature. It has a pretty side, with stone fruits, chocolate malt, vanilla and a hint of lemon peel. Then there's this other side. Soap and turpentine. Never got The Turps from a 20+ year old scotch before. A moldy basement note sits in the middle, but I like that smell. The idiosyncrasy continues into the palate. It starts off sharp, and both soapy and earthy. Like someone didn't scrub hard enough. There's also leather and carpet. Some dried herbs, but a bitterness that feels oaky. It finishes hotter than expected. Ashy, peppery, drying and burnt. New carpet smell. Lightly malty and weirdly bitter. Adverbly adjective.

WITH WATER (~40%abv) because what the hell
The nose is better. Dusty and fruity, with some apples rolling in. Fresh oregano and candy canes. The palate remains a bit hot, but there's some decent tart citrus in there. More vanilla. That moldy basement note. Lots of the citrus sticks around for the finish, which is grassy and tingly with some mothballs. It's also longer than the neat finish.

When they rolled this cask in for filling and pulled its bung plug, it said "LOL." It then cracked in three places and died.

The whisky is a curio, but not more than that. It improves with water. Hell, Blackadder should have broken with tradition and bottled it at 40%, because it ain't working where it is. Or perhaps they should have sent it to the Big Blend House in the Sky.

Availability - No
Pricing - Liver cells
Rating - 71 (with water only, 62ish when neat)