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Friday, November 20, 2020

Tormore 33 year old 1984 Cadenhead Authentic Collection

It's difficult to find 1980s-distilled single malts, it's even more difficult to find 1980s-distilled single malts for prices lower than a mortgage payment. Luckily, independent bottlers like Signatory, Cadenhead and the Laings have released a few dozen 1980s Tormore single casks in the $150-$250 range over the past few years. I often eyed those offerings but never wound up committing to any, so I don't know what to tell you about their actual quality. Today's sample, from a bottle split, will be my first try of a 1980s Tormore, and I don't know what to expect.

Ownership: Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard)
Region: Morayshire, Speyside
Bottler: Cadenhead
Range: Authentic Collection
Age: 33 years old (1984 to Autumn 2017)
Maturation: bourbon barrel
Outturn: 132 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 51.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(from a bottle split)

The nose begins with a nice combination of cinnamon custard, heavily toasted cashews and walnuts, and pine sap. Then twigs and dead leaves. Cinnamon rolls and toasted marshmallows. A little bit of naked barley still remains after more than three decades. The palate goes a different direction. Cantaloupes, lemons, nectarines and Lucky Charms "marshmallows" show up first. Then toasted salted almonds tossed with rosemary. Oak gradually settles in, until a bitterness begins to register at the 45 minute mark. It finishes very sweetly with some tart fruit and toasted nuts in the background. A little bit of that bitter oak sneaks in after a while.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose doesn't open up. In fact it feels muted. Boston cream, baby powder, citrons and a hint of wood smoke are all I can find. There's less fruit in the palate, though as whole it all reads sweeter. Then there's some toasted coconut and oversteeped black tea. This feels like it's closing up as well. It finishes tangy, tart and tannic.

Puzzled to see how highly this Tormore was rated by the Whiskybase community, I was thankful to see Angus had experienced the same limited enthusiasm as I. The whisky's fine. It's perfectly drinkable when neat and the nose is the overall highlight. That the oak has started to get its hooks into the palate isn't surprising at 33 years, so this may have been a better cask five years earlier. Adding just a little bit of water squelched the best parts. It's a nice drink, but one can't fault a buyer for expecting more from a whisky at this age and price.

Availability - May still be available at some Cadenhead shops
Pricing - ~€265 w/VAT
Rating - 84 (neat only)

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