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Thursday, April 7, 2022

Vega 40 year old 1977 blended malt, North Star Spirits

The North Star Spirits Quartet wraps up with the eldest, a 40 year old blended malt from 1977. It's un-Sirius in that it had a small outturn (400) and was built from sherry cask whiskies. Yet it possesses a matching ABV, 43.1%abv. I'm curious to see if the different casks and extra time gave it more oomph than the 31yo vatting, pushing it into the 90+ point arena.

This is 40
Company: North Star
Range: Vega
Type: Blended (or Vatted) Malt
Distilleries: in Scotland
Age: 40 years (October 1977 - January 2018)
Maturation: "Spanish and American oak"
Outturn: 400 700mL bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 43.1%
Chillfiltered? No
Color added? No
(from a bottle split)


The nose feels like old Glenfarclas. Dunnage, furniture polish, antique stores, carob, cloves, dates, very dark chocolate, pipe tobacco, dried currants, dried blueberries and on and on and on.

Meanwhile, the palate is reminiscent of 1970s Johnnie Walker Black Label, but a little thinner and less peaty. There's dust and dunnage and a dash of gooey paxarette. Bitter citrus peels and dried apricots in the middle. A hint of pipe tobacco in the background.

Bold bitterness dances with moderate sweetness in the finish. Baking chocolate meets brown sugar? Hints of clementines and dried apricots drift in the distance.


Though this one is sure to win more fans, I may pick Sirius over this Vega. I will not dispute the utter joy in the whisky's nose. The glories of the casks' old age do not carry over to the palate as the vessels have long overtaken the spirit they'd carried.

(Considering the raves this whisky has received, I drank the second half of the sample while typing up my notes, just to make sure I wasn't crazy. While I can't guarantee my sanity, I can say Vega's finish is shorter and simpler than any other 40+ year old whisky I've tried. Again I wonder if one of the two(?) casks involved had dropped below 40%abv.)

Availability - It might still exist in Europe, or the night sky (recycled joke)
Pricing - somewhere between €400 and €600, maybe?
Rating - 86 (gorgeous nose, though)

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