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Monday, May 9, 2022

Inchmurrin 10 year old (1990s label) vs. current Inchmurrin 12 year old

(Loch Lomond cluster homepage)

Inchmurrin is like the vegetarian sibling to Inchmoan's red meat-eating cigarette smoker. (Croftengea is like the......well......have you seen, "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover"?) As per, John Peterson, the longtime Production Director at Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin is essentially unpeated Inchmoan. And as it turns out, I now like Inchmoan. I've had mixed experiences with Inchmurrin. Good officials, bad indies. While that may sound counter-intuitive, remember we're talking about Loch Lomond here.

The original 1990s bottling of Inchmurrin 10yo has never been beloved, but perhaps that's because drinkers anticipate QC issues from that era of Loch Lomond's life, which in turn colors their experience. But I'm willing to give it a chance now. I'll match it up with a 2019 bottling of Inchmurrin 12yo. As with the Inchmoan 12, I have a trio of minis with the same bottling code, so I have plenty to sample from. I liked the pre-reboot 2014 version of the 12. Perhaps this will be even better?

Inchmurrin 10 year old, bottled in the '90s, probably colored and filtered, 40%abv


The nose begins with an uninspiring combo of cardboard, yeast, Wonder Bread crust and light wood smoke. It slowly shifts towards wort with hints of cinnamon, mint and flowers. In the palate, chemical bitterness mixes with burnt notes, black pepper, imitation vanilla extract and simple syrup. The pepper "improves" as it turns into a slightly sour chile oil. Mint leaf and notebook paper float through the background. That odd bitterness and fake vanilla remains in the finish, along with the burnt stuff, sugar and notebook paper.


Yeah, I understand the old reviews of this one now. The nose reads sort of like a "Craft" American whiskey, underbaked but also sort of woody, yet filtered through cardboard boxes. Meanwhile, the palate would almost be...palatable...if not for the chemical edge. Because the whisky wasn't an utter crime, I almost gave it a score of 70, but no, this is not good whisky by any measure.


Inchmurrin 12 year old, bottled in 2019, no colorant and no chillfiltration, 46%abv


Neat - The hot, yeasty nose offers caramel on top, bubblegum and citron peel below. Menthol, butter and floral notes develop with time, with hints of clove and carob in the background. The citron peel expands as well. Its palate is more interesting than the 10's. It's more herbal and savory with a wormwood streak beneath. Rather than vanilla, it has toasted oak and toasted almonds. Then a mix of lemons, metal and slightly burnt whole wheat toast. It finishes with Irish soda bread, lemons. honey and a savory hint.

Diluted to 40%abv - The nose shifts to orange and lemon peels, Demerara syrup, hints of florals and mushrooms. The palate becomes hotter, harsher, all pepper, chemical bitterness and vanilla, as it retreats towards the old 10 with some more sweetness underneath. Mint candy and that bitterness finish it off.


I'm fascinated by how the palate collapsed into Inchmurrin's old ways once it was reduced to 40%abv. Probably not the most encouraging of signs. Meanwhile, the nose may have improved at that lower strength. The neat palate makes one go, "huh, that's different", then, "I'd sure like something else to drink." And it is certainly different than the 2014 12yo that Florin and I enjoyed so many moons ago, and not different in the right direction.

RATING - 78 (when neat)

Perhaps I was due for some disappointment after that stellar group of Inchmoans. On Wednesday and Friday, I'll see if a pair of single Inchmurrin casks can turn things around.

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