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Friday, August 25, 2023

Birthday Booze: Speyside 45 year old 1973 TWE, Magic of the Cask

I'm 10 years old!

When attempting to source whiskies that match my actual age, I'm mostly limited to these 1970s teaspooned Glenfarclas, er, "Blended Malts". (See a 41yo here and a 43yo here.) That's what the market offers. The majority of 40+ year old whiskies ain't getting split. Hell, I don't think they're even being opened anymore. Today's "Speyside" will be the penultimate not-Glenfarclas I will review. I'll just have to get more creative as the birthday number increases.

Today's Glenfarclas Speyside is from The Whisky Exchange's Magic of the Cask range bottled for their 2019 Whisky Show. Its 549-bottle outturn and 45.1%abv has me thinking it was recasked into a sherry butt at some point towards the end of its life. Maybe from a pair of casks? Anyway, it has a good drinking strength, so I'm going to drink it.

Distillery: Glenfahrvergn├╝gen
Region: Speyside, perhaps?
Independent Bottler: The Whisky Exchange
Range: Magic of the Cask, for The Whisky Show 2019
Age: 45 years old (1973 - 2019)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask #: 6
Outturn: 549 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 45.1%
(from a bottle split)


The nose shows off the old pretty cask, starting with dried apricots, almond extract, and old furniture. Candied ginger + baked apples, then peaches + clover honey with a metallic hint in the background. Old stamp glue and potpourri. The old wood note expands with time.

The palate begins with a blast of oak spices and toasted coconut. The subsequent sips bring tart oranges, macrons, very sweet lemon candy, and just a little bit of hot cocoa mix around the edges. It gets tarter and more tannic with every sip.

The finish sheds the tartness and goes all in on the sweets and oak. Baked apples, lemon candy, and plain ol' sugar meets eucalyptus + big peppery tannin.


I'm going to be the party pooper here. Whiskybase has it at nearly 90 and WhiskyFun has it at 89 (twice). Those scores are very generous. And I get it. Old whisky critters inspire compassion and wistfulness. Hell, my score might be on the optimistic side as well.

This is oak juice, very good oak juice, but still oak juice. Sometimes oak juice can be lovely and moderately complex, but it frequently isn't. I'm not saying this is one dimensional 45yo stuff — a lot of bright fruity bits break through — but it's the simplest of this week's three whiskies. At times it seems like an old single grain, though it has the silky mouthfeel and texture that seem to come from only 100% malt. To end on a more positive note, this does seem to be a lot better than the 41yo Speyside from four years back. Perhaps Year 45 will be better than Year 41 for yours truly; I certainly hope so!

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 85 (probably too charitable)