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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Speyside 13 year old 2001 Blended Malt, Archives

Aiming for my week with the few pageviews as I report on another blended malt. This time, this one has been sold out for two years! On Monday I reviewed a Islay-only vatting, today I'm reviewing a Speyside-only vatting.

According to Whiskybase Shop's description, this whisky was blended, or left to marry, in a sherry butt in 2001. From what I gather from the description, two of the single malts were distilled well before 2001, while the third malt had been distilled in 2001. Thus the 2001 vintage. That makes sense so far. What's curious is the butt's final bottle outturn (of 180) is about 1/3rd of what one would expect after 13 years. And the abv is all of 44.7%. One answer to the second quandary is that the older malts, or rather "leftovers", were sub-40%abv malt spirit at the time of the marriage, and the new make lifted the % up into the legal category. As for the outturn, I dunno, unless it's a shared cask. If you have any ideas, please share in the comment section below.

We selected this whisky for an OCSC event once upon a time. This sample was pulled from this bottle.

Company: Whiskybase
Brand: Archives
Type: Blended (or Vatted) Malt
Distilleries: Three Speyside-only distilleries (perhaps Glenfarclas, Glenrothes and Tamdhu?)
Age: at least 13 years old (October 2001 - March 2015)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask: 117
Bottles: 180
Alcohol by Volume: 44.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Color added? No

Its color is copper. The nose starts with a simple nutty oloroso, then apples and pears. Hints of leather and plastic toys. Buttery. Watermelon rind. The palate has some broad American oak-style vanilla and more heat than I'd expected. Walnuts, tart berries and a hint of funky old cask. Slightly grassy. Slightly flat. It does have a curious finish though. It's slightly meaty, perfumy, inky and tannic.

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
Heavier sherry in the nose, with dried plums and figs. Walnuts, polyester and a hint of eucalyptus. The palate is perfectly fine to consume and ignore. Lightly bitter, lightly creamy. Some tannins, some florals. A wee bit of sherry. The mild finish finishes quickly, tannic and briefly stone fruity.

I'm a little puzzled by Archives' choice here. Those fellows usually pick very good casks. This was their first, and (as of this post) only, blended malt selection. And it's not "very good" nor very good. The nose is decent, quirky, though not entirely of one piece. The neat finish is weird in a good way. The palate underwhelms when neat, then goes sub-Glenfiddich-12yo (and sub-Glenfarclas-12yo) when reduced to 40%abv.

My opinion sits at the low end of the scale for this whisky. Serge liked this better than I, though his notes don't seem to be leading to his score. Whiskynotes liked it a lot—though that doesn't surprise me since our palates are dissimilar—but his tasting notes make it look like he consumed something quite different than Serge and I.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - £70
Rating - 79

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