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Monday, June 19, 2017

Speyburn 10 year old, bottled 2014

Florin (a prince) tricked me into learning the ways of Speyburn 10yo a number of years ago. Back then the whisky came in a bottle with an exquisitely unattractive green label, and it could still be found for $15. They've since updated its look with another unsexy label and a bottle with a slightly different shape. In some parts of California it can still be found for about $20, but around the rest of the country it's priced at $25-$35. I've been wondering if the whisky itself has changed. My previous bottle of the 10 was filled in 2011, this sample from Florin was from a 2014 bottle.

It's actually the 10yo. There is no official
12yo at this moment in time.

Ownership: Inver House (via Thai Beverages plc via International Beverage Holdings Ltd.)
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Age: minimum 10 years
Maturation: "a combination of American Oak ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks"
Bottling year: 2014
Alcohol by Volume: 43%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Colored? Yes

The nose begins with grapefruit, malt and butter. There are also notes of barley wash and metal. There's a almost-phenolic grungy note that sits somewhere between Loch Lomond-style and Glen Scotia-style. It's simple but quite striking. The barley shows up in the palate as well. There are dried herbs (oregano/savoury), pipe tobacco, tart berries and a hint of milk chocolate. With time in the glass, it develops an earthy note, as well as some good bitterness. The finish has a wallop of tart fruits and Campari bitterness. It also has a little bit of toffee and confectioner's sugar to give it some depth.

This might be even better than before. Its style has gotten dirtier—especially in the nose—while it seems as if the rest of the industry's official bottlings are attempting to get oakier or cleaner. This uncompromising approach is admirable in this marketplace. While Glenfiddich 12 and Tomatin 12 are friendlier, easier drinkers, Speyburn 10 will deliver some fight and fun, at a similar price. Whether this whisky is for you depends on what you want from your beverage.

Availability - Worldwide
Pricing - $25-$35
Rating - 84