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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Birthday Booze: Speyside Region 41 year old 1975 Antique Lions of Spirits

There seems to be a number of 1975 "Speyside Region" single malts that were aged in Fino sherry casks and bottled at advanced ages. I do wonder if they all spent their entire lives in Fino casks because who really was buying up a bunch of Fino casks in the mid-seventies just to fill with Glenfarclas(?) spirit?

The cynicism is just a way to hide the fact that I'm pretty excited about this whisky. Here's my 41 year old pour for my 14th birthday.


Distillery: Glen First Class?
Region: Speyside (obvs)
Independent Bottler: Antique Lions of Spirits
Series: The Birds
Age: 41 years old (1975 - 2016)
Maturation: Fino Sherry Cask
Outturn: 230
Alcohol by Volume: 46.9%
(from a purchased sample)

The autumnal nose is wonderfully excessive. Old rye, fresh fruit cake and roasted almonds. Apple cider, fruity cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon peel. It's as if someone is simmering some awesome mulled wine right in the glass. Vigorous tannins stop just short of nuking the palate. Mulled wine flows somewhere behind that creaky door. Then Old Red gum, salt, metal, apple skins and a whiff of dunnage. After an hour, nuts and dried fruit escape their woody captor, but then they're chased by bitter oak. The metallic, tannic finish has apple skins and cinnamon sticks. Hints of nutmeg, wood smoke and bitterness.

The same old oak that sculpted such a lovely sniffer also produced the lumbering (ha!) palate. I find this same issue with a certain famous (hint: It's the Pappy Van Winkle of Bourbon) bourbon brand's 20 and 23 year old bottlings. Smells great, tastes like furniture. Whatever the cask situation was for this "Speyside Region", the nose is a riot. I'm not sure how a palate could match it, but tannins tannins tannins tannins tannins tannins falls short of even mild expectations. Or it was wrong for me to hope a whisky wouldn't start to fall apart at age forty-one, unlike some of us.

Availability - ???
Pricing - anywhere from £400 to £1200
Rating - 85

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