...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Speyside Distillery 21 year old 1996 Old Particular, cask DL12019

Speyside Distillery produced some of the internet's least loved single malts of the past two decades — most notably Cu Dubh, Drumguish, Beinn Dubh The Black — before rebranding themselves as "Spey" and shipping a lot of bottles to China. The Spey brand has crept west, but due to the distillery's early sins I've been unmotivated to try the new stuff.

But recently there have been some independently bottled whisky from Speyside Distllery (not to be mistaken with A Speyside Distillery, which is usually Glenfarclas, and never confusing) that have received positive reviews online. So, since it's a new year......why not?

Ownership: Speyside Distillers Co.
Region: almost not in Speyside actually
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Range: Old Particular
Age: 21 years old (Sept 1996 to Sept 2017)
Maturation: refill butt
Cask #: DL12019
Outturn: 362 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 51.5%
(from a bottle split)

Before continuing, I would like to direct your attention to a picture of this whisky in my Glencairn glass.

No filters or photo doctoring here. This whisky is redder than Idaho. I know that tint excites many people — which is why Macallan tried to steal everyone's money with Color — but my favorite whisky hue is five-beer-piss, so a whisky darker than a Manhattan cocktail doesn't inspire positive thoughts here. Sure it's a "refill" butt, but what did they do to that cask before refilling it?

The nose is much subtler than expected, more on nuts than dried fruits. Walnuts, pecans and almonds up front. Soil and metal in the back. Hints of roses and white peaches. A dollop of toffee pudding. The palate is......good. Very good. Roasted nuts, roasted grains, roasted game. Salt and earth. Truffle salt almonds. Essences of dried cherries and dried cranberries without the sweetness. It finishes with truffle salt, bitter chocolate, bitter coffee and a hint of copper.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The truffle salt almond note now appears in the nose, along with mocha and dry soil. Hints of pipe tobacco and cranberry juice drift around the edges. Salt and blackest baking chocolate lead the palate. Very very dry sherry. Again the sugarless dried cherry and cranberry notes. It finishes dry AF and as bitter as my 🖤.

Speyside Distillery versus Octomore, who ya got?

Would you believe Speyside? Yes, the whisky is mostly cask. And though ultra-sherried whiskies don't always do it for me, and dry sherry can be a bit difficult for my palate, somehow this particular style really worked for me. Truffle salt + nuts + bitterness + earth + just a hint of fruit = 🙂. If only more sherry cask whiskies were like this! And affordable!

Availability - Probably sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 89

No comments:

Post a Comment