...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Things I Really Drink: Speyburn 15 year old (bottled 2017)

I'll always give Speyburn a try. A decade ago their 10 year old single malt provided surprising quality for $15, though they have since doubled its price and lowered its ABV. Priced well in Europe, the 18 year old is a very solid pour. But the 15yo is my favorite of their standard range. I enjoyed my sample of it so much that I bought an entire bottle. Crazy, right?

Well, I've finished the bottle and have set aside a substantial quantity for this review. I have a picture of the bottle to prove that it's a real TIRD.....somewhere around here......ah, here it is:

You're welcome.

Distillery: Speyburn
Ownership: Inver House (via Thai Beverages plc via International Beverage Holdings Ltd.)
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Age: at least 15 years old
Maturation: American oak casks and Spanish oak casks
Outturn: 3500 cases per year
Bottle code: L17/346
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from the bottom third of my bottle)


The nose begins with lychee-laced oloroso casks filled with lavender blossoms, anise and Granny Smith apples. It slowly picks up hints of dijon mustard, dunnage, milk chocolate and rum cake. Classic Speyside-style sherry casks appear first in the palate. Think Aberlour with a squeeze of tart lemons. Black pepper and sweet oranges develop in the midground. It has a decent mouthfeel throughout, but some woody bitterness starts to show at the 30 minute mark. It finishes with tart citrus, tart apples and black pepper.

DILUTED to ~40%abv, or <1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Now I'm getting Balvenie with lime on the nose. (These distillery references are a bit lazy and not terribly helpful, sorry about that.) Stones and barley in the middle, flowers and caramel in the back. The palate starts off with a mix of dark and milk chocolates teamed with unripe plums, tart blackberries, flowers and some of that woody bitterness. The milk chocolate and wood carry into the finish.


This works much better as a casual drinker than a thing to dissect. I noticed very little of the bitterness during the life of the bottle, usually finding it to be comparable or better than more-famous sherried Speysiders. Perhaps that's because the whisky usually found its way to my mouth not via Glencairn, nor the bottle neck, but in a heavy tumbler. And that is how I'd recommend the thing be consumed, while keeping it undiluted. (Mr. Opinions reviewed a pour from this same bottle just last week and was less enthusiastic about it than I.) Though I'm happy to have tossed some coin to Speyburn and finished this bottle, I don't anticipate getting another any time soon.

Availability - many specialty retailers in the US and Europe
Pricing - $60-$80, essentially unchanged in 4 years
Rating - 84

1 comment:

  1. So these guys go 46%, no color on the 15yo but 40%+caramel on the 10yo?
    Anyone else who takes this hybrid approach?