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Friday, December 16, 2022

Things I Really Drink: Inchgower 21 year old 1995 Old Malt Cask, cask HL14253

TIRD time! Yes people, I do open my bottles, though usually with a plan in mind. I had a completely different three-week plan for the end of this year, but I realized at the last moment that I possessed neither the time nor the liver power to carry it out. Inchgower Improv resulted. And I'm quite satisfied with the whiskies so far.

The label on today's TIRD offers up generic sherry cask tasting notes, the sort of stuff I try to avoid when buying full bottles. And, oops, I did not check the notes before my purchase.

This bottle received the double deluxe review treatment via head-to-heads against the two previous Inchgowers. There were slight differences between each tasting's notes, but not much. I'll note the shifts below.

Distillery: Inchgower
Region: Speyside (Banffshire)
Owner: Diageo
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Range: Old Malt Cask
Age: alllllllmost 22 years (Oct 1995 - Sept 2017)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask #: HL 14253
Outturn: 708 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
(top third of my bottle)


The nose lands well, with earth, stones and walnuts. Touches of almond extract, burlap and yuzu peel here and there. The second tasting reveals some fruity cinnamon and orange blossom notes.

Figs wrapped in herbal smoke, so says the palate. Plenty of soil and ink. A moment of black tea (Keemun?). Hints of metal and oranges appear in the second tasting.

It finishes with tangy lemons and limes, salt, earth and a hint of fig.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or ½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose is mossy and herbal, with honey and orange zest around the sides. Hints of forest floor and white chocolate in the background. In the second tasting, the nose opens even better: cocoa powder, soil, rocks, white peaches, honey, ocean brine, toffee chips, and some dry sherry in back.

Gentle citrus and herbal bitterness leads the palate, with a curious industrial note and light dusty smoke underneath. Nearly identical in the second tasting, with a bit more limes and dried pineapple.

The finish seems longer at this strength. Tart limes and apples, anise, brine and a hint of that industrial character.


No raisins nor caramel here, just some well-tuned earthy, dry stuff with fruit and smoke at the edges. Thank goodness! Rarely does a blind purchase work this well. This bottle could even become a 90-point whisky before it meets its end. The metal and industrial notes are bit odd, which is what's holding me back from scoring it higher right now. I'll attempt to remember to report back if this Inchgower goes either direction, but I'd be okay if it stays the same.

Availability - Sold out?
Pricing - £71 on my last Master of Malt order five years ago
Rating - 89